Tag Archives: Alexandra Winston

Book Review Tuesday: Let’s get our geek on

This week’s book selection is dear to my heart. Many of you probably don’t know but my degrees at university was in Biology + Statistics (undergrad), and Marine Science.  I do not necessarily use what I did in my degree, but I have stayed in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field.  Right now, I actually work for an analytical software company.

Review

So, I was surprised that this book, Quilt Lab, was not on my top 10 wish list.  As I read Ali’s blog posts on her experiences publishing with Stash books, I was intrigued.

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Title: “Quilt Lab – The Creative Side of Science”
Author: Alexandra Winston
Publisher: C&T Publishing / Stash Books
ISBN:  978-1-60705-803-8

I loved this book. The book is written within the theme of Science and Math throughout. It opens with the geometry behind quilt making/block making, and uses the scientific methods of experimentation to explain the design process. The finishing section actually covers tips I have not seen in a quilt book I have read recently:

  • How to find the right side of batting vs. the wrong side
  • Choosing your stitch length for quilting and how each of these differ, recommending the right lengths for quilting
  • Choosing the right stitch length and effect of the zig zag stitch for machine binding.

The Projects in the book are separated into Small Projects, Rectangles, Angles, and Circles. For the Angles and Circles sections have a great tutorial at the beginning on techniques you will need for the projects.

The layout of each project is probably one of my favorite, so far, in this book review series. Each project explains the

  • inspiration for the project,
  • the planning and designing of the quilt,
  • skills that will be used/improved on with the project,
  • a “Study Hall” insert to explain the math or science concepts behind the inspiration topic
  • and then the usual content – materials, cutting instructions, assembly for top and back

Another great detail, is the templates are supplied in the book, and all but two of the templates require enlargement when copying. There are 12 projects in the book and I plan on making at least 7 of the 12 projects.

  • Pillow Perfect – a project that you can use solids or prints nested squares. The example in the book uses solids and the color choices are fabulous (the pillow is a great matching project to the Fractal quilt (see project section below).
  • Basic Binary – would make the perfect gift quilt or a great beginners quilt. It would be great to play with color and would be a quick project.
  • Fractal – I could not resist, its design was exactly me but still looked like a project that I could accomplish in the week I had to deliver this post (nothing like a deadline)
  • Scattered – fascinates me as it represents statistical visualization techniques. I might change this quilt to a correlation plot though. A perfect gift for someone at work 🙂
  • States of Matter – a great interpretation of solid, liquid and gas using triangles (#2 of my top 3 project choices, still to make)
  • Calculus – shows the progression on how if you add additional triangles /segmentation you can move from a chevron (Zig Zag) all the way to a curved line (like in a sine curve) (#3 of my top 3 project choices, still to make)
  • Aperture Science – this project is FANTASTIC…it represents the science behind how a human eye or a camera shutter works and is association to light (#1 of my top 3 project choices, still to make)

To show you how much I love this book, I bought it a second time after spilling tea on my first copy, destroying my first copy of the book. This would be such a great book to use in schools and get people interested in the art of quilting in conjunction with expanding the interest in Science and Math. This is my first 5 star rating:
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Project

I chose Fractal, as my project for this book for two reasons. One, I wanted a quilt that I would want to keep for myself and two, something I might be able to at least finish a quilt top in 1 week. I will leave it to you to figure out how the quilt top relates to Fractals.

Fabric selection was easy. One of my favorite lines at the moment is Safari Moon by Frances Newcombe as it has the most fabulous colors and prints.  I used a selection of the prints with a selection of matching solids.

I cut all the fabric for the quilt top in about 3-4 hours. The construction of the quilt, you would not believe this but I finished it in 1 day!! Fall of your chair, I never finish it in one day.

The design allows you to make it your own, as color selection is critical to the look of the quilt. Here is my finished quilt top.

Safari_Fractal_QuiltTop_Complete

The center is an exercise on piecing small pieces. The small pink squares are cut and sewn slightly larger (~1/4 inch) and trimmed back to ensure better accuracy. As you can see the center close-up really highlights the concept of Fractals.Safari_Fractal_Center
Final Quilt Size: 60 x 60″ (perfect lap quilt for the couch/sofa).

Give-away

Sponsoring this give away is Stash Books, who will provide the winner an electronic copy of Quilt lab.  All you need to do is leave a comment on what was your favorite science/math discipline at school/university (ie. statistics, calculus, chemistry etc. ). There is a second chance to win if you are a follower, just leave a second comment. A winner will be chosen at random and announced next Tuesday, 3rd March after 6pm.

A disclaimer, all reviews and opinions of the books reviewed will be mine, unless otherwise stated. Please note, I may not respond to all comments due to volume and bandwidth.

Linking up with Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s bee social (see button on right side menu) + Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday.

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