Friday, 28 January 2011

Mathematically challenged and my first ever giveaway!

One of the biggest hardships I find with quilting - particularly the kind that requires geometrical designs is I am mathematically challenged. If I was tested I suspect they'd discover I have some kind of number dyslexia. It is probably linked to the fact that despite being a 'grown up', I still have to look at my hands and write in the air to work out my left from my right; and why I have never managed to fully learn my times tables.

Once undergoing various tests in hospital I was asking to count back from 200 whilst subtracting 10, then 9, then 8...I failed miserably. I told them not read too much into this because even when I was well, I struggled to hold numbers in my head. I wasn't happy with my grade in GCSE maths so resat it and managed to get a worse grade. It's kind of ironic given that I work in a heavily financed based job. But that's money. Some how that's different. I get to use a calculator. Nobody ever expected me to work out the VAT on inclusive amounts without a calculator.

It probably explains why I bought myself a sewing ruler that is way longer than my sewing mat. Or the amount of times I've lined up my fabric on my mat - started cutting then thought - hmmm these are smaller than I thought they'd be - only to realise I'd been cutting an inch smaller than I wanted. You have no idea the stress I get into when I see a block I want to make and then have to work out how big each piece needs to be with seam allowances in order to recreate it. I've put many sewing books back on the shelves because they start talking in a foreign mathematical language; when I just want to be told I need 4 pieces 4 x 3 and 2 7x8 etc and have that include seam allowances. It also means when I see a quilt I want to make I struggle to work out how much fabric it will require - especially if the design is complicated.  I admire those of you out there that work with maths in order to create pattern repeats of complicated design and measure.

For DQS I wanted to set some small and different sized blocks within a larger square and not have them line up. I started thinking about how I'd calculate the sashing areas horizontally, to create the back around the mini blocks and all was fine until I had to work out the bits vertically too; and then the order I'd need to sew everything to get it to have the look I wanted. I started drawing it out on squared paper and everything. But it started to make my head all swirl, I'm sure it's not meant to be this challenging.  So I'm working the way I work best - visually.  I've cut lengths of linen and am measuring them against the blocks and assembling them in an 'order'. This may horrify some of you. But it's working for me.

No maths is required for the little giveaway I promised. In fact nothing more challenging than popping a comment below. If you want to comment about how I can make sewing projects easier maths wise that would be helpful, but not essential.

What might you win? I have a whole stack of fabric squares roughly 2.5"ish  square that are ideal if you're making 1" hexies and seeing as it's this hexie quilt of mine that's got me back into blogging it seems an appropriate giveaway. In fact I was hoping to do it to celebrate finishing my hexie quilt, but that's back on hold while I sort out mug rugs and doll quilts ;-) Of course you may want to do something else entirely with the scraps, that's your choice.  I did count how many I'd got so far.  But since then I've not been very well and have been all dizzy and generally blurgh and I've forgotten how many there are. I will also be adding to the pile before it goes in the mail.  I reckon there will be over 100. Of course after what I said about my bad maths you are allowed to not believe me    ;-)

You don't have to become a follower to enter - although it will make me smile if you do. The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere and will run until 12 pm 5 Feb 2011 (GMT). I'll use the ole random number generator to do it stuff.  Just please, please, please make sure there is a way I will be able to get hold of you if you win. Otherwise I'll have to draw another winner. *****GIVEAWAY CLOSED*****


  1. Although I don't have any trouble with the maths, your way seems perfectly logical to me! I say if it works for you then do it - there are no quilt police!!!!

  2. I'm wracking my brain to think of something that could help make things easier but since I don't find math easy either it would be the blind leading the blind! I second Gill, keep doing what works for you because it does work and your things are beautiful!

    You know I want those squares =)

  3. Happy to have discovered your blog -- you've got some beautiful things on here! I love the niece on a swing piece -- I'm going to be an aunt for the first time in June, and I love the idea of making that for her. And will be sure to refer to your tips! I haven't yet tried making hexies, but all I need is an excuse ;)

  4. OOoh! These would be perfect for my quilt! As far as cutting/measuring goes, I try to check twice and cut once.

  5. Yes, this is my chance to win more fabric to use in my hexagon quilts. I sew hexagons,1/4", 1/2" and 1". In my 1/2" hexagon quilt I try to have just one of every fabric I can find. Now I'm in need of new fabric, because I've used all the scraps from my friends. Thank you.

  6. Hi! your blog is awesome and your hexagon quilt is gorgeous :) I hope mine looks half as good!

    My math is terrible, and I always have some kind of a technical error! I always, always have to make test blocks before I do anything, or I find myself out of luck!

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  7. You are just too funny!! My brain hurts when i have to do confusing maths and i work in a quilt shop!! I made a red cross quilt and all the crosses were different sizes. What i did was add kona snow around each block to make them the size of the largest block (to which i didnt add any outer snow).
    The quilt is in my flickr if you want to look at it

  8. I've never made hexagons before, but your giveaway sure makes it more enticing!

  9. your post made me laugh! I think a lot people have this issue- mom and I were just dealing with this the other day! well more mom was dealing with MY issues! There is a reason I make up my own stuff and it's because I don't want to have to read directions I would rather figure it out on my own and do it how I want... then I always do things 'right' haha!

  10. I am fine with maths, but I have issues with spatial relations. Rubik's Cube? Forget it!
    I was so proud of myself the first time I made a 3D plush animal pattern because normally I cannot visualize in 3D.
    Keep doing what you are doing, bad maths or not. You are fabulous!

    ps: pop by my blog in a couple of days. I will be holding a giveaway of a cute feltie pincushion.

  11. You make gooorgeous hexie-patchworks! I am a newbie whos only bought her first rotary cutter this fall and started piecing hexagons ten days ago... I would be very happy to win your squares :-)

    dorte_dk (at)

  12. I am terrible at quilt maths too and I always use the visual method that you've demonstrated when making up designs of my own. It's a good method!! I hope you feel better soon, dizziness sucks! Nice giveaway too :)

  13. You basically described my relationship with math (and now quilting) perfectly! I actually am glad to know it's not just me... even the right and left part lol

    I was once told that it's called "numerical defienciency" but have never heard of it again lol


  14. I'm sorry to hear that you'r enot feeling well! I just popped over here form the DQS group. What a lovely blog you have and what a fun giveaway you're having! Good luck with the math. I'm afraid that I have no tips to share.

  15. I'm OK with basic math but anything beyond that forget it. way I will touch it!

    I quilt very similar to the way you are putting your DQS quilt together. Lay it out and make it work.

    I love hand piecing hexies :)

  16. I am fine with math but I hav determined I like the looks of the freestyle quilting better lately so I rarely use it except for making my borders or binding. Thanks for a chance at the giveaway it would be perfect for my hexagon quilt.

  17. while reading your post, i was thinking...omg it's my twin, cuz i'm the same way.....i can even follow the directions for a pattern and still have the whole thing come out a hot mess.
    i can't tell you haw many times i've cut fabric up only later to discover it's the wrong size....very frustrating indeed!

    the only piece of advise that i can give you is Take Your Time! you're quilting because you want to not cuz you have take your time and enjoy it, that's what I'm doing right now.....and slowly but surely you'll get better and better at while picking up on new tricks as you go along.

  18. I generally don't like to give advice or make opinions but I will say that whatever works for you do it!! Your creations are awesome!!

  19. oh my. um, yes. I have exactly the same issues. Exactly. Since i freaked my driving instructor by having to look at my hands to figure out where he wanted me to go, i've been tested and am officially Dyslexic, though it's maybe more Dyspraxia. Either way, you could have been writing about me. It's actually quite a relief hearing you talk that way, and still produce the most beautiful quilts! THANK YOU.

  20. Thanks for the giveaway. Can't say no to such big scraps!

  21. I feel indentified with yr post...I sooo hate maths!!!!!!!!it was my sort of damned subject at school...
    Tks fr yr generous giveaway! xoxo

  22. The best thing for my maths skills was being a teaching assistant in a year 5 classroom. I got to learn all the new wonderful tricks they teach the kids these days!

    I'd love to try some hexies, I need the patience to handsew. :D

  23. yay! i won i won!!! thank you so much. how fun is that. i never win anything. :o)
    now i need to do some 1" hexies!


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