Math + Quilts = Incredible

October 6, 2008 in General

I haven’t had too much experience with quilting, but I do know that accurate measuring is one of the most important steps.* With all of those numbers flying around, it’s no surprise that a mathematician would gravitate towards quilting. What is surprising, however, are the beautiful and unique results that come from quilting with complex equations.

Elaine Krajenke Ellison, a retired math teacher, uses her vast knowledge of math and quilting to create pieces that educate as well as inspire. Ellison is the author of two Mathematical Quilts books and speaks around the world about using quilts to help students visualize mathematics. Some of her quilts are displayed in the London Science Museum.

Ellison’s website includes a gallery of her impressive work. It’s also a great lesson on the history of mathematics – she explains her inspiration for each quilt, whether it be an important mathematical discovery, a lecture from a great professor and more (pictured are the Clifford Torus and the Spiraling Pythagorean Triples Рduh). She also has a few cute ones that she made for her grandchildren. Click here to see Ellison’s impressive collection for yourself!

*Another important step is pressing, pressing, pressing. I failed to do this on my first attempt, which is why my quilt block looked more like a quilt rhombus.

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