Data is Beautiful, part 2 – Roses

2020. It goes without saying that this year’s global events have required strength in the face of uncertainty. Businesses and individuals have relied even more heavily than before on data to bring understanding and actionable insights to their families, teams and communities. One tricky part of doing this is to create a visualization that can be understood by a wide population.

Data is Beautiful : Part 1

I feel fortunate that I have been able to buckle down and work on my Master of Science in Analytics (remotely), support my family at home while they moved back and forth with remote schooling, and in November, I was invited to join a new team, Optimally, as a data engineer! (Say that three time fast! It’s no wonder I have not posted here in almost a year…) I didn’t realize until they brought my “first day” supplies that their logo happened to be a form of a rose diagram, one that some statisticians might call a “coxcomb chart”. Some of you may have seen my “2019 In Review” post that contained my “data is beautiful, part 1”. It was actually another version of the coxcomb (inverted for art sake).

The rose chart logo made me smile. It couldn’t be more appropriate for 2020, and you guessed it, I said, That needs to be a quilt block“. This weekend, I got around to playing with the idea.

Optimally Logo
Data is Beautiful: Part 2

WHY could it not be more appropriate? Well, from what I’ve found, the “coxcomb” chart was created back in 1858 by Florence Nightingale. It is a variation on a pie chart. She was a a legacy in nursing as well as an experimentalist in visualizing data. So there you have it. I think that visualizations and nursing have both played key roles in 2020. I’m not going to call this the year of the pandemic. I’m going to remember it for a key marker in the latest data revolution.

The quilt block representation of the logo was created with raw edge appliqué techniques.
1. I started by cutting circles of my “rose” petal colors. To make the appliqué easy to apply to the background, I applied the fabric to fusible webbing, like the Pellon Wonder-Under product.
2. Then, I divided the circles into 72 degree wedges (I wanted 5 equal wedges => 360 degrees / 5). A rose can be split and layered into many different sizes and petals to give it a different look.
3. To get the spoked look, the wedges simply spread out, or you can trim the edges off the wedges equally on both sides. Doing the second method ensures that you get the perfect circles where you are keeping the depth of the petals equivalent.
4. Press the wedge into place on your background.
5. Stitch using a “blanket” or appliqué stitch. If you zoom in, you can see that when I do this, I like to match my thread to the fabric color.

Tip: If making a small block and you have an image of the correct size, you could print it, then cut templates of the pieces for less waste.

Rounding out 2020, I am thankful that my family has remained strong during this uncertain year and to have the opportunity to work on a team that values helping small businesses as well as providing flexibility to their employees to take care of their families and bring value to the community through their work. Data IS beautiful and visualizing it can be powerful. If you wonder what this new job I have is, check us out at our site. I think my new quilt block will become a mini quilt, and once we are actually back to the office, I can share it with my team. Maybe it could be a traveling icon for #kudos and a job well done?

Happy Quilting!


Stripes with Stars

I decided that I should post what has been distracting me from most of my large projects lately.  These mini quilts are addicting, quick to finish, and simple to wrap your head around.  They also make great eye candy gifts.  I’ve been making some of these in threes so that my mom, my grandmother and I all have one to match!

These were the last two finished, and made it to their new home not long after posing for the photographs below.  I LOVE the fabric that I found at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival to build the flag. It is called Marblehead Valor Wavy Stripe Red/White, by Fabri-Quilt.  This mini is my own design!

Which background do you like best?  Night or Day?

The wavy stripes provided the perfect movement and scale for my patriotic mini’s.  (I wish I had bought more, but I think I have enough left to make one of these mini’s for me too.) The flagpole is bias binding, and the star section was cut to match the stripes using a light box and a chalk marker.  All applique is attached with fusible web and blanket stitched to the background.
They are quilted in variegated Red, White, and Blue Floriani thread using a fireworks design that I had in my Library from Wasatch Quilting.

My latest approach to mini quilts has been to longarm the background before completing the embroidery or applique.  This allows me to have intricate quilt designs all the way up to the embroidery and applique features without any backstitching.  It also lets me easily incorporate 3D features.

I have found that I can digitize any font using my embroidery software, Embird.  Once all of the embroidery and applique is completed, I spray baste a facing over the back in decorative fabric, and sew it on at the same time as the binding.  It just covers up the side underside of the stitches.  Does this make sense, or do you need photographs?

If I make many more of these, I might have to start hanging them in my cubicle at work to give the place some color…

Happy Quilting