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.
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.
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 Optimally.com 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?