Friday, March 27, 2009

The Vanishing Triangles, or Why You Shouldn't Shoot Your Mouth Off about Quilters and Math

OK, here's today's word problem, boys and girls. If you are going to make 13 of these blocks in yellow and 12 in pink, how many of the tiny quarter square triangles do you need? Let's just figure out the colored ones first and save the blue ones till later.




I made the pink ones already, so I need the yellow ones. Each block has three flowers and each flower takes two of the itty-bitties, so that's 13(2x3) = 78, right? Hold your applause. If I can figure that out, WHY do I continue to have to cut more? Having to go back to the cutting board repeatedly is making this sloow block even slooower.

I guess I can calculate but not count. Or maybe the whole formula is wrong. If so, someone set me straight, please. There's also the part that trips me up every time, which is: How many squares do you need to cut if you cut each square into four triangles? May that's the problem. There's also the fact that I should write this down when I figure it out, but I didn't. So back to the rotary cutter!

And I have no idea if I have enough blue triangles cut.

12 comments:

paulahewitt said...

Don't you just hate that?
watch out, or next you might catch yourself saying 'thats a lot of hard work' to someone at your quilt guild. :)
it is a very pretty quilt block btw.

Marj said...

I think that 78 is the number for one flower per block and you have 3 flowers in each block so I think you need 3 x 78 or 234. Wow thats a big number. Good luck and I love your blocks.

Liz said...

Oh yes - you need to write down the numbers! I have limited memory space for numbers and my phone and dob about uses it up! I always go wrong on the squares myself. 78 little triangles sounds right, but dividing by four gets everything out of order! BTW, once you've written down your numbers, never EVER throw them away!

Liz said...

Oops! Forgot to say that those are beautiful blocks. Be sure to show us the finished top.

Debra said...

OK, I am serious here--that looks like a lot of hard work. I would have to make a chart on that one.

Is this a project for you?

Libby Fife said...

Well, I was just going to suggest writing it down! I have to otherwise who knows what I would or would not end up with? I actually have to write the whole thing out too; what yields what and how much. Sad but true! No math my you-know-what.

Are we heading into a full fledged project by the way? Do tell!

GARI said...

This sounds so like me. And it happens whenever I am doing anything with small pieces. Of course, I am the person who, in high school, refused to take geometry. Who would have guessed I would one day wind up making quilts?

Deb Geyer said...

Hm-m-m-m...78 times.... 234... cut into 4 pieces... hm-m-m.

Well, I'd say cut a whole bunch and then when you think you have enough cut a whole bunch more.

That should be close! :-)

*karendianne. said...

Far be if from me to say a dern thing about math. Right off the bat we know I'm of no help. Would you believe I had a basket pattern in my mind? A totally trippy cosmic vibe. Happens man, it does. People might not buy it but that's fine. I know it. I'm shaking my head at the early morning trippin' at LeeHaven.

McIrish Annie said...

the one thing I try to avoid at all costs is the MATHS of quilting!! Whenever possible, I get a friend to figure it out!

jenclair said...

Beautiful block, but I avoid thinking mathematically when possible. :0 Oops, I know that is one of your pet peeves! I've been trying to improve my math skills, but some flaw in my brain keeps causing glitches.

Lizzie said...

I always figure it out for each block then multiply. Then write it down on the pattern very prercise with pictures so I can leave and not forget. I know, I feel your pain.