Monday, 6 May 2013

Crafty Maths - Going Dotty

Whether you loved it or loathed it is school, there is no doubt maths (or math if you live a bit further west than I do) is part of our everyday lives. And crafting is no exception.

Measuring, buying and cutting materials, whether in fabric, card, metal or wood, needs the crafter to have an understanding of estimation, shapes, angles and proportion, as well as the ability to use a rule and add up. “Measure twice, Cut once” as my dad says. Especially in these austere times – we just can’t afford to get it wrong.

And I believe creativity has to be rooted in an understanding of scale, balance and symmetry, even if you choose to completely ignore it. I wish I could do this - I am so in awe of people who can create seemingly effortless freestyle creations that look amazing.

For my contribution to the Get Crafty with Creative Connections blog, I’m going to be doing a series of posts that all figure maths somehow. I’ll be offering a mix of tutorials, patterns, show and tell, and showcases as well as digging up some fascinating number facts. So stick with me – maths is great – I promise.

But I won't jump in feet first - I thought I'd start off with a quick show and tell featuring one of the simplest mathematical symbols of all - the circle.

I read recently that one of the favourite shapes drawn by young children is a circle. Ok, it maybe a bit lopsided and often not fully joined up, but still a circle. And they love colouring them in, and covering the page with dots. Even as adults - our fascination with all things spotty and dotty continues - go into any big store and you'll see them everywhere - on dresses, mugs, tablecloths, wellington boots, bow ties - you name it - it comes in spots.  Spots never seem to go out of fashion. 

For me, it is dotty fabric.  I can't resist it. I love it. So I thought I'd share just a couple of the things I made last year featuring Spots and Dots.

Simple handmade fabric dog in dotty fabrics photographed on grass
The Old Button Spotty Dog
This is one of my Spotty Dog Gang. Each one was made in different new and recycled fabrics, including spotty ones. With only two legs, he does find it hard to stand up - he prefers to be propped on a shelf or sit on a chair waiting for a friend.

Fabric owl in spotty fabrics
The Old Button Spotted Owl

Not easy doing a garden shoot, especially of the whole gang as they kept falling over. Daisies, clumps of grass and bits of sticks were all pressed into service as scaffolding.

And here is his friend - a rather wild eyed Spotted Owl - who hasn't just got a spotty body, but lots of his feathers are dotty fabric too.

I needed to cut out quite a few different sized circular and curved shapes for these little beauties. I'm pretty nifty with a compass which is great when you want accurate circles of an exact size, but for these projects, I just rummaged in the cupboards for some circular "things" and just drew around them.

I used cotton reels for Spotty Dog's spot patches and jam jar lids for Spotted Owl's eyes. And the curved parts of the dogs ear, owl's body and feathers were shaped using drinking glasses, bowls and plates - its a good thing I have a lot of mismatched crockery.

I'll be coming back to circles later in the series, so look out for future tutorials for circular skirts and a cheat's method for Cathedral Window lookalike patchwork blocks.

Have fun!

Sharon from The Old Button


  1. A great Blog to make Maths seem more interesting, and so true that it is relevant in Crafting!

    I too am a spotty and dotty lover! and can confirm my niece is 2 and she loves drawing circles!


  2. Apart from the estimating bit - which I am appalling at - I'm with you, love a bit of maths!
    Really looking forward to your posts

  3. Maths and crafting - fantastic! I love it! Call me a geek but maths has a huge role to play in most things in life, we Just don't realise it all the time.


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