It’s interesting to see the mathematical concepts that we learned in school put to good use…quilting use, that is! Elaine Krajenke Ellison makes one of a kind quilts communicating her love of mathematics and quilting. She’s a retired high school teacher who now teaches quilters. She also teaches future teachers how to use quilts as a visual introduction to geometric concepts.

Remember the Pythagorean theorem? It has been around since the Greeks started using written numbers.

This quilt, representing Spiraling Pythagorean Triples belongs to the London Science Museum. The fabrics were hand-dyed to create the 3-4-5 triangle, the 5-12-13 triangle, the 7-24-25 triangle, and the 9-40-41 triangle.

Here’s one with the same triangles, rotated a different way. And the triangles are made up of ¾” squares. That was quite a feat at the 9-40-41 size!

Nature’s Numbers: Studying patterns in nature led to the discovery of Fibonacci numbers. You’ll find the number pattern 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…(the Fibonacci sequence) in the plants on this quilt. The spirals in these plants are always Fibonacci numbers. Did you know that nature uses the 137½ degree angle in positioning stems on the plant?

These quilts are only a small portion of the dozens of examples that Elaine has made. Take a look for yourself at Mathematical Quilts.

And don’t be afraid to be just a little bit math geeky.

>>>Ann

ann.hammel@americanquilter.com

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