Monday, 31 December 2012

How to make a Sierpinski Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree (which is yet to be completed) is inspired by the Sierpinski triangle fractal. The image below shows the progression of the fractal at different levels of complexity.
 The evolution of the Sierpinski triangle
The number of black triangles in each diagram forms the geometrical progression 1, 3, 9, 27, … . It is an example of a fractal, which means that it has a self-similar structure and you can see the same pattern repeated over and over again.
My challenge with Year 10 this year was to take this design into three dimensions and create a fractal Christmas tree. We started with regular tetrahedrons constructed with a pair of compasses and a straight edge. In just an hour the girls managed to create one and a half level 4 fractals each containing 43 = 64 tetrahedrons. They worked really hard and I promised them that somehow I’d get up to the next level of fractal, which has a total of 256 tetrahedrons in it. My Year 12s and 13s helped but I was only just over half way through at the end of the day and I’m still working on it now!
This is the first one that they created:
So, this is how to do it…
1. Create the nets of four tetrahedrons and sellotape or glue them together to make a larger tetrahedron. Do this by taping three tetrahedron together on the base and adding a fourth one above.
SAM_0008_fb     SAM_0006_fb
2. Remember that fractals require a self-similar structure so you now need to make four of these structures and tape together to make the next stage in the fractal.
SAM_0007_fb     SAM_0009_fb
3. Repeat this process as many times as you like. Create four of the current structures and tape them together in exactly the same way.
I’ll post the finished tree sometime in the middle of next week, then I just have to find an appropriate place to keep it safe. It’s going to be beautiful!

[Here's a link to the finished tree - it's huge!]

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Knitted Baubles

These beautiful baubles were created by Lib as part of our Christmas present this year. Now I’m definitely going to have to actually put our Christmas tree up next year. Homemade baubles and homebrewed beer – well done and thank you, Mr and Mrs Haigh!


SAM_0047     SAM_0048

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

My First Ever Curve Stitching - 1991

It would appear that I started curve stitching at the age of nine…


I really don’t remember doing it and I was very impressed that my work is obviously constructed accurately with a pair of compasses. I found this piece of work, which is dated on the back, in Nan’s collection of keepsakes. She hadn’t kept a huge amount but the bits and bobs she had kept were cherished.

Here are two cards that I had made for her at various times:

P1010091     P1010090

Ruth made the next one and also painted the beautiful Barn Owl (sorry about the flash) for us to give her one Christmas…



Monday, 12 November 2012

Art Attack at Brownies

I took all of my fabric along to Brownies tonight for a 20 minute Art Attack Challenge. The girls got themselves into three groups and came up with two horses and a pumpkin as their creations. The group who created the first of the images below were declared the winners and we were really impressed with the creativity and teamwork demonstrated by this group who consisted of our youngest Brownies. I now have the much more time consuming and difficult challenge of sorting all the bits and bobs out again!




Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Geometrical Quilts


I’ve had this book for a long time having picked it up from a Tarquin stall at a Maths teacher training day some years ago. It was actually the only useful thing I picked up that day but that’s another story.

I love this book although I have never actually made a quilt from it. It’s full of beautiful designs and templates as well as inspiration for Maths lessons. I used two of the designs a few years ago in a Year 9 lesson revising ratio and proportion. Specifically I used the Fibonacci Series and Sierpinski’s Triangle quilts, which made for an interesting lesson for me if not the girls! ‘m often a little over-ambitious with my observed lessons!

Anyway, this book also features such delights as Penrose tiling, an Archimedian Spiral, the Lutes of Pythagoras and Von Koch’s Snowflake. There are so many ways to use them alongside lessons on tessellations, angles, fractals and rotational symmetry, as well as the ratio and proportion that I chose to use them for. One of these days I’m going to get the girls to recreate some of the designs using coloured paper to make amazing displays for room 16. This Maths and Crafting combination is a fascinating and powerful one. Honestly!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Craft Bug in Chirk


On one of my weekend jaunts up to visit Mum I had a few minutes to spare in Chirk and thought I’d pop into The Craft Bug, which I thought was a tiny little crafting shop. It turns out that it’s a little cavern jam packed with goodies. The girl manning the shop offered me a coffee the minute I walked in, which was a really nice touch. The back room has a crafting area where they hold classes and crafting groups regularly. I loved it.

Find them at 23 West View, Chirk, LL14 5HL. They also sell online – click the image at the top to check it out for yourself. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Patchwork Bedspread (and an explanation)

My life has been without crafting for some time now – has it reached ten weeks yet? It’s no secret that September is always busy for me, as a sixth form tutor with UCAS references to battle with, but this autumn half term has been exceptional. Upon returning from South Africa I managed two days at work before Mum was taken into hospital. I fetched her out this Saturday after travelling between North Wales and London every weekend for seven weeks. No time for crafting in that schedule – sorry!

Nan turned 88 last week (don’t tell her that I publicised that fact) so I did manage to squeeze one small project in during the week before. Dad chose the fabrics from my collection and I made this patchwork bedspread for her. She tells me that she is not intending to use it as a bedspread though; this piece is destined to keep her knees warm this winter!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Day Eight in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Wow, that was a long day. I’ve finished the patchwork, beaded the crown, backed everything, attached the national emblems and added the 2012 and WCHS lettering but the banner is now officially finished.

This is the finished beaded Elizabeth II panel…


... and this is the final banner. I’m really pleased with it…


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Day Seven in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Day Seven sees me break out the sewing machine and start the patchwork. That’s right folks, the main part of the new 2012 WCHS banner is The Union Jack – surprised?! I thought the shapes of the embroidered pieces were a bit of a giveaway myself but I had the diagram all along.


I had lots of other things to do as well today so I only managed to get the bottom half done but I hope you’ll agree that I made a good start. I think that one more long day should just about do it. Half the time of the Olympics themselves, that seems appropriate somehow.


Ok, so I have to say that I am VERY annoyed with one aspect of this banner that hasn’t quite gone to plan. There is an unforeseen problem with the patchwork. I don’t think my lengths of fabric were ever long enough for me to have avoided this happening but with longer pieces I could have got it spot on. Now I have the added complication of having to make the error consistent on the top half too! My challenge to you all is to spot the issue (which will, undoubtedly, irritate me forever…)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Day Six in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Sunday was Day Six in this project and I managed to complete three panels. They need no explanation…




Monday, 13 August 2012

Day Five in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

This one took hours and I was very bored by the end of it. This panel represents Woodford’s part in the Redbridge concert at the Royal Albert Hall this year. Our Music Department took a huge choir to the event and 2012 has seen a huge increase in the popularity of singing at Woodford.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Day Four in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Four panels down and four (bigger ones) to go. I’ve now printed off the designs for all of the panels and am hoping to get most of them done this weekend. I’m writing this on Friday so it’s not a ridiculously ambitious task but the remaining ones are probably the most intricate and time consuming. I’m going to visit IKEA on Monday and so hope to get moving on the patchwork then. Can I finish by the time David gets home from drinks Tuesday night? We’ll see.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Upcycled Magazine Gift Bows

In addition to working on the banner, I have learnt how to make paper gift bows today. I used the instructions from How About Orange but I think my magazines were a little small. I couldn’t cram the full number of turns into my gift bows. I think they look pretty good though.



Thursday, 9 August 2012

Day Three in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Another two panels almost completed. One representing Olympic sports and the other to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. I say almost completed because I need to stitch beads onto the crown but cannot do it until the whole banner is assembled.


I have left the tissue paper on the crown so that I can use it as a guide for placing the beads. It shows you how I am doing this embroidery, which is to trace a design onto tissue paper and then stitching through it. Picking the tissue paper apart with my tweezers can be a little fiddly but it’s worth it.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Day Two in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

I had intended to complete the patchwork aspect of the banner today but I did my calculations wrong and ended up cutting some of the pieces too small. This means that I need to visit IKEA and get some more fabric. It’s not a costly or time consuming error but it is an annoying one. Anyway, once I’d cut everything out and realised my mistake I decided to set to work on the piece that celebrates the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.  The piece looks better in real life but I’m happy as long as you can tell what it is – what do you think?


Monday, 6 August 2012

Day One in The Making of the 2012 WCHS Banner

Two of the Silver Badges (Senior Prefects) at Woodford have designed a new banner to commemorate this incredible year. I am not going to share their design but I will give you some regular spoilers.

Today is my first day creating the pieces that will make up the final banner and it must be ready for our school birthday parade on 29th September.  These are hand embroidered onto felt. I particularly like the English Rose…


Friday, 3 August 2012

Quiet Crafting Time in Liverpool

Katryn and I headed to my Auntie and Uncle’s house in Liverpool this week to escape the madness and get some quality crafting time together!

So that Katryn would feel “less embarrassed” sleeping in a boys room we first made a butterfly mobile to hang up. It was a kit we bought from Sainsburys which had really good instructions and was pretty easy to make although gluing all the pieces together for the twelve butterflies was a little tedious.



The following day we were busy creating pretty things from felt and buttons. We made quite a few brooches, a hairclip and a flower chain for Auntie Liz that we left on her fridge. I did the stitching but Katryn did everything else…

P1060755_blog  P1060754_blog

P1060757_blog  P1060753_blog


P1060758_blog  P1060763_blog


Finally,I want to share a picture that Katryn did for Mum a few weeks ago. She had been studying bees at school and I just love her attention to detail. Look at the hexagons (there are a few that actually have six sides!) in the bees nest and the protective mask on the bee-keeper. Her phonetic spelling of honey did make me chuckle I have to admit.


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Marbled Balls

Katryn and I experimented with marbling onto polystyrene balls today with varying degrees of success. I don’t think I will bother again but Katryn enjoyed it and we used paper to clear out the inks after each attempt and those pieces came out quite well so it was not entirely a wasted exercise. Anyway, here are some photos of the fun!!!








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