Monday, December 1, 2008

What Were the Odds?

So...last again, huh?

My excuse is two-part:
1. I picked up the camera yesterday afternoon to take the photo and found the battery was flat. By the time it charged, the evening light had gone.
2. I slept in. I'm on holiday so I didn't wake up this morning until nine!

To the quiltin'....
Well, WHAT a theme. I was in shock for two days after the theme was revealed. Maths?? I thought I had left that trauma behind years ago!
I couldn't come up with a single original thought for days, until one evening we watched an interesting TV show that explores basic human psychology through simple experiments (BBC produced, called The People Watchers). That episode included an experiment in which participants were required to generate a series of numbers by random means (one had dice, another was coin-tossing, etc)and record the results on paper. They were also asked to write a second list of random numbers but the list was to be made up - no number-generating tool to be used. They didn't know for what purpose they were doing any of this. Then a psychologist compared the lists and in every instance was able to correctly identify which of the lists was made up and which was a representation of the numbers generated by the dice or whatever.
The difference between the lists was that the random lists contained sequences of repeated numbers (for example, throwing dice can result in the same number recurring four times in succession) whereas the human lists were more muddled (each of the participants tried to not have runs or groups of numbers to make their list appear "more random"). The purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate that human beings are attracted to pattern, order and sequences. We find it difficult to accept truly random things and even apply that prejudice to selecting lottery numbers.

That all got me thinking about scrap quilts and how, in every class I have done which required random fabric placement, quilters have struggled to allow that to happen! I have seen many a quilter "auditioning" fabrics for a scrap quilt!

I also thought about the "paper bag method" of scrap quilting where you place all your darks in one bag and all your lights in another and spread the mediums between them. You then take one piece from each bag and stitch them together. The only time you may cheat is if you happen upon two pieces of the same colour.

All of which lead to my quilt...
What about a scrap quilt where the fabrics were randomly selected and yet a random pattern resulted? What would be the odds of THAT?
The scale needed to be small to give a true scrap-quilt appearance. Well, can I just say - all you miniaturists? YOU ARE INSANE. Never again will I attempt such a folly. You will also be wincing and writhing at my seam-matching (or complete lack thereof). It took FOREVER to make this insane quilt. I tried desperately to match all of the seams at first, but as the standard went slowly but steadily further into the toilet, I decided to live with the fact that my quilt was A Concept and that it Illustrated a Point :)

So here it is. Bring on the next challenge! ( and, please, make it easy)

What were the odds? by twolimeleaves, on Flickr

13 comments:

Nikki said...

Love the concept and I understand how difficult it is create a random pattern. I'm amazed at your tiny piecing. I think the way the seams flow addes a beautiful energy to the piece.

Kristin L said...

OMG! All those teensy squares are INSANE! The quilting is rather insane too as 12 x 12 is just not that big! My favorite part though is your embroidery pointing out the pattern in the supposedly random block.

Brenda said...

You know, in all my pondering of this theme, not once did think about random numbers and random patterns and yet I love the serendipity factor in artmaking. And I love your quilt too. Like Kristin, I particularly like the detail of the red embroidery.

Gerrie said...

I kept my mouth shut this time. I knew you were sleeping in!!Lovely little piece. I love all this bits of color and pattern juxtaposed in a random manner. The bit of red, as in Deborah's, adds that bit of acid or zip to a very "sweet" piece.

kirsty said...

Ah, Gerrie! How is it you know me so well and yet we've never met?
:)

StegArt said...

Oh wow Kirsten, I'm going cross-eyed just at the thought of you piecing all those teeny, tiny pieces. But it sure has impact. I enjoyed the story of the experiment.

Karen said...

You are crazy and it is amazing! the circle and arrow are so great, I was laughing so hard. I have never wanted to try miniatures, and after reading your comments, I feel good about that decision

Terry said...

This is so funny and so right on. I think of all the times I have struggled to "randomize" an arrangement of parts of something. Random is NEVER random. I think of that experiment that shows in a group of, I think, 30 people the odds are very high that at least 2 will have the same birthday. And the arrow and circle seem to say, "Aha, random universe, you're not even as good at this as I am!"

Erica Spinks said...

Hi 12 x 12-ers,
I think this is the best collection yet! What fantastic interpretations from you all. I can't wait to see the mosaic of this theme.

Diane said...

I love your idea, Kirsten! Randomness is a great mathematical concept to use, and I love how you decided to illustrate it. Did that blue X come about randomly, truly? OR did you put it in to illustrate the point? And I love the somewhat wonky piecing. It's (ahem) sort of random.

Françoise said...

Wonderful! All those cute little pieces of fabric...
The mathematician in me couldn't help trying to figure out the size of the tiny little squares!
And I love the red arrow and circle, of course.

Deborah Boschert said...

Amazing, Kirsten! The quilting is lovely too. It really emphasizes that traditional quilt style. I'm really intrigued by the concept of randomness and this is a witty interpretation.

corryna said...

It has humor! I like that. A great idea!