Irena Swanson

Some of Irena Swanson's mathematics-related quilts



TUBE PIECING: For the last few years I have been developing a very fast, efficient, and accurate method for making quilts. I call it tube piecing: it is to strip piecing as strip piecing is to traditional piecing. For example, I can make a quilt top with twelve rows of triangles, each row having nine red triangles pointing one way and nine yellow triangles pointing the other way, all sewn together with 32 seams only. I have many other impressive shortcuts. At the end of June 2015, my developing book has 370 pages. The book contains many concrete examples, but also mathematical formulas for changing sizes and angles. I plan to eventually set up a web page for tube piecing. Please let me know if you are interested in testing (iswanson@reed.edu). Only standard quilting gadgets are needed (rotary cutter and mat, sewing machine, iron, fabric, thread).



This is commemorating the special program in Commutative Algebra at MSRI, 2002/03. Depicted are David Eisenbud (upper right), Lucho Avramov, Bernd Sturmfels, Karen Smith, Craig Huneke. Apparently this quilt is now lost. Sigh. If you see it, please return to MSRI or to me.


















This is my Ph.D. committee, 1992: Craig Huneke, Luchezar Avramov, William Heinzer; Ian Aberbach is not photographed, but he is on the quilt.



















































An article on mathematics and quilting (first three sections only), in particular, on piecing semiregular tessellations. Semiregular tessellations are explained at a high-school level, some results are proved, some mathematical activities are proposed for learners of less and more advanced levels, and then quick and new piecing methods are developed for making quilts. This is now a chapter in the book Crafting by Concepts (link to A K Peters), edited by sarah-marie belcastro and Carolyn Yackel and published by A K Peters in 2011. (There are many drawings and photos in this 79-page pdf file, so the download may be slow.)

In my chapter I present some new methods of making quilts accurately and fast, but with the (lovely) advantage of creating "waste" that can be turned into lovely leftover quilts. Below find the photos of the resulting semiregular tessellations quilts, and the leftover quilts.