Math in Fiber Arts

One-semester course. This logic stage class is an introductory survey course of fiber arts. Fiber arts are those that work with fibers, such as yarn, thread, and fabric. One research-informed math instruction technique is the “concrete to representational to abstract” pathway, and using fiber arts can help students move from the concrete project to the abstract ideas of math. For example, in the initial unit, students will be introduced to Euclid’s elements through cutting fabric for quilting. They’ll practice bisecting angles of fabric for use in their quilt square. This is concrete, or hands-on, through manipulating fabric, and the end product will represent both the art of quilting and the art of geometry. By creating a concrete, tangible representation of an abstract theory, students will increase their understanding of mathematics, in much the same way that tiny plastic bears can represent sets of numbers. In this class, all four units will follow this concrete, representational, abstract pathway, and  each unit will focus on a different aspect of fiber arts and mathematics. At the end of each unit, every student will have completed one tangible product to be presented in a final portfolio.

Please note: Purchasing information for course materials is suggested. If the students has these materials at home, new materials do not have to be purchased. 

Prerequisites: Students should be fluent with: addition; subtraction; multiplication; division with decimals, fractions, and percents; solving one-step equations. Students are expected to read and complete written responses to various non-fiction texts. Because this class will emphasize hands-on projects, students should be physically capable of performing basic knitting, crocheting, hand-sewing, and weaving.

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Math in Fiber Arts Information

Course Materials

  • Materials List
    • Students are encourage to visit their local fabric or quilt shop to acquire the following materials:
      • 1/4 yard each of two contrasting color quilting fabrics of the same weight 
      • 1/2 yard of a similar weight for the back and binding
      • 1/4 yard flannel for the batting 
      • 2 skeins of a medium weight worsted yarn, 1 each of two colors
      • 1 skein of a medium weight smooth yarn, such as Bernat Maker 
    • 1 pair size 11 (8.0 mm, UK size 0) 10-inch aluminum knitting needles
    • 1 H-8 (5mm) crochet hook 
    • tapestry (yarn) needle 
    • pair embroidery scissors
    • full size compass & protractor
    • 1 chalk pencil or other fabric marking pencil
    • 12-inch ruler, clear 
    • 45mm rotary cutter or very sharp scissors 
    • hand needle for hand sewing
    • set of straight pins 
    • white thread
    • Harrisville Designs “Friendly Peg Loom” (more advanced looms are acceptable, but not a pot-holder type loom)
    • thimble if desired
    • 1 iron & appropriate surface for an ironing board

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