Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Measure twice, cut once - another quilting/HCM intersection

I guess because it's winter and raining a lot and I can't be outside that I've been designing and making more quilts. Last weekend, I was piecing a border from a very cool Japanese woven by fussy cutting between designs. I needed to get 4.5 inch widths and cut one just 4 inches which meant that I lost the piece! Argh. It reminded me of the quilter's adage: Measure twice, cut once. My husband tells me that that's actually a carpenter's adage, but I think us quilters make good use of it too!

It got me thinking about software design and programming and that this adage applies there too. Although perhaps it's Plan Twice, Program Once. Now, I haven't programmed since Cobol was the dominant application programming language (yes...I'm older), so forgive the stretch here. Back then, we got a whole lot of user input into planning, then we designed and only when we got approval of the design did we start to program. Watching my husband do his programming today, it seems like that stage can be much more iterative and he can show users a strawman solution multiple times and get ongoing user input.

But just like with quilting, overdoing the part before you cut absolutely makes for a better end result, with no swearing either on the part of the quilter or the end user!


And for those that want to see the latest quilts. These are unfinished! I'll post when done too.

This first one is "Berkeley Pieces" because I was inspired by a quilt I saw at New Pieces in Berkeley...very cool quilt store! I can see that I should have measured twice although I think I can square this up in the quilting.

This one, now that it's done looks like one of those pesky "Dear Jane" quilts. But it's not. This is done with Japanese fabrics and with Japanese quilt block patterns. I've been trying to learn to be exact....this may be the last one I do like this. So, it gets the name of "Japanese Jane." And, given how many sample squares I did not include, I definitely need to measure twice more. Of course, trying to understand a Japanese pattern is a bit tough!

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