Sunday, August 2, 2015

You can view other Four In Art quilts here:
Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze

May I introduce to you the E.coli hot pad.

Q: What does an E. coli hot pad have to do with this year's
Four In Art theme of Literature?

A: The inspiration for this project came from a scientific journal article 
written by my husband. The article is called... 

Escherichia coli O157: H7 transport in saturated porous media: 
Role of solution chemistry and surface macromolecules 
authored by Hyunjung N. Kim †, Scott A. Bradford ‡ and Sharon L. Walker 
*†Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California

The article can be found in the 
Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 

I know this is such utterly exciting 
news you have probably stopped reading, 
but I thought it would be good to pull information 
from a scientific source for the quilt. 

Q: Why E. coli? 
A: This organism is a dinner topic for our family since my husband's research resolves around microorganisms and how they move through the ground and potentially contaminate our food and water supply. One time I told an acquaintance that my husband is an Environmental Engineer. They responded with, "He must be good at recycling." Uhhh....No. 

I started constructing the E. coli critter out of Kona Cotton & brushed silk.

I inset the body of the E. coli using freezer paper & a glue stick.
I forgot to take a photo of that step, but here's the inset oval. 

E. coli have all sorts of flagellum to help them move around.

I quilted the flagellum in glow in the dark, gray, yellow & orange thread.

Remember, this microorganism is only 3 microns long, 
which is a little smaller than a red blood cell, 


a human hair is about 75 microns wide.  

Here's a photo of the glow in the dark E. coli. 
Scientist often stain E. coli with a fluorescing medium for visibility. 
I figured I could do the same with glow in the dark thread.   

Q: What can E. coli do to my body?

A: There are many types of Ecoli, and most of them are harmless,

but some can cause bloody diarrhea. 

Some strains of Ecoli bacteria (such as a strain called O157:H7)
 may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, 
which can lead to death. Other strains of Ecoli can cause
urinary tract infections or other infections.

Ironically, you'd probably never want to give a hot pad 
with an E. coli on it as a house warming gift, 
on second hand, maybe you would. 

The backside of the hot pad is actually a kitchen towel with utensils on it.


  1. I'm always so excited to see what you'll come up with and you came through again! This is great and unfortunately I've had some experience with E. coli and appreciate this all the more. My mom, who had a heart transplant in 1991, almost died from a bout with this thing (E.coli) 18 months after her transplant. That aside, I love what you did with this hot pad/mini art quilt - great construction (inserting the body as you did) and explanation! Excellent!!!

  2. Very interesting information. I like the two types of fabric used for the E coli and the inset technique to stitch it in. The quilting stitches are nicely done. The potholder would create an interesting dinner topic.

  3. Who'd have thought something so ghastly could be so beautiful. I love your representation! You and your husband must have some interesting over-the-dinner table conversations when art meets environmental engineering!

  4. Way to go--I think that Scott should take this to his next scientific poster session and post it next to his poster of his paper. It will be memorable!

  5. A delightful irony to put a food contaminant on a hot pad--or is it a caution to handle carefully?

  6. I chuckled through this whole post. The quilt is great, and like someone else said, really quite beautiful for such a nasty critter. Your sources of inspiration are great.

  7. I love that you took a scientific paper as your 'literature'. Brilliant. Utterly brilliant.
    Did it meet the husband's approval for realism? If he is an engineer, I doubt he wanted an abstract interpretation. :)

  8. Oh my, what a sense of humor you have, but I like it. E-coli all over eating utensils. Let's hope not!