Diane Herrmann

Senior Lecturer in Mathematics
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

I have been doing needlework since I was in grade school, and have now been teaching mathematics for more than 30 years. I hold Level I certification in Canvaswork from the National Academy of Needlearts (NAN) and have taught locally for my chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America. I enjoy including multicultural ideas in my designs and finding ways to combine mathematics and the needlearts.

Walking the Water's Edge
14" x 14"
Needlepoint on canvas

In this piece, the line imitates the edge of a wave on the shore. To make this wave look realistic, we used a mathematical curve that models the way a wave breaks on the beach. To be mathematically precise, we work with the sum of two trigonometric curves to show the action of water as it sloshes over itself in the push to get on the shore. The graph that defines the line of the Florentine Stitches is a close approximation to the curve:

f (x) = 5 sin x + 4 cos (2x + π/3).

The technique of thread blending creates the shading of the wave. Freeform eyelet stitches mimic the foamy edge of the wave and beads add sparkle. A single starfish is added in Bullion Knots.