Making Patterns: Pushing the Envelope

The AMS hosts hands-on activities at the biennial USA Science & Engineering Festival. In 2018 Susan Wildstrom and some of her students from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD, led the line-drawing activity and in 2016 she and her team, with help from AMS staff, led the curve-stitching activity. Whether or not you attended the festival, here you can learn more about how to make line drawings and stitch curve patterns, and see the math behind the patterns.

Pushing the Envelope

Patterns: Parabolas & Polygons — Line Drawing

Pushing the Envelope Pushing the Envelope Pushing the Envelope Pushing the Envelope

Make beautiful geometric patterns from simple lines. The designs can be basic or complex, depending on the template you choose.

Download and print the pattern sheets parabola1, parabola2, circle, square, and hexagon with instructions. All you need are color pens or pencils and a ruler to make your own designs!

The designs can be basic or complex, depending on the template you choose. See the mathematics behind line drawing, including animations, in "Hearts and Roses," by David A. Meyer.

Pushing the Envelope - Curve Stitching

Curve stitching is similar to string art in that the way yarn or thread is pulled through hole patterns forms wonderful geometric patterns. The designs can be simple or complex, depending on the placement of the holes and the sequence of where the yarn is pulled.

Curve stitching was invented by Mary Everest Boole in the mid 1800s.

Curve stitch pattern Curve stitch pattern Curve stitch pattern Curve stitch pattern

Download and print pattern sheets (1, 2, 3, 4) with instructions. All you need is some yarn and a safe plastic needle.

Read more about the math behind the curve, by Susan Wildstrom.

More Curve Stitching How-to resources and patterns

More on the mathematics behind curve stitch patterns

(There are articles in academic journals that require subscription to access.]

Math on the street

A few weeks after the 2014 festival, AMS staffer Samantha Faria noticed this on her way to work.

Providence cables


American Mathematical Society