Infectious Outbreak Equation Cross Stitch

I grew up more of a lit nerd than a science nerd and definitely more of a science nerd than a math nerd — the highest score I ever achieved in a uni mathematics course was 78 percent. So whenever I meet people who are fascinated by numbers and have favorite equations, I’m very impressed.

I was also very impressed by some of the more creative cross stitch patterns I’d seen online and I wanted to give it a try (and see if I could actually DO a cross stitch pattern without turning it into embroidery).

This Dale Burdett Cross Stitch Kit is more than 20 years old. It was one of many kits donated to the open crafting room at GenCon. Because the size of the hoop was so small (approx. 3″ across), I wanted to find a mathematical equation that was both interesting, kind of nerdy AND small enough to fit the size of the canvas I’d be working with.

The basic reproduction number in epidemiology (R0 or “R-nought”) is the model used to explain the reproductive patterns of an infection and the speed at which it spreads (the most recent pop culture example would be the movie Contagion).

According to Wired‘s “9 Equations True Geeks Should (At Least Pretend) To Know)”:

It refers to the average number of people an individual infected with a pathogen will go on to infect. If it’s less than one, the disease will burn itself out; if greater than one, it will spread.

Cross Stitch Kit (with sewing needle and decorative ribbon)
Graphic pencil
Black cotton embroidery floss
Turquoise Sharpie marker

I used the cardboard backing for the hoop to trace a circle on the canvas with the graphic pencil. I enlarged the graphic of the equation on my laptop and, using the computer as a light board, traced the equation inside the circle.

Once I had the pencil sketch finished, I used the black embroidery floss to stitch the pattern. The “R” and the “1” were both cross stitched, while the “0” and the “>” ended up being embroidered — my attempts at cross stitching seem to follow a similar pattern to my pre-adolescent attempts at needlepoint: they turn into embroidery projects.

The ribbon bow that came with the kit was originally white. I liked it and thought it would be a fun accent to the design but the color wasn’t quite right. I used a turquoise blue sharpie to color it in — the color reminded me of the scrubs medical personnel and forensics employees wear.

Using the scissors, I cut the circle out and used the cardboard to push the pattern through the hoop.

And there we have it! Ready for any crafty math nerd’s wall. Thoughts?


~ by blackmoodcraft on November 16, 2011.

4 Responses to “Infectious Outbreak Equation Cross Stitch”

  1. Love it!

  2. i really like the addition of the bow!

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