Recreating sound waves in stitches

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!Hello! Kreinik Calling here, with your monthly thread inspiration. Actually, it’s more than an inspiration, it’s a “How-To,” as in, how to make threads visualize your thoughts. Take a look at this gorgeous new design by Ellen Brown of Waterweave, a needlepoint canvas company. She has recreated in thread a vibrational phenomena known as Cymatics; the design shows sound waves in stitches.

Ellen Brown's beautiful Cymatics Sampler needlepoint canvas design is a study of color, texture, and soundwaves.
Ellen Brown’s Cymatics Sampler needlepoint design is a study of color, texture, and sound waves. It uses a variety of threads, including cotton, bamboo, metallic, variegated, solid, fuzzy and flat.

I had to Google it. Cymatics means wave in Greek.  Nigel Standford wrote on his website, “Cymatics is the science of visualizing audio frequencies.” Let’s go to Wikipedia for history: in the 18th century a German musician and physicist Ernst Chladni sprinkled dust on a vibrating plane. He noticed that the powder moved with the pulsations, accumulating progressively into unique lines and patterns. His experiments built on work by Galileo and others, and contributed to the understanding of acoustic phenomena and the functioning of musical instruments. Studying vibration and sound waves seems pretty cool, doesn’t it? Stitching sound waves seems even better.

Designer Ellen Brown of Waterweave has created a line of colorful, painted needlepoint canvases to stitch. A painted canvas means that the pattern comes on the base fabric, and you fill in with stitches and threads.
Ellen Brown of Waterweave sells painted canvas needlepoint designs. A painted canvas means that the pattern comes on the base fabric, and you fill in with stitches and threads.

Fast forward to the new millennium, where needlepoint designer Ellen Brown’s husband was interested in Cymatics and mentioned it to her. “I am not a scientist,” Ellen says, “but just interested in patterns.” The idea was visualized in threads and stitches: her stitched Cymatics Sampler #CO1616 features 64 different patterns inspired by sound waves.

When you purchase the Cymatics Sampler needlepoint canvas by Waterweave, you get the design painted on the canvas. Designer Ellen Brown created a written stitch guide that tells you how to turn it into a stitched masterpiece. It is a symphony of stitches, to be sure.
When you purchase the Cymatics Sampler needlepoint canvas by Waterweave, you get the design painted on the canvas (shown on the left). Ellen Brown created a written stitch guide that tells you how to turn it into a stitched masterpiece (shown on the right).

Now that we understand what it is, let’s take a look at HOW it is created. As with all stitching, you start with a good base fabric. Here, the color scheme comes painted on 18-mesh needlepoint canvas. Ellen created a stitch guide for filling in the squares, featuring a variety of stitches in a mix of threads (cotton, bamboo, Kreinik metallic) and colors (variegated, solid). The combination of colors, stitches and threads works like a recipe to make the project lively, visually interesting, and good. You will not get bored while stitching this design.

Can you spot the different types of fibers in this design? In any kind of fiber art and needlework, they are chosen to create texture and dimension. A metallic contrasting with cotton, for instance, adds variety and visual interest.
Can you spot the different fiber types? In any embroidery, threads are chosen to create texture and dimension. A metallic contrasting with cotton, for instance, adds variety, light play, and visual interest.

Just think about how vibrations and pulses are created from sounds, and how those vibrations create unique patterns. Inspiring, isn’t it, for the creative possibilities? But let’s go deeper (per www.cymaticssource.com): Once you’ve “observed how a stable structure (say, a formation in fine powder on a vibrating steel plate), can dissolve into chaos, but then in just a matter of seconds, re-configure itself into a more complex and finely-ordered form, you might just be able to view your own tumultuous circumstances a bit more objectively (and with far less apprehension!) as a purposefully evolving process leading toward greater personal coherency and equanimity.” Hmm, creating something beautiful from the unseen, finding order out of what seems like chaos, discovering the calm within ourselves? Sounds similar to the benefits of stitching.

Needlepoint samplers are a fun, organized way to showcase different stitches and threads—almost like a photo album of fiber. This particular sampler is inspired by Cymatics, the study of sound waves. Design and stitch guide by Ellen Brown of Waterweave.
Needlepoint samplers are a fun, organized way to showcase different stitches and threads—almost like a photo album of fiber. This particular sampler is inspired by Cymatics, the study of sound waves. Design and stitch guide by Ellen Brown of Waterweave.

For more information on the new Cymatics needlepoint design or Waterweave’s other designs, visit www.waterweave.com.  For info on Kreinik threads, visit www.kreinik.com.

These two photos show close-ups of a few squares on the Cymatics Sampler needlepoint by Waterweave Designs. Can you spot the Kreinik #8 Braid color 015 Chartreuse green? And the Kreinik Fine #8 Braid color 003 Red?
These two photos show close-ups of squares on Waterweave’s Cymatics Sampler needlepoint. Can you spot the Kreinik #8 Braid color 015 Chartreuse green on the left? And the Kreinik Fine #8 Braid color 003 Red on the right?

KreinikGirl
Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing Company, a family-owned, USA-based business that manufactures high-quality yarns and threads made of metallics, silks and real metals from their West Virginia factory. Dena’s monthly column, Kreinik Calling, sheds light on the fascinating fibres that we all use and love.
KreinikGirl

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Official thread news, tips, ideas and answers from Dena Lenham, Creative Director at thread company Kreinik Mfg. Co., Inc.
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