Teacher weaves seven-year tapestry of periodic table

Chemistry teacher Alice Knox wove her magic with more than 500,000 stitches

Chemistry teacher Alice Knox wove her magic with more than 500,000 stitches - Credit: South Hampstead High School

A teacher has completed a tapestry of the periodic table which has been seven years in the making. 

Alice Knox, from South Hampstead High School, found her element as she wove an estimated 500,000-plus stitches into her artwork-cum-learning tool for students.  

The chemistry teacher used Microsoft Paint and Ariel font to create an alpha-numeric template image, with each pixel corresponding to a stitch.  

Her husband, a software engineer, then wrote a computer program which turned the data into image files of the right size and layout.  

Alice assiduously marked out the design by hand using Sharpie marker pens, cross-checking the artwork with the relevant images on her computer.

All 118 elements are stitched into the multicolour artwork

All 118 elements are stitched into the multicolour artwork - Credit: South Hampstead High School

The sixth-form tutor, who previously worked in neuroendocrinology, joked: “I really hope the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) hold off on declaring the discovery of any new elements.” 

The colour coding of the tapestry is based on the type of each of the 118 elements. The borders indicate their states at room temperature – navy for solid, purple for liquid, very light blue-grey for gas.  

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The red transition metal section features white wool text instead of black to help with legibility for people who are colour blind.

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