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robertogreco : looms   4

Generative Knitting – fathominfo – Medium
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"I personally have long been fascinated by textile arts, and as a studio we are always looking for ways to explore data-driven designs beyond the computer screen. The 1:1 comparison of pixels to stitches has been widely explored, but it wasn’t until recently that our studio had the means to explore it ourselves.

Coding and textile arts share a close bond. Some of the earliest programmable machines were Jacquard looms — weavers used a series of punch cards to make more complex patterns and produce textiles more quickly.

Since a full Jacquard loom was a little out of scope for a side project, we started looking into other machines. An embroidery machine was promising, but was unsuited for a project of a larger scale.

Then I stumbled upon Claire Williams‘s data knits work. I was so intrigued by the complexity of patterns she was able to knit using a hacked 90‘s electronic knitting machine that I started looking into how it was done. Turns out, she has instructions on how to get started with connecting these kinds of machines to a computer. While Anisha looked into the parts we would need for the electronics, I began my search for a knitting machine. I ended up finding a woman in western Massachusetts who works with these machines and had a nicely refurbished one that we were able to purchase. She even came to the studio and gave us a full tutorial on how to the machine works.

While we waited for the electronic interface to get up and running, Martha and I tested different techniques and patterns with the machine.

During that time, we also went to the Bauhaus exhibit at the Harvard Art Museums, and I was completely blown away by Anni Albers’s and Gunta Stölzl’s work. That led me to pick up Albers’s book On Weaving.

In particular, Albers’s piece “Pasture” stuck with me, and I began thinking about using photographs of places and objects to generate palettes for textiles. That led to an exploration using various software sketches to generate palettes and patterns and build assistive knitting tools.

Generating palettes
First, I was interested in seeing what you could pull from just a photo. I began with photos that had a great balance of colors, hoping that reapplying those same ratios in different orientations could create new works with a similar mood.

In making mistakes, I also got some cool results.

Generating patterns

I then started to think more about the limitations of our machine (with an eye towards actually knitting something). In theory, our machine can use as many colors as you want, but only 2 can be loaded in at a time. Some accessories allow four colors at a time, so I set my sights on four-color patterns.

I didn’t have any knitting patterns handy, so I drew a few “pattern pieces” in Photoshop, and used those as the blueprints onto which I could map new colors. I wrote a few sketches in Processing to map the photo colors onto these pieces, and also generate different combinations of the pieces to create different patterns.

The program also worked by passing in a set palette, and having it randomly select four colors to apply to a pattern.

Moving into Knitting
With those patterns in place, it was time to see if I could actually produce them with the machine.

I printed out a small sample of all my generated palettes to bring to the store and see which colors were available.

From far away, this also started to look like its own giant pattern…

It only took five hours…but I did knit one pattern I had generated, and I am really excited by the results. My knitting and finishing techniques need some work, but the colors and texture that resulted are lovely.

I struggle to keep track of where I’m at in a pattern, so I threw together a little Processing sketch to help me. One thing I didn’t realize while making this tool is that the machine knits patterns upside down! Oh well: I’ve been told there are no mistakes in knitting.

With more of the automation in place (and more practice!), we‘ll be able to explore the more irregular, glitchy, and tapestry-like patterns.

There’s also so much more to experiment with on the physical side that moves beyond color and its arrangement — like the different textures and sheen of the yarn (maybe we could use four different black yarns with different textures!), or different types of stitches. I’m also looking forward to exploring more meaningful data relationships between the data generating the colors and the patterns themselves."
oliviaglennon  knitting  generative  textiles  looms  jacquardlooms  codign  programming  processing  art  glvo 
april 2019 by robertogreco
PAMELA LIOU - DOTI THE DESKTOP LOOM
"The Dot-Matrix Fabric Printer is an open source desktop jacquard loom (nicknamed Doti) which leverages digital fabrication to enable expressive textile production at home and encourage broader design literacy. I am currently developing the Doti Project as a Project Resident at Eyebeam

The Doti loom provides an alternative to commercial weaving industry-- a technology-mediated model for the cottage industry of high quality textiles. Users drag and drop an image, which is then parsed into a woven pattern. An array of motors lifts and lowers threads while the weaver passes a shuttle across the shed of the loom, generating complex fabric patterns. Patterns are easily shared over a network of looms.

[video: https://vimeo.com/127880753 ]

The Doti loom allows users to design freely. Each warp, or vertical thread, is attached to an actuator that lowers or lifts. Because each thread has a separate motor, you can individually address each warp. As the weaver shuttles thread, a pattern emerges additively. The weaver is able to change the state of each thread on the fly, and the complexity of the design is limited only by the number of motors a machine is equipped with. The project began at NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program as my thesis.Unlike commercially available looms, the user of a Doti loom can weave any pattern, unencumbered by pre-threaded harnesses or the cognitive load of keeping track of a draft pattern.

By networking multiple machines, Doti will provide the foundation for a robust supply chain of independent small batch textile producers. Because the Doti Project is a holistic survey of this open-source model, my research process involves three concurrent threads: the fabrication of a desktop loom, the cultural context for the open source hardware model, and the development of an expressive web application.

The Jacquard loom has a storied history. Credited as the world's first computer, it is also a timeworn symbol of technology displacing human labor. Adapting the jacquard as an open hardware device for the home (cottage industry) not only requires rigorous technical execution, but exploring new modalities for developing community-driven open-source innovations.

The desktop loom is continuation of a previous project, Weavy the Smart Loom that created with Kristina Budelis, Danqing Wang, and Ma Tan. The original loom involved a single harness moving alternating warp threads up and down with a stepper motor. The user weaves manually by moving a shuttle back and forth. For Weavy, I researched traditional loom designs and the originally jacquard loom mechanism, as well as the history around the mechanization of textile fabrication and the Luddite revolution."
pamrlaliou  looms  weaving  diy  opensource  classideas  digital  kristinabudelis  danqingwang  matan 
october 2017 by robertogreco
How textiles revolutionised technology – Virginia Postrel – Aeon
"Older than bronze and as new as nanowires, textiles are technology — and they have remade our world time and again"

"In February 1939, Vogue ran a major feature on the fashions of the future. Inspired by the soon-to-open New York World’s Fair, the magazine asked nine industrial designers to imagine what the people of ‘a far Tomorrow’ might wear and why. (The editors deemed fashion designers too of-the-moment for such speculations.) A mock‑up of each outfit was manufactured and photographed for a lavish nine-page colour spread.

You might have seen some of the results online: an evening dress with a see-through net top and strategically placed swirls of gold braid, for instance, or a baggy men’s jumpsuit with a utility belt and halo antenna. Bloggers periodically rediscover a British newsreel of models demonstrating the outfits while a campy narrator (‘Oh, swish!’) makes laboured jokes. The silly get‑ups are always good for self-satisfied smirks. What dopes those old-time prognosticators were!

The ridicule is unfair. Anticipating climate-controlled interiors, greater nudity, more athleticism, more travel and simpler wardrobes, the designers actually got a lot of trends right. Besides, the mock‑ups don’t reveal what really made the predicted fashions futuristic. Looking only at the pictures, you can’t detect the most prominent technological theme.

‘The important improvements and innovations in clothes for the World of Tomorrow will be in the fabrics themselves,’ declared Raymond Loewy, one of the Vogue contributors. His fellow visionaries agreed. Every single one talked about textile advances. Many of their designs specified yet-to-be-invented materials that could adjust to temperature, change colour or be crushed into suitcases without wrinkling. Without exception, everyone foretelling the ‘World of Tomorrow’ believed that an exciting future meant innovative new fabrics.

They all understood something we’ve largely forgotten: that textiles are technology, more ancient than bronze and as contemporary as nanowires. We hairless apes co-evolved with our apparel. But, to reverse Arthur C Clarke’s adage, any sufficiently familiar technology is indistinguishable from nature. It seems intuitive, obvious – so woven into the fabric of our lives that we take it for granted.

We drag out heirloom metaphors – ‘on tenterhooks’, ‘tow-headed’, ‘frazzled’ – with no idea that we’re talking about fabric and fibres. We repeat threadbare clichés: ‘whole cloth’, ‘hanging by a thread’, ‘dyed in the wool’. We catch airline shuttles, weave through traffic, follow comment threads. We talk of lifespans and spin‑offs and never wonder why drawing out fibres and twirling them into thread looms so large in our language."



"As late as the 1970s, textiles still enjoyed the aura of science. Since then, however, we’ve stopped thinking of them as a technical achievement. In today’s popular imagination, fabric entirely belongs to the frivolous world of fashion. Even in the pages of Vogue, ‘wearable technology’ means electronic gadgets awkwardly tricked out as accessories, not the soft stuff you wear against your skin – no matter how much brainpower went into producing it. When we imagine economic progress, we no longer think about cloth, or even the machines that make it.

This cultural amnesia has multiple causes. The rise of computers and software as the very definition of ‘high technology’ eclipsed other industries. Intense global competition drove down prices of fibres and fabric, making textiles and apparel a less noticeable part of household budgets, and turning textile makers into unglamorous, commodity businesses. Environmental campaigns made synthetic a synonym for toxic. And for the first time in human history, generations of women across the developed world grew up without learning the needle arts."



"Textiles illustrate a more general point about technology. The more advanced a field is, the more blasé we are about its latest upgrades. Success breeds indifference. We still expect Moore’s Law to hold, but we no longer get excited about the latest microprocessor. The public has largely forgotten the silicon in Silicon Valley.

New and improved fabric technologies haven’t attracted public enthusiasm since the backlash against leisure suits and disco shirts made synthetics declassé in the early 1980s. ‘Pity poor polyester. People pick on it,’ wrote The Wall Street Journal’s Ronald Alsop in 1982, describing DuPont’s efforts to rehabilitate the fibre’s image.

What ended the consumer hatred of polyester wasn’t a marketing campaign. It was a quiet series of technical innovations: the development of microfibres. These are synthetics, most often polyester or nylon, that are thinner than silk and incredibly soft, as well as lightweight, strong, washable and quick-drying. Their shapes can be engineered to control how water vapour and heat pass through the fabric or to create microcapsules to add sunscreen, antimicrobial agents or insect repellent. Over the past decade, microfibres have become ubiquitous; they’re found in everything from wickable workout wear to supersoft plush toys.

Microfibres are one reason the ‘air-conditioned’ fabrics Loewy and his fellow designers foresaw in 1939 have finally come to pass. These fabrics just aren’t promoted in the pages of Vogue or highlighted on the racks at Banana Republic. They don’t attract attention during New York Fashion Week. Their tribe gathers instead at the big Outdoor Retailer trade shows held twice a year in Salt Lake City. There, outdoor-apparel makers and their suppliers tout textiles that keep wearers warm in the cold and cool in the heat; that block raindrops but allow sweat to escape; that repel insects, screen out UV rays and control odour. By establishing that truly weather-resistant fabrics were possible, Gore-Tex (first sold in 1976) and Polartec synthetic fleece (1979) created an industry where engineers now vie to find ever-better ways to conquer the elements. For instance, ‘smart textiles’ originally developed for spacesuits use microencapsulated materials that melt when they get hot, keeping wearers comfortable by absorbing body heat; when temperatures fall, the materials solidify and warm the body."



"Reducing textiles to their functional properties misses much of their appeal, however. They’ve always been decorative as well, a source of sensory pleasure going all the way back to the sexy string skirts worn by Stone Age women. That’s why dyes have been so important in the history of chemistry and trade.

In our computer-centric era, the pursuit of beautiful textiles has naturally turned to information technology. Over the past decade, inkjet printing on fabric has taken off. Instead of requiring a separate plate for each colour, digital printing registers the entire design at once. So for the first time, designers can use as many colours, and as varied patterns, as they choose. Although it currently accounts for less than 5 per cent of printed fabrics, digital printing has already changed the way clothes look. It’s the technology driving the colourful prints so prominent in recent women’s fashion, as well as the crowdsourced design sites Threadless and Spoonflower.

The customers who’ve embraced those designs don’t think much about what makes them possible. But the very invisibility of textiles testifies to their power. We think of them as natural. The instinct behind ‘wearable technology’ is sound, even if the products so far are awkward. ‘Imagine a textile structured from a blend of different fibres which each function as component within a circuit, for example, battery fibres, solar fibres and antenna fibres,’ writes the US fashion technologist Amanda Parkes in an op-ed for the website Business of Fashion. ‘The material itself becomes a self-sustaining “textile circuit” that has its own power and interactive capabilities, but the embedded technology is essentially invisible.’

If the goal is to shrink the distance between nature and artifice, us and it, no technology is as powerful as fabric. Intimate and essential, it touches every moment of our lives. It is among the greatest products of human artifice. Yet it is also an extension of our skin."
textiles  glvo  virginiapostrel  history  clothing  crafts  culture  technology  2015  wearables  materials  industrialrevolution  fashion  craft  dyes  machines  printing  science  adamsmith  raymondloewy  arthurcclarke  dupont  synthetics  fabrics  fabric  elizabethbarber  williampetty  davidorban  josephmariejacquard  weaving  looms  knitting  spinning  craigmuldrew  jameshargreaves  richardarkwright  beverlylemire  samuelcrompton  1939  vogue  microfibres  gore-tex  polartec  ministryofsupply  mizzenandmain  yicui  materialsscience  threadless  spoonflower  amandaparkes  future  making  cv 
june 2015 by robertogreco
OpenKnit | open source knitting
"OpenKnit is an open-source, low cost (under 550€), digital fabrication tool that affords the user the opportunity to create his own bespoke clothing from digital files. Starting from the raw material, the yarn, and straight to its end use, a sweater for example, in about an hour. Designing and producing clothes digitally and wearing them can now happen in the very same place, rewarding the user with the ability to make decisions regarding creativity and responsibility."

[Video: https://vimeo.com/86987828 ]
openknit  knitten  looms  glvo  opensource  wearable  wearables  textiles  clothing 
february 2014 by robertogreco

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