More Single Line Art

I am a better line processor than any algorithm we currently have access to. Behold what I turned into a SINGLE LINE by hand:

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Many people think we’re using Mathematica to do the drawings of our Quilt Money. We’re not! I am drawing all this stuff by hand. Theo uses Mathematica to route my drawings that contain T-intersections, but I’m learning to make my drawings single lines without T-intersections by hand, because they route much better that way. Everything below was drawn by me, by hand:

$100_new_19_all

Only a few bits (the seals and part of the border) need to be routed in Mathematica. Everything else I drew as single paths. Which is quite a brain-hurter, lemme tell ya. Here’s a screen capture of me working on this same project last week:

I could do this much more efficiently now, using what I’ve learned since then. Which is good, because the better I get at this, the more I can help someone else create algorithms to automate this kind of work.

And yes, at some point we hope to offer an affordable $100 Quilt. But first I have to get the design right, and then our potential partner has to be able actually produce it without losing money. We’re working on it.

Our quilted money is one of the few things I don’t share source (in this case, vector) files for, because currency isn’t exactly like other culture, as I explain here.

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The holy grail of quilting design


grail1

Single-line art is the holy grail of quilting design: the sewing machine head can stitch the entire design without starting, stopping, or breaking thread. To illustrate this for an upcoming talk I drew a holy grail as a single-line drawing. I did this by hand in Flash, and made this simulation of a simulator by deleting line segments one at a time.

I would love a program that intelligently automatically converts my line art into single-line art. Theo made something like that already, which preserves all the line segments and relies on back-tracking. But I’d also like something that replicates what I did here by hand: removing and adding small line segments so no back-tracking is needed. It would need to analyze which smaller line segments could be sacrificed, and which segments could be doubled (parallel lines can be easily added to a design like this).

You need single line art for automated quilting, and that’s what we do. But getting from regular line art to single-line art is currently no small task, for humans or computers.

grail1

Chad Gadya embroidermation progress

embroidermation

A wee taste of the progress Theo and I are making on our “Chad Gadya” embroidermation project.

goat

Frames of the animation are stitched in groups of 6, arranged in a circle on matzo covers. We currently have 516 frames on 86 matzo covers, which I painstakingly finished by hand with multiple fabric layers and labels and everything.

Matzo covers

We hired Theo’s daughter, Emma, to help. Here she is ironing away while I adjust a lining.

NinaEmmaMatzoCovers

Here I am topstitching one of the 86 covers on a treadle sewing machine.

NinaHemsCover

We have a lot of additional photography, stitchcoding and stitching to do, but we are making progress. When the film is done the matzo covers will be for sale.

QuiltBank

Our Thousand Dollar Quilts now have a web site of their own. Offered at face value.

QuiltBank.com

Interestingly, money is not culture; currency is. More on that in my essay Culture is Anti-Rivalrous (scroll down to part IV). And here I am, a Free Culture advocate minting money on my quilt plotter. My impulse to share source files is mitigated by this. Free Culture readers of this blog: how can I best share the culture of this project without compromising the identity of the bills themselves? I like to share the “source code” of my projects once they’re out there, but I don’t see how I can do that with this one.

resampling DST files

sampling_demo3

Our Quilt Plotter’s rather frustrating software automatically resamples DST files, for no explicable reason. While we struggle to communicate with its manufacturers to overcome this “feature,” I attempted to explain the problem in pictures.

1. A line, or vector file, is not a DST file yet. A DST file is comprised of many points, like so:

1. A line, or vector file, is not a DST file yet. A DST file is comprised of many points, like so:

2. This has a high sample rate, because there are many points spaced close together.

2. This has a high sample rate, because there are many points spaced close together.

3. Above is a lower sample rate, with "stitches" in black. There are fewer points and they are spaced further apart.  The machine always, always, automatically RESAMPLES DST files, which inevitably degrades line quality. Here's a resample at the same sample rate (frequency/spacing of points):

3. Above is a lower sample rate, with “stitches” in black. There are fewer points and they are spaced further apart. Here’s a resample at the same sample rate (frequency/spacing of points):

4. Every time the path is resampled, it moves further from the original line. This happens even if it's resampled at the same sample rate, as shown here.

4. Every time the path is resampled, it moves further from the original line. This happens even if it’s resampled at the same sample rate, as shown here.

5. Same sample rate, worse fidelity because of resampling.

5. Same sample rate, worse fidelity because of resampling.

6.  If we resample enough times eventually our path won't resemble the original line.

6. If we resample enough times, eventually our path won’t resemble the original line.

7. Not what we want.

7. Not what we want.

 

 

 

sampling_demo30008

THIS is what we want the machine to read. We can control all the points in the DST file in Mathematica. We just want the machine to not resample them, to keep the points in the original file we give it. Here the points are evenly spaced except at corners and curves to preserve fidelity.

Tree Applique Quilt

TreeAppliqueDone2

More raw-edge applique on the quilt plotter! About 94″ square. Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester batting, polyester thread. The process:

photo 4

Stitch all-over background design, including shapes where leaves, fruits and branches go.

TreeAppliqueStitching1

Cut out pieces of leaf- and fruit-colored fabric. Lay them on the quilt (still in the frame) over where they’ll be stitched down. Return frame to quilt plotter and stitch.

TreeAppliqueStitching2

When the leaves and fruits are stitched, lay a big piece of brown, tree-colored fabric over them where the branches go, and another piece where the trunk goes. Stitch.

greenlaidTrim the base of the tree and lay a piece of green fabric over it as above.

greenstitched

Stitch that sucker down per the digital design you’ve carefully prepared. Then fold the fabric over and quilt on the top.

TreeAppliqueSnip1

When done stitching, remove quilt from frame and trim. Begin snipping.

NinSnipsTreeSnip snip snip.

TreeAppliqueDone3Snip until done, then  bind.

TreeAppliqueBack

Here’s the back.

TreeAppliqueDone1

TreeAppliqueQuilt

Et voila.

 

Water Wheel

water wheel5

click for animated gif

Back on the Quiltimation front, I was wondering if I could arrange animated frames on a quilt in a mandala/medallion pattern, rather than left-to-right cells. This would essentially be a quilted phenakistoscope, with the animation emerging as the whole thing is rotated (we’d keep the camera and lights stable, and rotate the quilt).

water wheel6

click for animated gif

 

The saturated colors here would be lost, although I could use a few colors of thread. The elements are early Leviathan designs, and Water from Chad Gadya which is still in (very slow) progress.

 

Pink Arabesque

PA_finished93.5″ x 95″. Cotton fabric, soy/cotton blend batting, polyester thread. Designed by me, stitchcoded by Theo, stitched on Behemoth the Quilt Plotter, reverse appliqued and bound by me. The process:

1. Draw vector design in Macromedia Flash 8.

1. Draw vector design in Macromedia Flash 8.

2. Load onto Quilt Plotter and set appropriately.

2. Load onto Quilt Plotter and set appropriately.

3. Stitch.

3. Stitch.

4. Begin snipping away top layer of fabric (because you loaded two top layers before stitching, color on the bottom and white on top)

4. Begin snipping away top layer of fabric (because you loaded two top layers before stitching, color on the bottom and white on top)

5. Keep snipping.

5. Keep snipping.

6. Snip until done.

6. Snip until done.

7. Bind on Davis Vertical Feed treadle (best binding machine evah).

7. Bind on Davis Vertical Feed treadle (best binding machine ever).

8. Include tag.

8. Include tag.

9. Place on Momz's bed.

9. Place on Momz’s bed.

10. Get approval from cat.

10. Get approval from cat.

This is an experiment/prototype. Someday we may sell these, but for now PaleGray Labs is just research & development, consulting, and commissions.

Anyone want to buy my almost-new 16″ quilting machine?

 UPDATE: SOLD!

sweet16_1

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen (I didn’t name it! I’d paint over the name but it would reduce resale value) sit-down long arm quilting machine. Less than one year old, only 134,228 stitches total.

handi quilter sweet sixteen quilting machine

Includes table, two table extensions, smooth table overlay, open-toe hopping foot (in addition to closed-toe foot it came with), extra needles, bobbins, tools, supplies, manual, documentation, etc.
Purchased May 8 2013 via Lori’s Pins ‘n’ Needles, Paris IL

Selling because I bought a full-frame computer-guided system, and now do any hand-guided work on treadles. It’s a great machine, practically brand new, and just gathering dust in my studio.

Pickup only in downtown Urbana IL. I’m happy to give instruction and let you “test drive” it before buying.

What I paid:
Machine package: $4965.94
2 18″ x 30″ table extensions: $478 ($239.00 each)
Table overlay: $89.95
Open toe hopping foot: $39.90
= $5,573 total

Selling for $4,500 without the separate bobbin winder, or $4,800 with.

 

As seen on Craigslist!

EmbroiderModder 2 kickstarter launch

The world needs open source embroidery software.

Direct Kickstarter link here.

Some of EmbroiderModder 2’s kickstarter rewards include designs and stitched pieces by me.

One Fish, Two Fish…

A friend recently refinished my Singer parlor cabinet (pix later) and asked to be paid in quilt. He’s a fish scientist, so naturally he wanted a fish quilt.

Niels fish 2It’s a little over 6′ by 3′ – I haven’t measured it actually. Also the photos are all a bit distorted because I couldn’t shoot it straight on. Instead these are all taken of it lying on my cutting table.

Niels fish 1The technique is Trapplique. The parts were stitched on the quilt plotter. I cut them out, then basted and satin stitched them down with my sailmaking machine.

fish stitchingIt has a sequined and beaded eye.

Niels fish eye

 

The quilt above belongs to Niels the fish scientist, but the most efficient use of materials with this design was to make 2 fish’s worth of trapplique parts in one stitching. So I assembled a mirror image fish for myself:

Fish2_03

Fish2_02

Fish2 tag

I stitched the binding on my Davis Vertical Feed, best binding machine ever.

Money Laundering

Money LaunderingTheo machine-washed and dried our Thousand Dollar Quilt.

As is always the way with money, there was a little less of it than before.

Laundered and unlaundered money

Laundered and unlaundered

The 98-inch-long quilt shrank about 5 inches (approximately 5%). Shown above against our other $1,000 quilt test, pre-laundered, for comparison. Theo prefers the soft crinkly-ness the laundering imparts. I like them either way.

$1Kat

$1Kat2Gray the cat approves of the $1,000 quilt.

$1Kat3 $1Kat4

 

 

Work in Progress: the $1K Quilt

$1Ktest2_01

This is a TEST of the One Thousand Dollar Quilt, conceived as a more affordable version of my handmade Ten Thousand Dollar Quilt.

$1K_laureldetail

This is a test, it is only a test. We stitched out two versions to see how the quilt plotter would handle it, how the thread density would look, etc. There’s well over half a million stitches here, and it took the plotter about a day to stitch. Then I spent half a day cutting, sewing, and ironing binding, and binding it.

$1KRae

Rae Spooner of Bent Bean Chocolates (Urbana, IL) enjoys the cozy warmth of One Thousand Dollars.

It’s about 8 feet long. The front is high thread count unbleached cotton muslin, the back is regular thread count same. The batting is a mystery – either polyester or poly-cotton, not sure because it’s left over from another project Theo bought it for, and he doesn’t remember. The quilt is remarkably soft and flexible given all the dense stitching

$1K_rtcloseup

Unlike the Ten Thousand Dollar Quilt, which uses reverse applique, this gets its color solely from the thread. The result is lower contrast, but I like all the stitch lines. Also there’s no way I could do a reverse applique version for under a thousand dollars.

$1K_SFseal

The bright green thread is 30-weight, thicker than the 40-weight dark green and white. What a nice solid effect it gives.

The thread is polyester: the dark green and white are 40 weight, and the lighter green is 30 weight, which is significantly thicker. We may do another test using 30 weight dark green. Heavy thread works beautifully, but it’s very expensive. Then again for a Thousand Dollars we can use expensive thread.

$1K_1000closeup

Registration is off as expected, but could be worse. He have a strategy for improving registration in the next test.

$1K_center

Medallion background fill will be crosshatched in the next iteration.

The portrait medallion fill will be crosshatched in the next version. I didn’t like these curved shading lines at all, because the machine double-stitched some of them which ruined the gradient effect. The next version will also have fill lines on Cleveland’s face, along with a larger border with more of the swirly fill.

$1K_back

The back. We had a few thread nests but overall it’s pretty clean.

$1K_NinaRae_sm

Rae helps me hold up the 8-foot comfy currency. Photo by anonymous friendly woman who was trying to buy chocolate at Rae’s shop.

Quilt Plotter action shot

A great “machine’s-eye-view” of our quilt plotter is at the one-minute mark of this Apple promo video. In addition to creating the Mathematica user interface and co-founding Touch Press, Theo is Science Officer of our own PaleGray Labs.