The holy grail of quilting design


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.



Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “The holy grail of quilting design”

  1. This is _so_ cool! And WAY above my head. I’ve clicked on all your links and read about the brilliance of your SO and all I understand is it’s about math and computers, but you are right – why doesn’t $2000 embroidery software actually do this job? I have a quilt I on which I want to use a line drawing as quilting. I was going the low-tech hire-an-artist route, but that kinda fell through. It’s a double-sided quilt and I want the picture quilting to be visible from both sides. I really hope you figure this all out. And then let me know. So many possibilities!

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