The holy grail of quilting design


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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.

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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “The holy grail of quilting design”

  1. Clever socks! The design itself is lovely, and the flash demo is very cool too. Hope you will eventually come across the answer to the conundrum. 🙂

  2. 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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