Saturday, 25 February 2012

Phreaky Phun with Phabric

This device was made by Tom from Edinburgh Hacklab. I gave him some knitted conductor fabric and he's turned it into the actuator of this funky little noisemaking device. I believe that he's got a 555 square wave generator there, like I was mucking about with last year and having so much fun with.

Apparently the video's a little out of sync, but nevermind.


My first two rugs from the new loom. Actually finished them some time ago and forgot to mention.

One is made of all my scrap jeans I didn't want, the other is wool/nylon (20/80 I think). The wool one is for in front of the hearth at my parents house. The other one is mine and sits at a funny angle between the couch and the telly. Putting the couch at a funny angle is the only way to make the room work with 2 couches, a loom and a dining table in it.

4 ends 2 many

Well, at the end of threading up this 1200 end warp on 24 shafts I have 4 extra ends.

I swear I individually counted off each bunch of 24 ends and yet I have extra ends.

I'm going to assume I put in an extra cross or two somewhere when I was making the warp on the stand, because that wouldn't really be much of a problem. The chance that I have on 4 occassions both missed a shaft in threading and also miscounted the same batch seems far fetched. Also, I didn't take as much care as usual in counting my crosses when I was making my warp, so that's probably where I made my mistake.

Also, this is a Texel loom, from France. I've never used one of these before, I gather the programming box is somewhat arcane. But they really are beautiful machines. Some people moan about them, but I suspect they just haven't given them the time needed.

A little bit awkward to thread through, but I think I've got the hang of it now, you just have to sit side on so as you don't end up having to crouch to get your arm to the back.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Because I've been abnormal

I give you this.

Which I created the other day because I was feeling depressed by making all this ugly fabric which was functional.

I decided to make a little bit of tartan in heavy yarn. So now I have a scarf. And fairly cosy it is too. Impulse decision? Yes it was actually.

A kind-of sequencer made of fabric

Can we bodge it? Yes we can!

Oh yes!

I have just succeeded in interfacing fabric sensors with the sequencer program I posted the other day. Hooray!

What you have here is 4 strips of knitted fabric. These are acting as potentiometers. For a better description of how this is done, speak to an engineer because I don't understand the principles involved.

What they are doing though, is like so:

The bottom three strips each relate to one step in the sequence and are responsible for varying the frequency of a square wave outputted from the microprocessor. The top strip is responsible for governing the speed at which the program cycles through the steps.

Also, this fabric was made from a combination of machine knitting and needlefelting. It's only been run through once, and the top layer is made of silk and steel rather than wool so they could still be pulled apart fairly easily. But the needlefelter is cool as all heck and absolutely terrifying to boot. Though not as frightening as the carder, which is capable of eating a man alive (really). This thing could only destroy, say, your forearm. Good thing there's a cage around the working part.

In other news, I'll be visiting the CALL centre in Edinburgh on Thursday to learn more about the issues associated with IT interfaces for disabled people and see if I can figure out how to send my work in a useful direction and do the people of the world a useful service. Seriously, have you ever considered how much fun the internet is for the blind? Not a lot, right? And if you're not particularly dextrous I bet typing on a regular keyboard (never mind phones!) is a bit of a nightmare.

Anyway, I'd like to do something about this. Textiles are pleasing. A perfect environment to house computer interfaces in. Why not?