Category Archives: textiles

Block Rockin’ Knits

The arts and crafts area has a sewing table with a pinable canvas surface for pattern design, and this is also great for blocking hand knitted items. 

Blocking means stretching the knitted item and steaming it to get a better shape. Acrylic, wool, alpaca and pretty much any fiber used to make a knitted item tends to roll at the edges and be floppy until it is blocked. Factory knitwear is blocked as well as hand knits.

I discovered a new tool called blocking wires which I used on this large lace shawl I recently completed. The wires can be run through the edges and pinned. Using the wires allowed for needing less pins and getting tension faster for the rectangular shape. I steamed the whole piece with a sewing iron and could see it adjust, tightening and relaxing, along the pattern.

Many people wash an item and block it into shape to dry, then steam it. A hat can be blocked on a large party balloon or a Styrofoam head form like the kind sold in beauty supply shops. Steam alone does a good job of getting a crisp shape for your knitted item. Just be careful to hover a steam iron a few inches above the item to not scorch or melt the fibers.

 

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Wear a Circuit Workshop

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Participants with their finished circuit patches at Sunday’s Wear-A-Circuit workshop.

I make knitted circuit boards on my knitting machine. Sunday I brought in a stack of 3″ x 5″ knitted proto-boards for us to turn into wearable electronics.

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Doug attaches his to a hat

 

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Colleen used the four rows to make a zig zag pattern.

 

 

 

The event  attracted a number of spectators, curious about my original knitted circuit design.

Their discussion encouraged me to look into doing this again, perhaps using more complex, interactive projects.

So if you’re interested in participating, keep an eye out here for updates. And if you have suggestions/feedback on the future of these workshops, do get in touch!

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Wear-A-Circuit Workshop on Sunday

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Circuit Patches are wearable circuit boards made from knitted yarn and wire. I’m doing a workshop Sunday using these. Check it out!

I use a knitting machine to make the patches. Add snap buttons and  attach the circuits to anything you like.

Rapid prototyping for Wearables!

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I made these patches for my workshop this Sunday, 3-5pm. Participants will receive a 3″ x 5.5″ knitted proto-boards in black, pink, or teal. Solder LEDs and a battery on it, and you can add lights to your clothes, just in time for Halloween.

 

Of course, there’s lots of things beyond LEDs you could add– I’m hoping to do workshops for interactive circuits using the knitted protoboards in the future.

I’ve made a number of circuits with this method so far, often in black. For this workshop, we’re adding  fun colors: circuit-board-teal and… pink! I  couldn’t resist adding 10mm gumdrop LEDs to the pink protoboard pictured above.

We’ll have some of those jumbo LEDs for the workshop, but also smaller ones in blue, yellow, red, white. I’ve even got some color-change and flicker LEDs.

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Power is supplied by a hidden battery pack.

If you’d like to participate, please RSVP. Hope to see you Sunday! (Bring a shirt or a hat or a bag so you can add snaps to mount your circuit on it.)

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My new favorite machine: the snap press applies snap buttons without sewing.

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Passap Knitting Machine Set Up

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The Passap is officially working!
(Huzzah!)

Last night we tested settings that work with the fingering weight Tamm 3ply coned yarn. And we figured out how to knit from cones (no cake winding required)!

Setting up the machine:

Beds needs to be at “full pitch”. This means the combs of the two beds are lined up opposite each other. To do that, turn the crank handle at the lower left of the machine so the handle is “up”, at the top of its rotation.

Park the carriage (“Lock” in Passap lingo) on the right. For both locks: set the tension dial to 3. There’s a large lever marked N-X. Flip it to N (“normal”). Insert the orange strippers.

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Continue reading Passap Knitting Machine Set Up

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Knit a Working Loudspeaker

knitted speaker

I’ve been working on an embedded speaker design off and on for the last few years, and finally got around to posting an Instructable for it.

I created knitted and non-knitted versions, and am quite happy with how it turned out. The secret is using dipolar magnets and hard drive magnets are a cheap way to do this. (Plus, a really big amp.)

Props to Sache for lending her glue and paper expertise!

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Maker Art: (Another) Opening Tonight in Pilsen

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My knitted-circuit artwork, Electronic Damask, was in a gallery show, NoFi, at Chicago Artists Coalition, October 24 – Nov 13. The piece was a collaborative effort, put together through the volunteer efforts of close to two dozen PS:One members. PS:One really represented at the Oct 24 opening, and I managed to drag most of us in front of the camera for a group photo with the artwork. (Thanks to Everett for the photo!)

If you missed the fun that night, you’re in luck. Electronic Damask has already been tapped for another show, and with an opening tonight in Pilsen, from 6 – 10pm.

This show should be of particular interest to PS:One members. It’s called Technologic and it “celebrates making art through technology”. It features some amazing stuff made with 3D printers, LCD screens, CNC watercolor painting, and of course a certain knitted e-textile.

The gallery, Chicago Art Department, is located at 1932 W Halsted in East Pilsen’s Chicago Art District (#8 Halsted bus runs right past it). Tonight’s opening coincides with the district’s 2nd Fridays gallery night, so there will be other openings all over the neighborhood.

You can find preview photos of the show on the facebook page. Full info is below. The show runs until December 6.

TECHNOLOGIC
curated by Chuck Przybyl

Friday, Nov 14, 6-10pm

An exhibition that celebrates making art through technology. Work featured will include robotic drawing, 3D printing, laser cutting, textile circuitry, algorithmic art, image slicing, circuit bending, and prosthetics. Although often unsung – artists having access to new technologies has historically pushed and propelled creative endeavors. The exciting new technologies of today have been pushing the overall culture of DIY and propelling the Maker Movement. This is a participatory culture that embraces tools and empowers masses of people to innovate and create. Technologic explores and showcases not only how art is currently being produced with new tools, but how fringe technologies can be used in progressive and cutting edge ways.
Viewers also have an opportunity to “go deeper” to gain further insight through series of discussions and workshops as well information on the processes at the exhibit.

Technologic is curated by Chuck Przybyl for Chicago Art Department.
Artists: Tom Burtonwood, Christopher Furman, Harvey Moon, Luftwerk, Jesse Seay, Nathan Davis, Christopher Breedlove, Christian Oiticica, Leo Selvaggio, Antoine Kattar, and Russell Prather

Opening Reception Nov. 14 – 6-10 PM
3D Printing Workshop with Tom Burtonwood Saturday Nov – 15 – 2-5 PM
Panel Discussion  Saturday Nov – 22 – 2-5 PM
Chicago Art Department – 1932 S. Halsted St. Suite 100 Chicago IL 60622 USA

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