Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Computers in Weaving

Most weavers these days use computers in one way or another. Almost all of us use them to do our designs. While there are project-related articles in weaving magazines, the weavers in our gallery all use original designs for the pieces they put in the gallery. Before computers, these used to be done using pencils and graph paper, usually accompanied by lots of language not found in a standard weaving glossary. It was a very tedious and error-prone process.

The designs we use for weaving are called drafts. This is what a typical weaving draft looks like:


Even though this pattern looks complicated, the draft is actually a fairly simple one. Without going into a lot of detail, three of the parts look like graph paper with some squares filled in. These are at the top, at the right, and in the upper right corner. Using weaving software, the weaver fills in these three parts and chooses the colors of the threads and the software fills in the large design in the center, showing what the woven fabric will look like.

Before computers, the designer would also have to fill in the large central part of the draft by hand. This was a complicated process involving figuring out the connections among the other three parts of the draft to determine what color to put in each of the squares in the central area.

Today, there are a variety of weaving software packages available, all of which do pretty much the same thing and allow us great flexibility to produce designs and to fairly quickly change them to see what effect the changes have on the fabric. That means we can spend less time fussing with pencils and graph paper and more time at the loom producing our work.

Five of us from the gallery share blogging responsibilities, each taking a month. Today is the last day for me until, I guess, August. Maybe then, I’ll talk more about some other uses of computers in weaving.

Bye for now. – Larry

1 comment:

Bettlehouse said...

This is very nice explanation on using computer in weaving! Thanks Larry.