Saturday, January 20, 2007

Computer Design Workshop

My local guild has very few weekend workshops. I've signed up for several only to have them cancelled for lack of participants. They have had several week night programs that sounded interesting but due to school responsibilities I couldn't go. So when Leigh and Karen started talking about this Online Guild I was psyched. There's a different workshop each month - I'm pumped and ready to sign up for them all!

If you've read other members' blogs you probably already know that Leigh is running this month's Computer Design Workshop. She provided us with three sample pictures which we were to modify using the capabilities of photo editors. She provided several online editors and freeware links, but since I have Photoshop I wanted to explore its abilities. You can get really caught up in this. My hand, wrist, and elbow haven't hurt this bad since I finished my thesis! But once I started I couldn't stop. I added, subtracted, and modified each filter so many times my head was spinning. I tried to keep track of what I was doing but many times I forgot to note what was done. There are so many tricks in Photoshop that I wouldn't be surprised that there is some way you can see what was done - like the way you can tell what camera and settings were used to take a photo. So here's what I did, with as many notes I can can dig out of this muddled brain.

Sample 1

I rotated the image, then used a series of filters under the Blur (motion and radial) and Distort (glass, spherize, twirl) menus.

This was after only a few filters were applied and I wasn't very impressed.

This reminded me of some of the low water immersion dyeing I did a few years ago. I liked the results and it inspired me to think about dyeing more fabric, but I was looking for something more.

Sample 2

I thought this image was very uninspiring - that is until I started playing with the filters.


I left the orientation the same and started applying blurs, swirls, etc. Finally I focused on an area in which the colors spoke to me. I selected a spot that was probably about 1/6 of the original image. I then used the patchwork filter. I could have played with the filter exclusively and not run out of new ideas. In Photoshop it is under the Filters/Texture menu. You can choose the size of the square (1-10) and the relief (1-20). While the literal inspiration would naturally be for patchwork I wasn't thinking so much as using these exact patches but more for layout purposes. I also could use it as a jumping off point for warp painting.

Sample 3


There were some amazing things done with this sample by some of the other members using the Brush Strokes filters.

I rotated it 90° clockwise and used more of the Texture filters, Craquelure and Grain - maybe others. Anyone thinking Shibori?


I cut vertical and horizontal pieces and pasted into a new image. I was trying to make it look woven by moving sections forward and back, but I think that would have necessitated too many layers and too many brain cells!

My Design

Maybe it was because several weaving lists were discussing crackle or maybe it was because I couldn't get the name of one of the texture filters - CRAQUELURE - out of my mind but I decided to that sample 2 would be a good inspiration for my first attempt at crackle.

I pulled out A Handweaver's Pattern Book, A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, and Mastering Weave Structures. I settled on a draft from Mastering Weave Structures.

Then I went into Photoshop and picked up colors using the eyedropper tool and found the RGB settings. I then went into Fiberworks and used those colors for the light and dark pattern weft, which remains constant, and the light and dark warp, which changes.

This isn't predictive of the outcome because I couldn't figure out how to make the tabby a thinner thread. Fiberworks lets you choose thickness for weft but as far as I could tell only for two pattern wefts. My plan is to use 10/2 for the warp and pattern weft and black 20/2 for the tabby weft. I have some silk but I don't think I want to use this as it's still pretty much a learning experience. I'm also thinking that rather than use solid colors for the warp I might paint two or three combinations of light and dark using these colors for inspiration.


  1. Wow! A lot of fun there, it looks like. I like your idea of painting some of the colors. That will be interesting to see woven up!

  2. You might want to wait to use a painted warp w/ crackle. You can alternate colors in the warp, then alternate blocks in the treadling to produce blocks of color as well as somewhat plaid effects. I think the painted warp might mask what's going on.
    If you have some old Weaver's magazines take a look at Spring and Fall '98 issues which have several garments in crackle. could look in their "Thick 'n Thin" monograph.
    Looks like the online course is really a great springboard! I'm resisting adding one more computer "thing" to my schedule right now.

  3. Charleen, you've done an amazing job! I am so impressed. You really seem to have a knack for this.

  4. I have been reading with interest about computer design via blogs and love the play of or in color. I don't understand how this is then translated to a draft unless you have many, many shafts and the computer can tell you mathematicaly the length of colors in both warp and weft.

  5. V e r y Impressive Charleen. I think you've found many more filtering ideas than i did. It's a wonderful project to see what could be done and then we can be in a better situation to evaluate what is useful to us as fiber creatives.

  6. Wow Charleen.
    I really like what you did with the clown. Will have to try picking up the colours and moving them into my drawdown program. Nifty. Looks like you are loving this workshop as much as I am.

  7. Very cool! I bought Photoshop Elements with some gift money (haven't even loaded it yet) and your experiments are inspiring me to get going!