Archive for October, 2007


October 9, 2007

Researchers at Virginia Tech are weaving textiles with inbuilt electronic components that they are calling e-textiles.

Some of the applications they are working on include integrating bluetooth technology into textiles (which will add an extra dimension to that popular early millenium parlor game “Cell phone or crazy person?”) and what they call a “glove keyboard”. The glove keyboard lets you use to type on a tabletop and associates your finger movements with the keys on a keypad.

They are also working on textiles which can be made into garments to analyze the way that people move through space.

I think this stuff is a ways away from any kind of market release applications for ordinary consumers — and frankly, I’m not sure what the applications of the gait analysis garment would be, anyhow. The only think I can think of is computing applications to make fancier games or animation.

The coolest mass market application of electronics in textiles that I have seen is the solar powered backpack, which allows you to do things like charge up your cell phone. I’m trying to think of cool electronic clothing options I would like if I lived In The Future. Maybe a fabric where the weave loosens as it gets hot and then tightens up again as it cools down?

I can’t even think of any sci-fi concepts of this nature excepting the Ford Prefect’s danger-detecting sunglasses.


In Progress

October 8, 2007

I’ve got a couple projects on the go at the moment, and I haven’t blogged any of them as yet. Partly because the batteries in my camera have expired, and partly because I’ve been too busy to sew and document the process.

The silk brocade from the NYC fabric run is half-way through being made up into a skirt. It’s my standard 8-gore knee length tried and true pattern, but this time with a Hong Kong underlining. I’m very happy with the way that it’s turning out, but it’s going on hiatus for a few days until I make something with the silk dupioni which I geeked out about back in September, but have as yet neither sewn up nor photographed.

I’m planning a faux-wrap skirt — a simple floor length a-line style but with a flap across the front to showcase the beautiful selvage on this piece of fabric. I’ve currently cut paper and a muslin. The pattern is self-drafted from a skirt that I made about a hundred years ago with a lot of help from a sewing friend, waaaaay before I had any clue. I’m also planning to use the Hong Kong underlining technique on this skirt (which is why I practiced first on the brocade).

I was going to take advantage of the public holiday today to start cutting this skirt, but I had a very restless night. ‘Bout 1.30, I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, when I heard a rustling noise in the apartment. I’m fairly sure that the upstairs neighbors have a dog or cat, so I figured it was just scritchy paws on floorboards upstairs, but five minutes later Spouse Phor jolted awake and yelled “what’s that noise!?!”.

Now, we have rats living in the alley next to our apartment, and in my sleep-addled state, I was imagining their little ratty paws managing to get them into the building and operate the elevator and I dunno, pick locks or some such, so I scooted out of bed and turned on the hallway light.

There, momentarily stunned by the brightness, was a largish cockroach. Who must have been wearing the cockroach equivalent of wooden clogs, because I have never heard of cockroach scuttling waking anyone up before.