Gear Threads

Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Crow and Gate Clothing began as the creative outlet of a self described “out of work insomniac with too much time on her hands and a slight vintage obsession.”

Artist Tassie Vicars is a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate who combines vintage styles with often quirky embroidery. Many of her garments are adorned with freehand machine stitches, which as she clarifies, are “meant to produce a delightfully off-kilter result, not straight perfect lines. This technique ensures that each piece will be unique and gives this garment its quirky charm.” I love how she uses the imperfection of the art to bring more character to each piece.

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Simple, sweet, and slightly irreverent in its vintage styling, I love the subtle (and not so subtle) use of trompe l’oeil on some of the pieces, and the chic but elegant styling of the slightly imperfect stitches. You can see more of her designs (and even grab a few) on her etsy store.

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

Crafty lore is full of tales of cultures around the world where makers intentionally introduce a flaw into otherwise expert work — to avoid competing with the perfection of the divine, or to allow spirits to escape. There seems to be a fair amount of fiction at play, but it’s an idea that resonates — imperfection is its own kind of perfection.

Meanwhile in the machine embroidery world, along with so many other digital arts, we spend lots of time and energy to make designs as smooth and polished as possible. Tokyo fashion designer, musician, and artist Nukeme turns all this on its head — intentionally introducing errors into digital design files for knitting and embroidery machines, then stitching the wonderfully weird results.

Much of Nukeme’s work tweaks familiar corporate logos…

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Here’s a closer look at how Nukeme introduces glitches into the embroidery:

 

And a fascinating look at glitch knitting:

 

See more of Nukeme‘s work at The Creators Project, and read an interview at Irenebrination!

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Etsy creator Brill and Ben is a crafter after our own hearts. As stitcher Brill puts it, “I had a light bulb moment in a little seaside shop. Surrounded by a mass of cute embroidery I thought that if I never saw an embroidered cup cake or puppy on a tea cosy it wouldn’t be a minute too soon.” Oh yes, we’ve felt that agony too…

So with that revelation, a new shop was created juxtaposing vintage inspired and once-loved thrifted linens with one-of-a-kind and darkly humorous machine embroidered works.

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Her designs are both darkly elaborate and deliciously irreverent when combined with the delicate tradition of embroidered linens. Having had just about enough of the cute and whimsical traditions of classic embroidery, she finds inspiration instead in rock carvings, steel engravings, graffiti, tattoos and the works of Poe. “My design process starts with inspiration. Usually an idea strikes at strange times, when my mind is running free. ”

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All the items in the store are machine embroidered, using digitizing techniques to create the designs. The process she works with is remarkably similar to industry digitizing techniques, drawing a design up larger than intended, scanning it, and then using embroidery software to begin creating the final design.

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The designs are created using 6D embroidery software, and she ensures all her designs are going to turn out just right by stitching test samples before ever going to linen. “There’s always something that needs tweaking, and quite often it’s at this stage that I decide to start over again. I think I did 4 versions of a lobster through to test embroidery before I was happy with it.”

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Even her final stitching technique is a delightful mix of old and new, using a Husqvarna Diamond embroidery machine for the designs, but a sturdy 1960’s sewing machine to finish the linens.

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Be sure to check out more over at Brill and Ben on Etsy, and rest assured from Brill herself, “I promise, no puppies and absolutely no cup cakes.”

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

 

Delightful things are coming out of PaleGray Labs, a collaboration between cartoonist/animator/quilter Nina Paley and scientist/author/software developer Theodore Gray. Based in Urbana, IL, this power duo is taking computerized stitching in creative new directions. They’ve done some machine embroidered animations, like these (and also this):

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Old-school embroidermation. Sort of.

Old-school embroidermation. Sort of.

And they’re putting their new quilting machine to great use in wonderfully geeky and challenging new ways:

Pale Gray labs specializes in creating stitchwork that is beyond the capacity of human beings; designs that can only be executed by robot. … Our speciality is the application of sophisticated mathematical techniques to the creation of single-line stitching instructions, starting from vector art (Adobe Illustrator, EPS, etc).

What’s that look like, you ask? There are these pretty Fibonacci spiral quilts:

Fibonacci sequins.

Fibonacci sequins.

And then there are the gigantic Thousand Dollar Quilts (full of more beautiful patterns, just like real money, and available at face value!):

Minting money on the quilting machine, named Behemoth.

Minting money on the quilting machine, named Behemoth.

The duo created these $1K bills as a more affordable version of Nina’s Ten Thousand Dollar Quilt (“Bargain”) — a snuggly commentary on the value of art and craft:

High-end art is a form of currency for elites. Art museums and critics encourage us peasants to believe the value in these “priceless art treasures” is based on utility (i.e., the more they cost, the more “genius” they contain). But the value of high end art is due to collectors attaching their surplus capital to it. …

Ironically (for ironic juxtaposition!) quilts are among among the most under-valued art forms. They also require more skill and time than almost any other art-making technique I’ve tried. The selling price of quilts seldom covers the costs of materials; quilters often prefer to give their quilts away. An “expensive” quilt usually costs more than the value of materials, but less than minimum wage for labor. I recently met a master quilter whose beautiful wall quilt, which took months of expert work and won many awards, was professionally appraised at $3,500. This is considered very high; had it not been widely displayed and won many awards, it would be “worth” far less.

A bargain.

A bargain.

Can’t wait to see what Nina and Theo will create next! In the meantime, check out the PaleGray site to see all the collaborations, take a closer look at those gorgeous Thousand Dollar Quilts, and peruse Nina’s blog for more of the stories and photos behind these unique creations.

PaleGray's first-ever design for a quilting machine.

PaleGray’s first-ever design for a quilting machine.

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

 

 

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