At the coming e-textile summercamp the Swatches will be exchanged. The Swatch is a sample of small size showing some aspect of a combination of textiles and electronics. A group of e-textile designers willing to put a lot of work into this exchange all make 30 samples and these samples will be distributed at our meeting in Paillard, France.
Making a prototype is easy. Normally there are 3 – 5 versions necessary to have a finalized version which is presentable. But than making 30 copies is another business. You have to organize all the needed components (most of the time you have “some”, but not 30 and then find the same things like the knitting yarn, or the same conductive thread is sometimes even impossible!).
And e-textile designers are experimenters, so we like to change and always look for possible improvements. So making 30 identical copies is … stress!
In my production time there are three phases: the first phase is slow, because I really have to start the production, make it a bit “faster”, modular, more efficient. Then all stages are getting into my system and production is started. But in the last phase I have to be careful to stay concentrated, I get careless start thinking of other projects, and am likely to make stupid mistakes.
My swatch, after making the first prototype, is now divided into three production events:
knitting: knitting the envelop
electronics: making the tribo electric “battery” and connecting the rectifier bridge and the LED
linking: putting knitting and electronics together and close the envelop by linking.
These three production phases ask for different types of concentration. With the knitting the knitting machine – laptop combination must be working impeccably. I had a problem with the board (lobotomy of the KH-940). What was wrong with the board? In the end, after checking all the connections of this fragile board, it was the USB cable! Replacing the cable solved all connection problems. Who doubts his USB cable???? In this knitting phase eventually during production I make all possible mistakes. Forgetting the weights, reversing the cast of order, breaking threads, etc, etc, etc. With machine knitting you can make a lot of mistakes indeed!
The electronics are reduced, but still this can go wrong: in my first sample after linking the knitting (closing the envelop) a wire got detached. Good for the production: make sure the wires are very very very well connected, because the knitting will not facilitate soldering inside!
The linking can be done by hand, but as a hand stitcher it would take me another week…so a linker machine is used. Of course arriving at this linker at school it is out of production. First I had to repair it. But then things go smooth.
The 30 copies knitted, not linked yet.
Description of this swatch can be found here:http://etextile-summercamp.org/swatch-exchange/flash-knit/
All coming swatches can be seen here:http://etextile-summercamp.org/swatch-exchange/
E-textile summercamp 2015:http://etextile-summercamp.org/
Knitted at the KH-940
Knitting Pattern, for lace knit.