Friday, July 27, 2007

Date for your diary

It's been a busy week here at Access Space with lots of stitching. We've had visits from the Stocksbridge Knit and Chatters, and Art into Textiles, who have lots of ideas of how to make some of the harder to find fabric colours. Here's a photo of the notice board in the foyer of Access Space - we've got lots of lovely fabric swatches from Fine Fabrics in Hillsbrough.

You can pop into Access Space anytime (tues-sat 11am - 7pm) to pick up a swatch and template, until the end of July. Access Space will open again in September. The Open Source Embroidery exhibition will open here on Friday 7th September 5.30 - 8pm. Bring your patches along with you!

Monday, July 23, 2007

This week I'm working with Keith on the project website, including the Html patchwork online.. fingers crossed that we get it up and running before Friday.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


A massive thank you to Kurt, who has created a step by step guide on how to contribute to the Html Colour Patchwork. It took a while to get all the picture right, but the hard work paid off when we discovered there were over 800 hits over the first few days!

See the link listed in the right column this blog.

There are lots to 'Top Tips' that we are learning as we go along, such as:
- When you pin and tac concentrate on securing the corners of the hexagon...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fabric Shopping

It took Lisa and I a while to find a friendly fabric shop that was happy to give us fabric samples. Finally, the wonderful staff at the Fabric Warehouse in Sheffield were supportive of the project. They were happy to cut 15cm square samples from their bolts of fabric, and let us rummage through the remnants to our hearts content!

We now have 24 new colour patches to add to the 40, only 172 left to go...

Patchworking at Access Space

If you're in Sheffield come along to the meetings at Access Space:

Wed July 25th 6-7pm
Sat 28th, 2-5pm

Or drop in anytime to pick up fabric, template and work out your colour code. The meetings are very informal with a chance to chat about what you are doing and find out more about the Html patchwork and Open Source Embroidery.

There will be monthly Html Patchwork group meetings at Access Space from September to sew together the patches and create the final patchwork which can then be exhibited.

Sat 8th September 2-4pm
Sat 6th October 2-4pm
Sat 10th November 2-4pm

I've made a patchwork design wall in the lobby Access Space. There's a full scale template for the patchwork, the html colour mouse-mat, fabric samples, embroidery threads and paper hexagon templates. If you have a new fabric - pop in and add a sticker to the mouse mat. And when you are done - add your patch directly to the wall.

Electronic Embroidery

Keith and Jake transform a homemade synthesizer into an electronic embroidery. Beading wire is threaded through the t-shirt(an embroidery hoop helps) and the ends connected to the synthesizer pressure points (use sellotape to keep them in place). The embroidery is then played by touching the embroidery.... Wearable technologies here we come!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Colour and the missing yellows


At the Html Patchwork meeting at Access Space we had an interesting conversation about colour. There are lots of reasons why screen colours can't be accurately matched with fabric colours. Obviously colours on screen are lit by the light behind the screen, rather than light reflecting off them, so they have a luminescence impossible to replicate with an opaque material. But there's also a particular characteristic of the red/green/blue (RGB) mix that is a bit odd. This is something to do with the fact that Green is not a primary or pure colour. So the hexidecimal colour pure green 00FF00 is what James described as a gamut colour. There's lots more info on wikipedia if you search for 'gamut'.

There also seems to be a general lack of yellow in the world. Lisa spotted the limited yellow colour range on our patchwork design, whilst Tricia at the Patchwork Garden tells me there are few yellow fabric's. Can anyone offer a reason why? Is it due to the influence of RGB without yellow as a mixer colour?

In the meantime Keith and Jake have been busy creating embroidered electrical circuits through their clothing.. wired up to a rather curious beetle synthesizer - and it works! photos to follow.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hexidecimal Colour Patchworking

This is a fab hexagonal mouse mat which we love - and have ordered 8 of them from Visibone to inspire us to make patches... The finished fabric embroidered patchwork will be over 2 meters wide, and will be able to be exhibited at quilt, art and technology exhibitions.

What's it all about?
The html patchwork project aims to visualise the hexidecimal web colour palette., consisting of 216 colours and their six figure unique identification codes. You are invited to contribute to the patchwork by creating fabric patches embroidered with their code (for example, white is FFFFFF).

How to make your patches:
Create paper hexagon templates with a 6cm diameter. You can draw your own hexagon - using a compass and a straight edge, see For a step by step guide see:
Alternatively you can: make a template in Word (Insert / Picture / Autoshapes); pick up template from Access Space; or print out from the Open Source Embroidery google group files.

Choose your fabric:
Patchwork traditionally recycles old fabric into new. It's simplest to use cotton fabric in plain colours, then you can match it against the html colour code on the mouse mat image. Check on the Fabric Patches Log on the link listed in the righthand column of this blog. If someone is already making your colour code, and try and find another fabric swatch. Then email Ele the colour code you are embroidering.

• Use chalk or pencil to lightly draw around your template on the fabric.
• Cut your fabric so that there is a 1cm overlap around your template.
• Embroider the hexidecimal code onto the patch.
• Embroider your own signature, website, blog, or shop name onto the patch.
• Pin and tac the fabric to the template.
• Take a digital photo of your patch.
• Repeat with other colours.

You can create a cluster of patches and sew them together. Or create individual patches and bring / post them to Access Space by July 25th 2007.

Please don't forget to email Ele with your html colour codes and digital photos ( and I'll add them to the Google docs list which everyone can view online. Access Space is developing an online map of the patchwork so that people can log the colours they are using directly on a diagram of the patchwork. We hope to make the patchwork an online artwork with direct links to the photos and / or websites of people who have made the individual patches.

Apparently the double sets of figures can be represented by one figure as a form of short hand. So CCFF99 can be written as CF9. So if you've not much time to embroider the whole text - use the shorthand.

Sheffield Knitting Groups

What a wonderful weekend - I was warmly welcomed by the Stocksbridge Knit and Chat group who were really enthusiastic about contributing to the html patchwork and have incorporated the hexagon into the design of their new 'Chat' page. (I've added the link to this blog).

I also had a lovely cuppa with a group of knittings pals in Sheffield. They meet informally at each others houses. Only a fraction of knitters are online - which shows what a massive activity it is. Hopefully the patchwork will provide an opportunity for people from the different groups in Sheffield to meet each other.

Programmers at Access Space have also been busy over the weekend. James has developed the code to generate the patchwork template. Keith is working out how to make this interactive so that people can show which patches they are working on. At the moment we are planning to link each patch to a wiki page that people can upload their photos and links to. But it's not as simple as it sounds.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Today is a good place to start. It is afterall Sunday, the weekend. I've been updating the Open Source Embroidery mailing lists, html colour code and fabric lists.

What am I on about?
I've been developing the idea of Open Source Embroidery (OSE) for a couple of years now. It's really an umbrella term bringing together works on and offline by a number of artists, programmers and craftspeople. You can read about OSE on my website, and in an interview I gave with Jess Laccetti for Furtherfield.

During July I am artist in residence at Access Space in Sheffield. I proposed to work with programmers and craftspeople to develop shared projects. In reality this is quite tricky. The Connecting Principle event brought together people who (mostly) already had an interdisciplinary practice. But how do you talk about open source to someone who doesn't use a computer? Or describe embroidery to someone who has never picked up a needle and thread? It seemed like a good idea to have a clear practical focus to give some shape and meaning to the early conversations.

After chatting with Lisa in Sheffield, we came up with the idea of an Open Source Patchwork. I scratched my head - What would an open source patchwork look like? Clare, in Newcastle, had the perfect project - a patchwork of html colours, based on the hexidecimal codes. The next step was to structure a development process where lots of people could take part, both on and offline.