Pattern Matrix: the (almost) textile version

Pattern matrix 3

The pattern matrix is our instrument to demonstrate basic interferences of weaving structure and thread color order to the public. It is easy to understand and can be tried out by visitors without much knowledge of coding or weaving. Especially children are good in exploring its possibilities.

However, as I often would like to use it for demonstrations on conferences, the solid wooden frame is a challenge to take along in your luggage. Not only because of its dimension, but mainly because of its weight. We therefore thought about making a textile pattern matrix and would like to design it with conductive threads. That work is on its way and Dave Griffiths/FoAM Kernow already experimented in that direction.

test with conductive thread
detail of sensor attachment

But when looking at the electronic scheme for our matrix, we realized that this needs a reorganization especially after having learned from the Away | Takiy project and Sandra de Berduccy’s weave that it is not easy to prevent conductive threads from accidental contact, even when they run parallel in a tabby weave.

threading of matrix

So far, there is quite extensive wiring to do which needs a lot of crossings. But the next version of the electronics will reduce the wiring considerably and connect the sensors directly to the Raspberry Pi.

However, I go to Chirala/India for a workshop on “Anchoring innovation in handloom weaving in India” soon and want to present our pattern matrix. So we decided to make an interim version, a hybrid (or as we say in German: Zwitter) that keeps the cable arrangement but where the sensors are attached to a felt support which is already much lighter than wood and indeed bendable.

Instead of including the wiring between two layers of felt, which was the original idea, I made a modular system where the sensors are attached to four felt stripes that can be removed for packing.

This arrangement was then tested and, after some adjustments of cables with the online help of Dave/FoAM Kernow (and after exchanging the somewhat awkward touchscreen-primadonna by a discharged monitor) worked well.

So this is what I carry to India. Keep fingers crossed that the touchscreen likes India and will not let me down.

packed pattern matrix

Cite this blog post
Ellen Harlizius-Klück (2018, November 5). Pattern Matrix: the (almost) textile version. PENELOPE. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

Ellen Harlizius-Klück

I am a researcher interested in the order and logic of making textiles and its impact on the history of technology and science.

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