software for
editing drafts,
planning projects,
and virtual sampling

August 17, 2015
from Kitchen Table Software

pixeLoom is like a paint program for weaving drafts, allowing you to create a pattern, visualize or modify an existing design, and experiment with colorways, treadling options and borders.

These editing tools are used to input a draft:

  • The Pencil tool sets or clears a cell in the draft. The right mouse button acts as an eraser.
  • The Line tool can be used to click and drag a straight, point or advancing line in the threading, treadling, or tieup.
  • Use the Paint Brush to paint in a swatch or paint directly in the drawdown - it'll figure out which color bar is affected. Of course, you can also use the Pencil to paint in a particular end or pick.
  • The Paint Bucket can be used to dump solid or alternating color into the warp or weft colorways.
  • The Selection tool lets you highlight part of the threading, treadling or tieup, to repeat, flip, rotate, label, copy or delete.
  • The Stamp tool is a shortcut to copy and paste - especially useful in the tieup. Select a portion of the draft, activate the stamp tool and you can place that selection any number of times. Press the Esc key when you're done.
  • The Move tool lets you rearrange shafts and treadles for better threading order or to walk the treadles, etc. For a parallel threading or treadling, try Threading->Arrange, Parallel (or Treadling->Arrange).
  • The Zoom tool lets you zoom in and out on a draft. The keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+ and Ctrl-) can also be used to change the scale of the draft.

A color palette is associated with each draft. You can setup a default palette for new drafts, and import palettes from previously saved drafts. There are two active colors available, one for the left mouse button and one for the right mouse button, as indicated on the large swatches at the top of the color palette. Click on one of these buttons to choose a color to add to the palette. Pick up a previously defined color by clicking on one of the color swatches in the palette with the left or right mouse button.

• A draft browser (File->Browse) that shows a small fabric view for each file in the highlighted folder so you can easily find the draft you're looking for. Press the Enter key for a particular draft and to open it in a regular window.

Drawdown->Fabric Analysis mode allows you to draw right in the drawdown with the pencil tool. In this mode, the draft is created for you, shafts and treadles (or blocks, if you will) are added as needed. This is great for creating profile drafts. When you're done, toggle Fabric Analysis mode off to go back to the normal editing mode.

In normal mode, using the pencil tool in the drawdown just changes the tieup. Handy for minimizing float lengths, or creating your own fancy twill on a straight or point setup.

You can design a warp-faced or weft-faced draft by putting all the color in the warp or all the color in the weft.

The Block Substitution function allows you to dump a weave structure into a design. With your profile draft as the active window, select Tools->Block Substitution from the menu and choose one of the 70+ structure files that are included with the program. Color from the profile is incorporated into the resulting thread-by-thread draft, which is ready to take to the loom.

The Optimize functions eliminate any duplicate rows and/or columns in a draft. Try it on a warp-rep draft fresh out of block substitution. When designing with a profile draft that's been converted to a straight draw (e.g. when working with half-units) use optimize to reduce the final draft.

There are a number of choices for notation in the threading, treadling and tieup: numeric, alpha characters (for block designations) as well as symbols. User-defined notation lets you type your own characters in to the threading and/or treadling.

You can print out any portion of the draft. To print just the threading, select View->Threading, then File->Print Preview (shortcut icon on the toolbar), where you can adjust the scale and orientation of the paper to suit the draft. Likewise, View->Treadling and Print Preview to print just the treadling.

Edit->Copy to Clipboard is a great way to export a graphic into another application, e.g. MS Word or PhotoShop, for presentation purposes. This is popular with teachers and others who incorporate drafts into written instructions.

Other graphics capabilities allow you to open (and save) graphic files which can then be converted into a draft, or colors pulled out for the color palette. In addition, you can easily paste in a liftplan (e.g. from PhotoShop) as well as export one a drawdown with single pixel resolution. (These features are useful for the methods outlined in The Woven Pixel by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek).

Thick threads can be specified in several ways. You can select a particular end or pick and press the spacebar to toggle between thick and thin (use the arrow keys to navigate the draft). Often times, the thick threads are in a repeating pattern. When this is the case, you can enter the pattern in the thickness window and apply it across the draft. Thick threads are also built into some of the weave structures for block substitution purposes (warp-rep and diversified-plain-weave, for example).

The project planner is a weaver’s calculator. You can enter the finished dimensions of a piece, specify how many you want to weave on a warp, and it calculates the width in the reed and warp length for you. Enter the yarns you’ll be using (the yards per pound are filled in from the yarn database) and the sett and beat, for an estimate of the quantities of yarn needed for the warp and weft for the project. Then you can print out the project plan to take to the warping board and for future reference.

The Fold Double Width tool lets you convert a draft for weaving a double-width cloth. Allowance for multiple shuttles (tabby and pattern, for example) and order sequences are handled.

The warp and weft color tables provide thread counts by color. Color names are user-editable and are saved with the draft.

Functionality for network drafting includes Tools->Scale Pattern Line to adjust a line for a particular weave structure, and Tools->Plot Onto Network to create a networked draft. Edit->Supersize comes in handy for network drafting, for quick visualization of multiple repeats.

The Dobby option provides drivers for electronic dobby heads on AVL, Louet, and LeClerc looms. Features on the dobby control bar include the ability to set markers for repeating sections, a loop counter, and last but not least, the same shed and unweave buttons.


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