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Title: Darned and mended
Credits: Becca Rose
Year of Invention: 2016
Materials and tools: Conductive yarn, worn garments, darning mushroom, darning needle
Techniques: Loose darning
Dimensions: Approx. 8 x 10cm, but the size of each swatch may vary a little.

Description: I am exploring sound and movement into the worn spaces of cloth through darning with conductive materials. Darned and mended swatches use conductive yarns to create pressure sensors around threadbare garments. The sensors can be connected to an Arduino or Pure Data circuit (see below, add pull-up/down resistors from the input if needed), and the feedback used to create musical or dance scores that are based on the worn areas.



References and Inspiration: I was originally inspired by mending work made by Celia Pym and Emma Hoette, who led a Fashion and Embodiment workshop last year. In the workshop we explored fashion through mending garments, sharing experiences of the worn garments, and moving with the worn garments. I was really inspired by this workshop, and wanted to use conductive materials to explore worn spaces further.

The swatches also build on some of the work that Emile Giles is making at the intersection of etextiles and community practice, and that can be seen in the Sensory Swatches she developed in 2015. They also used conductive yarn as a pressure sensor, similar to Liza Stark’s Rose Resistance from the 2016 swatch book. And they explore conductive knitted techniques, building on the work of Pauline Vierne’s Switch in Loop from 2015.

Step-by-step pictures:

DSC01411 DSC01417 DSC01421

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Circuit diagram: 


Code: I’ve been using the “Light_Tempreture_Multi_Oscil” sketch from the Mozzi synth library for Arduino. Download the library and examples here: http://sensorium.github.io/Mozzi/

I’ve also used the sensor for MIDI input using Pure Data, I adapted an Arduino patch using this tutorial: https://spencerdixon.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/how-to-build-a-midi-controller-with-the-arduino-firmata-and-pure-data/

Early tests:



Some of the swatch samples.


Worn patch on a darning mushroom, and an old worn sock. Initial exploration in collaboration with Erica Jewell and Julie L. Parisi. These swatches are part of work I started last year and you can see a blog post and videos from my initial exploration here.


Moving into and with the sound of the darned and mended sensors with Julie and Erica



Larger piece of pattern darning on worn tights from 2016

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