Personalised DIY a Dress Form

One of the hardest parts of sewing is making sure patterns fit to your body shape.
Threads Magazine has an online article that shows four quick, easy, and cheap ways to make your own dress form.

With a few pins, some muslin, and 20 minutes, you can explore more pattern tweaks (and learn more about fitting) on a custom form than you could in hours of flat-pattern investigation on paper.

These DIY dress forms can be made out of duct tape, moulded papier-mâché or paper-tape.
Clone Yourself A Fitting Assistant Threads (via MAKE: Blog)

Knitwit Gravity Stitch Counter

An English design graduate has created a device to help knitters keep track of the number of stitches they have knitted.
Rebecca Spender‘s KnitWit device automatically counts the number of stitches in each row by detecting the movement of the knitting needles.

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Dohler Introduces 2-in-1 Weaving Technique

Dohler USA has introduced a new weaving technique to its line of spa and hotel towels and robes called the 2-in-1 fabric. The new construction is also designed to withstand heavy and continuous washings.
This novelty technique is made of 100 percent cotton and combines two fabrics — waffle and loop terry — which are woven together. It is also preshrunk to avoid excessive shrinkage.
The 2-in-1 fabric coordinates with Dohler’s spa collection of sculpted body sheets, bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, bath mats, bath robes, shower wraps and institutional logo towels.
Dohler intros 2-in-1 weaving techniqueHome Textiles Today

Solar Handbag Lights up Contents

The contents of a woman’s handbag have long remained a mystery — often even to the owner — but a new design offers to shine a light on the problem.
A solar-powered handbag designed by a student from Brunel University promises to make finding keys and other items at the bottom of a bag easier.
The handbag, dubbed Sun Trap, uses a solar cell attached to the outside of the bag to trap energy from sunlight.

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Smart Rope Tells you how Loaded and Frayed it is

It’s a classic scenario: Five friends with a mutual passion, disillusioned with their choices after their East Coast college, pile into a van and head to California to break into the big time.
But don’t think rock ‘n’ roll fantasy. This group came straight out of MIT, and its members don’t do guitar and vocals; they do patents and prototypes. They make up Squid Labs, self-billed as a design firm that does differential equations, and they’re already picking up the hits: solar panel driveways, swarming parachutes, a SourceForge for hardware and a comic book series for kid engineers.
Squid Labs is housed in a generic warehouse in Emeryville down the street from the elaborate Pixar Animation Studios gates. The building is full of toys and half-completed projects, seemingly more chaos than inspiration. The desks of the five founders — Saul Griffith, Colin Bulthaup, Dan Goldwater, Ryan McKinley and Eric Wilhelm — are scattered with papers, scrap metal and wood, and small, bare electronics.

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Creswick Woollen Mills

Around 30 years ago, Australia started to dismantle the tariff protection which had existed for decades in the footwear, clothing and textile industries. Back then, many large Australian towns had their own spinning mills. The removal of protection led to all but a handful of mills being shut down. Amid all that gloom, one mill in western Victoria has battled against the cheap imports and actually prospered, now to be the only large-scale Australian mill which spins coloured yarn. The mill’s survival is due to the tenacity and foresight of one of the nation’s oldest businessmen.
Coloured WoolLandline

Extreme Textiles

A knitted bag holds a weakened heart, helping it pump blood. Electricity flows through the threads of a battery-powered fleece jacket, keeping the wearer warm. Carbon fibres are braided into structures that look like mushrooms, but are actually prototypes of automotive engine valves. Other fibres are shaped into bicycle frames and sculling oars.
Polymer skin is created using a process called electrospinning, that makes fibres out of an electrically charged solution containing dissolved polymers and sticks them onto an electrically charged surface. The fibres fall randomly but form a uniform layer, even on a three-dimensional surface. It’s sort of like spray-on Gore-Tex, said Dr Heidi Schreuder-Gibson of the Army Natick Soldier Centre. It’s very breathable, just like skin.

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Biosteel is a new type of yarn that was developed for the soldier of tomorrow, who may be wearing suits made of spider silk and goat, lightweight and five times stronger than steel. It is the end product of a genetic marriage between spider and goat. It was developed at Nexia where scientists took a spider gene, injected it into a single cell of a goat egg and produced a goat named Willow.
Biosteel: A new yarn for the technological ageAll Fiber Arts

Futuristic ‘Smart’ Yarns from Carbon Nanotubes

Scientists at The UTD NanoTech Institute achieved a major technological breakthrough by spinning multi-walled carbon nanotube yarns that are strong, tough and extremely flexible, and are both electrically and thermally conducting. Among other things, the futuristic yarns could result in smart clothing that stores electricity, provides ballistic protection and adjusts temperature and porosity to provide greater comfort. The breakthrough, made possible by, in effect, downsizing ancient technology used for wool and cotton spinning to the nanoscale, resulted from an unusual collaboration involving nanotechnologists and experts in wool spinning.
Spinning Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube (via Slashdot)

Knitting with Nanotubes

As if pulling threads from a silkworm’s cocoon, researchers in China have drawn fine yarns of carbon nanotubes from a reservoir of the microscopic carbon cylinders.
The resulting nanotube yarns, which can reach lengths of more than 30 centimetres, might eventually be woven into super-strong materials such as bullet-stopping fabrics, suggest Kaili Jiang, Qunqing Li, and Shoushan Fan of the Nanotechnology Research Centre at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes of carbon atoms just nanometers in diameter. Despite their size, they’re incredibly strong, and they hold promise for future generations of microelectronic chips.
The scientists stumbled upon their discovery while trying to pull nanotubes from an array. Instead of removing a bundle, the researchers reeled out a continuous length of nanotube yarn. The component threads are each several hundred nanometres wide. Weak forces called van der Waals interactions hold the threads together end-to-end.
The researchers suggest that a carbon nanotube array just one square centimetre in area can make about 10 metres of yarn.
Unlike other methods of making threads from nanotubes, the new one doesn’t require a solvent or some other additive, so the yarn contains pure nanotubes, and after heating, may maintain its superlative mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, the researchers say.
In one experiment, the researchers formed the yarn into a lightbulb filament and found that its strength and conductivity increased after it heated up.
Knitting with NanotubesScience News