My current needlepoint project is to, you know, create a nice sofa cushion. A pillow. With a two-dimensional barcode design on it. Here’s the canvas, half-transferred from my printout using black acrylic paint:
The design is in a machine-readable format called QR Code; codes like this can be found on your UPS package or pharmaceutical label. 2D barcodes can contain all kinds of information, not just numbers.
The QR code stitched into the pillow contains an encoded hyperlink to the Wikipedia entry for “Pillow”, so if you’re a Japanese teenager with a DoCoMo QRcode-enabled cellphone, you could snap a picture of the sofa pillow and immediately, you know, start reading about pillows. Here’s a picture with some of the black yarn stitched in:
This is the first time I’ve tried painting a canvas, not just marking the intersections with a pigma pen. So far, I’m learning that needlepoint has three phases, and that the one where you just stitch the yarn into the canvas is by far the easiest one. The first, prepping-the-canvas phase, requires some cognitive sleight-of-hand (mapping pixel-shaped blocks to intersections, then painting the intersections, is trickier than I would have thought.) And the third phase, finishing requires all the tools of a carpenter and the black arts of an upholsterer. I haven’t tackled that one yet.
So far, though, I’m having a blast. I’ll post more pictures when I get an area that has both black and white stitched into it.
PS. In case you’re wondering, here’s how I made the design:
- Went to semapedia.org and used their online tool to create a PDF of the Wikipedia “Pillow” URL.
- Made a screenshot of the resulting PDF, opened the screenshot in Photoshop, and scaled so that the smallest box unit in the semacode was exactly 2×2 pixels. I used “nearest neighbor” scaling to preserve hard edges. This resulted in a design that was 58px by 58px.
- Used the awesome KnitPro Web App to transfer the design onto a numbered grid. Before I uploaded the image, I increased the image’s canvas size to 96px wide by 120px tall, matching one of KnitPro’s existing sizes, so that KnitPro wouldn’t scale or antialias the design.
- Used a fine-point red pigma pen to break the numbered grid into 8×8 boxes, and did the same to the canvas.
- Carefully transferred one 8×8 box at a time to the canvas, painting the intersections of the threads to correspond to the black boxes on the numbered grid. When I messed up, went back and painted with white paint.
- Trimmed the canvas to size, finished the edges with masking tape, tacked it to a frame, and got stiching!