15-367/867: Algorithmic Textiles Design (Spring, 2023)

Fridays from 12:00-14:50 in Hunt Library Studio B (HL106C).

Instructor: Jim McCann. Office hours in the Textiles Lab (Wean 1334), Wednesdays 2-4pm; or by appointment. (I will also, generally, head to the lab after class.)
Class Piazza: https://piazza.com/cmu/spring2023/15367867.


Textile artifacts are -- quite literally -- all around us; from clothing to carpets to car seats. These items are often produced by sophisticated, computer-controlled fabrication machinery. In this course we will discuss everywhere code touches textiles fabrication, including design tools, simulators, and machine control languages. Students will work on a series of multi-week, open-ended projects, where they use code to create patterns for modern sewing/embroidery, weaving, and knitting machines; and fabricate these patterns in the textiles lab. Students in the 800-level version of the course will be required to create a final project which develops a new algorithm, device, or technique in the realm of textiles fabrication.

Students will work in person with textiles machines, and may develop machines of their own. Students may also work virtually with textiles.

Other versions: This course was also appeared (with some variations) under its old course number (15-469A/869K) in Spring 2021, Spring 2020, and Spring 2019.


Familiarity with at least one programming language.


Students will be graded out of 60 points, divided as follows:

20Class Exercises / Participation

Feel free to use source code from others, as long as that code's license permits it and you give proper credit. Using the work of others without giving credit (even if they don't ask for credit) is plagiarism and will result in you failing the course.


This schedule is perpetually prone to adjustment.

1-20-2023 Course Overview Algorithms and fabrication KnittingKnit something by hand.Critique what you knit.
1-27-2023 Basic Knitout OperationsProgram a Knitout rectangle. Big ideas in Machine KnittingDiscuss Knitting Project ideas. Lab Tour
2-3-2023 Before class: Puzzles -- knit/purl on tube; four layers of fabric Transfer Planning Tube Layouts and Gauge Mappings 2/3rds Gauge Dependencies and Slack Stitch Scheduling Research: Spacer Fabrics Research: Knit Tendons Research: Knitting simulation
2-10-2023 Guest Lecture (Jenny Lin): Knot Theory for KnittingCritique: Knitting Project. Weaving IntroHand weaving with paper.
2-17-2023 Guest Lecture (Samantha Speer): The RoboLoom Build a RoboLoom Drafting, double cloth.Discuss weaving project ideas
3-3-2023 Before Class: watch (the secret life of) sewing machines Sewing Intro Cut-and-sew, Embroidery, Quilting How Machines SewHand sewing. CNC Sewing Data formats PEmbroider Machine demos
3-10-2023 Break day, no class.
3-17-2023 Critique: weaving project.Discuss sewing project ideas
3-24-2023 Interfaces for single-line patterns and embroidery design Smocking Stuffing Tensegrity Structures
3-31-2023 Critique: Sewing project.Final project brainstorming.
4-7-2023 Discuss final project ideas. TBD
4-14-2023 Carnival, no class.
4-21-2023 Autograding (for clothing) CT Scans and Rendering (cloth, yarn) Attend RI Seminar with Cynthia Sung at 4:30
4-28-2023 Critique: Final project.
out 20 January Post Knitting Project inspiration in Piazza. (At least 3x pictures with URLs.) due before class,
27 January
out 27 January Work on Knitting Project. due before class,
10 February
out 10 February Post Weaving Project inspiration in Piazza. (At least 3x pictures with URLs.) due before class,
17 February
out 17 February Work on Weaving Project. due before class,
17 March
out 3 March Post Sewing Project inspiration in Piazza. (At least 3x pictures with URLs.) due before class,
17 March
out 17 March Sewing Project. due before class,
31 March
out 31 March Post Final Project inspiration in Piazza. (At least 3x pictures with URLs.) due before class,
7 April
out 7 April Final Project. due before class,
28 April