Marge Coahran

Project History:

Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree:

This project began as research for my Master's degree at the University of Toronto. Our main focus was on the sketching of Bargello curves: how can we best represent an arbitrary mouse stroke with a rectangular tiling that has a graceful Bargello appearance, follows the physical constraints imposed by the Bargello construction process, and at the same time adheres closely to the user's sketch? Secondarily, we also explored user-interface design options for allowing users to select fabric images with which to draw their designs. We evaluated our results through a series of focus group sessions with quilters from the Toronto area.

In September 2005, this stage of the project culminated in a thesis and an academic paper:

At this point, the software was what we like to call "research grade." The Bargello curve optimization problem had been solved, but the software wasn't even close to being user friendly.

BargelloSketcher 0.2 (beta):

Ted Cooper and Alexi Brooks undertook an undergraduate research project with me at Grinnell College in the summer of 2008. The goal of this work was to design and implement a friendly user-interface for the software. This involved developing a graphical user interface based on the FLTK widget toolkit, revamping the approach to fabric selection, and adding practical functionality such as saving designs for future use and generating sewing instructions. The students did a terrific job, and the resulting program was dubbed BargelloSketcher 0.2 (beta).

We presented the software to a focus group of quilters from the Jewelbox Quilting Guild in Grinnell, Iowa, and the students presented their work at an academic symposium:

In addition, the BargelloSketcher 0.2 (beta) software was released to about a dozen individual quilters for use on their own quilt design projects. They were encouraged to offer final suggestions for improvement as we prepared to release the software more widely.

BargelloSketcher 1.0:

By now there was light clearly shining at the end of the tunnel, but improvements were still needed before the software would be ready for a public release. Progress at this stage included reworking the user interace, keeping the UI design developed for version 0.2 but replacing the FLTK foundation with GTK for its more modern appearance and full-featured functionality. In addition, final touches suggested by various quilters were added, including rulers, the ability to "undo" recent changes, and a comprehensive help system.

Finally, in August 2011, I am very pleased to present BargelloSketcher 1.0! I hope you enjoy it!