Wordle is one of those web toys that you can play with for hours. Currently I am fascinated with sayings, expressions and text on samplers so this toy for generating “word clouds” from text had me hooked. I am thinking it would be a very contemporary way to have text on a sampler.

You can paste in a block of text, enter a del.icio.us user name to see their tags or simply paste in a block of text to generate a cloud. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

Once you have created some word clouds you can save to a gallery.

Wordle is a Java applet, and since Java applets can not write anything to your computer you will need to take a screen shot if you want to same a picture. If you are on a Mac if you hold down the apple key, the shift key and 3, all at once. A picture will appear on your desk top. Open the picture and you will see it is a screen shot!

Perhaps one of my readers can leave a comment and let PC owners know how to save a screen shot because I don’t know!

You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.

As you can see I had a lot of fun. Click on the images to go to larger sized versions of the screenshots.

The first two images are created by using a block of text from an article on samplers I wrote. The image above and below are both generated from the URL of my blog. I found it interesting that a very large word is people. I must use it all the time without realise it but I think it says something about me at another level too.

I have cross stitch software to take this into if I want to but like many of these things if I am given too many options I play all day with the design and don’t get to stitch it!

Treats online

Over on the Stitchin Fingers forum Dijanne Cevaal pointed to an article in the ABC site titled Sewing 2.0. It’s a very good article about the rise in the interest in crafts and the possible drivers for this cultural shift – or what is percieved as a cultural shift.

Personally I think the web has much to do with it as people see what others make and that encourages them to have a go too. This statement rang true for me “new technologies like web 2.0, which have helped to spread the enthusiasm by creating linked up communities who can share information”. It felt particularly relevant since I had just set up a community site Stitchin Fingers within the last 24 hours (do check it out) . I think the web is a big reason for the rise in people making their own clothing and domestic furnishings. What do you think?

On another note Jean Campbell has written a tutorial on Making the Perfect Bead Dangle for Beading Daily

I thought I had found absolutely every colour theory site online but no I had missed out the Colors on the Web site which Linn of the Embroideress pointed to. Don’t miss it as although the site is aimed at web designers the site houses lots of useful tools for textile designers.

Two areas that you will find useful are the color wizard, and the colour wheel. The color wheel spins three colors which are selected from 16 million colors so the combinations are endless.

I can see the Color Wizard being very useful to textile designers. You submit a base color, and the wizard produces matching colors. Variations are monocromatic, analogeous, triadic, tetradic, complimentary and split complimentary. When on the site if you look at the diagram of the colour wheel it illustrates what these terms mean.

Colors on the Web also houses articles on colour theory and the Color Contrast Analyzer is aimed at web designers as it helps them choose colour combinations that are readable and accessible.

FotoFlexer is fun

FotoFlexer is an free and easy online digital photo editor which is ideal to use to do the usual tasks such as  crop, rotate, resize, flip and red eye fix.

For textile practitioners however it is an ideal introduction to digital design. You can upload one of your own images and have access to standard image manipulation tools in order to develop a design for textile projects.

Although some have said FotoFlexer is like Photoshop it is far from the depth of the Adobe package but it is good. That said for an average non professional user who wants to have some creative fun with a digital image it is a great free online graphics editor.

Adding text to an image is simple and you can draw on top of an image. Colour and erase are also available.

You can smooth or sharpen an image or apply effects to images such as turning it sepia or inverting the colours in the image. Or you can turn the image into an ink stamp, fresco or film grain using some of the effects. Pinching, twirling , bulging and stretching the image is also possible. It is even possible to layer images forming composite pieces. After all this playing if you do not like it you have an undo button too.

For those who have not explored designing using a graphics editor this little free web based app is an ideal introduction. If you want keep up with any news about it there is the FotoFlexer blog too!