Development of a product
The development process of a MuseARTa product is extremely complex and is done with a lot of passion and attention to detail. The aim is to represent the art motif as true to the original as possible, which is not always easy due to the complicated production process. The path from a work of art to a MuseARTa product can be roughly divided into the following steps:
- The team goes in search of interesting artists and extraordinary works of art.
- Extensive research is then carried out to obtain the most important background information on the rights issue. This process is very complex, requires a lot of time and the help of art law and licensing lawyers and results in either a license agreement or a determination that we can reproduce a work of art without a license agreement, or it may also be the case that we are allowed to reproduce a work of art and it the rights manager or the relevant museum does not want it, in which case we will keep our distance from the project.
- Next, the work of art is converted into pixels by an experienced designer in Italy. Our socks have 200 needles all around and 260 rows in leg length. This results in 52,000 possible pixels per leg, i.e. 104,000 pixels if different parts of a work of art were depicted on the left and right legs.
- When converting the image into pixels, it must also be taken into account how many colors a knitting machine can knit in total and how many colors a knitting machine can knit in a row. This can be up to 18 colors for a sock in total and up to six colors in a row.
- A decision is then made as to which production facility the design will be sent to for implementation. The decision as to where we have our knitting depends on which factory can offer how many yarn colors and which types of machines are available locally. All factories use 20/1 cotton yarn and should, whenever technically possible, produce with a cotton content of over 80%, and all factories have machines that produce with 200 needles.
- If there are no yarn colors that we urgently need, we will have yarn dyed specifically to our requirements. So far we have already had 50 cotton yarns, 6 cotton melange yarns and 6 lurex yarns dyed according to our wishes. That doesn't sound like much, but all in all it's a small truck fully loaded with yarn - just for our special colors.
- When the first pattern has been knitted, it is photographed and sent to the designer by email. This then compares the overall picture with the work of art and begins to change. This involves deciding for many individual stitches whether a different color should be used somewhere or not. In addition, the yarn cards are used to check whether the colors of the original artwork were well matched or not.
- In addition, particular emphasis is placed on maintaining the image proportions. Since a stitch is not square, but rather rectangular, this is particularly difficult.
- The change requests are then sent back to the factory and a new pattern is knitted. Just loading the machine with the necessary yarns, the so-called changeover time, takes about 1 hour. No wonder that many factories politely declined this project and considered our project unfeasible.
- For some motifs, over 20 different variations go back and forth until the preliminary result is achieved. Then comes the stretch test.
- Since a foot is wider at the front than the leg above the heel, a sock needs to be very stretchy. However, this is contradicted by the non-stretchability of cotton. Cotton is inelastic. The higher the cotton content, the less stretchy the sock is when the threads of the motif run along the inside of the sock. Therefore, these threads on the inside of the sock must be cut. This can be done by machine if the thread hangs freely inside the sock over a certain number of stitches, but it doesn't work if it only hangs freely over a small number of stitches. In this case, the threads must be cut by hand with small scissors to achieve the necessary stretch of the sock. This is the only way to ensure that your foot can get in and out of the sock.