The mathematical problem behind the Treadle Reducer was suggested to me
by my Earlham College Math Department colleague Tekla Lewin, (another
non-weaver), whose friend Elaine Zimmerman suggested it to her.
Tekla's subsequent drive and enthusiasm kept me going on the project,
and she brought me into contact with weavers. My Earlham CS
colleagues Ray Ontko and, especially, Charlie Peck had helpful suggestions on
programming and web delivery issues. Elaine Zimmerman and
Seana Saxon encouraged the early
stages of the project and were patient when my other commitments forced me
to set it aside for several months. Several other members of the
mailing list hosted at quilt.net also offered enthusiasm and helped keep me
on task. Earlham College weaver Nancy Taylor also
helped with books and enthusiasm. She and her weaving students were
consistently gracious and helpful as I wandered about in their class and
studio trying to figure out what the connection between Tekla's
set-theoretic problem and the world of fabric might be. They also helped me
with the terminology when all those heddles and treadles and raddles had
become one great muddle.
Limitations of the Software
The treadle reducer is a one-trick pony providing therapy for treadle envy.
It is not by any means a general-purpose weaving program. Those looking for
general software for weavers (which does not, however, solve the problem
addressed here) might try
WeaveIt. I've never used any of these,
and can't give you advice on which is best.
The treadle reducer is also a rather rough and ready piece of work. It
finds one reduction, not all reductions. It makes no attempt to
optimize the single solution it delivers. It can take a long time to run, but
this is partly because of the nature of the problem. It looks only for
reductions in which at most 2 treadles are used at once, so it will not find
solutions in which the weaver is asked to press 2 treadles with one foot and 1
with the other. Some of these limitations are deliberate design choices; some
are part of the intrinsic nature of things; some are due to the . . .
Limitations of the Author
The principal ones relevant to this project are:
I'm not a weaver.
I'm not a web designer.
There are lots of others. My wife
would be a good source for a more complete picture. So would my kids, who
might give you a slightly different list.
Use Treadle Reducer
Tremewan Professor of Mathematics
Richmond, IN 47374 USA
Send me mail