Friday, September 01, 2023

Weaving Software Review: WeaveDreamer

In returning to weaving, I knew it wouldn't be long before I would return to weaving software too. You can see all of my old software posts here, but since it's been awhile, I wanted to see if anything new was available. I started my search for weaving software with two three criteria:
  • can run on Linux
  • supports liftplans
  • freeware or has a free version

I chose to start with WeaveDreamer because it meets all of my criteria.

WeaveDreamer can run on Linux, Windows, or Mac, but requires Java Runtime version 8 or higher. After downloading and extracting the files, opening the program is just a matter of right clicking and selecting to open it in Java runtime. I have Ubuntu, however, with which .jar files aren't automatically executable. I had to right click the WeaveDreamer file, choose 'properties,' then 'permissions,' and tic the box 'allow executing file as a program.' No problem after that.

How about some screenshots?

Welcome screen upon first starting the program

Closing out that screen leaves a blank window. So, following the directions and clicking file > New, brings up the weaving draft properties window . . .

Playing around with the properties . . . 

And hit 'okay.'

Ready for my design

Individual cells can be clicked, or the mouse dragged to fill in a row or column. Selecting 'liftplan' in the properties box enables selecting more than one cell in the treadling columns.

This is the first square on my twill gamp dishtowel;
point twill threading and twill & reverse treadling.

Any area can be copied by hitting shift plus left-click mouse drag. There are two choices to paste: paste or paste special.

Options for 'paste special.' I haven't experimented with these yet.

WeaveDreamer can import and open WIF (weaving interchange format) files.

This one is from Handweaving Magazine's online library of free WIFs.

I can edit individual cells in the WIF file, changing color, threading, tie-up, or treadling.

What I can't do, is change it to a liftplan because the edit properties box is blank when I open it.

So, that's disappointing.

The liftplan option is chosen in the draft properties box. And liftplan must be selected to choose more than one cell in a treadling row. In the tie-up mode, only one cell per row can be selected in the treadling.

Another thing it can't do, is save or export any draft as a WIF file. They can only be saved in WeaveDreamer's native format. 

Lastly, DreamWeaver can't print a draft. That would be useful for my weaving notebook. If I really want to print it, however, I can take a screenshot, open that in Gimp (free photo editing software), and then export it as a PDF. So there's my workaround for printing.

So, it's limited, but is it still useful? My best use, at the moment, will likely be to create a draft and then take a screenshot to share with you. Being a basic program, there's no steep learning curve, so that's another plus for anyone new to weaving software. 

Conclusion? I'll use it for the moment, but continue to explore options.

WeaveDreamer can be downloaded here.
Instructions to install are here (about mid-page).
User Guide is here


Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Fascinating Leigh. I had no idea such software existed.

Native formats only is always a problem for me in almost any software.

(Odd note: When I saw the title, I thought that it was a reverse and it was meant for the 1970's song DreamWeaver:

Leigh said...

TB, ha! I can't tell you how many times I've gone to search a word to find that it's the name of a rock group, song, or movie. :) I have trouble with the word order for this one too. I always have to stop and think before I write it.

Weaving really lends itself to software, and it's a great way to share patterns. Some people do amazing things with it. I don't plan to become a wiz, just use it when it helps!

Valerie said...

Leigh, have you looked at Tempo Weave from Lofty Fiber? I don't know about the Linux platform. They have been in beta mode for quite awhile and it costs $1 to download the beta version. They have been tweaking it for quite awhile.

Leigh said...

Valerie, no, I haven't even heard of it, but I will definitely look into it. I'm hoping there's lots of new software out there since the last time I used it.

If I can't find anything to run on Linux, I'll have to find something I can use with an emulator. Thanks for the suggestion!