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Origins: Creature Comfort Pattern

Origins: Creature Comfort Pattern

I'm very happy with the Creature Comfort Throw Blankets. A perfect combination of dignified good looks and creepy crawlies.

throw

Let's review where this design came from.

I originally created the Creature Comfort pattern for the backs of the Creature Comfort playing cards...a Kickstarter project in 2017. I needed a busy, symmetrical pattern that would feel like traditional playing cards but if it could be made up of bats and wriggling creatures, so much the better.

Texture sketch

My very first sketches (above) were just to determine how much detail was needed. Too plain and the pattern would be boring. Too busy and the detail would become gray mush.

Little bugs

Next, I auditioned creatures who could be the building blocks of the pattern (above). Most were rejected, but a few deserved further refinement. Like everyone else, my favorites were bats, bugs, and reptilian creatures.

 quad

Because the card back design is symmetrical along two axes, I only needed to refine the size and spacing of the creatures for one quarter of the area (above).

The best arrangement included creatures of various sizes, evenly spaced, but with no strong alignments. But the creatures alone were too isolated and too dull. The negative spaces between the creatures needed some detail to make them more interesting, so I tried adding a stroke. This is a trick that has worked for me in the past.

Reject

Adding a stroke around the contour of each creature helped by activating the negative spaces and gluing the elements of the design together. But too many strokes, like the sketch above, felt too busy. It also gave it a strong folk-art feeling that seemed irrelevant.

The design works best with a single wrapping line surrounding each creature (below).

Card Back

For the throw blanket, there were two ways to approach the design. I could reproduce the pattern as it appears on the playing cards but much bigger. Or I could modify the design to allow it to repeat across the surface of the blanket several times. I chose this repeat approach so the creatures could be a pleasant, non-threatening size. See below. If you own the playing cards, you might enjoy comparing the designs to see what's different.

Repeat

I wanted the design to be woven right into the material, not applied to the surface. That can be done with a Jacquard loom that raises and lowers the threads while the shuttle gallops back and forth (below).

Jacquard looms were an early step on the path that lead to robots.

Loom

We evaluated several weavers with Jacquard looms that could produce my design. Portugal was the clear winner.

 throw

I was delighted when I saw the prototype from the Piscatextil workshop in Portugal. Their Jacquard loom produces a distinctive raised effect reminiscent to quilted blankets. It's perfect for this pattern with frequent juxtapositions of dark and light elements. 

mugs

I'm open to the idea of applying this pattern to more items. There has been some experiments with the idea of a porcelain mug. Much will depend on how the Creature Comfort Throw Blanket is received.

Don—Pittsburgh, July 8, 2021

 

Comments on this post (25)

  • Oct 25, 2021

    Hi! I would love this in a shower curtain:) the sea monster curtain you offer is a little too frightening for a guest bath Lolol. But this pattern….. this would be a winner!

    — Elise Boyas

  • Aug 28, 2021

    Love this throw! The pattern is AMAZING! I love the jacquard weave, and it’s surprisingly soft for being textured – just perfect! Only thing better would be if we could get one in a bedspread size – would be perfect summer weight with just a sheet.

    — Andrea Webster

  • Aug 02, 2021

    OK, I need this design on some underwear!

    — Elena Nyhan MD

  • Jul 19, 2021

    Just received my throw and I love it. It is a perfect weight for year round use. The weave is beautiful.

    — Kathy Greer

  • Jul 19, 2021

    I adore this but would love if you might consider making them in bed sizes. Or another design. I want to fill my home with your items. :) So much fun!

    — Barbara

  • Jul 13, 2021

    It’s been said that the coldest winters are in San Francisco in the summer. I’m just across the water from SF. I keep hearing about heat waves. I’m glad my blanky will arrive pretty soon. I’m chilly.

    — Melanie Old Key

  • Jul 12, 2021

    I supported the Kickstarter campaign and received 2 of your Creature Comforts throws. I am more than pleased, I’m ecstatic! Where to start! The design is beautiful and intricate and sophisticated in a unique way. The quality of weave and softness of the material is excellent. I love the colors so much. It drapes across my sofa when not in use and goes with anything. I will definitely order more. Thanks Don!

    — Marty Mayer

  • Jul 12, 2021

    My daughter would go nuts for this blanket.

    — Barbara Anne Cabral

  • Jul 12, 2021

    Love the style and design of the blanket. Count me in!

    — Shanti

  • Jul 12, 2021

    Size? Weight? Color[s]? Price? Availability? Such a tease!

    — Peedee Wyre

  • Jul 12, 2021

    I would like to see these in larger sizes for better snuggling and for summer bedspreads. Twin and Queen would be useful.

    — Maxine

  • Jul 12, 2021

    I just got my Creature Comfort Blankets and they are lovely. The design is awesome and the size is perfect. They are also nice and cozy for watching TV while my husband blasts the a/c. Truly a great product and if you’re looking for yourself or as a gift I highly recommend it.

    — Gloria Maltz

  • Jul 12, 2021

    I love the blanket! Matching rugs, both small and large , would be cute. And with irregular borders!

    — Janet Kaplan

  • Jul 12, 2021

    Oh it WILL be mine!!!

    — Dawn Roberts Delle

  • Jul 12, 2021

    Got ours yesterday! WE LOVE IT! A belated anniversary present for my wife!!

    — Woody Reed

  • Jul 12, 2021

    I just got my blankets yesterday and we are covered up with them watching movies tonight! I just LOVE them. The textured weave is so soft and silky feeling. Really beautiful. Of course, I’m always looking at the pattern trying to find all the creatures. Such fun for a blanket. These will be family favorites for years.

    — Kriss Reppert

  • Jul 12, 2021

    These blankets are beautiful and the perfect weight. Thank you!

    — Eileen

  • Jul 09, 2021

    I love the throw. Will it come in red and black and when will it be available?
    Cheers

    — Chris

  • Jul 09, 2021

    Sounds heavenly, er, crawly, er, like it would be very nice to cuddle within come winter. Blue isn’t my fav house color, but it’s far better than the old LLBean blanket throw that my brother got me years ago. Looking forward to more details!

    — Maggie

  • Jul 09, 2021

    Could you silk screen the design on a tshirt?

    — Kay Kelso

  • Jul 09, 2021

    Love the blanket! When can it be purchased?

    — Laurel

  • Jul 09, 2021

    Love you guys!! After buying your products and sharing your craziness with all my crazy artistic friends, (like me, but my 42 year old daughter is crazier and alas, even more artistic than I), I’m still so happy to purchase your throw blanket.

    — Debra imperatore

  • Jul 09, 2021

    I love the bats and the other creepy-crawlies!! Yes, use this pattern on other items . . . mugs and scarves!!!

    — Susan Hobbs

  • Jul 09, 2021

    Love your work and creativity! You are appreciated!

    — Claire Blondeau

  • Jul 09, 2021

    I love this pattern, and love it on the blanket!

    — Laura nicholson

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