Title:
Woven textile article with woven-in signature space
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A textile article includes a main body comprising yarns woven in a first weave pattern forming the majority of the total surface of the textile article. Woven into the textile article is a signature space comprising yarns woven in a second weave pattern different from the first weave pattern such that the surface of the signature space is relatively smooth in comparison with the main body and is readily written upon by hand with an ink pen. Preferably the signature space is woven in a flat weave pattern. The signature space can comprise a denser weave than that of the main body, and finer weft yarns can be used than those in the main body. The main body can be woven in a non-flat weave pattern.



Inventors:
Martin Jr., Foil B. (Concord, NC, US)
Piana, Andrea (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/367479
Publication Date:
08/19/2004
Filing Date:
02/14/2003
Assignee:
Tintoria Piana USA, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D03D23/00; D03D25/00; (IPC1-7): D03D25/00; D03D23/00
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
DE412235C1925-04-17
Primary Examiner:
MUROMOTO JR, ROBERT H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A woven textile article, comprising: a woven fabric having a main body woven in a non-flat weave pattern such that the main body is relatively rough and not readily written upon by hand with an ink pen, the main body occupying a majority of the total surface of the textile article; and a signature space woven into the textile article adjacent the main body, the signature space being woven in a flat weave pattern with a substantially greater number of picks per inch than in the main body so as to define a substantially smooth surface readily written upon by hand with an ink pen.

2. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the main body comprises terry loops.

3. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the main body and the signature space are of different colors from each other.

4. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the signature space is surrounded on all sides by the main body.

5. The woven textile article of claim 4, wherein the signature space is rectangular.

6. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the textile article includes an identifying design located outside the signature space.

7. The woven textile article of claim 6, wherein the identifying design is woven into the textile article.

8. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the signature space is woven with a different type of yarn from that used for weaving the main body.

9. The woven textile article of claim 8, wherein weft yarns used for weaving the signature space are finer than those used for weaving the main body.

10. The woven textile article of claim 1, wherein the textile article comprises a towel.

11. The woven textile article of claim 1, further comprising an ink pen operable for writing on the signature space, and an attachment system for releasably attaching the pen to the textile article.

12. The woven textile article of claim 11, wherein the attachment system comprises a piece of hook material attached to the pen, the textile article having loops that are releasably engageable with the hook material for attaching the pen to the textile article.

13. The woven textile article of claim 12, wherein the loops comprise terry loops forming at least a portion of the main body of the textile article.

14. The woven textile article of claim 13, wherein the loops are formed on a separate piece of loop material affixed to the textile article.

15. A woven textile article, comprising: warp yarns extending a length of the textile article and weft yarns woven with the warp yarns and extending a width of the textile article, the textile article comprising a main body occupying a majority of the length of the textile article, and a signature space occupying a minor part of the length of the textile article, the main body comprising weft yarns of a first size, the main body having terry loops, the signature space comprising weft yarns of a second size smaller than the first size, the signature space being woven in a flat weave pattern.

16. The woven textile article of claim 15, wherein there is a substantially greater number of picks per inch in the signature space than in the main body.

17. The woven textile article of claim 16, wherein the signature space has at least about twice as many picks per inch as the main body.

18. The woven textile article of claim 16, wherein the signature space has about 3 to 4 times as many picks per inch as the main body.

19. The woven textile article of claim 15, wherein the flat weave pattern of the signature space comprises a plain weave.

20. The woven textile article of claim 15, further comprising an ink pen and an attachment system for attaching the pen to the textile article.

21. A towel comprising: a main body having terry loops substantially entirely covering at least one side thereof, the towel having opposite ends and having a width; and a transversely extending stripe woven into the towel in a flat weave pattern, the stripe extending the width of the towel; wherein a portion of the stripe comprises a signature space woven in a plain weave with finer weft yarns than those of the main body and having a substantially greater number of picks per inch than the main body, whereby the signature space has a smooth surface readily written upon by hand with an ink pen.

22. The towel of claim 21, wherein the signature space is generally centrally located within the stripe and is flanked on opposite sides by portions of the stripe that are woven in a sateen weave.

23. The towel of claim 21, wherein the signature space has at least about twice as many picks per inch as the main body.

24. The towel of claim 21, wherein the signature space has about 3 to 4 times as many picks per inch as the main body.

25. The towel of claim 21, wherein the main body comprises 20 s 2-ply weft yarns and the signature space comprises 24 s 2-ply weft yarns.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to woven textile articles such as towels and articles of clothing. The invention relates more particularly to such a textile article having a designated space on which a signature or autograph can be penned with an ink pen.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Famous personalities, members of sports teams, and other celebrities or public figures are often asked for autographs by their fans. Often, the encounter with the celebrity occurs under impromptu circumstances when the celebrity is in a hurry and is not prepared for signing autographs, for example, lacking a suitable pen. If the fan seeking the celebrity's autograph does not have a suitable pen immediately handy, the fan may lose the opportunity to obtain the celebrity's autograph.

[0003] Fans often want to have their favorite celebrity sign an item of memorabilia that bears the insignia, identifying logo, colors, likeness, or other design that is associated with that celebrity. For example, it is common for sports fans to try to get a famous athlete to autograph a jersey or other item of clothing or textile article bearing the insignia or name of the team of which the athlete is a member. In the case of such textile articles, a number of problems can stand in the way of getting a good autograph. In many cases, the surface of the textile article may not be particularly suitable for writing on with an ink pen. For instance, the surface may be so rough that the pen will not smoothly glide along the surface, or the rough surface may render the marks made by a pen so wavy or jagged that a good quality autograph cannot be obtained. Second, the color of the textile article may be such that a good legible autograph cannot be obtained with the types of ink pens likely to be available. For example, the textile article may be a dark color that blue or black inks do not contrast with very well.

[0004] Textile articles have been provided with separately formed tapes or labels that are attached to the article to form a space on which an ink pen can write. This is not the most desirable solution to the above problems, however, because of the extra cost and time associated with separately forming and then attaching such tapes or labels. Furthermore, the tapes or labels do not look particularly attractive and are subject to becoming detached from the textile article.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention addresses the above needs and achieves other advantages by providing a textile article having a woven-in signature space. By forming the signature space in the process of weaving the fabric of which the article is made, minimal extra time and costs are incurred to provide the signature space, and the aesthetic appearance of the signature space is improved in comparison with attached tapes or labels. Furthermore, the signature space cannot become detached from the article. If desired, the article can include an ink pen releasably attached to the article so that a suitable pen is kept handy for obtaining an autograph.

[0006] In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a textile article has a length direction along which warp yarns run and a width direction along which weft yarns run. The article includes a main body comprising yarns woven in a first weave pattern forming the majority of the total surface of the textile article. Woven into the textile article is a signature space comprising yarns woven in a second weave pattern different from the first weave pattern such that the surface of the signature space is relatively smooth in comparison with the main body and is readily written upon by hand with an ink pen. Preferably the signature space is woven in a flat weave pattern such as a plain weave. The signature space can comprise a denser weave than that of the main body; preferably, the number of picks per inch in the signature space is substantially greater (preferably 3 to 4 times greater) than the number of picks per inch in the main body of the article. The main body can be woven in a non-flat weave pattern; for example, the main body can be woven to include terry loops. Thus, even though the main body may be a suitable color that contrasts well with typical inks, it may be relatively rough such that it is not readily written upon by hand with an ink pen. Alternatively or additionally, the main body may be of a color that does not contrast well with typical inks. In any event, the signature space provides a surface of suitable smoothness and color to be readily and legibly written on with an ink pen.

[0007] The yarns of which the signature space is woven can be different in one or more respects from the yarns making up the main body. For instance, the yarns of the signature space can differ in color from those of the main body. The yarns of the signature space can be of different size from that of the yarns forming the main body.

[0008] The textile article can take on various forms, including but not limited to a towel. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the article comprises a towel. The main body of the towel is woven to include terry loops over its surface. In a preferred embodiment, a graphic relating to a particular personality (e.g., a likeness of a famous race car driver's car) is woven into the main body. A transverse border is woven into the towel at a location proximate one end of the towel. The border is woven with the same number of ends per inch as in the main body of the towel, but the number of picks per inch in the border is substantially greater than in the main body. Preferably, the border has at least twice as many picks per inch as the main body, and more preferably 3 to 4 times as many picks per inch as the main body. A portion of the border comprises a signature space woven with a flat weave such as a plain weave. The combination of greater picks per inch and the flat weave produces a smooth, closed-in surface that is readily written upon. The other parts of the border outside the signature space can be woven in a different weave from that of the signature space, such as a sateen weave. In the portions of the border outside the signature space, a printed version of the famous personality's name can be woven in. The signature space preferably is woven with weft yarns that are finer than those in the main body of the towel. For instance, the main body can be woven with 20 s 2-ply weft yarns and the signature space can be woven with 24 s 2-ply weft yarns. The warp yarns throughout the towel can be 20 s 2-ply.

[0009] In an alternative embodiment of a towel, the signature space is formed at an intermediate position along the length of the towel, i.e., not at the border. A first portion of the main body of the towel is woven starting at one end and proceeding toward the opposite end of the towel. The first portion of the main body has terry loops over its surface. Next a length of towel forming a stripe extending the width of the towel is woven with a substantially greater number of picks per inch (e.g., at least twice as many picks per inch, more preferably 3 to 4 times as many picks per inch) than in the first portion of the main body. At least a part of this stripe comprises a signature space woven in a plain weave. The signature space can occupy less than the full width of the towel, and can occupy less than the full length of the stripe. Portions of the stripe outside the signature space can be woven in a different weave from the signature space, such as a sateen weave. After the stripe is woven, a second portion of the main body is woven, the second portion having terry loops over its surface. The second portion is woven with substantially fewer picks per inch than the stripe; for example, the number of picks per inch in the second portion can be the same as in the first portion of the main body.

[0010] As noted, the main body of the textile article can include terry loops and/or a woven-in graphic element. The article can be woven by various techniques. One suitable technique is a conventional weaving method as applied to towels and the like, which involves the provision of terry loops on both of the opposite surfaces of the article. Such conventional weaving is generally limited to the use of no more than three different colors of yarns, and the warp yarns are the only visible yarns and hence are the only yarns available for creating a desired graphic design in the article. Alternatively, the article can be woven in a manner analogous to the way carpets are woven, wherein a pile surface (e.g., comprising terry loops, which can be cut if desired) is provided on only one of the opposite surfaces, i.e., on the face side of the article, and where more than three different colors of yarns can be used and both warp and weft yarns are visible and hence available for creating a desired graphic element. Such weaving methods are suitable for creating highly detailed graphics on the face side of the article, and are useful for creating articles that are designed to be displayed (e.g., framed and hung on a wall) with only the face side showing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

[0011] Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a towel in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a fragmentary top view of a portion of the towel having a woven-in signature space; and

[0014] FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2, showing an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present inventions now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

[0016] FIGS. 1 and 2 depict a first embodiment of the invention in the form of a woven towel 10. The towel includes a main body made up of portions 12 and 14. The portions 12 and 14 of the main body are woven to include terry loops on at least one side of the towel. Both sides of the towel can include terry loops if desired.

[0017] Woven into the towel at a location intermediate the opposite ends of the towel is a transverse stripe 16 that is woven without terry loops so that it has a substantially smoother surface than the main body portions 12 and 14 of the towel. The stripe 16 extends the full width of the towel. The stripe 16 is woven with a substantially greater number of picks per inch than in the main body portions 12 and 14. For example, the stripe 16 can have at least twice as many picks per inch as the main body portions, and more preferably about 3 to 4 times as many picks per inch as the main body portions. As an example, the main body portions can have about 4½ picks per inch (before finishing), and the stripe can have from about 83 to about 166 picks per inch. At least a portion of the stripe 16 comprises a signature space 18. The signature space 18 is woven in a plain weave or other flat weave pattern so that it has a smooth surface that can readily be written upon by hand with an ink pen as depicted in FIG. 2.

[0018] The signature space 18 preferably occupies less than the full width (which runs left to right in FIG. 2) of the stripe 16 as shown. The signature space 18 can also occupy less than the full length (which runs top to bottom in FIG. 2) of the stripe 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the signature space 18 is flanked on its opposite ends by two portions 20 and 22 of the stripe 16. The end portions 20 and 22 can be woven in a different weave pattern from the signature space 18. As an example, the signature space can be a plain weave and the end portions can be woven in a sateen weave.

[0019] The signature space 18 can be the same color as the main body portions 12 and 14. Alternatively, the signature space can differ in color from the main body portions.

[0020] The towel 10 can be provided in combination with an ink pen 24 suitable for writing on the signature space 18, such as a felt-tip pen with permanent ink that does not wash off in the laundry. The pen 24 can be releasably attached to the towel via an attachment system. Various attachment systems can be used, such as a strap (not shown) attached to the towel and to the pen and releasable from either the towel or the pen. Alternatively, the attachment system can comprise hook and loop fastening members engageable with each other. For instance, the pen can have a piece of hook material 26 attached to it (or to a strap in connection with the pen) for engaging loops formed on the towel 10. The hook material 26 could engage the terry loops on the main body of the towel. Preferably, however, affixed to the towel is a separate piece of loop material 28 specifically made for engaging the hook material 26. The hook 26 and loop 28 members can comprise a fastening system marketed under the trademark VELCRO® or the like.

[0021] Where the signature space 18 has a relatively light color, the pen 24 preferably has ink that is relatively dark in comparison so as to contrast well with the signature space, and vice versa. Alternatively, the signature space can be dark in color and the ink can be light in color.

[0022] In preferred embodiments of the invention, the towel also includes a logo, insignia, colors, or other identifying visual elements associated with a particular personality. For instance, the towel may include the team colors of a particular sports team, and/or a team's logo, and/or the number of a particular team member, and/or a likeness of a celebrity, etc. Such visual elements may be printed on the towel, but preferably are woven into the main body of the towel. Techniques for weaving in such visual elements are known and hence need not be described herein. The towel having a combination of a woven-in visual element and a signature space for an autograph represents a particularly desirable form of the invention from the fan's standpoint.

[0023] FIG. 3 depicts one very simple example of a visual element woven into a textile article also having a signature space. The towel 10′ depicted in FIG. 3 is generally similar to that of FIG. 2, except the portions 20′ and 22′ of the stripe 16 that flank the opposite ends of the signature space 18 are woven to have a checkered-flag type appearance reminiscent of the flag used to signal the winner of an auto race. Alternatively or additionally, the towel could include a woven-in design or color scheme corresponding to a particular driver or team in the main body portion 12 of the towel. The driver can autograph the towel in the signature space 18 as shown.

[0024] It is also possible for the stripe 16 to include portions that surround three of the four sides of the signature space 18, or that completely surround all four sides of the signature space 18, and that are woven in a sateen weave while the signature space is woven in a plain weave. The sateen-woven portions of the stripe can be woven with weft yarns that are coarser than those used for weaving the plain-woven signature space. For instance, the signature space can be woven with 24 s 2-ply weft yarns, while the sateen-woven portions of the stripe are woven with 20 s 2-ply weft yarns. In another variation, the sateen-woven part of the stripe can include a woven-in name of the personality to whom the towel pertains, for example in printed letters, so that the name is clearly legible. The personality would then autograph the signature space.

[0025] The invention has been explained by reference to towels, but the invention is not limited to towels. Various types of textile articles can include a woven-in signature space suitable for writing on with an ink pen. In general, the signature space will differ from the main body of the article in terms of weave pattern and/or number of picks per inch as noted above.

[0026] As noted, articles in accordance with the invention can be woven by various techniques. One suitable technique is a conventional weaving method as applied to towels and the like, which involves the provision of terry loops on both of the opposite surfaces of the article. Such conventional weaving is generally limited to the use of no more than three different colors of yarns, and only the warp yarns are visible and hence are the only yarns available for creating a desired graphic design in the article. Alternatively, the article can be woven by other techniques (e.g., using a computerized loom). For instance, the article can be woven in a manner analogous to the way carpets are woven, wherein a pile surface (e.g., comprising terry loops, which can be cut if desired) is provided on only one of the opposite surfaces, i.e., on the face side of the article, and where more than three different colors of yarns can be used and both warp and weft yarns are visible and hence available for creating a desired graphic element. Such known weaving methods are suitable for creating highly detailed graphics on the face side of the article, and are useful for creating articles that are designed to be displayed (e.g., framed and hung on a wall) with only the face side showing. The invention is not limited to any particular weaving technique, but can be applied to various weaving techniques.

[0027] Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these inventions pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. For example, while the stripe 16 is shown as being at an intermediate position along the length of the towel, the stripe could instead be located at one end of the towel, thus serving as a border. Other variations can also be made. Therefore, it is to be understood that the inventions are not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.