Machine Knitting aka Lo Fi Goodness
Knitting has always been one of those activities that I’ve coveted. Fluffy sweaters, intricate scarves, little baby kimonos (oh wait, that was one of my failed projects…). And as if the results were not cool enough, I also just loved the idea of the community around it. Unfortunately, although I’ve always loved the IDEA of knitting, I… well, I really really suck at it. Then I found out about knitting machines.
I’m not sure how but somehow I’d stumbled upon a knitting machine hack by Becky Stern and the idea of hacking an electronic knitting device to do my bidding was way too enticing. It turns out that I’m a bit late to the party. Since the hack was published, those particular knitting machines had shot up in price. I mentioned it and it was hudson who’d first spotted something labeled TOYOTA hanging out at Resistor. It turned out that it’s one of Kelbot’s machines. She graciously loaned it to us for an evening to play with and play we did. The photo below shows our (ahem, my) first mistake. Since I didn’t know to add weights to the first row of the item, it quickly went south.
But not to worry! What’s a little hacking without some help from friends? Others quickly swapped in to help untangle the mess. There were 4 of us consistently poking and prodding at the machine, another that was shooed away, and in our moments of wonderment, we even started a google hangout with Kelbot for advice. (confession: not sure if any of us really wanted to RTFM but it turns out that the manual isn’t too shabby). Anyway, at any given point when one of us would grow bored/annoyed/whatever with the machine, someone else would step in to poke at it a bit more. We finally got it to work and managed to knit 512 lines of a gorgeous… umm… scarf? I then “hand embroidered” Adam’s name on it. Our awesome output is shown here.
It was a super fun night amongst friends so it turns out I got the best of both worlds, my first (perhaps not my last?) stab at a knitting machine and a community to dork around with. Additional photos can also be found here. And lastly, Kelbot did a great teardown of this beauty here for those who are interested in the innards of this workhorse.