Knitting Hack

Autonomously knit some clothes!

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In the past few weeks, we've made several e-textile posts, namely one about an E-Textile meet-up and another about our new e-textile category. While this project might not quite be "e-textiles," it certainly is in the same realm (well, kinda).

What we have here is a fully-automated knitting machine. It uses a Picaxe microcontroller, old sewing parts, and some clever programming to autonomously create knit goods. So if e-textile means clothing outfitted with electronics, what do we call clothes made by electronics? Whatever it is, we like it. If the forecast calls for snow and you need a scarf, put in a spool of yarn and sit back - soon, you'll have a nice toasty neck-warmer!

Comments 33 comments

  • Member #9869 / about 13 years ago / 7

    That is really cool, we can now make the worlds longest/ugliest scarf and strangle Justin Bieber with it?

    • Ooh! Ooh! Can I do it?!

    • haha, +1.

    • Lynne / about 13 years ago / 1

      I think a circular knit stretch sensor scarf will serve your purpose. Check out Hannah's research and scheme away:

        • orcinus / about 13 years ago / 1

          Oh, wow! Scarves that can constrict people AND sense exactly how badly they're constricting them!
          I'm getting all sorts of weird ideas from this... Like an auto-adjusting, stretch measuring, memory-polymer powered cap. Or ear-wiggle control based user input! Imagine that: this + arduino + bluetooth = ear-wiggle operated cellphone headset! :D

    • orcinus / about 13 years ago / 1

      Hmmm... Self-constricting, Arduino-based, Xbee controlled e-textile scarves...
      plots a world domination scheme

    • TheGreat837 / about 13 years ago / 1

      +1 for Member9869

    • N.Poole / about 13 years ago / 1

      ...and with enough scarf left over to strangle "The Ready Set"

  • detour / about 13 years ago / 2

  • sandrew / about 13 years ago / 1

    it may solve my knitting problem -- can you make sweater parts to specifications so I can just sew them together and make it look like I really took the time?

  • RobitTechnology / about 13 years ago / 1

    wonderfull i like it, where the other e-textile products :)

  • JohnD. / about 13 years ago / 1

    You guys, it'd be pretty cool to have some tron motorcycle jackets with EL lighting i think they'd be a hit. Then again nobody reads comment #28.

  • dwc309 / about 13 years ago / 1

    But can it do knit one perl 2?

  • PaulGroenendaal / about 13 years ago / 1

    There are also professional knitting machines which do this a bit faster.. so it is possible!
    You should go to the Textile Museum in Tilburg if you think textile is awesome if your coming to visit Holland..

  • bosto / about 13 years ago / 1

    I wonder if this guy is aware of KnitML

  • Ben121 / about 13 years ago / 1

    This is so cool, now you can wear hand-made-machine-made clothes.

    • N.Poole / about 13 years ago / 2

      Yes! We can finally start a breed of techno-hipsters that has nothing to do with Apple! lol.

      • N.Poole / about 13 years ago / 2

        (not an anti-apple statement, btw. Even though I am a PC, lol. Just an anti-iPhone Hipster statement)

  • nolaspring / about 13 years ago / 1

    Going along the lines of having a conductive thread woven through the textile, I'd like to see Pokino offer a conductive material that you can use in 3d Printing so one could print the wiring for whatever right into the object itself.

    • Lynne / about 13 years ago / 1

      I would like to see that myself! just sent them a tweet.

  • JRMorrisJr / about 13 years ago / 1

    Wife: I'd like you to spend more time with me.
    Hubby: Doing what?
    Wife: Knitting.
    Hubby: OK!

  • kvan / about 13 years ago / 1

    It looks like they are using an old ball bearing rails for server racks. Awesome project for the winter season!

  • dksmall / about 13 years ago / 1

    I can see it now, auto-routing for E-Textile projects and gerber files that feed the knitting machine!!

    • I've often wondered - why not send a spool of conductive thread to a small textile factory and have them weave some conductive cloth for you. They could be instructed to weave a Proto-Board style pattern, where you have horizontal or vertical stripes of conductive cloth seperated by stripes on non-conductive cloth. You could sew LED's or other electronics onto the cloth much like traditional buttons (clothing buttons, not push buttons).
      Can someone please do this and report back with the results? I lack the motivation to do it myself :(

      • What I was trying to describe is this:
        Set a loom up with a spool of conductive thread and a spool of non-conductive thread. Then weave several dozen rows of conductive weave followed by several dozen rows of non-conductive weave. This way you wind up with a stripe pattern; a stripe of conductive cloth followed by stripe of non-conductive cloth.
        This would be similar to a Breadboard type pattern, where you have rows of conductors separated by a non-conductor. Then you could stitch components to the cloth in a way simiar to how you build up circuits on a breadboard.

      • Lynne / about 13 years ago / 1

        Conductive cloth is available, however creating a multi layered circuit is the trick. I have done it with fused fabric and conductive thread I have also experimented weaving my own conductive cloth
        You can also etch conductive fabric but, this is not layered.


      • TPRBM / about 13 years ago / 1

        The problem is you don't want the whole thing to be conductive thread, just selectively so. I would be impressed if there were automated weaving/knitting machines that would weave in a separate thread arbitrarily where you want it, but I'm guessing those don't exist, though I hope to be proven wrong.

    • Exactly! Feed some conductive yarn in there and it's almost the fabric equivalent of a CNC machine. :)
      Can they crank up the speed on that bad boy?

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