Custom orders and another Brother machine

Hi Mum! Just a quick blog post from me today. I’ve been super busy with anniversaries, custom orders and working with the new one pixel per knit knitting…

Yay laptop cover! Turns out Naked Discovery is an educational facility and nothing to do with actual nakedness.
More blankets! See the difference between the old (pixelated) algorithm and the new offset algorithm. Four times the resolution and the new blanket pattern is bigger than my knitting machine’s memory!

I’d just like to give a shout out to a local tshirt printing shop called Das T-Shirt Automat. They’re a small corner store which prints your designs onto nice quality tshirts. John and I just had our 2nd wedding anniversary, the theme being cotton. While this should have been the PERFECT opportunity to knit John a cotton jumper, I wasn’t able to finish it before I caught the flu and all good intentions went out the window. Das T-Shirt Automat to the rescue! I designed a couple of uniquely John cotton tshirts and they turned the print around in a couple of days. To my surprise, they also have a Brother brand machine which does all their printing!

A Brother from another era!

I thought that was super cool and worth a shout out.

The tshirt designs you ask? Well, they obviously had to be space themed and about us (kinda). Needless to say they’re a little obscure. I blame the high fever 🙂

That’s all from me for now. We’re headed to the Geelong Scarf Festival opening night at The National Wool Museum tomorrow so very excited about that. Hundreds of space themed knits! I don’t know how I’ll cope.

Stargazing ABC and the Geelong Scarf Festival 2017

Our beautiful Milky Way (CC0 Public Domain, free for commercial use, no attribution required)

Sometimes (often) I’m backward in coming forward. It’s a failing. I’m working on it. 🙂

You would think that for someone who’s done three coloured knits before with success, using one knit per pixel is just a stretch goal. Not real critical. However, my recent work in Algorithms of Multi-Coloured Knitting had a lot of motivation behind it. There was a thing I really wanted to make. So much so, it had me twisting my brain in knots trying to figure out a way to make it a reality.

Some weeks ago John and I were watching Stargazing Live on ABC, mere days after I cracked the three colour algorithm. Go check it out on iView if you’re at all interested in the night sky and what average Australians can tell you about what’s up there. A lot of passionate people are taking amazing photos with off the shelf cameras, not to mention what the professionals are up to at Siding Spring Observatory.

“She looks cold”, said John pointing to a visibly shivering Kumi Taguchi interviewing the Space Gandalf.
“Her scarf is ineffectual”, I replied, having been watching the scarf parade on screen as much as delighting in the astronomy.
“You could make her a scarf”
“There’s a particular scarf I want to make, but it can’t be done.”
“What’s stopping you?”
“Well… I’ve improved the resolution issue with the new algorithm but I still don’t think I have enough pixels. I want to knit the Milky Way.”
“You’d better figure it out soon, looks like there’s another scarf festival on this year and the theme is Galaxies.”
“Wow… you’re KIDDING me?!”

Continue reading “Stargazing ABC and the Geelong Scarf Festival 2017”

Algorithms of Multi-Coloured Knitting

I’ve already posted about hacking a knitting machine to accept multi-colour patterns. Today I’d like to expand on that with some work I’ve done recently to improve the multi-colour algorithm.

When I knit in multi-colour I use a method called Double Jacquard. This involves the Brother KM-950i, ribber KR-850 and colour changer KC-900.

Different coloured yarns are held in the colour changer on the left. Moving the carriage right with one coloured yarn will simultaneously knit the yarn into the front (knitting machine bed up top) and back (ribber bed down the bottom) to create double-layered knitting.

The result is a multi-coloured pattern on the front and a simple pattern called Birds Eye to tie all the loose yarn together on the back.

Knitted pattern on the front, knitted birds eye on the back and purls in the middle. I also sell these personalized baby blankets on Etsy.

But we can do better than this.

Continue reading “Algorithms of Multi-Coloured Knitting”

Hacking the Brother KM-950i to Knit Multi-Colour Patterns

I’ve previously discussed hacking the Brother KM-950i. The major limitation to this work was the hack only supported two-colour patterns. That’s like having a black and white printer when what I really wanted was a colour printer!

Two-colour patterns are quite simple. Each knit is represented in binary (0 or 1) for the two colours.

Output of a two colour pattern

So how could this possibly support multi-colour? It wasn’t until 2015 (2 years after my initial fork of the Brother KM-930e hack) when I had my first epiphany and a year later in 2016 when I actually knitted a multi-coloured thing. This upgrade to the original two-colour hack has been several years in the making!

Continue reading “Hacking the Brother KM-950i to Knit Multi-Colour Patterns”

Hacking the Brother KM-950i

“Hack a knitting machine!” They said.
“It’ll be fun!” They said.

Well, I did get there eventually. But it was a battle just to get two-colour hacked knitting working (not of Mordor proportions, but still very big). I’d like to give you a quick introduction of the code and methods I used. I’ll be posting about upgrading to the multi-colour hack (ie, more than two colours) in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Back in 2013 when I lived in London I tinkered around with a Brother KM-950i knitting machine at the London Hackspace. Thanks to the awesome work by Adafruit there was a python hack available for the Brother KM-930e so I thought I could just dive in and make my own hacked knitting.

Cue proverbial rabbit hole.

Continue reading “Hacking the Brother KM-950i”

Loving the mathematics of sea snails

Sourcing inspiration for unique design ideas sure does lead me down some truly weird and wonderful paths. Last week it was all about snails. Tropical sea snails to be precise!

The original Oliva Porphyria sea shell is a thing of beauty on its own. With its distinctive geometry, it’s hard to believe this pattern comes from nature:

Tropical sea snail shell detail
Image attributed to Hectonichus on Oliva Porphyria Wikipedia article.

But how could I possibly emulate this in woollen form?

Continue reading “Loving the mathematics of sea snails”

Wherever you go, there you are

We’ve had quite an epic few years traveling Europe and seeing some awe-inspiring projects that would knock the socks off any layman. I mean, we’re both makers at heart, but there’s nothing quite like seeing what other people have been doing to remind you how little you’ve done and how much more there is yet to do.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

We’ve finally settled down in one location and it’s high time we shared some of the things we’ve been up to. From automated gardening to converting a knitting machine into a network printer, we’ve got a tonne of ideas we can’t wait to share with you.

So, here’s the obligatory “hello world!” and “watch this space”.

What projects have left you particularly inspired recently?