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Open Textile and Garment Production at the 31c3 Congress Hamburg

FashionTec beim Berlin-Brandenburg Magazin ZiBB mit Thomas Gnahm von Trafopop

RBB berichtet über Fashion und Technologie mit Thomas Gnahm von Trafopop.

Früher war Kleidung einfach nur Kleidung. Passen sollte sie, gern auch modisch sein und darin wohlfühlen sollte man sich im günstigsten Fall auch. Heute ist Kleidung nicht nur etwas zum Anziehen, sondern auch Technologie. zibb zeigt, was dahinter steckt. Wear It: Festival for wearable electronics in Berlin. Kleidungsstücke mit eingebauter Technik werden Wearables genannt. Sie verbinden Technik, hippe Mode und beispielsweise das Internet miteinander. Wie funktionieren Wearables genau? Und werden beziehungsweise können sie in unseren Alltag Einzug halten? zibb ist diesen Fragen nachgegangen und hat einen jungen Berliner Designer besucht. (10.10.2014 Tragbare Technik)

Beitrag von Heimke Burkhardt

Wear It Berlin


FashionTec Meetup:

FashionTec Working Group:

Open Fashion Wiki with Tons of Resources

3D Knitting from a 3D Computer Model

Yuki Igarashi, Takeo Igarashi and Hiromasa Suzuki already published in 2008 a way to convert 3D models into knitting models in their presentation in Japanese "3次元モデルからのあみぐるみ生成 - 五十嵐 悠紀,五十嵐 健夫,鈴木 宏".

Video in Japanese:

A knitted animal is made of a closed surface consisting of several knitted patches knitted out of yarn and stuffed with cotton. We introduce a system to create a knitting pattern from a given 3D surface model (mainly designed for rotund animal models). A knitting pattern is an instructional diagram describing how to knit yarn to obtain a desired shape. Since the creation of knitting patterns requires special skill, this is difficult for nonprofessionals. Our system automates the process and allows anyone to obtain his or her original knitting patterns from a 3D model. The system first covers the surface of the model with parallel winding strips of constant width. The system then samples the strip at constant intervals to convert it into a knitting pattern. The result is presented in a standard visual format so that the user can easily refer it during actual knitting. We show several examples of knitted animals created using the system.

Computer Graphics Forum - 3D knitting
3D Knitting in Pacific Graphics 2009

3D Kniting - Horse Knits
3D Computer Rendering and Knitting implementation

3D Knitting - Examples
3D Knitting Examples

“あみぐるみ”は閉じた面の内部に綿を詰めることで作られている.本論文では, 3 次元サーフェスモデルからあみぐるみを作成するための編み図を生成するシステムを紹介する.編み図はどのように編んでいくかを記号化したものであるが, 編み図をデザインすることは素人には難しく, スキルをもった専門家がデザインしている.本システムではその過程を自動化し,誰でも簡単に3 次元モデルから編み図を生成することができる. 本システムは3 次元モデルへ等幅のストリップを巻きつけ, 得られたストリップを等幅でサンプリングすることで,編み図へと変換する. 編み図は通常用いられているフォーマットで出力され,誰でも簡単に編み図からあみぐるみを作成できる. 本システムを利用して作成したあみぐるみを紹介する.

Yuki IGARASHI - 3D Knitting Expert
Yuki IGARASHI - 3D Knitting Expert

Yuki Igarashi, Takeo Igarashi, Hiromasa Suzuki. "Knitting a 3D Model." Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of Pacific Graphics 2008), Volume 27, Number 7, pp.1737-1743, ISSN 0167-7055, Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 2008.

五十嵐 悠紀,五十嵐 健夫,鈴木 宏正:「3次元モデルからのあみぐるみ生成」, Visual Computing / グラフィクスとCAD 合同シンポジウム 2008 予稿集 , 東京,2008年6月.




[via Steve Conklin]


Arduino and Knitting Machines AYAB Graphic Interface Project

The goal of AYAB-Knitting is to be able to program a knitting machine (currently brother 9xx models) with an image from a computer and extending the capabilities of the machines, e.g. the maximum 60 pixel image width. This is achieved by substituting the control of the needles and required identification of the current position and movement of the knitting carriage is substituted by a common Arduino microntroller, combined with a custom developed shield.

In the last few weeks, we were looking at different options to make it easier for users to work on knitting machines and we came up with an idea to develop a graphic user interface in cooperation with the AYAB project. Sebastian Oliva from Guatemala will work on this project over summer gratiously funded by Google. Thank you!

What is currently supplied:
- A transparent and lightweight API between the client computer and the Arduino, based on 115.2 kbaud serial communication.
- A proof-of-concept python implementation of the client-side of the API (the machine side is in the firmware of the Arduino).
- A simple python commandline application which uses this implementation.

Ongoing work, that will be supplied shortly as the basis for the GUI project:
- A simple PySide (Python+Qt) based GUI application which uses the API implementation, as a proof-of-concept and starting point for further GUI application development work. It will just have the same functionality as the commandline version, no fancy image processing or so.
- A new firmware version for the Arduino with a debug option to mock-up "end of line" events by pressing a button attached to the Arduino. No AYAB Shield, nor Knitting Machine needed for operation.

Video from Chaos Communication Congress 2013 (German), Deutschlandfunk ForschungAktuell

The goal of the AYAB project is to provide an alternative way to control the famous Brother KH-9xx knitting machines. There are some similar projects on the interwebs, such as Knitic or, of course, ladyada's electro-knit. The main drawback behind the existing projects is that they make use of the 930/40 series of the knitting machine - which are still pretty expensive. AYAB uses the older KH-910 model, which is cheaper than the other models, mainly because it features an error-prone scanner-mechanism for reading the image data (but we don't care because we won't use the scanner anyway…). The 930/940 series already use some kind of digital programming, which opens even more ways to hack them, other than what this project did. Normally, the KH-910 is programmed using semi-transparent picture cards which are scanned by the machine line by line. Using this information, the machine sets the needles accordingly to achieve the knitting of the picture shown on the picture card. Probably due to memory restrictions, the machine only supports pictures of max. 60 needles (= pixel) width, although the machine has a total width of 200 needles. At least, it is possible to “copy and paste” the scanned image multiple times to achieve a banner-like usage of the scanned data (useful for norwegian patterns). Now what we achieved is that you can just program the knitting machine with an image from your computer. The restriction of 60 pixel image width has been abolished due to the improved control. You can just knit an image with up to 200 pixel width. []


* All Yarns Are Beautiful (AYAB)
* Twitter AYAB
* AYAB Wiki and Documentation
* Current stable Version of AYAB
* KH-9xx hardware prerequisites and Arduino shield Hardware
* API and communication with knitting machine
* Needlework Knitting Starter
* Knittic




Couture Pattern Making Project in Java by Patrick Proy

Patrick Proy started an Open Source Pattern Making project in 2012. While it is currently (and maybe definitely) in pause, it is definitely of great value to look at his development ideas on the web. The project is in java and you can currently still have a look at it here :

Patrick Proy - Couture
Screenshot of "Couture". Display cuts off some parts, but you can see the idea and functions of the application.


Open Fit: Custom Tailored Pants Patterns with Open Source by Kyle McDonald and Lisa Kori Chung

Open Fit Lab
https:[email protected] by Lisa Kori Chung

Open Fit is a project by Kyle McDonald and Lisa Kori Chung. Open Fit is open source software that investigates several approaches to generating custom tailored pants patterns. Open Fit Lab is an attempt to use this software for on-the-spot generation and creation of custom clothes. Our first Open Fit Lab will be, Fri. June 28, 8-10 @ 1265 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. We will be exploring rapid prototyping and sewing of custom fit jeans as performance. By the Book is a traditional pattern drafting technique from a tailoring manual. It generates a trouser that is intended to be altered during the fitting stage. Draft From Center is an attempt to make this process more precise, and generate a fit closer to what is currently sold commercially. We are also exploring ways of modeling and flattening patterns in 3D.

Open Fit Lab Pants Project
https:[email protected] Lisa Kori Chung

How to use Open Fit for non-coders:

1. Download Processing:

2. Download two additional libraries:
a) You can find toxilibs at and put it in the libraries folder of your Processing sketches.
b) Download controlP5 and do the same.

3. To view our work modeling pants in 3D, you will need the peasycam and modelbuilder libraries. Get Peasycam at, unzip and put the extracted peasycam folder into the libraries folder of your Processing sketches.

4. Go to and look for a link to modelbuiler (0020). Also put it in your libraries folder.

5. The simplest way to grab our code is go to the github repository for Open Fit: Extract and put the zip file you like into your Processing folder.

6. When you open up a sketch in processing you will see two buttons on the top left, Run and Stop. This is how you run and stop the code. Currently, you can change the measurements two ways. You can run the sketch and click on the numberboxes to scroll through possible measurements. The variables at the beginning of the code in Draft from Center and By the Book are the measurements that the code will initially draw the pants from. You can type in new numbers here and re-run the sketch.

Open Fit Lab Measurement Guide Open Fit Lab Measurement Guide


* Open Fit
* Lisa Kori Chung
* An assortment of travels through electronic art by Lisa Kori Chung
* Kyle McDonald


Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator with Processing.js

Processing.js is pretty cool.I found a Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator from Laura Kogler.

This is a script to generate patterns intended to be knit using the two-color knitting technique known as "mosaic", or "slip-stitch", knitting. If you make something using this pattern generator, I'd love to know about it! You can email me (me[at], or hit me up on ravelry!

Mosaic Knitting Pattern Generator



How to make a Pattern Editor - GeoGebra as an Example

Check out the new GeoGebra Google app. It has the exact functionality which the pattern editor should have:

GeoGebra is dynamic mathematics software for education in secondary schools that joins geometry, algebra, and calculus. On the one hand, GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry system. You can do constructions with points, vectors, segments, lines, conic sections as well as functions and change them dynamically afterwards. On the other hand, equations and coordinates can be entered directly. Thus, GeoGebra has the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points, finds derivatives and integrals of functions, and offers commands like Root or Extremum. It is a free and open source software.


[via Susan Spencer]



Machine Knitting with Fabienne Serriere

Another video about machine knitting with brother machines with Fabienne Serriere from by Sam Muir in "Spring time" in Berlin 2012/13, which rather looks like winter though still ;-)

Machine Knitting with FBZ: Part II - In Deep Knit from Sam Muirhead.

This winter has been the longest and darkest in Berlin since 1951, so last month I paid another visit to Fabienne Serrière (FBZ) who you might recall from my earlier video as a hardware hacker and machine knitter extraordinaire. This time I had something of my own I wanted to knit. Inspired by Fabienne and Becky Stern and everybody else involved in hacking these machines, who built upon the work of others and then put their own improvements into the commons, I decided to draw on the commons to create an open source hat. ... One of many images from Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863) on the Public Domain Review. These images are certainly beautiful, but that was 1863, we’ve moved on a bit since then. Now, thanks to the aid of modern technology, we can finally present these snowflakes as the artist would have envisioned them, in glorious 1-bit duocolor []

Knitting Hat from Brother Knitting Machines
Knitted Snowflakes from:  Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863)

Two files to help reproduce the work are attached to this entry or check out the original guides below.


License: You also have permission to make, alter, improve or sell this hat, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.

Amazing Knitting Machine Hack Glitch Knit by Japanese

I found an amazing Knitting Machine Hack and production system by some Japanese artists and developers online called Glitch Knit. The team brings together Nukeme, a hardware engineer Tomofumi YOSHIDA, the software engineer So KANNO and a supporting member Emi YAMAMOTO.

The team uses a brother KH970 knitting machine, which was produced until 2005 and was discontinued afterwards. The parts list for hacking the machine:
* Arduino Due
* Connector : MicroBlade™ 53014-0810
* Photo interrupter : Sharp GP1S58VJ000F or compatibles
* Transistor Array : TD6208APG or compatibles

The team made circuit boards with a paperboard for prototyping with Adobe Illustrator and a Laser Cutter.

Source Code
The source code is available at Github here:

GlitchKnit Knitting Machines Hack
GlitchKnit Set up

Software GlitchKnit Knitting Machines Hack
GlitchKnit Software

GlitchKnit Knitting Products
Glitch Knit Outcome

From the website description: This project divided into two main content. Firstly, by hacking a knitting machine, exposing the environment that can be output an image as knit by anyone. Secondly, by using the knitting machine that we hack, to make a “Glitch Knit”. The glitch is "damaged of data or machinery" and "damaged data but possible to play". The “Glitch Knit” has two different way. One is output of the digital image data which was glitched. The other is to damage the structure of lace knit. It is output as knit full of holes. Knitting machine that is hacked, is introduced as a new equipment in FabLabShibuya, and how to hack is also published on Github and Instructables. In this project, knit work is also the work, and the environment itself for making the knit is also work. This is a kind of digital fabrication, extension of the handicraft, and device hacking. And more this is the one of methodology for fashion design and a thing descended the glitch movement. (

このプロジェクトは、内容としては大きく2つに分かれています。1つ目は、ニッティングマシーンをハックし、誰でも画像をニットとして出力できる環境を公開すること、2つ目は、ハックしたニッティングマシーンを使ってグリッチニットを作ることです。 グリッチとは、”機械やデータの破損そのもの”や、”破損しているけれど再生が可能な状態”のことを指します。 グリッチニットの制作方法は2つあります。1つはグリッチした画像データを、ニットとして出力したもの。もう1つはレース編みの構造を破綻させ、穴だらけのニットとして出力したものです。 ハックしたニッティングマシーンは、FabLabShibuyaに新たな機材として導入され、そのハックの方法も含めて公開されています。 このプロジェクトでは、ニット作品も作品であり、ニット作品を作るための環境自体もまた、作品です。 これはデジタル・ファブリケーションの一種であり、手芸の延長であり、デバイス・ハッキングでもあり、かつ、グリッチ・ムーブメントの流れを汲んだもので、そしてファッション・デザインのための一つの方法論です。

Designer: Nukeme
Hardware engineer: Tomofumi YOSHIDA
Software engineer: So KANNO /
Support: Emi YAMAMOTO

Electronic Textile Institute: Designer Maker Community in Berlin

I read about the people from the Electronic Textile Institute in Berlin already a while ago. I was excited to have the chance to meet Victoria Pawlik in the space in Berlin Wedding on Saturday together with Andre Rebentisch from the Berlin Startup community.

Victoria Pawlik, Berlin Electronic Textile Institute
Victoria Pawlik at Electronic Textile Institute (

The group working at the space is still small, but the projects they are doing are already very exciting. Victoria studied fashion design and uses the places as a creative space to develop ideas and produce cloth designs, which she sells at community markets and online shops like VLP-Designs at Dawanda and RedPinkGreen at Etsy.

Electronic Textile Institute Berlin with Mario Behling and Victoria Pawlik
Electronic Textile Institute Berlin

Other people at the space are coming from the IT and hackers community. Fabienne is known for her involvement into Open Source and Open Hardware. She likes to hack into knitting machines and creates incredible patterns, that are unique in every aspect. One of the designs at the shop is particularly interesting as none of the pattern parts repeat itself.

By Open-Sourcing older Brother knitting machines and connecting a PC to a machine Fabienne was able to enhance the functioning and extend the functionalities beyond the original one.

Brother CK-35, Knitting Machine with Open Source
Brother CK-35, Open Sourced Knitting Machine

Fabienne Serriere, Knitting Pattern, Electronic Textile Institute Berlin
Knitting Pattern of Fabienne Serriere, Electronic Textile Institute Berlin

Electronic Textile Institute Berlin wit Victoria Pawlik and Andre Rebentisch
Electronic Textile Institute Berlin with Victoria Pawlik and Andre Rebentisch


Personal Manufacturing - Knitting Printer

Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet Sola gave a presentation about personal manufacturing and knitting, which they published on Slideshare.

Varvara Guljajeva is an artist working in the field of art and technology. Varvara has exhibited her art pieces in a number of international shows and festivals. The artist was selected for the residency at FFKD, IAMAS, EMARE (FACT, Liverpool), Crida, MU Gallery, Verbeke Foundation, Marginalia+Lab, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, and more.

Mar Canet Sola is an artist, researcher who likes to write software exploring new ways of playfulness and expression, inspired in digital age. I am working in computer games, data visualization and new media art installations. He is a co-founder of the art collective Derivart, working in the intersection between finance, art and technology. He is also co-founder of Lummo, a small studio of new media architecture and working as an artist-duo with Varvara Guljajeva.

Knitting Machine Creations by Fabienne Serriere

Sam Muirhead published a great video picturing Fabienne Serriere's work with knitting machines.

Fabienne's Hacked Knitting Machine Creations! from Sam Muirhead on Vimeo.

Once upon a time, there was a warm, fuzzy hack. It was 2010 – Becky Stern and Lada Ada (Limor Fried) built on Steve Conklin’s disk emulator and knitting machine resources to allow their modern computers to work with the ancient microcontroller of a 1980s knitting machine. This meant that they could now knit designs made with modern tools, too complex or tedious to easily knit by hand. They shared their work with the world and since then, following an open hardware model, they and many others have contributed hardware and software improvements, smoothed the workflow, and allowed other models of knitting machine to be hacked. I went for a beautiful autumnal bike ride over to Wedding and caught up with Fabienne Serrière (FBZ), who has contributed a number of improvements to the original hack and has the wonderful woolens to show for it. We talked about the history of knitting machines, this hack, open hardware and Fabienne’s various projects, and started plotting to make an open source sweater to keep me warm in the winter months. We covered so many different things that I can only show you a brief introduction to her projects now, but there will be more to come! [Sam Muirhead


Brother KH-930 Knitting Machine Hacking and Knitting Tutorial

A video tutorial that was already published 2010 by Becky Stern gives a great overview of the proces to work with a hacked brother knitting machine KH-930e. The hack is based on the work of Steve Conklin and published on github here:

The Brother KH-930e Knitting Machine can be controlled by Open Source software. Parts of the process require commandline experience and Python knowledge.

Disk Drive/Computer Connection Notes

The external floppy drive for this machine was the same as a Tandy PDD1 (Portable Disk Drive 1). This drive is connected using a serial port. There is documentation on the internet about how to connect these drives to computers, but the connector pinout on the knitting machine is different than the drive, and I didn't find that documentation to be helpful. I was able to figure out the connector pinout by examining the knitting machine PCB.

Knitting Machine/Computer Connection Notes

The knitting machine drive connection uses CMOS voltage levels, not RS-232. Here is the pinout of the drive connector on the knitting machine:

      |   |
|   |   |   |   |
| 7 | 5 | 3 | 1 |
|   |   |   |   |
| 8 | 6 | 4 | 2 |

The pin numbering is shown as they are labeled on the knitting machine PCB, and does not agree with other documents I found on the web.

Connector Pinout
2 OutTied to 5, Pulled up through 1K resistor
3CTS?In(Tie to pin 2)
4No Connection  
5 OutTied to 2, Pulled up through 1K resistor
8RTS?OutFollows state of Pin 3 (buffered)

Methods of connecting the knitting machine to a computer

Using a FTDI serial adapter cable (RECOMMENDED)

Using an FTDI adapter is the best way to assure that you are interfacing with the machine using the same signal voltages as the original external floppy drives. This is documented on this wiki page, which will someday be merged with this one.MProg only runs under windows.

Using a USB serial adapter WITH flow control

This is a method I have used extensively with one model of knitting machine, but I no longer recommend it. Although it does not require any additional hardware like a FTDI adapter, this method does not present the exact same voltage levels to the knitting machine as the external drives which were designed to work with the machine. Although I have not had any reports of problems, it is possible that this method could stress the knitting machine input circuitry, and therefore I think it is safest not to use it.

Cable connections with flow control
Knitter9 pin connector

Using a USB serial adapter WITHOUT flow control

I have pulled pin 3 high, and am not using flow control in my software. I have not had problems with data loss while sending to the knitting machine, and the machine I am using is fast enough to always keep up with data received from the knitting machine. The data rate is 9600 bps, and the largest amount of data sent at once is 1024 bytes. Here is the cable I am using to connect the knitter with a USB 9 pin serial port:

Cable connections without flow control
Knitter9 pin connector
2 tie to 3 

Software Interface Information

There are a number of documents on the web about the Tandy PDD1 and the serial API for it, Most of them are incomplete. The knitter places the drive into a mode called "FDC emulation Mode", which allows access to raw sectors. This document is the most complete documentation I was able to find: Media:Tandy-Disk-Reference.pdf

External Disk Drive Emulator

I have written software that emulates the external disk. It runs under Linux and keeps the data as files on the linux file system. This allows knitting designs to be saved and restored using the emulation computer. I am using these files to reverse-engineer the knitting machine file format. The emulator is written in Python, and released under the GPL. It has been tested most extensively under Ubuntu Linux. I have reports that it does not work on windows due to problems with the serial library. It has been successfully run under OSX. If you have any information to add about platforms that it does or doesn't work on, let me know and I will update this informationI am happy to work with people who are trying to use the emulator with different models of knitting machine, and hoep to improve compatibility with other machines. The source code is available in the git repository listed above. Software for manipulating Brother data file: I have begun a python class which will provide an API to the brother data files. Source code is in the git repo. Knitting Machine File Format: A lot of the file format is now understood. Documentation is in the git repo.Work on this continues.This work was greatly helped by prior work performed by John R. Hogerhuis and posted on the kminternals yahoo group.



BL5 Brotherlink 5 serial or USB cable Brotherlink information

Yahoo group dedicated to hacking brother machines

Brother Liberation Front is working on open source interfaces

Info and protocols for the FB-100 interface

KE-100 motor drive (not sure that this is the right model drive for the KH-930E)

Adafruit Tutorial:



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