Sunday, July 30, 2017

Allergic to Wool? Not really!

I know several people have told me in the last few weeks that they are allergic to wool.  I just stumbled across this article discussing the science behind why people really aren't allegic to wool.

They might be allergic to the chemicals used to process and clean the wool, they might be sensitive to large "scales" causing an itchy feeling, if the wool contains a lot of vegetable matter which was not processed out, the stalks of the plants might cause an itchy feeling. 

But they are probably NOT allergic to wool!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

new Ravelry Group

If you are a machine knitter and in or near the Thumb area of Michigan, head over to Ravelry to check out Mitten Thumb Machine Knitters group.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Yesterday, July 26,  I demonstrated two machines at the GM Employee Car Show in Warren, Michigan.  The first machine was a KH-910 with the Evil Mad Scientist AYAB hack installed.  The other was my Home Profit antique circular sock machine with a prox sensor installed to count rows.

I also took project explanation posterboards, and a table full of about 25 pairs of socks and a few sweaters and shawls. and I took too much yarn, and a couple of boxes of tools and spare needles. And a cast-iron sewing machine base with a plywood top.  And a plastic chain.

 The back of my little GMC Terrain was pretty full.    I loaded it up the night before, because I needed to arrive at 6:30 to set up and find a good parking place after unloading.  In the morning I skipped breakfast at home and visited Tim Horton's instead.  Those guys in the drive-through are SUPER FAST, and very polite.

At the MakerFest, it took me about 2 hours to set up, re-arranging the tables a few times, with lots of help from the organizers. People started showing up and asking questions  about an hour before the official start time, so I was glad to have arrived early

I had a lot of interest from several people, including three youngsters to whom I explained the concept of swatching (prototyping to makers).  The first girl (maybe about 8 years old) asked, "What is this, a doll blanket?" and I explained that different yarns had different size stitches, and to make a full-size garment I need to do some math to calculate how many stitches to put in the full sweater in order to make it fit.  She nodded her head very seriously.  She understood the concept!  She looked at all the swatches and remarked that they were very pretty.

Eventually the sun climbed higher in the sky and I had to move my display from just on the outside of the tent to inside the tent to avoid the sun, which was beating down intensely.

I explained the difference between knitting and weaving to an automotive engineer, and related it to car hoses and tires and interiors of the cars, and how the different textiles used  have different properties.  I let a beautiful woman,  who might have been a model, sit down at the CSM and knit a few rows.  She had about 10 men following her around, and they were watching and listening intently also.  She proclaimed the experience "Immensely satisfying!"  I let another engineer get "up close and personal" to the CSM to see how a knit stich is formed when the cams lift the needle butts, forcing the old stich behind the latch and the new stich in the hook when the latch closes, slipping the old stitch off the needle.

While I was demonstrating, I knitted about 7 baby beanies on the CSM (with hems!) for donation to a GM hand knitting group to pass on to the Troy Beaumont hospital  neonatal unit for preemies.

I explained the Arduino/AYAB hack about 10 times, how the KH-910 Mylar sheets are no longer available, and that model did not have an interface to the floppy drive, so no way to permanently store the patterns, and showed the electronic components I removed from the KM and the buttons used to enter a pattern one stitch at a time.

There was at least one other Arduino project there, a programmer was using a pulse sensor input to record pulse rate while listening to various types of music, in order to put a playlist of calming music together.

All in all, I think it was a very successful day.  When the photos are available I will update this post.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monroe Seminar

I attended the Monroe Seminar, the 29th annual one.   Demonstraters Diana Sullivan of YouTube fame, Mary Anne Oger of "Knit Words" fame, and Carol Scott, who is not yet famous, but will be soon. 

Next year is going to be a REALLY BIG DEAL as the 30th annual seminar.

Thanks to Cathy Reaume and Chris for organizing this for so many years.

Monroe is more than an hour away from me.  (I don't mind travelling for this event) but I am wondering if there are other "Thumb Area machine knitters" that would be willing to join a club.

We could even sponsor an annual event, like a retreat.  But first, a club...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Resource Map of Knitting Machine - Arduino Experts

I was re-reading "Zero to Maker" by David Lang.  At the bottom of page 31, he suggests, in italics, to build a knowledge map for your subject of interest.  Since it was in italics, I thought I had better pay attention. So, here's my attempt to build a knowledge map of people who are hacking home use knitting machines.

Becky Stern with Limor Fried
Description:  Hacked the KH-930e with Adafruit to emulate the Brother (Tandy) floppy drive
Timeline: 2009 and 2010 articles in Make magazine 
References: You Tube Video  Step by Step Tutorial Blog post Makezine article 2009 QR code scarf 

Steve Conklin
Description:  Participated in hacking the original FB-30, wrote original disk emulator.  Chronicles the history of the hacks in his own "resource map" in the presentation.
Location: NYC?
Timeline: Pre-2009
References: YouTube presentation Presentation (takes a minute to load)

Knitic - Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Culet
Description:  Open Source Hardware (Arduino) and software (Knitic) to control a KH-930
Location: Barcelona
Timeline: 2012 web site- 2013 Published in Digital Humanities
References: You Tube video  Digital Humanities Article GitHub

Circular Knitic - Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Culet
Description:  3-D printed circular Knitting Machine (hat size)
Location: Barcelona
Timeline: 2013 - You Tube
References Web site

IMG2TRK - Davi Post (DaviWorks Software)
Description:  Inspired by Becky Stern Adafruit hack, software to emulate FB-100 disk drive.  60 stitch width patterning is free download, to use more needles must purchase.
Location: Madison Wisconsin
References: Ravelry Project Page Web site

AYAB - All Yarns are Beautiful
Description:  Alternate hardware and software to control KH-910, KH-950, KH-930, and KH-940 knitting machines using computer using Arduino Uno or Mega and AYAB shield
Location: Munich, Germany
Timeline: December 2015, version 0.8 released
References:Web Site Ravelry Forum Vimeo video (English closed captions)  Austin Steingrube YouTube Video 

Chaos Computer Club
Description: Computer club - some members have interest in AYAB
Location: Munich Germany
References:  Wiki

Evil Mad Scientist Lab

Description: Arduino Makers supplying (among other things) a hardware kit to replace separate Arduino board and  AYAB
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
References: Online Store

Hanna Napier

Desciption: KH-950i  retrofit with Arduino.  Very nice block diagrams of KM schematics on her page.
Location: somewhere in the UK
Timeline: Feb 2015 web page update
References: Web Page

Machine Knitters Guild San Francisco Bay Area

Description: Group of Machine knitters, some of whom are working on bug fixes with Evil Mad Scientist and AYAB
Location: San Francisco
References: Website  Makezine article 

Claire Williams

Description: Author of a widely quoted tutorial
References: Blog post


Description:  A flat-bed knitting machine that knits electronic designs
You Tube video demonstration   Kickstarter Campaign 

Lisa Lang

Description: Wearables designer using knitting machine
Location: Berlin
Timeline: May 2015 article on Arduino blog
References: Blog post

Victoria Majestix Imperia Pawlick

Description: Electronics and Textiles workshops hosted once a month
Location: Berlin
Timeline:  2014?
References: Blog Post

O Knit Me

Description: 3-D? Punchcard creation
Location: Somewhere in Italy?
Timeline: ?
References: website

Glitch Knit

Description: hacking a KH-970 to completely replace electronics. 
Location: Japan
Timeline: ?
References: Article