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crafted: knitter hackathon

A couple of weeks ago, I  started a hacking project on my knitting machine based on Becky Stern’s video.  It would allow me to program patterns into my knitting machine directly from my computer with digital imagery.  This way I wouldn’t have to figure out a manual graph pattern or enter each stitch, one by one, into the machine.  I was really excited.

I had my niece over for a hack-a-thon evening and we got as far as rewiring the cable.  But as we got to the software part, we got stuck and ended the evening.  Stern made everything look so easy, but boy was the video (and tutorial) deceiving.   It turns out that it is missing a lot of instructions/information because she assumes you are already a tech expert.  If you don’t have any experience with python programming or hacking, you will be lost – as I was, in some areas.  In the end, the only hard part was not having all of the essential information.   It is actually very doable.  As an Educator, I believe that information should not be elite and learning is only as good as the instructions that you get.  Unless someone has a real hang up about learning, there’s not much that is not teachable.

To make things worse, there was no support or responses from any of the forums and even Stern’s youtube account.  I was only able to get bits of help from Steve Conklin, who wrote the software, but most of the helpful tips came from my friend Derek Chung.   So, after the ordeal, I decided to amend the tutorial document to fill in all of the gaps so that it might help others.  If you are stuck on this project or want to embark on this hacking project, use this tutorial instead if you don’t want to tear your hair out… Download here.

hackpost2

This is an image of axons from a developing brain that I used to test out the hack.  I’m excited about the different possibilities for imagery and will be doing more, once I’ve had a short break.  I hope to post more soon.