Traditional knitting isn’t for everyone. But what if you could have a digital knitting machine that works together with your computer? Design in software, have your knitting machine do the rest. We’re talking about “3D printing” of real clothes and accessories by knitting together fabrics. We’re talking about Kniterate, previously known as OpenKnit.
Kniterate is a startup from London, and they are now running a Kickstarter campaign to launch their Kniterate digital knitting machine. This isn’t all proprietary either. Along with the hardware, they are trying to stage a whole community that not only allows for sharing of designs, but people could perhaps even sell their work and monetize their design effort to a degree.
This innovative product could be highly appealing to people who always wanted to make money with fashion design but lacked experience and fund to go all-in with manufacturing and logistics. And even if you don’t seek to turn your fashion design work into a business, this could be a hot item for knitting enthusiasts with a tendency to go digital.
Features and fuzz
Do you care about specs? We got you covered. Kniterate has 7 gauges and utilizes 204 needles per bed. It can knit at a maximum width of 29 inches at a top speed of 0.3 m per second. You can either connect the unit to your PC via USB or store the Kniterate design files on an SD card and insert it into the unit for the embedded OS to control the knitting without a wired connection.
Kniterate is 287 lb (130 kg) heavy and its dimensions are 49″ x 25″ x 24″ (125 x 64 x 60 cm). With Kniterate you can produce items such as scarves, beanies, shoe uppers, sweaters, dresses, and everything else you can think of.
Recommended retail price at this moment is planned to be $7,499. If you back them on Kickstarter now, you can save up to 37%. That project will last only three more days though, so make sure you don’t miss out this opportunity if you’re planning on buying a Kniterate device.
Is the pricing justified? I’d say it’s a little beyond what hobbyists would pay, but it’s sophisticated manufacturing tech and possibly not overpriced. Perhaps they’ll offer a lighter version for knitting enthusiasts with a smaller budget in the future. That’s certainly a segment they wouldn’t want to miss out.
Sharing is … knitting?
There is also an alternative to hogging pricey tech in your home for yourself. You can coordinate a purchase of a Kniterate unit in your community and share it with a group of users in the same area. If you’re interested in that you should check out the “Made in the Neighborhood program” hosted on Google Docs.
At this moment, the Kickstarter campaign is funded at $596,185 of their $100,000 goal. That means this project will definitely be carried out and shipping is planned to commence in April 2018.
In a nutshell, Kniterate is taking one of the oldest professions of the civilized world to the digital age and beyond, by offering both home manufacturing and design sharing over the Internet. If you are even only a little bit interested in fashion, I recommend you to check out the video below for some knitting action.
YouTube: Kniterate: Digital Design Knitting Machine
Photo credit: Kniterate