Annie’s Automatons

This week I met up with MMU Knit tutor Dr Annie Shaw to begin exploring some new ways of working with knitting machines in tandem. We are interested in the possibility of two machines working from the same source material, and possibily being automated. To that end, Annie agreed to give me an introduction to the 60 stitch mylar optical punchcard, and the garter carriage.


The 60 stitch mylar system is really interesting – combining the data-as-linear-roll format of the 24 stitch punchcard, with the added ability to select XY subsections of that roll to program from. As such, mylar sheets may contain a number of small patterns and motifs stored across and down the punchcard – much like a Pinterest board. We managed to get the KH950i to read these discreet sections that we programmed in, which it then stored in it’s memory.

Questions that arise:

  • Can the KH950 read the mylar punchcard ‘live’ ?
  • Can this mylar be digital printed on (rather than hand drawn?)
  • Can it be bough in bulk and lasercut?

We also had a play with a garter carriage – the KG-88II – which is very much like a knitting crab. It may be slow, as it works its way along sideways, but it is automated, producing interesting sounds, and also capable of knitting and purling. As such, it can be programmed to differentiate between these two stitches on a single colour yarn, producing patterned textures. I’m hoping to include the carriage as part of the upcoming sound and knitting performance.