Make a knitting machine print pixel art

[Becky Stern] shows how to take an old electronic knitting machine and interface it with a computer. After seeing the Brother KH-930E knitting machine in the video after the break it looks like the controls function quite like a CNC milling machine. Patterns can be programmed in and stored on a floppy disk. Since we don’t want to use those anymore (unless they’re hacked as an SD card carriage) it is nice to see that this is how the machine is connected to a computer. Using an altered FTDI cable and a floppy-drive emulator written in Python a blank design file can be saved on the knitting machine, manipulated in the computer to add your own pixel art, then loaded back onto the machine for production. At the very least, it’s interesting to watch the knitting happen, but fans of knitted apparel and geek paraphernalia must be salivating by now.

We’ve never given up our dream to transition from Hack-A-Day to Craft-A-Day, this just fuels the fire for that cause.


  1. redbeard says:

    Also, for the crib notes, check out Limor & I’s github accounts where we put together some of the code for this:

    and of course, Becky’s website:

  2. Zagro says:

    Whats so odd is i was looking at mechanized sock knitters on youtube earlier and then this shows up in hackaday …

    Back to youtube i go…

    Note (the sock knitter shows up in recommended i didn’t search for it but it was interesting.

  3. Bjonnh says:

    5261 mails well done…

  4. Hirudinea says:

    I love a woman who can knit AND hack!

  5. Jan says:

    That’s a cool hack

  6. tehox says:

    This chick looks like a younger bill gates. yeesh

  7. Matt says:

    So, the only thing keeping me from trying this out is that I know nothing to do with knits, and these machines are still expensive / above the impulse buy price.

    Very cool, wish I could justify getting one to try this with.

  8. 12o says:

    Hey HackADay admins!!

    This hack deserves a start of its own category. “Knitting hacks”. That’s awesome enough to earn a start to its own category.

  9. yuppicide says:

    That’s a woman? Looks like Bill Gates.

  10. Grovenstien says:

    Mmmmm Self referential Knitwear, I hope that the wool is not to itchy for my sensitive pasty white skin!

  11. Grovenstien says:

    @yuppicide perhaps bill gates looks more like a woman?

  12. Addidis says:

    computer aided knitting, I actually find my self wanting one of these. I don’t know a thing about knitting but I know my fair share about computers. I also think being able to make stylish winter caps is a decent idea. A computer aided knitting machine would mean I could make cool stuff and still not know how to knitt. I call that a win.

  13. Pilotgeek says:

    @yuppicide: A very sexy Bill Gates.

  14. anon says:

    Someone really needs some hair styling! And contact lenses.

  15. Carrie says:

    The article isn’t about her looks, it’s about her superior hacking skillz. F u guys, get a life.

  16. gorddev says:

    super super cool hack

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