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Engineer Hacks Old Knitting Machine to Create Giant Tapestry of the Galaxy


 

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A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

When Melbourne-based Software Engineer Sarah Spencer stumbled across an old Empisal knitting machine from the 1970s in a charity shop, she couldn’t resist taking it home. Despite not having the manual, Spencer managed to get the machine working within a few hours, and was instantly hooked by its intriguing, complex mechanisms and inner electronics.

One year and one vintage knitting machine later, Spencer managed to hack and program the mechanism into her very own custom appliance. While the original apparatus only allowed the user to knit with two colors, Spencer wanted to be able to create multicolored knits. She explains, “That’s like having a black and white printer when what I really wanted was a color printer!” She designed an algorithm that could translate pixels into stitches in one of three different colors, allowing her to transform simple digital images into a textile versions. After many knitted scarves and baby blankets, Spencer decided to scale things up—astronomically in fact. The clever crafter created an incredible knitted tapestry of the cosmos, called Stargazing, that features all 88 constellations.

Spencer used star data from publicly available maps to create the 9′ x 15′, 33-pound design. Taking around 100 hours to complete, the incredible knit was made from three colors and seven separate panels stitched together. The machine took entire nights to execute each segment, and Spencer spent many more hours hand-stitching the pieces together into one single skyscape. “Yarn is a fuzzy material to work with, so it wasn’t a perfect science,” she admits.

Spencer debuted her Stargazing piece at Electromagnetic Field, a camping tech-and-arts festival in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2018. Unsure of where her giant knit will go next, she hopes to inspire the next generation of crafty tech designers. She says, “As a woman in tech, I wanted to create something which would engage young minds in an area of STEM. [Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics].”

You can keep up to date on Spencer’s innovative craft projects on Instagram.

Melbourne-based Software Engineer and craft enthusiast Sarah Spencer created an incredible knitted tapestry of the cosmos, called Stargazing.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

The clever crafter hacked a vintage knitting machine and updated the software to include an algorithm that could translate pixels into stitches.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

Spencer used star data from publicly available maps to create the 9′ x 15′, 33-pound design.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

The incredible piece is made of 7 panels and took around 100 hours to complete.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sarah Spencer (@heartofpluto) on

//www.instagram.com/embed.jsSarah Spencer/ Heart of Pluto: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Etsy
h/t: [Open Culture]

All images via Sarah Spencer/ Heart of Pluto.

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The post Engineer Hacks Old Knitting Machine to Create Giant Tapestry of the Galaxy appeared first on My Modern Met.





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