Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ooh heck, there's been lots going on in the past few months and there's a blog post backlog mounting up!

First, I should mention that I'm very pleased to have lots of work in the current exhibition at Walford Mill Crafts in Dorset, Knit 1, Mend 1, Keep 1, Change 1. They're showing several stitch-hacked and pattern-blagged pieces, along with my re-knitting sampler garment and a nice big version of my spectrum of re-knitting treatments. The exhibition is on until Sunday 1 March, and features work by other makers, including the fabulous Celia Pym. Highly recommended!

And now, here goes with a quick post about a really great day in January.

I was invited by Alex McLean to take part in a Hack the City event in Sheffield, in association with his 'Weaving Codes - Coding Weaves' research project. 

It was my first experience as a participant in a hack, and I found it really nice to have a day set aside for playful exploration, alongside interesting people from diverse backgrounds. 

I teamed up with Holger Ballweg, a live coder, to explore whether it was possible to write some code to convert a written knitting pattern into sounds. We based it on a traditional Shetland lace stitch - horseshoe - and used a free pattern from Knitting Bee. Towards the end of the day we tested the code with another lace stitch.

I have to confess that the division of labour felt rather unequal - Holger slaved away over creating a whole new lot of code, while I knitted a nice repetitive and familiar pattern! 

We made it so the speed of the sounds could be varied - at knitting speed (as in the first YouTube clip below), or much faster, which shows the repeats in the pattern quite effectively (and amusingly - click the second clip below). I think the version at knitting speed could (with lots of development and refinement) be useful for knitters, especially those with visual impairment.

Hopefully, we'll be able to develop this in the future... A big thank you to Holger for taking on my challenge, and for posting the clips online. You can read his blog post about the project, which includes a link to the source code, here.