I’ve been dreaming of sock knitting machines

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Not literally… though I have been fascinated with the motion and mechanics behind machines that craft. The irony is we can teach or design machines to do the things that we do but they can never master our ability to change how something is produced. Machines may be able to produce things far more quickly, but we lowly humans are still required to invent new machines, figure out how to use the machines in new and different ways, or figure out what to do when the machines break.

I really don’t think I’m going to spend $300+ on a sock knitting machine, I’d put that money toward a spinning wheel or beginner’s loom (or even more yarn). Besides after looking at the complexity of the machinery and reading about how many needles are needed for your average automatic sock knitting machine, my instinct tells me that the sock machine might be a little too high maintenance a gadget for me. Still, it’s nice to read and learn about the machines and how they work and appreciate the quaintness of the form and packaging the sock machines come in. From the photos the mechanism of the machines reminds me of those old fashioned hand crank beaters. When I was a child we had an electric one, but every time we stayed at some vacation condo or summer cabin, I’d rummage through the kitchen drawers looking for the hand beater. Even as a child I enjoyed machines. My parents actually bought me an erector set at one point and one of my favorite activities was finding out how many ways I could use the tiny motor to move or do things. I suppose even as a child I wanted to build robots.*

I think after next week, I’m going to buy this book, Knitting Technology. Yes it looks very geeky and far too technical. In fact, the table of contents holds a few topics that would drive most readers away. Who else but me would get really into a chapter titled “The manufacture of hosiery on small-diameter circular machines.”

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*Lego Factory Software: All this talk of toys and machinery reminds me of this great sitelegobunny.jpg I found the other day on Lego that allows you to create (and then order) your own customized Lego sets. Check it out: Lego Factory. I also quickly put together my own Lego bunny. What I love about this tool is how well designed it is and how I can zoom in/out and flip the views of the object that I’m building.  Also, I can select from all the fancy new Lego pieces that didn’t exist when I was a kid (hubs, gears, intersections, more complex sockets). Remember being pissed that your mother clipped your fingernails so short your stubby little hands couldn’t pry the bricks apart? (Yes, I am aware that I am perpetuating Lego’s viral marketing campaign).


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Filed under Fashion, Fibers, Gadgets, Robots, Science, Techie, Toys, Uncategorized

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