Speaking as someone who has only ever hand-knitted, I can’t speak too authoritatively when it comes to knitting machines.
So when I enquired with a knitwear-design pal of mine about them recently, she mentioned that domestic machines are often bought second-hand these days, from an old supply of 1980’s models, as there’s been far less demand for them on the market in recent years, and so no-one really manufactures them now.
Presumably with the rise of fast fashion, the requirements of manufacturing knitted clothing has changed and diminished – and in the UK knitting is seen as more of a crafting hobby now than a necessary life-skill, or even business skill.
So I was really intrigued when I spotted Kniterate on Kickstarter, described as “a compact digital knitting machine to bring fashion fabrication back to your neighbourhood”.
Having already smashed its initial Kickstarter goal of $100,000 with a whopping 33 days of crowdfunding still to go, there is clearly more than enough interest for this product to help it take off. It’s clearly innovative and solving a problem on the market – for those who would like to ramp up their knitwear production and at a much faster (and more automated) pace.
For knitwear designers, small fashion businesses or design studios, this must be a dream come true. With a library of templates and up to six feeders (that can harness different colours and/or materials), they would be able to make amazing patterns, structures and shapes that would be hard to knit otherwise.
And the end results are pretty inspiring. I’m sure that if you were to mess around with this machine for a bit you could start creating some really cool designs. But with an ‘early bird’ price tag of $4,699, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stick with the more traditional hand-knitting technique for a little bit longer!
Check out Kniterate on Kickstarter.
All imagery from Kniterate’s Kickstarter page.