KnitKit: A flexible system for machine knitting of customizable textiles

Georges Nader 1, 2 , Yu Han Quek 2 , Pei Zhi Chia 2 , Oliver Weeger 3, 2 , Sai-Kit Yeung 4
1. Panasonic R&D Center Singapore,    2. Singapore University of Technology and Design,    3. Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt,    4. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Siggraph 2021)

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Figure 1. The KnitKit system decouples the high-level design aspect of producing knitted textiles from the complexities and low-level specificity of knitting machines by generating machine knitting instructions from an input 3D geometry and a texture. This enables high-level design of knitting properties, i.e., geometry, yarn types and stitch patterns. Here, we show a CNC knitted a hand holding a globe as well as a black and white and colored version of Van Ghogh's self portrait.


We introduce KnitKit, a flexible and customizable system for the computational design and production of functional, multi-material, and three-dimensional knitted textiles. Our system greatly simplifies the knitting of 3D objects with complex, varying patterns that use multiple yarns and stitch patterns by separating the high-level design specification in terms of geometry, stitch patterns, materials or colors from the low-level, machine-specific knitting instruction generation. Starting from a triangular 3D mesh and a 2D texture that specifies knitting patterns on top of the geometry, our system generates the required machine instructions in three major steps. First, the input is processed and the KnitNet data structure is generated. This graph structure serves as an abstract interface between the high-level geometric and knitting configuration and the low-level, machine-specific knitting instructions. Second, a graph rewriting procedure is applied on the KnitNet that produces a sequence of abstract machine actions. Finally, the low-level machine instructions are generated by adapting those abstract actions to a specific machine context. We showcase the potential of this computational approach by designing and fabricating a variety of objects with complex geometries, multiple yarns and multiple stitch patterns.



  author    = {Nader, Georges and Quek, Yu Han and Chia, Pei Zhi and Weeger, Oliver and Yeung, Sai-Kit},
  title     = {KnitKit: A flexible system for machine knitting of customizable textiles},
  journal   = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)},
  number    = {4},
  volume    = {40},
  year      = {2021},
  publisher = {ACM}