Nov-Dec 2021 Progress Update

December 23, 2021

News

Manufacturing

We are very sorry to announce the shipment of the current batch is going to be delayed again. The previous estimation was Jan-Feb 2022. Due to the circumstances we explain below, we are forced to push the shipping date to April 2022.

What has happened?

As we explained in our previous update, we still rely a lot on sourcing components from China, where there is a rigorous zero COVID policy that quickly leads to lockdowns as soon as just a few cases are detected. The global rise in cases of the last few weeks has unfortunately led to strict lockdowns of millions of people across China. While we support these practices that look after public health, we can’t escape from our supply chain being impacted. With workers who can’t leave their homes to go to factories and roads closed for goods to circulate, the production and delivery of the remaining components get delayed.

Over the last few months, previous to the current COVID outbreaks, there have also been nationwide power cuts that have slowed down manufacturing activity. The situation is now under control, but some delays were added up as well.

Additionally, the prices of raw materials used to make almost everything continue to rise, and the shortage of electronic components has put us to bid for microchips that were abundant a couple of years ago. All in all, we can definitely say we are living in difficult times to build hardware products.

Over the last few years, we’ve been encountering one difficulty after the other one. This has been a journey full of obstacles and surprises, but these have only made us more resilient and determined. These traits we’ve acquired and your amazing continued patience and support, are the key elements that are helping us weather this storm well. Thank you again.

On a more positive note, we were able to ship many components a few weeks ago that will soon arrive at our facilities in Barcelona to get started manufacturing. We will get a lot of work done with these components, so by the time we receive the remaining ones, the machines will be closer to the finishing line.

A truck full of components for Kniterate machines.

These delays are not expected to ripple to the following batches as we are learning to navigate the situation and have already started planning for it. As the Kniterate machine matures, we are more confident about its assembly process, and in some cases, while purchasing components for the current batch, we have also purchased components for the next batch. This reduces future workload and planning, and helps us get a better deal due to economies of scale.

Software

New release
We are very excited to be releasing a bunch of new things today, from a new look and feel to some new features with better usability. This release is a taste of things to come, and the compiler and design saving will be enabled in the next week or two, once we’re totally happy with our internal testing. We’re excited to share this peek so you can try some of the new functionalities we are working on.

We’ve redesigned the stitches while adding new symbols that will help you create your designs more efficiently.

These new symbols combine a transferring and a racking action, cutting down the number of steps necessary to shape your piece while reducing the chances of making mistakes. We are working on new symbols that will simplify the design process, to be added over the next few months.

The new transferring symbols can be seen in the bind-off sequence! (which has been improved: shoutout to INGMARSON!)


When this new version is made functional, we will also turn on a new error reporting feature, that opens issues directly in the issue tracker we use for development. This will enable us to make sure we respond to problems in a timely manner and will keep you updated on steps the team takes to resolve issues.

In jacquard knitting, we’ve added the ability to create birdseye backs for ranges of rows. This makes it possible to update and change the birdseye once a start or bind-off sequence has been added.

One thing missing, that will be completed in the next couple of weeks, is the ability to quickly modify many option column values.

To test the new release, visit the backers-only forum here (send us an email if you can’t access it).

Shaping templates

We have also been making progress on powerful templates that will allow you to create shaped garments easily, based on simple measurements.

Here’s a look at a recent test output from a beanie template. The only user input required for this was a few numbers to describe the outline. The software generates all the shaping code, and this was knit straight away without any further editing.

We continue to build a UI for these templates and optimize the transfer schedule for great results no matter the shape desired. Further shaping strategies, including different distributions of fashion marks, will be natively supported. The abstract way we are building the templating system means that many different templates, and the ability to create your own templates, are not far away.

New software engineer: Alexandre Kaspar

Alexandre is a researcher at the intersection between automation and creative processes. He enjoys developing computer-aided design tools, loves hiking mountains and spending time on ink and watercolor paintings as well as various other artistic media.

He is the brain behind some of the most exciting research in the field of digital knitting over the past few years. He recently got his Ph.D. at MIT on making designing for knitting machines more accessible for everyone.

We are very excited to have him working on the design app. His experience in the field will give a solid push to the development, and we are sure his contribution will make designing knitwear easier and better. We can’t wait to show you what is coming!

To learn more about his fantastic work, please head to his website.

We wish you happy holidays and a great start to 2022! 🚀

Thank you for reading,
Kniterate team

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