Knitting with the C64

I remember an old episode of “The Computer Chronicles” in which an old lady explained how she used the C64 to help her with her knitting.  The program she used was fairly simple and she basically used it to help her with the stitching pattern as the knitting itself was still done the old-fashioned way (check out the video on the right at the 5m45s timestamp).
The C64 however, was capable of automating the entire knitting process thanks to a system called CAPS (made by Empisal in Germany).

The setup consisted of the C64 (of course!), an Empisal 550/560 knitting machine and the CAPS interface.
The process of knitting your favorite jumper consisted of designing a series of patterns on the C64 which you could then save to disk and combine with other patterns to create a larger image.
These patterns would then be processed by the CAPS interface, with a capacity of sending up to 1.600.000 stitches to the knitting machine.

As you can see in the image, a classic making a fashionable 80s sweater was a breeze.  With knitting coming back in vogue these days, I wonder if I can persuade my wife to buy one of these on eBay if they pop-up and make me a Commodore sweater (and later on, I can always add the machine to my 80s collection)… now there’s a deal!

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5 Responses to Knitting with the C64

  1. I’ve seen that episode of The Computer Chronicles. If I recall, the lady actually wrote the program herself. Pretty cool.

  2. I’d like to find the program. As you say, knitting has come back into vogue. The lady on Computer Chronicles said she worked with it in BASIC.

    If this is the case, a friend of mine knits and her husband is a Sinclair QL enthusiast. I think a port would be fairly straightforward since the program appears to have been all text based.

    I doubt my friends would be interested in an automated solution. :-) So the software would be adequate and fun.

  3. Robby "The C= guy"

    Hi Justin,
    Let me know if you find that program!

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