OpenKnit: DIY Digital Clothing Loom Disrupting Fast Fashion


Got an hour to kill? Knit yourself a jumper with the open-source digital loom called OpenKnit.

OpenKnit is the open-source digital fabrication tool that will knit you a jumper in under an hour.

The brainchild of Gerard Rubio, a designer based in Barcelona, OpenKnit uses Knitic software designed by Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva. OpenKnit pulls the designs from the software and then after measurements are entered and weights placed to stabilize the fabrics, the machine gets knitting.

“[I]ts novelty lies in the fact it is not only relatively affordable to build from the instructions posted on Github [around $700] but there is already something of an ecosystem around the venture,” reports Wired. “Collaborators Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva have designed the Knitic software that lets you input parameters for the machine to adhere to, to tailor the garment; and Takahiro Yamaguchi has launched DoknitYourself, a place to share all the digitally designed knitted clothes already made using it.”

But what’s the big deal? Why should we care about a modern knitting machine? Well, fast fashion for one. Anything we can do for ourselves is one less garment made in a sweatshop. “The point of the project, of course, is to upend and question all forms of traditional mass production — no biggie, then,” Wired explains.

“Presently, production outsourcing has become the norm: mass fabrication of goods at low costs improves corporate profit margins but pushes precarious labour conditions due to a race to the bottom in competing developing markets,” Rubio wrote on his blog. “Production entails long and precise processes before those goods reach our hands, many of which are pervasive in our daily life, and frequently in intimate contact with us, such as textiles. In such a context the market price we pay for goods has not absorbed the externalities created, thus we end up paying far less for them than the real impact they have in society and the environment.” He adds: “It’s always great to have fun and learn while working on something you enjoy doing but it’s also important to do things for a reason once in a while, and that’s the combination of ingredients that created the OpenKnit project.”

The best part of all of this so far is Rubio’s brazen attitude. He’s taken his knitted clothes and after disrobing mannequins at H&M and Benetton locations, he re-clothed them with his own creations.  He explained it  that he just wanted to “put some company names on the table, companies that perpetuate the status quo of the fashion industry and its model of production and consumption”.

Made In the Neighbourhood (ft. a clothing printer, OpenKnit) from Gerard Rubio on Vimeo.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.