the number of patterns with tentacles is now alarmingly high
March 7, 2018 9:26 AM   Subscribe

MetaFilter loves to talk about Janelle Shane's weird and often hilarious neural network projects (previouslies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and that's all well and good. But what happens when the neural network spits out instructions that someone has to try and translate into a physical product? Janelle and the intrepid knitters of Ravelry decided to find out by teaching a neural net to generate novel knitting patterns. And yes, of course they named the project SkyKnit.
posted by Stacey (13 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
+1 for Skyknit
posted by theora55 at 9:44 AM on March 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

As a member of LSG, but not a knitter, I've been aware of the project since it started but hadn't looked in on the progress lately. I was surprised at how far it has gotten!

Some of the pieces that have been knit from the more usable instructions generated by the AI have, in the words of one of the participants, an Uncanny Valley look about them.

I'd love to see what it could do with crochet.
posted by monopas at 9:57 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

For example, here’s the first 4 rows from one set of instructions that the neural net generated and named “fishcock.”

Been reading MeFi, have we SkyKnit?
posted by The Bellman at 10:35 AM on March 7, 2018

I'd never heard of Stitch Maps and was promptly sucked in to its highly agreeable vortex.

It would be cool if they could code some foundational algorithms for things such as stitch counts and geometry for the AI, but I do like the interpretation too.
posted by fraula at 10:37 AM on March 7, 2018

This is 100% my jam and I'm frantically resetting my ravelry password so I can join this insanity. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!
posted by larthegreat at 11:06 AM on March 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

the number of patterns with tentacles is now alarmingly high


(I got nothin'.)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:51 AM on March 7, 2018

I saw this earlier and was thinking about posting - I love the creativity and the dedication of the knitters involved.
posted by Fig at 12:36 PM on March 7, 2018

This is amazing, and now I'm annoyed that I hadn't already been a member of LSG.
posted by Akhu at 12:41 PM on March 7, 2018

This is interesting to me and because I'm at work, I can't determine if the people quoted were asked if they could be quoted by the author who I assume is a knitter, because how else would she have known so much about the lingo and style of the LGS community?

Can a MeFite who can log in check for me?
posted by TrishaLynn at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2018

Per the LSG thread, the author is not a knitter. The author did mention that they would be quoted in the story, and it is verbatim.
posted by xena at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have been ignoring that thread on LSG forever, because it was already many hundreds of posts long when I first saw it, but it looks fun.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:58 PM on March 7, 2018

Wow, and thus do my two Internet worlds collide. Who would have guessed they'd come together through skyknit?
posted by some chick at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't knit, so I ask this more to be taught why I'm wrong:

Shouldn't it be pretty simple to teach the AI some simple consistency checks, like, the difference between the number of stitches in adjacent rows must be equal to the sum of increases and decreases? Is it an artistic choice to make it start from scratch?

Or is this one of those things that's easy to say in English and weirdly hard to tell a computer?
posted by d. z. wang at 6:25 AM on March 9, 2018

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