The age of social media bragging is over. Now we are too busy knitting | Yomi Adegoke | Media- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The biggest threat to celebrities during the battle against coronavirus doesn’t appear to be the disease, but the threat of being “cancelled” thanks to their horrifying displays of disconnectedness with reality on social media. Take Madonna, the world-famous multi-millionaire who declared Covid-19 “the great equaliser” on Twitter and Instagram in since-deleted posts.
“We are all in the same boat” she said, sitting surrounded by rose petals in a bath that, were it to be sold, the funds raised could probably see me through the looming recession. “And if the ship goes down, we’re all going down together,” she added.

And yet, coronavirus is still in some small ways a leveller. Only weeks ago, I wrote of the burden of “thrilled to announce” culture – the growing pressure to publicly declare every and any work win online. The universe has since intervened, ridding us of opportunities. With vast postponements and cancellations because of social distancing, there is little for most of us to be thrilled about and even less to announce.

A way with clay … Yomi Adegoke’s sculpture dream becomes reality. Photograph: Yomi Adegoke
At first, many coped by mournfully listing the lost opportunities they would have announced but for the pandemic. Now, as several days have passed and lockdown is official, our social media accounts are catching up with this sudden change. We are pivoting to sharing news about our personal hobbies– knitting, bread baking and gardening – instead of side hustling. I have discovered that people I followed for years have a passion for singing that they’ve never had time to share; I am watching ex-colleagues learning to play instruments. And I’ve been able to pursue my dream of learning to sculpt.
Instagram has aided this shift, releasing a Stay Home sticker to add to your posts, encouraging users to share what they are doing while isolated, such as showing followers how they are passing the time, and vice versa. These updates are less about professional point scoring and more: “PERSONAL NEWS: I’ve just made and eaten my third banana cake of the week!”
Of course, that isn’t to say that home living will remain wholesome and uncompetitive: there are tangible gains to be made during this strange period. The stock market may have plunged, but coronavirus has seen the clout economy boom: three days ago, American DJ D-Nice jumped from having 200,000 followers to 1.3 million on Instagram after a livestreamed dance set that even Michelle Obama tuned into. “The Body Coach” Joe Wicks has become a household name, after conducting daily PE lessons from his living room for schoolchildren. For most of us, however, social media right now is like a low-stakes year 6 talent show, where everyone wins simply by taking part. Perhaps that is something worth taking back with us into the real world when all of this is over.

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MIT researchers are working on AI-based knitting design software that will let anyone, even novices, make their own clothes – gpgmail

The growing popularity of 3D printing machines and companies like Thingiverse and Shapeways have given previously unimaginable powers to makers, enabling them to create everything from cosplay accessories to replacement parts. But even though 3D printing has created a new world of customized objects, most of us are still buying clothes off the rack. Now researchers at MIT are working on software that will allow anyone to customize or design their own knitwear, even if they have never picked up a ball of yarn.

A team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), led by computer scientist Alexandre Kaspar, released two new papers describing the software today. One is about a system called InverseKnit that automatically creates patterns from photos of knitted items. The other one introduces new design software, called CADKnit, that allows people with no knitting or design experience to quickly customize templates, adjusting the size, final shape and decorative details (like the gloves shown below).

The final patterns can be used with a knitting machine, which have been available to home knitters for years, but still require a fair amount of technical knowledge in order to design patterns for.

Gloves made using CADknit

Both CADKnit and InverseKnit want to make designing and making machine-knitted garments as accessible as 3D printing is now. Once the software is commercialized, Kaspar envisions “knitting as a service” for consumers who want to order customized garments. It can also enable clothing designers to spend less time learning how to write knitwear patterns for machines and reduce waste in the prototyping and manufacturing process. Another target audience for the software are hand-knitters who want to try a new way of working with yarn.

“If you think about it like 3D printing, a lot of people have been using 3D printers or hacking 3D printers, so they are great potential users for our system, because they can do that with knitting,” says Kaspar.

One potential partner for CADKnit and InverseKnit is Kniterate, a company that makes a digital knitting machine for hobbyists, makerspaces and small businesses. Kaspar says he has been talking to Kniterate’s team about making knitwear customization more accessible.

CADKnit combines 2D images with CAD and photo-editing software to create customizable templates. It was tested with knitting newbies, who despite having little machine knitting experience were still able to create relatively complex garments, like gloves, and effects including lace motifs and color patterns.

To develop InverseKnit, researchers first created a dataset of knitting patterns with matching images that were used to train a deep neural network to generate machine knitting patterns. The team says that during InverseKnit’s testing, the system produced accurate instructions 94% of the time. There is still work to do before InverseKnit can be commercialized. For example, the machine was tested using one specific type of acrylic yarn, so it needs to be trained to work with other fibers.

“3D printing took a while before people were comfortable enough to think they could do something with it,” says Kaspar. “It will be the same thing with what we do.”

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