The Un-Knitting Machine – Includes a diagram


Imogen Hedges from Rachel Mc Closkey on Vimeo.

More than a decade into the new millennium we finally have it.

The Un-knitting Machine.  London designer Imogen Hedges has really thought of it all, right down to a jet of steam which relaxes the yarn and the hand crank ball winder attached to the edge of the seat.  Granted, I usually unravel knitting sitting down, but I think the pedals attached to this machine make what is normally a sedentary activity into something resembling exercise on a re-bike.

Hedges apparently thought of the idea when she learned that charity shops sometimes spend hours unraveling knitting by hand, presumably to resell the wool.

So from a mechanical standpoint, what is really going on here?

Well, we have two tables, one approximately 12 inches higher than the other.  We have a kettle, a hot plate, and an electrical socket in a wall.  We have a modified bike, a chair with a ball winder, and two baskets–one for sweaters going in, one for yarn balls coming out.

Pretty nifty.  Pretty straight forward.

The one thing that caught me up is:  What did they do to the bike frame?

Most bikes are built on a parallelogram structure like this:

The seat goes on the upper left corner, the handlebars on the upper right, the back wheel on the lower left corner, the pedals on the lower right corner, and the front wheel attaches to the little line hanging from the upper right corner.

The un-knitting machine’s bike frame has had the back part of the parallelogram (where the back wheel attaches) taken off.  The front wheel has been removed from the front and attached to where the handle bars go (upper right corner).  The pedals have been left alone, but the gears belonging to the back wheel have been mounted where the seat belongs (upper left corner), with the chain tensioner attached to where the back of the parallelogram used to be.

Finishing off the construction are some clips and clamps, some spiral wire holders, and leg power.

For most of us, this will not really be the most practical  way to unravel yarn.  I’m pretty sure that welding is involved in the final assembly, and while I don’t know exactly how many knitters also weld, I’d be willing to venture that it’s not the majority.  Nonetheless, the un-knitting machine sure looks like a lot of fun!

Go Imogen Hedges!

Some External Links:

Pedal powered un-knitting machine by Imogen hedges at design

National Recognition for design with a novel take on recycling at


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