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For math lovers and people who can’t get enough of complex algorithms, it is now possible to wear your passion for computerized numbers in the form of a savvy winter scarf.

Fabienne Serriere, founder of KnitYak, explains how she came up with idea to combine math with winter fashion:

I wanted something that looked great no matter how I draped it or wore it. To find algorithms that produce great knit patterns, I set out on a journey to find code that created images that look great “pixelly” as a knit. One of the algorithms I ended up loving was an elementary cellular automaton that generates great knit patterns which are non-repeating in some lengths, and yet not noise. All of the scarves are provably unique; no one has the same scarf as you and I can prove it.

KnitYak scarf behind wood panel

Unique, Simple and Empowering

The story behind the KnitYak scarf is very inspiring. Serriere’s interest in knitting machines started almost five years ago when she began modifying units with a group of colleagues. After experimenting with her own ideas and testing software tweaks, a series of successful production runs followed, which helped pave the way for the final KnitYak design.

Each scarf includes a non-repeating pattern from an elementary cellular automaton algorithm. Based on the equation used for the design, you’d think it would look random and spotty. Instead, the samples came out intricately structured with a rigid, long-lasting appeal. No one would really know the patterns were taken from a computerized math equation, unless you brought it up.


The business is currently based in Seattle, where the pieces are manufactured using a powerful industrial knitting machine (no hand work). “Seattle is fairly humid, usually, and that is actually really good for knitting machines,” Serriere told GeekWire. “Knitting machines drop stitches if it is too dry so you have to do a lot more humidity control if you are not in a humid place.”

Sales in the city have also been strong due to long, harsh winters and the thriving tech community. Next to Silicon Valley, Seattle is a notable Northwestern hub for startups, business incubators and venture capital firms.

KnitYak algorithm design

Where Can I Buy One?

You can get your hands on a KnitYak scarf through the company’s Kickstarter campaign. A square swatch, which measures 7×7 inches (17.78 x 17.78 cm), goes for $40. While, a thick scarf that comes in at 7 inches wide by 75 inches long (17.78cm wide by 190.5cm long) costs $150. Those interested in a lengthy 20 inches wide by 62 inches long (50.8 cm wide by 157.5 cm long) wrap can get one for $380.

For now the only colors available are black and white. However, the FAQ mentions it’s possible to color the scarves with an acid dye specifically made for protein fiber.


All knitted products available on the campaign come with the unique algorithm that was used for the design. The material selected for the scarves is USA produced soft merino wool. Eventually, the company plans to release a new line with a bamboo synthetic blend.

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