Spinning a Yarn: Spyn creators Professor Kimiko Ryokai (right) and grad student Daniela Rosner (left) demonstrate how Sypn
works while weaving a tale of the demonstration at the same time.
patterns, start projects without patterns, and teach
herself new techniques, I think the record-keeping
possibilities of Spyn are a great learning tool,” she
says. “I’m also excited about the idea of producing
a web-based gift along with the knit that includes
a slide show with captions, music, or the sound-scape of the knitting experience and GPS-generated
maps of where I was and the paths I traveled during
Photograph by Branca Nitzche
The name Spyn comes from the storytelling
expression “spinning a yarn.” Knitting and storytelling have always been linked, and this is reflected in
the huge popularity of online knitting communities
such as Ravelry and the thousands of knitting blogs
where one can read about such varied topics as
cable stitches, teething babies, and vacations gone
awry all in a single paragraph.
Rosner and Ryokai hope to one day make Spyn
compatible with websites such as Ravelry, so that
knitters can post pictures of their projects that
include embedded links to the photos, videos, and
sounds that they included in the knitted projects.
Spyn has quite a journey ahead before it’s available to the public, but the fact that it’s on the
horizon is yet another example of how technology
can be used to preserve and extend, rather than
undermine, the process of handcrafting.
Spyn project website:
Spyn research paper (PDF) by Rosner and Ryokai:
Anna Dilemna is a writer and crafter who lives in Madrid,
Spain. Her website is