pre-electronic binary code
these are punch card rolls for surprisingly old knitting machines. they encode complex patterns and can be several hundred feet long per roll. nowadays, all of this is of course stored much more economically on electronic storage mediums (it would have been interesting to know how many megabytes of knitting code there were in the basement filled with these old rolls), and while it's theoretically possible to transcode these rolls to newer systems, they will probably just end up in recycling and whatever is on them will be lost. another case of terminal data rot.