A simple shape, an exercise in DBJ, Brother KM

When first learning how color separations work for DBJ on any machine, it is helpful to begin with a simple, easily recognized shape, to play with as many variations as possible, and study the results both in terms of the resulting fabric, and how the motif is altered by changing the machine settings. Below are copies of the handout I used when I introduced new knitters to rib jacquard. They are Brother specific. Out of habit I tend to leave the slide lever in its center position. If a ribbed edging is needed, it is a lovely surprise if one plays with lever settings, finishes a second piece of knit, to find after its completion that the second piece has rib that is a different size than the other due to a missed change in lever position. My design is planned for use with punchcard machines, but single repeat may be isolated and used to knit pattern on electronic machines as shown at bottom of second page.

For Passap knitters, a bible on using a single shape (triangle) and creating infinite variations by technique modifications, adaptable for use on the E6000, was published in 1988

passap deco

 

Brother KM

Brother Ribber Techniques Book illustration is missing lili position for lever

lili_rib

500_3

C500_2

some of my previous posts on  DBJ color separations  

More slip stitch experiments

Slip stitch fabrics are capable of creating interesting textures. When blocks of stitches are slipped, the floats that may appear on the purl side are considered problematic by some knitters. One solution is to work using mosaic and maze “floatless FI” designs. This was addressed in previous posts, including color separation methods for planning them, and a variety of knit swatches.   The images below have often appeared in knitting boards on Pinterest, I am returning to the slipstitch design thread.

source

missoni combo

source

lyst combo

I decided to plan a “square” shape to sort out the technique; it could easily adapted to a diamond one. By necessity, larger repeats need to be executed on an electronic machine whether via mylar or download program. The plan is to change colors by any means available, usually every 2 or every 4 rows, requiring a motif repeat that totals an even number of rows. In hand knitting garter stitches can become part of the resulting texture, but they are impractical here. Often commercial knits are produced on machines that can automate many more functions and textures per row. The Missoni sweater is a fine knit, and on a detailed examination, reveals lace eyelets in the some of the stripes in addition to plain knit and slipped stitches. Not impossible to do on a standard KM “home” electronic, but simplest way to add lace eyelets would be via hand transfers.

my starting chart

repeat start

 checking that that repeats line up

multiple repeats

possible mylar repeats

mylar repeats

I drew the top repeat above onto mylar for use on a 910. The sample swatch was knit using 2 carriages (and lace extension rails). I selected R 1 from right to left, with the carriage that was to remain on that side, and began knitting with the second carriage, placed on the right, holding the alternate color. There are a few ways to achieve the pre selection row, depending on the choice of start to the fabric, and whether a color changer as opposed to a second carriage is in use.  Contrasting colors help see and understand stitch formation. For the bottom of the swatch I used double length as well as color reverse, with color (carriage) changes every 4 rows. The top of the swatch is knit with color changes every 2 rows. Slip stitch is short and thin. Since there are more stitches slipped on the bottom of the swatch, the fabric is pulled in in those areas, making the knit on either side “bubble” in a way that the top of the swatch, does not, and resulting shapes no longer appear as straight lines horizontally.

striped slip ksidepurl side

striped slip p side

The single width blocks that form the stitch pattern are usable for tuck knitting as well. Whether the motif may be elongated on standard machines depends on yarn thickness used. Tuck stitch fabric tends to be short and fat, so the finished knit piece will be wider than the slip stitch version.

Taking this shape to a punchcard requires editing, and results are quite different. One sample idea, moving stitch groups around to fit a 24 stitch repeat:

punchcard repeatAll the white squares would need to be punched to form knit stitches, the yellow left unpunched, to form the slipped ones, the look of the fabric would be very different.

Previous blog posts on related topics: tuck and slip color striping , block stitch color separations 

As for creating “solid” block shapes: an initial repeat is charted below, 16 W X 24 H. Black blocks are drawn on mylar or downloaded, color reverse is used, no elongation. Knitting starts with base rows knit in the color that will form the “block” on the knit side of the finished fabric

block shape

the knit side

block_front

and the purl, note floats as wide as the “block”

block_back

Combining tuck stitches with lace 2 (automating them)

Working with 2 carriages when both are selecting needles brings up some interesting issues. Studio machines are able in most instances to select and knit in the same row. Brother pre selects needles for the subsequent row, and on that row, while knitting the preselection, once again, selection is made for the next pattern row to be knit.

A couple of my earlier posts on topic knitting with 2 carriages and a lace round doily that combines lace with slip stitch selection to emulate holding for creating the needed spiral.

Following up on the previous post, now attempting to automate the stitch, some of the logic needs in needle selection needs to be explored. The chart as drawn below simply addresses functions that may create the desired fabric. It is incorrect in terms of accuracy in actual knitting it

theory

 symbols used

theory symbols

reworking the repeat for use with mylar

mylar selection

 the drawn mylar repeat, numbers reflect placement on my sheet

mylar repeat

mylar symbols2

When both carriages are in use for pattern selection, they will both engage the belt. While either carriage is in use, the alternate one needs to be off the needle bed, or the belt may actually break as one carriage holds it in fixed position, while the other tugs at it toward the fixed spot from the opposite side of the machine. Lace extension rails are used on both sides. There were variations over the years, including a pair to fit the bulky 260 KM. They are not always exchangeable between models, need to sit properly on the machine for carriages to be stable while stored to the side, and also for moving them off and onto the machine easily.

Pre punched standard Brother lace cards usually begin with the lace carriage selecting the first pattern row moving from the left side to the right. As with any lace or tuck fabric, knitting begins with waste yarn that is weighted evenly, and any edge treatment of choice. On the 910, because of the preselection factor, and to keep the pattern continuous in proper order, the knit carriage is removed from the right side of the machine, and the lace carriage does a preselection row from right to left. That will be its start and return position for the remainder of the fabric. The knit carriage is returned in turn to its home on the right end of the machine, on the extension rail.

Two types of fabric are being created. The goal is to have the edge stitches knitting throughout. To accomplish this, if the LC is in use, eliminate any end needle selection by pushing needles back to B; when the KC is in use, if the end needle is not selected, to get it to knit, it needs to be pushed out to E. The pattern sequence is an easy one when up and running, with 2 passes of the LC, and 4 of the KC, as seen in the charts above.

The knit side is shown below, the arrow locating the larger eyelet points to operator error: I had a stitch caught on a gate peg, and was not aware of the problem for several rows. The extra loop of yarn can actually be seen. Tuck fabrics are often far more interesting on the purl than on the knit side

mylar_knit1

the purl side with arrow indicating the same problem spot

mylar_purl1

The question that follows is how to program the same design for use with a punchcard machine. Here things get a bit more confusing. The electronic machines advance the program or card a single row for each carriage pass, no matter their direction or sequence. When the punchcard carriage is at rest on either side and the alternate carriage moves toward it, the card does not advance, so the needle selection stays the same, is repeated for a second time. A bit more planning is required and the repeat needs to be shortened to accommodate for this fact.

The chart below shows the amended repeat for punching a card. The first selection row is made with the card locked, and the LC moving from left to right. The card is then released, LC moves to left, transferring stitches selected the previous row to the left, while selecting those for the first row of tuck. The next row, using the alternate carriage, begins the ongoing sequence

punchcard chartA

actions of the carriages with each pass

what carriages do

The actual punched holes are shown below. The writing on the card is a ghost from a previous experiment. The red line marks starting row 1 for Brother knitting, blue border outlines a single repeat. A minimum of 3 repeats are needed for continuous reading by the KM

punchcardFabrics with color changes every 2 rows such as mazes and mosaics are easily knit on the electronic with 2 carriages. If worked on a punchcard machine, they would have to be executed using a yarn changer and only the knit carriage, unless the design motif is redrawn to factor in the issue discussed above. A previous post, part of a thread on mazes and mosaics, with a punchcard swatch photo.

The first preselection row in any patterning that involves color or carriage changes every 2 rows, is usually done toward the side of the machine that holds either the color changer, or the carriage next in use. As seen above, there are exceptions to that “rule” as well.

Machine knit “dragon scales” update

I had previously posted on an Armani inspired knit scale like pattern  that sometimes was described online as a machine knit “crocodile stitch”. A fellow raveler just shared on her project page an interesting variation that includes variations in scale of the scales themselves. All her transfers are made onto a single center point, eliminating the vertical separation that appears at the center of my version.

Combining tuck stitches with lace 1

A simple chart, from a random Japanese publication

tuck and lacethe isolated repeat outlined

tuck and lace2

symbols used

symbols1

of note: in the above pattern, all transfers are in the same direction. My test swatches were knit on bulky 260 KM. Held stitches form loops on top of needles brought out to E position. The original stitch formerly in the needle hook grows in length, behind the newly formed loops. When patterning is automated using the tuck cam setting, the non selected needle will not be worked. The original stitch gets longer here as well, while the loops that in the hand technique rest on top of the needles, will now be held in the hook of the needle along with the last knit stitch. The latter fact is the limiting factor determining the number of rows that may actually be tucked, especially on Japanese machines. Yarn used and needle gauge also matter. Tucked fabrics, like lace, need to be weighted evenly for loops formed to knit off properly.

How to for my swatches:

knit base row (s), set up repeat so some stitches knit every row on each side creating a border, set machine to hold stitches

row 1: transfer every 4th stitch to the right. If you are in the habit of pulling needles holding multiples stitches to D before knitting the next row after transferring multiple stitches onto a single needle, this is ruled out when the carriage is set for holding, as those stitches would then not knit as intended on the next pass. To produce an eyelet, emptied needles are returned to B position after each transfer sequence

rows 2, 3, 4 bring alternate every 4th needle as shown in chart into hold, knit 3 rows

row 5: push held needles back into work (D on brother km),  knit one row across all needles. Held stitches will knit off as a group, check that they have done so uniformly

rows 6, 7, 8: transfer alternate every 4th needle out to hold, knit 3 rows

row 9: begin sequence again, repeating rows 1-8

When transfers are made in a single direction, the fabric will bias in the direction of those transfers. In the bottom section of the photo below, the resulting lean to the left is easily seen. If a bias leaning fabric is desired, this is an easy way to get there. However, if the goal is to achieve a balanced fabric, then the transfers need to happen in opposite directions as seen in the top segment of the swatch.

knit swatchthe new working repeat

new_repeat

directions

the number of held/tuck stitch rows has been changed to 4 rather than 3. When the row that knits off the loops occurs, the total number of knit rows for the sequence will be an odd one, resulting in the carriage being at opposite sides of the needle bed at the end of each pattern repeat. Transferring stitches may then be made toward the carriage: COR – transfer to right, COL transfer to left. This makes it easier to track direction when working the fabric as a hand technique.

Next up: automating the pattern for standard gauge machines using the lace carriage, and tuck patterning in the knit carriage as well.

Ladders with lace, “making things work” 2

My preferred, e wrapped  1 to 3 increase

knit side

300_12purl side

300_13

The how: begin with transferring 2 side stitches onto the center one

knit row 1

1knit row 2

2

insert tool as shown

3

turn clockwise, place yarn twist on needle to left of center one

4

insert tool as shown

5

twist counter clockwise, bring twisted stitch behind float on right of center, lift twisted loop and place it onto the empty needle to right of the center

6

pick up a loop from the triple stitch below last 2 knit rows as shown, and lift it onto center stitch

7

knit 2 rows, continue in pattern according to chart

Ladders with lace, “making things work” 1

Just about 2 years ago, I had an obsession with leaf shapes in lace, and wrote a series of posts on approaches to both designing them and rendering them in knit on more than one machine. One such early post. Recent publications are reflecting the increasing interest in bulkier knits and combining  ladder “lace (created by needles remaining out of work) with shapes floating within the resulting open spaces. I thought I would address some of the issues in such fabrics, while returning to a leaf as the focus “shape”. My samples are knit on a Brother 260, using hand techniques that require only the basic set of transfer tools.

Long verticals in knit may have problems with the edge stitches separating from the rest of the knit, i.e. in FI vertical stripes. In plain knit, the edge stitches may stretch, become distorted, and may encroach on the ladder space. A series of actions taken on the edge stitches of ladders will help prevent that, here I am choosing to use a simple 1 X 1 cable cross every 2 rows to stabilize them. Having the cables coincide with the rows on which transfers are made to create the chosen shape makes tracking them easier.

my first schematic (Excel chart)

screenshot_14

symbols used

symbols2

imagining in repeat

in repeat

my first swatch

for decreasing stitches in work on right or left at the top of the chart I used a simple decrease

edge_decrease

using the “fully fashioned” option would provide a different look along that edge

ff_decrease2

For my test swatch I used a crochet cast on across 17 + 4 for single full pattern repeat, + 4 edge stitches on either side = a total of 29 stitches. To create the transition  from 1 to 3 stitches in the center of the leaf,  I  e wrapped an additional 2  empty needles

e_wrap0-2

#1 reflect the e wrapped increase just above the cast on, #2 show results of the same technique at the top of the established “leaf” pattern

e_wrap1_2

the chart repeat amended for a different start

screenshot_15the second swatch, trying a different way of adding stitches

#1 shows pattern beginning on a group of knit sitches, as opposed to a single center one for leaf

#2 shows a full “leaf” repeat as charted, red arrow points to e wrapped yarn traveling in front of the shaping

#3  red arrow indicates the same is happening with the float, while the green shows my desired twist, with stitch to front

300_92_2

Sorting it out: a third swatch, with an amended way of e wrapping. To make sampling quicker, I modified the repeat, eliminating cables, decreasing the number of stitches at the widest part of the leaf, making fewer eyelet transfers.  The results show how much the shape of the “leaf” may be varied with just a few changes. Note the twist and location of floats in relationship to stitches just above #1

e_wrap4_2

I will document the 1X3 increase method I liked best out of several trials in my next post.

If having a single pivot stitch for the repeat is not important, the chart below is amended again to accommodate that

screenshot_16

if eyelets are eliminated to create a geometric pattern and/or for the sake of speed, increases may be created on both sides beginning on row 12 of the above chart by picking up from the row below

make_one

X11 and open source programs: Mac Mavericks update

With the advent of Mac Mavericks, function of some open source design software linked to XQuartz was lost. Macosforge  now provides an updated X11 for OS X 10.6 or later (including Mavericks). X11 is required to run  Inkscape, a vector program, and ArahPaint5, a paint and drawing one that can be viewed being used in this video. Version4 is also included in a package with a free demo for ArahWeave. All have potential for creating and working with images, particularly useful in development of large format motifs for download to knitting machines.

 

Studio multi transfer lace punchcard use on Brother punchcard machines

Some Studio punchcard patterns

studio cards

Pattern 113 (bottom left) has a single blank row between groups of multiple transfers (indicated by punched holes). These correspond with single rows knit  at the completion of each set of transfers. They are highlighted with red lines in the related punchcard image below .

studio113crop

Essentially the same repeat, found in a different publication source, was interpreted for use in the 910 electronic in my previous post, nearly a year ago. Pattern 112 (middle left on first image) has some noticeable differences. To start with, at the end of each set of transfers, there are 2 blank rows (red), as opposed to one in #113, making it suitable for use on Brother KMs almost “as is”. Studio punchcards for this type of lace generally begin with 2 blank rows (blue highlight). Brother cards generally begin with the first row of punched holes for row 1 of pattern. The Studio first 2 blank rows rows would normally be moved up to the top of the punchcard if punching your own, or simply, if the card is pre punched, a different row # selection may be chosen for the first selection row.

studio112A

In the middle of the repeat, where the first set of transfers is completed, there are several (six) unpunched rows,

studio112b

and at the  punchcard top there are 4 blank rows. These last rows, added to the first 2 rows (blue) will total another set of 6 unpunched rows at the top of the alternating pattern repeat. These multiple blank punchcard rows result in knit only rows when using Studio KM. In Brother, the knit carriage does not advance the card unless cam buttons are in use ie for tuck or slip settings. Generally, if multiple plain rows are desired, this is indicated in Brother appropriate row markings on card, and need to be tracked by the knitter.

Lace cards generally require few punched holes, but may be considerably long. To insure 2 rows between each set of transfers I highlighted them on my card in light blue pencil, helping me place repeats properly. Following the highlighted markings above, the first 2 blank rows (blue) are dropped, set of 6 is reduced to 2, and top 4 (Brother lace usually ends with 2 blank rows) are reduced to 2 as well. My resulting punchcard is shown here in 2 segments that were to be joined with snaps for continuous use. I found in knitting the samples, that I was having a problem with the single row near the join being read correctly when using only snaps, the problem was solved when I taped the 2 cards together across their width. This particular punchcard roll was sold as  for “Brother”, but markings are for Studio. Brother selection row 1 is marked on right. Thick pencil markings indicate the viewable point where rows are knit at the completion of each transfer sequence. These make it easier to know where to roll back the card to knit rows, as opposed to relying only on any of the row number markings. I prefer to unravel down to knit rows when correcting dropped stitches or other “mistakes”.

whole_card

I omitted the extra knit rows (4 out of series of 6) in my own sample (shown lightly pressed). This eliminates the visible break between eyelets in the knitting reference swatch jpg.

studio09

Machine knit cables: using patterning as a guide to transfers

If you have a machine which selects needles to the forward position, you may use a punchcard, mylar sheet or program to select needles for indicating cable placements. On the single bed, the selected needles act as the signal to actually create the cable crosses. Working double bed, the needle selection on the row before the cables are crossed may serve to remind you to put extra needles in work on the ribber, thus providing extra yarn for the crossings. Previous posts on topic

http://alessandrina.com/2011/12/19/aran-knits-a-new-thread/

http://alessandrina.com/2012/01/07/a-simple-braided-cable-and-card/

Keeping crossings all in the same direction and having ladders to mark vertical placements makes the process far easier. The stitches on either side of the cable may be knit, dropped every X# of rows and latched up to create a purl ridge on either side of the cable, at times there is enough slack in the ladder created to achieve the same. End needle selection needs to be cancelled (KCII) in any pattern with needles out of work. In simple patterns using selection to keep track, ladders are not needed to stay in a clear vertical.

An alternative repeat for combining 2X2 cables and 2 twisted stitches is illustrated below. The repeat is suitable for punchcard use, must be drawn in multiples to meet machine requirements (at least 36 rows in length). Spacing between twists and crossings may be far more varied in machines that use mylars or programs

punchcard repeatfor an all over pattern

twists and crosses

for a 22 stitch repeat or vertical panel, with ladders added

ladder

22 st repeat

If using the ribber, stitches marked for “ladders” may actually be transferred to the ribber to create the purl ridges on either side of the cables and twists.