Revisiting racking 1: fisherman/ English rib checkerboards

WORK IN PROGRESS 

It is interesting to see what may be lost or acquired in early translations from Japanese or German found in pattern books a bit clearer, from Punchard Pattern Volume 5: the “stitch” above refers to the hatch marks on the racking symbol (2 and 3 illustrated belowRacking in English (aka half fisherman rib, only one bed tucks) directions pictured in Brother Ribber techniques book #6 on left, remaining images are for single color racked checkerboard pattern from Brother Punchcard Pattern book #5. No pattern card is involved, the needle arrangement accommodates slightly thicker yarn. 

Since the main bed is not performing any patterning function, on a punchcard machine a card may be used, with the carriage set as usual for patterning selection and needle selection, but with no cam buttons pushed in the main bed will continue to knit stocking stitch. No rows are punched, and the numbers on the card reflect the racking position for that row. The “card” on the left reflects racking positions and carriage directions as indicated in the publication. Since a 36 row minimum is recommended for continuous punchcard use, the “card” on the right has added a 4 row segment for each racking directions, now 40 rows rather than 32 are knit for each full repeat. The numbered columns reflect those that would appear on standard Brother punchcards. The number one is at the level of the first visible row when the card reader drum is actually selecting for the first design row. Since you are expecting the card to advance each row, and the first move is to the right, preselect row one from right to left, KCII, release card and set to advance normally. If any errors are made treat card adjustments as you would in any other fabric. 

In programs or machines that allow for memos that correspond to design rows for each repeat, simply enter racking number beginning with design row number 1, continue to 32 or more if desired. Programming repeats allows for tuck/knit stitches to be created selectively on the top bed alone, or in combination with the ribber for patterns in full fisherman rib. Getting back to that card in post. With amended racking, checkers form. The electronic repeat is only 4 rows in pixels height, 12 in width The amended card, used as is or intended to be set to double length and combined with color changes, with variation in racking to now form checks: the top half of the racking sequence is now marked on the left hand column. My sample was knit on a 930 for 16 row “checkers”. I did not make entries in the memo window, but they would be worth considering if pieces in any length are to be produced. Programming the full repeat would then be required as well.

double length, single color, with changes in racking sequence 

I have seen sources that keep the same racking sequence throughout, knitting on all stitches for one row at the end of the first sequence. For example, knit 20 rows racking between 4 and 5, knit one row on all stitches top bed (push needles out manually rather than changing locks is easier for me), continue for another 20 rows, knit one row, repeat. This actually creates a the start of a herringbone, with curved “checkers”

Passap E 6000 repeat, tech 129 (single row tuck). Set up back bed after prep rows, make sure pushers are the same work/rest position as on the front bed 

tech 130 (double row tuck) 

Rack 2 rows to left, 2 rows to right to preferred row count for half repeat; rack 2 rows to right, 2 rows to left to same row count completing the full repeat. The option with the AX setting on the back bed is actually a full fisherman rib with needle selection on both beds. The resulting pattern is reversible. On the second bed  selected needles will face tuck needles on main bed. This creates a knit stitch on one bed, holding down the tuck loops on the other, allowing for side by side tuck loops on opposing beds. On brother such selections would need to be made on the ribber manually. The Brother settings for full fisherman from Ribber Techniques Book  

Parts and accessories “hacks” / adaptations

WORK IN PROGRESS

There were back rail and carriage/ parts modifications from year to year. Any of these carriage swaps may not work across model years, and should be tested with caution. I happened to have magnetic ” rectangular pin backs” from some of my previous projects, was able to remove the magnets fairly easily and to obtain consistent results using them

Using punchcard knit carriage on an electronic knitting machine 
The magnet on the back of the electronic carriage is what trips the reader in the 910. With the 892 and 910 carriages side by side, I marked the approximate spot I wished the magnet to be. It is presently in place with cellophane tape for my tests. I believe it to be a “rare earth magnet”, 12 mm in diameter, part of a jewelry piece from days gone by, with a deep attraction to all KM metal parts.

the first location was too high, pattern did not read properlyplace40what turned out to be a much better spot 

Punchcard lace carriage on electronic, adapted from video; it took a bit of fiddling with getting the magnet positioned properly. A resulting test swatch knit on my 930 using a built in pattern on the right 

Ribber fabrics produced with 2 knit carriages selecting needles 

Altering the KC sinker plates and arm: remove 6 small screws from the sinker plates, leaving only their arm

The carriage with the altered sinker plate in place in turn will then be used to replace rows that were to be knit with the ribber set to slip in both directions <– –> . In my sample it operated from the right, with the combined carriages (KC2), from left. 

I have random parts, some never used. When trying to familiarize myself with a 930 I came across the ID for one such part I had never used. It turns out it was intended for older ribber connecting arms on newer model beds 

the connecting arm 

one clearly marked with a number 2, one not immediately below it 

Brother Plating feeder and how to use it

cast on will fail if the yarn is placed in the rear plating yarn feeder onlyas opposed to in the main yarn (front0feeder

There now is a 3d printed “device” for the Passaphttps://vimeo.com/101599762. It as well as the earlier mercer plating device http://www.knittingparadise.com/t-396061-1.html require gluing or drilling to affix parts to locks, are not easily available. At one point in time I tested a far “simpler” version of a yarn feeder for a second, thinner yarn aiming for a plated effect, using a thin plastic tubing taped securely on a passap yarn feeder. The goal is to keep the tubing clear of any needles as the locks move across the knitting beds.  Samples were knit on Brother machine (left) and on Passap (right): on Brother needles were set up 2 in work, 2 out of work. On the ribber an even number of needles were in work, with lili buttons in use, and the ribber carriage was set to tuck in both directions while the main bed remained set to knit throughout. Passap had the 2 in work 2 out of on work needle arrangement on the front bed set to N, with pushers one up, one down, both arrow keys in AX (tuck setting) on the back bed, fabric is not “blocked” in any way. 

Reversible DBJ, Brother knitting machines

I am including notes on my working through the process and some of my stumbles at the start of this post. More specific how tos  are found toward the bottom of it.

Such fabrics may be created with both the KRC built in function, or with the color separations that knit each color for each design row for 2 consecutive, identical rows. Punchcard knitters are not excluded. The starting side is on the left for the KRC setting (B in this illustration), on the right side for the alternate color separation (C, double length or drawn with each row repeating X 2). I am still testing my 930, for my samples I began by using the built in pattern #16 in the Stitchworld Pattern Book I.In the absence of a jac40 the fabrics are knit by manually selecting stitches to upper working position (E on Brother) on the ribber bed every row. Preselection for the next row to be knit on the main bed makes the process far easier. 

In my first sample, the colors are the same on each face. Since the same number of needles are selected for both design and ground, both sides of the fabric will be exactly alike. There will be floats, enclosed by knit stitches of the opposite color. Beds are set at half pitch. Consistency makes any process easier and more predictable. My ribber set up was also with an extra needle on the ribber at either end of those in work on the main bed. I found I had less issue with the long floats in my design when I made certain the needle selection began with needles to the left of those in work on the opposite bed rather than to the right, allowing for the color in use to knit first on the ribber, then in turn on the main bed. It may not matter with patterns with shorter spans worked between the 2 colors. The dropped stitch issues below were resolved by using different yarns, no other changes. 
The needle set up in colored squares and on my needle beds showing matching selections on both beds (different design rows). Some of the floats may be seen created by the blue yarn in the bottom photo. If first and last needle on each side were not selected on the main bed, the needles at each end on the ribber were added to hand selections for next row (blue squares)


better results with the different yarn choice

For DBJ that reverses ground and pattern colors, opposite needles are selected on each bed. Color 1 knits the design on one bed and the background on the other at the same time, while color 2 knits the reverse. There are no floats. I knit this fabric as well at half pitch. The ground color created pockets (white squares), with the pattern color (black squares) locking the layers of fabric together. Here again, first and last needles on the ribber were worked on each row. I began pushing needles up on the ribber beginning to the right of each needle in work on the main bed. Needle selection on ribber matches unselected needles on main bed (pink). All needle positions each bed are mirrored. 

needles actually selected on both beds (pink), different design row One design row, 2 different angles

Since ribber fabrics are not visible for a large number of rows, I frequently scrap off after short distances to proof technique before committing to longer pieces as well as to asses whether the effort is worth it in order to produce the fabric in that particular technique or yarn.

Moving on to a self drawn pattern, the technique proved to be sound. On inspection however, I saw I was actually missing a pixel in the .bmp I downloaded, and on the reverse the green arrow is most likely operator error in needle selection. The orange dots highlight the missing pixel/contrast color stitch, and on the color changer side I had a really sloppy edge that needs sorting out (red dots).  A possible added factor: I knit the motif using KCI, and later recalled end needle selection does not always work with the carriage I am using. Here I filled in the missing pixel, and drew a single pixel black line along each side, testing a “border”. The first and last needles on each side were now cast on and in work on the main bed. 

That single stitch solid color line does not add to the design in my opinion, so back to the drawing board: side “border” pixels are eliminated. The first and last stitch are now in work on the ribber. This fabric is the best by far, at the very start I forgot to cancel end needle selection (KCI), then switched to canceling it, KCII on electronic. The how to in summary: first and last needle are on the ribber. On the electronic choose KRC for the built in color separation for the fabric to be worked in DBJ. KCII (no end needle selection). With free pass to right, both carriages set to slip <– –>,  select for first row of knitting to be worked in color represented by white squares in the design chart. Both carriages remain set to slip in both directions throughout. On the ribber bed, bring up to E/hold position first needle on the right of any needle selected on the top bed, then continue to push needles up into work to match the number of not selected needles on the knit bed.  As needles are arranged, there will be a space between the last hand selected needle on the ribber, and the next needle in work on the main bed Now that there is that extra needle in work on the ribber on the color changer side, to match selection as seen above, needles are hand selected to E beginning on the far left, still keeping that space just before the next needle selected by the pattern reader. Remaining selections began to right of needles on main bed as described above.when selection begins on the main bed on the left Getting back to working the same pattern on both sides of the knit: first needle on the left is on the ribber, the one on the far right on the main bed. On the electronic select KRC for the fabric to be worked in DBJ. KCII. With free pass to right, both carriages set to slip <– –>,  select for first row of knitting to be worked in color represented by white squares in the design chart. Both carriages remain set to slip in both directions throughout. On the ribber bed, bring up to E/hold position first needle on the left of any needle selected on the top bed, then continue to push needles up into work to match the number of selected needles on the knit bed.  Small selection errors are seen on left image, ie on the second row on its right, may be easily repaired by duplicate stitching. The stitching yarn may be fed easily through layers of double knit for short distances before and after the “mistake”. With all settings and yarn being equal, there is a difference in size between this fabric (larger of the 2) and the one with color reverse on its other side 

A similar set up, working in full pitch. Here needles line up directly below each other. If wrong needle is selected it will be point to point with the needle immediately above it, and is an added clue the wrong needle is being pushed up into hold/ E position. My first swatch had distinctly different side / vertical edges. Cast on was for every needle, half pitch (top image), first needle on left on main bed, last needle on right on ribber. When completed, it was  followed by change to full pitch prior to pattern knitting, lining up needles point to point, directly below each other (bottom image).  I prefer the edge obtained on the half pitch throughout, seen in previous  sample 

Still pondering those edges, and what about repeats with large areas of solid color? The image on the left is 25X26 rows in height, the one on the right adjusted for an even number of solid color rows, and a total row repeat divisible by 4, 25X28. The single black line at the top is a marker for returning the carriage to all knit when the top of the repeat is reached. When using full pitch, solid areas remained open at both edges with carriage set to KCII. A wooden tool handle is actually inserted through from one side to the other in the bottom of the swatch. Because the needles are point to point, no extra needles could be brought to work on both ends as a work around. KCI will select end needles on main bed. I tried that as the first work around to seal the edges. I paid no attention to whether needles were selected at each end every row, and got another creative pair of edges. 

Returning to half pitch I brought up to work the first needle on the left every row (too many rows at seen at R top edge compared to other side) and pushed the last needle on right up to work if it was not part of the group to be brought up to E. Analyzing the fabric structure in those areas of solid colors on alternating beds: at first full pitch makes sense if one has knit tubular stripes or solids which have closed edges, with the yarn making a single pass on each bed, traveling back to the color changer, with the option to stripe every X, even number of rows. Such stripes occur evenly spaced and identical on both fabric sides. Here the goal is to knit the fabric with large blocks of solid, alternate colors on each side. The main bed knits color 1 on selected needles on the top bed only, the alternate color is knit with the ribber needles being hand selected up to E while the main bed is slipping, with none of its needles selected. Other than that first set up row with preselection from the left, 2 rows are knit in color A, followed by 2 rows in color B. There are no stitches traveling between the beds to seal the fabric together in those areas, creating open sides, so if the goal is to have the edges seal. other steps need to be taken. A single pixel solid line along either edge of the repeat did not create a good edge. Full pitch is easier than half pitch to manage. One possible solution to both issues is to alter the side edges of the design repeat so there will be alternating needle selection along those side edges, thus sealing the fabric. 

I decided to cast on with white, and to continue with white as the first color used in pattern (white squares in chart). This swatch was knit in full pitch. Edges are sealed throughout. The only hitch was when the top was reached and that all black squares row was reached. I was on the right at that point, with my dark color in the feeder. The row toward the left would have knit in the dark color instead of the white on the top bed.  I cut the dark yarn, made a free pass to the left, continued in plain knit in white to right, and then transferred stitches and bound off. Top and bottom edges /borders in terms of number of rows, whether to add pattern there as well, are all subject to personal preferences and taste.

For an off topic reversible double bed fabric using thread lace setting, see post 

Two color dbj, non repetitive images, electronic kms.

This post is another work in progress one, subject to future editing. I will add information as I have time  experiment, think, and my assumptions meet my expectations or not. Additional information may be found in previous posts on ribber adjustments and color changers

Recently I began to be curious as to how long, non repetitive images might be handled when knitting on both Brother and Passap. The subject is not out of reach for punchcard knitters. In the early art to wear days when the options were for 24 or 40 stitch repeats, many artists joined punchcards in length to the desired height, and knit them in width + seam allowances, joining long panels together to form the large images, or hanging them as panels in tapestry format. One such artist was Nicky Hitz Edson. I have avoided working with such images since my bit knitter knit from screen days eons ago. Also, I always preferred DBJ variations on the Passap. I used the KRC function only in my very early Studio Electronic days, prior to acquiring the Passap or any of my Brother machines. Tools and machines available to me at present: 910 with EMS kit and Ayab software, old fashioned mylars also for the 910, an unknown capacity for accurate knitting “rehabilitated” 930 accompanied by img2track consultations for the moment with Tanya Cunningham, and Passap E6000 using technique 179.

Reviewing some basics: the KRC function built into the 910 performs this separation automatically. It is the default dbj separation in Ayab, uses the built in KRC button with img2track on the 930. Repeats must be an even number of rows in height.
Here the simple shape illustrated in some of my previous is shown in color, and repeating twice vertically. Note: first color used knits only once, toward the color changerThis means the first pre selection row needs to happen from left to right, with color knitting beginning from right to left, and subsequently every 2 rows. Pertinent reminders from the 910 manual: in any pattern knitting 

and when knitting DBJ with factory mylar (or self drawn patterns)White pixels knit first when images are drawn in black and white squares 

KC I or II may be used, needle arrangements can vary depending on the look one prefers on the edges. The 930_940 directions get a bit more elaborate, and show usage of an accessory “latch opening tool” (I have never used it on my 910, may have to give it a test in the future); img2track downloads to the machine’s built in brain, the equivalent of downloading to the Passap console, which will hold the pattern program in memory until altered or erased. In re reading manuals I noted I have had a chronic habit since I began knitting of referring to the ribber “connecting arm” as its “sinker plate”.

I have several sinker plates. In reference to above, this photo illustrates the location of the #2 when present vs not 

and here the latch opening plate has been secured into place in the connecting arm without the #2 marking, where it makes a noticeable change, bringing the unit closer to needles when on the machine during knitting 

A reminder: if the needle presser bar on the ribber (all plastic) is to be removed, it is reinserted back in with ridges facing, and flat side down 
When the pattern selector is down, the pattern is centered on green #1 (right of  0). If the pattern is an odd number of stitches and the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13, the center is green #1. AYAB color sequence is reversed from the Brother convention of white pixels being color #1, and black pixels being color #2. It chooses black as color #1, white as color #2. The first pass to the right is set up with the “black” yarn. The first pass to the right preselects for the first row of black squares, which will be knit on the first pass from right to left. With an odd number of needles, Ayab places the larger number of needles on the left, its orange (yellow) side.

The closest relative to the KRC button in the PassapE6000 is Technique 179, intended for emulating single bed 2 color FI on Japanese machines, but it may be used with an every needle rib and varied back lock settings to produce far less elongated DBJ than its standard built in DBJ color separations. In single bed knitting GX/LX is used, for DBJ use every needle rib, and set back bed settings and pushers for desired backing (GX is the Passap equivalent of free pass, with the bed in that setting not knitting any stitches, whether or not any needles are in use or holding yarn). The repeat must be an even number of rows in height. The instructions in the company publications are that color reverse must be used, swapping the background and motif colors. The color changing sequence is the usual one. Both KRC and 179/ col rev knits white pixels first. When knitting a row in Brother machines the K carriage must pass the center of the needle bed, or the pattern will not advance properly. In Passap, programmed end needles for pattern on each side must be cleared or error messages will be received, and a pattern “correction” will be required before continuing.

I am planning to begin by using a 2 color, large repeat factory mylar, scanned and reduced to downloadable image, details in how to in a previous post. The goal is to knit segments that are part of a continuous, “longer” image. My ultimate goal: to knit scarves that are 70-84 stitches wide, with non repeating patterns for 12-1400 rows. My understanding that such an image in img2 track would be broken into tracks by the software, with each track programmed in turn as separate segments, and the software warning one when the last row for each track is reached. In Passap the segments will be entered as patterns A, B, and C, no warnings at repeat ends, they are calculated based on math. Segments will be 30 pixels in height as  “pretend” longer file components, for the sake of knitting speed.

That row back to the color changer knitting row one again, would show up as an error/ extra row below row 1 color 1 of the subsequent pattern.Looking at it in terms of black and white squares, what happens the same repeats when stack continuously above each other

The problem comes at the intersection of the 2  different patterns; the assumption with the KRC separation is that you start with one row of color 1 opposite the color changer, and if you are knitting a continuous, “looping/repeating” pattern, the last rows knits the last row of color 1 away from the color changer (B), and will start with row 1 color one again toward the color changer on the left in Brother (C). One approach  is to stop knitting in pattern opposite the color changer, (red line), program the second piece of the “longer” design, and start to knit the first row of color 1 again for that pattern segment, going from right to left/ toward the color changer(C). Color changing then follows every 2 rows until the top of the second pattern piece is reached, repeating as needed.

The full mylar repeat, scanned and processed for use as images to be eventually downloaded via cable is shown in the top image. Below it,  segments 1-40 stitches, rows 1-30, 41-60, 61-90 are shows as selected, cropped in turn, with corresponding bmps saved for cable download. AYAB users can work with image software like paint, gimp etc. to process and save them as b/w bitmap, png, etc. Img2track accepts common image formats (jpg, gif, png, bmp, tiff). Both software programs may be used in PCs and Macs. Wincrea Win_Crea can open files in .cut (Passap), .bmp, or .wmf formats. It can save in .cut and .bmp. Passap and the 930s hold the segments in their own memory, while ayab knits from screen. Stitch painter (2.0) prior to the latest release used to have limited import and export formats, including .cut. There now is a new website for program, a new release, and I could not find info on exports beyond “There are now numerous export file formats including: PDF, JPG, TIF, PNG, and other popular formats.”

The full mylarthree segments, selected from its bottom left 

Proof of concept swatch on 910 using the mylar, programmed consistently in width on needles 1-40, with height for each segment 1-30, 31-60, 61-90. I was knit in a throw away yarn, in unfamiliar DBJ tension settings, so I had some dropped stitches seen in the left, bottom of the swatch image that were resolved with adjustments in settings. Note the image is reversed vertically by the program automatically with all variation levers down with the exception of the KRC one 

One develops preferred ways of handling images as knitting experience increases and varies. I have always done my own scaling prior to any actual knitting. Software programs at times offer to adjust height based on knitting technique and either real or estimated gauge. Passap has a smooth edge feature to decrease stepped effects if the image is enlarged in multiples by the console. In double bed work, sample swatches are often much larger than when working single bed, at least 100 stitches by 100 rows. Because DBJ lengthens the image by default  (each single row of design now requires 2 passes of the carriage), a separation for a 30 row design would require 60 rows of knitting on the machine to complete the repeat. Ribber settings can help reduce elongation in addition to any scaling of the motif. One alternative would have the ribber knitting in one direction, slipping in the other. This means that every other rows the main bed will create floats for the non knitting color, get caught between beds on the next pass. 

In my test design such floats are quite long in sections of the motif, resulted in problems, so that left me with choosing the lili setting. 

Lili buttons on Brother machines behave like a 1X1 punchcard does on the main bed. There is no free pass with ribber set to slip <— —> if lili buttons are engaged. It is the equivalent of making such a pass on the main bed with every other needle selected, where any stitches on selected needles would be dropped if there is no yarn in use. Also, one may not slip on the same needles continually, so needles in use on the ribber must total an even number, in pairs of what I refer to as dash and blank or blank and dash markings on the needle tape. The pusher selection on the Passap selections operates differently, so an even vs odd total # rule doesn’t apply.

These photos illustrate needle selection on ribber, first beginning with dash on left, ending with blank on right, the second beginning with blank on left, ending with dash on right. It is the second needle on the carriage side that gets selected in each direction, regardless of starting mark for needle pairs. Here the blank knits to right, the dash knits to left

and its reverse, with dash knitting to right, blank knitting to left. There is no way without operator intervention to get that first needle to be the one knitting (such adjustments are made to achieve striper backing as opposed to birdseye, a different topic altogether

I programmed my first repeat segment after casting on, ending with dark color, both carriages on left side. The white squares (in this case knit in white yarn) need to knit the first row from right to left. Either remove the ribber carriage and move to opposite side, or tilt it forward and move it to the right, being careful not to engage any needles. After it is in place, set it for birds eye backing 

The knit carriage is now brought to the left, set to slip <— —>, KCI or II, in proper placement outside the turn mark for the first preselection row to right. Make a free pass to right, needles will be selected in pattern for the first single row of white squares (needles on the main bed after cast on are already only in B position). Place the yarn properly in feeder, couple the carriages, knit right to left, change color every 2 rows.

At the row before the last row of the pattern (top row, color 1), the card is automatically returned to the starting position of the pattern. When the machine buzzer alerts with its sound that the end of the repeat is being reached, the contrast color 2 (black squares) will be on the right side. In my initial attempts I used the approach: knit to left, change to white (color 1), knit a single color 1 row left to right and stop. Do not cut the yarn. The next pass to the left needs to knit the first “white squares row” in the next segment. The ribber carriage remains on the right, the birds eye pattern on the back will not be interrupted. I took the knit carriage off on the right, moved it back to the left side, it will not be holding any yarn. Prepare for knitting the second segment. There will still be needles selected (they would have knit the first white row when moving from right to left if the repeat were a continuing one). They need to be manually pushed back to B or those stitches will be dropped on the free pass to right. Program as usual, pre select to right, place white yarn back in proper position in feeder, engage both carriages and knit repeating the process until once again, a first, single row of the white is knit at the top of the second segment. The machine sounds serve as reminders when you have reached the point where things require attention. The process is repeated until all necessary pieces have been knit, composing the much longer image.  As I worked further, I believe the same method may be used as seen below with the mylar in place. Knit the last row with the ground color to left, preselection for the white squares is made on the way. Do not disturb needle selection on the bed or settings on either carriage. COL. Program the next segment, begin on far left outside the turn mark, change color to color 1 (white squares). As the carriages move to the right, the last row of segment one knits and the first row of segment 2 is preselected. As the carriages return to the left to begin color changing sequence every 2 rows, row 1 color 1 segment next will knit, while the first row of the ground (black squares) will preselect. 

I recently received a second EMS Ayab kit I am just now beginning to use. Here the same image, bottom segment only, is tested. Knowing Ayab selects black squares first in its ribber setting I used the action invert available in the program itself to color reverse (middle image) so white would knit first. The process remains essentially the same in terms of ribber and other settings prior to knitting color 1 design row 1. The difference here as compared to the sample knit with the built in KRC, all other buttons down, is that the native 910 KRC image is reversed on the knit side, it is knit it as it would appear on purl side. The Ayab version automatically mirrors the motif to have the original appear on the knit side as drawn.I did attempt to load  the 3 segments into the program, knit them using the single setting (left) and the infinite one (right). The single setting gives one alerts when the top of the repeat is reached akin to the native buzzer, the infinite relies on the operator on knowing the to stop. I had problems with the yarn I was using and dropping stitches after out of curiosity I decided to add the latch opening plate to my ribber carriage. They went away when I removed it in subsequent swatches. I was not successful again using the single setting. The arrows mark what appear to be needle selection errors in both series.  9/18/18 Because of space restrictions at the moment my ayab and 910 are in “storage”. As I keep working, it occurred to me this method might be the way to go when using Ayab as well, at present it is untested 

Here I attempted proof of concept with img2track on my 930 which is nice enough to track rows knit. As the top of the first segment was reached and the carriage began to reverse direction from the right, the machine made a warning sound, alerting me to the fact that the second row for row 30 of color 2 was about to be knit as the carriage moved back toward the color changer selection was made for the last row of color 1making certain I did not disturb the needle selection in that row, I took the carriages to the far left, programmed the second segment in the repeat, with not other changes to carriage settings, changed to color 1. The above row knit on the first pass to the right with color 1, while the preselecting row 1 for color 1 in the new segment  and knitting it on the return to the color changer. The idea appeared sound, but then I ran into this: random dropped stitches. At first I thought it might be a yarn issue (different fiber content and weight). After a break I took time to check all ribber adjustments, since this deconstruction was not part of the plan.Adjustments in ribber height (dropped a bit on each side) appeared to solve the problem. I began the swatch intentionally with plain knit stripes as an initial check, switched color 2 to the other yarn to test any different behavior there as well. I had actually moved my ribber from my 910 to the 930 without checking alignment and spacing after doing so, lesson learned. 

A theoretical design as a starting point for more discussion in Facebook 

I cannot speak for img2track from personal experience. When I posed the question to the FB group as to how the program might handle a long, non repetitive image, I supplied the image above. It is not knittable as is, 103X841(odd#) rows, from a random illustration found online that would need a lot of “clean up”. Assuming it was knit ready, an even number of rows, and other DBJ set up requirements are met does the 2 color separation work for the whole image length or must the image be divided into segments that are in turn knit and color separated separately? Tanya Cunningham, creator of the group, was kind enough to respond in the forum, and I have her permission to share her response here. “Img2track creates a B&W pattern of the full length of the image. THAT file is useable in other applications. Many people create an image file with img2track, then load that image file into DAK to knit. Img2track does NOT create separate image files for the various tracks into which it breaks larger images. That happens when you request the pattern from the machine console. When img2track receives the request from the KM, it offers all tracks, and you select which one you wish to load. This image is already in a format such that it will not be altered by img2track (.bmp) (unless you restrict the width.) I selected it with img2track, and the resulting “pattern” was basically the identical image, just converted to a png.
The image was at first loaded in the uneven number of rows, and software gave the warning “It will not end well!” 

“As you knit the last row of each track (left to right) you will be selecting the needles for the first row of the next track. Thus, when you arrive at COR with color 1, you will be all set up for knitting the first row of the new track. Insofar as dividing up the pattern goes, that is done completely automatically by the software. You still have to load the successive tracks (and go outside the turn mark and select KRC). You just have to keep track of which tracks you’ve knitted. I write it down on a piece of paper each time I load a track, and how many rows it is. You can scroll back in the img2track window to see what was the last track knitted, unless img2track gets closed, and restarted, then it won’t show your previous activity, unless you go to the img2track log..”

I put the same query to participants in the facebook Ayab group. Ayab knits from screen, so providing there is no interruption in power it appears some users are able to knit long, non repetitive images without any sub divisions of the original pattern. Adrienne Hunter, an expert user and great resource offered the following information: “there’s effectively no length limitation in AYAB; the Arduino requests the next row as soon as it has finished selecting the current row, and the computer keeps sending the next row (color-separated as needed) until it reaches the top of the file. The pattern is in your computer’s memory which can be considered to be infinite; unlike a download to a 1980’s self-contained knitting machine with very limited on-board memory. As you say, the computer must be set to stay awake, and as always you need to consciously wait for the beep on the right; the time it takes to do the color change is generally enough to cover the delay on the left.
I see occasional patterning errors in long narrow fair isle pieces too, but not in DBJ. That’s because the errors can be prevented by crossing a turn mark every now and again, and with DBJ you cross a turn mark every two rows when you enter the color changer.
You’ll see the annoying UI bug where the display jumps back to the beginning of a long item so it isn’t showing you the section where it’s actually working. The knitting is doing the right thing, just not scrolling the display correctly to show it to you.” If accurate for the full image, this appears to be the ideal method to me.

Paint programs allow for easy manipulation of images that make it a bit easier to imagine the finished product. With the assumption I wish to knit a scarf no longer than 1200 rows using the above design, the first task is to reduce the repeat to a workable, even number of rows in height, no more than 600 rows. So I cropped the image to 94X536. It is well worth to study how the image might appear if color reverse is used, as well as what effect mirroring it may have (especially if direction matters in your design). Pairs of mirrored images may produce interesting, far wider pattern variations. Know whether the program works first with black or white squares, and you can simply choose that color when color 1 row one begins to knit from right. The color reverse option is built into most software and electronics. I prefer to save images as I want to knit them. Notes to self using ayab with images such as above: black squares knit first, so if I want the white to knit first, matching any Japanese pattern knit using KRC style separation use color reverse. If direction matters, remember that the image will be flipped vertically by the program so that it will appear on the knit side as drawn. Though technically I have no plan to knit the whole piece, I decided to test a portion of it with my new ayab board. I programmed the image on the left, wishing to get the effect noted on the right. Began on the right with color 1 = white for design row 1. I am not used to working in this scale. That said, the pattern was accurate up to the point I decided to stop because of time factors. Though the design is 94 wide, I knit only on it center 80 stitches

9/16/18 I received an orphan 930 which when first received had no movable parts related to patterning. The belt was frozen in place, and when that got liberated after cleaning and lubricating as much as I dared take apart at the time, after some initial errors the built in patterns from several groups including lace knit perfectly, with only a slight squeak. After being stored again for a while, I tried built in FI patterns again, and they displayed errors. I heard a new noise coming from the needle selector, exposed that, cleaned and lubricated it, and it lost the added noise during operation. Tried built in FI with resulting patterning errors once more. That said, test patterns in the service manual 881,882,884 knit perfectly. After another break for both of us I got some built in patterns to work again both single and double bed and put working with them to rest. I began to work with img2track. I have not yet purchased a key. These were my first self drawn single bed and dbj tests, none intended for any final piece. 

Here a quickly drafted long, narrow test design is shown with the first track self repeating on the bottom, then with the second track programmed, and continuing on after the first (thanks to help and feedback in the FB group; long stitch striper backing and dropped stitches = extra “design features”😉. The program makes a sound when the last row of ground (black squares) is reached. The carriage is then moved to left, knitting that last row of ground while selecting last row of color 1 for that specific track. When on left, begin outside the turn mark, program the next track, change to color one, remember to set for KRC, knit to right (Cam button will already be set for KCI orII). As you do so, the last row of color 1 is knit, the first row of the next track for color 1 will be selected. The latter will knit on the way back to the color changer. Continue in pattern, changing colors every 2 rows. Knitting is uninterrupted by having to change carriage settings on either bed, backing pattern is also uninterrupted. 

as described in the user guide: to download, launch program and select 

“The KH-930 takes just a few seconds to load the track, because the memory holds only 2 KB of data (about 13000 stitches). Later models have a much larger memory (32 KB). The KH- 940 and KH-950i require 42 seconds to load a track.” “If your pattern was divided into more than one track, you will have to load successive tracks when completing the previous track. Listen for the beep from the knitting machine, indicating that the carriage is about to knit the next to last row of the track, selecting needles for the last row of the track. Knit this second to last row, and then STOP. (If you simply continue knitting at this point, the knitting machine will knit the last row of the track and select needles for the first row of the same track). To load the second track of the pattern, enter CE 551 STEP, and then 2 STEP prior to knitting the last row of the current track. (If your computer goes “to sleep” while you are knitting, you will be unable to load additional tracks. Be sure to check that your computer is not “asleep” before attempting to load successive tracks.) Before you begin to knit the last row and select needles for the first row of the next track, be sure that the carriage passes outside of the turn mark. The knitting machine will retain the loaded track in its memory until you alter it. You can turn it off, and later turn it on and resume where you left off.”So what about Passap and using it for emulating the KRC 2 color DBJ? Passap color changer to start with, is on the right side rather than the left. All preselection of pushers (they will in turn drive the needles to move into work or not) always starts from the left. The first pass to the left after casting on and the pattern is programmed brings them all into work in a flat line, the first preselection row is left to right, with color changes following every 2 rows. Settings for those 2 rows can vary, the console guides you through supposed 2 free passes with settings at SX/GX, the equivalent of Brother slip <– –>/ slip <– –>. The technique 179 is intended for simulating single bed FI in Japanese machines, the manual recommends color reverse. In DBJ that would line up with KRC selecting white squares firs. I like thinking of my black squares as my pattern ones, so I tend not to use the color reverse, choose my contrast color accordingly.  I decided to program the same built in pattern twice, as A and B, each using tech 179, a repeat in which I thought it might see easily what happens when the “2 separate segments” intersect. Below is the pattern seen in B/W, tiled, and knit. Notice in the knit swatch the first row in each sequence repeats twice.What appears to be happening, is that only that very first row is repeated twice for one time in the color separation at the very beginning of the knit. The arrows on the right indicate movements of the locks to and from the color changer, knitting my black squares. If row one is knit in that that color twice only once, and the pattern subsequently is kept continuous, rolling back to row one for only a single pass, the 2 row color rotation can be maintained. The bold, green border outlines the single, full repeat. The separation is only for illustration of placement for the one color.

Swatching again with an attempt to produce it as 2 separate but continuous segments: I do not use color reverse, choose my color to match black squares, and that would be color 2 on the console prompt. In my firs attempt I followed other usual console prompts, but used SX/GX settings for three rows rather than the 2. The first pass will lift all pushers into work. Second pass preselects pushers for first row of pattern to right. Third pass would normally knit the first row of pattern, preselect for second row to be knit from left to right, and so on. After the third SX/GX pass the locks are on the left side(LOL), I changed settings for pattern knitting (LX/BX). On the right, made certain the empty yarn holder is up for the next color. On the left yarn into eyelet, making certain it was positioned so it would not be crossing other color yarn on travel back to color changer. Knit single row to the right, changed color, continued knitting in pattern unit the top of the “segment” was reached (row countX2, in this instance = 32). The design color  knit its last pass, locks are on right (LOR) Programmed second segment, repeated 3 rows of SX/GX. On left, yarn in feeder, proceed as above. This gave me correct continuous segments on the knit side of the fabric, but the birds eye backing was disrupted. On the bottom because of operator error in lock setting, and the top because birds eye normally knits EON for 2 rows, creating a bit jaggy, single line of color after knitting on all needles when the second pass is knit, while here it EON for one row only, missing that second pass. Note yarn ends, yard would need to be cut to position it for those single row passes from left. 

It is really helpful to use colors that are high contrast when testing patterns. Here color positions are reversed, the red is now my ground (white squares with no color reverse), and the blue at the segment change muddies things considerably to my eye. Maintaining the Birdseye selection is now sorted out and actually makes for easier knitting 

More scales and chevrons in ribbed, racked (4) fabrics

Over the years a variety of fabrics have been named dragon scales or crocodile stitch. Here dragon scales have referred to shapes created using a lace technique and resulting in a pattern such as this

that was followed by hand knit samplesand an investigation into possibly creating a ribber fabric with auto shaping resulting in similar protrusion

ribber-pitch-a-bit-on-racking-1-chevrons-horizontal-herringbone/

vertical chevrons/ herringbone  which eventually led to this, where a reversal in racking periodically shifts the lean in opposite directions

automating the pattern in half fisherman rib/ mylar repeat tracking shown. Any repeat in a factor of 24 may be used on punchcard machine as well The start of a series in varied colors and fibers: sometimes I enjoy getting back to the simplicity and predictability of punchcard machines, though punching those cards can be slow and a bit tedious. I am presently curious about striping again, and creating a wider “scale”, with a crisper fold. The chart is for the working idea, the punchcard typical of what some of my cards begin to look like as my work evolves. When marking cards for any action, the fact that the eye is not on the same design row as the reader needs to be taken into consideration. Here racking numbers begin to get marked on what would normally be row one on a factory marked punchcard, 7 rows up for Brother KMs on any other brand punchcard or cardroll # position. Though the final repeat is an even number of rows in height (42) note that each half repeat is not (21). The color changer sits on the left, so first preselection row is left to right, cam button on KCI to insure end stitches knit. Any color changes happen every even #X rows, so they will technically be in a slightly different spot on the alternate repeat. some of the trial and error, random yarns. The white is a 2/15 wool, the yellow a 2/12, the blue an unknown, also woolthe best fo the lot, but not “there ” yet, going back to one color knitting So then you go for a yummy alpaca and silk, make a racking error and manage to correct the pattern, and lo and behold the yarn breaks halfway across the row a repeat up from there! “They” do keep talking about how relaxing knitting is ;-).  Yarn specsFiber Content: 80% Alpaca/20% Silk; Weight: Lace; Gauge: 8 sts = 1″, 1/2-lb cones/3472 YPP (1736 yards/cone)This yarn is an English  import, 2675 yards per pound. It felts into a lovely fabric (not the goal here), and knit tolerably well. The fabric is quite stiff however, and the surface change is minimal and nearly completely lost 2/18 Jaggerspun wool silk: worth a shot at a scarf. Starting ribber cast on on left, followed by 2 circular rows, one closing row right to left, and first KCI row from left to right, will set up patterning in tuck so that the direction of the arrows on the left side of the card, lines up with the racking number appropriate for that row prior to knitting it. The fabrics below are as they came off the machine, not blocking of any sort

I have some lovely cash wool in 3 colors, 2/48 weight. Using 3 separate strands fed through the yarn feeder separately resulted in uneven feeding, loops, and too many problems. Using 2 strands “worked” easily, but the fabric was nearly flatCautiously winding 3 strands onto a cone prior to knitting gave far more predictable results, and there now is a scarf in progress. The difference in color is due to lighting at the momentMy best advice to anyone attempting this is to knit slowly. The most likely spot for errors in my experience is at the point where 1: no action is taken for a row (or more in later swatches), so racking position remains at 10 for 2 rows, and 2: for racking position 9 the knit carriage position is reversed in each half of the repeat. One can get also reach a left right rhythm, and without realizing it, begin racking between position 9 and 8 as opposed to 9 and 10, throwing pattern off. Another look at racking positions: the numbers reflect racking position before the carriage moves to the opposite side, the arrows the direction in which the carriage will be moving. Once the knit carriage moves the card advances, so glancing at the card after that move will show the action for the next row at eye level, which can be confusing at times.  A finished piece, 9.5″ X 64″, in the coned 3 strands of merino. Occasional single strand caught on ribber gate pegs, no yarn feeding issues as such. The fabric has not been blocked in any way, but allowed to “relax”. I like the larger scale of the “scales”, would still like to introduce striping in a way that pleases my eye. The knitting is slow thanks to all the racking, but is probably faster than single bed holding for similar shapes, with a very different finished look. Future of the fabric tbd. 8/16: interestingly enough when the fabric relaxed, it became quite a bit less 3Dand back to introducing stripes in contrasting colorAn act of faith after lots of trial and errors and a punchcard redesign, that this may have been worth the effort when done. I am choosing to cut the yarn and weave in ends for longer solid areas, and am giving myself permission to only knit while I feel focused on manual changes in color and racking. It may take a very long time to get to “scarf length”and here is the fabric in a completed piece, about 54 inches in length when off the machine. Top right photo shows reverse side of the piece, the bottom right is how it might appear when wornNext up was a test on be how to use 2 carriages, or changing settings, allowing for the turning stripes to help the scale shape bend more outward into a “point”. I found to get the width I needed, along with striping it was simpler to change ribber ribber settings to slip <– –> for all knit rows and retain use of the color changer on the left.

It is easy to share successes. There are also those days however, when one should not be anywhere within range of a knitting machine and perseverance does not lead to anything positive. The above scarf was knit in a charcoal, using 3 strands of the cash wool. Two strands of the blue created a nearly flat fabric, 3 strands did the job. So I now turn to true black and white. Knitting 3 strands of the black was impossible at any tension for any length. Then I noticed the ribber on the right was lower than it should be. It turned out the bolt used to adjust the height of the ribber was loose, and the slightest turn of it loosened it completely. So then it took way too long to get it back in place. Got things back together and set up, and with each movement of the racking handle the ribber dropped on the right. After a lot more fiddling that got me nowhere, I decided to use the ribber for another brother machine that had not been used for years. That was dry, the grease on it had turned black, and time flew cleaning and oiling and waiting. Back on the machine the right ribber bracket of the alternate ribber will not allow it to drop on that side so it’s back to grease and patience and yes, I finally got up and running, only now the smell of the oil and lubricants makes me want to leave my apartment. Outdoors the temp is a dozen degrees warmer than inside it and grossly humid. I don’t want my knit to smell like the solvents either, so the remainder of the day is called in as a period of rest and recreation mixed with a touch of hopefully amnesia.

Moving on to the next day: success in one color with no major problems or errors, have a black scarf, 64 inches long with lovely bumps, here as it appears immediately off the machine 8/16: 3D shapes held up very wellSo what would that true black in the thinner weight do with those stripes in a true white? I found myself forgetting completely to set the carriage to tuck for several tries, then messed up the color changing sequence. Time for more R&R.

8/7 after several tests with minor variations in the pattern, sorting out yarn weights preferences, I decided to “go” for a version of the same stitch type as the charcoal and white in true black and white. Again, I am not able to use 3 strands of the black Got a third of the estimated desired length knit, and whoopee! about 10 stitches dropped off both beds on the color changer side. Oh the joys of unraveling several rows of sewing thread weight black yarn, in racked tuck stitch, down to an all knit row in the white to make certain the proper number of stitches are in work on both beds. Got that far, and ready for more R&R.

And 8/8 this is the last in the series, at least for a while in true B&W. The 3D pattern is reduced by the weight of the piece as it is wornJust a reminder: the service manual http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-kr120-kr710-kr830-kr850-kr230-kr260-service-manual.html provides information on ribber adjustments. The part in question I believe, is #24, the “slide plate guide stud”. In the image below b= the bolt that became completely loose. I discovered after getting things back together that a, which secures the ribber bracket, is actually directional with a barely perceptible difference in shape, and if accidentally rotated 180, will keep the ribber bracket from changing height positions and working properly. Rotating it restored expected actions, so now I have 2 well functioning ribbers to work with.  

Still at it, 8/16 I now have lovely, equally bumpy fabric in all 3 colors using 2 strands each of the cash wool at the same tension. The single difference in my execution, is that I am now using my alternate KR 850 ribber. The height and other adjustments appear identical to my eye. I am reminded of my teaching days in a Brother punchcard lab, where at times the same model machines might be side by side, and a fabric would work perfectly on one machine while not on the other supposedly identical model. Students were not allowed to swap off machines, the one exception being if that was the only way to get the stitch types in their final projects completed after I attempted to work out other possible issues.  “They” do keep talking about how relaxing knitting is, but with machine knitting there are lots of opportunities to wonder about that suggested fact.8/17: complete a royal blue scarf in the smaller scale repeat, previously executed on my 910. The punchcard below it image may be used to achieve the same fabric 8/18: trucking on, planning a couple of more pieces with the large scale repeat. It seems I have been having more drat it moments than one might ever want, resulting in having to discard hundreds of rows of knitting for any number of reasons including racking operator errors. I have also encountered another problem. In the past I have used cello clear, or a variety of tapes to seal off holes accidentally punched in the wrong place. I very rarely produce multiples of any of my pieces, and my limited edition items were usually knit on an electronic due to its increased ease in adjusting the repeat width and height to suit. Transitioning from the solid repeat to the striped one, I decided to punch out holes on my original card to test my ideas, and when returning to the large scales I was too lazy to punch yet another card, and taped over sections I wanted to eliminate from selection. Hundreds of rows into yet another piece I began to notice odd behavior in needle selection, which was fully remedied by investing time into punching a new card, and yes, starting over yet again. Note to self: do not do this sort of taping over in the future, no matter what the tape, and especially when knitting multiple pieces thousands of rows in length! 

8/21: I am working on a final series of the large scale, single color scarves. As has often been my experience in knitting long pieces of ribbed fabrics (most of my scarves are 1200 rows or more in length), I have a talent for developing problems after the ¾ point. Two factors that can have an effect on stitches not knitting off properly “suddenly” can be the result of 1: the slide lever setting being changed accidentally when moving  ribber sinker plate ie to correct patterning errors and bring it to the opposite side, and the ribber alignment for needle positions relative to each other on opposite beds changing slightly from all the side to side motion in racking nearly every single row.

The slide lever has 3 positions. I have out of habit gotten used to simply leaving it in its center setting (lili) for my knitting, and used to teach students to keep that constant if possible. Sometimes when knitting ribbed cuffs, bands or collars, I have seen the differences in length and width of them changed for separate pieces and not noticed until one was ready to join pieces.   

adjusting needle bed positions (for more see http://alessandrina.com/2015/01/13/a-bit-on-ribbers-japanese-kms_-alignment-and-symbols-1/)

The last piece produced by me was in a charcoal color, using the same yarn brand and weight as the black. All things being equal, using the same tension (required to avoid knitting problems), the charcoal version stitches were considerably looser, and longer, also due in changes in gauge. I think the charcoal scarf will put this fabric to rest for me for a very long time. This was my final, re-punched card, and its markings

 

Knit and purl blocks to create folding fabric/ “pleats”

Knit and purl combinations  may be executed in hand or machine knitting. Knit charts are generally planned and illustrated based on the fact that the same side of the fabric is always facing the knitter. Hand knitters have to accommodate for the fact that the the work is turned over (unless knit tubular) with every row worked, so plans would need to reverse knit for purl and vice versa if needed. For more ribbed, pleated/ folding fabrics please see 

The easiest way to produce this particular fabric on Brother machines would be to let your garter carriage do the walking and working. For those of us that do not have that option there are transfer carriages, (I honestly have only used mine once, decades ago, will have to dig it out of moth balls) and transferring needles by hand. Pairs of identical stitch transfer tools  may be used to move stitches from one bed to the other. If the goal is to produce a knit with tension as tight as possible, the latter can be problematic and result in dropped stitches, so testing the yarn and the mode of transfer should be part of swatch trials prior to committing to larger knit pieces.  I found moving stitches between beds one at a time for me was preferable and more reliable

The chart for the initial concept: The number of needles used for “pleats” is constant (7); 3 stitches move up (or down) in turn, indicated by arrows. After the first 3 are transferred, 3 more are now moved adjacent to the now remaining 4 stitches from the opposite bed in order to maintain the total of 7 on each bed, excluding any borders, in which stitch placement remains fixed.

cast on for every other needle ribafter completing cast on rows, set up for pattern by transferring between beds*knit 6 rows, transfer between beds  knit 6 rows, transfer again restoring original selections**repeat * to **; transfer to main bed, bind off. Swatch on KM prior to binding off 

If the goal is to retain the texture, it is best to knit using a yarn with “memory” such as wool, which may be steamed or blocked lightly while retaining the fabric’s quality. A rayon or cotton would flatten permanently if pressed. The photo shows both sides of my swatch, beginning on left with it slightly stretched with pins, relaxed in center, and with a bit of vertical “tug” 
The fabric changes a bit when some stitches remain fixed on alternating beds, and the same sort of approach is used. My initial intent had been to transfer every 4 rows, but I actually did so after every 6 rows knit. Colors in chart on right:Its numbers indicate the working needles on each of the 2 beds. The first 3 needles on either side are never transferred. Groups on either bed after transfers remain constant at 6 with the exception of the borders . The starting set upand the alternating one, repeated in turn throughout the knit. Note border stitch selection, constants in between still on the machine 
and my small test swatch. The fold on each side and the swing in the pattern appear crisper and better defined to me
What of horizontal folds? Transferring every stitch to and from the main bed manually is more than I am willing to deal with in addition to transfers for those blocks. I am also interested in the effect produced with use of thicker yarn. This repeat is presently on my hand knitting needles, is suitable for electronics or punchcard machines. A single unit is 5 by 16 rows, the punchcard repeat is 24 X 16 X 3; 32 rows is a tad shy of enough rows for the punchcard to roll and advance properly, 36 rows in height is the recommended minimum. Knitting as tight as possible makes for a stiffer, crisper fabric. I decide there were things about this repeat I did not like however, including the change in pattern at the folds 

The new repeat , with only 2 rows worked rather than 4 between block pattern reversal, the repeat is now 12 rows rather than 16 in height

The hand knit swatch, using 4 ply yarn on #5 HK needles. The arrows mark area where 4 rows were knit between knit and purl blocks rather than 2, creating an added ridge, and a straighter line than the row pairs

an attempt at a side view

Getting rid of those blocks altogether: a generously shared free pattern on ravelry , and a link to the author’s blog 

 

 

Garter bars and how to use them

I previously wrote on a ruffled trim using the garter bar and holding. While recently searching online I found some hints/ publication links I thought I would share. The “manual” that came with the 4.5 mm set was written in Japanese when I purchased mine, includes patterns for vertical weaving/ “embroidery. The supposed English counterpart does not have the pictorial stitch information, but provides basic technique clear instructions.
Using garter bar on the bulky  
Studio tips and techniques 

If needles and gate pegs are not bent, with a bit of practice, in most instances and unless working on very wide pieces of knit I have found using the needle stopper unnecessary.

The Brother publication on topic:

 

A complex published transfer lace to electronic repeat for download/ GIMP editing


Lace on the machine can render beautiful fabrics that closely resemble hand knitting, but programming very long repeats is a challenge both in placing every hole in the correct square in a punchcard, and in programming individual pixels on a mylar or as pixels for download correctly. I found the “leaf lace” repeat below shared frequently on Pinterest, and thought I would test the approach discussed in the post on using numbers and gimp to create images for electronic downloads . Because it is 16 stitches wide, it is not suitable for punchcard knitting, which requires a factor of (4, 6, 8, 12) and up to a 24 stitch maximum width.

The published pattern on the left is shown as shared on Pinterest. In turn in was captured, opened in Gimp, and magnified. After a threshold adjustment, it was converted to a BW indexed, scaled to its 16X96 original stitch and row count, and then saved in 100% magnification result for the possible electronic download.

On far left below is the first BW processed single repeat isolated from its source. To its right it has been adjusted so first row is a preselection row for the lace pattern, and the full repeat ends with blank rows (Brother KM characteristic). The latter in turn was saved as an image for download. Since the leaves change direction in the way they lean, spacing between each pattern swing in the repeat is actually 3 all blank rows, not the “standard” 2, including at the top. The bottom half begins with the first row resulting in transfers to the left, while after the the first 3 knit rows the  transfers will begin to the right.  The plan was for me to use Ayab for knitting a proof of concept swatch.  In order to achieve that, the full repeat is first flipped horizontally (ayab will auto mirror it,  so starting with it this way it will be in the correct orientation when knitting). The mirrored repeat may be used in unaltered  machines as is with LC operating from the right, KC operating from the left (not possible in ayab without adjustments). The full repeat consists of 16+14+18+16+14+18= 96 passes of the lace carriage, for each 12 rows knit. My sample was programmed horizontally for 3 full repeats, the width of my planned swatch. I added one additional needle in work on each side, with the LC end needle selection cancelled, allowing for full pattern as programmed with a single stitch all knit border on either side A tightly twisted cotton yarn did best in terms of handling the multiple transfers and not resulting in split stitches or breaking. I had occasional selection errors, seen in center panel at the top of each repeat (my common experience with the interface), but the repeat itself appears to be sound.Lace repeats that have even numbers of rows for both and LC transfer and knit ones are easy to follow. Punchcards are also easily annotated and if knitting is interrupted needle selection is easy to return to or restore if necessary. In electronics, there may not be a any memo to indicate row #  location for each carriage pass in pattern, or when to switch carriages. Because in this instance there are so many transfers (some of multiple stitches) between knit rows and dropped stitches are best corrected as noticed during knitting if possible, I created a “cheat sheet” of sorts to help keep track of actions. Each block outlined in red here represents one full repeat, read from their bottom up, with blue borders at the center and red at the end of each half sequence . A visual check at the end of each segment’s # of rows in the series is well worth it to prevent unnoticed runaway dropped stitches and large holes. A check in boxes next to # could indicate completion of transfers. and a number added manually in that same row for that sequence, record the row on which knitting was interrupted ie. stopping on row 8 out of 16 to fix dropped stitches would be a reminder 8 more LC passes are required before the next visual check. 

9/23/18 In now have been experimenting on a 930, where each pass of the LC is actually tracked, akin to following numbers on a punchcard.  Built in patterns also offer a memo window, which will alert the knitter as to when knit rows are due In testing the pattern with img2track I found the LC passes are still counted, but the memo window is absent upon download. I generated a chart in Mac Numbers, reads from the top down, expanding on the one above. It illustrates the number of LC passes (left column) required to produce any significant length of fabric.  Patterns such as these are not for the faint of heart, and require a friendly yarn. 2168 passes of the LC (33 full repeats, outlined in green; red line separates half repeats) are accompanied by 396 rows of “actual” knitting. In actual knitting, the pattern advances from row 1 to 96, and back to 1 again. A check off list can be much simpler if one is desired. The numbers on left appear in the LC window in a 930, when reached 2 rows are knit with the KC. The numbers at the top reflect completed repeats. Boxes can be checked moving to right as those rows are completed Another option is to download the pattern in img2track, and then enter memo information prior to knitting it. Two youtube videos that show how to enter memos in machine models that allow it, 930 included  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0tXNT76v10    and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR8MheT5Bao. The number 2 may be entered after numbers on left appear in the LC passes count window, and provide an easy guideline to follow. And this is what testing lace patterns can look like. In this instance a tighter stitch tension, a bit of change in weight, and visually checking after each row of transfers brought me some success. This is not a stitch pattern that lends itself to easy “repairs”. 

 

Pretend/ mock cables 3

WORK IN PROGRESS

A facebook group query brought up the possibility of creating cables in an “easier, quicker” way than by crossing stitches by hand. Over the years different authors have suggested a “sewn” method for pulling stocking stitch columns together in order to achieve the cabled effect. The illustrations are usually of the work done on a ribbed fabric, but it also may be achieved in simple stocking stitch, with ladders marking the edges of the mock cable, and providing a visual line to follow and count spaces when smocking the fabric up. The width of each column, the yarn fiber content, and personal preferences will determine the success” of the results.

I was reminded of “magic cables”, a technique made popular years ago in a copyrighted pattern series by Ricky Mundstock, ie this one from 1969 (illustrated online). The concept originated in a Japanese publication years before, relies on hooking up tuck loops to create the cable like effects.

I tend not to knit from published patterns, set out to understand what makes the fabric work in theory, and then sort out whether I have other preferences of my own for creating it. I began to experiment with a totally random tuck card. Tuck is chosen for the background  because it is short and fat, giving the taller all knit rows for the “cables” the possibility of an additional gather, adding to their depth. I chose a purely random repeat, which is a good way to start for DIY if hesitant on the process. White squares will not be selected, will tuck for 2 rows, have a knit stitch (black dot in card) on each side of them. Max on Brother, unless using very thing yarn would be white bars single square in width, 4 rows in height (yes, there can be exceptions on rare occasions)

The card is cropped to the 24 X 44 stitch in width and height for the repeat to be worked in electronics. The area colored blue on far right indicates possible all knit rows for hooking up “cables” during knitting, mustard color indicates ladders created by an out of work needle on each side of the central, all knit column. The ladders make it easier to identify each all knit column. The tape over holes idea does not work for masking a punchcard, since that blue area would need to be all punched holes. The tape over would result in “unpunched” ones.

This takes the revised card single repeat and indicates some quick possibilities for altering it

I added 2 more stitches to establish a slightly different pattern. The grab form my work in Numbers was then opened in gimp and scaled to 26X44 for the possible knitting pattern. If working with black and white squares, the image will need to be colored reverse for knitting. I abandoned this repeat for my final swatches in favor of keeping markers for hooking stitches up along the all knit column inside the ladders as opposed to the knit body of the remaining shapes. Here the non selected needles are placed along the knit column itself, on alternating sides. The final repeat after correcting a pixel error I discovered while knitting:Ayab does not repeat across the horizontal row, each stitch in the width you are planning to knit needs to be programmed. For a test swatch I decided to work with programmed 72 stitches (knit on fewer). This would be the downloadable file

 magnified and gridded to visually check again prior to knittingThis is what is seen by the knitter when the image is loaded, 

but any image loaded is automatically flipped/ mirrored horizontally by the software. Direction may not matter in the overall pattern, but here we have needles out of work, which if selected on the basis of what is seen as opposed to what is knit, would be in the wrong location. First preselection row is also only possible from left to right. The easiest way to empty the proper needles is to do a transfers after that row, to either side, restoring needle selection prior to continuing to knit. Also, since there are needles out of work, end needle selection is cancelled (KCII).

In my first swatch I tried the idea of hooking up stitches in opposite directions, but was not pleased with the result, wanted to reduce the amount of hand manipulation involved. In the later swatch I hooked up every other selection onto the same side. Arrows here indicate direction, not proper needle position. 

Alternating side hooking up with some yarn and needle change issues Hooking up to one side only was quicker to execute and appeared more pleasing to me. Both swatches had blips from an errant pixelSteps in knitting the above fabric. The actual knitting will happen with what is shown as the repeat with white pixels on the dark ground, seen looking at the center vertical all knit column of the repeat when knitting the fabric. Allow the non selected needle on the left side of the column to tuck, providing a marking row for picking up stitches, knit until the needle on the right side of the column is not selected. Prior to knitting across that row pick up the tucked loop and stitch on the left side 
Lift both loops up onto the non selected needle on the right side of the column, bring that needle all the way out to hold (three yarn loops in hook)

Continue knitting until the next non selected needle in the column appears once again on the right, pick up from below left marking spot and repeat. For DIY insert all knit columns on your chosen repeat, and proceed as above.

Visualizing possibilities: chart for side by side columns actions on purl side is shown. The black columns with arrows coupled with photos show the direction of the hook ups in the back, purl side of the fabric, and  potential “cables” as seen on knit side using the column repeat illustrated above. 



This is a garter stitch version found on Pinterest 

Numbers to GIMP to create images for electronic download

WORK IN PROGRESS

I am a member of a few facebook groups, recently joined the img2track one out of curiosity and wanting to explore the possibilities of an interface other than an Ayab/910 from kit, which  has proven to be of limited use to me. I have been charting original patterns and color separations for years, first in Excel and occasionally and now exclusively using Mac Numbers.  Up to last December, entering designs for knitting on my 910 was limited to filling in squares carefully one at a time or small blocks and lines on mylar sheets in order to knit the repeats designed in charts in either program. Working with small, individual repeats and filling cells one at a time or in limited groups in GIMP to create duplicate pattern downloads was an easy transition out of sheer habit.  A FB group member, Julie Haveland Beer shared a file on how to Convert Mosaic Knitting Chart to KM Skip Stitch Diagram  (shared with her permission) that sparked a light bulb moment. I began to explore using the method in her share on files available in other printed materials and punchcard collections, wondering about those lace cards with so few holes that can go awry when building from scratch in order to download. Often I use Scanner pro (rather than a scanner) on my phone, save images in black and white, share them via photos, and open them up on my Mac for further editing. Full size scanner saves of 60X150 patterns may be found at bottom of post.

The first repeat was from 

I happen to own a hard copy. The book offers endless repeats that might be adapted for knitting FI. They are categorized by height and width, so even punchcard owners can find whole pages of workable repeats.  Another group member shared the link to the pub for online browsing https://archive.org/details/dictionaryofweav00poss 

I have written several previous posts on using GIMP,  including use of the tiling option to visualize how groups of repeats line up prior to any actual knitting. The enlarged, gridded image would be the final repeat, reduced in size, grid gone, ready for download in required image format. 
A chart from my blog got converted with a few keystrokes and commands. The image is converted to B/W, then scaled to stitch and row proportions

From self drawn mylar, with a subsequent one pixel correction

From colored repeats in Brother electronic collections: with some color adjustment after a first attempt that would have required some clean up of pixels, the conversion and scaling are easily achieved. The originals were designed on a rectangular grid, within blocks defined 6 wide by 10 tall

the repeat tiled, for an added visual check 

From a Brother electronic lace publication a simple BW bitmap conversion followed by scaling (60X120 repeat). The appearance of difference in width is due to the fact that the published image is on a rectangular grid, the bitmapped on a square one 

If the electronic published repeat appears to have the core of the cells outlined clearly in white something to try: reduce to indexed BW, use bucketful to remove as many gridlines as possible, scale to appropriate repeat (24X48), edit the result

A “straightforward” conversion for a repeat from a scanned punchcard with its darkest black line removed 

and one from a BW punchcard reference pub 

My last post on working with numbers to create knit charts includes info on creating tables, working with cells, keyboard commands, and more

 using the combined programs

Things also got more complicated again, when I tried to work with a lace repeat from an electronic pattern book. The straightforward method resulted in an unworkable image. Part of the problem may result from varied densities of lines in the original, its cells not being fully filled in (ie dots in squares or rectangles), and illustration with units in a rectangular rather than square format, so they do not scale properly in a ratio of 1 pixel per row and stitch.  After isolating the repeat, I for this repeat I entered it in numbers with the plan to superimpose a table grid over the repeat and fill in squares/cells where needed. Cell borders may be created in varied thicknesses and colors, and are easily changed or removed altogether. Having a red cell border to superimpose on image made the process significantly easier for me. In the middle section the red border is switches to a significantly lighter one, and lining up the repeat beside the images helps one visually check for any errors. In the bottom row the image is shown magnified after scaling, gridded in the magnified version again to check the repeat against the original. 

Another lace image with table cell margins adjusted, and a reminder that borders may be in any configuration or color that makes it visually easier for you to proceed with filling in cells that correspond to black squares in the original image 

The steps in progress, with the processed image ready to knit,  shown in magnified, gridded final GIMP scaled repeat on far right. With a bit of familiarity with both programs, this process is far faster  than any counting and filling in of pixels one at a time 

This lace card was not cautiously cropped at top and bottom edges, the final repeat when scaled is shown first, with obvious errors, but workable when done “the long way” from the same image or hand edited

Taking the time for a more careful crop for another card and easy peasy: crop, open in GIMP, convert to bitmapped BW image, scale to stitch and row count of original repeat (in this instance 24X56), verify gridded by GIMP in magnified image version, then save for download in reduced size

GIMP magnified and gridded final repeat above on left, one obtained working the “long way” between programs to its right

Conversions issues may happen also when there are large areas of black squares, or working with color adjustments or with the option to “photocopy” in GIMP in images that do not translate cleanly  

Working with repeats that do not convert easily using both programs: the greater the number of squares or dots, the slower the process, but ultimately faster than counting then and entering them one at a time. In Numbers, create a table that will be superimposed onto the desired repeat. I like to work in cells that are 24 X 24 points. Columns are marked in letters, so 24 is 2 letters short of the full # of letters in alphabet (X), and row counts are numbered top down on left and easily adjusted. Lace repeats would be the easiest to translate, as they are likely to have the lowest number of cells that will require to be filled in. The cell borders may be created in any color. To my eye the red grid made it easier for me to view its lines when superimposed on the black image. The BW center image was then dragged/dropped into the numbers sheet. Checking via the table format arrange option, the table was shown to be 553 X 1440. The image arrange option showed my black and white image to be adjusted visually by me using corner handles to 496 to 1440. On the far right, the BW image is in turn adjusted to match point values for the table. Check your typing, adjust accordingly. Here my width on right is actually 3 points off.  

Drag and position table onto BW image. Use image format arrange to move image to back of table (box to left below “Style”). Magnify screen to easier working view by adjusting the zoom. It may be helpful to alter some row heights or column widths to get a cleaner view and matching cells to be filled in to dots (center). Click on any row or column, adjust by in turn clicking on up or down arrows that correspond to their respective size. Using command click and color fill options, cell fill on top of the black dots. When done, or to check periodically, table may be slid off the image and back on if needed.

With the table completed, if any columns or rows have been altered in with or height, choose from menu to distribute rows and columns evenly, restoring all square units. 

Change border selection to light, thinner color, capture image and save as png.  Load image in GIMP, convert to BW bitmap, scale to 24 by 60, save in downloadable format. Results are magnified in GIMP final images on the right. Showing grid allows an added visual check if preferred, against the original repeat.

The final repeat tiled, as opposed to punchcard repeat tiled helped me see one missing square I found bothersome, an easy editthe culprit marked in red

The easiest conversion of all? a full page factory mylar sheet. Here is one for lace with a simple adjustment of sharpness and contrast, magnified, and with superimposed rectangular grid after converting to BW bitmap for saving 

to then discover that the blue grid disappears in a quick mode change to indexed in this factory mylar. The images on the far right are again the magnified scaled image, and shown with a superimposed rectangular grid to check match against the original crop 

Rethinking those dark cards: this is a partial repeat grabbed from Pinterest, the image was loaded into GIMP, color inverted, the threshold was adjusted while in RGB mode. The adjoining 2 images show the magnified, scaled, indexed image and its color reverse. When working in RGB mode choose color invert, and when working in indexed mode, choose value invert for color reversal of the image and its ground. Other image adjustments may require toggling between the 2 modes. The bottom pair of images indicate menu location for adjusting grid size and color, and the magnified, scaled image now with a GIMP single pixel grid is also shown
This method however, did not work for flower ? thread lace motif (partial repeat) or the FI repeat. That said in the days of glitched knits, perhaps executed in DBJ accidents such as this could make for interesting experiments or transitions. Here we have the original not planned result, followed by some flipping horizontally and vertically, then resized. There usually is no right or wrong, and it is important to find one’s own voice and the tools required to express it.

my favorite glitch textile artist: Phillip Stearns