Weaving drafts as inspiration for other textile techniques

Weaving drafts can be a source of inspiration for other textile mediums as well. Luminescence is an online weaving program developed by Andrew Glassner. There are ample instructions and help files on site re weaving. My first instinct however, is often to interpret images of all sorts for knits (I abandoned weaving many a year ago). I am sharing some very quick first experiments with the software with that possible intention. The same charts might be used for other counted stitch unit textiles. The first draft I chose to load from the app’s pull down menu was called High Seas. The numbers indicate “Fabric Size”

120High Seas120

Quoting from the help files: “Show grids: This is another cosmetic choice. Turning this on draws the internal grid lines for all 6 grids (warp pattern, warp colors, weft pattern, weft colors, tie-up, and fabric). These let you easily count the cells, which can make it easier to match a published draft. As with Show threads, this checkbox and its effect are disabled if the Fabric size is 100 or more.” “

“To save an image of the fabric, just right-click on it. You should get a pop-up menu that offers you a few options. One of these will be Save Image As… (or something close to that). Choose that, and you’ll get a standard dialog box that lets you put the image where you want it. The image is saved in the standard PNG format, which offers the highest quality. You can change that to JPG or anything else using almost any image editing program.” Safari in Mac Mavericks was problematic with saves, allowing only for a web archive or screen crop/ capture. No issues using Firefox as the browser.

99 Hi seas99easier to see and/ or count units, clear tiling: 60hig seas 60enough to easily sort out repeats: 30hi seas30

your preferred paint program may be used to draw lines that isolate single “knit” repeats; threading and tie up sequence repeats are used as guides, making process fairly straightforward

hi seas30 repeatimagining possible related borders screenshot_51a more complicated draftkiss me you fool 99isolating the much larger repeat kiss me you fool REPEAT

kiss me REPEAT

always double check tiling prior to knitting for accuracy, any “surprises”, and possible pattern placement on knitting machine’s needle bedtile check

got a draft from an online pub? always good to start simplescreenshot_01isolate the repeat (GIMP):  crop tool and size control154crop

in this instance the result is a 154X 154 pixel square image, with 14 X 14 unit desired subdivision, making my grid  preferences setting 11 X 11 pixels

200_11_11gridtiling test: looks like a match!tiled_04

line width, colors, etc. may all be set and changed to suit individual needs and preferences. Please note superimposed grid lines are lost when image is tiled or exported from GIMP, some version of screen grab or snap must be used to capture and save gridded images

an additional draft, same process


second sample



A bit on the charting: after launching the program and loading an image, the GIMP windows options will become available. I leave my toolbox always active. Tool Options give the opportunity for controlling crop size, pencil line width, etc. As you click on/ select any tool, the option windows will change and offer selections for managing that particular tool

windowscropcroppencil brushpencil

notes from a  previous post on charting for straight line drawing on Mac: “first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK”

Picot cast on for every needle rib

Depending on the sort of rib, the beds need to be aligned in most instances so that the needles on opposing beds line up between each other. For this ribber cast on, the beds start at full pitch, for EON knitting. Every other needle is brought into work, and a  first “zig zag” row is created, at the tightest tension possible. On the second row, the alternative needles need to be worked. On Passap E6000 BX, LX with pushers under new needles only will help do the job. On Japanese machines: bring the new needles out to hold, set both carriages to slip. This will result in only those “new” needles knitting on the next pass. The outcome will be one zig zag crossing over the other (red over blue in photo). Prior to the third knit row, reset the carriages or locks for circular settings (CX/CX, opposite part buttons). Because all stitches will be knitting on each bed, loosen the tension to about three quarters of the rib stitch size, knit two rows, change racking handle / lever and needle positions to half pitch at their completion. Adjust tension to desired rib stitch size, knit a closing “zig zag”, all knit row, and proceed in rib.

first zig zag rowzig zag onesecond zig zag row (contrast color for illustration purposes)zig zag 2hang comb, knit 2 circular rows circ_combchange racking position and needles alignment rackchange tension, continue in rib, knitting all sts both beds 300_2423detail close up detail

Racked ribber cast on, tips

This cast on (on any ribber) is capable of giving a softer, looser start and is good for fabrics that stretch. When experimenting, check alignment of needles physically before proceeding for knitting rib on all needles. Often manuals give suggestions as to “needle rule” for each type of rib. The sequence below is knit on a Passap. It in theory would produce a 2X1 “industrial rib that could transition to every needle or main bed knitting without any holes at the transition point. Note here there is a needle in work between each pair of needles on the opposing bed.

IMG_2390“zig zag” row, normal needle position: work slowly, make certain all needles have picked up yarn1hang comb: first needle is in work on back bed on far left2rack one full turn to right: first needle in work on front bed is now on far left

IMG_2382knit one row4rack back to original position, continue  plain rib 5

There are sources online including videos that recommend circular rows at this point, they are actually unnecessary. The other recommendation made by many after any ribber cast on is for 3 circular rows. There is no need for the third circular row. It will actually create a visible line across one side of the rib, that is noticeable, and may not be wanted if it is on the “public” the side of the finished garment. To fill in potential holes produced when empty needles are brought back into work, bring all empty needles into work, tuck one row across both beds, making certain loops are formed on each needleIMG_2391knit 2 rows circular slowly, some needles hold 3 loops of yarn, switch to ENR rib

the result at rest
rib1rib stretchedfirst rib stretch

Going for a rib with more of a 2X2 look: set up needles for rib pattern, there are still 2 needles in work, one not, on each bed. The empty needle space is now at the center of each pair of needles on the opposite bed

IMG_2392rack one full turn to right, knit one rowIMG_2393

hang comb and weightsIMG_2396

rack back again to “needle rule” position Knit one row at final setting, proceed for ribIMG_2397at the top of the rib knit 2 rows circular, proceed on EN ribIMG_2399

tension adjustments may make a big difference, my samples have been knit at the same tension throughout, and single ply throughout

the first rib at restrib2stretchedsecond rib stretchboth instances produce a reversible rib

Some experimenting is required to achieve cast on rows in rib that are not too loose or too tight. In this instance there has to be enough slack in the loops so that   there is room for racking one full turn, too much will leave loops. Loops created by cast ons with deliberately large stitch sizes may in turn be chained off with a latch tool. The stretch factor and weight of the resulting rib also needs to be in balance with the remaining knit fabric. If “improvising” it is always advisable to keep good notes. Most publications and how tos are really guidelines, starting points for investigating what may be the best method to use in any one piece.

Transitions in ribbing from EON to FNR fabrics

It is always helpful to use a familiar yarn when testing techniques and to have some idea what baseline tensions produce each desired fabric before combining fabric types, structures, and techniques. This will insure that the knit result will be both manageable to produce, and will  match your desired concept.

Any time an empty needle is brought into work, the first knit pass will create a loop on the empty needle; the second pass will form a full stitch, resulting in a hole. This is seen in lace transfers or when bringing empty needles into work closes single ladder spaces.

Use garment yarn double thickness in EON needle rib if the aim is to produce DBJ, which will yield a different thickness knit. Test for other fabrics ie patterned English rib, etc. Swatching is worth the effort, avoids producing whole pieces where combined results are disappointing.

EON rib set up for your brand machine

Knit 20+ rows

End and begin test with COR; trim off one yarn end, to be woven in using your favorite method

Racking handle at half pitch

Bring all needles into work both beds

Observe the needle rule appropriate for your double bed fabric

Set both carriages or locks to tuck

Reduce stitch size tensions by one whole number, knit one row, which will produce a “zig zag” across all needles, with a loop on each needle, both beds

Set both carriages to knit circular; this will be a slipstitch, tension may need to be loosened by one number to accommodate the added yarn, knit 2 or 4 rows

Set both carriages to knit, enlarge stitch size one or 2 numbers if needed, knit one row

Proceed as required for pattern

Depending on which direction your first row of “garment” fabric needs to be selected if using a color changer, planning for that may affect which side of the machine needs to be your final location before knitting the first row of pattern.

The swatches below illustrate the transitions, are in their “just off the machine” state. I used the same tension throughout. The EOR rib was knit single strand, the resulting difference in width is easily seen, though the density  difference is obviously not observable in a photo.  The yarn used is one of my “throw away” acrylic/ wool blends.

side 1 “holes”
holes front

side 1 “no holes”no hole frontside 2 “holes”holes_backside 2 “no holes”no hole back

QR codes for knitting (2) or other textile techniques: “happy holidays” a few ways

I reviewed, edited, and added information to an earlier blog post on QR codes and knitting earlier today. The results from the same steps in processing the generated images may be applied to any fiber technique which results from using counted, single units.  In light of the coming season I thought I would offer some “happy holidays” variants. In assembling them, I found an additional free online generator that allows for far more control on output code pixel dimensions than others I have previously experimented with.

aztec (smallest unit possible 100 pixels square)QRA100onto the morovia website the “blanket” sizeQR150getting back to knittable, less than punchcard widthscreenshot_45QR21a less than 50 wide repeat for mylar, and surprise!screenshot_53QR49

Knitting failures: ribber

My previous post including information on brother ribber alignment suggested some things to test when ribbed fabrics are troublesome. I happen to own two 910 machines. The recent 2 posts on using generated mazes addressed developing the repeat for use in a punchcard model machine, but for the sake of speed I knit my samples on the electronic. In attempting to knit DBJ swatches relating the motif, I encountered random dropped stitches on the main bed, as may be seen in the last swatch pictured.

My Brother 850 ribber rarely gets used. I prefer to knit DBJ on my Passap, which can accept PC downloads.  With the 850 in place, all things I could think of were checked: ribber was balanced, at the correct height, brother ribber brackets and not studio ones in place by mistake, correct ribber sinker plate for model, all parts oiled, good condition needle retainer bar on main bed, no needles that vaguely look like they need to be replaced, familiar yarn in use. Knitting fabric single bed with ribber engaged and weights gives expected results with no problems, while dbj, no matter the setting, begins to drop stitches randomly or in groups on main bed (tried different amounts of weight as well). I did not try to use a fine knit bar, since the yarn in use had not required it in the past.  After spending way too much time rechecking everything yet again, I moved the knitting close to color changer, away from the center of the machine, and the darn thing knit perfectly. Back to center, same problem as before. I cannot see any noticeable difference in spacing between beds or gate pegs in the center, assume there may be an issue with some bowing, and briefly I got things to knit properly by lifting the middle of the bed up a bit with a support. A second shot at it with support failed. I even changed needles in the middle of the main bed. A few instances of mis patterning were probably due to static, relieved by using a vaporizer in the knitting room for a while. I took the ribber out of sheer stubbornness, removed it, slapped it on my second 910, using the same needle retainer bar on the main bed, and knit the same pattern with only one dropped stitch and one mis patterning error, knitting as fast as possible. I am admittedly flummoxed. The only thing I did not try was to use the troublesome 910 on a different knitting table. Some days are meant for walks on the beach and eating chocolate instead of knitting ;-).


Unconventional uses for punchcards 1

In a long ago post I shared the punchcard image below and the corresponding swatch and text: “The card is used double length throughout. Cast on in your favorite method.  “Memorize” first row of pattern, set card to advance EOR, set KC to tuck in both directions, set RC (ribber carriage) for normal knitting throughout. This is a racked pattern. The numbers to the right of the card are for the racking position on each visible row (takes into consideration your eyes can view card 7 rows above card reader teeth). These markings will help prevent errors in long pieces or avoid confusion if knitting is interrupted for any length of time. The fabric is reversible, creating a textured checkerboard. For added interest and a color version, change color every 2 rows. I used this design in a line of “manly scarves” years ago. The repeat may be adapted for use on any KM.”  checkerboardreversible_checkers

The tracking for the racking sequencing may be created for any punchcard, whether punched holes are required in the card for patterning or not. The image below is  taken from the Brother Ribber Techniques Book. If KC is used, no holes are punched, and the carriage is set to plain knit, though the card advances, all needles knit. End needle selection is not a factor. page 17

the racking handle movement repeat isolatedworking repeat

In the card, for use on Brother, the first row of the repeat with machine on racking position 10 would be placed on row one pre marked position found on stock brother blank cards. Always check markings for your machine. I have a roll purchased for Brother kms specifically that actually are stamped for Studio, with # 1 two rows below where it should be on right.  No holes need to be punched in this instance. Needles are brought into work and filled as illustrated in the ribber book page. Knit one row across stitches with card set to advance normally. In this instance marking row numbers in preferred colors will indicate when the racking sequence changes direction. Green rows rack to left, orange to right. The racking handle position repeat is 20 rows high (shown on left), a minimum of 36 rows for the card to roll properly) is met by repeating it twice, and the “motif” is broken up to accommodate the fact that the reader is working on 7 rows below row number visible on machine exterior. Rows 34 and 35 would become the 2 every square punched rows always placed at the top of pattern cards. The blue numbers on right reflect racking handle position for that row before the next row is knit. They can be marked on any blank square if card is blank, or alongside existing row numbers as seen in the punchcard for the checkered swatch. It is helpful to have consistent habits if one needs to stop for any length of time ie. always knit row, rack to position or stop after knitting, rack upon return.whole card

Machine can be set for double length for racking after every 2 rows knit.

Using the method for cables and crossed stitches  (3 posts)

Lace cards on 260 bulky PDF

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 2

My previous posts on using gimp to generates charts and images suitable for knitting: 1, 2, 3, 4 . I am working in Mac OS 10.10 now, so there may be some variations in results from earlier OS or for Windows versions users.

the edited repeat from the previous postcropped

It is possible to knit this design in DBJ with the same separation as for knitting it as a maze, both are 2 color slip stitch patterns, the maze separation is less laborious. To process for use in DBJ, the image needs initially to be doubled in length. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a new gimp document, several times the size of the repeat, select and copy the corrected repeat , in turn pasting it in the new, larger canvas. I used 40 by 60; color 1 is red, color 2, white, most of my charting is done at 1,000 times magnification

copy and paste

drawing a vertical line in non pertinent color to border areas having several rows with no second color present, as seen below, may help define end or start of selections when attempting to invert colors. Color invert may be achieved in RGB mode, not indexed. Below the inversion occurs on “even numbered” every other rows. The program in my OS now showed the previously red squares in blue, the alternate squares in black.

After using color invert, non pertinent color (blue) may be erased (using pencil tool, each square on grid is a single pixel) as well as those yellow “border” squares. In the image below the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card. One drawback in this program, because of the scale using single pixels, is that no text to include row numbers, etc. is possible. The final repeat is 10S X 44 R.

If one wants to avoid using double length in the automated machine settings, the image of holes to be punched may be doubled in length. To do so color mode needs to be changed to indexed (4 colors) to retain image clarity.screenshot_19


 fabric knit in DBJ, long stitch on left, bird’s eye backing on right 500_2355

Maze and mosaic knitting, my previous posts: drawing motifs, from design to pattern (Excel), from pre punched cards,  and references and pubs. The repeat worked out for slip stitch, and edited down to 2 colors. Again, the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card.

screenshot_21-mazeTo further mark the repeats in blocks, making chart easier to follow in absence of numbers, the subject of drawing straight lines comes up. Most of the online tutorials for using gimp are for its Windows version. The pencil tool may be used. Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not (Mac), you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options, which opens the option window of the selected tool. In theory “Ctrl:This key changes the pencil to a Color PickerShift: This key places the pencil tool into straight line mode. Holding Shift while clicking Button 1 will generate a straight line. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line.” On my Mac I worked out this method: first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK.

windows: dockable itemswindows_dockable dialogues

gimp lines

separation for maze knitting 10S X 22R, elongate X2
maze_needsX2 borderknit as a single bed slip stitch, changing colors every 2 rowsscreenshot_01as dbj 500_2361

The dropped stitches were a problem when using the ribber on one of my two 910s, that adventure can be the topic for another post.