Ribber cast on comb/ open stitch single bed cast on

My first encounter using a ribber cast on comb for open edge single bed knitting was in using the Passap machine. Its use for this purpose is possible on other brands as well. It provides an easy way to deal with waste yarn and weight application on ribbed fabrics.  I like using ribber cast on combs when knitting single bed to distribute weight evenly across pieces if needed. A second comb may be inserted as knitting grows. Weights may then be removed and moved up, and so on. Unevenly distributing weight causes elongated stitches in those areas, and makes shaped knitting unpredictable unless the ratio of weight to width of knitting is maintained. Here the topic is using the ribber comb in single bed open cast on and hanging hems.

My Japanese machines are used chiefly for production of single bed items, so usually they are ribber free. Balancing the ribber on older KMs can be fussy, so once the ribber is up, working, and well balanced, my recommendation is to leave it in place if it is going to be used on a regular basis.

For this technique use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., brand is not relevant, only tooth spacing is. It is possible to cut ribber cast on combs into different widths for use when knitting is planned on fewer stitches than those accommodated by their available commercial widths. In the yarn used in my swatches, I found knitting the first row at stocking stitch tension created large enough stitches for later picking up and hanging the hem. Test your yarn, if necessary use a looser tension for the “cast on” row, and evaluate any inside hem “drop” if looser stitch size is used.

Remove wire from comb. Bring the comb up and between needles to be used, and  re insert wire. Needles and latches will need to travel easily under the wire when the first knit row takes place. 

The knit carriage will not clear the comb properly because of the location of its brushes, etc. For the “cast on” row, exchange the sinker plate on your knit carriage for that normally used with the ribber. The first photo below shows the approximate location for the comb during the first row knit. Needles are centered between the teeth, the teeth themselves line up with gate pegs. The comb needs to be manually held in place, since there is no opposing bed in use to help balance it. The latter would ease the process in wider pieces of knit. The ribber sinker plate has no brushes or wheels to anchor knitting on the knitting bed; any rows knit single bed using it, will need to have needles brought out to hold position prior to knitting each row for all stitches to be formed properly

the comb in positiona pass is made slowly with the ribber sinker plate in place the comb is droppedbring all needles out to hold position knit one more row, returning to starting positionchange sinker plate on knit carriage, proceed with hemthe comb will then need to be lifted up to close the hemfirst rest a knitting needle or similar tool on the open hem  lift comb up enclosing knitting needle, add weightslift comb perpendicular to needles, move it forward sightly for a better view of stitchesneedles (red dot) need to enter the stitches through their center (yellow highlight), not their side (orange highlight) or stitches will later drop; push needles through the center of each stitch on comb continue across the bed 

remove wire from comb, lift it up and offremove weights and knitting needle; wrap cut yarn end around last needle on that side pick up from row below to fill in “missing single stitch” on opposite sidecomplete hem with looser joining row, return to standard tension, continue knitting 

To achieve joining hems in this manner with the ribber in place, though possible on both beds, it is quickest to cast on the back bed (Passap) or on the knit bed (Brother, etc.). Hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up as shown above, with the flow combs/ gate pegs, and the needled can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the front bed/ ribber, and tilts the comb against the back/ knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the lock or carriage across. Take the locks / carriages across to opposite side, drop the comb and weigh it, knit 2 rows on Passap before using strippers. In Japanese kms drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit on the main bed.

“bump”: Passap comb“bumps”: Brother comb 

For other purposes and an edge similar to a “weaving cast on” executed on Japanese machines use EON for the “cast on row”, then bring into work and add the rest of the needles prior to knitting the second row.

Machine knit hems 2

Hems 1: previous post. Guidelines generally given for stocking stitch hems do not take into consideration if the body of the knit is going to be considerably narrower or wider than stocking stitch, and whether the purl side of the fabric is to be used as the “public side”. In the latter case the solution is simply to reverse tension changes for the inside to the outside of the hem. For wider or narrower fabrics the number of stitches for the hems may need to be recalculated, depending on whether a series of simple tension adjustments can solve the problem. Fiber content, yarn weight, even color can affect results, so always test a swatch. It is possible to knit tubular hems using the ribber, but here the discussion is for single bed only.

Hems at the beginning: cast on and knit several rows of waste yarn, ending with ravel cord. Following step 1 below: set the stitch dial one number lower than that used originally in stockinette knitting. Knit the number of rows required for the inside of the hem. Loosen tension by 2 numbers for one row  (helps get a neater turning row). Tighten tension by one to original stockinette tension, and proceed as indicated in steps 2 and 3 below. Illustrations are from Brother techniques Book, pp. 16 and 17.

Picot hems: odd number of needles are required. 1: Cast on an odd number of stitches and knit several rows of waste knitting followed by 1 row knit with ravel cord. Set the stitch dial one full number (guideline) tighter than the main yarn and knit as many rows as required for the depth of the hem.  2: Picots are made by transferring stitches onto adjacent needles, making transfers to either left or right (shown in illustrations below). 3: Reset stitch dial to stockinette tension and knit the same number of rows. 4: Place the sinker loops on the corresponding needles, making sure to pick up the edge sinker loop as well. Directions usually say to pull our ravel cord at this point,  I like to knit a few rows and to make certain things have knit properly before removing the cord. 5: set the stitch dial 2-3 whole numbers higher than the stocking stitch tension and knit one row. This keeps the joining row from bulging out due to its double thickness. 6: Reset tension dial to stocking stitch tension and continue to knit.
After transfers, always check that proper transfers have indeed been made, and that each needle holds 2 stitches. Bringing all needles out to E before knitting the next row helps facilitate a visual check.

Hems with the 1X1 needle arrangement below will often require at least one more row for the outside of the hem than for the backing, since the EON produced stitches will grow in size and lengthen when the fabric is set
In step number 3 the e wrapped row essentially casts on on those empty needles, so that when the following row is knit, full stitches are formed on each needle, and when the hem is folded any appearance of eyelets is minimized.

for illustration the e wrap row in a contrasting color (white is acrylic fiber)continuing to knit hem exterior after some pressing hem interior

Alternate method to step 3, producing a picot at the turn of the hem: bring empty needles out to hold position, knit across to opposite side. With the first pass loops will form on empty needles, with the second pass reversing direction, an eyelet is formed and full knitting is restored for the outside hem. The EON knitting tends to grow in length. I  prefer to reduce EON tension by at least 2 numbers. Test on a swatch to determine the percentage of total rows needed to place the picot at the hem fold rather than having it roll out to the knit side, it will vary depending on yarn used.

For the picot hem transfers using the lace carriage: after knitting with waste yarn and ravel cord, knit half the depth of the hem. Place the Lace carriage opposite the knit carriage, on either the left or right hand side. Starting with the second needle from either side, bring forward every other needle to D position using the 1X1 needle pusher. End needles must be in B position. Move the lace carriage to opposite side, every other stitch will now be transferred onto the adjacent needle. Remove the carriage by using the release button, and continue to knit as described above.

Again, I like to knit several rows after picking up stitches, completing the hem, before removing ravel cord and waste yarn.

If you prefer not to use waste yarn, for inside hem on every needle  (method 1 from the previous post). If using the comb: e wrap eon on an odd number of needles, hang cast on comb with teeth pointing away from you, proceed as below.Using the cast on comb to speed up rehanging stitches to close hem: a foreign language video showing its use on mock rib at the top of socks. The method can be used for any configuration needle set ups. It is possible to use ribber cast on combs for same purpose, I will address that in another post. When EON loops are used to join hem, the inside of the hem will “drop” some when set, so fewer rows are required on the inside hem.

When hanging any hem, one stitch is lost on the side of the cut yarn end. Also, on the knot side the stitch may be less noticeable, so you want to make certain that that outside loop/ stitch is also included in the count (green arrow)

I like to secure the main color yarn end as seen below around the adjoining empty needle as seen below

continue knittingforgot ravel cord? find outside of last stitch knit  in waste yarn, opposite  yarn ends clip stitch, pull out “ravel cord”, continue knitting

Note: ravel cord ideally should be smooth, non shedding fiber, and strong enough not to break when pulled on. If like fibers are used and they shed as the cord is removed, you may have tiny fibers of the contrasting color permanently mating with your garment yarn. Check for any knots in cord at the each side of the knit before pulling it out.

A look at single bed mock rib

The Brother Knitting Techniques book has series of illustrations on how to manage a mock rib in various configurations on pages 7-15. The manual is now available for free download online, and is an excellent reference.

This technique requires waste yarn start, followed by a row of ravel cord. The resulting knit creates ladders or stitches that will in turn be dropped, then latched up and reformed into knit stitches on the purl ground. Reducing the knit tension by as much as 2-3 numbers is recommended after the ravel cord row.

The needles marked in blue and green in the first image below are needles that are pulled back to A position prior to starting the piece.  After the waste yarn and ravel cord (hatched yellow) start, three rows are knit with the garment yarn. Using a transfer tool, pick up the sinker loops from the first row knit (orange), and hang them on the corresponding needles on the diagram (follow red arrows).

One may at this point continue with needles (green) left out of work, or return the needles (blue) to work position. If needles are left OOW, ladders will continue to be created. If they are returned to work, a loop is created on the empty needle on the first knit pass, formed into a stitch on the second pass, resulting in an eyelet. Every needle treated in this manner will now be knitting. If stitches rather than ladders are formed for the height of the rib, then those stitches (blue) will need to be dropped, and in turn latched up. In both instances the latch tool goes under the first ladder created, 2 rows are skipped, the latch tool then catches the third parallel row, and pulls it through the first to make the required knit stitch. The process continues up the height of the “rib”. In this illustration the main yarn begins to knit with COL.

A 2X2 rib is possible. From the Techniques book: cast on with waste yarn and ravel cord (1, 2)

an alternate: cast on with waste yarn and and ravel cord, knit 3 rows

pick up sinker loop from a knit stitch, hang on 1 of  the 2 NOOW (R)

knit height of rib 

latch up ladder as shown in drawings above 

drop/ unravel the second stitch to be latched up (L)

dropped stitches reformed for rib 

continue across row, then proceed with main body of knit 

the rib off the machine 

stretched out

My sample was knit in a 2/15 acrylic, a bit thin for this technique, and if pressed, the fabric would be flattened permanently. If the intent is to have the rib retain it “spring and stretch” it is best to use a yarn with memory, such as wool. If a slip stitches or FI are to be used for the body of the knit, they will create a much denser fabric. The yarn in the rib may in turn need to be doubled to produce enough substance. As always swatching is recommended before committing to a large piece in any technique.

From the Brother Techniques Book a few more to try: 

2X1 rib using slip setting 

2 X 2 rib: working with Brother cast on comb, full text  using waste yarn

Seaming, joining, picking up stitches on knits 2

I have an extensive library on both hand and machine knitting. I am not the originator of the base drawings for these illustrations. They have been however,  accumulated from various decades old sources, edited by me for content, color, size, etc. My editing program is gimp. I will review, alter, or add to this library over time.

sewn bind offs on machine

on knit taken off on waste yarn 

joining a hem crochet bind off through top or bottom of stitches in last row respectively

weaving in yarn ends across a row on purl side

Mattress stitch: work a few rows with loose stitches so entry and exit points are visible, then pull on yarn and tug on finished segments as you go to adjust stitch size

  1. under single bar between a full knit stitch on either edge of knit, best for bulkier knits
  2. under double bars between a full knit stitch on either edge of knit, faster on smaller gauge knit
  3. worked half a stitch away from the edge, every  row, under bar on left, loop on right
  4. running stitch along and through center of edge stitches, alternating sides every row
  5. running stitch one full stitch away from the edge, alternating sides every row
  6. joining purl stitches every row

garter stitch

  1. mattress stitch, knit side out, one full stitch away from edge, adding second strand of yarn to finish join
  2.  weaving in joined yarns along inseam, traveling in opposite directions

2 X 2 rib ending with one knit stitch2 X 2 rib ending with 2 knit stitchesrib join through “edge loops” of knit stitches

 2 X 2 rib join ending with 2 knit stitches, 1 full stitch from edge 

2 X 2 rib join ending with 2 purl stitches, 1 full stitch from edge 

picking up stitches to continue knitting or joining on machine: straight edges curved edges 

open sts to bound off          bound off sts to bound off  (steps 1 and 2)knit to purl                                        knit to ribgarter stitch 

decreasing evenly at intervals across a row purl side facing if you are left handed or yarn end is on alternate piece,  rotating the image or flipping it horizontally or vertically will provide guidelines GIMP (free) download  for further DIY image processing

Bleach discharge on knits

I have an I would rather die than dye attitude. Back in late 90s at a Studio Seminar I  attended a workshop on bleach discharge on knits. A sweater using the technique by Dawn Ortel was published in Studio by White Design, Spring/Summer 1995. At some point while still teaching I developed a set of swatches using the technique, removing color from finished fabric rather than adding it. Since then, other alternative, safer  methods and agents for discharge have been developed and become available. For this exercise the mix used was 1 part household bleach and 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Masking tape, stiffened lace, clear stick on shelf liner, rubber templates, and any non porous material may be used as the “stencil”. All non design areas need to be protected. A spray bottle that allows for mist control is required. The activity is best done out of doors. When the color reaction looks as intended, remove any “stencil” carefully to avoid any bleach spilling  onto the rest of your piece. Wash in neutralizing solution of 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of water to halt process.

Masking tape was used to create the diagonal stripes below. The original 2 colors used for the FI can be identified in those areas. A rubber “stencil” populated with evenly spaced dots was used in addition. The combination produced the illusion of multiple colors per row. The yarn used was 100% mercerized cotton.

img_4130img_4131here 6 lb fishing line is used as color 2larger shapes: plain knit on FIon slip or tuck patterning plain knit on L / slip stitch on Rlocked FI, wool/rayon as col 2, coffee stain selected areas details (extra colors from fabric markers)

Seaming, joining, picking up stitches on knits 1

This time of year I am usually producing machine knit felt hats for sale, on my 260 Brother bulky KM. They are knit sideways, and require seaming on their completion. Photos of some steps in process, taken a previous year:screenshot_80screenshot_81screenshot_82screenshot_84There is a lot published on methods to graft open stitches using kitchener. Hand knit magazines both in Britain and here have begun to  present joining a variety of pattern stitches with with charts that visually clarify the process. A small portion of such a chart:kitchenerWith bulky knits such as my hats, I like to take open stitches onto circulars and sew them together by hand as shown below, beginning on right, and with the knit side facing me.

joining knit ending on waste yarn, purl side facingjoining knit ending on waste yarn, knit side facingjoining garter stitch ending in waste yarn Diana Sullivan offers youtube videos showing how to join pieces with waste yarn endings with their purl side or knit side  facing respectively.

Seam as you knit is an option for joining vertically. It is a technique that may be used to attach bands, parts of a sweater, or strips of knitting, whether for the sake of additional width, changes in color, or attached with purl side facing the knit side if that is the goal.  The piece on the machine is always purl side facing. With each row knit, a “loop” is created on the carriage side, while a “knot” is formed on the opposite side as the row is completed. The process then reverses as the carriage returns to its original position.  The technique  may be done on either, or even both sides at once. The first piece(s) is (are) completed and taken off the machine. Begin the join to piece with a cast on row or waste yarn. For a test, with COR: pick up the first knot or loop on the completed piece. Hang it on the left end needle/ stitch on the cast on work (opposite the carriage). Knit 2 rows. Go to the next knot or loop on the completed piece, place it on the same left side needle/ stitch. You are hanging on the far needle opposite the carriage every 2 rows.

The knit fabric, purl side facing   knot_loopA one eyed tool is inserted from front to back through either a loop or a knot, and hung on the first needle hook / stitch on the right, left, or even both sides of the piece every 2 rows.    knot_loop2bknot_loop2aJoining “loops” generally works well in standard gauge knitting. On the bulky, or where a “tighter” seam line is needed, join “knots”.

The same method may be used to join the side edge of any piece of knit to any portion or location on the one in progress.

MK ladders, and a bit of crochet

I have recently been thinking about collars and edgings again, this time adding crochet detailing to help cut the edge curl and add interest. In a previous post I showed an edging done in drop stitch (double bed lace). Here to simplify things, I decided to work with ladder spaces to create the fabric. If a large width of this fabric is required, multiple bands would need to be joined to achieve it, crochet is then applied in turn to the the finished knit piece. Seam as you knit can make the joining nearly invisible. Using excel, I tried to also create crochet symbols using its shapes menu. The number of rows knit in open pattern or all knit prior to binding off are at your discretion, depending on your needs and planned final product. For my sample I began knitting with COR, and to end with COR for bind off row, I chose to work with even numbered groups of rows. Consider fiber content if the intent is to permanently block as flat as possible, or not.

my chart symbols symbols_70

whole_69

needle set up, waste yarn cast on, knit for desired length  setup_62img_4095bring one empty needle into worktransfer_63img_4096knit one row, bring remaining empty needle into work plain-knit_64img_4097knit one row img_4099knit rows desired for top bandimg_4100transfer eon from L to rightallk-transfer_65img_4101latch tool bind off around gate pegs for all needles/stitches img_4102

img_4103do not cut yarn, lift work off machine; turn work over (knit side facing)
chain 5, slip stitch into eyelet created by transfers, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last eyelet space detail_4121turn work over (purl side facing once again), chain 3, 2 double crochet, slip stitch into center of chain 5 space, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last chain 5 space detail_4120unblocked trim, 2/15 acrylic yarn img_4104

img_4105detail after steaming, the trim is side leaning img_4119

img_4118

To use: rehang open stitches on every needle (or other arrangement) eliminating ladder spaces and bind off,  join to another piece of knit, etc.

Single bed slits aka horizontal “button holes”

There are many good instructions online for producing buttonholes in doubled over knit bands. This version is from the Brother Knitting Techniques Book, now downloadable for free online

screenshot_42

Many hand knitting patterns are published, often in garter stitch, using slits that one may think of as larger “buttonholes” to create a range of interesting fabrics. Trying to produce such slits single bed, without the use of additional strands of yarn and in turn having yarn ends to weave in, leaves few options.

This method may be used when creating multiple slits across a row as well. Holding is used to break the knitting into segments. The drawn illustrations show steps taken, not needle positions.

COR, for the bottom of the slit: 1. transfer the first stitch in the buttonhole group onto the adjacent needle to its right

bhole_012. transfer pair of stitches together onto the now empty needle to their left. The knit carriage, holding the yarn, will be on the right

bhole_02

3. push the needle forward until the first stitch (green) passes over the needle’s latch bhole_044. push needle back to work position

bhole_04

5. the forward stitch (red) is now knit through the one behind the latch

bhole_05

This essentially binds off a stitch. Repeat steps 1-5 until for the number of bound off stitches required; the last stitch in the group is then transferred onto adjacent needle to its left. The bottom edge of the “buttonhole” is now complete. bhole_06aTo make the top edge of the buttonhole/ slit bring its corresponding needles out to hold, cast on desired number of stitches with latch tool from right to left.bhole_07aIn order to best accomplish this with COR set KM for holding, push empty needles back to A position, knit up to now empty “buttonhole” needlesimg_4069bring empty needles out to hold img_4070insert latch hook from back to front through below the last stitch now knit on the right screenshot_36twist tool clockwisescreenshot_37bring empty needles out to holdimg_3966come up between the first 2 needles on the group’s right screenshot_38continue with latch tool bind off, last loop in chain is hung on needle already holding 2 stitches from the last bind off transferimg_4071tighten up loop 
img_4072
return “buttonhole”  stitches into needle hooks, back to B position
img_4073COL: set KM to slip in both directions, move to right img_4074COR: cancel holding, adjust tension, knit across remaining stitches to Limg_4075COL: cancel slip <–>, continue knitting screenshot_08

img_4077

img_4078

For hand knitters: my new favorite hand knit buttonhole in video format
in written/ illustrated form
two fabrics using slits: a free Ravelry pattern 
my blog post in response to a Pinterest request: variations in rib with holes

Thread Lace on Brother KM

Thread lace has also been called punch lace over the years. The “lace holes” are formed by knitting a fine thread with a significantly thicker yarn as the “second color”. When the fine yarn knits (B), a larger stitch in it alone is formed, with the thicker yarn floating behind it. The thicker yarn goes in Brother’s A feeder, the thinner in B.  As in FI patterning, the unpunched holes/ blank squares/ no pixels knit yarn in feeder A, punched holes/ black squares/ pixels are knit in B feeder yarn. In this instance however, both yarns  knit the unselected needles, corresponding to blanks in card or blank squares/ unmarked pixels. Tension may need to be adjusted due to this fact.

Test swatches for tolerance to pressing/ steaming to make certain final garment will bear blocking and cleaning. I had a sweater front finished using an industry “clear” thread, thankfully tried to iron it before finishing the piece, and discovered a lovely melting quality to the clear “thread”. In theory clear serger thread should be safe to use, there are 2 easily available manufacturers. YLI brand (nylon) is stocked at most chain stores that carry sewing supplies.  One “light / clear” is “whiter” than other; there is a “smoke” version as well, sold on cones. Both produce a bit of a sheen on the surface of the knit fabric. Sulky (polyester) clear is sold on spools, is superior for sewing pieces together, zippers, etc with no “sharp” when cut ends poking at the skin, but in a different price point and quantity.

This was my garment’s test swatch, the black is a wool rayon yarn.

img_3850-1

The fabric is much quicker to produce than traditional transfer lace. Cards can easily be drawn by filling in solid shapes over a mesh  ie repeat seen in the 1X1 card. Double length may produce an interesting fabric as well.  End needle selection needs to be cancelled. If end needles are selected because of the pattern repeat, push those needles back to B position manually before knitting the next row. The latter step insures that both yarns will knit together. Either side may be used as the “public side”, depending on personal preference. The thread lace option is also available in the 260 bulky machine. Here a very thin acrylic was used as the “thin” at the start of the swatch, monofilament for the remainder (bulky KM)

img_3851once again, with monofilament as color 2 img_3852

Taking it to a garment (standard KM): color 1 = wool/rayon blend, color 2 = sewing thread. Note the difference in color where there is no needle selection for pattern, and how one color is more prominent on one side than the other. Sometimes the latter may be used to advantage when the goal is a plaited fabric, but no plaiting feeder is available. Simply program in a blank row, and position threads using thread lace setting to produce the knit.

img_3855

img_3854

For more details for some unconventional uses for setting see post. I knit on a 910 electronic, with no option for such fabrics built into knit carriage. I was able however, to modify and use my punchcard carriage with the intent of producing yet another “unconventional”, ribbed fabric.

 

Lots of swatches

I have unearthed some of the hundreds of swatches that managed to  move with me when I downsized. They were produced when I used when teaching, often during class experiments and demonstrations. The yarn colors were chosen so I could spot them a mile away as my own (there were shared/public use yarn shelves in studio), and “different” enough so as not to tempt their being taken at any workshops ;-). I am adding them to my photostream as and when I can, and in turn shifting them into albums. In case anyone is interested the link is https://www.flickr.com/photos/drina2/ I am not certain I will have any opportunity to teach again, am hoping if people see them they may be inspired to try some of the techniques in materials and colors of their choosing. I would gladly explain more on any of them if any questions come up when viewing them.