A lace WIP

A WIP using punchcard developed in previous post . I missed a dropped stitch and wound up with a glorious run and giant hole, one of the ultimate joys of lace knitting. I find repairing such is more easily done if the knit is dropped off the machine, pressed lightly, and knitting is unraveled to the point where it can be re-hung on an all knit row. Lace traditionally is shown blocked, perhaps to maximize the eyelet pattern. If “left alone” it can have an interesting 3 dimensional surface. The latter is more likely to be retained if one uses a yarn with “memory”, such as wool, and knits the fabric in as low a tension as possible.

The images below show my WIP, and the difference in the untreated vs. the pressed and steamed portions of the piece. The yarn is a hand/ machine knitting super-wash wool/ polyamide blend. The manufacturer’s suggested machine knitting tension was 7-5, my cowl in progress is knit at 8.2 to make the transfers manageable.

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“Button holes” and “make many – increase” “lace”

An image often found on Pinterest, with its source attributed to a Vero Moda garment and accompanied by a “how to” request, led me to give “designing” it a shot. Here, I believe, 2 layers of a garment are pictured, resulting in the stocking stitch knit that appears behind the eyelets.augudAnalyzing the fabric: a wide rib is created, and in use are the equivalent of “buttonholes” with fewer cast on than bound off stitches to create the narrowing effect, and multiple stitches from one in order to restore stitch count and returning width. This fabric is not “practical” on the machine, but here is one possible solution that could easily be adapted for groupings in varying sizes.

My chart, showing 4 repeats (black border) and 3 starting rows. Green numbers indicate the repeat’s width (20 stitches), and height (12 rows). repeatX4_31the symbols used

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my unblocked sample, knit on 32 stitches in worsted weight acrylic, using #8 needles

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Zig Zag ladder lace 2: hand knit

I work primarily on a Mac, Maverick OS. Intwined software has had some issues operating in Mac consistently in the latest OS versions. The chart to text can be a really nice feature. The repeat, drawn here with symbols in the built in stitch library, shows errors in row 2 and 4 of the accompanying text.single repeatmistakes single

On a larger canvas, the original repeat is outlined below in red. Yellow indicates knit border stitches around ladder lace pattern repeats; row 22 is absent from the text that accompanied the larger chart.

full chart

full directionsSkitch is a free program, available for both Mac and Windows, that allows the opportunity for of highlighting or further editing a graphic. Taking the information above, here I added numbers that reflect actual repeat rows, used the arrows as a reminder of change in direction of zig zag, and the red outlines vs green indicate changes in type of knit decrease. It is easy to add as much or as little additional information as one feels helpful. There are controls for line thickness, shadows, etc.

actual repeat

JKnit is another program that may be of interest to anyone who prefers to track their projects, progress, and much more on their iPad or iPhone. The Lite version is free for both devices.

Below is an image of the hand knit swatch, unblocked, which appears three dimensional; transfer  lace has traditionally been blocked to lie flat and maximize eyelets. The fabric may be very interesting without blocking. If a slightly thicker yarn with “memory” is used, the piece may be steamed lightly, and the pattern segments will tend to shift in and out from the flat surface, whether the piece is hand or machine knit.IMG_1901

The yarn used was a “throw away” swatch testing acrylic. A very quick, light press and a bit of steam and here it is in the resulting killed, forever flattened version

IMG_1905  and it reverse side

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Zig Zag ladder lace 1: on knitting machine

My previous posts on combining ladders and lace: 1, 2 . The chart below, found in a random Japanese publication, started the process of my sorting out a possible “how to” on the knitting machine
bulky zig zag lace

In hand knitting, the 2  empty circles generally indicate a double yarn over. On the machine these can be simulated by working with extra empty needles. For swatching, a few rows of stocking stitch will do as a start. In a final fabric, waste yarn may be followed by ravel cord and a crochet cast on. After the crochet cast on, the chain on the needles for the extra “yarn over” location can be dropped, leaving those needles “empty”, and the pattern may begin immediately.

One of the 2 yarn overs will be created by manipulating an empty needle, the other by transferring stitches by hand as one would in lace.

If the empty needle if moved back to A, a ladder is created that is essentially a float in front of the gate pegs up to the next knit stitch. For purposes here, the result did not give me enough yarn to be able to maneuver.

The first step is to decide on the repeat between transfers, and emptying appropriately spaced needles, seen here in A position

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for the longer “float”: before the first row of the pattern, the empty needle is brought out to work, a row is knit, resulting in loops on those needles, that will create extra yarn slack

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the loop is in turn dropped

IMG_1883a tool is inserted through the loopIMG_1893

turned  clockwise for  casting on  in one direction,

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and turned counter clockwise for casting on in the opposite. Note that in one instance the long leg of the e is in back of the knit on the purl side, in the second in front. This makes a difference on the knit side of the fabric as well.

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to get the look of ssk and ssp as seen in hand knitting (instead of a simple decrease),  depending on the direction you are traveling, the needle 3 stitch is moved to its right or left onto the center one to create the second “yarn over” . Both stitches are then returned  together to the needle 3 position

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and with the transfer and e wrap completed, one is ready for the next row of knitting. Bringing the 3 needles out to hold gives one the opportunity to check all transfers and wraps, makes the next row easier to knit

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the turn of the zig zag: pick up from row below for increase, instead of e wrapping for a neater turn

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my first swatch: 1/ ladder at start of row; 2/ shows chain moving along the knit side, emulating ssk and ssp decreases seen in hand knitting; all my e wraps were made clockwise, 3 shows the long leg of the wrap moving to front of fabric as opposed to the rear as in 5, each giving a different look to ladder’s edge; 4 indicated the pivot point for reversing the direction of the zig zagnumbered_1892below shows the results of alternating the directions of the e wraps in each section: clockwise when moving to left, counter clockwise when moving toward right. The large eyelet at the top illustrates what happens typically when an empty needle is brought back into work at the top of a ladder.

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Ladders may be created in any desired width. The look of the vertical knit edges becomes a matter of preference. Good note-keeping helps insure consistent results.

 

Broomstick lace on the knitting machine

Some illustrations of this fabric may be found in my previous posts: forming long loops and stitches using cast on comb and weights or ruler , some long stitch swatches, a few more tips and ideas from the earliest post on topic.

Here are some ideas on creating a basic 3 loop “broomstick” cross. Most of my teaching has been on 4.5 mm machines, so the above swatches were executed in thinner yarns. For this post my swatch is knit in a random scrap yarn from my studio, on the 260 Brother Bulky machine.

The basis of this type of stitch is to create long loop stitches, and in turn to re- hang them in various configurations. The look I prefer among others I have tested, results when loops are hung in on every other needle, whether singly or in groups, and the next row is simply knit. Here, as in any machine knit  fabric, if there are 2 or more empty needles side by side, any other than a single needle must be e wrapped, cast on, or have a loop lifted up from the row below (used in increases), or the result will be a ladder vs. knit stitch formation on that needle.

Begin with waste yarn and some rows of knit. As long stitches are formed, some weight will be required to keep loops from jumping up, forward, and off the KM. Since you are asking the loops to stretch quite a bit on a fixed width metal base, some testing is required to determine the best tool for forming the optimum loop length. Yarn thickness factors into this as well. I found knitting stitches back to A loops too short, and using a cast on combs and paper clips or any of my rulers made them too long, so I opted for the plastic rod insert from one of my window shades.

I like to work my loops from left to right, so the last row is knit from right to left. They may certainly be formed in either direction. In this instance, COL needs to be returned to the right before resuming knitting. This can happen before or after forming long stitches, by any method you like. Consistency helps eliminate errors.

I bring needles out to hold/ E position, lining them up to form new stitches one at a time, the yarn is brought around to the end of the “ruler”

61guided under the needles yet to be wrapped, resting to the right of the next needle out to E on left side

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placed in the needle hook

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and knit through, repeating process across the row: the number of loops should match the original number of stitches

63the spacing tool is removed; the next 2 steps  may be easier to perform if the needles are once again brought out to holding / E first

64pulling down on your knit will create the long stitches

65working in groups of 3: remove first 2 loops on right, transfer to needle 3 on left

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insert tool in center of group of 3, lift strands onto needle 1 on right

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bring center needle (2 of 3) out and over multiple loops, all 3 to E pos68

repeat across row 69COR: knit 3 rows (or more, odd #),  ending with COL, so the yarn tail will once again be on the left to begin the process of wrapping.

knit next row carefully, adjust stitch size and loop length if needed

the top row in photo shows all 3 loops transferred onto center needle, with crochet cast on  (indicated on purl side by blue arrow) on all needles involved in the plain knit areas before the next row of knitting

broomstick_23

Hairpin lace diagrams can be a source of design inspiration for designing loop configurations. The crochet cast on  any empty needles could be used where chains occur in crochet diagrams, and it needs to be loose enough for the next knit row to be formed easily. In my swatch I actually had to hand knit the first/ next row, my carriage jammed in the areas where the triple loops were in needle hooks as well as my cast on chain.

The number of knit rows between forming the long stitches may be odd or even, providing one gets comfortable with working in both directions. The carriage gets switched frequently from side to side. Sometimes the least likely to drop your work carriage “free pass” is simply to take it off the machine on one side,  bring it to the opposite side, and engage it on the machine  once again, with no need to change cam settings or worry about traveling with it across your knit piece.

Ribbed pleated, folding fabrics

I created the illustrations/ charts below in Mac Pages, which has changed quite a bit since the Mavericks upgrade. With Apple’s continued efforts to make programs more compatible between devices, many features I preferred for designing my charts  in previous OS, are now defunct.

RIBBED, FOLDING PLEATS result from varying the needle arrangement on both beds, usually in every needle rib. As with any knit fabric, the knit piece will fold toward the purl side along the length of the piece, not away from it. Leaving needles out of work on either bed will create a vertical stripe of stocking stitch on the other, creating purl stitches on the rib ground, and the resulting knit will fold toward that bed, and the plain knit stitches. The same principle could be applied to hand knitting. The symbols: black dots indicate needles out of work, purple arrows the direction of the fold in the resulting fabric, | the needles in work on either bed, any machine.

Sharp angles occur when there are enough needles in work on both beds to allow the fabric to fold over itself crisply before it is forced by next group of out of work needles to fold once again in the opposite direction

needle arrangementalternating direction of folds to create sharp or knife pleats

folds up as

repeat above configuration across the needle bed, going as narrow or as wide as desired

double sharp or box pleats  are a variation where the direction of every other pleat is reversed, extra stitch groups may be added between pleats to vary their spacing

added stitch group represented by star, stitch count varied to suit

star

stars add

fold up as

box_sharp

accordion sharp pleats out of work needles evenly staggered on both beds

accordion

 fold up as

accordion sharp

Putting out of work needles on one bed close to out of work needles on the other will not allow the fabric to fold over completely before reversing direction, and will result in rounded or rolled, rather than sharp pleats. There should be one full needle rib stitch between needles out of work, highlighted below in red. Repeating the same selection results in rolled single pleats 

rolled

fold up as
curved knife

double rolled pleats mirror needle groups

double rolled

fold up as

curve1

in accordion rolled OOW needles are spaced evenly on both beds

accordion rolled

fold up as

sunray roundTypes of pleats, their width, spacing and mixing with stretches of every needle rib, may be used in whole garments or garment details ie cuffs, peplums, single fold large pleats in skirts and jackets, etc.

Brother Ribber Techniques Book page 37 illustration

page37

some considerations

Normal shaping procedures are not practical in these fabrics. Tension changes are used from loose to tight to achieve shaping from wider at bottom to narrower at top, requiring extended swatches. The larger the finished items, such as skirts, are more predictable in result if the test swatch is a large one. A minimum of 100 rows for gauging is recommended. A test segment is made for each tension change. Swatches should be allowed to rest after being treated like the finished garment will be: blocked, pressed, washed, etc., then hung vertically and allowed to rest. After deciding the length, 2-4 inches need to be subtracted from the desired measurement to allow for “drop” that is likely in the finished piece over time.

The fabric may look a bit different on one side than the other, either works as the exterior of the piece, is a matter of preference.

These are knits where the clicks between numbers on tension dials on machines come into use. In addition to the usual gauge calculations for knitting garments, a bit more math is needed.

The number of needles used need to be divisible by the number of stitches used for any pleat.

Joining on inner folds rather than outer ones produces better results. Having an extra stitch at joining edges, with seaming using half a stitch on each side, will keep pleat widths constant.

The larger the pleat, the more bulk is created. Most skirts will require 3 panels with one seam worn on center back. Yokes may be added to decrease bulk rather than having pleats meet at waistline.

Ribbers on Japanese machines tend to knit tighter than main beds. At times an increase of 2 tension numbers may be required to get stitch sizes created by both beds to approach being equal. The other factor to consider is that the wider the plain knit vertical portion of the pleats, for stitches to knit off properly, the more the tension needs to approach the # used to knit the same yarn in stocking stitch on the respective single bed. Tolerance varies between machines.

Experimentation is needed even before knitting the large swatches. It pays to be familiar with both your ribber and your yarn before trying these fabrics, and to keep good notes.

 

A simple shape, an exercise in DBJ, Brother KM

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

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

passap deco

 

Brother KM

Brother Ribber Techniques Book illustration is missing lili position for lever

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500_3

C500_2

some of my previous posts on  DBJ color separations  

More slip stitch experiments

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

source

missoni combo

source

lyst combo

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

my starting chart

repeat start

 checking that that repeats line up

multiple repeats

possible mylar repeats

mylar repeats

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

striped slip ksidepurl side

striped slip p side

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

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

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

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

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

block shape

the knit side

block_front

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

block_back

Combining tuck stitches with lace 2 (automating them)

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

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

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

theory

 symbols used

theory symbols

reworking the repeat for use with mylar

mylar selection

 the drawn mylar repeat, numbers reflect placement on my sheet

mylar repeat

mylar symbols2

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

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

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

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

mylar_knit1

the purl side with arrow indicating the same problem spot

mylar_purl1

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

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

punchcard chartA

actions of the carriages with each pass

what carriages do

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

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

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