Barbara Walker

A DVD stitch compendium salute to Barbara and an interview with her. Most reviews online describe as it being most suitable for beginning knitters, a sample video from series may be found on youtube. For a treasure of her treasury patterns including some cable stitches, one may visit The Walker Treasury Project. The groups’s photo stream may be found in Flickr.

More cables and lace links

Cables on multiple brand KMs including some reversible at knittsings. A technique that first appeared in Japanese knitting books that “cheats” in creating cables by knitting tuck stitches that are regularly rehung on the back of the work was embraced by Ricki Mundstock, who published copyrighted designs extensively for a while, and named the technique magic cables. Superba was another machine knitting brand that may be familiar. At the site there is a thorough discussion of hand transferred lace patterns on the machine with clear illustrations and suggestions that could be applicable on most brand KMs.
In terms of charting software for designing one’s own pattern charts some sites to explore: Aran paint, Stitchmastery, Sweater Project, Knit Visualizer, Intwined Pattern Studio, and 2 online chart generators: Chartgen, and Knitting Chart Maker by Jacquie, in addition to previously mentioned tutorials such as those by Marnie MacLean.

A confession

I have to admit I can and do hand knit but now operate in life is short mode, and have decreased patience for projects that require a huge time commitment (relatively speaking) to complete. At a knitting seminar in the early 90s a demonstrator (who happened to be male) used to tour with a sweater he had “completed on the machine”  that had more than 3,000 (yes, thousand) cables in it: complex twists inside larger diamonds in turn formed by cables. IMO such a garment would be faster done by hand. One of the advantages in hand knitting is that errors are more easily seen since one has the opportunity to observe what happens on the knit side closer to the event. The fixed spacing on the machines that twists must travel can be a challenge in forming fabrics, particularly in all over patterns.

One possible solution is to combine machine and hand knit panels. Hand knit center arans may be joined to plain side and sleeves knit in stocking stitch on the KM (also a solution when larger sizes are required), and stitch patterns may be used in isolated areas or selectively rather than all over the garment. Patterning shifts in the knit/purl ground in garter stitch patterns may produce knit and purl “illusions” of shapes otherwise created by moving stitches in cables.

I have recently been playing with this crossing idea. The original intent was to try it out in an all over pattern in a brick repeat, and only one row of knit in between transfer rows. With yarn at maximum tension, after the first round of transfers the second round of them became impossible to perform. Am still at the drawing board, but the idea may well simply end with a 2 inch patch as opposed to anything larger. Wonder if Barbie is in the market for a lapghan?

Follow up: the new working repeat with 2 rows of knit between cable crossings

a test on standard KM: the ladders were a “surprise”, a by product of the distance the stitches were moved

the same fabric with ladder “floats” being hung on adjacent needles to diminish ladders and produce holes

the stocking stitch fabric top and bottom of this last swatch is considerably wider than its cabled portion, a possible consideration for trims or insertions based on this idea; “you can’t always get what you want” but sometimes one can still quite work with what one gets.

Holding and “cables”

Susan Guagliumi has written 3 books on hand techniques on the knitting machine

her first classic

her previously most recent

published November 2014

Unknown

 At her website, some of her articles and Studio KM publications are available for free download. Included are ones discussing a horizontal cable, two color electronic cable. 11/12/15 Please note: site now requires subscription and login, links as posted here as they are will fail to connect.

In creating large scale cables in the pasts tension changes, supplemental threads, and other ways to compensate for moving larger number of stitches on a metal bed (things start to get hairy when crosses become larger than 4X4) have been discussed. An interesting, clear, possible solution  to produce textures or macro cables such as in this piece

may be found in her books and may be viewed in her youtube video. Handknit interpretations that also add lace to the mix may be found in Shirley Paden‘s portfolio photos of garments, she is the author of

 

Aran knits: a new thread

Cables seem to be in vogue once again in myriad permutations. They pose some interesting issues when created in machine knitting. Interweave Knits Winter 2011 published an article on “Cables 101” that includes a way to color code and graph cable crossings. Some complex variants for those who like KM hand techniques may be found at Knit, not Knit , their courses here. “Back in the day” of regular, world wide machine knitting seminars several authors provided collections of machine knit cables including George Le Warre at Passap universities (copyrighted, George presently in England).

Simple crossings are a good place to begin and produce texture. If one is not interested in freeform but rather constant, recurring patterns it is possible to use punchcards to produce visual cues when stitch twists and crossings are to occur. This is not an option in Studio Machines, easy on Brother because of the fact that needles pre select, and Passap pushers may be used for a similar set of clues with a bit more fiddling.

When color coding information for referencing as one works, it is possible to be generous with symbols or edit down to bare elements. For example, one way to approach a schematic follows below, where knit stitches are illustrated as well as cable crossings. Red indicates stitches moved to the front, and the green indicates those traveling to back in each cable set. In hand knitting vertical or horizontal bars would represent knit and purl stitches. Since these are identical in this HK graph, they could all be eliminated

A

B the isolated repeat

The choice then remains whether or not to revert the crossings to match the HK pattern. One way to do that is simply to reverse positions for colors. The mantra becomes “red moves first, green moves second and over red”.

With all machines if the knit carriage is left set for normal knit, even if the patterning option is engaged (KCI or KCII if there are any needles out of work) needles will be selected, but the fabric produced is stocking stitch. The usual considerations are in order: the number viewed on the card outside the machine corresponds to the design row being read by the reader, but the punchcard holes in view are not necessarily the same as the design row selected. Because one is producing the cables on the purl side of the knit, if hand knitting charts are used the cables themselves will be  mirrored. In many instances this may not matter, but if one is using the twists for representational crosses ie. in trees, owls, diamonds and other geometric shapes, it is a good idea to scan the repeat, mirror the image vertically, and then begin translating it into machine knit interpretations. Relatively easy with simple scanning and printing software (ie. the flip horizontal function in Preview, a bit harder by hand.

When I can I color code my cards: ie. with lace I draw a line across the card when I reach each knit row sequence with color pencil. This provides me with an easy to follow visual cue as to when the rows must occur, and also facilitates returning to previous selection sequence when mistakes in patterning occur.

Some basics: with a punchcard there is no row length limitation, but repeats are limited to 24 or a factor thereof. In this particular use wherever needles are selected, one has a visual reminder to move those needles in the desired direction.

I used the cards below to illustrate the idea in my intro to knitting classes. When needle selection occurs in the first, remove the selected stitches off the machine with a 3 prong tool in each desired location, then insert a second 3 prong tool back through front of those same stitches, in turn removing from the initial tool used. Rotate the  twice transferred stitches 180 degrees consistently either clockwise or counter-clock wise throughout, and return them to their original position on the needle bed. The result is a consistently textured fabric with no counting stitches or rows between repeats.

a swatch using it

This card begins to address regular cable crossings, mine was punched in repeat the full 60 rows. A color may be assigned to help with opposing twists’ directions ie. to left (pink) or to right (green) when the corresponding color bar appears just above the card reader.

Where are they now?

Many of us grey haired knitters may recall the art to wear movement and some of the that became familiar at the height of home machine knitting and seminar circuits. I am beginning a thread that makes an effort to discover them in present time, will add to this post as I find links. The order is purely random,  includes published teachers and some of the knitters/ fiber artists found in the book documenting the birth of the movement pictured below.

John Allen.  Nicky Hitz Edson.  Susanna Lewis. One of  thousands of entries that may be found via google for Norma Minkowitz. Jean Williams Cacicedo. Linda Mendelson recent work and juror in upcoming show on Art and Human Form at bluedoorgallery.

More low tech

I am continuing to sort out issues that might help make lace shawls, scarves and garments that require a finite length of time in their actual knitting. Punchcard machines are friendlier than electronic ones in terms of picking up pattern after interruptions, and visual cues when correcting mistakes are easier to track and see. I design knits in a way similar to the way I cook. With several sources and ideas in front of me I pick, choose, and “go for it.”

My most recent blank punchcard purchase revealed that Taitexma (Brother clone company)  is now producing pre-numbered cards for machines printed in RED! Does not affect function, but is distracting to me visually. In the past it used to be the color red vs blue card blanks was another distinguishing factor between machine companies. Studio traditionally red, Brother blue (with pre punched lace cards being their exception).

The cost of cards has increased, and punching lace repeats at least for me is prone to errors. In a previous post I discussed my way of marking up cards to make the process easier. Now however, I was searching for a way of working out repeats on something equal in size to the punchcards that would allow for tracing holes, shifting pattern centers, be easily edited, and provide a size specific visual template when the final design is reached, thus avoiding lots of taped over holes and mistakes on the actual punchcards. This brought me  back to the drawing board, literally.

I have created a word document that prints to scale on my printer, converting it to PDF changed the aspect ratio, so I am sharing it in older.doc word format in case others may find it useful.  The center “picture” is 7.15 inches long, by 4.31 in width, can easily be tweaked if needed for the individual printer: numbered card

My latest shawl

Still working on lace pieces, sorting out the differences and issues in this knit fabric type. My shawls are one of a kind or limited edition items. Fiber content and finished sizes vary.

This is the repeat as it may appear in a hand knit lace graph. Not enough symbols in Knitbird, design achieved by using Aire River knitting font, and applying appropriate symbols to an excel grid

border transition detail shot

the shawl