It’s all math

Modular knits get lots of attention of late. Most hand knitters are familiar with “domino knitting”. Horst Schultz , Vivian Hoxbro, Iris Schreier,  Ginger Leuters, Pat Ashforth with Steve Plummer and others have written extensively on subject. The cover of one recent pub that is dedicated solely to entrelacs is shown below (how to for MK article by Cheryl Brunette archived last June may be found here).

Complicated stitch patterns often are more easily managed in simple forms. Laying out shapes in scrumbled knits or ones that emulate quilting blocks get back to math and breaking down larger shapes into smaller ones which makes me think of origami. A video source on a paper folding approach by Robert Lang may be found on TED , along with mention of a software program by the speaker (TreeMaker). The geometric shapes created by the fold lines could be translated into intarsia, simple sweater outlines laid on top or under different areas of the “folds” in graphics programs can help with placement of modules to create the final garment silhouette (perhaps a subject for a future post).

Back to leaf lace, add rib, and take it to the Passap

The chart below represents the working repeat for a twin leaf that incorporates ribs in fabric. Golden color represents needles in work on ribber or Passap back bed, the numbers in the center of graph the number of needles moved away from center column, toward the wider rib on each side of the repeat. All colored areas within the red border represent black squares on mylar, or single palette color in SP, wincrea, or your means of downloading. The addition of electronics allows for a wider repeat. Air knitting on any machine will help make selection needed for transfers to opposing bed. On the Passap use Tech 129 and color reverse. This results in pushers corresponding to each colored square being selected to their up position: they then in turn may be pushed up slightly to help track the needles that need to be moved. The wider ribs on the sides make it easier to identify repeat center: again, transfers are made away from the single needle, toward the larger group. The front lock stays on N througout. Pushers corresponding to needles on the back bed, not in twin leaf pattern area, need to be completely out of work. Back lock also knits throughout.

the resulting repeat: knit side

the repeat’s purl side

Having only 3 needles at each end of the chosen number of repeats knitting on the ribber or back bed, will create a small rolled edge on each side of the knit, using the irritating property stocking stitch has of curling to purl side to create an “edging”. I have multiple stitch transfer tools for Passap, but found I did much better avoiding dropped stitches doing larger transfers in two moves of fewer needles.

The graph may be modified for use in other electronics. Here the gold represents needles out of work that create ladders. The two stitch ladder helps with definition and with tracking direction of transfers. With ribbers in use cursed dropped stitches and holes may not be noticed until it’ s too late for “repairs”. Again the center numbers reflect the number of stitches requiring movement on that particular row. All colored squares are used for “drawing” the repeat in the design program or on the mylar.

There are many designs available for machine knit leaves that align in a regular, vertical manner. The more varied shapes require a large number of transfer rows for each row knit. One such variant is this:

a second effort with more ladder experimentation

The result is definitely not a twin, but rather a distant relative of the twin leaves, more akin to wheat or fern lace. The design works within the punchcard 24 stitch repeat limit . A central ladder again helps definition. Latching up the ladder on the purl side made it disappear. Playing with ladder spaces between full repeats can vary the fabric considerably. This is the self drawn card used for the swatch, the horizontal heavy lines indicate where the 2 rows of knitting occur. The card uses up the whole 60 rows, all punched holes are identifiable with corresponding row numbers, the card was a touch too long for my scanner.

Patience is a requirement, and yarn color that allows one to see what is actually happening to stitches is a recommendation.

Filling empty needles after transfers

Trying to get a movement in the fabric for an upper and lower border, echoing that of the leaves, I came up with the solution below. The first set of graphics represents how to fill in an empty needle, the pink again is the view as it may be on the KM, and the empty needle is filled in by picking up the purl ridge of the adjacent stitch.

Working with the 12 stitch repeat used in the previous samples: the green here represents the out of work needle, the golden color the stitches involved in the transfers, with the addition of 2 all knit rows at the top. Moving stitches on these last 2 rows is optional. The circles on blue represent the needles that are temporarily emptied with each move, then in turn filled as illustrated above. A single row of knitting remains along the ladder edge, keeping the ladder space smoother and free of uneven holes.

Those lace holes may be kept to create a very different fabric, as seen in the sample below, which includes some operator error. Transfers take place every 2 rows to allow formation of stitches on the emptied needles.

Other variations ie. repeating transfers from same side in reverse order atop each repeat, etc., vary the look and slant of the swatch. Understanding how the lace carriage works will help explain why some types of transfers do better in the realm of hand techniques.