Re-visiting i-cords

Knit tubings/ cords of all sizes have been cropping up on runway photos, interlaced with cables, woven basket weave style, and as the “yarn in giant knits”. My category sidebar has link to my compendium on subject (Jan 30, 2012), written nearly a year ago, the making of the cords, and some published references. Additional ideas: in wider trims where a single knit stitch is required on the slip pass because the cord is wider than 4-5 stitches, and/or a flatter, single bed cord is required, one can play with a punchcard for the needle selection. Anywhere there is a punched hole in a blank row, the resulting selected needle will knit when the carriage makes a slip pass on that particular design row. Brother machines do not require a whole card to be punched for such trims, since the option exists for controlling the slip facility for single rows by selecting only one of the part buttons. The machine will skip white squares in the direction of the pushed cam button, left or right, and knit every stitch traveling in the opposite direction. A punchcard repeat to serve the purpose:

if multiple knit stitches on slip rows are a consideration, in the image below the dashes and dots are representing needles in work, and width of trim, the black dots themselves also the punched holes in selected area for trim

a variant across a row, with 3 stitches slipped in between knit ones

the punchcard repeat for a machine such as studio, where cam operation is different, the following would need to be punched for the required minimum punchcard height

Open tubular knitting using the ribber is possible  in nearly every width. The wider the cord, the more it will want to flatten. Wire, various cording, and plastic tubing may all be inserted into the tubes if more sculptural forms are the goal.

An added note: the easiest cord is a narrow knit strip, knit on at tighter than normal tension, which will roll into itself, helping it retain its shape and in turn be substituted in many of the fabrics using icords. For wide  strips that need to bend and curve, ribbed strips my work, particularly if knit in english or half english rib. Such ribbed strips may be braided flat, stitched together and in turn applied to sweater panels at their edges, center fronts, etc.

Hand to machine, symbols 2

The symbol below usually represents a single increase. In hand knitting such increases may be achieved anywhere in any one row. In machine knitting however,  this may only be done with any ease at garment edges. Machine knitters may be familiar with calling what is depicted below a full fashioned increase. To achieve the latter,  a multiple prong tool is used to move the chosen stitches a number over to the right or to the left. On the machine, the resulting empty needle then needs to be “filled” unless lace holes created without doing so are part of the design; this may be done by picking up the purl bar from the row below. The blue dots represents the HK symbol, the pink the same symbol as it might be represented for MK to achieve the same result. The machine knit illustrations in this series do not factor in automatic patterning: rather,  they show how the stitches would be hand tooled on the machine to achieve similar fabrics.

single increase

brioche/tuck stitch: the first 2 image series show “normal” orientation, the  3rd and 4th series the twisted in front of knit version. In MK the elongated stitch is twisted and returned to its needle; similar fabric may be created  purely through hand technique by using holding on single needles in desired locations. Tucked rows in KM programming are unpunched squares in card, white “squares” in mylars or computer downloads. Using the repeat below, in electronics it is possible to “draw” only the 3 tucked squares, and use color reverse.

slip stitch: the first 2 image series show “normal” orientation. In machine knitting the slipped, elongated stitch is created on knit side, with the remaining “floats/bars” remaining on the purl. In the 3rd and 4th image series the elongated stitch moves to the back of the work, while the “floats/bars” move to knit side of the fabric and form a pattern on it. As with tuck stitches,  rows for slip in KM programming are unpunched squares in card, white “squares” in mylars or computer downloads. Using the repeat below, in electronics it is possible to “draw” only the 2 slipped squares, and use color reverse. Because in this fabric the needles are skipped, not filled with loops, multiple punched holes or white squares may occur side by side. If the goal is to achieve the skip stitch floats appearing on the knit side, retooling by hand is required on all skipped needles prior to the next all knit row.

stitches woven through stitches: because of the fixed width stitches must travel with any crossings on the machine there are limits as to how far they are able to move across the bed within any one row. Cables come to mind immediately in terms of stitches crossing; another type of cross weaves stitches through others singly or in sets, which may also be done within rows of long stitches. In the illustration below, one stitch crosses through the center of another. If one is trying to match the hand knit fabric version, then the direction of the “weaving” is reversed as it would be in the case of cabling. Light colors and thick yarn help make the results more visible. This is strictly a hand technique; however, for greater accuracy and speed one may program card or electronics to select either the needle that comes off first, or the pair of needles involved involved with the cross.

an alternative symbol sometimes seem for this stitch

a simply repeat illustrated for KM: since the whole ground is purl, symbols for purl need not be used

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November 2015 PS: the charts such as the one immediately above were created using Intwined Pattern Studio and my own custom made stitch symbols. The program on Mac not long after became unusable due to the presence of custom made stitches in library, took multiple efforts to restore without their presence, and there have been no updates since then to address this, or any of the other issues. More information and reviews may be found on ravelry.

Hand to machine knitting symbols1

One of the critical differences in viewing work as it progresses on the knitting machine, is that the “front” view of the fabric unless the work is removed from the needles through a variety of techniques and turned over on the needle bed, is the purl side. Early machine manufacturer punchcard book publications made an effort to help hand knitters make the transition. A chart from brother publishing knit_sym96 illustrates one such effort. Here the middle icon in the how to work column is the stitch formation one would need to achieve on the MK to get the same “look” as the HK samples. Some symbols apply to both types of knitting, some should be mirrored horizontally to make sense, and in the case of the crossing stitches at top right of the second column there is a bit of confused identity.

Over the years there has been an interesting transition from hand written stitch by stitch instructions to the introduction of symbols ranging from home grown on graph paper, to simple word processing and later software generated ones. Some international differences occurred in published works, and international agreed upon symbols for both knit and crochet eventually evolved. There are many design programs on the market now, I have linked to some in past posts. As knitters have venues for publishing their own repeats and patterns and tools have multiplied, symbols do not always necessarily have the same meaning, and stitch codes are no longer universal.

I have been wanting to find a way other than using excel to build a stitch library usable for machine knitters in an easily accessible program that  would do some of the “work” for me. I have experimented with 2 programs. One was knitbird, which I would not recommend for this purpose, the other Intwined Studio which is proving far more flexible and worth the modest investment for me. I work on MacOS10.8, the Intwined version for this OS is beta. There are some small glitches, but this is a tool worth exploring. The option is there to add one’s own symbols to the stitch library. I have begun working on a machine knitting set with icons created in a combination of other programs and Inkscape, the one suggested in the tutorial by the developer. Some charts created with Intwined may be seen in my previous post on sideways pleated skirts. Below is a chart including some MK symbols in my personal library, also using the option to color background for them in program itself rather than editing the chart image after the fact.

To download Inkscape: site. The work around to get the program to work in Mac OS10.8 may be found here.

The combination of color with symbols in published patterns for both hand knit and crochet is beginning to proliferate. I find the visual color cues help track patterns more easily, have done it in HK in the past, one such example is my chain cable experiment in my January 3rd post.

Some illustrations for lace symbols HK vs MK may be found in my post February 25, 2012 “back to lace”.

Pleats: automating “pleating”, single bed

I work primarily on multiple model Brother machines, in this instance the 910. Some of the information provided below may need tweaking for use in other brand KMs. “Automation” of some holding functions may be achieved using slip setting to knit required stitches. Below is the mylar sheet repeat used for my samples swatches. The setup is on working needles 21L, 19R, program for color reverse and twice the height; KCII (cancel end needle selection); first row needle selection from left to right, and with carriage ending on the right the first set of needles selected will be those that knit, the remaining bed will slip. This is opposite to the configuration familiar in holding, where needles out to E are held, those in B or D will knit (Brother needle position jumped the letter C, they are  A,B,D,E). In this type of knitting all needles in use on the bed should be cleared with each pass of the carriage.

I have gotten used to keeping programming numbers for  locations on mylar around a square to correspond to the lights surrounding the house icon on the 910, and worked with the following 2 options for my test swatches

In the samples below the first set of every other stitch/ black square in the increasing/decreasing angles were slipped on the non selected needles to create/mark the inner purl fold , the second set in the area that does straight knitting tucked on non selected needles to create/mark the knit outer fold. For the latter to occur, the cam buttons need to be switched to tuck <-> for 2 rows, and then back to slip <-> for the remaining knit repeat. Small holes are created at edges of slipped areas as miters are created, as would appear were the fabric created tthrough holding.

A: the alternate fold areas as they appear on the machine during knitting

the fabric after some casual steaming shown on the knit side, the pleating just about doubling on itself

B: with the added knit rows, the swatch before steaming

here is the purl side after some steaming showing the change in overlap

its knit side

both fabrics allowed to “hang”

The look may be varied considerably by changing the sequencing of the number of knit stitches, and the number of plain knit rows between the EON slipped or tucked ones. Electronics facilitate that, and with machines capable of accepting programming of the whole needle bed, there is even greater freedom. The sample above was knit loosely in acrylic, the holes would be less apparent in a tighter knit. If bothersome they may be “avoided” by factoring in “wrapping” if every row of the repeat is drawn rather than every other. With only 60 squares available on the mylar it is possible to go twice as wide and produce fabric width that may suffice for a skirt’s length. However, a  problem results not so much in the inner fold slipped rows, but in the outer fold tuck ones. As in nearly any knitting when needles have 2 side by side loops resting on them, these loops will create a float/ ladder, so the tuck rows will essentially behave like the slipped ones as the double loops are dropped rather than anchored on the subsequent pass of the carriage. In the configuration here if the double wide button is used, one way to solve that issue would be to bring consistently the same of either of the 2 non selected needles out to D or E position (still faster than hand selecting repeats by hand for holding). The same repeat redrawn to factor in reduction of the eyelets at edges of slipped areas:

a partial graph showing “automatic wrap” to decrease eyelet size

plain knit rows (blanks on mylar) may be added at the bottom or top of the repeat to change pleat depth

An added alternative for fold lines: create outside crease transferring EON to make a row of eyelets, create inside crease by knitting the desired row double row of  with 2 strands of  garment yarn. “Automatic” repeat must be adjusted accordingly, whether by re drawing or punching, or using cam settings for the correct stitch formation.

Seaming should be planned on the inner fold of the fabric, depending on whether the purl or knit side is used as the “public” side, the least visible join being one that is grafted ie with kitchener stitch.

The same principles may be applied to punchcard knitting but because the repeat size is 24 stitches the resulting fabric is one suitable for portions of garments/ accessories, in details such as ruffles and edgings. Because the punchcard does not have the option for color reverse, the punched holes would be the white squares above, the black squares the unpunched areas. “Air” knitting helps determine exact needle location required , and to decide which side the first row must be selected prior to actual knitting. The image below shows the start of only one possible partial repeat based on the original mylar repeat above, with dots on yellow ground indicating punched holes, the greyed out areas indicating what might be the markings were color reverse a possibility.

I usually sample my repeats by using hand selection and holding before committing to drawing on mylar or punching holes. The former are hard to get, the latter time consuming to punch, and “repairs” are more difficult when there are that many holes side by side. An even number of rows is required in this technique.

Pleats: machine knit double and single bed

This is the latest type of fabric to cross my radar. One publication readily available online is at Susan Guagliumi’s website. My own in progress notes/ideas Pleats in full needle rib2, and SINGLE BED PLEATS. Some single bed pleating may be automated. Revisions, additions and photos will follow.

Chain cable HK experiment

Several months ago menswear began to appear featuring versions of chained cables. There are some published sources for such patterns, some available for purchase online ie in ravelry,  while others may be found in the Barbara Walker Treasury Books. One HK version from the latter may be found here. I decided to play with excel and experiment further. I used Aire River Design font on my Mac to generate symbols used. Columns and rows may be easily edited to adjust height and width of repeat to suit in the design process. I charted only knit “right side rows”. On purl rows one simply reverses previous row’s purl/knit sequences

the first linear repeat (outlined in orange)

I tend to prefer brick repeats in odd numbers across the piece: this instance adds reverse knit rows in center of the cables as well for more surface texture, seed stitch may be another consideration

a quick swatch testing the repeat in a random cotton from my stash

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