From lace chart to punchcard 5 to electronic

Continuing with the “relatives” of the proposed border chart in the previous post, this gets us even closet to the hand knit. So, I have a punchcard, a 12 stitch repeat, really want to go 14 wide for the repeat, and now several other issues are encountered. If  one thinks about lettering and controlling horizontal direction with a card, one is reminded that the card “knits” the image ie a letter as punched on the purl, back of the fabric, so when the knit side is viewed, letters are mirrored. One solution is to flip the card over horizontally. If when knitting from a hand knit lace chart the transfers need to be “flipped” to match results, the punchcard does that for you. With the 910 what you see on the mylar is what you get, so if the repeat is drawn for lace as for a punchcard, it will need to be flipped horizontally. Punchcards are sectioned in blocks of 6, mylars in blocks of 5, so if copying a card it may be worth printing it out large scale, and outling new blocks 5X5 so as to be able to orient lace markings correctly within them.  With electronics one may have built in functions for mirroring in either direction, I went another route:

This is a section of my mylar with markings for repeats, the blue outline for the 14 st, the red for the 12, suitable for punching on a card.  The first K2Rs reminder may be seen  in the column on the far right, the colored squares and numbers indicate the programmed repeats for each sample

I chose to knit the test swatches using the lace carriage on the right, the knit carriage on the left. First selection row is made with the LC from right to left

the 12 stitch repeat

the wider and longer repeat (with unintended dropped stitch),  which would create more of a curved edge if used as a border

“putting this one to bed”

Frome lace chart to punchcard 4: a border tale

A forum post inquired on adapting the following border repeat for use on a punchcard Brother KM, using the lace carriage: the repeat is 14 stitches wide as was given below

Because of repeat restriction in punchcard knitting, the best way to match the above chart is through the use of hand techniques. The image below shows needle bed markings (in water soluble pen) to help in tracking hand transfers; the long line is the location for the center triple stich after stitch transfers, the dots place the first single transfers made toward the center long line on the KM, away from the single needle space between them

this is the result of the hand transfers; the fuzz on the left is a manufacturer’s yarn knot

a simplified repeat  keeping some of the elements, but missing that center ridge, adjusted to a 12 stitch repeat for use with punchcard; the missing lace hole was an error in punching out the card

the card for it, showing the correction also marked in red

since the intended use is for a border, it is not necessary to punch more than above; the first row for selecting to right with the lace carriage is marked, blue shows location for knitting 2 rows with knit carriage; the sequence is an easy 4 passes with the lace carriage, followed by 2 with knit carriage

another option’s results, creating the center ridge as in the hand knit: not identical, but related

the corresponding card: knit 2 rows after every 6 passes with LC, except for the last repeat segment, where LC makes 4 passes prior to continuing with KC and knitting beyond the border

If using cards I would recommend knitting several rows with waste yarn before casting on (as loosely as possible) and continuing in lace. The very bottom will want to curl toward the knit side of the garment, so cast on edge may require additional treatment to keep it from doing so.

for one more repeat please see next post

From lace chart to punchcard 3: adding stripes

In machine knitting, frequent color changes are more conveniently made with a color changer. On the Brother KM the latter is placed on the left side of the machine, so the knit carriage will be knitting by default an even number of rows moving from left to right and back to the left. In turn, the lace carriage will need to move from right to left and back. To retain the same pattern, the card may be flipped over, and marked accordingly. Here is an image of the card generated in the previous post, flipped vertically. I prefer colored lines to arrow and other markings: blue line indicates 2 rows of knitting with KC  (a different color could be used to indicate color changes for striping once those are determined), starting row 1 is marked in pencil.

space dyed yarns may produce interesting effects, in lace sometimes the pattern is lost however. In the swatch below I attempted to introduce a random striped sock yarn, thicker than the white previously used. When I loosened the tension for the knit rows, I began to have stitches consistently hung up on gate pegs, adding the second reason to switch my “color 2”. Color changing is every 4 rows, beginning with row 1

a larger swatch with tension adjustments and switching the 2nd color to an equal weight, “friendlier” yarn

knit side

purl side

The narrower stripe is spaced 6 rows apart, the wider a full repeat repeat. Like playing with slip stitch variations, there are many more possibilities that could be tried. Long floats up the side next to the color changer may be wrapped on end needle periodically and carried up that side to avoid weaving in “all those ends” upon completion of the piece, while keeping an eye on whether doing so contributes to end stitches on both sides resulting in different “lengths” at its edges. Not all lace patterns are equally successful in this technique, and ultimately choices become a matter of personal preference and style. Missoni striped MK laces are a great source of inspiration. For hand knitting, many pattern playing with striping in lace fabrics with both solid and space dyed yarns may be found at Kieran Foley’s website.

From lace chart to punchcard 1

I have posted previously on lace punchcards, their use, and traveling between machine models. There is extensive documentation in manuals and literature on the mechanics of their patterning. This series will attempt to follow my most recent post, and to visually address the transitions from a charted repeat to a corresponding punchcard.

The illustrations may apply to other than simple lace on both Brother and Studio machines by altering the placement of the first selection row on the respective punchcards.

Each time transfers are required it takes two or four passes (more for multiple transfer lace) to preselect the needles, transfer the stitches, and return to the left side.  One pattern row on the chart will need expansion (akin to a color separation) into passes necessary to execute the transfers for each sequence. The lace carriage will always activate the card reader, so every pass must be reflected on the card. This accounts for the familiar arrow markings on the left of factory pre punched lace cards.  Selection, positioning, and return passes are blank rows on cards, resulting in no needles being selected. No selection rows may serve as a reminder to switch carriages. It is best to begin with simple charts to sort out the process. For punchcard machines the stitch repeat must be a factor of/divisible evenly into 24. Color-coding eyelets for left and right transfers may help. In multiple transfer lace, two or more adjacent stitches are transferred to the right or to the left, creating an eyelet group. On the knit side the group will lean away from the eyelet. The lace carriage is not capable of multiple transfers at one time, so each stitch in a group will require a separate pass. Within each group the lace carriage must transfer the stitch farthest away from the eyelets first.

some simple transfers, graph markings on left, expanded for punching on right

the symbols key for this post

a multiple transfer stitch charted for machine knitting

location for holes, and directions for lace carriage transfers on next row

the punched card and associated actions

going wider, and combining different size motifs

the expanded version

Hand to machine symbols 5: lace

The beginning of this thread explores how lace may be interpreted from hand knitting pattern and charts, when hand techniques might be used to make the transfers and create the fabrics on the knitting machine. Going from charts to punchcards will be addresses in later posts.

In hand knitting (unless knitting circular), because the work is turned every row, stocking stitch is formed by knitting one row, purling the next, and repeating the 2. Knit rows are often referred to as “right side” ones, purl as “wrong side” ones. On the machine stocking stitch is produced as the knit carriage knits every row. In hand knitting, eyelets are created by use of yarn overs (whether single or multiple), and a decrease may in turn be formed ( if the number of total stitches is to remain constant) by knitting multiple stitches together to compensate for the increase created by the yarn over. Often the patterning occurs on knit side rows, the purl side rows are frequently simple purls. Instructions, depending on the author or even the time of publication, may read purl odd rows or even rows depending on how the pattern is begun.

Lace is created on the machine by placing 2 stitches on the same needle to be knit together, leaving the empty needle in work position. The empty needle is filled with a loop when the knit carriage is passed across the work for the first row, then formed into a complete stitch as direction of the knitting is reversed. Paired decreases with 2 yarn overs may be created by moving 2 stitches onto a center needle, resulting in the needles on either side being emptied, in turn picking up a loop and forming a stitch with the 2 subsequent rows of knitting with the main carriage.

When selecting hand knitting repeats or charts for working on the machine, it is good to begin with a pattern that has a background of stocking stitch only. It is possible to add ribbed stitches, turn the work over with a garter bar or use a G carriage to add purl stitches on the “right” side in place of the simple knit rows, but that may be considered later, and will require marking and punching the cards used in a different manner. Many hand knit lace charts are abbreviated if the whole row is intended to be purled, and those rows may be omitted from the chart. If that is so, then when charting for the machine, the chart will be expanded to twice its length.

There are software programs that will now produce symbol charts for text, and vice versa. To start with it, it may be easier to begin with an existing simple chart to explore the process. As with other fabrics, sorting out the correct repeat remains important.

Hand knitting: a short list of symbols, and a few of their associated directionson the machine:

O generally represents the eyelet  created by transferring the selected stitch onto the adjacent needle, in hand knitting it would be a yarn over, and creates an increase

/ represents needle O on left transferred to the right, this needle will now have 2 stitches on it creating in effect a decrease, keeping the number os stitches on the machine constant

\  needle O on right is transferred to the needle on its left, and this needle will now have 2 stitches on it

/\ both needles O at left and right are transferred onto a single needle, which will now hold 3 stitches, again keeping the total number of stitches constant.

In machine knitting all stitches must be transferred for that row before knitting subsequent rows. Transferring the stitches creates a slant on the knit side. For hand knit patterns that include charts to follow, the knitting key should be checked to the interpretation of the symbols provided.

Working with lace transfers is a bit like working with cables crossed on the knit side in hand knitting.

Symbols  will need to be interpreted for the purl side of the fabric (reversed for machine knit). There is a “trick” used for lettering on punchcard machines: if graph paper is used, flip it over a light source, and look at the reverse for punching (or punch the back of the card with text in normal orientation).  This method may make it easier when there are slants to track. If the chart is flipped over, the knit squares become purls facing the knitter, and the purl stitches become knits on the front side.

Mark  Os first for eyelets, count over any in between stitches, if the slant created is to the right (SSK) in machine knitting this would be a left slanting stitch on the knit side, so the mark would need to be changed accordingly. Sometimes the direction of the transfers does not need to be changed, but the actual placement for the empty needle may have to be shifted over 1. In summary: charts in hand knitting books will need to be reversed to retain the same look on the knit side for machine knitting. Charts provided for machine knitting already take that into account, are usable as they are for hand transfers, and then the question arises as to how to translate them for use with automatic patterning and the lace carriage.

These graphics represent some of the possible elements and symbols in charts; blue is associated with hand knitting, pink is the same element, for use on the machine. Each is accompanied by a sketch illustrating the appearance of the knit on the knit, face side, and on the purl.

With a little software help: I have been using Intwined for the Mac, which has some issues, the latest being its crashing if there is a library of personal custom built symbols in the stitch library. For now I have a clean install, minus my machine knitting symbols. This is a chart for a simple lace pattern created with the program

preferences used

the generated hand “long hand” knitting instructions

the chart saved as jpg and “flipped” for knitting on machine

if the charts are  MK ready, the transfers are made as you see them, multiple pronged tools speed things up

Back to circles from squares

I actually posted on the topic of circular garments in knitting in June-August 2011. Hard to believe 2 years have gone by since I last played with this idea. Here is a version knit on the Passap, using tuck stitches both single and double bed, awaiting seaming and blocking (alpaca/silk)

a detail shot

and swatching for a variation on edging  with cotton, using rib tuck and slip throughout

side 1

side 2

viewed on a dress form

the other on a hanger prior to washing and blocking

in process of blocking, 40 inches diameter in this orientation

the blue cousin, 38 inches in diameter


Atkinson dither github (free)

I have linked before (March 14, 2013) to this github as a way to achieve atkinson dithered images for possible use in knitting. I received a post with questions on how to achieve this successfully. I work on a Mac, latest OS. The resulting dithered files were not read when downloaded by any app other than Preview, and resizing within program was poor quality. Here is my work-around: it is always best to resize any of the images to be processed in color or grey scale, before indexing modes or dithering. Once that is achieved, import image into github without changing output size in the program itself, and download. Your own image size will be retained. Now time for another freebie intervention: XnConvert will accept the file, convert it to BMP or other readable formats if preferred, resulting in a knittable image.

the sized image


via github_XnConvert_.bmp

Fair Isle single bed 1: float control

Fair isle is the name given to a pattern knitted with 2 colors in each row.  The motifs are easily identified by looking at the holes in the punchcard, or squares on mylar, pixels in programs. While I will be referring to punch card knitting, the same principles apply. Your knit swatch will look like the card, but the design will be squashed, and these designs are generally knit at least one whole tension number looser than when using the same yarns for stocking stitch.  The length of floats created in knitting these fabrics is sometimes an issue, and following are some of the methods that help with “float control”.

Altering the pattern: random holes may be punched in addition to those in the motif and shorten the very long floats, providing this does not distort the pattern too much. Iris Bishop is a designer with an extensive library of such designs.

Hooking up floats: this method works best when the 2 colors used are similar. If they are strongly contrasting there is a possibility of show through where the float is knitted on the same needle as a contrasting stitch. Use the single transfer tool to hook up the float into a needle hook above while leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected. If it is a very long float, it may require “hooking up” several times. Show through can be reduced on machines that preselect the needles, if you can place the float on a needle about to knit in the same color as the float (the needle will be selected to upper working position).

Binding with fine yarn: using a fine yarn, even sewing thread, matching the main color of the design, break off a length for every place that will bind the float down, trying to keep unanchored floats to no more than 5 stitches if possible. Make a slip knot at one end, take it under the first float, and place it onto the needle above, leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected . Knit the next row, and lay the fine yarn into the needle hook, fastening down the next float by carrying each length horizontally up your fabric and hooking it over your needles as required. Add more pieces of yarn or change colors as needed.

While this method illustrates managing edges of single motif, it also illustrates managing additional threads

Latching: Using the latch tool, pick up a short float below the first long float. Slip it behind the latch, catch the next long float in the hook, and pull it through the first. Continue in this way, latching up all the long floats, and then place the last float pulled through into the hook of the closest needle above that is knit in the same color latched up. As the next row is knit, the float will be caught. The disadvantage to this method is that the hooked floats will pull across the fabric, making it pucker. This technique may be done off the machine as well, with the last float sewn in by hand.

Sewing: sew floats in by hand after completion of knitting by catch stitching the longer floats in on the reverse of the knit. As an alternative a sewing machine and “stitch in the ditch” with matching thread while placing the knitting on the machine and carefully stitching down the valleys between the rows of stitches at desired vertical spacing.

Knit linings: these may be in the form of hems or pieces of knit fabric that you attach as you knit, which could be in finer yarn, large stitches, and not necessarily on every needle. Color matching once again matters.

Bonding with fusibles: suitable for yarns that can take a hot, damp ironing. It also stiffens the fabric. Some bonding materials are knit, with stretch in one way and not the other, woven ones have no stretch.

Fringing: long floats may be cut and made into fringes. In this instance the punchcard may be intentionally masked to cover holes and create intended long floats, which may be later cut. The purl side will now become the “public one”.

Mock weaving: use the reverse side of the fabric for knit woven effect, one example

Decorative floats: use the long floats and twist them, or bind, pick up, tuck behind stitches to make decorative fabrics highlighting the purl side.

Ruching in pattern: hooking up stitches as in hems to enclose part or all of the long floats. For this technique, if a lot of ruching is to occur, it may be best to elongate the original pattern to at least X2.

Please note: try any of these techniques on swatches first. There may be changes in the surface of the knit on the knit side such as puckering or bleed through that may require changes. If combining techniques in a garment, each should be tested. If combining FI and “plain knit” one possible solution is to knit the latter in a simple FI pattern using the same color in both feeders, keeping similar texture and weight in both areas. If using several color changes, the card may be marked to help track them.  If self-drawn, repeats lining up in width and height should be knit tested as well.