Carpet or pile stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 2

Trial swatches do not necessarily require a permanent edge. A main bed cast on with all open stitches is familiar to knitters accustomed to using a single bed Brother cast on comb. A quick version of the same type of cast on is also doable when both beds are in use, and the goal is to knit all stitches only on one bed or the other. The broken toe cast on for rib is so called because if comb and weights are hung in the wrong location on the needle bed, when stitches on the opposite bed are dropped, so will the comb be along with weights, heading for your feet. If the ribber is going to be the bed doing the knitting that anchors dropped stitches or pile in Brother kms, please note: prongs of ribber comb line up directly in front of main bed needles (blue arrow) and to each side of the loops on ribber bed needles (red arrow). The ribber comb wires will anchor down loops on needle bed where plain knit rows will be formed. As mentioned above, this method will result in stitches all being open, does not produce a permanent edge, is suitable for quick swatching or for waste yarn at the bottom of weighted fabric. It is possible to perform this cast on with ribber comb with wire already inserted in both brands, but the broken toe method is potentially less hazardous to needle health.brokent_toe_arrowsAnalyzing what is required to move between km brands with the goal of achieving 2 color or isolated pile motifs: in Passap with the back bed set to FX, one arrow key, EON pusher/ needle selection changes every 2 rows. In Brother this may be achieved on the main bed by pushing in one tuck button and programming a repeat.  The alternate, adjacent cam button, left in its normal position, will knit every stitch when knitting direction is reversed regardless of whether any needle selection is happening. On the ribber lili buttons may be used for alternate needle selection. Its levers determine whether tucking or slipping, in one direction or both, occur. The number of stitches on the ribber must be even. An easy visual check is to check markings on needle tape, which consist of what I refer to as dashes and blanks. For an even number begin with one, end with the other.  Passap will automatically revert to the alternate pusher for patterning on the subsequent 2 rows. In using lilis this is not an automatic function, and some handwork is required to obtain the same effect by changing first needle selection every third row as seen in this post.

If the ribber is chosen as the loop making bed, selection there needs to be manual for any pattern other than across whole rows. In my swatch, to knit across all needles the ribber carriage is set to slip in one direction, knit in the other. The all knit rows in pile knitting need to follow the ones with tuck loops on the opposite bed.  Extra needles are on main bed, which creates the fabric backing. The ribber carriage can be disengaged and used to drop stitches after all knit row on the main bed.

In the actual knitting, if plain one color pile with plain color backing is the goal, some rules may be broken. The thickest, most stable pile is achieved when the yarn anchoring the loops is as dense as possible. If the goal is to knit every stitch across each row to create loops and in turn drop them, one is in fact working an every needle rib. This makes it possible to create tuck loops on either bed creating the backing across the whole row, because in fact there are stitches on each side of the tuck loop on the opposing bed anchoring it in place. Normally when 2 or more needles tuck side by side, rather than the stitch formation usually seen in tuck, the loops do not get anchored, drop off, and create a float like those seen in slip stitch patterns.

In my first sample, the fabric is cast on the main bed, the loops are formed on the ribber. The carriages are set for main bed to tuck traveling to right, knitting to left. The ribber is set to slip to left, knit to right. The ribber is used to drop the stitches, simply by disengaging it from the main bed, and running it across from one side to the other. Dropping stitches occurs (on either bed) after all stitches have been slipped there for one row (no needle selection if patterning). Starting side for my swatches was on the left of the machine. It is helpful to have a ruler or tool to help push loops down between the beds after dropping each row of loops, and also to occasionally drop the ribber in order to check whether any loops may be caught on gate pegs.

In this swatch I had some problems (blue arrow) on the right side related to changes in tension while determining what might be the best. Section 1 has every needle tucking on the main bed. Section (2) begins to try to emulate the Passap pusher selection using an EON 2 row tuck repeat on the main bed, resulting in things going awol and loose, even at tightest tension possible on the main bed. Any time patterning is used on the main bed, end needle selection is cancelled (KCII). The tuck repeat2 row tuck

the settings (here lili buttons are not in use1X1 card MBno lili2

ribber loops2To create every needle loops for pile on the main bed: CO is on ribber. With settings on image below left (no lili buttons in use), the ribber tucks loops on every needle traveling to right, knit all stitches moving to left. Moving to the right the main bed knits on every needle, slips whole row moving to left, giving the opportunity to drop stitches off. With settings on below right, lili buttons are in use, and the ribber now produces an EON needle selection, every row. Left alone the selection is what would be seen using the 1X1 card on the main bed, its repeat 1X1tuckloops on MBThe yellow yarn is a 2/8 good quality wool knit at 4.2 on main bed, 3.2 on ribber. Switching to a rayon twist of similar thickness created instant havoc. The dark grey was a mill end, tighter twist 2/8 wool. Red arrows show what happens when loops are caught up on gate pegs and not immediately noticed. The green arrow indicates longer loops that can happen when knit stitch on either side on the opposite bed do not knit off properly. The result is a dense wool fabric, so the tendency to roll at top and bottom of each piece toward the “knit” side of the fabric needs to be considered at top and bottom edges of finished pieces.

knit with no lili buttons in usemain bed loops2

In 2 color knitting, or creating isolated motifs whether on one color or striped ground, anchoring loops by tucking on every needle is no longer possible, making reverting to EON needle selection on ribber a necessity. The results are dramatically different. These swatches were made using lili buttons or hand selection on ribber, loops on main bed. If things don’t work in one color, they will not in 2, so one color, every needle pile is a place to start evaluating the results

1X1 lili selection left me with “where are the loops?”white_lili

In bottom section here I tried 1X1 hand selection for 2 consecutive rows,  the narrow band in center back was back to 1X1 to separate areas using lilis, at the top I used lili buttons and brought an extra needle into work on ribber before traveling to right every third row (making needles in work on ribber an odd number), returning it to out of work before knitting back to right. Dropping stitches every 4 rows makes tracking the sequence easier. The resulting pile is far more “subtle” than samples worked with every needle tucking on the bed creating the backingyelllow-lili_500

So far I still have had no luck with getting anything that does not look like a variant of drop stitch lace when attempting patterns separated for 2 color knitting, either in embossed one color, or in striped 2 color versions.

Carpet or pile stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 1

Pile, carpet, or loop stitch are terms used for a raised relief fabric made on KMs using both beds, with or without programmed patterning motifs on either bed. Two color patterns are sometimes also called “punch pile”. Depending on machine brand and on thickness of yarn, loops may be formed every row or every other, varying the pile density. Beds are always at half pitch, the same setting used for every needle rib. The “needle rule” is disregarded. First and last needle are always on the non patterning bed, to anchor down any loops close to the edge of the fabric. In machines with automatic end needle selection, the function is cancelled. Some yarns and designs will even tolerate loops being dropped at the end of knitting. Sometimes dropping them every few rows will work. If any yarn splitting or fussy knitting off because of fiber content occurs, then dropping stitches may be needed after every row of loops formed. If using multiple colors of yarn on either of these 2 brands, having them equal gauge/weight is helpful.

The Passap knitting machines as well as the Brother, did not have a built in yarn feeder to facilitate knitting this fabric such as that possible in the Studio brand. Particularly with the advent of the E6000 Passap model, for a while there was keen interest in how to produce similar fabrics. Susanna Lewis was among the first to describe knitting pile across multiple brands, whether punchcard models, or, later, electronics.

The fabric loops are created with one pass of the carriage, the next row of knitting is intended to anchor down those loops, and with no needle or pusher selection, no stitches knit on the patterning bed. This fact gives one the opportunity to drop loops without disturbing pattern selection. Some of my drop stitch lace previous blog posts discuss designing such fabrics. Color separations are required. The E 6000 console performs many of these automatically, one simply has to plug in the appropriate “technique” number. The default DBJ separation made by the console in Brother electronics may not be used because blank rows for no needle selection need to be added in order to attempt the long loop or stitch fabrics. This in turn requires the knitter to do the work. Design rows are expanded

  • Graph        Motif        Color
  • Row 1        Row 1       Color 1
  • Row 2        Row 1       Color 2
  • a blank row is inserted  on top of each of the separated rows, so for each 2 color design row, there will now be 4 charted rows

The E 6000 has some built in technique choice options for knitting and automatically adding blank rows in charts where needed. This allows for the locks, empty of any yarn, to travel from and then back to the color changer achieving stitch dropping. My preference is to work with stitch dropping tools instead of the extra rows “knit” without yarn. Also, if the goal is to work between KM brands, keeping the separations more compact is practical, particularly if one plans to use the end chart with a punchcard or a mylar sheet for programming.

I had tried some pile fabrics on the E 6000 in the past, found the knitting a bit loose for my liking, but by lightly felting (wool yarn) the result, I had a stable, attractive fabric that could easily be cut and sewn in combination with other knit companion DBJ fabrics. Another option in wearables to add stability may be an iron on knit interfacing used on areas of pile knit. This time I pushed the back bed tension as much as physically possible with the yarn used, and was happier with the result. The only problem I encountered was in thinking I could knit a few extra rows on the back bed only before dropping the knit off the machine for inspection. The old adage still applies: if more than a row or 2 are to be knit across all stitches on any single machine bed, each yarn has an optimum tension required for stitches to form properly. Pushing limits will lead to problems. I had a lovely lock jam. For wide ribs the same principle applies: the more stitches on either bed, the closer tension on that bed to what number would apply to single bed stocking stitch on that bed.

CARPET STITCH KNITTING ON PASSAP E-6000 with release stitch tool. Use any 2 color fairisle pattern from the pattern book that accompanies the machine. Both Passap manuals are now available for free download online. I randomly chose # 1407 for my test. Start with all stitches on the back bed. If you have done ribbing, transfer front bed stitches to back. For test swatches, if open stitches do not matter, it is possible to do a quick single bed cast on on the Passap in a couple of ways, the “broken toe” cast on will work across brands. Have an extra needle and pusher each side on back bed when setting up work for patterning. Back bed tension as tight as possible, front bed 1 – 1.5 tension numbers looser than back bed. As always test small swatch before committing to a larger one.

One color carpet stitch:  Technique 256. Black strippers are recommended. I rarely if ever use black, go for orange first, sometimes combining with one blue or switching to 2 blues if the fabric calls for it. Ignore console instructions. Back bed is set to FX  left arrow key <–, not BX as instructed. Do not use the AX setting by mistake. FX will tuck right to left, knit left to right (toward the color changer, which in Passap sits on the right side rather than on the left as in Brother machines). Knit rows help anchor loops. Back bed pushers are in 1 up, 1 down set up. Using one arrow key means the same selection is repeated for 2 rows before the switch is made to the adjacent pusher and the corresponding needle.  The front bed is set to LX (slip) throughout. Racking handle is down (setting for every needle rib).  Two rows are knit, then the front bed stitches are dropped (Passap knitting beds are in reverse position to Japanese machines set up with their ribbers). If loops are long they may need to be pushed between the beds before knitting the next row. Passap machines have pushers for this purpose, in Brother rulers or any number of tools may be used for the same purpose.

Two color carpet stitch:  Technique 185, black (or other) strippers, 184 may also be used, its graphic gives the added reminder for EO pusher set up on back bed. Back bed setting is the same as for the one color pattern, Front bed knits in LX throughout. In theory stitches may be dropped every 4 rows. Some yarns may split and catch the alternate color requiring dropping after each color is used, others will tolerate much less frequent dropping. It is all an experiment to start with.

Again: the back bed tension must be as tight as possible, the front bed at least 1.5 tension numbers higher until tests determine what is best for the yarn being used. Multiple strands of some thinner yarn may also be worth a shot. Weights are needed on the knitting, no matter what brand machine is in use.

One color trial: back tension too loose, note change in texture after tightening back lock tension; the loops are formed on the purl side

passap front 1col

passap back 1col

the 2 color version, with adjusted tension on back bed

Passap front2col

note vertical stripes in backing
passap back 2col

At the end of knitting pile, add anchoring rows of knit on back bed only (tension may need to be changed after a couple of rows), proceed as preferred.

embossed one color pile (black 2/8 wool)

Passap black pile

Previous posts with info on accessories useful for dropping stitches and loops 1, 2, 3.