Tuck and garter stitch: from hand knit to machine knit hand tech pattern

A Ravelry question on the possibility of executing a particular fabric on the machine has led to the experiments in this post. The pattern that led to the discussion is  free hand knit one,  shared and published on the Purl SOHO website and on Ravelry. The gauge for their project is 4.75 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern, it includes garter rows. Such rows may be executable on home knitting machines by transferring from ribber (Passap front bed) to main bed, alternating with reversing the process at predetermined frequency, depending on stitch type. K1b is the hand knit equivalent of tuck for that stitch on that row, adding to the mix.  Not practical for G carriage use, as the latter does not form tuck loops, and hand retooling would be required for all k1b stitches.

Using holding to create tuck stitches in non auto patterning days was commonly used, and I chose to do so here. As machine knitters we are conditioned to believe that single color rows are impractical to execute, and that the yarn would need to be cut on each side after the one row. Color changers are on one side or the other, making striping with frequent color changes practical if executed in even multiples of rows. Transfer carriages are available that will help move stitches from one bed to the other, I personally have never had the patience to work with them enough to get good at using them without dropping stitches, so I went back to even lower tech than usual, using the garter bar on the bulky, and beginning pattern row 1 with COR.

Before attempting nearly every row turns, it is helpful to have some practice with turning work over using garter bar, develop a sequence to repetitive actions, keeping careful notes as to what works for you, and using contrasting yarns in tests to better understand stitch structure. In my sample the white yarn was thicker than the blue, reversing colors or balancing yarn thickness would change the visual look of the fabric.  Beginning on small samples helps work out issues and the making of the decision to try on a larger project or simply as a border.

Analyzing the pattern repeat:

screenshot_43tools to help with EON needle selection tools

the results of rows beginning with k1 sequence after the row is knit, note the “tuck” loops on top of E position needles, which will be knit off on the next row knit K1_after knit

a row that begins with a k2 sequence, before it is knit; the needles holding the single, blue stitch will form the loops on top of the needles as the yarn moves across to opposite sidek2_before knit

E position prior to transferring stitches onto garter bar, also for free pass to other side to pick up yarn after stitches are removed on bar free pass473

1            begins and ends with K 1; COR select needles, col A * knit row, COL, bring all needles out to hold, remove on garter bar, free pass carriage to opposite side, COR, flip garter bar over, replace stitches onto needles push all stitches against gate pegs *

2            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 2, col A repeat * to* end COR

3            begins and ends with k1; COR select needles for row 3, change to col B, knit one row, do not turn, do not cut yarn; COL bring all needles out to hold, free pass to right to pick up col A on next knit row, end COR

4            begins and ends with k 2; col A, COR select needles for row 4, repeat from * to *

5             begins and ends with k 1; COR select needles for row 5, col A, repeat from * to * do not turn

6            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 6, change to col B, repeat from * to *

publisher’s project photo

beautyberry-blanket-600-12-315x441

my swatch, knit on a whopping 9 stitchesrav blanket 300


 

Cellular automata charts for knitting, etc.

I have written before on the fact that since my knitting is done primarily on a Brother 910 and a Brother punchcard models, I am ever curious re and exploring ways to produce charted images that will allow me to knit patterns via mylars or punchcards, with an occasional wincrea download to my Passap via an ancient laptop. My eternal wish list to date has included the option to download to a hacked Brother model I already own, or to my Passap, directly from my Mac (presently Mavericks OS). Mathematical knits via hacked or commercial knitting machine use have been explored by some, including Claire Williams  and Fabienne. With the help of online generators, even with a lack of understanding of the math involved, one can produce charts for knitting or other textile applications.

Wolfram  site is a resource for both Mac and Windows platform users who are interested in math, computation and its visual results. There is a downloadable CDF player that allows exploration of documents and provides for download, CDF format explained, demonstrations projects, search for cellular automata. Below are some samples obtained through browsing the site. In some instances show mesh option will provide a gridded motif, show scale will indicate “stitch counts”
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then there is this

screenshot_31an isolated segment
screenshot_30the image  in Photoshop (CS3) photoshop no gridas it appears with program’s self color adjusted grid photoshop gridGIMPGIMP_cellular2creating a colored grid grid for easier countsgimp color grid

see previous blogposts on isolating repeats, drawing additional markings, and other uses for GIMP.

A visual guide to  automata “rules”

Thread lace and punchcard knit carriage use on Brother 910_2

A short while ago there was a Ravelry thread discussing reversible, double bed knits. I recalled a demo from eons ago I saw at a machine knitting seminar, and decided to explore my memories and share. The result approaches a “reversible” fabric, with imperfect results depending on yarns used and other factors. There is a group of knitters that are presently experimenting with “glitch knits”, where the intent is to purposely create patterns with what some people might consider “mistakes” as purposeful parts of the design. For one example see video of the technique. The “imperfections” in the fabric below may be seen as a positive by some. It is not the result of any aberrations in programmed pattern, but rather as a result of the way the threads get pulled through each other as the carriage moves across each row knit.

My samples were knit using equal weight yarns. The fabric may be better served by using different weights, approaching the usual recommendation for plaiting. See manufacturer’s directions for plaiting feeder use.

Cancel end needle selection on your knit carriage. Cast on is for full needle rib with both yarns in place. Hang comb. Knit 2 circular rows followed by one more all knit row. Change to rib tension that has been tested for yarn combination if your cast on was tighter than it. Several rows may be knit for a “solid” color edging.

When the first pattern row is selected, one need not set the KC carriage to slip. N is king in Brother, regardless of pattern/ needle selection as long as no cam buttons or levers are pushed in/ selected, everything knits, whether single or double bed. After the first row of pattern is preselected on the main bed, use a tool to push in both buttons as seen below, and proceed in pattern. Even though end needle selection has been cancelled, if the end needles on the main bed are selected, they need to be pushed back to B position or those stitches will be dropped

my punchcard carriage set up on one of my 910s
setup_50

when testing motifs it is always good to begin with a simple pattern, making needle pre selection easy to view and check. I began with “checkers”. They can be viewed at the bottom of the image below with machine set for double length, at top as drawn on the mylar; most such fabrics are well served by double length on any machine, electronic machines could easily vary the repeat size or color reverse at the flip of a button, using lili buttons on ribber may add to the mix of results as well.
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a familiar stock Brother punchcard, knit on my 892, double lengthscreenshot_23

Thread lace and punchcard knit carriage use on Brother 910_1

Yes, the 910 has no thread lace setting. I happen to also own a punchcard machine model # 892E (no idea why Brother chose to add the E to a punchcard model name). I remembered eons ago reading about someone on an Australian list actually getting a punchcard model carriage to work on an electronic machine. It is good to beware that not all carriages may be interchanged between different models, especially if the latter were manufactured several years apart.

The magnet on the back of the electronic carriage is what trips the reader in the 910. With the 892 and 910 carriages side by side, I marked the approximate spot I wished the magnet to be. It is presently in place with cellophane tape for my tests. I believe it to be a “rare earth magnet”, 12 mm in diameter, part of a jewelry piece from days gone by, with a deep attraction to all KM metal parts.

spot39the first location was too high, pattern did not read properlyplace40what turned out to be a much better spot better placea random mylar repeat mylar45the resulting fabric, both purl and knit side both sides

I used two cotton yarns, with a slight difference in weight. With the exception of when knitting transfer lace, the first instinct may be to use the color reverse option when the mylar repeats show lots of “white squares”. However, in this type of fabric blank squares knit both yarns; black squares or punched holes knit only the thinner yarn, while the heavier one floats behind it. The KC tension used needs to accommodate both yarns easily knitting together. When only the thin yarn knits on selected needles, the stitches formed will actually be larger in size than those where both yarns knit together, giving the “illusion” of holes.

This fabric was also at times referred to as punch lace. It is only possible in Brother machines that have 2 cam buttons in the center position, both center buttons under the MC/L mark are depressed. The punched holes/ black squares in mylar select needles that will knit in the fine yarn only. If you are using a very fine yarn for the second yarn, you may have to wrap it twice around the dial on the mast tension unit to control its feeding. Better edges are produced by canceling end needle selection or manually pushing any selected end needles back to B. If KCII is an option on later electronic models, some of the work is done for you. End needle selection may also happen as part of the design repeat, so in those instances, unless you are happy with the thin yarn only knitting on the very edge of the fabric, those needles need pushing back to B by hand as well.

selected needle

end needle camsset camsBTW: end needle selection must also be cancelled whenever patterning with needles out of work is used, or needles on both sides of out of work ones will produce knit stitches regardless of programmed pattern.

If a contrasting color is used as the thin yarn in the B feeder, the results may be seen below. Note: the colors appear reversed to their position in feeders, so A (thick) color is seen more on purl side, the B (thin) is more evident on the knit side of the fabric. The top of the swatch shows the result when blank rows are programmed into the reader. Sometimes this setting is used as an alternative to replacing the standard A/B feeder with the machine’s plating feeder (if available for your model km). Reversing yarn position can produce some interesting stripes

combo colornot all A/B yarn feeders are created equal 
sinker plates

I have always found the extra B gate on left more a nuisance than a necessity, particularly if the B yarn needs frequent changing.

Another unconventional use for this setting to produce “pretend cables”

thread_lace