A lace mesh series WIP 1

This is a work in progress (WIP) post, subject to future additions and editing.

These patterns are suitable for punchcard machines. Individual repeats in excel illustrations are outlined in red. They in turn are the minimal repeat information for electronic machines. The lace carriage always begins on left, transfers are made during either 2 or 4 LC pass rows. In the first repeat below the LC operates for 4 rows, KC follows for 2 rows knit. For a fabric using it see post 

This repeat appears in my pre punched factory basic packs as both #17 and #20. The lace carriage is used for 2 passes and then for 4 alternately, as indicated on the left side of punchcard. The 2 passes will make transfers to left, the 4 make transfers to right. See previous lace posts for further info on lace selection methods and accompanying charting. 

More variations and swatch photos: all patterns unless otherwise stated are knit with 4 passes of the lace carriage from left, followed by 2 rows knit

In this instance there are several vertical spaces between punched holes, creating the knit vertical stripe.  The spacing can be adjusted to suit, but if “mock crochet” is the goal, superimposing an image onto an every other needle mesh gives better results. It is possible to have 2 punched holes side by side on alternate rows, but not in the same row for stitches to knit properly without intervention on the next pair of all knit rows. In patterns such as the first and third below, stitches are transferred onto the adjacent needle in one direction, then both stitches are transferred back onto the previously emptied needle. The transferred stitch then sits on the front of the work (duplicating the look in hand knitting), instead of remaining on the adjacent stitch on the purl side of the fabric. With transfers in the same direction, the swatch biased after relaxing

a mylar marking error as drawn (3A)
the intended repeat (3B)

The above swatch and the one below are similar, transfers occur in the opposite direction, so vertical columns of stacked stitches occur in the alternate columns of the finished fabric. I had some transfer issues in similar spots in both fabrics, have not analyzed the possible direct cause. As seen below, the dropped stitches did not result in the frequent large holes often seen in lace knitting. Pins and red dot indicate problem spots, which could be repaired with careful stitching at the end of knitting. The best prevention of the problem is to visually check after sets of transfers to make certain all stitches have indeed been moved properly.

LC is used alternately for 2, and then 4 passes between knit rows (5)

transfers create a sort of “shape”, highlighted in photo; the LC operates in sequences of 4 rows, followed by 2 rows, and repeat (6)

this one is a bit trickier, LC operates for 4 rows resulting in side by side transfers; in the first trial yarn caught up on gate pegs, dropped stitches, etc
after reducing KC tension and adjusting amount of weight 

Mylar repeats can be very small, it is easy to be one stitch off in entering data; here one blank row was added to left (a possibility for intentional vertical stripes of knitting) and the program was one row short on right of single repeat

with the corrected program 

the “variations” repeats in summary
Adding geometric forms to mesh: a working MK chart for a cousin to the fabric link provided at the top of this post, the underlying mesh repeat is the same as that for card 17the corresponding punched holes; 2 LC passes for transfers to left (purl side), 4 LC passes for transfers to right (purl side) throughout on Brother KMchart flipped horizontally, suitable for hand knitting the swatch, MK, knit side 

Note: the appearance of the “straight line” edges is altered by the formation of the eyelets along the sides as well as the top of the shape. As more shapes are played with, some adjustments may need to be made in punched holes after knitting a test swatch.

Custom shapes become a bit more complex. So I like the circle in the previous experiment, but I want to accomplish it with traditional lace transfers. I previously discussed a possible approach to filet mesh. This is the swatch where there is one row knit for each row of eyelets, discussed more recently

Below is the result from working with a traditional mesh, where there are 2 rows of knitting to form each eyelet. The third row in the “design” on punchcard is needed for the lace carriage to travel to its proper place for alternating direction of transfers, is not technically a knit row. The fabric is wider and longer than that above, and there is some elongation of the “circle”. Large patterns are mylar and punchcard real estate hogs. The swatch for slightly more than a single repeat with red dots indicating where one square in the mylar did not have a dark enough mark, resulting in a missing eyelet 

the mesh 

A: is my desired shape 17 units by 17, B: that shape elongated X 2 (17 X 34), to try to approximate elongation with knitting 2 rows for each set of eyelets. It is drawn on a square, not a rectangular or gauge specific grid however, so if that is a consideration in the design, it would have to be a case of “back to the drawing board”. C: the shape elongated X 3 (17 X 51), for placement on the mesh, and D shows it in my desired spot. Lace gauge is harder to gauge because of stretch in the final fabric, and the changes subject to pressing and blocking depending on yarn fiber content. Because transfers in this method occur on rows 1 and 2 to the left, 3 and 4 to the right, no pure straight edges along design borders can be achieved. If simple superimposing a large shape on the mesh is possible, there may be even more distortion along those edges. Ultimately a lot of this boils down to personal preference and patience.

For single vertical line(s) in mesh whether single, at regular intervals, or for use in pattern transitions place repeats as shown where eyelets are desired. Markings for Brother row 1 selection on right of chartFor directions on using lace mesh to create pleated skirts please see post http://alessandrina.com/2017/08/16/pleats-created-with-lace-transfers/

Unconventional uses for punchcards 2: thread lace cards for “filet” mesh


Mock filet crochet machine knit lace has surfaced in a ravelry blog of late. The sample in question was made by Tanya Cunningham, using a hacked knitting machine and software to download the repeat. Sometimes punchcard machines or early electronic users feel left out of creating particular fabrics. If one can settle for working with simpler and far smaller repeats however, one can achieve interesting results in that scale.  Several years ago I wrote a series of posts on lace meshes and lace patterns inspired by filet crochet, this link will take you to them. There also has been a thread lace  ravelry “thread”, and today’s avoidance of housework led me to thinking about pre drawn thread lace patterns to create filet mesh.

What to look for a first experiment (Brother machines only): large unpunched areas creating motifs, with no side by side punched holes, and no more than 2 consecutive punched rows. Some samples are provided in stock cards that come with machine purchase. One such

The lace carriage (LC) selects on first pass, transfers on the second. It advances the card with each pass of the carriage if is operated consistently from the same side. If 2 knit carriages (KC) set to select needles for any technique are in use in punchcard machines, as one is put to rest and the other one begins to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance on the first pass, so selection for the previous row is repeated one more time. If all lace transfers are made in the same direction the resulting fabric will bias. For balanced lace fabrics, the direction of the transfers needs to be reversed, whether in alternating series of rows, or with every other set of transfers. In a situation such as this, the LC makes one set of transfers operating from the left, with the next set of transfers operating from the right. For the correct set up, the first row selection with the card locked is made on the row jut below the one marked #1 (in this instance that would be row #40), then the card is set to advance as usual. If the first selection row is made with the card set to below the #1 line, the card needs to be already joined with snaps into a drum or the card reader will be selecting the all punched row which is normally part of the overlap that sits over the last 2 rows of the pattern repeat.

I began with my LC on the left for transfers to the left, and alternately placed it on the right after knit row(s) for transfers to the right. A “simple” lace is produced with only one row knit between transfers, a more complex lace if 2 rows are knit between them. The LC moves left to right, transfers back to left. If the knit carriage is used for one pass only, it stays on left. The LC is now taken off the machine and moved to the right, used for 2 rows, and will be removed from bed to ready it for its return to the left side. The KC follows with one pass from left to right. The LC is returned to left and operated for 2 rows, starting the sequence over again. The LC is always moving toward the KC to select, and away from it to transfer.

Brother knitters are used to knitting 2 rows after lace transfers. It can be done with this card as well. The problem here is that when knitting for 2 rows, the knit carriage consistently returns to the same side, so that when transfers need to be made from its starting side with the LC, the KC needs to come off the machine until after transfers are made. There is a lot more juggling of carriages and keeping track of what needs to be where. The elongation that occurs with 2 rows knit after each set of transfers, and the difference in the appearance in the yarn forming the eyelets (single/magenta arrow vs crossed/glow green arrow strands) for the respective methods is shown below.

another Brother card, more possibilities

The above shows long vertical lines of transfers are possible in design motivs (punched holes). Adding shapes to all over mesh may require some editing along edges where the shapes meet the mesh. Varying size swatches are recommended before commitment to any large piece. As always punched errors may be taped over. Red squares in the image below reflect holes missing in card if the goal is a smoother circular shape. When this technique is used, selection, transfers, and knitting occur in each single, completed row of the design.

note differences in circle sides
an amended, wider repeat 

The slight bias zig zag at the top of the swatch results from a missing reverse direction transfer before continuing with plain knitting and binding off. Ultimately whether the final fabric is worth the effort in making it is a personal choice. Sometimes small swatches work like a dream, and when large pieces are produced, problems multiply or the result is disappointing. In the past I have also tried to use thread lace inspired patterns for drop stitch lace (ribber fabric), but have found the result far more subtle than expected. As always yarn and color choice make a significant difference. The yarn used in these samples is a 2/15 wool blend, knit at tension 6.

BTW: Studio pattern books have multiple sections of published 24 stitch thread lace patterns. Not all Brother machines have the capacity for knitting this type of fabric, so not all of their publications include “suitable patterns”. If one understands what punched holes vs unpunched do, some of the Brother weaving and “pick rib” (perhaps another post’s topic) can be used as is or adapted.
electronic http://machineknittingetc.com/knit-in-punch-lace-silver-m…
punchcard http://machineknittingetc.com/pattern-library-for-punchca…

previous blog notes on thread lace http://alessandrina.com/2016/11/03/thread-lace-on-brother-km/