Bowknot/ Butterfly stitch on the machine_ WIP

A recent Pinterest post got me searching out some of the fabrics in this group. In hand knitting, floats creating the butterflies/ bowknots are usually apparent on the knit side. For two such patterns please see http://www.knittingstitchpatterns.com/2014/11/butterfly-bowknots.html

http://www.knittingstitchpatterns.com/2015/04/butterfly.html

https://handlife.ru/vazanie/obemnyy-uzor.html caught my attention. Here we have a combination of knit and purl stitches, with floats formed on the purl side, making the fabric or a “cousin” of it possible on the machineThis is my first experiment with gathered slip stitch floats on purl side of knit. To begin, this chart indicates one punchcard pattern’s full repeat in width.  Four repeats in length would be required (the punchcard minimum repeat in length to achieve smooth continuous card feeding is 36 rows). Punch out blue squares, leaving white ones unpunched. A single repeat (outlined in black, 8 stitches by 12 rows) is for use in electronic patterning, where one may  alternately draw or program white squares, then use color reverse. Red line represents 0 needle position in Brother KM

Pitch on H5, ribber needles are centered between main bed ones, so the “knot” width, represented by white squares, can be even in number. Begin with first needle left of 0 (red line) in work position, continue across ribber bed with every 4th needle in work

The main bed knits in slip stitch pattern for 4 rows, then knits 2 rows across all stitches. Floats are created every blank row throughout, composing the knots or butterflies. The ribber is set to knit (N,<–>N, will pick up stitches only on selected needles.
The fabric is a slip stitch one, so it will be short and narrow. That is something to be considered when planning cast on, bind off, and beginning and ending edges of the piece.
In Japanese machines a ribber comb is recommended. If casting on single bed, start with waste yarn, poke the comb through that, and proceed as you would for any other rib fabric.

My sample is knit on a 910, with white squares drawn. This is what happens when you forget to color reverse. The all blue squares now became “white”, so those 2 rows were slipped, not knit, bringing float repeats closer together  the result with color reverse working out a mylar, electronic (unless DM 80 40 stitch width is in use) repeat for a variation of the fabric knit single bed. The stitch count is odd,  allowing for a center stitch manipulation. KCI is used to make certain the first and last needle knit on each side. Floats created close to edges may be left without hooking them up. The fabric separates slightly along the “bowknot”  edges because color reverse is used, blue squares in chart slip, create floats  when Rows 6 and 12 are reached respectively, that single square becomes a non selected needle, pick up those floats with any preferred toollift them up and onto that single non selected needle, push that needle out to hold
with the next pass the single needle and loops knit off together and become part of the alternating all knit block in the design
the swatches are knit in a 2/15 wool, the fabric might be better served using a thicker yarn. Here the “blocks” creating  “floats” are side by side

For another single bed cousin in different weight yarn, please see previous post 

Fabrics worked single bed with groups of pulled up stitches on the purl side will have some distortion of the stocking stitch side depending on weight of yarn used, the number of rows hooked up, and stitch type. Working on the opposite bed to create the floats produces a more balanced fabric.

My charts often evolve. This may be done on graph paper if there is no access to software. I began adding a space between between each block, thinking about those knit stitches I want to create on the purl ground, hooking stitches up on red squaresadding border stitches and more theory on placement of stitch type
the result actually places “knit” stitches in center of butterfly (magenta arrow), not at its sides, and I see and extra purl stitch (green arrow). Multiple stitch wide borders create unwanted floats on one side
back to the drawing board, and working things out first as hand technique

I began with my carriage on the right (COR), after setting up the repeat on a multiple of 6 stitches +3 as indicated above. The last stitch on either side on both beds is never transferred, and the short loops every other set (rows 5 and 17 in chart) are not hooked up. This will produce a slightly rolled edge on each side. Larger number of border stitches become problematic. The photos were taken while knitting 2 different swatches, so needle tape markings are not the same in all photos. To produce the circular knit, opposite part buttons are pushed in so with carriage on right (COR), the settings would be

Cast on in any preferred method, ending with all stitches on the ribber Configure main bed needles as illustrated in stand alone set up row at the  bottom of chart With carriages traveling from right to left, the main bed knits on those single needles, creating floats between them and the ribber slips. When carriages travel from left to right, only the ribber knits, the main bed slips. Here the carriages have traveled to left, and back to right 
With row counter (RC) set to 000 at the start if knit, hand techniques occur on RC 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, and so on. Hooking up loops and transferring stitches between beds always occurs with carriages on the left (COL). On those rows the floats are hooked up on the center needle of the 5 empty groups. In this photo the ribber is dropped to show what is happening on each bed. The last stitches on each bed are not moved, and those short floats when created on completion of alternate repeat top halves are not hooked upafter the three floats have been hooked up, with COL each time, the in between main bed stitches are transferred back down to ribberCOL: be sure when hooking up floats that all in the series are picked up. The space between the beds is fairly narrow, tool used is purely preference based. Shifting main bed needles forward will provide a visual check for loop count as you go. I bring needles with multiple loops out to hold before transferring to ribber, and then also the transferred stitches on ribber out to hold to insure they will all knit on the next pass from left to right. Patterning occurs on every 6th needle on both beds, with the exception of border stitch groups

this is the needle arrangement / position in my final swatch, knit in 2/8 wool, COR

So what can be automated in process? The knit bed needs to work the stitches that form floats every other row, while the card or mylar need to advance every row. Trying patterns out as an all hand technique helps determine tolerance on the part of the machine and degree of patience available. With thinner yarn, the fabric would be more compressed, and maneuvering stitches more frequent to achieve similar finished size knits, so I switched to a thicker yarn. I found more than 3 rows of floats was too hard for me to manage successfully.  “Air knitting” to determine placement of knitting on any bed prior to patterning helps determine the number of needles in use, especially if edge needle placement or count matters: here is the first pass using my mylareliminating needles to any desired width, leaving only one needle in work on each side of selected needle each bed for this fabric reducing main bed count so only one needle is left on either side of a selected onethat needle (green arrow, gets transferred down to ribber now the number of needles involved on both beds is evident on both beds

While knitting in pattern the ribber pitch is set on P (point to point) to keep stitches on opposing beds centered (P pitch also makes it easier to transfer directly from one bed to the other). If the cast on is for an every other needle rib with stitches then transferred between beds for pattern knitting set up, the cast on and any all rib rows need to be knit in H pitch, with switch to P for transfers and knitting in pattern to be completed. With first row set up on selected segment of needle bed, there are additional steps to take.

This is my working repeat. Since it is 6 stitches wide, it could be worked out on a punchcard, punching out all black squares. On my mylar I marked yellow squares only, with no color reverse
To work consistently with the method described in the larger chart, the first row was manually set up on both beds preparing for pattern with COL: change knob set to KCII (cancel end needle selection, not every needle in work on main bed), KC set to slip <–>, so non selected needles slip with each pass of the carriages, advancing the mylar or card one row. The ribber set to N/N or as below, will knit from left to right. Pre selection row is made traveling to right, ribber only knits

With COR: set RC (row counter) to 000. Make certain proper part (slip) buttons are engaged. MB knits in pattern based on selected needles, ribber knits when moving from left to right. The fabric is tubularHand techniques will now also occur when carriages are on the left, on RC 5, 11, etc as described in hand technique chart, on rows with no needle selection. As in hand tech, transfers and multiple loop containing needles are brought out to hold before moving the carriages from left to right and selecting the needles for the next set of floats with that same pass.

This is my resulting fabric, hand tech shown, short mylar test above was cropped 

A return to Brother ribber and DBJ settings

Ribber settings vary from one brand of machine to another. Here is a review of the Brother carriage features

Back in 2015 I wrote on quilting on the machine, using the carriage representation below. Here lili buttons are positioned for use

I no longer have Adobe programs available to me, for this post my images were created in Mac Pages. I have simplified illustrating button and cam settings in red.

I tend to knit most if not all my rib fabrics with slide lever in the center position (marked lili on carriage, blue dot). This avoids accidental changes when altering the settings for sections of garments or forgetting to reset it ie. if one uses a rib band in a sweater front on one setting and accidentally uses a different one in the back, there will be a difference in width and height between the 2 bands that can be quite noticeable, and is not apparent until the garment pieces are completed and ready for seaming.

If you prefer to start with a 2 X 2 industrial rib, arrange needles to give a neat join at seams, plying yarns may again be required to give the rib more body. A racking cast on may be used, avoiding transfers between beds after an every needle cast on Diana Sullivan  shows one method of working, and illustrates needle arrangement and transitions to main bed knitting well. Alternative needle set ups:

I personally never do 3 circular rows after first cast on row: it will produce a floats on one side of the rib, which may be noticeable in your final fabric on one of the 2 garment sides.

To close holes when transitioning to garment pieces in other than every needle ribs, rack the beds one full turn, knit 2 rows, rack back again, and proceed as needed for desired fabric

The lili buttons on the ribber are representations of an every other needle set up, akin to the 1X1 card use on the main bed. It is essential for an even number of needles to be in use when the lili buttons are in use (pushed in, and turned toward the lili markings on each side of the ribber carriage, R to R, L to L). An easy way to insure the even number is to look at the needle tape markings, which alternate between  dashes and blank spaces between them. A line/ dash and a space make a pair, so if you start with a needle on  a line, the last needle on the opposing side needs to be on a blank space, or vice versa. The holding cam lever remains on N position throughout these illustrations.

simple rib 

Setting for slip stitch: raising levers to P position will result in stitches slipping when the ribber carriage moves in that direction

slip to right slip to left slip in both directions

Setting for tucking on ribber: it is possible to tuck on every needle on either bed when knitting every needle rib, as long as the needle on each side of the stitch forming the tuck loop on the opposing bed is creating a knit stitch, anchoring down those tuck loops on each side.

tuck to left tuck to righttuck in both directions

Double bed patterning DBJ

The most balanced fabrics are achieved when no more than 2 colors on any single design row are used, and the number of rows knit on the ribber total the same as the number of rows knit on the main bed. It is possible to knit designs  with 3 or more colors per row. With Japanese standard machines this would require a color separation, automatic ones are limited to 2 colors per row (Passap built in techniques have a range of other options). The more strands of yarn, the thicker and heavier the fabric, with distortion in the aspect ratio of the design. As with single bed fabrics, double bed slip stitch creates knits that are short and skinny, tuck creates short and wide ones. As stitches slip, tuck, or get longer there will also be “bleed through” of the alternate color on the front, “knit” face of the fabric. In small, balanced repeats this can create a color mix that may make the result either interesting or confusing. Garment swatches need to be larger than usual for single bed. I tend to use at least 80 or 100 stitches/rows on both beds to calculate garments.

When using no more than 2 colors per row, Japanese machines offer the option of a color separation that knits one design row per row, which is an added way to reduce motif elongations in the finished knit. Passap knitters may use tech 179 to achieve the same result.  For different separation methods for double bed fabrics see color separation posts on them.

bird’s eye (lili <-   ->): this is a common type of slip stitch. One pass of the carriage causes every other needle to knit. As the ribber carriage moves back to the starting side, the alternate needles knit, producing a single row of color. This helps double check on color used on last row knit when knitting is interrupted on color changer side. When knit in 2 colors per row the fabric is fairly well balanced

tucked bird’s eye backing (lili <-   ->) with slip pattern on MB: if no cam buttons are pushed in on Main bed, and the carriage is set to normal knit with no pattern selection, lili buttons on ribber will behave as though the 1X1 card is in use, no elongation or other changes are possible without changing levers manually as often as needed

tucked bird’s eye backing (lili <-   ->) as above, with main bed set to tuck the main color and slip the contrast, requires manually resetting cam buttons with each color change, or alternately tucking the main color, knitting the contrast

color 1                                        color 2 

striper (double) backing: fabric is unbalanced, twice as many rows of ribber stitches as main bed ones, the design is elongated, but the fabric is softer and more flexible

single (half) striper backing: fairly well balanced. The ribber knits only one row for each 2 passes of the carriages, so for 2 colors again, there are no extra rows knit. Part button on ribber may be engaged on either sidetubular: either pair of opposite part buttons usedtucked half Milano: when using tuck/slip combinations opposite cam buttons are used i.e. if right tuck cam button is pushed in, then the left slip button is also main bed <–> tucked jacquard: each needle on the ribber knits every row. Needles on the main bed knit in pattern according to punched holes, black squares on mylar, or programmed pixels. Non selected needles tuck. The patterns produced on the back side of the fabric are almost the reverse images of the front. Because so many tuck loops are formed the fabric is “short” and very wide, so cast ons and bind offs need to be planned accordingly

variation: tucking the main color, knitting the contrast, manual cam button reset every 2 rows

solid backing: the part buttons on the ribber are reversed manually on the left side of the machine when the color changes are made. The solid backing color knits on the ribber when both part buttons are down (N<–>N), the second color will be slipped with both the part buttons in the up position.  For an interesting effect use wool for solid back color 2,  other fiber for color 1, and felt result.

2 rows color 12 rows color 2 (solid back color)

tuck/plain combo: requires manually changing cam button settings on main bed every 2 rows, change knob remains on pattern selection setting                

2 rows color 1      2 rows color 2

no automatic patterning on main bed, change knob on N for English or half fisherman rib: tuck every needle either direction on ribber only

full fisherman rib: tuck every needle alternately on both beds, in opposite carriage directions (below = L/R, or use R/L)

Revisiting drop / release stitch lace

This technique is called drive and mesh lace, release stitch or summer fair isle by Passap, and drop stitch lace in some of the pattern books. Drive lace typically has lines of patterning where loops are formed between rows of all knit stitches. The main fabric, usually stockinette, is knitted and produced by either bed. Selected needles knit pattern stitches on the other bed for one or more rows, then are dropped from those needles, unraveling back to their starting point, creating the larger, open stitches.

The fabric may be created both as a hand technique or using automated patterning. In sources that show loops being formed on the ribber, stitches are released by uncoupling the ribber carriages and moving the it across the knitting and then back to its original spot, thus dropping the stitches. In studio machines the P carriage may be used to drop stitches, see previous posts on modifying one for use on Brother KM.

The tension setting on the patterning bed affects the loop size and its tension is frequently one to three numbers looser than the all knit bed tension. In Brother machines the ribber knits at a tighter gauge than main bed, so take that into consideration and adjust it when knitting all knit rows on every needle on the ribber, where the tension may need to be loosened one or more numbers than when knitting same yarn in stocking stitch on the main bed. Matching tensions numbers on both beds may provide enough of a difference in stitch size for loop formation. The difference in gauge between the beds also merits calculating adjustments when knitting in circular or U format.

Releasing stitches may happen after every pattern row, after groups of pattern rows (such as bubbles or check patterns), or even at times when knitting is completed. With groups of pattern rows I have had better results with more frequent stitch release. Two types of mesh can be created. “Stockinette” mesh has an equal number of rows on both beds. The result is enlarged “stocking” stitches  along with narrower, single bed ones on any one row. Half Milano mesh has a horizontal ridge on the purl side with 2 rows knit on the all knit fabric bed, to every one row on the patterning bed. One of the rows has the patterning bed slip every needle, with the ribber only knitting, the second row forms the combination size stitches as discussed previously. In patterning in Brother KMs this would need to have such rows added to the programmed design. The fabric is a bit more “stable”. Passap offers multiple techniques for dropping stitches, often referred to as summer fair isle and using 2 colors per row. Different looks are achieved by changing built in technique number, as well as when using a stitch ditcher on every row knit, as opposed to using “empty” passes of locks to drop the stitches.

Previous posts on topic: http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/24/working-out-the-kinks-in-my-drop-stitch-lace-saga/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/16/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-passap-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-japanese-machines/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/14/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-brother-km/
knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/

stitch dropping tools
http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchersdumpers/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/10/brother-kms-pile-knitting-ribbed-stitch-dropping-tools/

anther related fabric: http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on single (either) bed http://alessandrina.com/2017/02/14/ribber-cast-on-comb-open-stitch-single-bed-cast-on/

Working with positive and negative space variations: the repeat is suitable for any machine, my sample is executed on Brother KM. Since alternate, all blank rows have no needle selection, before knitting that row (ribber only will knit), dropping stitches knit on the main bed on the previous row will not alter pattern

using any method you prefer, set up knitting so all stitches are on the ribber. If you prefer to set up complete repeats prior to watching, “air knitting” prior to ribber set up or using position option on the main bed if that is available, will help achieve that  set knit carriage to KC II (used when patterning does not occur on every needle across needle bed), both part buttons pushed in for free pass to opposite side of km, no knitting occurs but first row of pattern knitting is selected. Ribber is set to N<–> throughoutas the carriages now move to opposite side, selected needles on the main bed pick up loops, non selected needles stay empty. Ribber knits every stitch using a ribber cast on comb, stitch “dumper”, or other tool, move needles holding stitches forward to drop loops, and return empty needles to work position (B)as carriages move to opposite side, needles are selected for next row of knit stitches to be knit on main bed carriages now move to opposite side, loops are picked up on selected needles all needles are now not selected,  above stitches/ loops are dropped, needles are returned to B position before the next carriages’ passcarriages move to opposite side, selecting pattern needlescarriages move to opposite side, picking up loops

before carriages move again, drop stitches formed. Watch loops after they are dropped, if tugging on knit is not enough to pull them out of way of needles returning to patterning, take a tool or something like a credit card. Slide it from one side to the other between the beds, thus keeping loops clear away from main bed 

In summary; assuming one is starting on right side of machine COR
step 1.  <-carriages select needles that will form loops
step 2.  ->carriages knit picking up loops
step 3.  drop loops just formed, returning all empty needles to B position
step 4+   repeat 1-3 for entire length of piece

My sample was knit in a slightly fuzzy wool. Smooth, thinner yarns result in longer stitches whose patterns get read more easily. Because wool has “memory” the vertical edges tend to roll to purl side, and return to rolling even after heavy pressing and steaming. There are a couple of spots where no long stitch was created due to markings on mylar not being dark enough.

Other things to consider: this fabric widens when blocked, so cast on, bind off, and beginning and ending edges need to accommodate that. This particular design creates a fairly balanced fabric. In many drop stitch fabrics, it is recommended that edges contain stitches dropped in pattern in order to maintain vertical length at edges. To achieve that, first and last needles on both sides should be on the main bed. That said, having an all knit border (stitches knitting only on ribber, no dropped stitches) may work well in your pattern, or pull edges in too tightly when compared to the all over motif released repeats. Testing on your swatch can be achieved easily by simply taking some needles on the main bed out of work on one side, thus creating the “all knit border”. The latter can happen by accident if not all needles are returned to B position properly after dropping stitches.