Punch card book symbols and samples_ WIP

A number of variables need to be considered when adapting punchcard patterns for use on electronic knitting machines. These images pertain to Brother use, but the principles are shared between KM brands. I will add more information as time goes on. Online free downloads for magazines, manuals, etc. may be found at
some additions of late include designs in 12, 18, and 30 stitch repeats in addition to the familiar 24 and 40 ones, and to help with interpretations of symbols:  Japanese symbols for machine knitters 

 As the transition was made from manual machines, to pushbutton, and then to punchcard selection systems, the early collections included diagrams of  symbols familiar to hand knitters, and interestingly worded text that disappeared or was reduced in later punchcard books. I am presenting information in the order in which it appeared in this particular collection’s paper version, I have not found this volume in the above mentioned sources for free download.

Punchcards may be used to guide one for hand techniques, here a version of e wrap is used on selected needles for weaving  effect, diagram on upper left is for a different fabric. Punchcard may also be used to help track twisted stitches , cables , and racking This is a 2 carriages patterning operation, so lace extension rails must be used, with each carriage disengaged from the belt while the other is moving across the knitting and back to its resting place. Below each punchcard, the repeat the is identified in numbers for stitches and rows. The cards presented are the minimum length required for the card to roll smoothly within the reader when joined for continuous knitting (at least 36 rows). Electronic knitters may isolate the individual, smallest repeat, draw only the squares that appear as white in the cards, enter them via mylar or download, and use color reverse.

Skip is aka slip or part. These cards would work for tuck stitch as well, may even tolerate elongation, depending on yarn thickness.

Opposite cam buttons are in use, the fabric changes appearance depending on which of the 2 stitch types is forward, so if instructions with cards are to be followed, then the starting side for pattern in this instance should be COR. Both tuck buttons (or slip) may be used as well, for a different fabric. If the tuck or slip texture is created over an even number of rows (2, 4), changing colors for each paired row sequences can create some interesting color patterns with very short floats akin to planned mosaics and mazes. 

The fair isle patters below are actually poor choices in terms of float control, pushing its limits. It is usually recommended that floats be no wider than 5 stitches, and even then, they may have to be controlled to make the finished garment easier to wear. 

Brother only produces a transfer lace (as opposed to studio simple lace, where the carriage transfers and knits with each pass of the carriage). The lace carriage is the one advancing the punchcard. The knit carriage does not select needles, but rather, knits 2 (or more) plain knit rows

Lace card markings, including for fine lace. In the latter, stitches are transferred and shared between pairs of needles, best knit in a light color, with smooth yarn so surface texture becomes more noticeable.

Lace point cams may be used on the punchcard machine to create vertical bands of lace. This is also achievable on the electronic by programming for knit stitches between vertical (or horizontal bands).

This is a tuck and lace combination, so with 2 carriages selecting needles, extension rails must be used.

Yet another fabric using 2 carriages selecting needles for patterning

Here the “openness” is created by having the appropriate needles out of work, creating ladders in those spaces. Some interesting results can be obtained by transferring the recommended out of work needles’ stitches to the ribber. “air knitting” can help with verifying proper needle placement is in use

Suitable for tuck and possibly tolerant of elongation as well:

Punchcard machines mirror motifs when knit. This may not be noticed when copying small repeats, but it becomes more evident in larger ones. For knitting on the 910, the supplied motif would need to be mirrored when programmed to retain the intended direction.

Here are 2 FI samples: the one on the left is fairly evenly distributed, so little if any difference is noticed, the one on the right sends the biker to a different forest

reversal of lettering

and when you think that that is all sorted out in your head, there are these in slip stitch

the mirrored punchcards the punchcard change knob has selections for single motif and pattern knitting (KC)

the 910 has settings KC I and II, KC II cancels end needle selection, while in punchcard machines this has to be done manually if the pattern stitch requires it. One such example  is when any patterns are made with needles out of work. End needle selection would make the needles on each side of the empty space select forward and create a knit stitch. In tuck or slip, that would be an out of pattern knit stitch, in FI, a vertical line of the color in the B feeder would appear along on each side of the OOW needles.

Lace and weave: a brother punchcard to electronic

This is actually a reworking of a previous post. I usually sit on any post for a while, returning to it, editing multiple times out of view, and publish when satisfied with occasional return visits. Thanks to comments from another Ravelry member, I realized after my first “quick” publication on 589 that I needed to take another look at my thinking on this particular card from the very start.  I chose to stay public during editing to show that no matter the level of skill or time spent knitting, sorting out issues for any particular design or fabric can take time, sometimes obstinacy, and that at times the simplest route is taking good notes during the actual process for the most direct results in terms of clarity.

I have been knitting a long time. Sometimes things seem so obvious to me as I work, that I do not take notes. I still have a swatch from my teaching days that fell into that category, and that I have never been able to duplicate. With the 910 and the limited availability of space on mylars, I sometimes erase too quickly, and now that my charts are being created in a new and not yet habitual and familiar to me programs (Numbers, in high Sierra and Pages) wonderful, “surprise” variables can happen. So tips to self: keep step by step notes to return to as a reference, choose order of steps top down or bottom up and stick to one or the other, try not to scrawl randomly and everywhere on any one sheet of paper (never mind keeping it legible), don’t recycle papers with such notes when you think you are done, and watch those autosaves and revert options in Numbers and Pages. Then there’re the added factors of occasional WordPress crashes during saves, taking what one assumes as familiar for granted, and of simply putting even single, lone black square in the wrong place on a mylar sheet. I found with this series merely editing information in the software was not enough. Some of the errors became easier to see when matching the software theory to actually taking notes the old fashioned way with each carriage pass on the 910.

Some information on punchcards, their use, and pattern repeats may be of help to any of you who have not used a card before. The previous post included a reference to this punchcard from a Brother punchcard book in its combining weaving and lace section. I began with the assumption that knit carriage would operate from right, and lace carriage from left, their traditional placement in most lace knitting

its supposed related swatch

Analyzing the card, sorting out possible repeats follows, since mylars or bitmaps for download often only require a single repeat of the pattern. If you are not used to doing this, sometimes beginning with recognizable vertical ones first is a bit easier.

the apparent width and card height repeat

Going from lots of dots to far fewer ones can be dizzying. The punchcard multiple vertical repeat on the left is double checked to insure that all marks are in the correct placement on my chart. Black dots for EON needle selection, red ones for lace transfers. Here things get checked off twice, particularly for lace holes. Lace cards are the hardest to copy and place pixels or black squares accurately, simply because their markings are so few. I usually begin on the left hand side of punchcards to  isolate my repeats. The number markings in the center image reflect those found on the far right of Brother punchcards. The #1 on the factory cards represents where the card reader teeth are reading the holes on the interior of the machine, not at the operator’s eye level on the machine’s exterior. That is also the reason why in any fabric, needle selection does not match expected design row. On the far right,  a single repeat in height is isolated further. The same sort of check should be done when punching cards from published images. Blowing up the source and printing can help with accuracy. 

Operating carriages for even number row sequences is is the most convenient. The assumption on the basis of the arrows in card 589 is that each carriage makes 2 passes, operating in a continuous loop. That simply did not work for me in terms of producing 2 rows of lace followed by 2 more in any other pattern when operating LC from left, and KC from right.

If punching a card, verify your final punching by holding black paper behind the punched holes. In this instance there is an obvious mistake on the third row of holes. I am at the end of a very long punchcard roll. Some of the new rolls are wonderfully sturdy material, but the roll can retain a curl that may make it easy for the card to roll back into the reader unless joined into a tube (resulting in patterning errors), and making it hard to feed its starting rows  into “punching machines”. The rolls are marketed for Brother use, and numbered separated into “standard” lengths with blank segments between them.  Those markings may however,  be for Studio machines use (seen here, at row 5),  with row one on the right actually being 2 rows too low for Brother, so as punched LC  first preselection row would need to happen on row 3.589 begins with lace transfers. A second option, is to begin with a weaving pattern, with the KC on the left for the first selection row, and beginning your pattern reading 2 more rows up from the lace starting line in the punchcard. Markings on the side of the image above have nothing to do with actual starting rows. Pencil lines are outlining individual repeats, have no other reference. Numbers and other necessary marks would require adding by hand. If hesitant, #1 marking on right may be double checked by overlaying a factory pre punched card over your own.

Beginning the mylar conversion : my adjusted repeat checking squares vs holes again

The end needle selection needs to be cancelled on lace rows to avoid transfers or dropped stitches on the edges of the piece. If a needle is selected, manually push it back to B. If patterning ie tuck, slip, or FI are used on alternate groups of rows, then end needle selection is preferred. In weaving,  2 side by side stitches drop a float, so keeping the EON selection on both sides gives a better edge. Invariably, some operator involvement is needed altering end needle position, no matter the setting for it on either carriage.

Even with a lot of knitting and design experience results are not immediate. I ran into issues when I first tried to knit on the 910 with a later, “final” repeat selection being correct, but the technique failing, resulting in a loopy mess. In weaving, weaving brushes need to be moving freely, so check them, unscrew them, remove any fluff, and air knit, making certain they are down and turning at the same rate in both directions. Tuck wheels if movable, should be in the forward position, lined up with all other wheels or brushes on your sinker plate. To isolate the problems further: test lace with your knit carriage selecting,  but no cam buttons pushed in. The KC will knit for 2 rows across LC transfers, creating only the lace pattern involved. Your mylar markings get checked, also offering an opportunity to sort out why stitches may drop, and if you indeed have patience to combine techniques for more than a few rows. It is easy enough with an EON needle pusher to test both weaving yarn and needed ground yarn tension. If that is successful as well, then issues occurring with patterning may be from other causes. They were in my case. I had to switch sinker plates in my knit carriage to get weaving to work properly. I failed, however, at combining the final repeat with tucking, even with the KC set to tuck immediately after the transfers, and to knit every needle in the opposite direction.  I tested the carriage, sinker plate, and patterning with EON tuck only with different designs, and had no problem. At such a point I would abandon that fabric combination with the particular mylar repeat.

Returning to actions on the punchcard: the preselection row can be confusing in any translations. The last row in the card takes care of lining up repeats for us as it is rolled continuously in the drum, but there can be oddness to the eye when only a small repeat is singled out. Looking at the image of the repeats tiled allows one to choose a different starting row, rather than lace markings. The direction of transfers raises the quest to yet another level. This was my progression in editing and moving starting row for beginning the fabric with a weave start rather than a lace one: the numbers in my charts reflect carriage passes and direction, not completed row counts as they might appear on KM counter

Pass 1: COL, KC, N for knit row, slip <—> for free pass that selects only, move carriage—>
Pass 2COR, KC, EON pre selected, set card to advance normally, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 3: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 4: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection, moves to —>
Pass 5COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 6: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left
Pass 7COR, KC, EON, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 8: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 9: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection moves to —>
Pass 10COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 11: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left.  This row matches design row 1, and is starting the repeat sequence again
Passes 2-11 complete 10 rows of knitting, as well as the first vertical repeat as drawn

My chart has had multiple drafts, which included using software to insert a row to allow for that repeated selection as the carriages switched sides. The goal is to keep the 2 lace transfers to the right, with LC beginning each sequence on the left side, ending on the right, matching the punchcard movements listed above.  Keeping things as simple as possible is something I at times forget to do. After several drafts, here is a simpler way to look at things. In D black squares with dots indicate stitch that will be transferred on the next pass of the LC, the yellow squares the location of the eyelets. All pattern repeats with the KC preselecting for the first row of knitting on the left, with the change knob set to either KC I or KC II

the 10 row repeat and its mylar companion

In actual knitting of this stitch combination,  since needles preselect for the next row knit, once the pattern is set up correctly, it is easy to recognize when carriage changes are required by looking at the number of needles selected. EON rows are for weaving, starting on right. Few needles selected are for lace, starting on left. Lace transfers happen on the stitches selected the previous row, in the direction in which the carriage is moving, here transfers are all to the right. Grey squares indicate repeated selections, black squares with yellow dots indicate stitches transferred to the right on the next pass of the LC. The mylar repeat would only require the black squares

Below the repeat in the chart is used, knit first on my punchcard KM, then on my 910, but it misses the mark in terms of matching the swatch in the pattern book

This is the result I was still trying to get back to. The first lace pattern test swatch: gotta love dropped stitches in lace!

no tucking allowed in combo with lace, but not a carriage or mylar problemweaving test: fails were from a problem sinker plate weaving lever in one direction only, hand technique success was with change of sinker plate lace and weave with 2 different weight yarns and, hallelujah!

Taking another look at the original punchcard and those arrows on the left hand side, a detail I had originally missed. Both carriages operate from the right side, for 2 rows each, switching their place on the machine bed. Arrows for design row 1 begin above red line. Transfers are all first to left, then to right. The card advances a single row for each carriage pass. With carriages operating on the same side, the punchcard advances one row for each carriage pass. Operating the LC from the left, and releasing it when it is on the right as in the previous fabric produces the desired results. The blank row on rows 3 and 8 allow the LC to travel to right, making selection for the transfer to left on the next row

the  10 row repeat and its mylar companion

the actions

the fabric, again!

Reworking the repeat in order to use the LC for four passes, beginning and ending on the left hand side of the machine, its usual home

the now 12 row repeat and its mylar companion

what the carriages are doing the final fabric  rendered in lace, with resulting transfers in proper direction