Combining knit carriage needle selection with racking

Work in progress

4/23/18:  inspiration source is from a Russian pin, bottom left #198

The first swatch , produced with manual selection, varying the number of rows between racking to establish yarn tolerance

There are single rows knitting on both beds, so the option of using 2 knit carriages is out of the running. My test swatch had the main bed doing all the knitting, the ribber knitting the joining segments with manual changes in its buttons from slip to knit and back when appropriate. The staring needle arrangement, on “graph paper”, and the subsequent racking positions: the top illustration is for racking position 4, the bottom for racking position 0.A tentative plan of attack: the combined knit and ribber carriages are to be used throughout. The main bed KC is set to knit, but change knob is set to KCII. The blank squares will actually knit thanks to the setting, the selected needles will indicate the direction in which racking is due to take place prior to knitting the next row. 

This is the starting ayab repeat, with single repeat segments highlighted (one alone would be adequate for most other electronics). 

You will be working on the purl side of the knit. In what is an increasingly irksome feature to me, Ayab will automatically mirror horizontally any loaded image, so to get the above, you need to actually be either mirroring the image prior to loading it (my preference), or remember to do so through ayab’s actions after.  Enter this, the ayab screen shows this 

This is what appears on the left side of the Brother ribber. I prefer to rely on other methods to track directions and numbers of positions in racking, but the ribber itself provides some clues. My pitch lever will not move all the way to H, but that is made up for in the ribber adjustments, so it is not a problem. A reminder: turning the racking handle to the left is toward increasing numbers on the indicator, to the right is toward decreasing numbers  The set up for my swatches, and first row knit on racking position 0

First preselection row in Ayab knits above needles on both beds. With carriage on the right, set the ribber to slip <–  –>, and knit up to the next row where needle pre-selection appears. *Change the ribber button on the side to match the direction in which you will be moving the carriage (left if knitting to left, right if knitting to right) to knit from the slip setting, knit to the opposite side (no more needle selection), change ribber lever back to slip again prior to any more knitting.** Repeat * to ** . Position 4:

I began to run into issues with ribber stitches being too tight, this was knit with a tension adjustment, resulting in a less defined texture

Going a different route: another repeat, with each position repeated once, repeat is pre mirrored  
a swatch with the racking happening only in center of needles in work

Starting position can be variable. With more stitches cast on, while keeping the same ribber configuration, racking can happen further to the right or to the left. There need to be enough stitches on the main bed so ribber needles do not travel beyond them when racked. The knit bed uses tension close to that used for stocking stitch. The ribber stitch size may need to be adjusted to allow for the wider move toward either side. A looser ribber tension results is a less sculptural surface on the knit side. I have seldom been able to knit more than 6 rows on the main bed with ribber combination stitches on Brother, often maxing out at 4 depending on yarn. Consistent habits help develop one’s own most meaningful reminders for taking action.

5/12/18 2 more samples. This time racking is done by 3 positions, ribber set up is with 3 needles out of work, 5 in work. Set up is with racking handle on 3, move to and from positions 0 to 3. Knit 4 rows single bed. Rack to next position. Use ribber set to knit for 2 rows for sample on left, for a single row for the sample on right 

A printable “rib setup” to aid in charting  P and H needle configurations, with some space for notes and carriage settings

12/20/17————————————————————————————————

The Brother Ribber Techniques book provides guidelines for variations on this stitch type,  the following among them. It is available for free download online from various sites and is an excellent resource

These images were shared on Facebook, they are from the Empisal ribber stitch book

I have worked with racking in the past, but never attempted to have racked shapes interacting with single bed patterning across the width of the piece on the KM. My 910 is presently connected to a Mac via the EMS Ayab kit. Sampling is quick and easy, replacing the mylar. One critical difference is that the repeat used must match the pattern in width numbering the same as needles in use for the piece, so at least for testing my initial repeats were 30 stitches wide.

I find trying to chart things out before I actually knit helps me plan and understand what actions I need to take. Mac Numbers is my go to for charts for the moment.  Here a random slip stitch pattern is put on a ground that takes into consideration possible racking positions, with the ideal position for reversing the bend at the center of the chevron pattern. With a bit of planning punchcard markings or even mylar ones may be used to help with tracking racking numbers for accuracy, but that appears lost using Ayab software

When planning for racking within the width of a piece, the racked columns will extend beyond the vertical edges of the knit. Since this is not about having zig zag edges, but keeping the design within the body of the knit, starting point and spacing for your ribbed stitches matters. Brother racking handle is numbered from 0 to 10. The numbering and direction of movement varies between KM brands. If you begin at 0, you are only allowed to move the ribber to the left, if at 10 the ribber only moves to the the right. So that said, the racking sequence in the above illustration should be reversed, traveling from 10 to 0, and back. The green squares represent the direction in which the ribber stitches are moving, the numbers in the column on the right represent racking handle positions. 

I found this slip stitch repeat produced too little detail in my swatches, but were it reduced for mylar use, it would remain 7 stitches high. It was taken from a punchcard book, so black squares/punched holes represent knit stitches. To match the fabric, in mylar use, color reverse would do the job. The Ayab kit bypasses both the mylar reader and the programming capacity of the buttons on the left, so double height, double width, color reverse, etc. including the DBJ setting are planned for in the file import into the software. In some instances Ayab settings (ribber for DBJ, and “circular”) do the work for you. I am using GIMP to create my BMPs. Paintbrush is a free program, still available for Mac, and functional including in High Sierra. It is the program used by some forum members to create their repeats, provides an easy alternative for people who not be used to working with image editing programs.

the slip stitch repeat in its original state: because slipped stitches create their texture on the purl side of the fabric, images do not need to be mirrored for the direction of the texture to be matched using electronic machines 
If the goal is to have the machine take care of keeping track of knit rows for you, without having to make changes in cam buttons, in the mylar a single repeat with blank squares programmed at the top and/or bottom of the repeat could then be knit using color reverse. Here the situation is similar to that of punchcard users who need to punch a hole for every knit stitch, but considerably faster. If the original pattern is satisfactory,  planning for all knit rows as automatic needle selection can be done by color reversing the pattern in the software, and adding all black rows in the image for download.  
some other all over variations to try, individually, or even sequentially for slip stitch all over texture

the first tests, for the various slip stitches, nothing quite “there” yet  
this is getting closer to the goal

The above working repeat, and all above swatches were knit with first preselection row from right to left, not left to right. For these stitches the starting side does not make a difference. If the pattern however, was in blocks that were even numbered in height (2, 4, 6, 8), and the color changer needs to come into play for striping using it, accommodations need to made so that preselection for row 1 happens from the right side to the left, toward the changer. The programming needs to be set to begin on the very last row, so the repeat returns to row one for preselection from right to left, and knitting rows 1, 2, etc begin with the KC set to appropriate cam buttons, to and from the left side of the KM.

The racking sequence needs to be adjusted to have the points of the zig zag land in the center of both the slip stitch areas and those in plain knit, if that is the goal.  I am encountering needle selection issues with my hack, so this fabric is getting put to bed for the moment. In principle the black squares in the illustration represent knit rows, and their number is easily enough adjusted in height. Punchcard users would need to punch holes for each black square, mylar user can fill in the white squares for a single repeat, add blank rows at top or bottom, and color reverse when programming. In Ayab software the repeat has to be drawn for the width of the piece, but will repeat “infinitely” in length.

This is a possible punchcard template, with shorter racking sequence. Numbered column on left indicates racking position. Pattern rows are preselected, so racking occurs prior to knitting across each row. I am also in need of purchasing more punchcards or another roll, so there is no test swatch at this moment. Top and bottom rows of punched holes on colored ground are not part of the repeat, they overlap the first and last 2 rows of design in the punchcard, allowing the pattern to repeat in length. Ascending numbers swing to left, descending to right. Rows may be added at level of #7 (7, 8, 9, 8, 7), so that the center of the swing may then occur on #9 positions in racking handle, lengthen the card accordingly.