Revisiting pleats on the knitting machine: single bed


work in progress 

I am recently pondering self-folding shapes, which begin with pleating. Presently, in fashion and knitwear, skirts and clothing with ruffled or folded fabric variations abound. In 2013 I wrote a post including downloadable files of one of my early handouts and working notes. This is the same information.  Correction: folds to purl side should read 2-4  rows of tuck
It is possible to knit shadow pleats combining them with holding position to knit wedges which will produce a more circular shape. The shaping can occur in both thick and thin areas.

When working in stocking stitch, if a soft looking pleat is desired, the knitted fabric is simply folded to form the pleat and joined to keep the fold. Crisper folds require the added techniques described above. In hand knitting fold lines are created by slipping stitches on the fold line on the “public side”. Assuming the latter is the knit side of the fabric, this is often indicated by “sl 1 with yarn in back” for front fold line (and as another slip stitch option, for with yarn in front for back fold line). A purl stitch is more commonly worked on the same side of the knit for the opposing, inner fold. Both the slipped stitch and the purl one are purled on the return purl row pass. It is also possible to work the former purl stitch as a purl, resulting in a garter stitch is fold inner fold.

To review, parts of pleats: 

knife pleats may be put next to each other and pointing to the right (S) or the left (Z)

Box pleats are composed of alternating right and left knife pleats, pointing away from each other. Inverted box pleats are composed of one left and one right knife pleat, pointing toward each other.

Accordion pleas are a series of knife pleats in which the back of one pleat forms the face of the next 

The subsequent posts followed with the information in on pleated skirts made with lace carriage transfers (from Brother Knitting Techniques Book ) as well as on ribbed folding fabrics and automating pleats single bed (‘holding’/slip stitch shaping).

Some authors and publications include hems in the category of pleats as “horizontal”. To my mind, they merit their own category. Some related techniques that may be used at the bottom, in the body of the knit, at the top, or only on part of the surface may be found in my previous posts hems 1, hems 2, and ruching.

It is possible to knit folding pleats in knitted stocking stitch with the pleats formed vertically rather than sideways. The two needles (highlighted in red) close together form the top hard outer ridge, and the two empty spaces where needles are out of work (red dots) form the under fold.  The remaining black dots represent out of work needles as wellNormally, EON knitting is reserved for tuck lace or heavier yarns on standard machines.  For my test swatch, I used a coarse 2/8 wool on tension 4

The fabric narrows considerably as it is stretched lengthwise to set the stitches. Several panels would be required for a garment such as a skirt. Such an item would need to be pulled into shape, pinned and hot pressed. Fiber content will determine the crispness of the pleats after blocking, and their retention after cleaning. The swatch below is turned sideways for the sake of space.More variations with folds can be made by varying the “rules” commonly recognized for creases. Working sideways once more: on a punchcard machine, using card # 1 locked, cast on making certain first, last, and every other needle are selected. My swatch varies the number of all knit rows between creasing methods. This allows for overlapping at fixed width at the top of the piece once the fabric is rotated lengthwise, creating a fair amount of bulk as pleats are fixed. Those same all knit sections could be combined with holding techniques to get the width of pleats at one end to be a different width than at the other. The change knob is set to KC throughout. After the desired number of rows, cam buttons are set to slip <– –> for at least 4 rows (commonly this is done for 2). cancel slip setting, complete the next knit section, transfer every other needle  to adjacent one on either right or left the needles holding 2 stitches may be brought out to hold position as each transfer is made, or pushed out to hold after the fact, keep the number of needles  constant;set cam buttons to tuck <– –>, on the first pass the empty needles will pick up a loop, on the second pass a second loop will be created on those same needlescancel the tuck setting, leave needle selection on, the pass will form knit stitches, continue with the next knit section. The yarn used is still my 2/24 acrylic, seen here stretched flatslipped stitches create more of a “hem”, folding to the “inside” in the pressed swatch, while eyelets and tuck fold a picot edge to its “outside “;planning is required for the best method as to how to join panels in items such as skirts

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