Tuck stitch meets thread lace repeats and vice versa

A recent share in the Facebook machine knitting group led to this blog post by its author <https://www.knittingmachinemuseum.com/single-post/Knitmaster-580-Electronic>

The inspiration fabric led to ideas for recreating it on a punchcard machine, and my own trip down that rabbit hole led me to thinking about the relationship between tuck stitch designs and thread lace ones. 

Not all Brother knitting machine models were equipped with the capacity for thread lace. The 260 bulky happened to be one of those models, which were manufactured with 2 MC buttons seen in this illustration

Studio manuals refer to the fabric as “punch lace”. Early pattern books including ones for electronic machines provide a large range of pattern repeats for such fabrics, and can be design sources for other knit stitches if one understands the structure being created.

In tuck stitch the unpunched areas, white squares or pixels represent loops created on non selected needles, punched holes / black squares or pixels represent knit stitches. In punch/ thread lace those white areas knit both thick and thin yarns together, while in punched holes/black square or pixel areas the thin yarn knits on the stocking stitch side of the fabric, with the thicker yarn floating behind it. Depending on fiber content, gauge, etc. the illusion of eyelets can be created. This is half of a Brother punchcard repeat, suitable for thread lace, reworked for knitting the design in tuck stitch. That is in turn doubled in length to allow for color or yarn value changes occurring every 2 rows. The resulting swatch is tested first in 2 colors to proof the repeat, then using clear serger thread as one of the 2 “colors” for a very different effect that blends that of both fabrics. 

Looking at design sources for possible redesigns for the alternate knit fabric: published punch lace cards

published tuck stitch cardsFor DIY a place to start is with simple color reverse punch lace to tuck test. Not suitable are any areas with lots of side by side white squares. In the bow solid lines those could be modified, most of the repeats in the colored swatch segments of the published charts are unsuitable.

Once the chosen repeat is isolated, the punchcard can be further edited for electronic knitting. Tuck to punch lace: any of these would be worth a test, some results may be very subtle.From punchcard repeat to electronic: strong black and white images that have punched holes represented as dots may be the hardest to process quickly in Gimp. It is best to isolate the single repeat. Some clean up of the gridded image may be required. Test the latter by tiling it. Color reverse the single it if that is the original goal, using built in function in electronics or punching black squares in cards.

Not to be forgotten: the easy variations for visualizing results with a few clicks of a mouse,

and an added source for both stitch types are slip stitch patterns in suitable configurations 

A previous post on editing repeats such as the above using Gimp, and one on superimposing shapes onto a mesh ground that may be the springboard for superimposing self drawn shapes on tuck or thread lace suitable backgrounds

Lastly, an earlier post on thread lace on Brother machines 

 

Revisiting use of lace patterns Studio vs Brother machines

2011: There are several brand KMs still around and in use, most are no longer being manufactured. Questions often come up on using one KM brand pattern card on another. Card readers inside the machine are below eye level, so exterior number/other markings on cards or mylars reflect that, providing the knitter with a visual cue as to where they “are” in the repeat. If machines pre select,  the needle selection may not bear any relationship to actual design row on the punched card or mylar as opposed to what one “sees”.  In addition to this variable in lace one often has 2 carriages in use. It is possible to develop cards etc. from lace hand knitting graphs, but there is enough “going on” so a good place where to start experimenting is with pre drawn ones. Lace preselection on any single row may have no obvious relationship to where the lace hole will ultimately end up.
Here are some random facts gathered from both sources and experience, they are applicable only if the knit carriage is set for plain knitting and no other function ie. slip or tuck is involved; plain knit rows do not advance the card reading mechanisms. In mixed structure fabrics the rules change.

The Brother and Toyota lace cards can be used on studio punchcard machines as long as they are patterns which have 2 blank rows after each transfer sequence
Brother and Toyota have u shaped arrows to identify when to knit with the knit carriage, both brands read cards 7 rows down
The first row on Brother is transferred from right to left, while on Toyota it is transferred from left to right; Brother and Toyota cards are interchangeable provided the card is mirrored vertically (or a simple cheat: use carriages on opposite sides of usual)
For Studio knitting find the row number of the U shaped arrow and circle the 2nd and 3d row below that row that number to identify rows in which carriage is changed/set to knit
Brother ends with 2 blank rows
Studio starts with 2 blank rows
on Studio begin brother card by locking card 4 rows before row 1, on row 3
Brother/Knitking lace carriage does not carry yarn, does not knit or trip the row counter; the stitches get transferred in the direction that the lace carriage is being pushed
Studio/Singer has a lace carriage available that transfers as it knits; on more complex laces one is sometimes instructed to set the carriage not to knit for a specified number of rows, the yarn may be removed, other adjustments are often required
though Studio and Brother lace cards are not directly interchangeable; aside from the numbering issue the transfer method is different, so a studio lace card “working” on brother or vice versa is a happy accident and likely to result in a “different” fabric
Brother information is applicable to its “new” clone, Taitexma
A few references :
Machine Knitting: the Technique of Lace by  Kathleen Kinder
Knitting Lace and A Machine Knitter’s guide to Creating Fabrics by Susanna Lewis
Machine Knitting: the Technique of Pattern Card Design by Denise Musk
John Allen’s Treasury of Machine Knitting Stitches
The Harmony Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches (their Colorful Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches does not include lace)
322 Machine Knitting Stitches (Sterling Publishing,1988)

2013 In this instance I am exploring the use of punchcards that are designed for transferring and knitting at the same time as seen in Studio simple lace in machines such as Brother, where the operation is the result of using 2 different carriages.

the Studio card usedthe resulting fabric

The method: both carriages are used to select needles, use lace extension rails on both sides of the machine.  Cancel end needle selection on knit carriage underside if possible, or push end needles back manually if needed to avoid their corresponding stitches being transferred throughout the piece. Set up for knitting the pattern as usual, punchcard row 3 (marked in pencil) becomes row 1 of the design when the above card is used in brother machine. The arrows always indicate the direction the lace carriage will move across the knit to make transfers in the direction of that same arrow. 

  1. begin pattern knitting with COR, card locked, change knob on KC, no cam buttons in use. This will result in needle selection, but the fabric produced is in stocking stitch. The lace carriage is engaged o the opposite side, moves toward the knit carriage to make the transfers, as it travels across the bed the now empty needles will once again be in B position.
    2. (lace carriage) travels back to right and is released off the machine (same needle selection appears, but those needles are now emptied of yarn)
    3. COL: KC moves left to right, knitting the single row, all needle hooks now are now full, new needle selection occurs
    4. LCOL: makes transfers toward the knit carriage, and then makes a second pass to return to opposite side and is released.
    These 4 steps are repeated throughout the knit, with the knit carriage knitting and selecting, the lace carriage following its selection to make the required transfers. Not every transfer row will match the direction of the arrows as marked on the studio punchcard.
    If there is no pattern needle selection with the KC pass on any row(s), continue to knit until there is needle selection, and begin process using lace carriage to transfer toward the knit carriage from the opposite side and once again releasing it after its second pass.
    A caution: hesitation and reversal in movement of carriages in Brother machines advances the card in the reader, and results in mistakes in patterning; if errors are to be corrected or such movements need be made for any reason, it is worth locking the card, checking row numbers, remembering to release the card before continuing, and visually checking pattern after the next knit row.

2013: While working out yet another HK to MK lace pattern, I sorted out the following method for using Studio simple lace on the electronic KM. It is a method that does not work on the Brother punchcard to produce the same fabric however;  on punchcard machines as either carriage is moved to select from opposite side of the bed, the card will not advance on the first pass, interrupting selection. I tried a swatch and got a very different lace design; depending on the starting pattern the results may be interesting (do not use elongation), but not the ones intended to match any original.

The knitting samples shown below were knit on a Brother 910. On electronic machines, as seen in previous posts on knitting with 2 carriages, the mylar (or otherwise programmed) repeat advances a row with eachpass of the carriage, no matter on which side of the bed the pass originates. Dropped stitches are harder to repair in these fabrics than in patterns for multiple transfer lace (there knitting can be unraveled to the start of a sequence where 2 or more knit rows usually occur), so checking transfers, gate pegs, and adjusting stitch size and weights matter even more. There is no need to mirror the image horizontally; draw repeat as is on punchcard onto mylar, all variation buttons down

start knitting with KC (knit carriage) on left, Lace Carriage (LC) on Right program pattern double length
on the first row the LC selects, the next row it will transfer; LC always makes 2 passes first toward the KC, then away from it, even if those 2 rows in repeat have no needle selection. I is then removed from the bed to be returned to the bed on the opposite side after the knit row with KC that follows. In summary:
KC knits a single row to opposite side
*LC is placed back onto machine opposite the KC to make 2 passes, is removed.
KC follows with a single knit row to the opposite side*.  * to*  steps are repeated

3 total carriage passes complete one row of knit. The chart below shows actions and placement of carriagesThis sample was knit beginning with lace carriage on left, as can be seen in marked areas, the alternating repeats have a different quality in the sets of  transfers marked red vs green
The “successful” swatch knit beginning with KC on left, LC on right in the method described aboveApril 2019 I attempted the same repeat on the 930 with img2track.  I flipped the repeat horizontally and elongated it X 2 prior to knitting it. The arrows in the chart indicate the movement of the lace carriage, beginning with the first preselection row from the left I had issues with the proper needles being selected (proofed also in fair isle), but with random stitches not being transferred. A switch in lace carriages, needle retainer bar, yarn, did not eliminate the problem. I finally had to perform some of the transfers by hand. This swatch also shows the joy of missed dropped stitches in lace knitting, the yarn used is a thin acrylic  December 7 2018: an interesting method using 2  electronic lace carriages found on youtube  . The repeat used in the video is actually the same used in my sample above, programmed using img2track. In the video the repeat is mirrored prior to knitting, there are extra knit rows to allow LCs to continue pattern from alternate sides  2011: Studio transfer lace on Brother bulky and standard machines

Studio multi transfer lace punchcard use on Brother punchcard machines 

112

Studio multiple transfer lace with single rows knit between repeats on 910 

This image shows the published inspiration used in post (bottom), and a studio punchcard book version found at a later date for the same repeat>. At this point in time my image editing has evolved. Both repeats below were obtained by processing and scaling the original image in Gimp, for process please see posts 1, and 2

on 930 img2track use #1 variation key with pattern repeat as shown, or flip horizontally prior to download. Ayab knitters pre latest software release: mirror repeat, tile repeat width across the number of stitches to match the number of needles to be used in your final piece. There will be no needle selection at the end of each sequence, signaling the need to release the LC, knit one row, and continue with LC brought to opposite side. This is a very fussy knit. At several points it is loops formed on previously empty needles that get transferred rather than full stitches. They love to get hung up on gate pegs. It took a significant amount of time to produce the proof of concept swatch. It is a lovely lace. Knitting it on a punchcard would give one the luxury of frequent pauses and markings to make for additional clues

LCOL  9 passes, release
KCOR knit one row to left
LCOR 7 passes, release
KCOL knit one row to right
LCOL 5 passes, release
KCOR one row to left
LCOR 3 passes. release
KCOL knit one row to right

 

Mesh experiments using thread lace punchcards .  This image also illustrates the yarn lines created in the eyelet spaces: single thread for when single rows are knit between repeats, twisted double threads when 2 rows knit between transfers. 

Geometric shapes on ribber fabrics with tuck stitches 1

The previous post elicited a facebook query as to whether it might be possible to create solid shapes within the field of brioche vertical stripes. The inspiration for the query was a hand knit pattern published in ravelry 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pariss-brioche-scarf 

Many terms are used in instruction manuals and published directions. In my notes I will refer to fabric with tucking on both beds as  full fisherman rib, tucking on one bed only as half fisherman.  These were my first attempts at exploring the inspiration idea, the fabric has inherent differences as it requires both slip and tuck stitch settings, so technically it is neither fisherman. Knitting happened on a random drop stitch day, which explains the patterning interruption errors. When attempting to knit isolated geometric areas on a field of frequently tucking stitches, automating the task when possible makes the process easier and faster. This was my first “diamond” pattern repeat, suitable for a punchcard machine as well. The design is illustrated on the left, converted to punched holes/black squares/pixels on the rightThe knit carriage is set to tuck throughout. The programmed repeat will alternate the knit/ tuck functions across the bed based on black squares, punched holes, or pixels. For full fisherman rib (top swatch) the ribber needs to tuck in one direction only, opposite to the action taking place on the main bed. A choice needs to be made on either of these 2 setting directions based on needle selection on the main bed, and stays fixed throughout knitting.  The ribber is set to knit on even numbered design rows on the card, to tuck on odd. Row count numbers may be different than design row ones depending on row counter settings by the operator or built KM ones. Below are tuck settings for to the right on top, to the left on the bottom.

For half fisherman rib (middle swatch), the ribber is set to knit with every pass.

Note the half fisherman fabric is narrower than the full. Also, I am not used to my 930, overlooked that the machine was set for isolation, so its bottom diamond shaped repeats are incomplete. 

In the bottom swatch I tried to produce a more distinct shape on tubular tuck created with only knit stitches on both sides of the fabric. Hand selection on the alternate beds on all tuck rows produced knit stitches in the desired area. A needle out of work made it easy for me to find proper location on needle bed .

Getting back to automating at least part of the process for such shapes: the repeat needs to be alteredThe main bed will be knitting the black squares in the chart on the right on every row, tucking the white ones. When the ribber carriage is on the side appropriate for it to tuck the following row and no needles are selected in design segments on the top bed (odd numbered design rows, ones with majority of black squares, tuck <— —>  may not be used in those locations because then the resulting stitches would be tucking on both beds with nothing holding the tuck loops down. 

bring all needles between selected main bed needles up to hold on the ribber so that they will knit while the remaining needles tuck on the next pass of the carriages. 

In my sampling the ribber was set to tuck when moving from right to left. Below is the resulting swatch, shown on both sides. Part of one diamond shape is missing due to the fact I was concentrating on moving needles around and missed the change in selection on one side of the machine.Back to the original the method used in the previous post where ribber settings are changed from knit to tuck <– –> every 2 rows along with color changes. I chose a design that would  make it easy to identify location of non selected needles on the main bed on rows where ribber will be set to tuck in both directions. The result is interesting, but the “solid” areas, narrower than the remaining knit, are in the opposite color to the dominant one on each side, the reverse of the inspiration fabric.
When needles are not selected on the main bed, interrupting the every needle selection bring all needles on the ribber between selected needles up to hold on each of the 2 passes from left to right, and right to left. Stitches on those needles will knit rather than tuckresulting in this fabric The first swatch at the top of this post was achieved going a very different route. Two knit carriages were used to select and knit from opposite sides of the machine. Each carried one of the two colors. When working with the first color and  coupled carriages  the main bed is  set to tuck <– –>, and the ribber to knit <– –>. The second color is knit using the main bed knit carriage only, set to slip <– –>.  A knit sinker plate may be altered  and  used on knit on main bed only rows, adjustments to it are shown in post http://alessandrina.com/2018/04/15/ribber-fabrics-produced-with-2-knit-carriages-selecting-needles/. The chart for my working repeat with a multiple of 4 rows in each pattern segment, color changes every 2 rows indicated on rightIn trying to produce a diamond shape using this technique, my first repeat had arbitrarily placed pixels: the cam settings on the right of the swatch images correspond to those used in each swatch segment. Colors were changed every 2 rows throughout. First 2 rows in pattern were knit in tuck setting, followed by 2 rows knit in slip. In segment B when no needles were selected on the top bed, all those needles were brought out to hold before knitting to the opposite side. Because every row is now knitting in corresponding color changes the result is a striped pattern. Segment C is knit with both carriages set for 2 rows as in C1 alternating with knit carriage only set as in C2.  At that point the color being carried knits only on the ribber, skipping non selected needles on the top bed, avoiding the striped result. A float is created between the beds in areas where no needles are selected that will be “hidden” as one returns to knitting in rib with 2 carriages.  The arrow in the chart points to an area where two colors were picked up with the color swap rather than one. The resulting swatch samples 

Analyzing the result in section C: the diamond is the same color on both sides, whereas the initial rectangular shape experiment reverses the colors. Reworking the diamond repeat in segments that are each a multiple of 4 rows:Other considerations in DIY designs. The background repeat for this pattern is actually composed of units 2 wide by 4 rows high. If the pattern is intended to be repeated across a larger number of stitches on the machine bed than that in the chart, it is always worth tiling the image to pick up any errors (sometimes happy design features).  Tiling in width readily shows the error, tiling in height as well proofs row intersections as welltiling the corrected width repeat, now 42 stitches wide by 72 rows highI sometimes tend not to keep immediate notes when I test ideas, which often comes with a price. I knit my first swatch using this repeat beginning the pattern with 2 rows of tuck, resulting in this fabric (and some randomly dropped stitches once more) with the same color diamond on both sides:Beginning the pattern with 2 rows of slip stitch on the main bed only mirrors the swatch at the start of this post. Where no needles are selected on the main bed, with passes of the combined carriages, two rows of tuck will now be produced, resulting in the wider geometric shapes and the increased bleed throughThe tuck loops created by the white in this instance have the elongated slip stitches in the alternate color (blue) partially covering them, creating the darker geometric shape in the top detail photo. The blue is thinner than the white, the effect will vary depending on yarn weight and tension used for the main bed yarn. One can begin to observe the change in width in areas with more stitches tucking. 

If the aim is to have a tighter, more clearly defined diamond, after the swatches rested, the swatch that began in slip stitch setting appeared to “work” better to my eye, even with the single color geometric shape on both sides taken into account. Ultimately the choice is a personal one.  The wider vertical stripes created in the white yarn in the slip combination fabric happen because of the 2 stitch wide repeat on the top bed as opposed to a single needle one in a true fisherman knit. Because of the slip setting the results will be narrower in width from it as well.

Ayab knitters will need to program any repeat across the width of the intended number of stitches, and use the single setting. Electronic knitters can enlarge the background pattern field easily, or create brickwork, extended repeats.

Arah-paint offers a free program that allows drawing repeats in different orientations with a few mouse clicks. Shifting the this pattern must also be in pairs of pixels/black squares in this instance because of the 2X4 stitch background unit. The 21 (half) pixel shift shows an error in its continuity a 22 stitch shift results in a “correct” all over repeat 

Quite some time ago I experimented with shadow knits including in posts 

2013: DIY design  2017 crochet   

It occurred to me the same design might work in a tuck rib version. The original repeat was 24 stitches wide, 28 rows highscaled to double length, 24 stitches wide by 56 rows high a tile test of new pattern Knit tests: the red yarn was a very strong cotton, hard to knit smoothly, the blue encountered some stitches not being picked up on the main bed as well, but the concept may be worth exploring further. The main bed is set to tuck in both directions, the ribber to knit throughout. The red and white fabric is considerably wider because of tension required to get the red cotton to knit. Better stitch formation results with different yarn used for second color 

And lastly, a first quick adaptation of a design previously used for drop stitch lace, which requires some further clean up: the yellow squares indicate loops tucking on both beds at the same time, the repeat on the far right is the one tested after eliminating those problem areas. It is 14 stitches wide by 80 rows high.an “improved” version, the choice remaining as to whether to make all the blue shapes pointed at top and bottom, or “flat” this is my repeat, tiled. It is 14 stitches by 84 rows