Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP, and DBJ

WORK IN PROGRESS:

A category search for machine knitting/mosaics and mazes design will lead to my previous blog posts on topic.
Previous posts on working with Mc Numbers include: knit charting using Numbers 2  which covers basics, keyboard shortcuts, and more,
Numbers to GIMP for creating images for electronic download  , charting knits color separations 2, charting knits, color separations 1, lace mesh motif charting, charting knit repeats using numbers 1, visualizing knit cables, knit graph paper 

To knit these fabrics use one light color and one dark for major contrast is recommended. Matching the dark yarn to dark squares and reversing their positions may produce interesting optical variations. The resulting knit has reduced floats and is not as bulky as traditional Fair Isle. Many patterns published in punchcard machine pattern books will produce such patterns when knitting single bed, changing color every 2 rows. White squares need to be 2 rows high, no more than one square wide. A page from one such reference:What appear as a maze designs in the swatch photos below would actually be unsuitable for use in the mosaic separation discussed in this post. The cards are designed for tuck (or slip) with color changes every 2 rows. The approach for planning and charting out such fabrics would be a very different one

There are a few rules in designing your own: in mosaics, the odd grid rows should contain single or dark-colored squares plus any cells used to create horizontal lines. The even grid rows usually have single or adjacent light squares but only single dark squares. As with any other fabric access to electronics allows for use of small repeats that can be color reversed or lengthened X2, whereas punchcard knitters need to meet the usual constraints in motif size in width and height. Tile features in software can often give clues to errors such as skipped cells or edges at top and sides of repeat that do not line up, avoiding having to actually test the repeat in knitting to evaluate the same.

Pre-drawn motifs that require color separation are available in a variety of sources. Kathleen Kinder published 2 books with repeats one for 24, the other for 20 and 40 stitch punchcards, inclusing isolated electronic repeats as well.

The original “swatch” inspiration for this post and its repeat were pictured in Mosaic Knitting page 110the numbering system reflects every other row worked alternating sides of the workit is shown here with a superimposed table grid with its  cells outlined in a thick border and positioned in front of a scaled screen grab of the original motif (arrange/ aspect ratio turned off)use command key to select a series of cells to be filled in with color, I chose to use black the cell borders can be edited as wished. Here borders were removed by selecting none, then, in turn, the outer border was highlighted in an easy to identify thicker red line

Below are more variation on borders and numbering for the start of the machine knitting repeat. Adding digits to the Numbers original repeat serves as a guide to appropriate size scaling in GIMP. One way to obtain the repeat size is to type digits in at least 2 cells at the desired location in any row or column. Select both cells, click on the yellow dot, and drag it to the last cell in the series here I went into autopilot: the repeat is isolated. The lengthen X 2 requirement can be achieved later in GIMP or as here via the table/ arrange/ size option in Numbers (wrong step for mosaic/ mazes)
I change the outer border to one point dotted to have a guide for a screengrab The captured image may then be imported into GIMP, image mode is changed to color indexed, B/W bitmap, and it is scaled to the appropriate size. The view grid, snap to grid options are in use.
I worked in 1800 magnification, created a new canvas 2 pixels wider than the original on the left, copied and pasted that image onto the new canvas. In the center illustration, RGB mode is once again in use. The added green pixels serve as guides for using rectangle select to capture each of the rows containing them in turn and then using invert value from the colors menu to reverse background and foreground within each of those rows.  The completed color separation is shown on the far right, with those 2 extra rows on its left side the last image needs to be once again converted to BW mode. The 2 extra rows of pixels on left are cropped off, the image is scaled to twice as long for use with the color changer, and the original 12X14 repeat is now 12X56
the actual BMP

this is the charted and tiled original repeat. There are classic differences from what is typically thought of as “floatless fair isle” in it. The very last row ie is in one color only.  When those 2 passes are made with the “no knit” color with the change knob set to KC I, the first and last needle will be selected. Push them back to B position prior to knitting the next row to avoid side to side floats.  Because of the maze component floats of as many as 7 stitches are created on the purl side in one of the 2 colors. A quick proof of concept swatch: this is a slip stitch fabric, note the difference in width between the patterned area vs the plain knit. If one has a ribber and the appeal lies simply in the lines created by both mazes and mosaics, those features can be retained with DBJ, and the fabric will lie flat. There will be limitations as to the thickness of the yarn used. a “pretend” longer repeat
The question has come up in forums as to whether the DBJ separation can be used for mosaics and mazes. The “Japanese” one, which prevents elongation by knitting each color for each row only once does not since these shapes rely on knitting the same needle selection twice in each color. The default separation in the Passap or the designer self-drawn one that will knit each identical spot in the motif separation twice. The design is elongated. Susanna wrote a technique for use on the E6000 for having the console perform the color conversion for true mosaic knitting. The repeat shown earlier in this post separated for DBJis compared here with the earlier wrong separation for “mosaic knitting” and found to appear identical. The process was a quicker way than that of dealing with different colors for ground and design
different pairs of colors, same results Back to the drawing board: row height is as in the original repeat being extra careful, not necessary, the process can be inverted once more to check the repeat color separation the actual knitting repeat, double-length before downloading to machine the corresponding proof of concept swatch,  with shorter floats than when the DBJ separation is used single bedtiling of the original repeat and its color reversed image illustrate the optical difference between switching dark and light color starts This repeat is from Kathleen Kinder’s (24 stitch) Floatless Fair-Isle book, p.86the repeat of the design separation on the right is intended for use in electronics with color reverse and double length chart separated using GIMP for mosaic knitting matches her repeat Recently on Facebook mazes turned up as a topic in machine knitting once more. Most maze generators online that I have found are designed for printing out game solving images ie here is one from http://hereandabove.com/maze/mazeorig.form.htmlfor knitting purposes unikatissima and Laura Kogler offer alternatives. Years have gone by since I first wrote on mazes and mosaics. The repeat worked with below was used in my post 

here I am revisiting the same image. To begin with, a repeat is isolated and processed in numbers (top row), and then in turn in Gimp. Always tile repeat to check for any errors and to see if the final image represents what is desired
the repeat (8X16) is then doubled in length for knitting after that single all-white row was edited out (middle images). The repeat is now 8 rows wide by 32 rows in height
One of the yarns is chenille, the other a wool. The chenille is slightly thicker and fuzzy, so some of the yellow rows are almost hidden but the pattern is definitely there. Here the design is knit using both slip (bottom) and tuck (top) settings. Again, there is a noticeable difference in width produced by each stitch type.Observations: make certain that after the image is isolated in Numbers cell size is converted to square/ equal measurements in width and height before importing and scaling its screen grab in GIMP if not already so. It will likely load in RGB mode, convert to Indexed before scaling. Added colored squares are only possible if you return to RGB mode. After rows with colored squares are cut, return the image to indexed before saving as BMP for knitting. If any pairs of rows do not have 2 consecutive rows of cells in either color check your pattern. In DBJ the final repeat should be 4 times in numbers of rows in height to the original one, and thus divisible by four.  The separation first doubles height for each row for 2 colors. Then height is doubled once more to allow for color changes every 2 rows. In Mosaics and Mazes, the color reversal happens on every other row in the original design. When that is completed, the height will be doubled for actual knitting to allow for color changes every 2 rows, with the final row count double that of the original motif. Rules for tuck knitting apply here as in any other technique. If white squares in the final chart have black ones on either side of them, the appearance is that tuck would be possible. Examining needle preselection is an easy way to assess that possibility.  Reversing the colors used in actual knitting may yield interesting changes in the appearance of the fabric. 

Julie Haveland Beer shared a file on how to Convert Mosaic Knitting Chart to KM Skip Stitch Diagram (shared with her permission), as mentioned in my post on numbers-to-gimp-to-create-images-for-electronic-download/

Origami folds inspired pleats 1

I have long since wanted to experiment with a variety of folds in knits other than “simple pleats”. A friend on Facebook has been working successfully double bed, has published a tutorial.
I am sharing some of my earlier starts looking at some concepts beginning with the single bed.
For a diagonal pleat, I began testing the waters by bringing some needles to hold position every other row, and creating a “moving ladder” or eyelet in the center space between tucked stitch columns. The modified eyelet performed better than the simple one in creating a fold.The next question for me is always how to automate any part of the process. Tucking for 2 rows seemed more likely to create a sharper crease. Since the transfers associated with the ladder space are all in the same direction this is a fabric that will definitely bias. The swatch below shows the results, the blue arrows point to operator error in ladder placement, the red arrow at the top of the swatch points to multiple rows of knitting. Multiple rows of stocking stitch at either end are likely to flare out and “ruffle”.The fabric had an interesting twist and roll if tugged in opposite diagonal directions when first off the machineThis is the working repeat, suitable for a punchcard machine. On the far left it is shown for use with electronics and color reverse, with green grid highlighting black squares indicating holes which would need to be punched in a card, and lastly, as a tiled repeat looking for any errors in repeat sequences.Below the actions taken in part of the overall repeat are represented. The model year Brother machine in use may require you also flip the image vertically before knitting it.  This is what is planned for the purl side. One of the issues with self-published patterns is the adaptation of or use of symbols that are different than that in any published consensus. The transfers to left are commonly indicated this way in lace knitting. If the needle that is emptied is left out of work, a ladder will form. If it is left in work the first pass creates a loop on that needle, the next pass to the opposite side completes the stitch, resulting eyelet on that same needle. Picking up from the row below is usually represented this way This shows my swatch in progress. ? indicates operator error, in evidence if needle count on each side of the future tuck stitch or ladder space is checkedpicking up loops from the row below to keep ladder width constant transferred stitch (blue) and 1 needle ladder (pink) marked by arrows Check that stitches have knit off properly Needles with transfers or moved stitches may be brought out to hold position (E in Brother machines) for easier knitting. If this is done, be sure not to disturb needle selection or lack of it in location for next pair of tucked rows.

If one is exploring a DIY search for creating fabrics, the journey is often one of trial, error, and an investment of time with not always yield good results, but may yield pleasant surprises and an opportunity for learning and new ideas. These were some of my trial swatches in thinking of more varied directional folds single bed I was led back to slipping or tucking every other row for creating some of those folds, and the possibility of having both actions happening on the same bed automated in some way. Often forgotten and unused in the Brother machine settings is its capability of tucking in one direction and slipping in the opposite one. These are the 2 possible settings. It does make a difference in resulting fabrics which stitch type happens first as one travels back and forth across the knitting bed. Arrows in opposite directions are chosen for each stitch type. Setting up a working repeat with blue representing tuck, purple slip (or vice versa). The distance between the vertical column, in this case, is fixed and seven stitches in width for a center folding repeat width of 16, color reverse is required 12 stitch version color reversed for actual knitting This is the purl side of the fabric with both stitch types happening on the main bed.  It pretty much flattened out with some light pressing, not much of a pleatThis is what happens once the ribber needles are brought into actionSet up the cast on as preferred. I used plain knitting, weighted it, and began my pattern work from the right-hand side of the machine. COL my preselection row was made from right to left. White squares in the chart with black ground and green grid become non selected needles on main bed. Transfer nonselected stitches down to the ribber. Set the ribber to slip to the right, those stitches just transferred will slip moving to the right, knit on the return pass to the left. The knit carriage is set to knit until that first row is completedCOR the ribber will knit on the next pass to the left. Set the knit carriage to tuck while the ribber is knitting
Continue in pattern to the desired length. Fabric narrows considerably, so several panels may be required for items ie. skirts. The repeat on the knitting bed should also be adjusted to allow for as close to invisible seaming as possible. The stitches on either side of the single needle in work on the ribber may be inclined to drop off. I was unable to use tuck on those same needles for any significant length for that reason. It pays to visually check for stitches knitting off properly to avoid this The start of vertical pleats, with the slip stitches folding to the purl side, the tucked stitches folding to the knit side on the machine,  just after binding offtwo fabrics side by side
Different fibers can produce varying results in fold and drape. Setting either bed function for the wrong direction will produce an all knit fabric (top of the red swatch). This starts to address incorporating hand techniques and manual ones from the diagonal swatch and the one with vertical folds while also developing a design repeat to aid with planning or actions to be taken.  It  will be altered in future experiments The yarn choice is a poor one. The fiber is a very softly spun rayon, which could benefit also from being knit at a tighter tension, and since rayon has no “memory” it fails to have any spring back and is flattened out permanently with pressing and steam.  This swatch is knit in wool, trying to sort out what does what and by how much. I am starting to get a bubble, but not a dramatic folding effect and the repeat is off as worked. The bottom folds more so than the top. The filled eyelet technique has a hand-tooled tuck column on the reverse side. The top is automated tuck stitch. A different repeat: the bottom with carriage set to knit with needle selection as a cue to hand transfers, the top set to tuck automatically. Transition rows need to be considered further and altered where the twain meet Returning to simpler creases and folds: a first experiment in racking double bed with NOOW. The setup and racking positions were not pre-planned. I knit 4 rows without racking at unplanned intervals as well; they produce a noticeable change in texture. The fabric is reversible, I actually rephotographed it adding a marker to make certain I had not shot the same side twice. The needle set up:the resulting swatch presented sideways for the sake of space:working with single needles out of work rather than two, with even spacing between them on each bed  both swatches flattened to note differences between  needle arrangement folds getting more organized, with a planned repeat: the needle set up cast on with racking position on 5, rack every 2 rows, move from position 5 to 0, to 10, back to 0, to 10, end on position 5; the yarn is a 2/17 wool, definitely retains a more 3D quality than the acrylic 2/24. The fabric may benefit form 2 rows not being racked added at position 0 and 10Here the arrangement here is with 2 needles out of work, racking every 2 rows in the same sequence. The resulting fabric has clear “spring” and foldsRRReturning to the previous needle set up, now racking every row from position 5 to 0, knit 1 more row with no racking; rack to position 10, knit one more row with no racking, reverse direction, end knitting on position # 5This last in the series is a personal favorite. I found racking from the center to 10, to 0 and back easy to track. One moves in the opposite direction when not allowed to go any further in the continuing direction by the machine. Single needles out of work appear to be enough to create the folds.
Exploring starting the pattern at 0, to 10 and back. The bottom segment is knit with no needles out of work, the middle with NOOW on top bed only, the top with NOOW on both beds. Dotted lines separate each, and outline a second, smaller shape occurring along with the beginning of changes in the larger one. I had issues with edge stitches on the main bed. My final needle set upRacking starting position on 7:Consider playing with racking positions within the total number of needles in work on the main bed. For other possible needle arrangements and more on pleats created with needles in/out of work on both beds please see 2015/04/22/ribbed-pleated-folding-fabrics/

Ribber trims 3: one trim, four variations

I found this on a random sheet tucked away with references from some seminar or other eons ago, its origin is not known to me
I like to chart out my repeats and plans for executing fabrics, along with ideas for possibly varying them in ways other than suggested, this was my  beginningThe sequence in photos, beginning with the cast on, 2/24 acrylic yarn,  zigzag  row with inserted ribber comb,  halfpitch 1 row is knit across all stitches to complete cast onknit one more row to return to the opposite sidethe setting is changed to full pitch, stitches are transferred between beds to match  diagramsthe center needle in each group of 3 is brought out to hold for one row, knit one row to return to the other side center needles are pushed back to D position in order to be knit on return pass to the opposite side this tool makes that needle selection faster and easier when the 20 rows had been knit in pattern drop stitches on each side of center stitch transfer ribber stitches up to main bed I knit 3 rows rather than 2, to return to right side  for bind off here is the swatch, still on comb for “setting stitches”

I found the above results upon completion disappointingly wimpy, then tried the same steps in tightly twisted and slightly thicker cotton, achieved better results, but was still not happy. That set me thinking about an alternative way to produce a similar fabric with changes in needle arrangements. The full series of swatches is seen below. The yellow is knit in a 2/8 wool, the beige in the same weight cotton as the white on the right. All swatches were knit on the same tension, for the same number of rows.

The adjustments on the original pattern are as follows. At half pitch begin as above with zig zag to left, 2 circular rows, knit back to right. Set pitch to P, transfer between beds

knit back to the opposite side, transfer each of the side stitches on the top bed onto the center needle in each group,

bring those needles out to hold for easier knitting on the next pass knit one row back to the right,  making sure stitches  have  knit off  properly. When you have returned to the right side, set the carriage to tuck from right to left only (left tuck button), RC000loops will be formed on the center needles as they would have been formed over the needles as if holding was in use

when the 20 rows are completed the carriages will once again be on the right,  all stitches will have been knit on the previous rowtransfer all ribber stitches to top bed, knit 2 rows, bind off. None of my swatches were blocked other than by some tugging, particularly along the bottom edge. The spacing between stitches is narrower because ladders created by single needles left out of work are formed by yarn lengths that are shorter than those that happen when stitches are knit and then in turn dropped. The height of the swatch is also affected, and the half fisherman texture in the wool swatch, in particular, is more evident.

More variations to try in a multiple of 3+1: using either method or a DIY cast on, dropping (yellow) stitches marked with a * at the end, or transferring them to right or left and setting the main bed to tuck in one direction only.When the work is removed from the machine, stretch cast on outwards, then give each “scallop” a really good pull downwards. Steam lightly over the scallops to set them. Variations of the double bed trims may be worked on the single bed as well.

Ribber trims 2

WORK IN PROGRESS

This is an illustration of the #3 frill from the Ribber Techniques Book:

1. COR: knit a zigzag row to left, hang comb and weights, no circular rows2. knit second zigzag row to right3. transfer stitches as shown 4. knit to left 5. knit back to the rightrepeat steps 3-5 to the desired height

For another variation, knit 4 rows rather than 2 between transfers. My yarn is still a 2/24 acrylic. The trim would look quite different using a thicker yarn or even simply a tighter tension. I continued in rib. Ribber stitches could also be transferred to the top bed for continuation in stocking stitch In theory,  it is possible to knit lace transfers in Brother by dropping the ribber bed enough for the lace carriage to move across the beds while clearing the gate pegs. This remains on my “try someday” list. To my mind, hand transferring remains the best way to deal with lace/ ribber stitches combined.

Tuck patterns on the main bed (or slip stitch) designs can be used to automate and create patterns where holding is recommended in some sources ie. For a punchcard machine, the repeat must be a factor of 24 in width ie. 6 or 8 or  12 stitches wide. Electronic knitters can draw a single repeat, either the one on the left also using color reverse or the one on the right. Punchcard knitters need to punch the grey squares on the right across the card and repeating in height. An extra all knit row needs to be added at the top of each series of 4 rows tucked for the loops to be knit off automatically by the machine. Step 4 in the techniques book, resetting the main bed to N to knit a row after every 4 rows in a holding pattern is missing in their illustration above. The punchcard repeat: punch each grey square to match the illustration A few to try,  shown in repeat X2, as BW gridded .bmps,  and color reversed for knitting.  All but one are  12 stitches in width, suitable for punchcard machines as well Too much black? want to count those black squares more easily? pick your preferred grid color, it will disappear when the image is saved A screen grab from my iMac shows the original charts and the resulting single repeat .bmps after working in GIMP, ready for download with color reverse option and use on the electronic machines. Ayab knitters, in addition, would need to program the repeat in width to match the number of needles planned for use in the piece