Revisiting Ayab

WORK IN PROGRESS

A new Ayab release has been available for download for a while, though I have not had the opportunity to explore it.
Along with several new software features, a manual is now also available including a wealth of information on developing designs for download with various software and executing them in a variety of techniques on both the single and double beds. Kudos to the contributors to the project.
My tendency is to explore basics first, looking for any differences in how menus or techniques might differ from any experience with the software or knitting techniques in the past. There is some exploration of the design that can happen prior to turning the power on, which is required for configuring and knitting the project. Since houndstooth designs turned up again in the Facebook machine knitting group today, I thought I would begin with a simple hound design. Red squares mark the black ground in the repeat to help identify changes in rotation. These charts reflect some of the mirroring and rotation of original image possible within a design program (GIMP)while here the original image is altered in turn within the Ayab programThe horizontal repeat option has eliminated the requirement for tiling it in a width matching the number of needles one wished to repeat on the needle bed, though that can certainly remain an option if one wishes to add borders bands or knit intermittent vertical design stripes in the body of a wider knit. It should not be necessary to download the repeat tiled vertically as well as horizontally since infinite repeat is still available in the configure menu, but tiling in both directions allows one who may not have attempted doing so in the design software to visualize how the groups of repeats might align in the body of the knit thus allowing the opportunity of noticing potential errors prior to any knitting.
My initial test swatches were knit programming the 16X16 repeat X3, but using fewer needles than that. I am still finding the configuration process seems to take an extended period of time as compared to mylar sheets or img2track downloads. If new to the program, there are plenty of opportunities to double-check entries ie. here my first swatch was planned as fair islebut the repeat above accounts for 16 stitches in width, not 48 as I was planning, the full download count is reflected belowThe FI results are shown on the left, the first dbj test with lili buttons engaged and both carriages set to slip in both directions appear to the right. Note the difference in width and height of the resulting knit. The floats in FI are overlong, and there are some separation and lengthening of the stitches along the diagonal edges of the houndstooth shape The program does provide prompts as to which color should be picked up next, and clues as to where one is in the repeat, they are found at the bottom of the Ayab window. I happened to grab content with color B upcoming both times. An observation: while the sinker plate is technically labeled with A and B for 2 colors used in techniques utilizing the MC or thread lace buttons, the color changer is numbered in numeric sequence 1 to 4 from right to left as opposed to an alphabetical one, but Ayab assigns letters A to D to color positions.The Brother single bed color changer is the only one I know of that holds each yarn in place as opposed to releasing it for travel with the carriages. The double bed one does release the yarn. Set up, images, and more information on the color changer may be found in my post.
Using the same image and altering it for use with 3 color dbj options: my preferred software for designing is Gimp, using a magnification of 1200, with grid view and snap to grid options in use, and a pencil 1 pixel in width and height. In circumstances such as below, when a large area of the design is in black and one wishes to count pixels, the configure grid in the image menu will allow for changes to that which will help make the repeat clearer to analyzeWhen preparing images for download, they should be indexed to 3 colors If a 3 color image is loaded into ayab, the colors on the screen change.It takes a while when knitting double bed knits before one can assess whether the results are correct in terms of patterning since the knit is hidden for some length as it drops between the beds. Because the Ayab prompts for color changes were altered sometimes when the carriage on the right, sometimes on the left, I dropped the first sample off after slightly more than one repeat, found its patterning to be correct and that the prompts when on the color changer side for the following row to be knit from left to right were reliable, as shown in the knit swatches. In turn, I  used an indexed greyscale image. The lettering on the right indicates where colors were placed following the give instructions, rather than where they were assigned in the original design. The manual states that the color sequence for the separation is: white, grey, black, gray, however, if the prompts for changing colors as given are followed, which is very valuable in tracking them, the knitting occurs in reverse orderKnitting mode options for DBJ are listed below the single bed one, The main bed is set to slip in both directions, the ribber as well, with lili buttons engaged.  The number of colors is not altered automatically by Ayab, the change needs to be made manually.My first attempt was at knitting with the middle colors selected twice=C, B, A, B, C, B, A, B, B The backing looks different than standard birdseye because of that change in the placement of the middle color in the changing sequences. I followed that with testing the heart of Pluto variation C, B, A, C, B, A, CThere is an extra pair of all charcoal rows at the bottom due to the fact I had forgotten to set the knit carriage to slip, so all stitches knit in that color for those 2 rows. Both repeat series measured literally equal, give or take by a millimeter or 2 depending on whether I tugged at either of them in any way.
Both methods will knit each color for each design row only once, a unique option, thus motif elongation is minimal.
In terms of scale change when knitting the extra rows required by 3 colorwork, here is a side by side for comparison 
If pixel colors in greyscale are selected with C (3) being white pixels, B (2) the middle-value grey, and A (1) the black squares, placement of yarn in color changer can be planned to match other variations for the design. The visual shift can be quite interesting, the red here is swapped for grey for added contrast, the results can easily be guesstimated in the paint programs usedMore houndstooth designs for use either single or double bed hounds-tooth-fi-variations/, and one for fun, with not every color represented in each design row 

 

Blistered stitches dbj

Some of my previous posts on double bed fabrics with designs creating pockets in both one and two colors:
quilting-on-the-knitting-machine-1/
quilting-on-the-brother-km-2-solid-color-back-dbj/
revisiting machine knit quilting 
quilting using ayab software
http://alessandrina.com/2019/12/15/references-for-double-bed-single-color-references-for-double-bed-single-color-fabrics-with-pockets/

A review of some of the terms used in describing fabrics with raised designs in various patterns:
blistered fabrics: two rows of the main color are knit the same as in standard dbj, but more rows are added and knit with the blister color on only one of the two beds used to create textured pockets. Technically they can be executed in a single color as well as in two colors per row. The extra rows result in the blisters being raised or lifted up from the fabric surface, they are often also referred to as pintucks. These fabrics do not have the width and stretch of many other 2 color dbj fabrics.
When exploring this family of knits, use plain, fairly smooth and thin yarns. This is a fabric where pressing should be avoided so the texture is not lost or altered. For setting the pockets created sometimes slipping a wire or tool through the bubbles will do the trick as for any hems. Simple, bold patterns work the best. Spreading the texture evenly throughout the design will decrease distortions in width. Leaving needles out of work combined with racking can alter the basic technique considerably.
In the two-color version, a double thickness fabric with a crumpled face side and a single color backing is created. The blistered areas are knit in one bed only, the rest is full needle rib with floats from each blister enclosed in the fabric.
Begin with a repeat that is elongated X2, the jacquard separated pattern needs to be double marked. Needles are arranged as for DBJ. For 2 colors the main bed is set to slip <— —> throughout, but the ribber settings need to be changed and set to knit and slip alternately for 2 rows to produce the single color backing.  Good needle condition is a must if occasional stitches are dropped on the ribber they can be repaired when the work is off the machine.
Ripples are created by setting one bed to slip and the other to knit for several rows, then setting both beds to knit simultaneously to join the tucks in repeats. They are selective pintucks, on every needle rib. The main bed is set to slip <—  —> throughout, the ribber carriage is set to slip for 4 or more even numbers of rows, and then to knit for 2 rows (this number may also be varied depending on the specific pattern). This is a fabric that likes to be weighted evenly. Tight ribber tension will help increase the definition of ripples. As in any multicolor fabric, each set of ripple stitches may be knit using a different color yarn.  Some designs tolerate having the main bed set to tuck rather than knit.
Brother machines often are limited to 4 rows knitting on the bed creating the ripple before closing the rib.
Transferring blister stitches to main bed, with a shadow lace tool or a transfer carriage is referred to as “shadow lace”. Adding blank rows in your design makes it easier to have a transfer point to the opposite bed. Using a plaiting feeder will add color contrast.
“Nopps” which are essentially small bumps on tightly textured tuck stitch grounds require careful tension adjustments.

An image was shared in a machine knitting group on Facebook. It cropped up in Pinterest, could be traced back to some Russian knitting forums and a how-to knit query was made
There is an Italian language youtube channel with a throve of machine knitting videos, one on jacquard groffato , executed on punchcard machines, with a companion video on punching the card. Groffato means embossed.
Points to remember: the more needles on either bed knit alone to create the pockets, the more the tension used needs to approach the one for single bed knitting there with the same yarn. Large shapes are best used, represented by white squares /unpunched areas. Punchcards such as ones published with large unpunched areas for thread lace designs or tuck stitches with large punched areas color reversed can work once the principle is sorted out.
The setting used in the video is for tubular/ circular knitting.
The all punched rows in the video actually match rows that would be knit anyway because the main carriage is set to knit in one of the two directions, not slip. Two yarn ends are used, which could result in a fairly dense fabric with limited drape. Switching to a single yarn end can alter both considerably.
In designing your own patterns for testing it is best at the start to keep shapes simple and not worry about repeat variations.  I am working on a 930 using img2track, but my repeat is 24 stitches wide and usable on a punchcard model, its source is another pin. To make the design twice as long, when planning an electronic download, the image can be stretched in the design software or by altering the stretch factor to 2 in img2track. Tiling the design prior to download can help one imagine the potential results in using it for an all-over pattern or what its appearance might be if the repeat is shifted into a brick configuration.
Use a familiar, smooth yarn in an easy to see color. Tension changes alone can change the dimension in the textured surface, so having a “normal” baseline for tensions and “feel” while knitting from previous uses of the yarn double bed gives one a good starting point.
The “flower” image used in my tests is shown here in the original, and then is color reversed so its shape will blister, not the ground. Below it, on the left, the image was stretched within img2track, on the right within my design program which happens to be Gimp. In both instances, the original 24X24 design becomes 24X48 in actual knitting

The tiled image for both a standard repeat and a brick configuration shifting by 12 stitches to the right are not thrilling me, but the goal is to explore the knit technique, modifications in the original or even abandoning it can happen later My starting samples were knit on 32 stitches, not enough to get a sense of or a good view of the horizontal repeat of 24 stitches. At first, I used the design version with no horizontal black lines in the download. The difference between the every needle rib at the bottom of the pieces and the slip stitch blister fabric is easily seen. Slip stitches are short and thin whether single or double bed. On the left, I used the tensions of 4/4, as for the particular yarn in past experiments. On the right, the switch was made to 4/2. The tighter ribber tension made the blisters more pronounced. The non selected needles on the main bed create the pockets. Because functions repeat for pairs of rows in this design, the first preselection row can happen from either side and cam buttons may be reversed with similar results as seen in top vs bottom below. Opposite part buttons are used as in option A or B.As I have explained in the past, I tend to leave the slide lever permanently in the center position. It becomes one less variable, forgetting to reset it can result in errors in gauge and more mishaps when knitting multiple pieces where gauge matters significantly or in reproducing previous work. The “striped” repeat produces essentially the same fabric. The knit carriage may be set to slip in both directions when using it since the row of all punched holes or black pixels will knit every stitch on every needle selected while in the previous samples the cam button set to knit in one direction performed that function regardless of any markings on the design repeat.  The ribber is set to knit in one direction, slip in the other. Reversing sides for cam button settings produces the same fabric  

To my mind, the best shapes for this sort of surface design are clearly geometric ones. My eye sees them as more easily identified on the surface of the resulting knit. Sticking with the original “flower” however, here it is after a bit of editing of just a few pixels followed by a larger swatchThe Stitchworld Pattern Book is another good source for predesigned repeats, many in units suitable for punchcards as well. I was attracted to the possible geometry in this particular patternThe repeat I chose is designated as suitable for the Garter Carriage. It is 24 stitches wide by 48 rows high, shown below as provided, charted in Gimp as .png for download, and tiled to help visualize how continuous repeats might line up. The image .png was downloaded with img2track to my 930, with a stretch factor of 1.0, retaining the original repeat sizeThe resulting knit is interesting on both its knit and the purl sides, clearly shows how the “image” is shortened in slip stitch techniques, elongation would be required to create more of the diamond shape Final decisions are often best made after a period of rest for both the knit and for our eyes. It is only in the actual knitting that the shapes can be finally evaluated, worked on further, or abandoned. One of my own best selling felted items for more than a decade was born from an accidental effect on a large swatch that nearly landed in the trashcan after it became something different than what I had planned or expected.

Beginner’s corner

WORK IN PROGRESS

Copyright can be a touchy, sometimes murky subject. In my teaching days at a design school, each instructor was responsible for accumulating what amounted to a “textbook” with any expected readings and required information for students attending the classes. There was an arrangement with a single copy center that actually paid a fee set by the government in order to be allowed to provide a service. Teachers supplied boxed material on a single-sided copy per page sheets, withdrew it at the end of the term. The copy center would make double-sided copies from each sheet in the original, bind them, making them available for purchase for only the cost of what it may have been to customers using copiers to make their own per sheet. My intro to knitting “book” evolved into 330 pages, costing students as far as I can recall about $30. An overall bibliography and often credit in sections were included. This all was happening pre-internet browser searches and easy downloads.
I have often not included a definition for some of the terms used in my posts. Also, I did not share information from manuals and company publications until they, in turn, became easily available online, long after the companies that published them went out of business.
A list of common abbreviations: Test and gauge swatches

From the Brother Knitting Techniques Book
I personally prefer to measure gauge on the purl side, where to my eye the start and end of the color transitions appear clearer.
The Passap advice was quite different. This is from the Duomatic 80 manual
and it was followed by tables that helped with calculation conversions based on measurements. When using Japanese machines while executing some DBJ or highly textured stitches, a larger swatch should become the go-to when measuring gauge for garments by default. Using 100X100 combined with the use of metric measurements facilitates the maths and use of devices such as the knitleader, where measurements in millimeters are required.

A “long swatch” exploring a card from a “censored” selection from the factory-supplied punchcard packet in as many techniques as possible became a required assignment In KM model manuals a list was sometimes provided suggesting what cam settings might be suitable for each card
Factory supplied cards were usually marked with a number and letter as seen above, but oddly as model numbers changed, sometimes either or both of the latter would change as well. A table of my own after a quick review of my stash:
1S, 2R,3J/S, 3P, 4D, 5J, 6P, 7G, 8S/J, 9G, 10D, 13G, 101, 102, 103, 107, 108, 109

 

Foreign language machine knitting youtube channels

I am sharing some online foreign language video channels that offer, in my opinion, a huge variety of topics in their content with the possibility upon its viewing of being inspired, learning techniques and new ways to use tools, often with subtitles or even with no need for them or spoken language because of clarity in the material presented:

Italian: Ortenzia Renza Menciotti

Japanese: knitlabo 

Portuguese: Isatrico

Hindi: Kritica creation