Lace edgings on Brother machines

The initial goal here is to produce a knit fabric using lace transfers in the familiar way, but the knit carriage will now be set to slip <–>, selecting needles with each pass. In routine lace patterning the KC is set for plain knit, does not preselect needles, advance the mylar, punchcard, or other electronic patterning.

If this image, where all blue squares represent knit stitches and white squares unworked ones, was provided with the intent of its being produced as a piece of knit on the machine, the initial approach might be to use a single prong tool to move the edge of the blue in one stitch to the right for a decrease, and out one needle to the left for an increase. When the decrease is made on the bottom curve, the needle from which the stitch was taken is put back out of work. When an increase is made, a stitch is moved to work on left, and the last stitch on that side is transferred onto it. As knitting continues, that now empty needle location will create an eyelet.

I decided to wing it for the first swatches. This illustrates the same knit shape. Blue rows represent all knit rows and stitches, the empty pairs of rows leave areas to insert lace eyelets in pattern.

Arrows indicate the movement of the lace carriage on left, knit carriage on right. Red squares now represent transfers to right, green ones transfers to left

A second transfer to the right is included in the pattern close to the left edge of the trim to create eyelets next to the decreases, matching those eyelets created by stitches moving out in the increase segment of the chart

A theoretical series of right and left transfers is then inserted, creating a shape in the center of the trim’s width

Now reducing it all to black and white squares or pixels for first preselection from right hand side using an electronic. This repeat is not suitable for use in a punchcard machine even though it is 24 stitches wide. Electronics advance a design row with each pass of the carriage when cam buttons are pushed in and with both carriages set to needle select. Punchcard machines in those circumstances do not advance when the alternate carriage is brought into work from the opposite side. This charted repeat is usable as is on an unaltered 910, with the first preselection row from right to left. LC operates from the left, KC from the right.

For use with Ayab software two other things need consideration. Ayab mirrors lace repeats, so either mirror the repeat of the original design, or choose action mirror in the software prior to knitting. This is a screen grab of the repeat used for my initial swatch test. I later changed the section where the diamonds cross in at the center of the eyelet repeats In addition: those first 2 rows need to be all knit, so the top row of the design was moved down to row 1 position.
KC preselects left to right, knits black squares to left, preselects same needle selection again to knit those same stitches traveling back to its home on the right, creating the two knit rows that in “normal lace” would be worked with the KC simply set to knit.  As the KC now knits the second row, it preselects needles for the first row of transfers, rests on the right
LC transfers to right as it travels to left, preselects the next row of transfers. As it moves back to left it transfers to left, preselects for first of 2 all knit rows, rests on left
The sequence is repeated  until the piece reaches the required length.
End needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row, but was not happy with the elongated stitches on alternate rows edge stitches on the increase side. These would be the carriage actions To review: end needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row. I had a serious yarn tangle on the right about halfway up the swatch, with some of the evidence visible in the approximate center of the swatch photo 

changing that crossing of the diamond outlines, still winging it

My fiber is now a crisp cotton, unmarked weight, tension 8, and it is much easier to observe areas that may still be a problem to me as the designer. Ideally I would prefer the lines created by the transfers marked in cyan to match the quality of those immediately below or to the ascending part of the diamond on their opposite side, that would require changes in the transfers sequences and space between knit rows. The LC non selected stitches on the straight creating an every other row slipped stitch are still something I like.  The difference on the edge stitches in the ascending angle are happening because with each transfer out, there is a single thickness of yarn on the new edge stitch and moving the stitch over a needles space elongates it. Longer loops btw are also created when single increases are made by bringing needles into work on the carriage side prior to knitting a row across all needles. In the trim’s decrease edges, the transfers in each new edge stitch have double the yarn thickness contributing to a different appearance, highlighted with magenta arrows. There are 2 rows that have no edge transfers programmed intentionally in the center before reversing direction, so that area has no resulting edge eyelet.  The last shot at adjusting the repeat, with improvement in those cyan marked areas. Plain knit rows may be added between each repeat, the edge of the knit will be different than in the remaining trim on each side

Going back to the wheel that has already been invented, how can pre drawn published mk lace repeats be used instead of “winging it” endlessly or not having the confidence to perform the necessary assigning symbols and proceeding with the required separation? Still trying to work with a pattern that knits for 2 rows, transfers for 2, a chart from Stitch World:marking the 2 all knit rows that will be plain knit by programming black squares The pattern is actually for an all over lace. All the transfers in the central diamond actually are happening in the same direction. If the repeat was programmed in the usual manner, beginning with LC on the left, those transfers on the first design row and in the whole of the center diamond shape would all be to the left. I can live with them all being to the right, and would be interested in more eyelets at the edge of the trim. Here is a new repeat, with the increased eyelets at the curved edge Remember if using ayab to mirror the above repeat (seen on right) prior to preparing to knit it There is a disruption for 2 rows in the very center of the diamond, where no increases or decreases occur on the shaped edge prior to reversing the shaping. It was there in the earlier sample marked with arrows as well, but not as noticeable where the edge was created with the addition of single eyelets on increase and decrease rows.

Not finding any other candidates to alter for this purpose in stitch world at the moment I am left with the option of going back to the Brother punchcard book collections, and reviewing what needs to be changed for those same patterns that work so well with the KC set to plain knit but are now to be knit with the KC set to slip <—–>……


a lace punchcard repeat with transfers in opposite directions Assigning colors to transfers: red to left, blue to right. In theory the same repeat could be used flipped horizontally for operating the lace carriage from the right. Yellow lines highlight the 2 blank rows in card that will be replaced by black squares/ pixels (remember rules are different for slip and lace in punchcard knitting)Since the goal is a trim, things are rearranged for knitting to begin on the full 24 stitches There are 2 ways to get the above repeat to work, one is by adding extra blank rows. I chose to reverse positions for transfers, moving left transfers upon row, and red down one row. With lace carriage operating from the left this is my new repeat, with edge shaping added for trim edgeKC is set to slip after the first preselection row, first set of transfers is selected on its second pass to the right. The first transfers with the LC are made to the right, the second set to the left. If knitting the repeat using Ayab remember the above is mirrored by the software, so choose action mirror prior to configuring

I knit a swatch using the thinner yarn again. The difference in increasing angle can be seen here as well, the pattern is short, so the outer curve of the trim reflects that 

This would be my test repeat for knitting the same trim in ayab with the LC operating from the right. The software would mirror it, no action needed. The last row is shifted to the bottom to allow for the knit carriage finding a home on the left. First row knit would preselect 2 needles only, with KC then set to slip in both directions, the next two rows should knit, preselecting the first row of transfers to be made by the LC operating from the right.

I am unable to test the repeat. I have had intermittent problems with patterning in the sofware from the time I installed the kit. In multiple efforts and restarts I am now getting no selection at all or wrong selection with LC operating from right, while rows advance in the software and beeps continue. I have knit lace with the LC on the right before, but not with the KC selecting needles as well. Possible solutions and causes to be determined. 3/8/18 I have been told upon testing by others the same issues have been encountered that I did when using the KC to select from left and the LC from right, and the problem appears to be the result of a bug in the software to be addressed in future updates.

3/10/18: an adaptation of Susanna’s automatically shaped trim for Brother KM, p. 223 of “A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics”. This chart shows the first rows of the published punchcard. Please note: using my own lace carriage, when I tested canceling end needle selection, the problem was not solved. Brother setting recommendations made for a similar transfer pattern in an edging published by them, are given and repeat is pictured at end of my post.

Row 1: LC moves to right, no needles selected
Row 2: LC moves to left, preselects next row of transfers
Row 3: LC moves to right, transfers preselected needles to right (red dots), selects needles (if any) for next pass to left
Row 4: LC travels to and transfers to left (green dots), preselects for first row to be knit by KC In this particular pattern the direction of the arrows match the direction of the transfers with movements of LC operating from left
Row 5: KC from right, set to slip <—  —> knits all needles in D position, repeats the same selection as it travels to left (yellow marks)
Row 6: KC travels back to right, in the second shaped knit row, preselects for the next transfers to be made by the LC
Row 7: LC travels to and transfers to right, preselects for next row of transfers
Row 8: LC travels to left, transferring to left if any needles have been preselected on the previous pass, and the process continues

The numbers on the punchcard chart do not reflect actual row numbers in knitting because when row 4, 10, etc is reached, on the next pass (a blank row in the card), the card does not advance and the previous selection is repeated. For each carriage to make an even number of passes to travel to and from its original position, the total length of the repeat must be an even number of rows.

Here are the 24 stitch repeats adjusted for knitting on the electronic. A for an unaltered 910, B indicating direction of transfers (red to right, green to left). Arrows mark the problem row, and my solution to it C on the far right, along with the repeat adjusted for use with Ayab.the ayab screen image for working the edging  Both KC and LC are set not to select first and last needles in my directions. When the decreases start to happen on the left of the chart, because the end needle selection for transfer to right again does not happen in areas marked with magenta arrows,  there is an extra stitch that remains on the left that does not get transferred (orange dot) so it is not knit off and simply get held as subsequent rows of knitting take place. Restoring needle selection in the LC is not a solution for the problem, so the final repeat has been amended by me to get that edge transfer. The pattern starts on  cast on 20, not the full 24 stitches. Ayab knitters: use the LC to begin selection from left. The first pass will select for a knit row, push those needles back to B, and the LC will select for transfers to right on the next row as it moves to the left. When knitting is to take place there is a clear distinction in the number of selected needles (black squares). The KC will be set to slip <–  –>. Make certain to remember to return the remaining 4 of the 24 total stitches back to B so the full repeat is in work on the needle bed before continuing in pattern, otherwise there will be needles there to accept stitches moved over for increases to left.

The two extra passes of the LC in this method result in a 2 stitch border on the increasing and decreasing angles of the piece, creating a much nicer edge than that in the samples at the top of the post. The eyelet so close to the right edge stitch which also winds up being slipped every other row made for very messy loose stitches in the thicker cotton that I could not control. The sample did better when I pulled the non selected needles on knit rows out to hold prior to moving across them with KC. 

When working on electronics the 24 stitch limit in width for the repeat is no longer there, extra knit stitches may be easily added to the right of the pairs of eyelets along the non shaped edge. Having those extra stitches knit on the right side of the repeat made it possible for me to use my cotton again, giving me a controllable edge on that side without having to pull stitches out to make them knit. To my eye, I find the extra passes with the LC and those extra knit stitches on the right are well worth the effort and planning in the finished piece

the ayab repeat  

Something to try: I found instructions ascribed to Brother
for another version of an edging using a pattern that has the same eyelet sequences along the shaped edgings. Their recommendation for a 950i is to remove the non selection mechanism on the lace carriage, and mention was made of the “rubber wheels on the carriage” being uppermost, allowing the end needles to be selected. My lace carriage has fixed, old fashioned brushes, not rubber wheels, and my eliminating end needle selection did not solve the problem with that single stitch in the center of the repeat. And if there is not enough to keep track of, this also combines fine lace and traditional transfer lace, would work fine as just lace.

3/15/18 after more testing I have come to the conclusion that end needle selection cancellation on my 910 LC is working properly, but is not operative when I am working with the my Ayab interface.

Double jacquard using punchcard machines

Each row of double jacquard consists of  at least 2 rows of slip stitch patterning, one with ground yarn, the other with contrast. The rows knit per each design row varies with the number of colors used in the design. Punchcard knitters are not excluded from producing such fabrics, but the color separation is done by hand or using software, and then the cards are punched. Size of repeat is less important in creating interesting knits than choice of yarns, colors, and technique choices. In early art to wear days, pre electronic home knitting machines, large, non repetitive images were created by breaking down the large images into several vertical panels the width of the punchcard repeat plus seaming allowance. Upon completion, they were  joined side by side to create the final image. Ribber settings for DBJ apply across models in principle, may need adjustment depending on the age and brand of the machine. If working on a bulky machine, consider  using ladder back method.

The common method suggested in instruction manuals for Japanese knitting machines can be viewed in this punch card, laid over a colored template. The limit in repeat width is the fixed 24 stitch. To fit the design on a single 60 row factory punchcard, the maximum is 30 rows in motif height, because one row of pattern requires 2 rows of punching in the card. The step by step separation follows.

Helpful tools: on one blank card color each section of the card, representing color row sequences. This may be used later to check color separation. Box the edge numbers in pairs, beginning with numbers 56, 57, skip two rows to numbers 60, 1, and so on. This separation splits the first and second row of color 1 between the first and last row on the punchcard.

On a second blank card, prepare a master.  First row is left blank, then 2 rows are punched out, followed by 2 rows left blank, repeat, ending with a blank row. Again working upward, number each row you have punched out on the left hand side starting with number 54, then 55-56, 57-58 etc, ending with a single row, 23. This will result in number markings matching both sides at the bottom of the card, below the #1 factory mark. My own master began on the left with the # 53. I also added corresponding design row numbers for each row on the far left. (1 and 2, 3 and 4, and so on). Written notes on right: an even number of rows need to be knit in each color, so in this method pattern must be an even number of rows in  height, boxed numbers represent rows knit in ground color.

Take a blank card and put the master card on top, fastening the 2 cards together with snaps.You can now mark holes to be punched. Copy the first 2 rows of color 2 on rows marked 54 and 55 (or 53 and 54 in my case), repeat in pairs for the required height. I like to mark the card to be punched with colored pencils that differ sharply for each color. They have the benefit of being erasable, and can help with keeping each row distinct when punching.

When the completed repeat is marked, unfasten the snaps and move the card down by one row.  You will now see that the marks you have made through the top row of each set on the master card. Mark through each lower row any blank squares in the row above.

Again, after completing the repeat unfasten the snaps and slide the master up by 2 rows.The card will now be back to its original position, and up by one row. Now you will see the marks you have made on the blank card showing through the bottom of each row of the master card. Mark through each upper row on any square opposite the ones marked in the row below. 

After the repeat is completed, make certain to punch across 2 final rows for the card to create the overlaps for a continuous pattern, as with any other stitch type. Punch out all marks, and you are ready to knit. To check your design visually lay the finished card over the colored master, correct any errors if noted. Your card is now ready to knit DBJ.

First preselection row is right to left with color 1, it will knit from right to left, moving toward the color changer  where colors are then changed every 2 rows. This color separation will not work for fabrics that require the same needles knitting for 2 rows.

A second master that may be used with the same approach, for a different type of color separation: 

This separation works with any number of rows repeats. The design will be elongated because each design row knits twice in each color, with 4 rows completing it. Fabric will be thicker as well, so use thinner yarns when working it. Draw shapes in colors that are chosen for clear contrast, not because they are to be used in the finished piece. Here I am back to those triangles used in earlier posts. The choice of which color you begin with, whether in the separation or in the knit is ultimately up to you.

With the masked card, the first row is marked on the very bottom of your new design, I began with the red, which would produce the equivalent of this

Remove the mask. Beginning with the second row from the bottom, mark in contrast any square not colored in the row below Punch all colored squares and you are ready to knit.  I prefer to not rely on built in elongation if I am making a garment or a long piece of knit. If errors are made or correction of dropped stitches, loops, wrong color selection, etc. is required, unraveling rows is complicated enough without having to also sort out exactly where you need to be in relationship to where the card did or did not advance. Black squares represent punched holes, a segment one separated by the red line in repeat width could be used on a mylar or for electronic download 

Another master for the elongated design, advancing every row, numbers represent rows being filled in, beginning with odd in this orientation, and even with the card rotated for marking even # rows in color 2

This is the same repeat, color separated and elongated X 2; proceed as with the directions above, but in this instance each row in each color is marked twice. The expanded repeat: 

I have used these images to illustrate color separations in far older posts.

The reason the resulting separation here looks so different from the one above is simply that in this latest series of charts the color selections have essentially been inverted. The inversion creates a mirror mirrored back to the original orientation with the inverted colors in place, and the color reverse is now recognizable 

As a matter of course it is helpful to be consistent in choice of starting color when separating motifs. Any single repeats isolated from above are usable in electronic machines, reduced to black and white squares. Electronics vary in the built separations in terms of choosing black or white squares for the first row knit, whether you download an original image or work with built in ones. With preselection of needles in Brother or pushers in Passap, with an easy to count color repeat and some air knitting,  planning starting color of choice and needle placement can be sorted out for more confidence when actual knitting starts.

If you would prefer to work on graph paper that matches the size of your punchcard, there are a downloadable PDF and word doc with some guidelines in my previous posts more-low-tech/ and creating knit graph paper. The posts were in 2011 and 2014, with illustrations drafted in earlier versions of OS and apps. Working in Pages I was now able print an image just about to perfect scale to part of a blank factory card. Here is part of the first repeat in this post traced through the  punchcard holes onto it: 

I then exported 2 documents, one to Word, the other to PDF. The first printed  image and the PDF one (opened in Preview) printed to identical scale using my Epson Printer. Here are the new docs for you to try, they may need tweaking. My measurements, adjusted in Pages were 11 cm by 18.2, for 30 rows in card height: PDF  no numbers card, Word doc exported from Pages no numbers card . I have found squares of the  blank card BMP provided may be filled in in either GIMP or Paint, using the paint bucket tool, but printed size is not in scale to the printout of the original in the pdf.

If scale does not matter and you prefer convenience, this is a numbered “full” punchcard template as PDF scaled to fit on a single page  punchcard numbered , and as an editable Excel document exported from Mac Numbers: punchcard templates_ excel

Quilting using Ayab software

My last post reviewing the quilting on the machine topic so far. Ayab does not allow for the first pre selection row to be made from right to left. In any fabric where preselection needs to occur from that direction, with pattern instructions written with that requirement, in order to match the fabric the solution lies in shifting the last row of the repeat down to the first. If you are working on an odd number of needles and set up matters, pay attention as to whether the program places the extra needle on the right or the left of 0 before you commit to placement on your needle bed, the software is not consistent in this. Here the odd # is placed on Left, in a later swatch on the right. From Adrienne Hunter the tip “I think you are expecting that the odd number will always be on the left. But that’s not it, the rule is that the larger number will be on the left, which may be even or odd.

Ayab settings: 
I began with this partial repeat from an older post

To avoid any confusion with which KC (Knit Carriage) slip buttons to push, simply push in both. The selected needles that should knit in slip stitch will knit, and the ones that should slip (not selected) will slip. Knitting starts COL, prep the interface, travel to right. With COR proceed to left. Machine can be set to knit those first 2 rows, or to slip both beds if you do not wish to have the extra 2 knit rows. Now with COL set main bed to slip <–  –>, ribber to slip <–

My first repeat for a “square” pocket was wrong. The total number of rows in height needs to be an even one. It takes 2 passes of the carriages to complete one circular row. The first repeat below is 17 rows high; so I got as far as one series of pockets followed by mis patterning that was the fault of the design, not the program. The software gives one the opportunity to easily check for stitch and row counts. Though I loaded images 60 stitches in width, my samples are knit 40 stitches widethe amended repeat, now 16 rows in height 

I had a problem when I first paused to stuff pockets with the software advancing a row even though I was outside the left mark, but no issues after I restarted the process and continued. Because the pockets are knitting stitches separately on each bed except for where shapes are joined, the resulting knit approaches stocking stitch qualities and tension settings. It lacks the stretch of every needle rib, where twice as many needles are in work. The joins on the knit side (L) nearly disappear unless fabric is stretched, while joins on the purl side (R) are more visible. 

A “diamond” 12 stitch repeat as it would appear across the bottom of a punch card with the option for first preselection from either side, followed by appropriate cam settingsThe repeat adjusted for preselection from left, illustrating row shift on right
The repeat adjusted for knitting across an Ayab 60 stitch swatchThe bottom of swatch, with absent pockets, shows what happens if wrong slip/knit combinations are in use. Knit side is shown on left, purl side on right, with a bit of cotton ball “stuffing” poking through  
While trying to work with the circular and other settings I found an easier way to achieve one color quilting, still working with that “diamond” from my early post 

I use GIMP to create most of my images for download to either the Passap or now also the 910. In order for the elongation not to be muddy with an image outline in multiple colors, or to cleanly tile it, the image will need to be converted. To draw or paint, begin in RBG mode, then change image to BW palette for scaling or tiling 
make certain the number you wish to remain constant is highlighted
click on “chain” to break aspect ratio
change the second value to desired one click on scale, here is the single repeat, without the necessary last row shiftto tile the image across the width of your swatch make certain the value you want to remain constant is highlighted 
“break the chain”change width to stitch count of your swatch

the tiled image will appear in a different part of your screen, it will be the repeat usable for the first preselect row from right to left. More on using GIMP.

For use with ayab with a repeat that is already tiled but needs “correction”, using snap to grid, dot to dot, copy and paste all but last row onto a new image at the top of a new canvas with the same pixel width and height. Then copy and paste the last row from the above tiling to the first, blank row of the new image. You may also simply work on the original image if you are comfortable with moving the larger cropped image around, pasting it in place at the top, and then editing the first row by hand.  Finish with “export as” in your preferred format for download The smaller diamond would also be workable, but resulting shapes would be very small. The initial, unaltered tiling:for use with Ayab:
Ayab setting is for “single machine type”. The carriage settings: opposite part buttons, right on KC, left on ribber, are set after the first 2 preselection passes, with COL

the resulting elongated diamond fabric, knit and purl sides respectively

Thickening the outlines of the “diamond” varies the joined outlines; solid geometric  shapes may also be created and used as seen in other posts. I like to work with same or similar shapes to understand what the different settings do to their knit structure and scale

Working in more than one color: using the color separated repeat double height. The first chart below illustrates it as it would appear on the bottom of a punchcard. Here first preselection row would need to happen moving from right to left, toward the color changer, with subsequent color changes every 2 rows  
adjusted repeat/ top row shift to bottom for use with Ayab’s preselection from left This fabric requires changing ribber settings manually every 2 rows, thus creating a solid color back. Set the ribber to slip /levers up when most needles are selected on the top bed, set ribber to knit / levers down  in both directions when a few needles are selected on the top bed. The latter selection forms the “stitching” lines on “quilt”. The first color to knit after preselection toward the color changer knits the black squares on rows 2 and 3 in the chart above, so it will create the dominant color in front of the fabric, the second color change will knit the background / white squares on rows 4 and 5 above, and seal the edges of the diamond / black squares 
Reminders: no matter what stitch type, if you forget to select proper cam buttons after N/N settings you will only get plain knitting (stripes at bottom of my swatch). If you are working on a Mac make certain to set your energy saving preferences to insure it stays “awake” for the duration of your knitting time. I happened to knit my samples with cam button set to KC II. KC I is the better setting, giving a slightly different seal along the edge away from the color changer. 

What of using the ayab circular setting and letting the software do some of the “work” for you? The setting was developed for tubular fair isle, so the main bed  with slip stitch <–  –>  knits alternating colors. When the one color knits on the main bed, it skips and forms floats in front of needles not selected for that color. The process is repeated with each color change. There will be a pair of  floats on the inside of the knit for each completed design row. For some how-tos to achieve color separations involved, and more info on tubular knits including Passap techniques please see previous post

The goal is to had been to use the ayab circular setting to produce quilted fabrics, joined at intervals rather than as an open tube with a different pattern on each “side”.  When attempting to utilize anything “off label” for a use other than intended, lots of trial and error can be involved. Ultimately the choice needs to be made as to whether the final technique is worth using simply because you can. I habitually double check my settings and fabrics at least once, a day or more after I knit my samples and post. The work in progress posts actually show some of the editing as it happens, with corrections and mistakes included. The heading goes away when I think I am done with the topic. A day after my pink and white adventure I tried to reproduce the fabric with absolutely no success. This was as close as I got, with different carriage cam settings, the knit side is shown. 

After quite some time and a collection of expletives in 2 languages it appears the solution to my inability to produce the fabric is because the ayab setting I used for knitting it was not the circular one. After a software patterning error and a program restart, I apparently selected ribber rather than circular machine type and proceeded happily to success. To produce the fabric in my re do: the ribber “machine type” setting was chosen 

the green yarn is thinner than the pink, so the bleed through of the white on the reverse side is greater. The remaining information applies. My first samples using a single stitch outline, length X 2 for the “diamond” were a disaster in terms of stitches falling off, the fabric being a squishy, shortened mess.

Back to the drawing board: I thickened up the outline of the shapes, grading up and down in 2 rows in height sequences, needed for getting to and from the color changerI chose to continue to test on a narrower repeat. An added consideration: in knitting fair isle, the first and last needle on each side is normally selected whether by using change knob on KC I in 910, or adjusting knit under carriage in punchcard machines. One can program black squares on either side of the full pattern repeat for the width of the fabric to insure that any number of edge stitches knit every row on each side. Working on a smaller repeat, now 47 X 24note: the odd # and even number needle positions for this new repeat are in reverse order from the one at the top of this post. Here the odd # is placed to the right of 0, not the left
If for any reason you choose to work in color reverse, the black border on each side will be lost.The amended repeat to keep that knit border (black squares/ pixels filled in; this was my working repeat It takes a few tries to sort out what may work. These were my first effort switching ribber settings around until I reached  creating pockets.The color choice needs to be made re solid color for backing and sealed areas of the fabric; for me it was the pink. This is where things get a little fiddly. The fabric settings once the first design row is preselected: KC is set to slip in both directions throughout (remember to change main bed to slip if preselection row have been with KC set to knit). I began with pink for my “sealing” stitches/ solid backing color.

After return to left, change color (white),  no stitches are knit on the ribber, only on main bed

here the floats become increasingly apparent the ribber  now dropped a notch on the right side 
stuffing pockets with cotton balls the ribber is returned to up position, knitting continues 

A: setting operator error creating solid color row. B: same, ribber not set to slip in both directions, resulting in white joining all selected needle. C: stuffed pockets, tending to make fabric wider and shorter   A, B: extra sealing rows (2 in white). C: stuffed pockets and a bit of peek through cotton. D: points to bleed through backing color of white floats on the inside of the pocketsA helpful tune: pink down, white up in reference to right ribber slip lever.

The question now follows: which color separation does Ayab perform automatically for DBJ?


Matching patterns across sweater body and sleeves

There is a resurgence of circular yokes on the runways and market at the moment. My previous post discussed some of the considerations in knitting them. For those not up to working that particular way, there are variation in carrying the patterns around the body in “continuous” lines.

If raglan shaping is used, angular lines are created where patterns meet. All knit is essentially vertical striping. Raglan shaping should match both front and back of sleeve, the wider the raglan shape, the less sharp the stripe intersection. Striping in a traditional cap sleeve creates designs that move horizontally across combined body and arm at rest.

When designing a sweater with a shaped sleeve cap, knit a sample of your stripe pattern. An online stripe generator can help visualize stripe formulas, color ways, etc. If knitting fair isle use row counts for FI pattern height for stripe placement. It is helpful to have a 1 row, 1 stitch graph to plot repeats out. It does not matter if the grid is square or rectangular, providing that vertical and horizontal numbers are based on your gauge. Draw a line from armhole point to armhole on both pattern and sleeve, and there is your match. Work stripe pattern up from armhole line for your cap,  down from line for sleeve repeats.

In my theoretical sweaters the sleeve’s wrist edge is technically below the armhole to waistline length, so stripes need to be plotted accordingly, from armhole down.  The same method is used if single motifs or other variations in striping are involved. For single motifs, if matching them in body and sleeve cap, begin by designing them so they fit in the cap’s crown. Place motif in body and sleeve on same line, and plan the remainder of the sweater calculating from the armhole as for stripes, basing placement on numbers of rows in each design segment.

A collection of references to visit online:
Ravellings on the knitted sleeve By Jenna Wilson
math calculators for knitting
“magic formula”


Intro to knitting: gauge swatches

These were the guidelines offered in my intro to machine knitting class for machine knitting swatches to be measured for gauge, or simply to test new yarns or yarns in different colors. Sometimes yarn from the same manufacturer can vary  in gauge even if in the same color but from a different dye lot. Black is often yarn that has been over-dyed, and may behave very differently.  The knit studio was a Brother punchcard lab, with a few 910s available for special projects at the end of the course, or for advanced knitting when offered. The suggestions work well for single bed knitting on standard or bulky machines for fabrics that are not deeply textured. I find with DBJ and highly textured fabrics it is wise to measure much larger swatches if the goal is a predictable size garment or finished piece. I also got in the habit of checking the marker measurements against the finished piece. If using a knit leader, the tape used to track your stitches should line up on the width of your swatch in term of counts. Using truly contrasting colors for the separating rows with tension marks, in equal weight yarn if possible, make the visual measurement for row counts easier.  Until one has a good understanding of how stitches are formed, it is good to avoid very dark colors. 

These illustration are from the Brother Knitting Techniques Book, now available for free download online

adding yarn markers in body of knit I prefer to measure on the purl side, find the top and bottom of stitches easier to identify Using the ribber? from the Brother Ribber Techniques Book:

Revisiting machine knit “quilting”

This will are another work in progress post for a while as I gather materials, and prior to commenting on how to create these fabrics using the Ayab interface. In 2013 I shared my first post on the topic, covering single bed quilting as a hand technique, with the aid of a punchcard to pre select needles only, and with an intro to a simple ribber repeat in a single color. It was followed by a post explaining the color separation for 2 color quilted fabrics.

one color experiments using monofilament 

In my swatches below, the red stars mark the spots where one fabric surface separates from the other. All use 2 color patterning, with a single color only appearing on the reverse side. In Brother machines to achieve this result, the ribber settings are changed manually every 2 rows. The ribber is set to knit when carrying the backing color, which is also creating the “stitching/ joining” sections, while it is set to slip when the color creating the pockets is worked. The settings on the illustration on the left create the foreground color pockets, the ribber slips for 2 rows. The settings on the right will knit every row on the ribber. Two rows of each color are knitted alternately, the same as in DBJ. Since there are as many “blister” rows as there are rib rows, the blister/ pocket design will lie flat against the backing. If the goal is a lined Jacquard, the yarn tension must be evenly balanced to produce a fabric which lies flat. The texturing of the quilted surface is produced with an uneven tension, knitting more loosely on the main bed.  The looser surface may be left as is, or wadding may be inserted between the beds as knitting progresses, while dropping the ribber part way. Commercial versions of these fabrics are sometimes referred to with the terms eight lock or interlock, and double jersey. The punchcard instructions for the first swatch, from Brother Ribber Techniques Book 

reverse of fabric (black) folded over on bottom

Passap Technique 181

here the large areas are obviously “stuffed”

Pockets  may result as part of  any larger, DBJ design, when monofilament or thinner threads may be used for the second color

Possible problem areas: stitches may be dropped along areas where fabric is joined (A), sealing side edges (C) will keep them from separating (B). The end needle on each bed must knit the opposite selection as its neighbors in order to close the selvedges. The last needle at the side opposite the color changer may require pushing needles to E manually if not selected by the KM at regular intervals. 

Blister fabrics and pintucks are cousins. Quilted fabrics are sometimes referred to as “single blister”. Both rely on one group of stitches knitting more rows than another, can occur both in single color, or multiple colors. The ribber slips while the main bed knits X number of rows in pattern, and pleats/ pockets are created, eventually sealed by knit stitches on both beds. The number of rows for which this action may be taken in Brother machines is far more limited than in Passap, where the strippers help keep fabric in place. Single color pintucks/ blisters began to be addressed in my post, which reviewed Brother ribber techniques suggestions. A multiple row blister sample executed on Passap, in turn programmed from and ancient DUO 80 magazine, eliminating hand selection on back bed, and programming it in terms of black and white squares on the front bed.

its reverse side

My E 6000 manual is annotated extensively, and my scribbles make a good argument for keeping better notes. I immersed myself in learning the machine when first purchased. The technique for solid color backing, tubular FI illustrated in the manual, is a workaround to create “quilting” “automatically”. A bit of translation and a different set up from my working notes is offered after the scanned image. The circular setting in Ayab software performs the same automatic color separation. 

With this arrangement, pouches will be formed on the white squares of the card. If you think in terms of the colors of the squares, then it is not important which color is determined as the background color by the console. The set up may be different in your copy of the manual. Knitting four consecutive rows with either color reverses the position of the colors in the pattern. Each 4 passes of the locks complete one design row. Reversing the BX <— pusher selection (manually, on right, prior to color change), will reverse the areas quilted. The first pushers on both left and right are aligned in the opposite position to rest. Floats are created between the layers by the color not knitting on the back bed, and the altered pusher position will keep them from jumping off. Depending on the size of the pockets you may want 2 pushers in that position rather than one. Always swatch before you commit to a large piece of knit. The identical design methods as those offered for Japanese machines and the associated fabrics may be reproduced by entering the separations as a pattern and then in turn entering technique 129. The PDF suggests a method for using Japanese designs as drawn on punchcard knitting machine in an E6000. My scribbles from my Passap manual. The console and manual recommendations are only guidelines. Any and all technique lock settings may be altered to suit planned fabric, and if the machine offers beeps and reminders for the factory program, simply disregard them.

Double bed work requires at least 80 stitches by 100 rows for gauge testing for finished garments. Any machine: for blankets or warm jackets, the pockets may be filled with padding every X # of rows, the front bed may be dropped to make this easier. Mono filament and /or fine wire may produce structures which have objects “dropped” into pockets ie marbles, sequins, sponges that will expand into the space when wet with fluid, etc.

While working on a later post on knitting this fabric using Ayab software in a hacked 910, I found using  a simple single pixel height per row diamond shape outline, elongating it X 2, and working in the circular setting produced the single color quilted fabric with no other fuss ie. a color separation. Below is the working repeat for use with first preselection row from right to left, knit with right slip button on main bed, left slip button on ribber throughout. The same settings and approach should work in punchcard Brother machines. 

Ladder back double jacquard: backing variations

Periodically questions come up with regards on how to manage float control other than using familiar DBJ settings, or the best way to proceed to achieve it when one prefers to work in thicker yarns.  In this technique all main bed needles are in use for patterning and in working position, the ribber needles can be arranged in nearly any configuration in groups with 1 needle in work, and one or more needles out of work. The main bed tension is close to what would normally be used for single bed fair isle, while the ribber is set at least one or two whole tension numbers tighter, thus reducing bleed through or vertical separation lines on the “outside” of the knit. The fabric uses less yarn than every needle rib DBJ, is lighter in weight, has more stretch, but will not lie as flat. In Brother, if needles are arranged in groups of 2 (pairs of lines and spaces on the needle tape with even spacing between them (i.e. 2 X2, 4X4, 2X4, etc) then lili buttons can be used. The latter method has less chance of the backing showing as a vertical line/ separation on the pattern surface. Sometimes the ribber needle arrangement may result in a secondary, interesting pattern on the purl side. It is still a good idea to have floats that are limited in width, generally less than 5 stitches`. For the purposes of illustration, I knit 2 row stripes on the main bed, while altering settings on the ribber.
This was my initial set up. The ribber needle tape is marked in what I think of as dashes and blanks, in continuous pairs. When using single ribber needles for the ladderback, the number of out of work needles may be even or odd between the ones in work

As each row is knit the ribber will pick up yarn, or not, depending on carriage settings, creating a knit stitch vertical chain on the purl side of the knit 
If empty needles are simply brought into work above plain knit rows, eyelets will be created. One way to reduce their size would be to pick up loops between stitches on the main/ opposite bed, and use them to “cast on” your ribber needles. With ribber carriage set to knit in both directions, each color will knit with each pass of the carriages (2).
With it set to knit in one direction, slip in the other, each color will knit on the ribber for a single pass, slipped in the opposite direction, and the slipped stitch becomes elongated (3).Having a needle in work on the ribber close to the edge of the knit may help reduce the roll along that edge (4). A slight separation may appear on the knit side in the location of the vertical columns created by the ribber stitches, it is less apparent when ribber knits on every other rowIt is possible to only have one of the 2 colors knitting on the purl side. In my case it was white knits, blue slips. Here the ribber carriage settings need to be changed with each color change, so for white I used

for the blue

Setting up for using lili buttons: needles need to be in pairs, each with a matching “dash and a blank”, even number of out of work needles in between them. My previous set up required a bit of moving stitches around
 ribber is set to slip both ways, lili buttons engagedWith the above settings, the needle on the right of each pair will catch the yarn on the pass to the right, the needle on the left of each pair will pick up the yarn on the way back to the color changer. Stitches are elongated because they are slipping alternately for one row, and are slightly offset from each other with a bit of a “jog”  because they are not knitting on the same pass. This is noticeable in lili backed full DBJ as well. The color change from blue to pink is simply because I ran out of the blue yarn. My ribber stitches should have been tighter throughout, but even in this tension situation, the knit side has the least noticeable vertical separation along vertical column edges in the series of testsThe technique may be used on any machine. This sample was knit on a Passap, using one of the patterns built into the consoleSimilar backing may be produced on the Brother machine, but now a hand technique is involved. The ribber remains set to slip <– –> throughout, no lili buttons. The spacing may be chosen on the basis of the interaction with the main bed motif, or in a different configuration for each color, making hand technique easier to track. Needles are brought to E position on the ribber for each row to be knit in that color. Here the differing colors are easily identified

the ribber settings

There are 2 options: one is for bringing appropriate needles to E position for each color only once. I chose to do so immediately after each color change, with carriages on the left (below dots). The other is to to bring them to E for the second pass of the carriages on their way back to the color changer as well (above dots). There is elongation in stitches in both options, less so when each color knits on the ribber for 2 consecutive rows, where one short and one longer stitch for each color may be observed. The first option also caused a bit of puckering on the knit side, which disappeared with pressing.

the reverse side 

Similar ideas, playing with configuration of color blocks on either or both beds, can result in appliqué, embossed jacquard including pleats, and a whole range of other double bed knit fabric variations. A quick sample with transfers between beds



Revisiting GIMP in knit design

If my only goal is to create illustrations for my posts rather than to produce programmable designs for download to any knitting machine, my go-to program in the past was Excel. Depending on my charting needs, now that Excel is no longer available to me, I am using Mac Numbers or Pages.

My computer is an iMac, with OS High Sierra installed. Last December my 910 was altered to work with Ayab, as mentioned in other posts, via a USB connection to the Mac. For generating files for download I like to work primarily in GIMP (Photoshop is no longer available to me as well). It is freeware. The latest stable Mac Version is version 2.8.22.  Windows users have an option to download  a later release . Another freeware option is Paintbrush , a smaller, user friendly program.

I began sharing my GIMP explorations in mid 2013. Some topics included charting 1, 2 , 3, color reductions for 2 color portraits , generated mazes 1  and 2 , lace mesh , lace mesh and superimposing , 2 color drop stitch lace

I am using one of my drop stitch designs throughout this post to illustrate steps taken for altering the original by using options such as scaling and tiling. It is intended as a partial quick start guide, not a complete tutorial. The program’s manual provides keyboard shortcuts etc. for anyone wanting to explore more options to obtain similar or other results. That said, the manual is not recently updated or Mac specific, and Mac vs Windows appearance of windows and menus differ.

To alter and set pixel per stitch options double click on pencil tool,  choose square single pixel highlighted in brush shape menu

to draw in single pixels, choose show grid, snap to

There are limitations as to how low the magnification may be set before the grid is visible or disappears. I often work in 1,000 magnification. The magnification value numbers, seen at the bottom of the charts in progress,  may be typed in or use arrows to scroll up and down in value 

If your document size is larger, it is sometimes quicker to work in larger pixel size blocks. Here one meets limitations

GIMP large square brushes: numbers indicate desired pixel countand if you are using Paintbrush instead, the “square” is lost

To scale images in height or width without color distortion, change color mode

Image, mode, select Indexed
choose Scale Imagehighlight number you wish to keep constant, whether width or height
to break aspect ratio and control one of the 2 values, click on chain like symbol on right, it will appear “broken”change the alternate value to the desired number

Click on scale image. If the intent is to continue editing by using the pencil tool, the image mode needs to be returned to RGB before proceeding with editing

You can verify finished image size by choosing scale image again, at that point the chain like symbol on the right of the numbers is “whole” again, awaiting further editing choices

double height double width
 scale may be performed again on the last image created 
the appearance if the image mode is set to RBG, and not indexed prior to scaling

scaling down by half for mylars or for machines that can alter motif to double wide: 

click to the right of the highlighted number, the “chain” symbol on right remains intact replace the width value, click to the right of the height value and the number will automatically change

click on scale; remember to change image mode prior to doing so if needed; on the left is the image scaled in RGB, on the right in 1 bit palette

If the image has numbers that have odd numbers in stitch width, the software makes the choice, in assigning values, since no half pixels can be rendered.  For design details see previous post 

Tiling is useful to check how repeats line up when applied to the all over surface of a knit, choosing to alter the horizontal repeat in width or vertical in height, adding borders, and other variations. Ayab software in particular, requires the individual repeat to be programmed for the number of needles you wish to knit in pattern on the main bed. Depending on the size of the original motif the tiling function may be used on nearly any scale, with or without a visible grid

To keep aspect ratio, chain like symbol on right of width and height values should be kept whole (first image). It will appear “broken” on side of values from screen grab after the image was tiled, when by pulling up the scale option again, to verify pixel counts for the newly created repeat (images 2-4)

to color invert a single repeat or a tiled one  

A Facebook Ayab Group share and tip by Claudia Scarpa  brought up a discussion on using Gimp to rescale knits with the intent of estimating distortion in the design as a result of stitch gauge. In many knits aspect ratio is forgiving. In representational knits it can start to matter significantly. I played with numbers from 3 different gauges, getting back to a simple circle square first, then following up with a much larger image. Starting with pixels per inch setting in scale menu:

doing a bit of math: if gauge is 5 sts, 7 rows, divide 7 by 5 = 1.4,  6 divided by 4 = 1.5; use the quotient (division result) to modify the respective X and Y values

keeping the X value constant, multiply the Y value by 1.4 for 5 X 7 gauge
in the view menu, uncheck dot to dot prior to selecting scale

keeping the Y value constant, multiply the X value by 1.5 for the 6X4 gauge, uncheck dot to dot if it is available in the view menuTo get rid of the math, simply switch to pixels /mm and plug in your gauge. The starting image:

change X and Y resolution to match your stitch and row gauge, breaking “chain link” on right to disable aspect ratio. In order to show the altered scaled image, the dot per dot feature in the view menu needs to be unchecked prior to selecting scale

knitting gauge 5 stitches, 7 rows per inch  4 stitches, 6 rows  per inch and going much larger, using Rocco again: the original version scaled for stitch gauge of 33 X 40

a large geometric .bmp edited with same process

Claudia Scarpa has created a document on “how to edit a picture with GIMP for “Oknitme software” that she has given permission for me to share here: 03-ENG-gimp. The tutorial has clear instructions for anyone wishing to explore photo editing  for use in knits with GIMP, and the Oknitme online tool helps punchcard knitters participate in the process.

If freehand drawing suits your needs, you may find it easier to work with view settings shown below, and adjust pencil pixel size to suit