Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Lace mesh motif charting_ Mac Numbers_ a touch of Excel

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

This lace “separation” for a mesh motif was created using Mac Numbers, for use on ane Brother knitting machine, with Lace Carriage on left side, the final design requires 4 passes by the lace carriage followed by 2 rows of plain knit throughout. Similar results may be achieved even simply using color pencils and graph paper.

hand knit motif inspiration

assigning colors/ coding direction of transfers

splitting rows

copy and paste above in a “blank” part of spreadsheet creating a new table; resize cells by selecting all in the new table, and clicking/ dragging on bottom line of any of the grey, numbered row cells on left to number/ measurements of cells in the original document. Release the mouse, and all cells will be uniform in size. Note: on first and all odd rows colors occur, but no symbols. On even, there are both colors and symbols. On odd rows (no symbols) now “erase” the green, on even (symbols) erase the red, results below,  on the right

mark outside of motif on above right with a third color, beginning on the second row; cut and paste complete motif in a “clean area of your sheet so it is surrounded by blank space, this will save a lot of “erasing” (technically this creates a new table)

select and copy blank rows as wide as your motif (blue outline on left)

click on 3rd color square beginning at bottom left, use insert copied rows command, adding 2 blank rows between pairs of rows that will become markings for lace transfers,  moving up the design, ending with 2 blank rows as well

the resulting “separated” mesh repeat, now 92 rows long:  spacing between repeats and number of knit rows at its top may be adjusted to suit preference/ taste. Red and green squares are what is punched, or black squares on mylar sheet, etc. Note: red containing rows have no symbols now, while green ones still do, another visual check

with repeats this long, it is worth marking up the final  template like that encountered on the card or mylar as described in previous posts: a pdf tree_lace for downloading and marking to suit, depending on mylar sheet or punchcard use

the resulting swatch

some added notes: I own 2 Brother 910s, one I can safely categorize as cranky. It took using the same mylar on my less temperamental machine to get accurate and consistent patterning for my test swatch. Mis patterning can be due to a large number of causes, enough to warrant a separate post at some point

the full repeat could  be used singly, to create a border, or to become a  part of a much larger one 

same motif in excel

any change to repasted motif affects whole document in that area, unlike as in creating a new table in numbers as I recently “discovered” (a very convenient difference)

to elongate the design,  so far my solution has been to mark as above, click on third color cells on the left, beginning at bottom, then using the insert row command. Doing so yields results that can be seen in the partially expanded chart below

the remaining process may be carried out, using slightly different tools to achieve the same results.

A bit of seasonal lace mesh_charted_Intwined

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

a possible hand knit star motif, color coded transfers

flipped for machine knitting

planning the repeat for transfers with LC on left

correction for missing row  required, marked in red

rows to be punched or squares for mylar markings

(motif could be relocated for brick configuration)

2 knit rows follow any with no needle selection by LC

the result


Color separations for knits_ Mac Numbers(3), some Excel

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Double jacquard in 2 colors is a good place to start sorting out color separations. There are many methods for this. Japanese electronic machines and Passap tech 179 use a split row 1, col 1 method, which provides the least elongation of motifs upon knitting the piece. For some how/to and problems with these separations and knitting them please see this post. Getting familiar with the tools makes it possible to in turn separate colors for fabrics other than DBJ. The working area needs to be considerably larger than the original design repeat for moving segments of charts around. Some of the changes made to the original design area affect the spreadsheet across all rows (or if applicable, columns) in that area, and copying and pasting in other parts of the table, outside those spread sheet rows does not do so by default. A 2 col motif will require 4 rows  for each row knit (unless one is using double length in machines capable of it), so a 20 row motif would require at least 80 for the fully expanded separation. When I began experimenting I worked on multiple page spread sheets, with multiple projects within the same document. I would suggest single project documents/ tables however, so that inserting rows in either excel or numbers does not “accidentally” alter other projects that are saved, within the same row range, but out of working view. Both programs export to PDF and other file formats. Selective screen grab can capture segments for saving, scaling, or printing. Mac users have multiple options built in for screen grabs, I have gotten used to SnapNDrag, a free program that captures selectively,  and saves in multiple file formats: download.


Begin with a small motif (even # colors per row, in this case 2) that has been tested for repeats lining up correctly

select, copy and paste single repeat: this can be done through menu options or simple use of command C, command V (Mac)

choose color 1, and color 2 for order of separation. In DBJ in most instances it is best to begin the knit with the largest # of stitches in any one color, the reverse of the blue/yellow below in my chart below.

A: motif pasted,  selected, Table menu select split into rows. Selecting and pasting the same motif just created on the same rows but different colums will copy its format A2, while going outside those rows in the document, copying the original size motif and pasting in adjoining rows to split ones will bring with it that format, seen in A3

B: copy and paste A (split rows) below its image/row range, motif will take on formatting of that section of the document, resulting in large working squares once again

C: purple squares act as markers for odd rows, white for even. Chosen color (here = yellow) 1 will be “erased” on row one and odd numbered rows (purple marker), and color 2 (blue) erased on even numbered rows (white marker square). One of the ways to achieve this is to select cells to be erased, followed by clicking on fill in format bar, and choosing no fill or white. Separation may be visually checked: if colored rows were to tumble down on each other, there should be no overlap of different colored squares. Colored squares punched or programmed using this illustrated method require elongation X2

D: C is split once again. This separation may be knit as is on any machine capable of the repeat width, without elongation. I prefer to avoid using double length in my knits if I can, find that makes it easier for me to accurately return to rows when unraveling and returning to any rows after errors in knitting


NUMBERS: any # colors per row: SELECT, INSERT COPIED ROW

select motif, paste again in an area of document outside those rows

select single row of colors beginning at either top or bottom of motif, use Insert_copied rows, in this case each row needs to be expanded to 3, one for each color

starting at bottom inserts rows below, starting at top inserts rows above

repeat process for one row at a time, for number of rows required

here 3 cols per row, each row needs to be expanded to 3, so insert row is used X2 for each color

when expansion is complete proceed “erasing” as described in 2 col chart above, erasing first col 1, then col2, then col 3 for each row

use separation as is elongate X2, or split again for knitting without elongation


yellow squares indicate starting and ending points for inserting rows; click on any square within row, a row will be added across whole document, copying the colored squares in the row above; I began on row 8, working my way down, stopping at row numbered one will have one row missing in elongated repeat on right; yellow squares are markers /reminders for beginning and ending row insertion commands

3 colors, separation requiring elongation for knitting

Both programs have options for changing viewing magnification, so grids may be of one size to start with, and viewed as preferred. This is also helpful in scaling screen grabs. The excel menu bar has a paint bucket which maybe be used for coloring cells selected both singly and in groups.


split into column and insert copied column (numbers) will aid when wanting to chart twice as wide; in excel: insert column on blank square to left of motif will insert a blank column in that area throughout the document; same command beginning on right of the first colored square on the left, or of the last colored square on the right, will repeat the colors in the motif, adding blanks to the remaining “squares” for that whole column in the document


A: original motif, B: split columns for twice the width, selected and pasted elsewhere for C, inserting rows, rendering it also twice as long

the image below shows some of what can happen when any motif is repasted in areas affected by its new formatting ie. rows split at the bottom in E, columns split to the right of A, and if table column and rows are added by dragging on the “handle” on the document’s bottom right, colored squares are copied and extended into stripes. Unwanted areas of color may be selected, using Edit_ clear all will remove the colors, leaving the border lines intact

to remove text: select affected cells, use Edit_Delete


orange squares show sequence used: in order from left to right, beginning with selecting # 1, insert column, working across the repeat, resulting in twice as wide.

tools are often self evident, and experimentation helps sort out a way of working so they become familiar, and one may sort out of the many ways that are often available to complete the same task what is the easiest for them

both programs have options for changing viewing magnification, also helpful in scaling screen grabs

to my knowledge there is not a way when there are 2 colors in any one row to swap them for each other, even with formulas and rules, a feature that would be very convenient in other types of color separations.

Charting knits using Mac Numbers program 2

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

A free manual for the program may be obtained via apple, with extended documentation. I thought I would share some of my notes in trying to work with it in creating knit charts. They are not intended as complete tutorials, but simply perhaps as a place to start for those owning the program. Having some familiarity with excel makes some things easier, numbers reads excel documents already created, will save/export files in its format as well

to create a chart: open a new document, a table will appear with wide, rectangular cells which will need to be readjusted

clicking on the square with 9 dots to the left of column A will highlight the whole sheet

the formatting bar

click on inspector (white i in blue dot) located above format bar

adjust column width and height to .4 and .4 or desired values, hit return

click on screen and resized document will appear

drag on symbol  small rectangle with with 6 dots (upper right, bottom left, marke A and B) to  increase # of column or rows, or copy and paste as they are needed

there are many ways to add color described in the manual in multiple context. For this purpose I like to begin by creating a palette within the working table. To do so click on an individual cell, go to fill in the menu bar

click on it, choose color from window that appears, select color, cell will fill with color, having a palette within the document will save confusion, and save tripping back and forth between

repeat until you have a row of chosen trial colors, same can be done with font symbols or numbers for easy access throughout the process, I have created a master document with all symbols in fonts I like to use to the left of the table,  in sizes suited for the working cells, for easy copy and paste as well

copy the individual color (cell) will work with paste  to place color in the design motif area, dragging the handle at bottom right of the paste will produce single cells, rows, columns or squares/ rectangular shapes in that color

copy and paste motif created both to change color segments, and to test motif repeat alignment

isolate final repeat for actual knitting, programming, or punching


here I miss the pencil drawing option in excel; a tutorial on border drawing Numbers, and some illustrations  using the motif in the downloadable document (post1) with variations

using select, copy, paste; border markings  illustrated

altering the repeat to a dropped one

brick stitch_ easy changing to visualize shifts in pattern

Charting knits in Excel.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

I began using the program for this purpose in 2009, and continued to in nearly all the colored charts in my color separations for knits posts since then. Gimp offers a whole other series of options for knitters in BW with magnification as seen in more recent posts here. I thought I would revisit some of the tutorials written by several other knitters prior to more posts of my own on using Numbers for anyone having Excel available to them. They are in no particular order. Marnie’s  and Fleegle’s blogs offer tips, techniques, and how tos in series that I found extremely helpful when I began my own spreadsheet journey.

Free fonts for knitting charts

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

travels well in excel and in numbers

searches through standard computer fonts and wingdings will add even more to custom, personal knitting symbol vocabularies; please respect terms and conditions set by the individuals who have taken the time to create the fonts and generously made them available online

Charting knits using Mac Numbers for knitting 1, a color separation in color

Monday, October 28th, 2013

A lot has been written on the use of excel in knit charting, I don’t believe there is anything “out there” on doing same with Numbers. After my latest OS upgrade, I thought I would revisit playing with the updated program. This is not a tutorial as such, just a sharing of some results and observations on this particular effort. For the design I used the same motif as  in the last post on 2 color drop stitch on Japanese machines. Under the table menu, there is an option to split rows or split columns. This can be achieved on any selected area, without affecting the remainder of the spread sheet. Copying and pasting the split image over an area of full size cells will change its format, and in turn allow for splitting again. In the image below A is the original motif, B the first split after selecting only those colored cells, C repasting B in an area of full size cells, D selecting and splitting C to achieve elongating the original motif X 4.

to separate the colors for the 2 color drop stitch using white “erase” every other row: these rows will result in no pattern selection, and will be the rows on which stitches are dropped. Select and copy and paste again. Choose either of the 2 colors and white out that color (I chose to start with cyan) on the first and then every other colored combination row. Note there are 3 blank rows between each “erasure” after the first. Once the process is completed to the top of the design, select, copy, and paste again. On alternate rows that are still in 2 colors, the magenta can now be whited out, and this repeat when complete, visually be checked for any errors. Colored squares remaining in either color now translate to punched holes or black squares on mylar depending on the size of the original motif

This particular method works on even motifs with an even number of colors, as splits double existing rows. Row and stitch numbers, text etc may all be added. The image below does not refer to color separations. It illustrates the ability to go twice as long, twice as wide through using splitting rows, and  in turn, splitting columns. Twice as wide used alone comes in handy for any knitting on every other needle, sometimes used for thicker yarns on the standard machines that do not have the ability to do that via electronic programming.

WordPress will not allow uploading a numbers document; here is a numbers document exported as excel .xls  that should open in Numbers on a Mac for anyone wanting to play with charting a bit. The extra color square on the far right is a “place holder” of sorts, needed to avoid cropping of all empty cells to the right of the motif in the software’s exporting the file  numbers_test_doc


december 8, 2012: in writing my latest post I found an easier way to deal with split rows and columns. If the motif area is copied and pasted on a “blank” part of the spreadsheet a new table is created, which can be altered without concerns about affecting the remainder of the document. It’s like working with small pieces of graph paper rather than a very large one. The motif area is chosen and pasted, creating a new table

the table, split into row option is used

simply select all, click on line at bottom of any numbered, grey row cell on left of table, and resize to match the remainder of your document, when desired measurement is achieved, release the mouse and the document cells will be uniform in size.

the same process may be applied to split columns, may well have to try this on some of my huge excel charted spreadsheets

Atkinson dither github (free)

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I have linked before (March 14, 2013) to this github as a way to achieve atkinson dithered images for possible use in knitting. I received a post with questions on how to achieve this successfully. I work on a Mac, latest OS. The resulting dithered files were not read when downloaded by any app other than Preview, and resizing within program was poor quality. Here is my work-around: it is always best to resize any of the images to be processed in color or grey scale, before indexing modes or dithering. Once that is achieved, import image into github without changing output size in the program itself, and download. Your own image size will be retained. Now time for another freebie intervention: XnConvert will accept the file, convert it to BMP or other readable formats if preferred, resulting in a knittable image.

the sized image


via github_XnConvert_.bmp

GIMP color reductions for 2 color “portraits”

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The many faces of Rocco

The image is used with the kind permission of Rocco’s owner. I have used this image before, when I posted previously on some ways to reduce colored images to B/W for possible knitting using a Mac computer, please see post on 013/03/14/ color-reduction- conversions-mac-os/. Gimp offers some alternatives to the familiar dithers, and is available, free, for both PC and Mac platforms.

Image_Mode_Indexed_ one bit black: immediate result, too dark

Threshold adjustments may not be made in indexed images to alter above image, so it’s back to grey scale. Reductions to grey scale may be achieve through Image_ Mode_ Greyscale or choosing Colors_Desaturate_OK options. Desaturation offers additional choices



rocco desaturated, in “knittable portrait size”

using edge detection and its algorithms

Difference of Gaussians

what happens if in addition color_ invert is used with Roberts

adjusting B/W with Treshold

after a bit of “tweaking”

Image_Mode_Indexed, rendering it “knittable in 2 colors”

getting silly with filling ground with pattern behind floating head

Free Pixel art patterns for both Photoshop and Gimp may be found at texturemate. To get them to work in GIMP if they are multiple sets, I would suggest combining them all into a single folder which may then be added to preferences, renaming or numbering patterns if the series #s repeat. The tutorial may be found here. The same patterns may be added to PS, a method for doing so may be found here.

As for camera portrait apps: SnapDot ($1.99) will render dotted “artworks”

I had no luck reducing this to one bit recognizable 1 bit B/W in PS, but here is the GIMP version in “knittable ” size

More GIMP charting

Friday, June 21st, 2013

These are quick notes from some of my continuing experiments, not explicit how tos or item patterns. Possible lengthening of designs dependent upon knitting technique is not considered; the “charts” were created keeping aspect ratio of original motif. The initial images are copyright free.

from scanned B/W source, 200 pixels X 227

open document

Image_Mode_B&W 1 bit indexed_ Convert

Image Scale 200 wide down to 50

areas were “cleaned up” using single pixel pencil, when satisfactory capture window with grid enlarged for working graph,  or remove grid, export in format for download

this is a partial repeat of a large black and white .png image

working with a smaller, random selection

Open image

Image_Mode_B&W 1 bit indexed_ Convert

enlarge, show grid, decide on accuracy of repeat,  when OK , graph or export and knit, no clean up required for this one

Filter_Map_Tile_magnifying result  will test accuracy of repeat

the motif was a random crop, with obvious issues, more work would need to be done with the original image to isolate the proper section for tiling accuracy to occur

a multicolor image 143 pixels X 112

Image_Mode_Indexed _3 color (manual change from 4 to 3)

Image scale to 100 pixel wide

Enlarge for viewing grid and/or cleaning up; result yields 2 repeats that could be used 50 sts wide each, leaves could use a bit more detail

a partial image grab, pre any “corrections”

if color separations are needed for software that can superimpose  colors and do the necessary color changer manipulations cues a link on color separations for screen printing provides some ideas. Another method

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select


Create new document same dimensions


repeat for each color

the results: the flower is actually in the “wrong place” even with what appeared to be same document settings

easier and “on the spot”:

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select

Click on color one (flower)


Fuzzy select, click on screen outside of image: the result

Re-open original image

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select

Click on color two (leaves)

Edit _ Cut

Fuzzy select, click on screen outside of image: the result