Ayab: short rows automated with slipstitch

I have recently been reviewing some of my ideas for using slip stitch to achieve fabrics normally created by hand pulling needles for short rows. The samples for most charts below are found in previous posts on topic. My hacked machine is presently being put to bed for a while as I work on some production pieces on KMs that allow me to produce predictable lengths of knit. I will not be providing proof of concept swatches for every chart.

A bit on defining short rows http://alessandrina.com/2013/12/18/holding-stitches-short-rows/

http://alessandrina.com/2014/02/20/wisteria-cousin-revisited-holding-using-slip-stitch/

The carriage movements are partially illustrated below, beginning with the first row pre selection from left to right (red line/ arrow), which happens to be the only option when using ayab. Ayab also mirrors automatically, so either mirroring the rendered repeat or using action mirror in software is required for the holding sequence to be correct. The lines indicate direction of carriage movement on each design row. Blocks need to be even numbers in height, and may be adjusted in width. The full swing of the fabric in each direction needs to be programmed.

http://alessandrina.com/2013/12/28/short-rows_-balls-tams-3d-rounds/
here the holding sequence works toward the center Ayab will mirror it if drawn as is, which will place carriages in position for first preselection row to start from left, decreasing stitches in work 

For increasing stitches in work rather than decreasing them, this illustrates the direction in which the carriages need to be moving. In this instance the image needs to be mirrored to erase the software’s automatic doing so 

Single bed pleats http://alessandrina.com/2013/01/21/automating-pleating/. This repeat is planned for each square representing both a single stitch and single row. Since the width of the knit piece needs to be programmed when using Ayab, this approach may be used for anything from ruffles to sideways skirts. Additional information on designing is offered in previous post, used as is  

With a bit more planning and even using a garter bar, this is executable as well
http://alessandrina.com/2013/02/28/garter-bar-short-row-trim/
For a possible all knit surface variant the repeat on the left is drawn, due to auto mirror no mirroring is required to obtain the knit rows in the directions illustrated the right. Knit as is, the resulting eyelets including the larger one at the center can serve as “design features”. Motif on left, mirrored as it would be by Ayab on right. With narrow pieces of knit, pay extra attention to beeps and flashes. Clearing the end marks on the needle bed may also be necessary to keep needle selection accurate, watch for yarn loop formation on either side as the result of  having to travel that far from the end of the needles in work. “just for fun” http://alessandrina.com/2017/06/11/crochet-meets-machine-knitting-techniques-working-with-short-rows/

Category search 
http://alessandrina.com/category/machine-knitting/short-rowing

 

Ribber fabrics produced with 2 knit carriages selecting needles

Work in progress

There are a number of ribber fabrics that are produced by altering the settings on the ribber’s carriage to slip for an even number of rows in both directions. This requires manually changing the ribber setting from slip to knit and back for the length of the piece. In electronic machines, where the pattern advances with every pass of the carriage, there is another option. For example, to produce DBJ with the backing in one color, settings would be changed manually every 2 rows, using color changer on the left 

Some things to remember: when 2 carriages are selecting, each carriage needs to move far enough at the end of the needle bed so as not to be locked onto the belt. Extension rails are required. On the Brother ribber bed there are stops that keep the combined carriages from going off the  beds. There is one on each side (magenta arrow on left, blue arrow on right), and to remove the ribber carriage off its bed, it in turn needs to be tilted forward prior to reaching the stops  in order to clear them on either side.

Altering the KC sinker plates and arm: remove 6 small screws from the sinker plates, leaving only their arm

The carriage with the altered sinker plate in place in turn will then be used to replace rows that were to be knit with the ribber set to slip in both directions <– –> . In my sample it operated from the right, with the combined carriages (KC2), from left. 

For consistency I am editing the original post and will continue to refer to the coupled carriages= KC2, the altered single bed one= KC1 KC is the abbreviation commonly used in publications for Knit Carriage. The change knob, which affects end needle selection,  is marked on the KC as for I (end needle selection, indicated by black arrow) and II (cancel end needle selection). Initials KR in publications are often used to refer to ribber carriage in setting discussions. My beginning swatches were knit using ayab software’s ribber setting, which matches the KRC (2 color double jacquard separation) function in the unaltered 910. With my first try I made no effort to consider which color gets chosen first in the color separation (ayab = black, 910 = white). There is a limit as to how far the single carriage from the right (KC1) can travel on the needle bed to the left, because the combined carriages on the left (KC2) are held in place by the pin.

It would be possible if needed to separate KC2 and push further out on the extension rail, but perhaps not practical, so there are some constraints on the fabric width able to be produced.

My first swatch has some manually created pintucks on the knit side (white only knitting extra rows, joined together by all knit rows with pink). The reverse, purl side, is knit by the ribber set to N/N, all in one color. The stitches held on the ribber while the white only knits on the top bed are visibly elongated (left swatch bottom). There is some color confusion on the knit side on the first couple of rows of DBJ, solved in the second swatch. My repeat for the planned width using Ayab: 

Knitting on 910 a single repeat may be programmed, start knitting with color intended for white squares, which will also serve as the solid backing color. For more similarities and difference between the original and the altered 910 see ayab diary post.

To knit using Ayab: begin the knitting with the color intended to be used for areas marked in black squares, which will also serve as the solid backing color. Preselect first row from left to right with ribber set to knit (N/N), it will remain set that way for the remainder of the process. When on right, set coupled carriages (KC2) to slip <– –>, knit one row to left, both carriages stay on left. Knit the next 2 rows for DBJ using KC1 with altered sinker plate operating from right, using color intended for areas marked with white squares. The main bed only will knit. Set change knob to end needle select (KC I) to insure first and last needles in use knit. Return the KC1 to the right, on the extension rail, and knit next  two rows with KC2 operating from left.  Repeat, changing carriages and consequently colors every 2 rows. 

Blisters or pintucks are created when one bed knits more rows than the other, whether as simple knitting or in pattern. Periodically the knitting is sealed by at least one row knitting across all stitches on both beds. In this version, sealing rows must occur in pairs to allow for color change. The first chart shows a tentative repeat, planning for black squares to create the blister shapes, drawn in 2 row blocks to allow for color changes every X even number of rowsThe image color inverted, so white areas will create the blisters in slip stitch (col 2) while black squares will knit (col 1)Most published patterns for these fabrics will also include an all knit rows to seal the shapes knit on the main bed only

By using 2 carriages to select needles, one (KC1) may be set to slip <— —>  in order to knit X number of rows on the top bed only, while the pairs of carriages (KC2) are set to normal knit on both beds, its cam button set to select needles, KCI. Selection will continue, but no patterning occurs as a result. A proof of concept swatch knit on only 24 stitches, the pink knits for 4 rows, the white for 2; the pink yarn is a cotton, the white an acrylic/wool blend:

An expanded pattern repeat, planned for a larger test swatch. Here there are 2 black squares added at each end of the repeat to insure that those stitches on the top bed are knit on all slip stitch rows. The new color is a wool, this time knit for 6 rows in slip stitch prior to sealing with 2 passes of the combined carriages with the contrasting color. 

Single bed slip stitch rows appear on the knit side in color 2, the reverse, purl side is in a single color (1), and formed by the all knit rows. Its stitches are in turn elongated, since they are held and not knit while the opposite bed knits for multiple rows. In the sample, the first and last stitch on each side were on the ribber, creating a single white slip stitch edging. One can adjust such details to suit. The first preselection row was made after cast on with both carriages (KC 2)set to knit, moving from left to right with color 1, where they stay. KC 1 with altered sinker plate was threaded with color 2, and begins from and returns to left hand side.

A detail shot of the edge: note the white, single, elongated stitch uppermost, and the pairs of contrast color ones in the “border” Designs with deliberate placement of white blocks representing each blister can be created. It is a good idea to test tolerance for each of the yarns involved as a hand tech or repeat such above before planning  significantly longer repeats. All black rows are required at intervals if the fabric is to be knit changing ribber settings for all knit rows. The same rows could be left blank if using carriages in the above manner, and lack of needle selection would be an indicator for switching to the double carriages for the 2 sealing rows, while not having to track the count for the slipped ones.

I am always interested in automating stitches to facilitate as many details as possible in creating fabrics that imitate hand techniques, without relying on row counts and a lot (in this instance) of “hooking” stitches up manually . The swatches below were part of a series of posts on  ruching as a hand technique 

The hand tech chart mirrored, as the springboard for my automated fabricBoth led to my exploring the possibility of  a cousin, working double bed, and using the 2 carriages. The process began with a proof of concept swatch. Two colors were used to highlight what the stitches knit with each of the 2 carriages are doing. Both KC1 and 2 were set to knit in both directions. I began with KC2 knitting the needle set up for the fabric in a dark color, on a small number of stitches 

KC2 operated from left, KC1 from right. With KC2 returned to left, KC1 knit 8 rows. It is best to work out the limit for how many rows will knit on the top bed without stitch problems prior to any automation of functions.  *Two rows were knit with KC2 in the dark color, 8 rows with KC1, ribber racked to proper position**,  * to** were repeated. The elongation of the stitches on the purl side results from the fact the ribber knits far fewer rows than the main bed, and in addition, the stitches on the row knit on its second pass in the pattern are pulled on across the bed at distances matching the racking positions. The plan is to automate the texture, knit it in one color, and find a way to track correct racking positions: cast on may be in any preferred method. With the pitch set to P it is easier to transfer stitches between beds to desired configuration. Every needle is in work on the top bed, for a multiple of 10+6 ribber needles with stitches that will be moved with racking 

placement of stitches on respective beds
change pitch after transfers, ribber moves slightly to right final configuration prior to patterning and racking sequence begins

Starting racking position is 5. Racking handle markings for Brother begin with 0 on left, 5 at center, 10 on right. The ribber is set to half pitch, since part of the needle bed will be knitting an every needle rib. An often overlooked clue as to what is happening or is about to, is found in the arrows just below the racking position indicator. The red arrow indicates the direction in which the bed was racked on the last move. Since racking for my experiment will only be to 3 different positions, I began by choosing to use 5 pixels center, left, center, right for the full repeat sequence, but later amended the repeat to numbers of pixels equal to specific racking indicator number. The needles will be selected prior to the next row knit, a reminder of racking selection. Sequence will actually be 5, *0, 5, 10, 5,** 0, 5, etc. The racking indicator 

My first Ayab repeat was planned for use with 2 carriages: KC1 (single carriage) is set to knit but to not select end needles (KCII), and will be producing the multiple rows gathered to create the blisters/ hems. KC2 (coupled carriages) are also set to select needles, both KC (knit carriage, cam button also on KCII) and KR (ribber carriage) are set for normal knit. They will create the sealed stitches joining up the blisters/ hems. The same color yarn is threaded in both. Blank squares will knit because a carriage set to knit overrides needle selection or lack of it in stitches on needles in work position. My repeat is 46 stitches wide. Because the knitting is started with the ribber already in racking position 5, the first move in the pattern is turning the handle to the right, toward 0. The concept illustrated

set up and ready to go, racking position 5 

4/19/18 As is true in any knitting, things can go quirky. I began to have a single needle on the main bed not knitting on rows knit with the combined carriages, then ran into dropped stitches in racked groups. The problem was initially not with the software, but appeared to be a ribber issue, which after checking balancing was resolved.

4/22/18 And today’s problem is the software, with persistent, intermittent  selection errors. I did achieve a sample by manually pushing wrongly selected needles out to D by hand on problem rows, which tended to be 5 and 7 in all black areas. Some reminders and observations: ayab auto mirrors all images. If this repeat is entered (I added a single square as a marker for racking position 0), the software will actually be knitting this, the “image as it would appear on the knit side of the fabric”. What to program? anticipating the above getting mirrored by the software I entered this resulting in this

That said, remember that turning the racking handle to the left is toward increasing numbers on the indicator, to the right is toward decreasing numbers. For me that is counterintuitive. Mirroring the image again, and working with the repeat below can help with tracking racking movement even more. With the single dot on right, turn handle toward it, to the right, and the movement will be towards 0. With movement of marking row to left, turn racking handle to left, toward 5, and so on. 

Next on the drawing board: a fabric using the same technique, but that I might like more. This image was portion of a greyscale pin of a pattern book from a Russian pinI tested a concept for recreating it as a hand technique, trying to sort out how many rows I could knit before racking and the racking sequence. The best result was with a single sealing row, which in turn required changing the ribber slip setting for one row only,

so it’s back to the drawing board. I think any automation is best done using the ribber to do the all knit rows, the main bed to needle select racking positions. Results will be added to post on combining KC patterning with racking

The present set up with 2 carriages may be used for solid color backed quilting . Using the altered KC1 operating from the right with no yarn in feeder should work to drop stitches in drop stitch lace where the repeat is altered to allow for the knit carriage with no yarn to do the stitch ditching while selecting needles as well. A related color separation and swatch may be found  in the last segment of the post: revisiting-drop-release-stitch-lace/

 

Revisiting knitting with 2 carriages single bed, 910 vs Ayab so far

Work in progress

The question has often been asked as to why knit with 2 carriages. For me, it  became a personal favorite for knitting fabrics requiring color changes every even number of rows. I tend to push the limit with materials, and found the Brother single bed color changer to be quirky. When using 2 KCs there is no pushing the wrong button for the proper color in the sequence, or accidental choosing of an empty slot and dropping the knitting. Some of the loops at color changer side edge or yarn getting caught in wheels or hooks is also eliminated. Each carriage can be set for a completely different function from the other with no manual cam button changes ie single color knitting vs FI, its own tension depending on desired effect or fiber (ie striped shadow pleats), etc. Floats along the vertical edges of the knit as a result of the striping happen on both sides rather than all on the color changer side. The principles apply when using the lace carriage and combining it with tuck, slip or FI settings in the KC. If one is following a published punchcard pattern for such fabrics, frequently there are guidelines as to when to change colors, but no explanation as to why the cards are punched the way they are, so understanding what happens enables one to interpret directions for electronics. When going from published 2 carriage punchcard machine repeats to electronic, the repeat needs to be adjusted to compensate for the change to row by row selection. In punchcard machines the needle selection does not advance when you switch to operating the carriages from the opposite sides, so the pattern for those rows knits twice.

Many of the stitch world books seemed more concerned with larger repeats than with some of the more labor intensive, specialty fabrics. The punchcard books, now downloadable for free are worth having and studying no matter what your machine. They do need to be brand specific. Studio and Toyota ones may be used, but adjustments may have to be made in terms of starting rows, or even flipping the card over vertically.  Download links for punchcard patterns, with symbols used and pattern samples can be found in my previous post

I have added an new category to my side bar to make this topic search easier: Patterning with 2 knit carriages .  Included are color separations for some fabrics suitable for this method of knitting.

I am presently knitting my samples on an altered 910, using an EMS kit purchased last December. I have had selection problems related to my hardware, but some of the 2 carriage operation or lack thereof has been evaluated and duplicated by others. My successful experiments with 2 single bed carriages selecting so far:

Lace and slip stitch: both carriages selecting in their usual positions 
<http://alessandrina.com/2018/03/05/lace-edgings-on-brother-machines/>
Start with 2 knit rows in programmed pattern 
with KC on left, preselect to right, set to slip <— —>, knit first 2 all knit rows, ending with KC on right, proceed with selection with LC on left
Will not work if the pattern is adjusted so KC knits the first 2 rows and parks on left, with attempted use of LC from right. LC will not select. 
Operating LC with KC plain knitting (no pattern selection) may be done with LC selecting from either side, with repeat adjustment <http://alessandrina.com/2018/03/05/lace-edgings-on-brother-machines/>

Lace and weaving: 
<http://alessandrina.com/2018/01/02/lace-punchcards-meet-ayab/>
both carriages selecting in their usual positions 

Lace and tuck stitch: the fabric worked out for use with mylar sheet

Ayab actions for carriages, use LC on left, KC / tuck <– –> on right
a charted ayab repeat for my swatch 

I came across this image on a pinboard, and imagining the possibility of knitting it led me back to a previous post illustrating a similar stitch structure, knit on an unaltered 910. The pin:


working out the first repeat in the blogpost

The swatch (sideways view) shows the repeat as illustrated in the upper segment of the above chart, and then lengthened X 2, with color changes every 4 rows (the length X2 is not presently an available action in Ayab)

In the past, when I tried to knit with 2 KCs, one on the left an one on the right, both selecting needles, I was unsuccessful, but in light of the above experiments I decided to test the idea with the RKC (the one that would operate from the right) selecting and then knitting the first 2 rows of color, in turn resting on right side. I then operated the second KC from the left, alternating carriages every 2 rows. Knitting at a slower speed and moving each carriage perilously far out on the extension rails did the trick.

To use the repeat in Ayab, in order to keep the proper color sequence, the last design row is shifted down to row 1 position. There is an error in the repeat, marked by arrows I did not notice until I had completed the swatch. The repeat may be used as is, and color reversed via action inverse in Ayab, or color reversed prior to loading the image, which I chose to do personally. 

This is grabbed from the ayab screen: the knitting is actually mirrored automatically by the software, so what is shown onscreen is what appears on the knit side of the finished piece. Something to keep in mind in situations where placement and direction might have some importance. 

Things to notice in swatch : as already mentioned, there is an error in the repeat in terms of my intention. Placement for the slip stitch blocks could certainly be planned for an asymmetrical effect, varied in size, and more.  Slip stitch is significantly narrower than stocking stitch. That would need to be allowed for were the stitch to be used in a garment or gauge dependent knit. 

Examining the purl side of the knit, which is facing as one machine knits: the intentionally dropped stitches at the start  on both sides are there because I had cast on extra stitches that were outside the parameters of the programmed repeat width. The left side edge, next to LKC (left knit carriage) is visibly shorter than the right. The two yarns used were of different thicknesses but knit at the same tension. The LKC would have merited from a looser tension, and an edge weight on the very last stitch on that side would help with adjusting the length the white edge “floats” from one color change to the other as stripes are created . Handling of side floats in striped knitting is dependent on the row height of such stripes.  
There are a great number of interesting ribber fabrics that can only be knit by manually changing the ribber settings to slip in both directions, so that the main bed only knits for X # of rows, with the ribber carriage periodically set to knit again. If the function happens for an even number of rows at a time and in both directions, the sinker plate for the KC may be altered for use with the ribber in the up position, to knit the main bed stitches only. Its change knob should be set to KC I to insure that the first and last stitch are knit. I knit this sample using the altered KC selecting from the right, the KC engaged with the ribber sinker plate selecting from the left. I will address the altering process and steps involved in the knitting in a separate post. 

 

A Brother 910/ Ayab diary

This is a work in progress post. I have now edited and included its previous version so the most recent observations appear first, the oldest last.

4/27/18 I have been able to develop some fabrics using two knit carriages selecting needles from opposite sides, though the lace carriage will not select from the right if the knit carriage is also selecting from the left. The posts include altering a knit carriage to use as the second one to select needles as an alternative to changing ribber settings between normal and pattern knitting, and an addition to post on combining KC patterning with racking

I had been told my kit would be replaced due to persistent patterning error issues. Sales are presently on hold while hardware is reviewed, and work is being done on a new version of software, so any changes in status are to be determined.

3/ 31/ 18 At present there is no English text manual for using the software, or a quick start guide. I am sharing some of the differences and similarities in actions I have noted between the unaltered 910 and those of the hack, beginning with settings, and including a few tidbits gleaned from support as I encountered patterning problems. They may be of interest to those making the transition after previous knitting experience and familiarity with the machine, or to anyone curious about the program and some of its features and differences.

Yellow text in this first image from a publication on the 910 indicates matching functions I have identified so far in ayab software.

the full illustration from the 910 manualactions on the unaltered 910

When the pattern selector is down, the pattern is centered on green #1 (right of  0). This means if the pattern is an even number, say 24 stitches, then the pattern’s limits are green 12 and yellow 12. If the pattern is an odd number of stitches the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13, the center being green #1. With an odd number of needles, Ayab places the larger number of needles on the left, its orange (yellow) side.

AYAB

I purchased my hardware kit (now temporarily off market) from developer : to purchase , wiki , interface , install . Online discussion groups:  Ravelry , Facebook, and GitHub .

At present there is no cover readily available for the machine once the unit is installed, so the left side of the main bed remains exposed.

Though beeps heard upon preparing to preselect the first row from left to right are described as a triple beep, I hear them as a triple set of multiple beeps with pauses between. Not taking the time to “hear” them all will result in patterning errors from the get go. Be sure to hear the beep and see the flashing of the unit before reversing carriage direction. Clear the left turn mark at least periodically while knitting. If you have experience with any production knitting on the unaltered machine you may feel the knitting speed is slowed when using the software and cable for downloading each row as opposed to that with which the mylar scanner accomplished the same task.

Ayab can be set for infinite repeat in length, the function was automatic on the mylar unless one made the choice to stop at any point. A single repeat on the mylar was enough to program across the width of the needle bed, with ayab the full width of the pattern must be programmed, so designs need to be tiled accordingly.

Installation of software can be achingly slow on Mac desktop (I am using High Sierra OS). SiLabsUSBDriver  is also required. Security settings need to be checked / changed even if no warning is given by the computer leading one to assume there have been no issues with download or the install. The driver will reside in the library/ extensions.

The hardware install is fairly straightforward.

The USB connection needs to be made prior to launching the software for the port to be recognized. If port questions come up, click the “Refresh” button on the AYAB screen. When things are working correctly, you should be able to see a port name from the pop-up menu. The plug-in power supply supplies power only to the needle selection.

The popping noise or clunk is heard usually but not always, when you cancel AYAB and restart and is produced by the solenoids. I have been reassured it “does no harm” by support.

The launcher box remains open throughout knitting.

To start knitting:
1. Load your pattern in the width of the planned repeat
2. Set all the AYAB settings at default (2-color, start at row 1, single, center). Check infinite repeat if you want to knit more than one vertical repeat
3. Knit carriage is on the left, outside the turn mark
4. In the AYAB software, Configure/Knit
5. Wait until the software says “Please Init carriage” at bottom of screen
6. Bring the carriage across the left turn mark and stop before crossing any needles, wait for the triple set of beeps.
8. Continue across the first row and stop, wait for flash and beep, then proceed with movements to and from each side, again waiting for flash and beep that indicate each row download is complete.

If knitting a repeat in single height, currently (0.9 sw and 0.9 fw) when you are one row ahead of the last selection the row numbers disappear as “Image Transmission is finished. Please knit until you hear the double-beep sound”. The marker on the image jumps down to the beginning. You knit across and it does the selection for the last row and gives the long-beep sound. Knit one more row to actually knit that selection. When all needles are selected to B, you cancel your settings and you’re done. 

In some instances clearing both turn marks seems to help avoid errors and insure consistent patterning. Beware of moving the carriage back and forth for any reason, ie to fix a yarn loop, dropped stitch, etc. The movements in my experience have been counted as rows, resulting in patterning errors as would happen when using a punchcard machine. If working on a desktop as opposed to a nearby laptop you may be missing any visual cues for row advancement  provided by the ayab screen.

The image displayed on screen may be magnified and reduced to fixed amounts, but at present there are no programmable cues as might have been used on mylar ie. for color changes, lace vs knit carriage actions, etc.

When exploring the menus, creating an easy to view repeat helps to sort out available actions

The single setting is used for all single bed fabrics. The row numbering starts from 1 not 0, and focuses consistently on the row whose pattern is being selected, not the row being knitted; design row start line placement

start needle design stitch position on needle bed 

single design alignment test: left, center, right of the same repeat on an alternate start stop needle configuration 

As mentioned, with an odd number of needles, Ayab places the larger number of needles on the left, its orange (yellow) side. It also automatically mirrors all patterns, so lettering  and images appear on the knit side as drawn. The mirroring however,  is a problem with lace. If working from an established pattern, the lace repeat must be mirrored again either before loading the pattern or prior to knitting it or lace transfers will be made in the wrong direction. It is possible to operate the LC from the right side using Ayab, but if  knit carriage is also set to selecting needles ie. if set to slip stitch, and is used in combination with the lace carriage, the LC will not select when operated from the right, and the pattern will not advance properly (documented by others as well).

I used to constantly use 2 knit carriages in a lot of my accessories. At this point that function is not possible due to patterning errors or loss of patterning when the second carriage operates from the right.

The first preselection row in Ayab is made from left to right. For any pattern that requires a start from right to left, ie one with color changes every 2 rows, there are 2 options. One is to place the design row start line at the very top row of the repeat. That row will be selected left to right, the first design row will then be preselected right to left, and the 2 color rotations using the color changer on the left can proceed accurately.  The other option is to shift the last row in the programmed repeat down to row 1 position prior to downloading the pattern, and saving that as the working repeat.  I prefer the latter, since it eliminates having to recall the change in start line. An example of the shift is seen as applied to the automatically shaped lace trim

The ribber setting: a reminder, later color changers were also capable of being used on the bulky machine

Brother DBJ KRC setting including on the 910: white is the background (color 1), punched holes, black squares or pixels are considered contrast (color 2)

This is the KRC color separation described for DIY use on a punchcard machine: 

some of the possible backings (vertical striper requires extra steps)

Previous related posts: http://alessandrina.com/2015/04/18/a-simple-shape-an-exercise-in-dbj-brother-km/ and http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/26/dbj-and-color-separations-some-previous-posts-links/

AYAB color sequence is reversed from the Brother convention of white pixels being color #1, and black pixels being color #2. It chooses black as color #1, white as color #2. The first pass to the right is set up with the “black” yarn. Actual position in the color changer can vary depending on how the yarn is threaded in the mast. The first pass to the right preselects for the first row of black squares, which will be knit on the first pass from right to left. In one option, the ribber needs to knit the yarn in order to get the carriages threaded with yarn to the other side, the KC makes a free pass, with nothing knit. This is achieved by having the main bed set to slip <– –>, and the ribber to selection to be used in the remaining DBJ fabric. After knitting across and waiting for beep, knit back to color changer, the beep happens again as you reach the opposite side. Press the button to change yarn to “white” and continue in pattern, changing colors every 2 rows. Depending on your choice of start to the piece, another option may be to have the ribber set to slip as well on the first preselection row from left to right, thread the “black” with the carriages on the right, using it to knit that first design row, moving toward its empty slot in the yarn changer, where you will then pick up the “white”. Check cam settings on both carriages before moving back toward right. Thinking of the pattern in terms of black and white and matching the sequence as described frees one from the factory KRC convention.

KC I or II may be used, needle arrangements can vary depending on the look one prefers on the edges. It is helpful to have some previous experience with ribber use and understanding of how stitches are formed. Patterning resulting from choices on end needle selection on either bed may be considered a boon or a distraction, at times even create a smaller, secondary pattern (arrows)

The circular setting: was intended for tubular fair isle, some of my experiments to produce other fabrics may be found in earlier posts. The ravelry group discussion on topic including using the setting in knitting socks, with an extensive tutorial by Adrienne Hunter: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/ayab/3346844/26-50#38

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.

3/5/18 While working on a post on shaped lace edgings on Brother machines  I encountered 2 new issues. One appeared to be I was unable to restore end needle selection on my LC while sorting out the repeats. The other was that if 2 carriages are in use, the lace carriage will not select needles if operated from the right, while if is the only carriage selecting needles, it will work from either side. This is a property that is not isolated only to my set up.

2/28/18 I have continued to intermittently knit swatches on my hacked 910. The software continues to be a boon in terms of avoiding the mylar and producing test fabrics quickly. At one point it was suggested I flash the Arduinogo to the Tools menu, Load AYAB firmware. Choose 910, Uno, 0.9. It takes a few seconds to reload the firmware (the part of the program that’s in the actual Arduino.  The changes from 0.8 to 0.9 were minimal, but it’s best to make sure you are using the latest.  EMSL preflashes them in testing so it’s not normally necessary for the user to do it.” Mine had not been. Doing so has not changed any of the behaviors that make me reluctant to even attempt to knit anything other than short fabric tests.  The trick now has become to keep enough patience and distance to be able to not assume that any patterning issues or fabric inconsistency are due to the software and not my own inattention or faulty notes. A recent observation: if an odd number of needles are being used the rule is that the larger number will be on the left.

1/21/17 I have been reworking some of my previous posts to accommodate for the fact that Ayab preselects the first knit row only moving from left to right. After being contacted by a design school student in Europe with respect to creating specific designs in 2 color drop stitch using ayab, there is now a dedicated post on topic. Nothing has changed in terms of my having reliable and consistent patterning for any significant knit lengths using Ayab. In addition, the knit carriage movements in the 910 when using the software now behave like the Brother punchcard knit carriages. Any change in movement in the opposite direction or jiggling of the KC for any reason, can make the design advance pattern rows. This was never true for the unaltered 910 machines, which were wonderfully reliable if the knitting was interrupted, if carriage were moved outside the knit edges for any reason, did not need to clear end marks for any reason other than on the first row of knit, were able to preselect first row from either side, making patterns that required use of the color changer usable without design first row adjustments, and the list goes on. The Facebook group is an active one, and worth joining for anyone seeking more observations, advice, and inspiration.

1/7/18 Over the week end it appears my software has now begun pre selecting  first with errors, and now correctly on that first pass from left to right, so I will now be reviewing any instructions I have posted this past month in case settings need to be changed for anyone trying to execute the same fabrics, beginning with  lace.

1/4/18 My Ayab software set up rows work this way: the first pass from left to right only gets the carriage to the right, selecting only first and last needle if change knob is set to KC I. The second pass from right to left preselects the first row of pattern. The third pass (from left to right), knits the first row of pattern, selects the second, and so on; subsequent selection is correct, no rows of the design are skipped. It has been pointed out to me that this may be a unique feature to mine, or one unreported by others. “First preselection row should occur on that first pass from left to right”. My posts on using the software are based on the first pattern row knitting from left to right, not right to left as would happen if the very first pass from left to right preselected for the first row of knit. At this point in time it is also not possible for the first preselection row to occur moving from right to left. This in turn needs adjustments if patterning needs to occur in 2 row sequences from the left ie. in knitting mosaics and mazes unless preselection happens from right to left,  a result of my version’s “quirk”. Since I also knit on an E6000 the first 2 rows feature to complete preselection for the first row of pattern is a familiar one, and from the beginning I assumed it was an intentional feature in the Ayab software as well. It actually solves the problem if the first selection row needs to happen toward the color changer. Fixed starting sides can be problematic depending on the type of fabric being knit.  Lots of options to explore.

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

12/25/17 my first try at lace: the LC is the one to select for transfers, the KC knits to complete the formation of stitches. Brother punchcards for lace usually begin with selection rows, end with 2 blank rows at their top. Using Ayab the repeats need to repeat across the width of the piece. One nice added feature is that when doing so, blank rows may be planned and left at both sides, creating a knit stitch border and eliminating the problem of paying attention as to whether end needles are selected or not, or what other measures to take. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones.

the resulting fabric, knit and purl sides

one more to try: a large diagonal eyelet lace combining lace and tuck 

1/22/18 swatches with preselection from left, similar results for shapes that are shaped with single row increments in height. Double height, the fabric creates tiny pintucks, not blisters as can begin to be seen at top of swatch; KC slip <—, ribber slip —>;

shapes as seen in test swatchverifying presence of pockets 

For a full post on quilting in one or 2 colors please see later post 

12/23/17 The “quilted” fabric produced below is different than the one achieved by specifically designed color separations, the fabric has an interesting blister like effect, the knit areas have more horizontal texture. Because of limitations due to the eventual needle selection errors I am experiencing with the software, my swatches are limited in length or have interrupted patterns. My new repeat two of the “pockets” have beads dropped into them to highlight their location 

12/22/17: settings given below are for first preselection row from right to left, not for left to right,  testing out the waters with the circular settings, using the repeat. Please check later posts for reviewed content 

I tried to go for “quilting, but think that may require switching levers on the ribber, so to start with, this was knit in an every needle rib, with ribber set to knit <—->, main bed set to slip —>, producing a fabric with very subtle pintucks, which may be more interesting in 2 colors
Quilting: KC slip <—, ribber slip —>

The pink and white swatch is  in “drop stitch lace”,  was also knit using the circular setting. Instructions for color separations for fabric, how tos, tools, tips and samples may be found in my posts on topic, with the same repeat used in http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/ 

the image resulting from my own past color separation its purl side, turned sideways

Previous posts have covered manual color separations for fair isle, quilting 1, quilting2, and a summary of series on drop stitch lace. A later post on drop stitch lace using ayab .

One of the differences in using Ayab, is that knitting set up begins on the left, with first preselection row happening on the second carriage pass from right to left. This makes sense if the goal is to set up patterning for moving toward the color changer. Passap E6000 uses the SX/GX (2 Rows) for set up, with its color changer on the right. The knitter may set the carriages or locks for any chosen setting (knit for knit rows, slip if the extra 2 rows knit are not desired as part of the pattern, or those suggested by console or other instructions). In the original state 910, the starting side is of no consequence as long as one is outside the set line, and preselection happens on a first, single pass. The same is true of preselection in the punchcard, one may start on either side. In some fabrics such as slip stitch worked holding techniques, or if  the color changer is in use and making moves in even numbers of rows toward and away from it are required, starting side matters. The Ayab circular setting does the color separation for the fabrics above, but other cam and lever settings may need adjustment, based on sorting out what selected needles are doing when knitting starts. For the “quilted” swatch above the left part button on the KC, and the right one on the ribber were used. Sometimes the guide to color selection or cam settings, is whether the first square in the imported image for download is black or white. With the loss of the built in color reverse on a hacked machine, it is easy work when swatching and testing to color reverse the repeat by using invert, available in the color menu, providing the alternative repeat. In Gimp the grid color may be adjusted as well, if you choose to work in black and white as your starting palette. For the individual image, Image/ configure grid changes the preference for single use. 

12/19/17 I am continuing to really appreciate the speed and ease for sampling pattern ideas. That said, I  have also again experienced selection issues varying from lost selection to repetition of the same pattern row indefinitely, frequently after more than 50 rows are knit, and in spite of increasing attention being paid to beeps and flashes. Short pauses also seem to put the software into time out mode. I have not done enough knitting to evaluate whether moving the carriage past both turn marks with any frequency prevents those selection issues. Support is responsive, with new tools come new learning curves for everyone involved.

There is a popping noise /clunk that I have now learned is routine and  “likely from the solenoids being engaged or disengaged, when they’re first powered up, or released at the end.” It is a noise I have never heard in standard 910 use. I usually power down equipment when not in use, and have been told “For the sake of longevity on the knitting machine, it’s probably better to err on the side of disconnecting the USB cable when you power down the machines.”

My present knitting efforts are to come up with some sort of variation of this fabric, published in an early Empisal Ribber Pattern Book, shared in a Facebook forum post.  I have used racking in a variety of experiments, but never traveling over a MB pattern as in this instance. There is now a dedicated post on topic 

12/17/17 I am brand new at using the system, my comments here are logging my personal experience and observation as I am learning a new tool, not intended as a guide. Please follow forums for advice from folks with more experience and knowledge.

The ayab interface from EMS is now up and running on my 910. The process was easy and straightforward in terms of hardware. Software install on the Mac is very slow initially, but the launcher operates quickly after that.  I am using the system connected to an iMac presently running OS 10.13.2. There initially were issues with port failure when attempting to use the program to download. No security warning was received when the driver download was completed, but rather, the image below, which I took at face value, so I did not immediately access the preferences security panel to make any changes thereIt took some sorting out with EMS support and finally accessing preferences security settings and “allowing” the install to solve the problem. Apparently there may be some change in message received within a half hour of the install. So, easy fix, check system preferences security settings regardless of pop up window even if lacking  familiar and obvious warnings such as

At present there is no cover available to fit over the kit and its wires, so the left hand side of the machine remains exposed. There is a row counter built into the software, but I tend to rely on the built in on the 910. Any DIY cover should take clearing the row counter and the knit leader trippers into consideration. There is some conversation about 3D printed ones, or even metal. Tiny detail: the kit comes with electrical zip ties to help secure the plastic shields on both sides of the board.  Clip the ends, and twist them so join sits either on top or under the interface, thus keeping them clear of KM parts, and, particularly, the belt drive on the left.

There are a series of beeps and flashes that indicate that the pattern row has indeed been downloaded and is ready to be knit. 910 mylar users are familiar with the sound coming from the reader as each row is scanned. Prior to using the Ayab system I was initially concerned about beeps for each row adding to machine operating noise, since I am familiar with the Passap screech and at one point was also with the Studio electronic version. The Ayab beeps are actually on the soft side, and background noise or inattention may actually lead one to miss the cues. LED flashes occur in pairs indicating the row is ready to knit as well. Again, any cover may hide the light or soften the beeps even more, making the cues available via the screen more essential.

The kit comes with a 3 ft. cable. I have rearranged placement of my machines to make using both the Croucher cable, switchbox, and wincrea on the Passap, and the Ayab system on my 910. My initial wish was for a longer cable, which is possible to use. That said, there are several knit from screen clues that if you are operating the machine any distance from the computer get lost and become hard to see, including indicators for row numbers and the pattern advancement lines on your motif.

So far I have small FI samples and DBJ  samples. Ran into a problem after 60+ rows of each with mis patterning occurring, but that may well have been operator error. I have used my 910 for production accessories, and was very familiar with a personal optimum speed. I believe I almost unconsciously with the initial samples, may have picked up speed and interfered with the accurate download of pattern rows. When I slowed down and was much more deliberate, waited for each flash and sound, a test got me to RC 110 with no issues before I quit for the day.

11/27/17 This punchcard was shared by someone trying to reproduce the implied fabric on their 910. It is intended to be used as a combination lace and weaving card, so on the punchcard machine 2 carriages would be locked on the belt. If even number of passes are made with each carriage, there is the issue of the card not advancing each time when the opposite carriage makes its first pass. So far I have not been able to get this repeat to work for me as drawn, to produce results anything even resembling the “finished swatch” published photo. It did work for me using the LC carriage for 3 passes, releasing it, and following it by 2 rows knit with the KC set to tuck in both directions, a very different fabric. If the LC  is released after an odd number of rows, then technically when the KC is first in use,  the right to left and back to right selection is not interrupted, it is moving in the direction the LC carriage would have moved, and the punchcard row is not repeated. First row with LC selects, second row transfers, selects next row. Third row transfers, selects every other needle for the first tuck row on the next pass of KC, and LC is released. The fabric then tucks for 2 rows as punched, on every other needle. The second tucked row is completed with KC on right. The first LC row has now been preselected, as the *LC heads back to right (1) it transfers the selected needles, selects them again, but since they are now already empty, nothing happens to any yarn, and the next row of transfers is selected (2). Second set of transfers is made to right (3) as first tuck row is preselected. LC is removed. KC tucks for 2 rows (4, 5), selecting first LC transfer row with the second pass.* Repeat. The marks on the left should indicate carriage movements for each carriage, but they are off as well in my version of the fabric. My final repeats were for use on the 910 with a mylar.

the pattern book swatch imagemy tuck swatch

Lace is a challenging enough fabric without adding weaving yarn floats, and definitely combining them requires a clear understanding of what the yarn is doing on the needle hooks as one progresses through the repeat. I will be starting a separate post reviewing card markings  in punchcard pattern books, and translating them for electronic use. For further information please see post on 589

I have always been interested in machine knitting hacks and began sharing information from the internet on the topic as early as 2013. I own the 910 Brother model, and when the ayab hack first became available, assembling electronic components was beyond my skill and interest. I have a good supply of mylars, but have always knit more complex fabrics on my E6000, which has the Croucher cable and switch box for download to and from a Windows laptop, using Wincrea .  I had known a preassembled kit for the 910 hack was in development from a trip to CA, which included a visit to the Bay Area Machine Knitting Guild  back in April 2016.  A recent post on Ravelry alerted me to the fact that Ayab was “alive and well”, and that an assembled kit is now available and on the market. The hardware kit developer , to purchase  , wiki , interface , install . My understanding is that the software is still being developed in Germany.
Online discussion groups:  Ravelry , Facebook.  My compiled list of online pattern generators, hacks, free KM manuals, and more: 5435

I have purchased a kit,  and will share my experiences with it as time passes. In addition to bypassing the mylar use, the idea of having software that will render  color separations that would normally have to be hand drawn for larger repeats than would be practical, or for complex fabrics, is an exciting one.

An artist whose work I admire, using the interface early on is Claire Williams , her tutorial  updated 2016 with DIY assembly of the original “kit”.

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