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.

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?


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



Drop stitch lace using Ayab software

Some notes on how tubular software color separations such as the one automated in the ayab circular setting may be found in previous post

In an effort to respond to a request I have had via my blog, I am sharing information on this topic as I have time to explore it. My first attempt when up and running with the Ayab software, was to to reproduce an earlier sample I had created as a color separation originally intended for a hand knit shadow knit experiment.

a chart from that blog posttry_drop_stitchthe resulting hand knit, on purl side
IMG_0823the color separated sample knit pre ayab the sample knit using the Ayab circular setting

Patterns predawn for shadow knitting, appear to be one published source for interesting 2 color drop stitch variations. What about geometric shapes or developing your own designs? Designs created using this technique lengthen considerably when off the machine. Both color sets of stitches become elongated as they are dropped, and that should be a consideration in planning your design. If your goal is a circle, the actual shape programmed may have to be closer to an egg laid horizontally rather than that of a “true” circle. The fabric also widens considerably when blocked and off the machine, making cast on and bind off methods considerations another necessity. Design repeats may be drawn in Paintbrush or GIMP (both freeware), or Photoshop. I have been a longtime GIMP user, and prefer to use it in tiling repeats as opposed to the copy and paste features in Paintbrush to accommodate the Ayab requirement of programming the repeats horizontally in the width of your piece.

In my previous how to posts on designing your own 2 color drop stitch lace, part of the color separation required elongating the design X 2. Starting side in Ayab for needle selection always needs to be from left to right, and elongation of the motif is not required when using the Ayab circular option.

This was my first working repeat, A = repeat charted out. B = the working bitmap or png, etc. (which would be the only requirement for the mylar). C = the image tiled for the chosen number of stitches (again, Ayab requires the repeat be programmed for the width of your knit piece). D = the image elongated, not usable for this fabric, it results on too much elongation. If you would like a knit border on either side, that can be achieved by having extra stitch(es) in work on the ribber

The results up to the point in which I had a yarn caught in brushes and stitches dropping on the left of the needle bed:

Drop stitch lace has been referred to over the years in other terms as well, such as release stitch, drive lace, and summer fair isle in Passapese. Passap knitters will recognize the results from this first method are akin to those produced using Technique 185.

Getting started: stitches intended to be dropped may be created on either bed. If the ribber is used to create loops, then the technique is a manual one. Using the main bed in Japanese machines to program dropped stitches increases accuracy and ease.

If you are swatching and testing, a permanent cast on is not necessary. The broken toe cast on is one of the two quickest on the Japanese machines, usable on on either bed. It is fondly called that, because if ribber cast on comb and weights are in the wrong place so that the wrong loops are dropped, everything falls to the floor, and likely on your toes. There is an online video by Diana Sullivan that shows its use for a tighter cast on row in 1X1 rib, but the use here is for a different purpose.

In producing this fabric you are technically knitting an “every needle rib”. Cast on a fairly tight zig zag row. The ribber comb wire needs to be placed so that it holds down the stitches on the bed on which you need to keep them. The principle and results are akin to  the first row knit when you use a single bed cast on comb, and the second pass, with the first knit row anchors open loops before your continue to knit. Any loops not secured by the comb will result in dropped stitches. Any fabric, any time, when 2 stitches are empty side by side, stitches are not formed and the yarn is dropped off them creating a float or ladder.  The red line indicates the ribber wire on top of the ribber loops in the zig zag row, placed so released knitting will be left on the ribber. Black lines your zig zag yarn loops, blue dots the teeth of your ribber cast on comb. You can check placement by dropping just a few loops on the main bed before hanging your weights on the comb. 

zig zag row showing placement of cast on comb teeth, on each side of main bed needles
with wire in place, anchoring ribber stitches testing out dropping a few stitches all stitches now on ribber in preparation for dropping stitches created on main bed 

It is possible to also use a wired cast on comb for an open stitch cast on on the top bed only. Remove wire from comb. Bring the comb up and between needles to be used, and  re-insert wire. Needles and latches will need to travel easily under the wire when the first knit row takes place. 

The knit carriage will not clear the comb properly because of the location of its brushes, etc. For the “cast on” row, exchange the sinker plate on your knit carriage for the one normally used with the ribber. The first photo below shows the approximate location for the comb during the first row knit. Needles are centered between the teeth, the teeth themselves line up with gate pegs. The comb needs to be manually held in place, since there is no opposing bed in use to help balance it. Working with the ribber up would ease the process in wider pieces of knit. The ribber sinker plate has no brushes or wheels to anchor knitting on the knitting bed. Any rows knit single bed using it, will need to have needles brought out to hold position prior to knitting each row for all stitches to be formed properly

the comb in positiona pass is made slowly with the ribber sinker plate in place the comb is droppedbring all needles out to hold position knit one more row, returning to starting positionchange sinker plate on knit carriage if needed, proceed with knitting

To use the same method with ribber in place: hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up with gate pegs as shown above, and so the needles can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the ribber, and tilt the comb against knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the carriages across to opposite side. Move carriages to other side, drop the comb and weigh it. If continuing on the top bed only drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit.

“bumps”: Brother comb 

For other purposes and an edge similar to a “weaving cast on” executed on Japanese machines use EON for the “cast on row”, then bring into work and add the rest of the needles prior to knitting the second row.

Use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., brand is not relevant, only tooth spacing is. It is possible to cut ribber cast on combs into different widths for use when knitting is planned on fewer stitches than those accommodated by their available commercial widths.

As for dropping those loops that will form the long stitches, one can do so “manually” with improvised tools. For more “automatic” dropping of stitches using knit carriage in Brother patterning, one may punch a card or draw a mylar with a method akin to color separation. A pass of the KH carriage across the knit is made with no yarn in feeder, “color 2” is actually “no yarn/empty” from left to right,  while establishing the proper needle selection on its return. The ribber would need to be reset to slip, or the ribber carriage separated from the knit one for the 2 passes to and from the color changer. This is the “scariest” option by far, more error prone. It is not applicable when using the circular Ayab setting in creating the fabric. Without a specific “tool”, all stitches can be brought to E and back to B with a ruler, piece of garter bar, ribber cast on comb, or other handy ‘toy’. Dropping stitches is done while carriages are on the left, after the return to the color changer side. It is possible to modify the Studio accessory used to drop stitches

full altered_500

For 2 color drop stitch, the main bed is set to slip in both directions. Because not all needles on the main bed are used for patterning on every row, the KC II setting on the change knob is used, eliminating end needle selection on the 910. The ribber is set to knit every row

Ayab: begin  your design repeat on your first row, choose its circular setting in machine type pull down menu on right
First design row is preselected left to right
Main bed is set to slip <— —> , change knob on KC II (end needle selection is cancelled)
Ribber is set to knit <— —> for the duration
COL: as you go from the left to right, needles are preselected on the top bed, they will knit, picking up loops that you will in turn drop on the subsequent passes of the knit carriage from right to left.

COR, the KC knits on preselected needles as it moves to the left. Clear the color changer, set up your next color. Drop the stitches knit on that last pass

It may be necessary to push those loops down between the beds before you next pass, remember to pull down on your knitting periodically,  visually check needle alignment on the main bed (all needles in B in work area)

*With new color move to right, preselecting the next row of loops
Knit right to left, picking up loops on preselected needles, change colors, drop stitches,** and repeat * to ** steps in 2 row rotations

so I want circles, here is my test pattern more like eggs, the black squares in shape appear as drawn on the purl sideshapes are reversed as drawn on knit side 

It is possible using the circular setting to drop only one of the 2 colors, whether background or shape. I began by dropping the white ground. I used to encourage students to develop a tune/ repeat in their head when regular actions needed to be taken. For me, in terms of yarn color,  it was “white, knit, drop”,  “brown =  erase (push back to B), go back”. 1: white travels to right, needles are pre selected; 2: white travels to left, picking up loops 3: on left, change color, drop stitches. For brown: 1. travel to right, needles are preselected 2: on the right, before traveling back to left push all selected needles back to B. Only the ribber knits on the way back to left, so brown will have knit 2 rows with no dropped stitches. I ran out of brown yarn, started over with the blue and white, planning on having the shape drop the stitches. There is a difference in the fabric width with the change in distribution of stitches. I stopped knitting not due to any mis patterning, but because I encountered another Ayab behavior that may be well known to punchcard knitters. Due to a yarn mast issue I moved the knit carriage back to disentangle the yarn, and lo and behold the pattern advanced a row.  Punchcard machines will advance a row with any movement of the carriage outside the edges of the knit. This was never an issue in the unaltered 910. At that point I stopped knitting. 

Not fond of stripes? prefer one color? the sample below was worked on 40 stitches in width, using the repeat charted for 56 stitches. Here decisions are made at the design phase of your repeat. For single color drop stitch use an image double length, and single setting in the Ayab software. The process is the same: *preselect stitches left to right, knit on selected needles right to left, drop loops just picked up traveling to left**, repeat from * to **. Settings are the same as for the 2 color drop stitch, but the elongation depending on the number of stitches dropped is not as noticeable. The texture in my swatch is diminished after a quick press, the yarn is an acrylic blend. The charted repeat illustrated is wider, but I worked it on only the center 40 stitches. As always in slip stitch, the black squares knit and they represent the stitches that are dropped. If you wish to create the long stitches on the ground (white squares),  reverse use Ayab Action Invert prior to knitting

the chart as viewed and explained at the top of the post

Sources of inspiration from studio publications vary, patterns designed for pile knitting make for suitable one color drop stitch. A partial punchcard repeat

from an electronic collection

and a punchcard pattern book, where markings emulate eyelets, usable only for single color knitting 

Note that in #2 card directly above, there is a solid row at the very start that is a design row (third all punched). In Ayab again, first row preselection is left to right, you will be picking up loops on preselected needles going from right to left and then dropping them. That first design row needs to have punched holes or black squares/pixels in it. The color separation is essentially done for you in the source image. Do not use circular in Ayab, but rather, use “single” setting and follow instructions for creating the fabric as described  above,  with no color changes. The blank punchcard rows match the no selection rows in self drawn color separations,

If double bed work is daunting, for a different stitch, worked single bed, that may cause interesting distortions in all knit, single bed fabrics see block stitch post.

The self drawn design repeats for 2 color drop stitch may be offset as well, resulting in colors being dropped alternately.  The design shape needs to be created in 4 row blocks in order for the yarn to make it back and forth to the color changer with both colors to complete one design row. The second pairs of rows in each 4 row block is  “erased”. In this instance as well, rows marked with black squares will pick up loops on the main bed, which are in turn dropped to create the long stitches. The second design repeat is off set to try to get sections of it to create loops to be dropped as well. The final motif must be a multiple of 8 rows in height if it is to be used as Ayab’s “infinite” repeat in length.

Color changes are indicated in the vertical strip in the center of the design. This was my starting idea

Elongation to 4 rows per block, erasing second pair of rows for each color on right. The repeat on the right may be used if only one color is to be dropped; the 2 blank rows in the design field represent stitches that will knit only on the ribber for 2 rows. No stitches are dropped in color(s) used in sequential rows of blank squares in all “white” areas of chart, including multiple rows above and below the design shape. Color changes every 2 rows continue, creating continuous stripes. shapes staggered, visually checking for placement of alternately dropped stitches 

To accommodate the Ayab preselection for the first row to be knit from left to right, move the last blank row in the design to the first row position. As the carriages travel from left to right and back to the color changer, the stitches will knit 2 rows only on the ribber. Continue knitting in steps as described earlier in post, changing colors every 2 rows. On a larger knit ground such shapes may be arranged to suit. This was my working repeat, but I used a third fewer stitches in the swatch than in chart. Note that the images will be reversed on the knit side, so if preferred, use Action Mirror to flip the image horizontally prior to knitting it

The swatch has been quickly pressed, so texture is flattened out, but I am reminded a bit of shadow knits when viewing its purl side

In an unaltered 910 with the ability to double the width of the programmed repeat, mylar users are not excluded from exploring a similar fabric. The repeat above may be rescaled to half the width,  drawn that way, and then use the twice as wide built in feature. Gimp does an “interesting” thing when scaling this design to half width, note the right side of each repeat is an odd number of squares, the left side an even. The repeat may be used as is or redrawn, adding or eliminating black squares if symmetry in each shape matters.  Paintbrush produces the same image, mirrored.

The explanation: further analysis of the original design reveals the fact that some of the pixel numbers in the design black square blocks are uneven in width. In this instance 3.5 is half of 7, and half pixels cannot be rendered, so the software assigns the split to 4 and 3.  


Lace punchcards meet Ayab

1/8/18 It appears I now have acquired preselection from left to right on the first pass with my Ayab software, which I have been told is its “normal”. I am revising information I have offered since I began working with Ayab if needed because of this, beginning with lace. This punchcard design is worked with each carriage operating for 2 rows, and all transfers in the same direction. The LC (lace carriage) on left, the KC (knit carriage) on right. An added note: sometimes punchcard designs as provided, not altering the repeat in any way, accidentally marking squares or pixels in the wrong spot, or deliberately starting with the LC on the wrong side, may still produce interesting fabrics. As always keeping good notes is more than well worth it. punchcard actions: transfers are all to the left (seen leaning to right on the knit side)With the first pre selection row using Ayab beginning with the LC on the left, the same transfer sequences occur as in the punchcard machine or a single repeat on a mylar

swatch knit with the LC operating on the left, the KC on right throughout

For use with the color changer, the same repeat may be used. Transfers however, now need to occur with the LC operating on the right giving the knit carriage the opportunity to travel to and from the color changer in 2 (or more, even #) row sequences. Using a punchcard, one would turn a punchcard over before inserting it into the card reader to work with the LC beginning on and continuing from the right. To achieve the same fabric using Ayab, shift the top row to the bottom of the repeat, and either mirror your image prior to importing it into Ayab, or use its mirror action in the pull down menu. The chart shows the repeat prior to mirroring, with desired actions described to its right. It is not possible to read first row from beyond the right set line using Ayab, so the LC begins on the left, travels to the right on the first blank row, selects on the second pass to the left, transfers stitches as it travels to the right again and stays there, operating from that side for the remainder of the knit. All transfers are now reversed and made to the right, and seen leaning to left on the knit side of the fabric. After the first 3 LC passes, each carriage operates for 2 rows at a time, all transfers are to the right, lean to the left on the knit side of the fabric.

Possible striping choices:  the differences between areas marked A or B is in location of the color change. In A areas the color is changed immediately after the single transfer at the top of the “triangle”, in B areas the last eyelet is completed in the same color used up to that point, and the color change is made after the first row of 4 transfers at the base of the “triangle”. More complex lace repeats create much more interesting variations in the direction and movement of the stripes.
 verification on a different day, LC on Left, repeat not mirrored 
The punchcard for  fabric from 1/25/18 post. 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. 

operating with LC on the left operating with the LC on the right: the repeat is mirrored  

the original repeat (re-worked on 24 sts)Ayab for operating with the LC on the left, repeat is mirrored  Ayab for knitting with LC on the right, original repeat, rows split

The bottom of the swatch was knit with the LC operating from Left, the top with the LC operating from right after its third pass illustrated  in the “triangle” lace description above repeated testing, bottom LC operating from left, top LC operating from right

A sample of weaving and lace see discussion of a punchcard to mylar conversion 
for full details. The punchcard was originally designed for operating both the knit and the LC carriages from the right. If KC I is used resulting in end needle selection  on only the first and last needles in use, prior to passes of the LC push those needles back to B. If there are 3 empty needles on the edge on either side on rows preselected for weaving, bring the outside needle to work/ E prior to laying in the weaving yarn.  The image tiled for the width of my knit, in this case 32 stitches, a multiple of 8I actually cast on an extra stitch on each side at the beginning of the piece with the intent they not be in pattern and create a single knit stitch border in areas of transfers. Here are the results, barring a couple of spots the weaving yarn did not get caught properly. The pattern as drawn produces a fabric that is interesting, but different than the intended

With the pattern flipped horizontally / mirrored, we now have the same results as in using the 589 punchcard

So to mirror or not to mirror? that is the question… I tested  643 and 650 from Pattern book #5, found mirroring was indeed required for transfer accuracy. I  verified that the “triangles” do not need to be mirrored to match the punchcard swatch. The notable difference in the latter is that all transfers are in the same direction, and that each carriage operates for only 2 rows.

Two more to try, directions are not ayab specific : a large diagonal eyelet lace combining lace and tuck 

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

For more lace samples, and symbols and suggestions from punchcard books on knitting the fabric, please see

A Fair isle sample with deliberately mirrored lettering proved the program knits what it sees, so my letters were still reversed, as drawn.

On 12/25/17 I shared my first try at lace using Ayab and the work around for the first pre selection row occurring from left to right. 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. Because Ayab requires a first pass from left to right for the next row to be selected, to get the pattern to work one needs to split the 2 rows at the top, bringing one of them down to the start of the repeat. If knitting continues with the LC pattern as originally drawn, the transfers will occur in the opposite direction of that intended. To work around that, the image may be mirrored in the paint program before download, or use action/mirror in the Ayab menu before knitting. One nice added feature is that blank rows may be 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, and what 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. These repeats do not hold with first pass pre selection from the left.

the original repeatthe repeat mirroredthe resulting fabric, knit and purl sides

no mirroring, software patterning errors in one of the test swatches 
operating from the right, using the color changer

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: tuck lace trims or fabrics 2

There have been several previous posts on “crochet” like stitches and “tuck lace”, this is another variant. The needles need to be arranged as in the diagrams below. After the first preselection row, the carriage is set to tuck <–    –>.

the full punchcard T= areas where tuck loops will occur, K = knit columns, o = NOOW, red line the 0 mark on the needle tape

Every 5 rows, after the tuck loops are knit together (illustrated in repeats on far left), the formed stitch (single black square) is transferred in turn to right and then to left; this works out happily so that transfers may always be made toward the knit carriage.
The sole repeat (all that would be required on a mylar) is 4 stitches wide, 5 rows high. The number of needles used need to be planned so that there is a knit stitch on either end of the piece. This is accomplished by using a repeat multiple of 4 + 1, so one side of the 0 mark has an even number of stitches, the other an odd (4+1=5). Ayab software requires that the repeat is programmed across the width of the fabric, so the final design  would be a variant of this, my sample was worked on 20 left, 17 right. Non selected needles form tuck loops, until they are knit together every 5th row

If you prefer to work with the top repeat programmed, then transfers will need to be made on each side of the non selected needles to get the proper configuration. If programmed with the bottom repeat, then and every other needle cast on is fine. I generally stay away from combs and weights if I can, but this is a fabric that benefits by evenly distributed weight, a cast on comb with weights added to it is a good idea. In the absence of any, start with waste yarn and ravel cord, thread a thin knitting needle or wire through the knit, and hang evenly spaced weighs on that. Follow with your preferred cast on, and knitting in pattern. 

The swatch as it appears on the purl side (traditional “public side” for tuck stitch). The bottom 4 repeats show what the fabric looks like before one intervenes with the hand technique

its knit side and a bit closer a few more


Combining KC patterning with racking: work in progress

The Brother Ribber Techniques book provides guidelines for variations on this stitch type,  the following among them. It is available for free download online from various sites and is an excellent resource

These images were shared on Facebook, they are from the Empisal ribber stitch book

I have worked with racking in the past, but never attempted to have racked shapes interacting with single bed patterning across the width of the piece on the KM. My 910 is presently connected to a Mac via the EMS Ayab kit. Sampling is quick and easy, replacing the mylar. One critical difference is that the repeat used must match the pattern in width numbering the same as needles in use for the piece, so at least for testing my initial repeats were 30 stitches wide.

I find trying to chart things out before I actually knit helps me plan and understand what actions I need to take. Mac Numbers is my go to for charts for the moment.  Here a random slip stitch pattern is put on a ground that takes into consideration possible racking positions, with the ideal position for reversing the bend at the center of the chevron pattern. With a bit of planning punchcard markings or even mylar ones may be used to help with tracking racking numbers for accuracy, but that appears lost using Ayab software

When planning for racking within the width of a piece, the racked columns will extend beyond the vertical edges of the knit. Since this is not about having zig zag edges, but keeping the design within the body of the knit, starting point and spacing for your ribbed stitches matters. Brother racking handle is numbered from 0 to 10. The numbering and direction of movement varies between KM brands. If you begin at 0, you are only allowed to move the ribber to the left, if at 10 the ribber only moves to the the right. So that said, the racking sequence in the above illustration should be reversed, traveling from 10 to 0, and back. The green squares represent the direction in which the ribber stitches are moving, the numbers in the column on the right represent racking handle positions. 

I found this slip stitch repeat produced too little detail in my swatches, but were it reduced for mylar use, it would remain 7 stitches high. It was taken from a punchcard book, so black squares/punched holes represent knit stitches. To match the fabric, in mylar use, color reverse would do the job. The Ayab kit bypasses both the mylar reader and the programming capacity of the buttons on the left, so double height, double width, color reverse, etc. including the DBJ setting are planned for in the file import into the software. In some instances Ayab settings (ribber for DBJ, and “circular”) do the work for you. I am using GIMP to create my BMPs. Paintbrush is a free program, still available for Mac, and functional including in High Sierra. It is the program used by some forum members to create their repeats, provides an easy alternative for people who not be used to working with image editing programs.

the slip stitch repeat in its original state: because slipped stitches create their texture on the purl side of the fabric, images do not need to be mirrored for the direction of the texture to be matched using electronic machines 
If the goal is to have the machine take care of keeping track of knit rows for you, without having to make changes in cam buttons, in the mylar a single repeat with blank squares programmed at the top and/or bottom of the repeat could then be knit using color reverse. Here the situation is similar to that of punchcard users who need to punch a hole for every knit stitch, but considerably faster. If the original pattern is satisfactory,  planning for all knit rows as automatic needle selection can be done by color reversing the pattern in the software, and adding all black rows in the image for download.  
some other all over variations to try, individually, or even sequentially for slip stitch all over texture

the first tests, for the various slip stitches, nothing quite “there” yet  
this is getting closer to the goal

The above working repeat, and all above swatches were knit with first preselection row from right to left, not left to right. For these stitches the starting side does not make a difference. If the pattern however, was in blocks that were even numbered in height (2, 4, 6, 8), and the color changer needs to come into play for striping using it, accommodations need to made so that preselection for row 1 happens from the right side to the left, toward the changer. The programming needs to be set to begin on the very last row, so the repeat returns to row one for preselection from right to left, and knitting rows 1, 2, etc begin with the KC set to appropriate cam buttons, to and from the left side of the KM.

The racking sequence needs to be adjusted to have the points of the zig zag land in the center of both the slip stitch areas and those in plain knit, if that is the goal.  I am encountering needle selection issues with my hack, so this fabric is getting put to bed for the moment. In principle the black squares in the illustration represent knit rows, and their number is easily enough adjusted in height. Punchcard users would need to punch holes for each black square, mylar user can fill in the white squares for a single repeat, add blank rows at top or bottom, and color reverse when programming. In Ayab software the repeat has to be drawn for the width of the piece, but will repeat “infinitely” in length.

This is a possible punchcard template, with shorter racking sequence. Numbered column on left indicates racking position. Pattern rows are preselected, so racking occurs prior to knitting across each row. I am also in need of purchasing more punchcards or another roll, so there is no test swatch at this moment. Top and bottom rows of punched holes on colored ground are not part of the repeat, they overlap the first and last 2 rows of design in the punchcard, allowing the pattern to repeat in length. Ascending numbers swing to left, descending to right. Rows may be added at level of #7 (7, 8, 9, 8, 7), so that the center of the swing may then occur on #9 positions in racking handle, lengthen the card accordingly.


An ayab diary_WIP

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”.

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

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.

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 

12/22/17: 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 

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. 

12/23/17 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 

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 

12/25/17 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 

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

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 his 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.

1/7/18 Over the week end it appears my software has now begun pre selecting 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.

1/21/17 I have been reworking some of my previous posts to accommodate for the fact that Ayab preselects the first knit row only moving from right to left. 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.

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 consistency are due to the software and not my own inattention or faulty notes. Another Ayab behavior that may be different from other machine presets: if an odd number of needles are being used “the rule is that the larger number will be on the left, which may be even or odd”.