Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 2/ HoP

At the start of 2018, I wrote a long post on creating drop stitch lace using ayab software and some of the techniques required to produce the fabric. Since then the software has been updated including several new features and among them the heart of pluto HoP color separation for executing multiple colors per row dbj, and revisited the topic providing links to all the previous related posts.  It occurred to me I might be able to use it to make drop stitch lace without having to manually perform the color separation and then entering it as a single bed pattern. This was my first proof of concept effort, dropping each of the 2 colors in turn. Making things work: my first desired repeat was what I expected would produce a circular shape, it measured 33 stitches by 23 rows.Increments in height need to happen at sequences of 2 rows each, so the design was then doubled in height, resulting in a scaled image now 33 stitches by 46 rows in height, with a planned horizontal repeat X2 = 66. Note: the sidebar offers start and end needles are given for pattern placement on the needle bed. Sampling may occur on fewer stitches than that. Since the number of repeats programmed add up to an even number and center alignment is chosen, the number of needles is even on each side of 0.In my second series of swatches, I decided to try for a smaller “circular” shape, with the repeat now measuring 15 wide by 20 high, and a planned horizontal repeat X3 = 45. If centered, the software places the odd number of needles on the right-hand side of 0.As with any pattern using Ayab, the starting side is with COL. The critical difference is that all needles are in work on the ribber, all needles on the main bed start in work but empty. White squares select first. The main bed is set to slip both ways throughout, the ribber for this fabric is set to knit every needle, every row. The choice then needs to be made as to whether both colors or only one is to be dropped. The software does the work involved in the separation, but the knitter needs to manually cancel needle preselection on the main bed on a regular basis as well as drop stitches formed there. This is best achieved by using a ribber cast on comb or a similar tool. A modified stitch dropping tool does not work unless all needles in work are in B position, so if they are pushed back it will work here as well but I found the cast on comb made the process faster. I will refer to colors as black and white, as they would appear in the design in black and white pixels. Begin with base rows in white. Whether dropping one or both colors, the first preselected row is disregarded on the main bed in both fabrics.
Begin COL: main bed set to slip <– –> (remains there throughout). As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white pixels is preselected, the ribber only knits.
COR: for both fabrics, use the chosen tool to push preselected needles back to B position. As you move to left side and the color changer, the needles for the first row of stitches to be dropped in the next color (black pixels) will be preselected
For dropping both colors 
*COL: pick up the color to be used for black squares, loops will be formed on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward so stitches on the main bed move behind the latches, I tend to do so all the way to E. As needles are returned to B position the loops formed on the previous pass will drop, creating long stitches on the ribber bed. As you return to the left nothing happens on the main bed (needles in B position are not worked in slip stitch), but the next row of white pixels will preselect
COL: pick up the color to be used for white squares, loops will be picked up on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward to drop stitches on the main be, push all needles back to B, knit one row to the left side, as you do so next row of black pixels will preselect**
COL: repeat * to**
I knit until the green yarn broke for some unknown reason For dropping only one color of the two, I chose color 2, “black squares”after preselection starting row
COL: main bed set to slip <– –>. As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white pixels is preselected, the ribber only knits.
COR: use the chosen tool to push preselected needles back to B position. As you move to left side and the color changer, the needles for the first row of stitches to be dropped in the next color (black pixels) will be preselected
*COL: pick up the color to be used for black pixels, loops will be picked up on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward to drop stitches on the main bed, and then push all needles back to B. Knit one row to the left side, as you do so next row of black pixels will preselect
COL: now working with “white”. No loops are wanted on the main bed, so the last preselected row of needles needs to be pushed back to B before returning to the right, knit one row
COR: cancel needle selection again,
as you return to left the next row of black squares will preselect**
COL: change colors, repeating * to **End with some rows on the ribber in “white” to match the number used at the start of the piece.
Casting on and binding off both need to be loose since the fabric stretches considerably when off the machine.  I like to start in waste yarn, make certain my colors change properly, pull down a long yarn end, and begin the final piece on open stitches. At the top, I bind off on the main bed, either transferring stitches up to the main bed from the ribber or taking them off on waste and rehanging them there. A latch tool bind off may then be done around two gate pegs or even more to provide stretch at the top. The bottom of the piece can then be rehung and the same bind off can be executed so the top and bottom edges will match in stretch and width.

Sometimes things are not necessarily worth doing because you can. I was curious as to whether an all one color drop stitch could also be executed using this separation. It is but involves pushing needles back to B multiple times in each sequence. I started with a shape, scaled it twice as long, erased every other row, tiled it X3 horizontally,The wider horizontal band of all knit stitches was due to operator error, happened when I pushed back preselection an extra time, resulting in the ribber only knitting extra rows. For the sake of added clarity, I have added color to the chart below, assigning yellow and grey to all-white design areas in the pattern. The black squares are what I choose to drop. For illustration purposes, this is only a segment of the repeat.The process: begin with COL: main bed set to slip <– –>. As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white squares/ pixels (yellow) is preselected, the ribber only knits.
*COR: cancel any needle preselection for white (yellow) squares, all needles are pushed back to Bas the carriages move to the left, the black squares will preselect COL: knit to the right in order to form loops on the main bed,  they will be dropped to form long stitches
COR: loops have been formeddrop the loops, return needles to B position. At this point, since all needles are in B a modified stitch ditcher may be used for 2 passes, dropping the loops on the first pass and returning the whole series back to B on the second.As you move back to the left, all the needles will be preselected for the all-white row (grey squares),COL: push all preselected needles back to B, as you knit back to the right the next group of white squares (yellow) in the next design row will be preselected*COR: push selected needles back to B as you move toward the left the next row of black squares will be preselected selectedCOL: knit to the right in order to form loops on the main bed, continue for the desired number of repeats and end as suggested for the two-color version.

Previously knit, not using this method, a sample with the ground behind the shape dropping stitches and one in 2-color with shapeshifts For a while, Camino bubbles were a popular topic and created with dropped stitches, for the series on the topic search 

 

 

DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 2

I am taking a break from this topic for a bit. At some point will add at least one more swatch and perform another edit. My eyeballs and brain need to be looking at some single color knitting and no more than 2 color squares for a while 🙂

My first attempt to use a 3 color automatic separation was with img2track. There are 2 oddities for me using the program. One is that the default selector setting is for a single motif, perhaps on the assumption that the main use would primarily be for large scale, nonrepetitive images. The other is that even if working with 2-row color changes with each color in each design row knitting for 2 rows, the first preselection row must be made from the color changer side. This is a necessity in Japanese color separations for 2 color work where the first color knits for only one row on moving from the right side to the left, but if 2 colors with the same selection are required at the start, one row of the 2 appears to be technically eliminated as a result. I had expected to use 3 shades of grey, a pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than grays. The test was using the 11 stitch repeat A pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than greys image. Using Gimp, images worked in RGB can be reduced to indexed 3 colors for this purpose. If there are rows where there is no color represented, then as explained later in the post, the indexing should be to 4 colors, not 3 for the planned for import to work properly.The design is automatically flipped vertically, so it will appear as intended on the knit side of the fabric. Yarn colors may be placed in the color changer matching the order in the assigned color numbers to match the placements in the original image. The program automatically adjusts for the vertical stretch, which changes the aspect ratio of the shapes. On my 930 I received prompts on which color to change to prior to doing so, eliminating any confusion. With no such prompts generally one can tell which color was knit last because it will appear on top of the previously used one on the left of the knit. With a stretch factor of 1 selected in img2track, the image height was reduced by half.To achieve a look closer to the intended shape,  the repeat needs to be rendered twice as long. The stretch factor can be adjusted in the program itself to 2.0

In the past, I have preferred to elongate the design prior to importing with plans for download rather than to rely on memory for changing settings either in the download program or in the machine itself in future uses of the same design.The same yarns, tension, total number of carriage passes and settings were used showing the difference in aspect ratio between single color per row knitting and the img2track built-in color separation. The width of both swatches is essentially identical.

Images may be loaded into the program without the cable being connected to the machine. Error messages do appear with download attempts if the cable is not properly in place. The machine also needs to be powered on before the program is launched if a download is planned. I am working in Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6, have no present desire to upgrade to Catalina.
Executing fabrics that will knit each color in each row only once for every 2 passes on the main bed: back to that original repeat Here it is used as drawn, note vertical stretch set at 2, will be cut in half by the software, getting the image back to the original height l0 X 3 = 30 rows required for all colors to knit in turn; there will be 60 carriage passes to complete one single repeat.The 930 will provide prompts for the next color to be selected by pushing the matching number button on the color changer, avoiding any confusion in terms of what should be picked up next. img2track will also flip the design horizontally automatically so the image will appear as originally drawn on the knit side. Images are loaded as single motifs, so the change in the selector needs to be made manually for an all-over pattern.

In order to have each color in each row knit only once: cast on with preferred method and color. Set up the machine so that the yarn colors are placed in the color shown in the image presented by the program to match your design. End with the machine on the left-hand side for the first preselection row.
COL: set both carriages to slip in both directions and all its needles in B position, set lili buttons if not already in use, pick up color 1
knit one row to the right
COR: knit to left, color 1 will knit for a single row
**COL: change color, STOP! Push back any needles on the top bed back to B position, as you knit to the right the ribber only will be knitting, knit one row to the right
COR: preselected needles will knit in the color last picked up on the way back to the color changer, knitting only one row in that color on the main bed as you return to the left**
repeat the last ** 2 steps throughout. One can get into a rhythm. A cast on comb, part of a garter bar, or any tool of adequate width can make it a quick process of pushing needles back to B when needed to
trust the software, not the selection expected by your eyes.
My swatch seemed to be growing in length at a faster rate than I remembered in the last exercise, here the results are shown side by side with the fabric executed previouslyObviously a success in terms of the single row for each color reducing elongation of the design shape.  While knitting occurs using the same yarns, at the same tensions, there is a clear difference in the length of each stitch on the main bed and their appearance. The reverse. Checking the ribber carriage I noticed on the left side it was set to knit only, not to slip: OOPS!N is king, so the ribber set as shown is knitting every other needle when moving to the right, but even with lili buttons in use it knits on every needle when moving back to the left. Every other needle on the ribber will then be knitting for 2 rows as a result. The more knitting on the ribber for each pair of rows, the longer the stitches on the opposite bed. The backing is an interesting variation (half) birdseye. The elongated stitches on the main bed show more of the backing in between their shapes, it is referred to as bleedthrough. In some instances, the result can make the knit surface resemble weaving and its appearance far less familiar in a surprising, pleasant way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Remember always to double-check all settings at the start of any process in case something was missed or magically moved, and keep notes.

I was asked on Facebook whether the technique shown here is the same as the 3 color slip (skip) stitch patterns in the Stitchworld pattern book, my response: some of the stitch world patters for 3 color slip are designed for or may be used on the double bed (often single bed as well). For instance, patterns 392 and 394. The original designs are rendered color separated. Numbers on the left suggest the order for color changes to achieve a look similar to that in the swatch photos. Assuming the pattern is not easily accessible because of its being built in your machine’s memory, it would have to be entered into a paint program manually to make it available for import and in turn for download. Note that the color-changing sequence may change over the course of knitting the image, so prompts or notes of some sort would be needed to keep it correct. Each color in each row knits twice after each color change. My goals in my blog posts so far have been to keep a constant color changing sequence with each color in each row of any personal design knitting only once. I did it first with my own color separation, then, in turn, used the 3 color separation feature in img2track to achieve my desired result. Here are 2 images from the Stitchworld section in question The images could be replicated as given in a paint program, using only one color for the squares, but “should be reduced to black and white”. Attempting to import an indexed 2 color image drawn in a color other than BW may result in strange results. That said, if glitched knits are the goal, the above could work just fine. Curiously, here is the same process, using a different color, and a successful import. Checking again, I had forgotten to save the image after indexing it from RGB mode to 2 colors. and a test with another color 
Drop stitch lace periodically comes up, I have written several posts on the technique, now considered the possibility of producing it in 3 colors. The resulting fabric tends to be long, thin, and in need of blocking. There is no way to avoid the striped ground. Passap knitters often refer to this type of knitting as summer fair isle. I adjusted the repeat widthNote to self: if you are determined to use a punchcard carriage on your electronic machine remember there is no KCII to cancel end needle selection!
In order to knit this fabric stitches must be cast on in whatever method you prefer, but prior to any patterning all stitches must be transferred down to the ribber, and the main bed needles are placed in working position but are empty. Because of the single row knit for the first 2 design rows of color one, the start is a bit finicky. Alternative start follows lower in post
COL: KC II, main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber stays on N throughout, no lili buttons. Knit one row with color 1 (ribber only)
COR: as you knit to return to the left, the color 1 preselected needles will knit, while the ones corresponding to color 2 will preselect
COL: carefully drop any stitches on needles with color 1 on them without disturbing the new needle selection for color 2
**COL: change color, knit to right
COR: drop the stitches knit in the new color, make certain all needles are empty and in B position, knit back to left and needles will be preselected for the next color**
Repeat the ** to**
Again resulting fabric is narrow and long, it may take a bit of squinting to recognize the design. A single repeat results in about 3.5 by 9 inches of knitting, a far cry from what might have resulted in a single row per color design row dbj virtually shown here in a tiled format

The question then comes up re dropping only one of the 3 colors. Using the manual selection described above, the knitting on the top bed would need to be canceled on every color, every row except for the single row in the chosen drop stitch color. To my mind, that is too much to keep track of for any length of time. It would be easier achieved with specific self-drawn color separations.
There is a lot of testing that can go into developing any fabric in unfamiliar techniques that may or may not meet our expectations or our “like”, it all contributes to learning regardless of whether the tests evolve into projects.

My last post on drop stitch lace in from single color to two: revisiting the techniques on brother machines

Reviewing what happens within the program one more time, highlighting significant items to verify before beginning to knit Getting that first row to knit twice instead of a single time if that matters in your technique or is your preference:
advance design row to last one in the sequence, in this case, 30
in the 930 when the pattern is loaded, using the down arrow key gets to the last row in the downloaded pattern more quickly

COL: set machine to preselect pattern, the next 2 passes would need to not knit, so both carriages are set to slip in both directions
knit one row to the right
COR: number 30 design row flashes
knit one more free pass to left, row 1 of color 1 will preselect as you knit
COL: number 1
design row flashes
check all settings,
main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber set to slip <– –> with lili buttons, and with an even number of needles in work for standard dbjpick up color 1 in yarn changer
the resulting knit design will be elongated
COL
: knit one row to the right.
As you knit the first row of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 2 of color one design row 1 will preselect
COR: knit back to the left
as you knit back to left row 2 of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 1 of color 2 design row 1 will preselect
COL: pick up color 2,
continue in pattern changing colors every 2 rows

In designing your own, small repeats can easily be rendered even in a simple paint program. Larger, more complex ones, may best be worked using layers and masking in a variety of programs ie. Photoshop or Gimp. It is possible to combine 2 color dbj and 3 color dbj in the same piece simply by using different color separations for each segment, but the look of the fabric in terms of the length of each stitch on the knit side may be quite different when moving from one segment to the next. Of course, the backing will change as well. Though the aspect ratio of the design changes in terms of height when one knits 2 rows for each color in each design row, it remains the easiest separation method. Adding the hand selection as described above so that the main bed knits in one direction only helps reduce some of the extra height, making the original image more recognizable. There is no option within img2track to perform the action automatically in terms of adding the necessary blank rows to replace some of the colored ones in the separation.

Passap knitters are not left out of this idea. Passap preselects pushers. On the E 6000 Tech 179 emulates the built-in KRC option in Japanese model machines. My guess was that technique 180 for 2 colors, perhaps 197 with both arrow keys on the back may work for 3 colors. TBD in my next spurt of knitting activity on it. That said, the console built-in designs may be used cross-brand. It is possible in Passap to layer repeats in order to add the third color to the mix. Here is one sample reworked for use on Brother and downloaded into img2track. If black and white repeats are already in your library, one may easily recycle them adding a third color. Here I did so with a repeat intended for a very different topic future post. The image was altered and tiled in Gimp for a repeat alignment test and is also shown imported into img2track for possible knittingWhat of images that are published in punchcard machine references? It is probably best to start with smaller repeats. That said, this is from a Deco pattern book.  Deco punchcards were 40 stitches wide, could be joined together in length as can those for the Japanese models The image of the separation on the above right has not been proofed for accuracy. If it were, the next step would be to elongate it X 2 for color changes every 2 rows. One method is to elongate the original in a paint or photo processing program. The width is fixed (40), the height is scaled X 2. The resulting BW indexed image may be imported, using a 1.0 stretch factor, it remains unchanged. When I tried to elongate the unstretched image in img2track by 2.0 my first try failed. It turned out the reason was I had saved the import without first indexing it to 2 colors. With that corrected, the result matched the one from scaling X 2 in height in the paint program
For years now I have been doing color separations which at first could be extremely slow, one pixel at a time. With increasing familiarity with Gimp and Mac Numbers over time, I have been able to decrease the speed to achieve them immensely. So here, with img2track I now have a program that can work with and separate multiple colors at a time (up to 6 in its pull-down menu option). Here I returned to my first separation in 3 colors for the now-familiar repeat A, elongated it in the paint program B and imported A into img2track choosing 2.0 stretch and 3 colors C. I can totally live with the fact the colors are not the same. The color changer can be set up with my chosen colors in any order I choose

In my first tests with charting a repeat missing any color in some rows, I had scaled the original image taken from a spreadsheet to the wrong size in Gimp, so operator error resulted in crazy results in img2track.Here the image is scaled properly for each color represented for a single row in height, and also scaled again for double-height for possible knitting in Gimp. The Gimp scaling failed to be accurate for me (second image from left) until I indexed the original to 4 colors as well instead of 3. The no color rows as we view them actually serve as a fourth color in the separations. Importing the proper size png into img2track for separation of 4 colors per row now gives results that make sense: note the daunting estimate for the total number of carriage passes for a single repeat height
If the ribber has knit on every needle by its return to the color changer and the machine is set to slip both ways with no needle selection on the main bed, the “no color” can be executed as an empty yarn holder in the color changer combined with no yarn in the feeder.  The rows involved should simply not knit on the top bed, with no dropping of any of its stitches since no needles will have been selected thus coming forward with the yarn in the hooks and traveling behind the latches and in turn, slipping off the needles as a carriage with no yarn pushes the needles with now empty hooks back to B position.

In testing concepts, I prefer to work initially with small repeats. Punchcard books can be an excellent source, but the Stitchworld books have the advantage of actually showing a single repeat for each design, so an 8 stitch repeat, for example, would be shown as such and it would not be up to the person using it shown in a 24 stitch card one to isolate it. I randomly chose pattern 394. I realize that if used from a built-in library of patterns in any machine model the prompts may be provided by the machine, but here I am looking at simply duplicating the pattern for import into img2track.

After duplicating the repeat and associated numbering using Numbers, these were some of my results. A pleasing surprise was that colors in the 2 color import need not be only black and white. That said, the pale green failed, the red did not, and the results from importing both the red/white and the black/white were identical. Another future time saver for me to keep in mind. 

If colors were assigned to each pair rows representing each color used, the white squares were read as an added color on import, and the only way to have those few blocks for the 4th color to show up in the visual representation in an imported repeat was to assign a 5 color separation, resulting in a scrambled pattern. Removing the few squares in color 4, will produce inaccurate separations for actual knitting of the given pattern whether imported to be rendered for 3 colors or 4. The black and white on the right is the “correct” match, leaving any prompts for use of shifting color changers to be tracked somehow by the knitter.Punchcard knitters may have the easiest time to knit variable color sequences since cards may be visually marked up with colored pencils matching needed change locations and taking into account your eyes are a number of rows above the row being read by the card reader. This number depends on the machine brand and model.

Some spreadsheets that may help with tracking row color changes or other regular actions on paper: 2018/04/tracking-rows-1.pdf

I have been asked about the position of the slide lever being fixed in my dbj illustrations. I have found the alternate positions can be wild cards, would rather make adjustments in carriage settings if needed rather than let the factory settings do some of the work for me. If the settings are accidentally in the wrong place as multiple pieces are knit, or in knitting ribber bands for garment pieces, the gauge is changed if the alternate setting is not adjusted and kept constant, and that may not be noticed until the piece of knitting in question is completed, needing a restart. With 15-20 machines active in each studio class and lab session, out of habit, I tried to reduce as many variables as possible.

A video resource on using img2knit for 3 colors per row knitting with blank color rows in the design by Tanya Cunningham, and a Ravelry thread on the topic

 

DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 1

I began to machine knit in the glory days of using the tool and developing techniques. There were internationally attended seminars, hosts of wonderful teachers, and a community of potential peers brought together physically in pre-internet and online forum days. Punchcard machines were the standard. As more electronic models became available it was not uncommon to find the rep for DAK at one end of the market spaces at seminars, and Cochenille at the opposite end, promoting early interface and design programs. My choice at that point was the Cochenille products. I attended design school beginning 1989, the computer lab at the time was all Amiga, and I never really became interested in DAK or for that matter, Garment Styler. I was up and running soon with Bitknitter for the Passap, had the option of the Forma on the Passap or the Knit leader on Brother for less traditional shapes, and the magic formula worked for any of the math I needed in days of using graph paper or that other paper that has lots of lines in it for keeping notes. The calcuknit and styler at the time worked on established default curves, the same that could be achieved by charting math or even simply connecting lines between dots on graph paper, drawing lines in between the dots, and following the drawn lines guesstimating increases and decreases along the edge of the drawing. I have never had any experience with DAK, was never really interested in owning it.  😉
A bit of early low tech: when aspect ratio mattered pages of acetate sheets with vertical lines spaced at different intervals could be lined up atop of each other and placed on a design to approximate knit gauge, and the result could then be charted out and planned for a punchcard repeat or intarsia. Some acetates were sold gridded to approximate stitch and row default proportions, there were also published paper charting aids for both standard and bulky gauges. Some examples:

Laying acetate or even plastic wrap on the computer screen itself and outlining designs and processing them with overlays, was a version of “poor man’s digitizing”. The technological advancement of black and white security cameras used in combination with RGB filters made the first digitizing of non-repetitive images possible.
I had never really planned on teaching. As it turned out I interviewed a few weeks before completing a textile program, had several finished pieces with me from my undergrad work, and was amazingly hired instantly as the machine knitting instructor for apparel and textiles. I found myself faced with a Brother punchcard lab and a summer of crash learning on the specific models followed. In order to teach effectively, I learned to analyze and break down stitch types and techniques in order to help others understand them. Summers would often include studying trends and knitting lots of swatches. Many of those are still in a couple of bins I held onto when I downsized a few years ago, giving up my studio space. It is that analysis that keeps me interested still in working out how-tos. Although I use electronics, I still like to break things down when I can so punchcard knitters are not left out.
Getting to the topic of multiple colors and nonrepetitive images in the “early days”: punching holes in cards is time-consuming and without the aid of electronics or specific software, color separations for dbj and assorted double bed fabrics need to be worked out manually before punching, and accuracy is important. Consequently, some knitters found compromises to achieve the look of multiple colors per row. Julie Schafler Dale’s Julie-Artisans Gallery on Madison Avenue became the central plug-in point for the wearable art movement, eventually representing artists, some of whom are no longer knitting, and some may still be found presently online
Susanna Lewis, Norma MinkowitzJean Williams Cacicedo, Linda Mendelson,
Nicky Hitz Edson, and not caring about floats, often working single bed with some linings and over-dyeing additional colors  Janet Lipkin .
The non-repetitive image was worked out in length by dividing the image lengthwise into panels often 40 stitches wide for use with early Passaps and continuing on to the desired height.  Widthwise, the design was split into the maximum width of 40 stitches with added seaming allowance and consecutive panels were joined to compose the large image. The kimono was the most common shape because of its simplicity in components. As for getting the look of more colors per row: multiple thin strands in color families were used in each yarn feeder. For example, one can knit with  4 strands of red shades, 4 yellow sequentially lined up, used in pairs in the same feeder. Keeping the red constant, for the second strand, the work may begin with either the lightest or darkest yellow, knit X rows, switch yellow to the second shade for X rows, switch to each of the next hues, and in theory, the final set of rows should look like a different color than the one used in that feeder at the start of the process. the ratio of red could be played with as well, expanding the range. Knitting pieces in black and white particularly allows for limited edition knitting. The third color may be applied on portions of the white, providing a look-alike for 3 colors per row. With the range of space-dyed yarns or custom dyeing blanks and then unraveling them for larger pieces to control pooling one can also get the look of more colors per row. Not to be forgotten are hand embroidery and fabric applique.

The question remains as to how to knit more than 2 colors per row on home knitting machines, and color separations to make the fabrics possible. The more colors per row, the more passes to complete any design motif. The final result may be thick and unyielding unless thin yarns are used. More rows are often knit in the back than on the front of the fabric, resulting in further elongation of the shapes involved. The easiest default separation is to knit 2 rows of each color for 2 rows sequentially, allowing paired passes to and from the color changer. This results in an elongated design, even with playing with standard backing variations to reduce vertical stretch such as in birdseye. In a post years ago I began to look at 3 colors per row and some potential issues with separations for dbj using it the initial method:

Each row will have to knit twice to get 2 and from the color changer for color changes every 2 rows, for less punching, each row can be represented once, but the result will need to be elongated X 2

The graph below shows the motif in repeat, the next column the color separation, with expanded rows, and in the third, the black indicates the knit stitches (black squares on mylar, punched holes in card) prior to elongation. 

The repeat was not workable when using the standard method used to avoid elongation, where each color for each design row knits only once. There are segments where the new color would not align properly on stitches knit on the previous row, and to get the design to work I had to amend it.
Fast forward 5 years. I now have access to both ayab and img2track, no longer use Photoshop and Excel, still use GIMP and Numbers as my way to color separate and produce charts for my blog. There are active forums both on Ravelry and Facebook with general machine knitting information, or specific to both interface options and methods for using them.

Sarah Spencer @ heartofpluto developed code that reduces the number of rows knit making the common impossibles possible. The code is freeware, has been implemented in Ayab and available there as a menu option. Adrienne Hunter’s posts on Ravelry explore the concept involved.
To begin, I was interested in using part of the concept on my own while keeping the color sequence constant ie 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3 and so on throughout the piece and always begin tests with simple shapes that allow me to note what is happening to stitches, changes in scale as the result of the techniques used and started with designs where each color is represented at least once in each row. The color separation used: The ribber was set for birdseye at the start of the swatch pictured. At its top, N in one direction and slip in the other were used, with the ribber set for knitting every needle when the main bed slips them all on blank punchcard or pixel rows. The tension remained constant throughout. The KC preselection row can happen from either side with this particular color separation depending on whether one starts the design with a blank row or one containing pixels. Since 2 rows knit in each “color”, I prefer to start the first preselection row on the right. Both birdseye and N settings on the ribber produce a single row stripe on the back of the piece for every 2 passes of the carriages and completed  2-row color change sequence. The N setting contributes to elongated stitches on both faces, leading me to prefer the lili birdseye one. 

In theory, because of the way the birdseye rows set up a base for the next row of knitting,  that makes the stitches in any color workable in pattern colors. I created a new repeat for that motif working in numbers following that up, I planned for the 60 rows needed to complete the repeat, hid 30 rows,  using this menu

copied and pasted the black and white repeat on the above right, then unhid the 30 hidden rows (see previous posts using command key selections), having a new color separation repeat, created the final 2 color BMP in Gimp (whew!)Since my separation is planned on 2-row sequences, I began with COR and my preselection row was from right to left. I initially had issues with the lili buttons behaving erratically, once the ribber carriage was oiled again that seemed to solve the problem for me. I did not arrange colors in the yarn changer to match the illustration in any way, but that could certainly be done to match a chart. With COL pick up the first color in the sequences, there will be no needles selected on the top bed (no black squares on the first row of repeat). Remember to have both carriages set to slip in both directions and the rule for even the number of needles in work on the ribber. As the carriages move to the right, every other needle will knit on the ribber, the first row with black squares will preselect. With COR on the pass back to the left, the pattern squares will knit, a blank row will be preselected, and the ribber will complete a single row of the background color by knitting on the alternate needles from its previous pass. As a result, one row of backing and one design row for each color (including no color in some instances) are completed with every 2 passes of the carriages.
I had a better edge and needle selection on the ribber with an extra needle in work on its left as compared to the main bed, adjusting after the cast-on row, maintaining the ribber needles in pairs, and evaluating the swatches after the fact would probably set up an extra needle on the right side as well.

This swatch and the ones following it use yarns in 3 different weights and different fiber contents. The blue is acrylic and the thinnest of the three. Some bleed-through of the colors traveling behind the blue shapes, in particular, can be seen behind it. The magenta is cotton, the yellow wool. Better choices of both the fiber content and colors of the yarns used would improve the overall look. If one plans color changes to match chart, a  paint program can help visualize some of the possible results

What of shapes with fewer than 3 colors in some rows?Again, there is some bleed-through, and even with this technique there is some elongation of each of the shapes, but less so than with other techniques. The backing of all these fabrics produces single lines in each color used Even fairly small repeats can take time to color separate in this manner. The technique, however, is the only method available to punchcard knitters. Electronic machines with download cables and varying software open a very different world in terms of ease and range in repeat size possibilities.
Here the repeat is adjusted from 11 stitches in width to 12, making it suitable for punchcard machines, and widening the center shape by one stitch may also reduce lengthwise stretch and help it appear rounder after knitting

Translating Passap model book pattern/use on Brother 1

A facebook member recently shared this photo, followed by a “wish I could make it” comment, it is from the Passap #60 pattern book.I began a spreadsheet on my blog intending to update it over time that may be useful when traveling between Brother and Passap 
The style in the photo is that of a generously sized dropped shoulder sweater. I will not share pattern instructions but will try to interpret some of the possibilities for knitting it as written or for achieving similar textures on the Brother machines To start with, you will note the recommended test swatch size is 100 stitches by 100 rows. When gauge matters as in dbj or heavily textured knits, this is a necessity. In turn, math calculations also become easier in metric. If using the knitleader I have sometimes reduced the swatch size to 80 stitches by 80 rows. Even for scarves where calculations may matter less, when transitioning from smaller gauge swatches to larger stitch counts there can be surprises. What knits on 60 stitches may refuse to do so on larger stitch counts, requiring tension and gauge adjustments. Although Passap promoted that it knits easily with no weights, I always cast on with ribber cast on comb, and then, if needed, the addition of weights may be easily made.
Strippers, which push down on the knit from the lock as it moves from side to side, have no equivalent in Brother, where weight is an absolute necessity when working ribbed fabrics. Stripper handles come in varied colors: orange is for double bed work, black is for single bed work, blue is for very heavy fabrics. A suggested rule of thumb is that if you are knitting on both back and front bed in a stitch pattern where several needles in work are opposite needles out of work use black strippers ( 3×3 rib or cables and Aran work would be examples). Sometimes spacing between the 2 beds will make black strippers harder to use, other times 2 different types may be used concurrently for best results.
As the size of the piece changes ie. in shaped sleeves, any weight must be adjusted proportionately to keep the gauge constant in order to avoid sizing surprises.
The Passap is a true double bed. The image on the left is of the Passap locks and on the right, of a stripper. The position of the beds is reversed to the Japanese, the knit bed is in front, the “ribber” in back. The locks (carriages) pr select pushers, they, in turn, select needles akin to Brother pre-selection. That is the reason why the Passap needle set up diagrams include more information bits than those for Japanese machines. Additional details for any of the above are only provided in publications if they are necessary to create the particular stitch type. That said, one is free to add a knitting bed or alter lock settings simply based on the goal for the piece and an understanding of what black and white squares “do” in a pattern download. Looking at the Passap back lock, one can see the larger variety of the equivalent of cam button settings in Brother. The Passap buttons also referred to as arrow keys at its very rear make altering and automating patterns on the back bed easier and possible in a far wider assortment on any number of needles. The Brother lili setting, the equivalent of the #1 punchcard, must have an even number of needles in use on the ribber.
The arrow keys on the back lock reverse the Passap position of the pushers. Pushers that are down are brought up, pushers that are up are brought down. Arrows reverse when knitting in the direction of the arrow (think Brother preselection row), but cause needles to perform that function that same row. The O button releases any arrows, therefore pushers remain in the same position. N will knit disregarding arrow selection on the back bed. One arrow key reverses the pattern every 2 rows, 2 arrow keys do so every row.
Slip setting with pushers on Passap E6000 back lock is also BX, on the front lock it is LX. That differs from diagrams in the model and pattern books and magazines, which generally refer to Duomatic (Passap punchcard) settings. The assumption in the directions for the E6 is that the built-in techniques will provide you with LED prompts for any of the lock settings matching them to the right of schematics for the DUO, rather than that you would attempt to knit the pattern in some other way or on a different KM brand.
Scrolling down the pattern: Pintuck Pattern A: Deco card 77, E 6000 # 1130, technique 251No pushers are illustrated. Back bed (N) knits every row. The front bed is set to slip in both directions (BX on Duo, LX on E6), pushers will be selected in the pattern by the console. When using Tech 251 two rows are knitting on the front bed forming pintucks where there are black squares in the stitch pattern. Brother probably would reach its limit with the original 1130, might be able to handle a thin yarn in a repeat slightly wider and taller. The Passap repeat becomes twice the length but is unaltered in its width. My swatch has an extra repeat before switching to normal knit, the red line highlights where the trim would have ended. The blistered pockets will appear as knit textured shapes on the purl side. The knit side will show a pattern of elongated stitches created when those needles are slipped. The red line in the photo shows the approximate ending for the repeat used in the trim in the magazine, I was on a roll and kept on knitting.
Pintuck pattern B: Deco repeat is 20 stitches wide (Duo cards are 40 stitches wide)The directions at the time the model books were written for knitting with the console were designed to have the knitter work with built-in patterns and then to use the alter possibilities to manipulate them to achieve the same result as the punched holes might in the final repeat in the Duo. The Passap console had a card reader that operated with sheets that were in turn inserted into a sleeve and were drawn on with “special” pens. C6, proprietary early software that operated with a dongle, came a bit later.  There was a large factory built-in pattern library, and the manufacturer, Madag, supplied free files for the Duo pattern books in formats that could be used with the program for “easy” download. The 910 had variation buttons and instructions for combining multiple patterns using the factory-supplied mylar sheets. The intent was to allow the knitter to maximize the use of both. I honestly have avoided altering patterns that way intentionally most of my knitting career, finding I simply prefer programming black and white squares for the function intended, which for me is easier to visualize and reduces errors. The trend explains the E6000 instructions in the magazine, but in fact, the 20 stitch repeat as drawn can be downloaded and entered as-is, bypassing the alter loop manipulations. Technique 253: a pintuck is formed where there are white squares. For each row of squares, one row is knitted on the front bed. Pushers will knit for one row, rest for 1 row. 1124 is the console built-in pattern used in my test swatch and below it, its mirrored image tiled repeat to get a sense of the movement of the triangles:note: the direction of the chart pattern repeat for 1124 is reversed in the blisters. It appears as drawn on the knit side of the fabric, where stitches are slipped and elongated to create the pintuck texture on the purl side 

In the Duo HX setting the front bed normally knits or slips according to the design for one row, and slips the next row. Again, the chart illustration is for the Duomatic and the lock there takes over the function performed automatically by the E6 technique. The back bed in this instance knits every row. In the E 6000 the front lock is set to LX (slip <– –>). The fabric created may be referred to as blister or pintuck (nothing to do with tuck stitch/brioche). The bubbly texture appears on the purl side. Stitches that slip on the bed with needle or pusher selection elongate, pulling extra rows together eventually, helping to form pockets that are sealed periodically by all knit rows. With pushers down, no needles selected, the front (knit) bed skips/ slips associated needles. With the back bed (ribber) set to N, its stitches will knit every row.

Pusher selection is down when front bed slips (akin to no needle  preselection on Brother)This selection happens between each pattern row, as the design is advanced This shows the pattern as knit on the Passap, reduced to black and white squares Taking a closer look at the pintucks on the sweater body Going for the safe repeat on Brother machine: color makes a significant difference in how visible the pattern will be. Both yarns are supposedly the same weight, the white was hard to knit, and there was a needle that dropped stitches regularly. The blue yarn knit with no problem here the repeat is rendered twice as long, and the texture becomes more visible a sideways view:The last swatch in the series: I am now able to use Ayab once more, img2track is having issues for me with its use on the 930. My repeat, therefore, is planned for the maximum width I may wish to test knit on the 910 machine, emulating tech 253. Every other row there is no needle selection on the main bed except for first and last needle if KCI is used. On those rows the ribber only knits, there are more rows in the blister “pockets”. I knit the sample quickly, not checking every row, and in this instance had two dropped stitches on the main bed, and no breaks. Yarns with memory ie wool are the best for texture retention, acrylics such as my blue yarn would flatten permanently if pressed, resulting in a very different fabric. It takes experimentation to sort out whether the extra step is worth the effort or is problematic during lengthier knitting

In summary: Passap E6000 knitting techniques 250-255 are used to produce pintucks.  When using 250, 252, 254, the pintucks are formed on the back bed on the needles that are opposite those with the pushers selected down in accordance with programmed black squares.  The corresponding odd numbers 251, 253, 255, select pushers down according to programmed white squares (253 in the manual should say white, not black squares). Since the pintuck is formed on the back bed, setting it on FX (Tuck) may also be used, the pintucks then become blurred, producing a fabric which is wider. Width of the resulting knit may be significant when producing garment panels. One option in cross-brand might be to use every other needle selection on ribber, with its carriage to tuck in one direction, knit in the other, resulting in a spotted pintuck. My Passap manual is filled with scribbles, often including notes on alternate fabrics produced with same technique numbers.

Returning to the specific sweater pattern: below the back bed is set to GX in the first 2 instances, which is akin to setting the Brother ribber to slip in both directions, no stitches are knit. There are no pushers or needles illustrated on the back bed, so the implication but not necessarily the fact is that these are single bed fabrics. How to transition between them and the double bed would need to be considered (see notes at end of the post). The pattern is an elongated one, using slip stitch and color changes every 2 rows, carrying one color at a time. Again, on the E6 front lock Duo BX is LX, arrow key function on the front bed is replaced by the technique console instructions. The E6 front lock has no buttons or arrows.
Tech 176: knits one color selection for 2 rows, then the alternate color selection for 2 rows; Pattern 1100the Brother equivalent in the next sample the same repeat 1100 is programmed via the console and enlarged  <–> X2, which means in the number of stitches onlythis is what will be knit, translatable to Brother, also with color change every 2 rows

Tech 183: long stitch backing, back bed knits every stitch, every row. Brother would require the separation to be made for the elongated triangle to match the Passap knit where each design row color knits twice in succession. Ribber or back bed settings could be altered to suit if preferred.
The shawl is what some may call a scarfThe above is the first illustration showing pushers on the back bed in alternate positions of rest (down) and work (up, toward the front of the machine) in groups. The pushers here at the end on either bed create the colored border on each side. The selection is opposite to the one on the end needles on the front bed. When the latter pushers are up, the back bed are down (slipping/not knitting), when they are down (not knitting the color in the yarn feeder), the back bed are up. This is an instance where to achieve the same, hand selection would need to happen on the Brother ribber on every row, or 2 sets of paired carriages, each carrying a color, could be used. Tech 181: is used for double bed fair isle with background color only on the backside. To seal the edges usually the first and last pusher on the back bed is brought into work, here 2 are used, creating a 2 stitch contrasting color border. Color is changed every 2 rows. To me this is an instance of because it is published, you may still not want to knit it. This is the first-row initial needle and pusher position on the front bed It is altered every other row (same is true on the back bed with the arrow key in use). My blue yarn is the body color, the white the border one. I only knit a very few rows, but that is enough to observe what is happening:  the blue knits everywhere but on the stitches intended for the contrasting border when the border stitches knit only on each side, floats are formed the width of the needle bed between border stitches for two rows they are then enclosed by the next row of blue every needle riband there is considerable bleed-through of the white on both the knit and the purl side of the fabric

Tech 183: is double bed fair isle with striper backing. It essentially knits the elongated pattern 1130.

One then comes to actual knitting and putting the pieces together. Instructions are not always clear. There are several transitions in this piece. The trim at the bottom of the front, sleeves, and back is a double bed every needle rib that transitions easily from one textured pattern into the next. Its purl sides face the outside. The same is true for the back and sleeves, both are both knit from the trim on up. The front top portions are knit sideways as are the button bands, and they are in turn joined to the mixed stitch type “front border”. The “front border” is puzzling.  Since the geometric pattern shows on the “knit” side, the trim by default then would have the slip stitch front bed pattern showing on the outside in order for it to transition directly to DBJ, not the pintuck. Looking closely at the photo there is a clue that that is indeed the plan in that the edge closest to the cast one has the triangles at the start facing in the opposite direction of that in the test swatch purl vs knit side.
I also see extra colored hems in addition to patterned “FI” ones. The back bed can be set to slip (GX), the patterned section knit on the front bed, then the back bed returned to knit to seal the hem. This is not indicated in the schematics or the written directions. The same can be done with added solid color changes (purple and blue in the photo), knitting several rows on the front bed, then sealing it with a return to N on the back bed. That same row can also be planned as a selection row for DBJ. I am still knitting my swatches in 2/24 acrylic, which is also not always the best to use. If I were to knit the piece, the cast on would get some work on it, as well as the tension adjustments for each fabric segment.

Pattern 1130 is also used in the same issue # 60 in the body of a man’s sweater. In using Tech 250 pintucks are formed where there are black squares in the stitch pattern, for each row of squares 2 rows are knit on the front bed, elongating the pattern X 2

The Passap magazines generally also included a strip of heavier stock paper with samples of the yarn recommended for the particular pattern ie this one from another issue, which facilitated substitutions and provided a better sense of color than the garment photosBrother ribber and DBJ settings reviewed  including for solid color backing.

Because of the Passap capacity for heavily textured stitches, many of their early pubs included several patterns for use with tuck or slip stitch settings. This issue is dated 1990, may be found with accompanying pattern instructions in French online, the sweater on the right uses a pintuck pattern with appliqued pockets in a  different knit structure the repeat is 20 by 20 stitches wide, E6 Tech 253 is suggested, white squares form the pintucks, the same technique used in my sample knit using console design 1124Working with simple shapes such as triangles can be an easy way to help one begin to understand how various techniques build up stitch or row counts, altering the original. Several of my DBJ posts are written using a cousin of pattern 1130 and include images of corresponding swatches executed on the Brother machine. In Brother, with rare exceptions (such as when needles are left out of work while in pattern) black squares (punched holes) knit, white squares (unpunched areas) slip. Slipped stitches are held until a black square or punched hole is reached, getting longer while the stitches on the opposite bed knit every stitch every row with that bed set to N/N. It is helpful to be using a yarn that does not break easily. Pockets are created of varying depths. As with any knitting, the color reverse option may produce an interesting variation or a “disaster” depending on the original motif. In the above chart, if knit as is, white squares would be slipped for 1-9 rows. Blisters of knit stitches will appear on the purl side. Tiling helps visualize the movement of the design in repeat.

In the color reversed image the number of consecutive white squares is now increased along the center lines from 9 to 11 its tiled viewthe expanded view of the original repeat emulating tech 253 now increases the height of the pattern to 40 rows from 20and its color reversed equivalent

In both expanded repeat variations of the “pinwheel” black squares create knit stitches. In double bed knitting, this seals the layers created by each bed together. The original design would create large pockets/ blisters, while in its color reverse version white areas would slip for one row, keeping the pinwheel effect, but the fabric will be predominantly sealed together. Thin yarn use is best, I used a 2/13 wool.
The original 20X20 design is shown on the knit side Left, its color reversed result on the knit side, Right. The elongated slipped stitches are noticeable on both purl sidesUsing the expanded 20X40 repat I did not have a slipped stitch issue such as yarn breaking, but because the pockets were so deep and so many stitches on the ribber were knitting for so many consecutive rows, the ribber stitches began to refuse to stay on their bed. I got this far: large knit area can be seen, as well as slip stitch loops Can the same expanded repeat be used in another way? The color reversed version results in a subtle large scale pattern that might be quite interesting in a shiny rayon or other fiber To review: Passap E6000 knitting techniques for pintucks are numbered 250-255. When using 250, 252, 254, the pint tucks are formed on the back bed on the needles that are opposite those with the pushers selected down in accordance with programmed black squares.  The corresponding odd numbers 251, 253, 255, select pushers down according to programmed white squares (253 in the manual should say white, not black squares).

On any machine, the size of the pleat creating the ripple/ pintuck depends on the number of rows that can be knit on the all knit bed before the fabric begins to ride up and becomes difficult to retain on the needles in work. Tolerance depends on knitting machine brands as well as the type of yarn used. Bold patterns read better than smaller ones. Weights are usually helpful. The Brother Ribber techniques book (now available for free online) addresses the topic on pp. 20-22.I have added a few patterns from published sources in a flickr album , most take into account any single stitch not being slipped for more than 4 rows. Doubling the length if using electronics is not recommended. These fabrics may be created in combination with needles out of work.

 

A return to short row shapings: bumps and slits

One is limited to imagination, skill, and patience when working short rowed fabrics. The techniques may be used in borders, on isolated areas, symmetrically or not, and the yarn, in turn, may be able to be pressed, stiffened, felted (which minimizes any slits), or otherwise processed to achieve desired effects. The scale of the shapes affects both the final look and purpose. Development for large sculptural pieces is very different from that used if one is aiming toward a comfortable, perhaps even flattering variable in a garment, but both can blend for interesting one-offs or even collections.

The usual conventions apply: stitches are brought to hold opposite carriage side, or floats will be created, indicated by yellow curved linesThat is a rule that may be broken when planned angles require decreases every row and a decision is made that such floats and their respective width are acceptable.

There are many more variations of the patterns I have previously referred to as “wisteria”. This is one, using different (2) width repeats in a systemic manner across a piece. I find myself going to a spreadsheet prior to any actual knitting nowadays. Low tech can achieve the same, and be as basic as colored pencils on graph paper. Representing actual rows knit would make for a very long chart. This is a compressed version with red representing rows knit on that portion of the needles in work, the other colors for each of the 7 and 9 stitch repeats respectively some sense of how repeats would line up, again not to proper scale To knit: cast on and knit at least 4 rows on the desired width for the planned piece. I prefer to end COR, but directions could easily be reversed for a start from the opposite side.
The row counter may be set to 0 and used for each segment, or the tripper for it can be turned off as preferred. With labor-intensive fabrics, I sometimes calculate based on a minimum number of repeats rather than row counts. The gauge can be even more difficult to calculate even if rows are tracked somehow. In addition, the choice of yarn, its weight, whether each segment is weighted down or not, the tension in masts and carriages all can make the result uneven or harder to predict. Use of claw weights is a personal preference. I prefer to avoid them whenever possible. They can help control the length of the slits at their side(s), but sometimes distort the length of the knit stitch on either side of them. COR: set the carriage to hold, bring all the needles to the left of the first group of 9 needles to hold, knit 12 rows (even number), returning to the right.
COR: push back to knit groups B (7stitches ) and C (9 stitches) to the left of A into work
Knit one row to left
COL: bring A (9 stitches) and B (7 stitches)  to the right of C out to hold, knit 11 (odd #) of rows on C, ending with COR once more (one row had already been knit on those stitches, so the total remains constant).
Repeat in groups of 3 as described in the last 2 steps across the row ending COL
Knit a few rows, ending COR
Bring the first group of 9 stitches on left out to hold, knit one row to left
Bring all stitches to the right of the first group of 7 stitches out to hold, knit 12 rows, ending COL
Bring the next two groups of 9 and 7 needles out to work, knit one row to the right
Bring the remaining stitches to the left of the new group of 7 out to hold, knit 11 rows (odd #), ending COL. Continue across row. At the end knit a few rows, ending once more on the right.
I found at least 3-4 rows were needed between sections of segments to achieve shapes that did not meet to create extended slits with threads across them and to achieve a look I preferred. The interim all knit rows could serve as the opportunity to add other stitch types or techniques including purl ridges on the knit side, which could be achieved easily enough with a G carriage, but may prove perilous with a garter bar.
The needle bed or the needle tape may be marked with a water-soluble pen between needle groups to help make tracking easier.

Proof of concept purl side knit sideslightly scrunched upwith a touch of steam and light pressing

Planning your own pattern in scaled-down numbers of stitches and rows is good practice, may also lead to pleasant surprises. As with any tests, keeping notes while in progress is well worth it. What may be obvious while knitting may escape recall after the fact.  Then there are “little things” that factor in as well. For decades I knit on a 910 or a punchcard machine. On the 910 settings stay as preferred unless changed manually. In my electronic default, the repeat direction was set to be as seen on the knit side, on the punchcard, it is fixed as seen on the purl. At one point I received an orphaned, frozen 930 that I was able to get moving following online video advice. I have often forgotten to set the number one variation button or to change the default isolation to an all-over one in knits where that mattered critically. If programming a repeat, the starting side for a preselection row matters and it will change based on which side of the finished fabric reflects your planned motif.
The start of an idea with points to be considered,  some observations and questionsWorking it out on a spreadsheet: arrows indicate the direction in which the carriage needs to be moving, I prefer to start COR, the image can be flipped horizontally for starting with COL. The repeat is outlined with a thick border, is too wide for automating for punchcard, but as hand technique variations can be endless. To produce longer slits and raised shapes, add even number of rows to the red colored blocks, for more distance between raised motifs, add even number of rows to the side to side all green areas, maintaining the directional arrows. This is the isolated repeat for converting the pattern to a file suitable for downloadand its mirrored version for knitting from the opposite sideMy test swatch was knit on the 930, using img2track. Because not every needle on the bed is in work throughout the knit, end needle selection must be canceled (KC II). The knit carriage after the preselection row is set to slip in both directions. Because only a few rows are knit on the red blocks in the chart, the result is subtle. The white yarn used in many of my tests happens to be a 2/24 acrylic, so on the too thin side, and likely to be well flattened if pressed.
Often, the edge stitches on the carriage side will tend to be a bit tighter than those formed away from it. The same repeat may be used to create very different fabrics. Eliminating the all knit columns on either side of center produces a piece with “ruffles” on either side of center as the outer edge of each shape is no longer anchored down. The principle was used in knitting “potato chip” scarves popular in both hand and machine knitting for a while. Having a repeat on one side of an all knit vertical strip creates a ruffled edging. Note the effect of the added all knit rows on the “wave” of the piece on the right.

Many patterns are published for hand knit variants as well, Lion Brand Yarns offers the opportunity for learning both knit and crochet stitches. Some patterns are free with login (website info access is also free). Here are 2 such designs with slits and bumps to the maxThe shapes for the “bumps” may be changed, moving away from rectangular formats. Small repeats are used for the purposes of illustration here, but they, in turn, may be scaled up, rendered asymmetrical, vary in placement, and more. My design steps began with this idea

Following the goal to achieve bilateral placement along a central vertical knit strip, with vertical knit strip borders at either side, here shapes point in the same direction
Aiming for shapes pointing in opposite directions, following those arrows for “pretend knitting”,  a repeat is highlighted with a dark border on the left, while to its right placement for extra rows of knitting is suggested (must be even numbers). The repeat is then isolated and “grabbed” for use in GIMP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In gimp the bucket fill was used to fill all colors to black, the image was converted to bitmap BW, scaled and then knit. This is the final repeat usedI ran into an interesting problem for the first time. I had entered the row and stitch counts on my chart, used those counts to scale the image used for my repeat down to size for knitting, kept getting floats where there should not have been any, could not understand what the error in the repeat might be. What was happening is that because of the wrong row number used in scaling, there was an extra pixel row in the first test swatches resulting in knitting errors. The final repeat is 29 stitches wide, 38 rows high. This is the resulting swatchOnce more, the repeat could be reduced down to eliminate side knit strips, or limit shapes to one side only for a one-sided ruffle. What about repeating the same slit horizontally across a row? Repeats become very long, arrows are once again guides in knitting direction.  An even number of rows (green) at the end of the outlined repeat will return the carriage to begin knitting it from the right side once more. An odd number of rows added at its top will prepare for knitting the motifs beginning on the left.Again, motifs may be brought closer together, laid out directly above each other, brick fashion, mirrored, or as otherwise desired. Adding rows at the center of the shape will make the “smaller” eyelets at the corner larger as well as the ones created by its outer edge. Possibilities are endless. If automated slip stitch is used, it is the selected needles that knit. This is my final test repeat, flipped because I insist on forgetting to turn on the #1 variation button on my 930, and I like to begin sequences from the right.BringingBPushing unwanted needle groups back to D position will make them knit rather than being held, is another way to vary the texture distribution across any single rowIt is possible to add color changes between or within pattern repeats as well as needles out of work. A free pass may be made to the opposite side by bringing all needles out to hold, and once there, returning the next group of stitches to be knit into work. If electronics are in use for automated patterning, the carriage may be removed from the needle bed and brought to the other side before continuing.  If a punchcard is in use, an odd number of rows will need to be programmed for one of the colors in order to maintain proper needle selection. Repeats in charts below are for illustration purposes, not fully worked out repeats. Adding color stripes, with or without ladders Needles out of work with lateral transfers alternated with needles returned to work will add eyelets to the piece and allow for every needle stripes of colors (or plain knit). If a lot of eyelets created from needle transfers are in play, it may be necessary to change the direction of those transfers.It is also possible to combine patterning and holding. As needle groups are brought in to and out of hold, the needle selection must be maintained in order to keep correct patterning. There also seems to be a sweet spot in most machines for how far back a needle needs to be pushed for it not to “bounce” to an undesired position, thus picking up and knitting in the wrong color or dropping stitches off. Some variations also found in as to how far the active knitting needs to be cleared with each carriage pass on each side. One row in my test swatch has obvious extra stitches in white, my feeder B color. I am not certain as to cause. Introduction of patterning adds yet another layer of complexity to track. Once again I am using 2/24 yarns.

Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP, and DBJ

A category search for machine knitting/mosaics and mazes design will lead to my previous blog posts on topic.
Previous posts on working with Mc Numbers include: knit charting using Numbers 2  which covers basics, keyboard shortcuts, and more,
Numbers to GIMP for creating images for electronic download  , charting knits color separations 2, charting knits, color separations 1, lace mesh motif charting, charting knit repeats using numbers 1, visualizing knit cables, knit graph paper 

To knit these fabrics use one light color and one dark for major contrast is recommended. Matching the dark yarn to dark squares and reversing their positions may produce interesting optical variations. The resulting knit has reduced floats and is not as bulky as traditional Fair Isle. Many patterns published in punchcard machine pattern books will produce such patterns when knitting single bed, changing color every 2 rows. White squares need to be 2 rows high, no more than one square wide. A page from one such reference:What appear as a maze designs in the swatch photos below would actually be unsuitable for use in the mosaic separation discussed in this post. The cards are designed for tuck (or slip) with color changes every 2 rows. The approach for planning and charting out such fabrics would be a very different one

There are a few rules in designing your own: in mosaics, the odd grid rows should contain single or dark-colored squares plus any cells used to create horizontal lines. The even grid rows usually have single or adjacent light squares but only single dark squares. As with any other fabric access to electronics allows for use of small repeats that can be color reversed or lengthened X2, whereas punchcard knitters need to meet the usual constraints in motif size in width and height. Tile features in software can often give clues to errors such as skipped cells or edges at top and sides of repeat that do not line up, avoiding having to actually test the repeat in knitting to evaluate the same.

Pre-drawn motifs that require color separation are available in a variety of sources. Kathleen Kinder published 2 books with repeats one for 24, the other for 20 and 40 stitch punchcards, inclusing isolated electronic repeats as well.

The original “swatch” inspiration for this post and its repeat were pictured in Mosaic Knitting page 110the numbering system reflects every other row worked alternating sides of the workit is shown here with a superimposed table grid with its  cells outlined in a thick border and positioned in front of a scaled screen grab of the original motif (arrange/ aspect ratio turned off)use command key to select a series of cells to be filled in with color, I chose to use black the cell borders can be edited as wished. Here borders were removed by selecting none, then, in turn, the outer border was highlighted in an easy to identify thicker red line

Below are more variation on borders and numbering for the start of the machine knitting repeat. Adding digits to the Numbers original repeat serves as a guide to appropriate size scaling in GIMP. One way to obtain the repeat size is to type digits in at least 2 cells at the desired location in any row or column. Select both cells, click on the yellow dot, and drag it to the last cell in the series here I went into autopilot: the repeat is isolated. The lengthen X 2 requirement can be achieved later in GIMP or as here via the table/ arrange/ size option in Numbers (wrong step for mosaic/ mazes)
I change the outer border to one point dotted to have a guide for a screengrab The captured image may then be imported into GIMP, image mode is changed to color indexed, B/W bitmap, and it is scaled to the appropriate size. The view grid, snap to grid options are in use.
I worked in 1800 magnification, created a new canvas 2 pixels wider than the original on the left, copied and pasted that image onto the new canvas. In the center illustration, RGB mode is once again in use. The added green pixels serve as guides for using rectangle select to capture each of the rows containing them in turn and then using invert value from the colors menu to reverse background and foreground within each of those rows.  The completed color separation is shown on the far right, with those 2 extra rows on its left side the last image needs to be once again converted to BW mode. The 2 extra rows of pixels on left are cropped off, the image is scaled to twice as long for use with the color changer, and the original 12X14 repeat is now 12X56
the actual BMP

this is the charted and tiled original repeat. There are classic differences from what is typically thought of as “floatless fair isle” in it. The very last row ie is in one color only.  When those 2 passes are made with the “no knit” color with the change knob set to KC I, the first and last needle will be selected. Push them back to B position prior to knitting the next row to avoid side to side floats.  Because of the maze component floats of as many as 7 stitches are created on the purl side in one of the 2 colors. A quick proof of concept swatch: this is a slip stitch fabric, note the difference in width between the patterned area vs the plain knit. If one has a ribber and the appeal lies simply in the lines created by both mazes and mosaics, those features can be retained with DBJ, and the fabric will lie flat. There will be limitations as to the thickness of the yarn used. a “pretend” longer repeat
The question has come up in forums as to whether the DBJ separation can be used for mosaics and mazes. The “Japanese” one, which prevents elongation by knitting each color for each row only once does not since these shapes rely on knitting the same needle selection twice in each color. The default separation in the Passap or the designer self-drawn one that will knit each identical spot in the motif separation twice. The design is elongated. Susanna wrote a technique for use on the E6000 for having the console perform the color conversion for true mosaic knitting. The repeat shown earlier in this post separated for DBJis compared here with the earlier wrong separation for “mosaic knitting” and found to appear identical. The process was a quicker way than that of dealing with different colors for ground and design
different pairs of colors, same results Back to the drawing board: row height is as in the original repeat being extra careful, not necessary, the process can be inverted once more to check the repeat color separation the actual knitting repeat, double-length before downloading to machine the corresponding proof of concept swatch,  with shorter floats than when the DBJ separation is used single bedtiling of the original repeat and its color reversed image illustrate the optical difference between switching dark and light color starts This repeat is from Kathleen Kinder’s (24 stitch) Floatless Fair-Isle book, p.86the repeat of the design separation on the right is intended for use in electronics with color reverse and double length chart separated using GIMP for mosaic knitting matches her repeat Recently on Facebook mazes turned up as a topic in machine knitting once more. Most maze generators online that I have found are designed for printing out game solving images ie here is one from http://hereandabove.com/maze/mazeorig.form.htmlfor knitting purposes unikatissima and Laura Kogler offer alternatives. Years have gone by since I first wrote on mazes and mosaics. The repeat worked with below was used in my post 

here I am revisiting the same image. To begin with, a repeat is isolated and processed in numbers (top row), and then in turn in Gimp. Always tile repeat to check for any errors and to see if the final image represents what is desired
the repeat (8X16) is then doubled in length for knitting after that single all-white row was edited out (middle images). The repeat is now 8 rows wide by 32 rows in height
One of the yarns is chenille, the other a wool. The chenille is slightly thicker and fuzzy, so some of the yellow rows are almost hidden but the pattern is definitely there. Here the design is knit using both slip (bottom) and tuck (top) settings. Again, there is a noticeable difference in width produced by each stitch type.Observations: make certain that after the image is isolated in Numbers cell size is converted to square/ equal measurements in width and height before importing and scaling its screen grab in GIMP if not already so. It will likely load in RGB mode, convert to Indexed before scaling. Added colored squares are only possible if you return to RGB mode. After rows with colored squares are cut, return the image to indexed before saving as BMP for knitting. If any pairs of rows do not have 2 consecutive rows of cells in either color check your pattern. In DBJ the final repeat should be 4 times in numbers of rows in height to the original one, and thus divisible by four.  The separation first doubles height for each row for 2 colors. Then height is doubled once more to allow for color changes every 2 rows. In Mosaics and Mazes, the color reversal happens on every other row in the original design. When that is completed, the height will be doubled for actual knitting to allow for color changes every 2 rows, with the final row count double that of the original motif. Rules for tuck knitting apply here as in any other technique. If white squares in the final chart have black ones on either side of them, the appearance is that tuck would be possible. Examining needle preselection is an easy way to assess that possibility.  Reversing the colors used in actual knitting may yield interesting changes in the appearance of the fabric. 

Julie Haveland Beer shared a file on how to Convert Mosaic Knitting Chart to KM Skip Stitch Diagram (shared with her permission), as mentioned in my post on numbers-to-gimp-to-create-images-for-electronic-download/

Reversible DBJ, Brother knitting machines

I am including notes on my working through the process and some of my stumbles at the start of this post. More specific how tos are found toward the bottom of it.

Such fabrics may be created with both the KRC built in function, or with the color separations that knit each color for each design row for 2 consecutive, identical rows. Punchcard knitters are not excluded. The starting side is on the left for the KRC setting (B in this illustration), on the right side for the alternate color separation (C, double length or drawn with each row repeating X 2). I am still testing my 930, for my samples I began by using the built in pattern #16 in the Stitchworld Pattern Book I.In the absence of a jac40 the fabrics are knit by manually selecting stitches to upper working position (E on Brother) on the ribber bed every row. Preselection for the next row to be knit on the main bed makes the process far easier.

In my first sample, the colors are the same on each face. Since the same number of needles are selected for both design and ground, both sides of the fabric will be exactly alike. There will be floats, enclosed by knit stitches of the opposite color. Beds are set at half pitch. Consistency makes any process easier and more predictable. My ribber set up was also with an extra needle on the ribber at either end of those in work on the main bed. I found I had less issue with the long floats in my design when I made certain the needle selection began with needles to the left of those in work on the opposite bed rather than to the right, allowing for the color in use to knit first on the ribber, then in turn on the main bed. It may not matter with patterns with shorter spans worked between the 2 colors. The dropped stitch issues below were resolved by using different yarns, no other changes. 
The needle set up in colored squares and on my needle beds showing matching selections on both beds (different design rows). Some of the floats may be seen created by the blue yarn in the bottom photo. If first and last needle on each side were not selected on the main bed, the needles at each end on the ribber were added to hand selections for next row (blue squares)


better results with the different yarn choice

For DBJ that reverses ground and pattern colors, opposite needles are selected on each bed. Color 1 knits the design on one bed and the background on the other at the same time, while color 2 knits the reverse. There are no floats. I knit this fabric as well at half pitch. The ground color created pockets (white squares), with the pattern color (black squares) locking the layers of fabric together. Here again, first and last needles on the ribber were worked on each row. I began pushing needles up on the ribber beginning to the right of each needle in work on the main bed. Needle selection on ribber matches unselected needles on main bed (pink). All needle positions each bed are mirrored.

needles actually selected on both beds (pink), different design rowOne design row, 2 different angles

Since ribber fabrics are not visible for a large number of rows, I frequently scrap off after short distances to proof technique before committing to longer pieces as well as to asses whether the effort is worth it in order to produce the fabric in that particular technique or yarn.

Moving on to a self drawn pattern, the technique proved to be sound. On inspection however, I saw I was actually missing a pixel in the .bmp I downloaded, and on the reverse the green arrow is most likely operator error in needle selection. The orange dots highlight the missing pixel/contrast color stitch, and on the color changer side I had a really sloppy edge that needs sorting out (red dots). A possible added factor: I knit the motif using KCI, and later recalled end needle selection does not always work with the carriage I am using.Here I filled in the missing pixel, and drew a single pixel black line along each side, testing a “border”. The first and last needles on each side were now cast on and in work on the main bed.

That single stitch solid color line does not add to the design in my opinion, so back to the drawing board: side “border” pixels are eliminated. The first and last stitch are now in work on the ribber. This fabric is the best by far, at the very start I forgot to cancel end needle selection (KCI), then switched to canceling it, KCII on electronic.The how to in summary: first and last needle are on the ribber. On the electronic choose KRC for the built in color separation for the fabric to be worked in DBJ. KCII (no end needle selection). With free pass to right, both carriages set to slip <– –>, select for first row of knitting to be worked in color represented by white squares in the design chart. Both carriages remain set to slip in both directions throughout. On the ribber bed, bring up to E/hold position first needle on the right of any needle selected on the top bed, then continue to push needles up into work to match the number of not selected needles on the knit bed. As needles are arranged, there will be a space between the last hand selected needle on the ribber, and the next needle in work on the main bed Now that there is that extra needle in work on the ribber on the color changer side, to match selection as seen above, needles are hand selected to E beginning on the far left, still keeping that space just before the next needle selected by the pattern reader. Remaining selections began to right of needles on main bed as described above.when selection begins on the main bed on the leftGetting back to working the same pattern on both sides of the knit: first needle on the left is on the ribber, the one on the far right on the main bed. On the electronic select KRC for the fabric to be worked in DBJ. KCII. With free pass to right, both carriages set to slip <– –>, select for first row of knitting to be worked in color represented by white squares in the design chart. Both carriages remain set to slip in both directions throughout. On the ribber bed, bring up to E/hold position first needle on the left of any needle selected on the top bed, then continue to push needles up into work to match the number of selected needles on the knit bed. Small selection errors are seen on left image, ie on the second row on its right, may be easily repaired by duplicate stitching. The stitching yarn may be fed easily through layers of double knit for short distances before and after the “mistake”. With all settings and yarn being equal, there is a difference in size between this fabric (larger of the 2) and the one with color reverse on its other side 

A similar set up, working in full pitch. Here needles line up directly below each other. If wrong needle is selected it will be point to point with the needle immediately above it, and is an added clue the wrong needle is being pushed up into hold/ E position. My first swatch had distinctly different side / vertical edges. Cast on was for every needle, half pitch (top image), first needle on left on main bed, last needle on right on ribber. When completed, it was followed by change to full pitch prior to pattern knitting, lining up needles point to point, directly below each other (bottom image). I prefer the edge obtained on the half pitch throughout, seen in previous  sample 

Still pondering those edges, and what about repeats with large areas of solid color? The image on the left is 25X26 rows in height, the one on the right adjusted for an even number of solid color rows, and a total row repeat divisible by 4, 25X28. The single black line at the top is a marker for returning the carriage to all knit when the top of the repeat is reached. When using full pitch, solid areas remained open at both edges with carriage set to KCII. A wooden tool handle is actually inserted through from one side to the other in the bottom of the swatch. Because the needles are point to point, no extra needles could be brought to work on both ends as a work around. KCI will select end needles on main bed. I tried that as the first work around to seal the edges. I paid no attention to whether needles were selected at each end every row, and got another creative pair of edges.

Returning to half pitch I brought up to work the first needle on the left every row (too many rows at seen at R top edge compared to other side) and pushed the last needle on right up to work if it was not part of the group to be brought up to E.Analyzing the fabric structure in those areas of solid colors on alternating beds: at first full pitch makes sense if one has knit tubular stripes or solids which have closed edges, with the yarn making a single pass on each bed, traveling back to the color changer, with the option to stripe every X, even number of rows. Such stripes occur evenly spaced and identical on both fabric sides. Here the goal is to knit the fabric with large blocks of solid, alternate colors on each side. The main bed knits color 1 on selected needles on the top bed only, the alternate color is knit with the ribber needles being hand selected up to E while the main bed is slipping, with none of its needles selected. Other than that first set up row with preselection from the left, 2 rows are knit in color A, followed by 2 rows in color B. There are no stitches traveling between the beds to seal the fabric together in those areas, creating open sides, so if the goal is to have the edges seal. other steps need to be taken. A single pixel solid line along either edge of the repeat did not create a good edge. Full pitch is easier than half pitch to manage. One possible solution to both issues is to alter the side edges of the design repeat so there will be alternating needle selection along those side edges, thus sealing the fabric.

I decided to cast on with white, and to continue with white as the first color used in pattern (white squares in chart). This swatch was knit in full pitch. Edges are sealed throughout. The only hitch was when the top was reached and that all black squares row was reached. I was on the right at that point, with my dark color in the feeder. The row toward the left would have knit in the dark color instead of the white on the top bed. I cut the dark yarn, made a free pass to the left, continued in plain knit in white to right, and then transferred stitches and bound off. Top and bottom edges /borders in terms of number of rows, whether to add pattern there as well, are all subject to personal preferences and taste.

For an off topic reversible double bed fabric using thread lace setting, see post

A complex published transfer lace to electronic repeat for download/ GIMP editing


Lace on the machine can render beautiful fabrics that closely resemble hand knitting, but programming very long repeats is a challenge both in placing every hole in the correct square in a punchcard and in programming individual pixels on a mylar or as pixels for download correctly. I found the “leaf lace” repeat below shared frequently on Pinterest and thought I would test the approach discussed in the post on using numbers and gimp to create images for electronic downloads. Because it is 16 stitches wide, it is not suitable for punchcard knitting, which requires a factor of (4, 6, 8, 12) and up to a 24 stitch maximum width.

The published pattern on the left is shown as shared on Pinterest. In turn, in was captured, opened in Gimp, and magnified. After a threshold adjustment, it was converted to a BW indexed, scaled to its 16X96 original stitch and row count, and then saved in 100% magnification result for the possible electronic download.

On far left below is the first BW processed single repeat isolated from its source. To its right it has been adjusted so the first row is a preselection row for the lace pattern, and the full repeat ends with blank rows (Brother KM characteristic). The latter in turn was saved as an image for download. Since the leaves change direction in the way they lean, the spacing between each pattern swing in the repeat is actually 3 all blank rows, not the “standard” 2, including at the top. The bottom half begins with the first row resulting in transfers to the left, while after the first 3 knit rows the transfers will begin to the right.  The plan was for me to use Ayab for knitting a proof of concept swatch.  In order to achieve that, the full repeat is first flipped horizontally (ayab will auto mirror it,  so starting with it this way it will be in the correct orientation when knitting). The mirrored repeat may be used in unaltered machines as is with LC operating from the right, KC operating from the left (not possible in ayab without adjustments). The full repeat consists of 16+14+18+16+14+18= 96 passes of the lace carriage, for every 12 rows knit. My sample was programmed horizontally for 3 full repeats, the width of my planned swatch. I added one additional needle in work on each side, with the LC end needle selection canceled, allowing for the full pattern as programmed with a single stitch all knit border on either side A tightly twisted cotton yarn did best in terms of handling the multiple transfers and not resulting in split stitches or breaking. I had occasional selection errors, seen in the center panel at the top of each repeat (my common experience with the interface), but the repeat itself appears to be sound.Lace repeats that have even numbers of rows for both and LC transfer and knit ones are easy to follow. Punchcards are also easily annotated and if knitting is interrupted needle selection is easy to return to or restore if necessary. In electronics, there may not be any memo to indicate row #  location for each carriage pass in pattern, or when to switch carriages. Because in this instance there are so many transfers (some of multiple stitches) between knit rows and dropped stitches are best corrected as noticed during knitting if possible, I created a “cheat sheet” of sorts to help keep track of actions. Each block outlined in red here represents one full repeat, read from their bottom-up, with blue borders at the center and red at the end of each half sequence. A visual check at the end of each segment’s # of rows in the series is well worth it to prevent unnoticed runaway dropped stitches and large holes. A check-in box next to # could indicate the completion of transfers. and a number added manually in that same row for that sequence, record the row on which knitting was interrupted ie. stopping on row 8 out of 16 to fix dropped stitches would be a reminder 8 more LC passes are required before the next visual check. 

9/23/18 In now have been experimenting on a 930, where each pass of the LC is actually tracked, akin to following numbers on a punchcard.  Built-in patterns also offer a memo window, which will alert the knitter as to when knit rows are due In testing the pattern with img2track I found the LC passes are still counted, but the memo window is absent upon download. I generated a chart in Mac Numbers, reads from the top-down, expanding on the one above. It illustrates the number of LC passes (left column) required to produce any significant length of fabric.  Patterns such as these are not for the faint of heart and require a friendly yarn. 2168 passes of the LC (33 full repeats, outlined in green; red line separates half repeats) are accompanied by 396 rows of “actual” knitting. In actual knitting, the pattern advances from row 1 to 96, and back to 1 again. A check-off list can be much simpler if one is desired. The numbers on left appear in the LC window in a 930, when reached 2 rows are knit with the KC. The numbers at the top reflect completed repeats. Boxes can be checked moving to the right as those rows are completed Another option is to download the pattern in img2track, and then enter memo information prior to knitting it. Two youtube videos that show how to enter memos in machine models that allow it, 930 included  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0tXNT76v10    and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR8MheT5Bao. The number 2 may be entered after numbers on left appear in the LC passes count window, and provide an easy guideline to follow. And this is what testing lace patterns can look like. In this instance, a tighter stitch tension, a bit of change in weight, and visually checking after each row of transfers brought me some success. This is not a stitch pattern that lends itself to easy “repairs”. 

 

Pretend/ mock cables 3

A facebook group query brought up the possibility of creating cables in an “easier, quicker” way than by crossing stitches by hand. Over the years different authors have suggested a “sewn” method for pulling stocking stitch columns together in order to achieve the cabled effect. The illustrations are usually of the work done on a ribbed fabric, but it also may be achieved in simple stocking stitch, with ladders marking the edges of the mock cable, and providing a visual line to follow and count spaces when smocking the fabric up. The width of each column, the yarn fiber content, and personal preferences will determine the success” of the results.

I was reminded of “magic cables”, a technique made popular years ago in a copyrighted pattern series by Ricky Mundstock, ie this one from 1969 (illustrated online). The concept originated in a Japanese publication years before, relies on hooking up tuck loops to create the cable like effects.

I tend not to knit from published patterns, set out to understand what makes the fabric work in theory, and then sort out whether I have other preferences of my own for creating it. I began to experiment with a totally random tuck card. Tuck is chosen for the background because it is short and fat, giving the taller all knit rows for the “cables” the possibility of an additional gather, adding to their depth. I chose a purely random repeat, which is a good way to start for DIY if hesitant on the process. White squares will not be selected, will tuck for 2 rows, have a knit stitch (black dot in card) on each side of them. Max on Brother, unless using very thing yarn would be white bars single square in width, 4 rows in height (yes, there can be exceptions on rare occasions)

The card is cropped to the 24 X 44 stitch in width and height for the repeat to be worked in electronics. The area colored blue on the far right indicates possible all knit rows for hooking up “cables” during knitting, mustard color indicates ladders created by an out of work needle on each side of the central, all knit column. The ladders make it easier to identify each all knit column. The tape over holes idea does not work for masking a punchcard since that blue area would need to be all punched holes. The tape over would result in “unpunched” ones.

This takes the revised card single repeat and indicates some quick possibilities for altering itI added 2 more stitches to establish a slightly different pattern. The grab form my work in Numbers was then opened in gimp and scaled to 26X44 for the possible knitting pattern. If working with black and white squares, the image will need to be colored reverse for knitting. I abandoned this repeat for my final swatches in favor of keeping markers for hooking stitches up along the all knit column inside the ladders as opposed to the knit body of the remaining shapes.Here the non-selected needles are placed along the knit column itself, on alternating sides. The final repeat after correcting a pixel error I discovered while knitting:Ayab does not repeat across the horizontal row, each stitch in the width you are planning to knit needs to be programmed. For a test swatch, I decided to work with programmed 72 stitches (knit on fewer). This would be the downloadable file

magnified and gridded to visually check again prior to knitting itThis is what is seen by the knitter when the image is loaded,but any image loaded is automatically flipped/ mirrored horizontally by the software. Direction may not matter in the overall pattern, but here we have needles out of work, which if selected on the basis of what is seen as opposed to what is knit, would be in the wrong location. First preselection row is also only possible from left to right. The easiest way to empty the proper needles is to do transfers after that row, to either side, restoring needle selection prior to continuing to knit. Also, since there are needles out of work, end needle selection is canceled (KCII).

In my first swatch, I tried the idea of hooking up stitches in opposite directions, but was not pleased with the result, wanted to reduce the amount of hand manipulation involved. In the later swatch, I hooked up every other selection onto the same side. Arrows here indicate direction, not proper needle position.

Alternating side hooking up with some yarn and needle change issues.Hooking up to one side only was quicker to execute and appeared more pleasing to me. Both swatches had blips from an errant pixel.Steps in knitting the above fabric. The actual knitting will happen with what is shown as the repeat with white pixels on the dark ground, seen looking at the center vertical all knit column of the repeat when knitting the fabric. Allow the non-selected needle on the left side of the column to tuck, providing a marking row for picking up stitches, knit until the needle on the right side of the column is not selected. Prior to knitting across that row pick up the tucked loop and stitch on the left side
Lift both loops up onto the non selected needle on the right side of the column, bring that needle all the way out to hold (three yarn loops in hook)

Continue knitting until the next non-selected needle in the column appears once again on the right, pickup fromm below left marking spot and repeat. For DIY insert all knit columns on your chosen repeat, and proceed as above.
Visualizing possibilities: chart for side by side columns actions on purl side is shown. The black columns with arrows coupled with photos show the direction of the hook ups in the back, purl side of the fabric, and potential “cables” as seen on the knit side using the column repeat illustrated above.This is a garter stitch version found on Pinterest

Charting knits using Mac Numbers: color separations 2

This is not intended as a full tutorial, it presumes there is some familiarity with concepts for charting knits or proportioned graph paper using spreadsheets. I am sharing some of my recent explorations using the latest version of Numbers version 5.01 in Mac High Sierra 10.13+ OS. To my knowledge there are no other specific directions for using the program for this purpose. As I progressed through the separations below, I “found” new ways to deal with cell selections and table properties. At some point I will work on a expanding the original post on drawing motifs (Numbers 3.2.2).

The command key has become my new friend. In my past experience using excel I found limited ways to work with designing motifs and working with color in cell groups. When working on the design for 3 colors per row slip stitch for a segment of this post, I found holding down the command key while drawing makes clicking on cells and selecting them sequentially, to be akin to using a pencil/ paint bucket option in paint programs. The process is significantly faster than other steps I have tried. This image is the intended, final one Working on the table: the areas selected holding down the command key and in turn clicking on chosen cells sequentially are outlined. They were color filled with blue for my chart. The one extra square “error” in the center of the motif was dealt with individually, and changed in the subsequent color selection. For a screen grab with table markings, a cell must still be highlighted. If it is not, only the selected cell contents are captured. 

In a post I wrote in 2012 I referenced a splitting cells features which disappeared in later version of the software. These options for working with rows and columns are available. The highlighted row will be duplicated, one row at a time, a slower process than simply splitting cells. A positive feature is that an individual table may be changed while still within view of other tables on a single sheet, without globally affecting the document.It is possible to create blank rows between design ones. Though the results from such charting are not capable of being downloaded directly into knitting software, they are a good way to sort out repeats and begin understand and create any necessary color separations. By holding the command key, rows on the table can be be highlighted and hidden as a group. I chose all even numbered rows. The repeat then is drawn. When it is complete, rows originally targeted for hiding are “unhidden”, leaving the design motif with a blank row between each design row, at twice its length. Hiding could take place at irregular intervals as well.

Putting theories into practiceDOUBLE BED 

QUILTING: in terms of applying the technique, the first charts are based on a quilting post that created this example using other software

I had a 14 row motif in mind, so I created a table 28 rows in height, twice that of the motif. While holding down the command key I clicked on all odd numbered rows, and hid the 14 highlighted rows. I then drew the motif on the collapsed chart in the reduced number of rows. When it was completely filled in 2 colors, I used the option to unhide rows, having the expanded graph now 28 rows in height

On the left is the 2 color “basic” chart. You will notice it is missing a blank row at its top. Check to be sure that the expanded image has that space, it is needed for that last row of color 2 (blue) to move up. In the center, by clicking on each blue square and then clicking on it again and “dragging”, I moved each square immediately above its spot, on the matching location in the blank row. I like to work with black and white squares before drawing bitmaps or other formats for download, so the image on the far right has all colored squares reduced to black and white ones. I filled them in in Gimp using the paint bucket on a screen grab of the color separation, but it may also be done in Numbers (see below)

DOUBLE JACQUARD COLOR SEPARATION: this table was part of the review of color separation methods reviewed in a previous postFor the first method: testing using a simple shape, 8 stitches by 8 rows, create table 16 rows in height by 8 columns (stitches) in width. Hold command key, click on odd number rows, choose hide 8 rows from table menu, resulting in reduced 8 row height. After the motif is drawn on the reduced table size, the odd numbered rows are then unhidden. Next, fill in any squares in the restored rows that are empty in the row below, where markings already exist. This may be done all in one color, but I used green for the purpose of illustration. The image on the far right may then be entered into an imaging program ie GIMP for download, drawn as is. The choice follows as to whether to double it the file in height prior to programming the machine, or choosing software options for double height after loading it if that is a function of your knitting softwareThis image is from a previous post on DBJ separations for punchcard machines using the same size repeat and mirrored (punchcards reverse the image), offered as proof of conceptThe second method is for the color separation that knits each color for each row only once: the motif can be drawn in black and white. The sequence is different than for above. Rows are hidden in pairs above row 1 (16 in table left), then the repeat is drawn in black squares only. Adding a column with numbers for each row in the original provides added cues, and follow with the changes in tables. The rows are “unhidden”, resulting in the completed separation for color 1. Color 2 (in different colors in center chart for purposes of illustration): on first blank row, (odd row numbers for color 2) fill in squares empty in the row below, on the second blank row, fill in all squares empty in row above (even numbered rows for color 2). On the right is the repeat ready to be drawn for download. 

Drop stitch lace, one color, partial repeat inspired from post , 10 rows in height vs 9:  beginning with table 20 rows in height, repeat is drawn with hidden rows (markings on left), in addition design row numbers are added in a column on right expanded design revealing hidden rows, black squares ready to be programmed 

ONE REPEAT, 2 FABRICS once again, beginning with a repeat from a previous post DBJ with each design row knitting twice, no elongation: each design row needs to be expanded into 4 rows of knitting. The first table is drawn with table rows and design rows matching 

Starting at the top, using the option key and the down arrow, the chart is expanded by using the down arrow three times before moving onto the next row and repeating the command. Any errors in single rows are easily edited. I have added the green cells on the right to represent the alternate 2 rows of color 1, making it easier to keep an eye on rows as chart is edited further

holding down the command key, it is possible to perform the same action in multiple rows 

I began by eliminating the red on rows marked with green cells, leaving only the black in those rows. Copying and pasting the chart with each step provides a continuing visual check and may avoid restarts. In the center chart black has been eliminated from rows (with no color cells on far right) containing red. Lastly, red cells are changed to black for the final pattern repeat.

DROP STITCH LACE IN 2 COLORS: my original separation

Today’s much quicker method, using the all black chart from the DBJ separation for the repeat on the far right and the command key again, I selected odd numbered rows from the bottom up, and removed the fill. The results match the ones from the previous method 

Three color per row slip stitch: the method is the same as for 3 colors per row DBJ. The separation from my previous post

the repeat and its companion table:

6 rows are required to complete a single row of the design. These charts get very long. I chose to work first with each design row repeated twice, and then followed the same process as for the 2 color per row separation, including reducing the cells to all black. As one advances up the table, color markings on the far right indicate the single color that is to remain in that row. Hold down the command key, and select for removing fill in as many areas as comfortable. The magnified images with tables lining up side by side provide a visual check. For screen grabs such as these, the individual tables may be moved to front or back of others by using the arrange feature in the format menus. The black and white squares would be converted to punched holes in a card (as is) or pixels. On either machine, they require elongation X2 for use with the color changer. Again, the increase in length may be achieved prior to download in your paint program, or automatically in software or KM that has the feature built in. To elongate the image on the right use option and down arrow if starting from the top. I added design row numbers on the right of the table to help track the process. Clicking on those numbers performs the same action as doing so on row numbers generated by the software when creating the tables. At left is the repeat in process, on the right the final one. Note: the numbers 6 and 7 are sequential on the left, an error, with no empty cell vertically between them. It is easy to see which row is not elongated, and to make the correction seen in the image to the right. 

SINGLE BED

It helps to have some understanding of rules for creating fabrics such as mazes and mosaics prior to designing your own. The color separation can be a tedious one. I have previously worked out the repeats in paint programs. This method is far quicker, but there are still lots of pixels that need to be entered in software for download or squares that need to be punched. There are very interesting results that can happen by using pre punched factory supplied punchcards. Any of the same designs may be worked both single and double bed, but the topic here is for a diy approach to the separation for suitable designs

MOSAICS 2 WAYS: I previously posted on drawing motifs, and moving from design to pattern. Here again, I am starting with an 8 stitch repeat. The first method results in a repeat suitable for use with electronics. The repeat then in turn needs to have its colors inverted, and is programmed to knit double length. Color changes will occur every 2 rows. The original motif is on the left, shown with hidden rows on the right. The expanded table is 16 rows in height, double the row height of the original repeat (8). Hide odd numbered rows, and fill in your motif. (Note table row markings as opposed to design repeat row markings)
On the expanded graph, with unhidden rows, on odd numbered design repeat marked rows, fill in empty squares with another color. Follow that by in turn removing any black squares in that same row. Hide rows to collapse the shape, resulting in the top image on the far right. The bottom right chart repeat illustrates pixels that would need to be programmed. The setting is slip stitch on the main bed <– –>. With color reverse, the now white squares will knit, the now black squares will slip.

Punchcard knitters need to punch the majority of squares. That are manually  accomplishing the task automated by color reversing the repeat in electronics. This fabric is knit at double length, with color changes every 2 rows. The alternate color now fills in empty squares on even numbered design repeat marked rows in the expanded table. Black squares are removed from those same rows. Hide blank rows. Bottom right chart shows stitches that will be knitting, white squares will be slipping. 

EXPERIMENTING WITH LARGER DESIGNS I began with an image used in one of my earlier posts on topic, worked through the whole process and realized at the end of it that my repeat was technically 23, not 24 stitches wide, so it was back to the drawing board for the separation once again with the now counted and marked 24 stitch repeat. Tiling is a quick and easy process using gimp, and these repeats should be checked as those for any other type of fabric.

The newly corrected repeat (center) was then drawn onto a table twice its original height, as described above. The added rows that will be hidden and in turn unhidden are partially  shown in incomplete width and highlighted on the right. A second color may be added to the repeat at this stage, but I find the results too much to deal with visually for further editing The rows are hidden prior to drawing the repeat, and unhidden to create the expanded graphs. Command is held down while clicking on selected rows along the design height for both actions. I find the expanded rows easier to follow for editing, with the blank rows between giving my eyes a rest. If black is one of the colors, the borders may be drawn in any shade other than black to make counts in black areas easier. Some of the early programs actually assigned black as the value for the €œtransparent€ grid, automatically changing palette colors to other values, or resulting in error messages if black was part of the design palette.  Since eventually the repeat will need to be reduced to pixels or holes in cards, one can attempt to skip a step by using a darker color for color 2 in the separation and count squares and draw pixels from there. I personally find it easier if I am dealing with only black squares when plotting out pixels for download. Adding color to numbered table cells on the right is another clue to follow. Within the spreadsheet the whole document allows for easy travel between magnifications for easier editing or prepping for any screen grabs. 

Here the repeat is drawn, rows are unhidden, on even numbered design rows (highlighted on the right in green), the empty squares in that row are filled in with a different color (red). The black squares in those same rows are then in turn emptied of color (no fill). Again, holding down the command key while selecting across a row allows the same change to be applied to all those cells, making the process faster

a partial repeat for the squares altered in colors for respective color changesthe completed results for each stepIf rows are hidden at a this stage, the center image will result, and all red squares may be changed to black if preferred

As mentioned, I prefer to work on expanded graphs. When ready to hide rows, select empty squares (no numbers) on right, again holding down command key while doing so to make a global change as opposed to row by row 

The BW image tiled. Most electronics (ayab is an exception) require a single repeat in width and height. If color reverse is an option, one may program white squares and use the machine or software to color reverse. Punchcard knitters use the 24 stitch width repeat in width, twice in lenght, punching all black squares. Slip stitch <€” €”> is the default setting.

After all that, let us not forget that for color changes every 2 rows the new repeat needs to be programmed to knit at twice the height. Again, most electronics (ayab is an exception) have a double length option. I began at the top of the repeat, working my way down. The pull down table menu may be used, or the shortcut: option key, down arrow for an exercise in “add row below”. One can verify that no rows have been skipped by checking on design row numbers on right. Punchcard knitters punch black squares. Electronic knitters have the option of drawing and programming the white squares as well, but followed by color reverse option prior to knitting the fabric. 

In a later post, on using numbers and gimp to produce files downloadable for knitting on electronic machines, the method is explained for taking the numbers generated image above, opening it in gimp,  where stitch and row markings are cropped. The mode is then altered to a BW indexed one,

which scaled to 24X28 is ready for download (shown magnified here) 
and the repeat shown in a tiled configuration test