Tuck and garter stitch: from hand knit to machine knit hand tech pattern

A Ravelry question on the possibility of executing a particular fabric on the machine has led to the experiments in this post. The pattern that led to the discussion is  free hand knit one,  shared and published on the Purl SOHO website and on Ravelry. The gauge for their project is 4.75 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern, it includes garter rows. Such rows may be executable on home knitting machines by transferring from ribber (Passap front bed) to main bed, alternating with reversing the process at predetermined frequency, depending on stitch type. K1b is the hand knit equivalent of tuck for that stitch on that row, adding to the mix.  Not practical for G carriage use, as the latter does not form tuck loops, and hand retooling would be required for all k1b stitches.

Using holding to create tuck stitches in non auto patterning days was commonly used, and I chose to do so here. As machine knitters we are conditioned to believe that single color rows are impractical to execute, and that the yarn would need to be cut on each side after the one row. Color changers are on one side or the other, making striping with frequent color changes practical if executed in even multiples of rows. Transfer carriages are available that will help move stitches from one bed to the other, I personally have never had the patience to work with them enough to get good at using them without dropping stitches, so I went back to even lower tech than usual, using the garter bar on the bulky, and beginning pattern row 1 with COR.

Before attempting nearly every row turns, it is helpful to have some practice with turning work over using garter bar, develop a sequence to repetitive actions, keeping careful notes as to what works for you, and using contrasting yarns in tests to better understand stitch structure. In my sample the white yarn was thicker than the blue, reversing colors or balancing yarn thickness would change the visual look of the fabric.  Beginning on small samples helps work out issues and the making of the decision to try on a larger project or simply as a border.

Analyzing the pattern repeat:

screenshot_43tools to help with EON needle selection tools

the results of rows beginning with k1 sequence after the row is knit, note the “tuck” loops on top of E position needles, which will be knit off on the next row knit K1_after knit

a row that begins with a k2 sequence, before it is knit; the needles holding the single, blue stitch will form the loops on top of the needles as the yarn moves across to opposite sidek2_before knit

E position prior to transferring stitches onto garter bar, also for free pass to other side to pick up yarn after stitches are removed on bar free pass473

1            begins and ends with K 1; COR select needles, col A * knit row, COL, bring all needles out to hold, remove on garter bar, free pass carriage to opposite side, COR, flip garter bar over, replace stitches onto needles push all stitches against gate pegs *

2            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 2, col A repeat * to* end COR

3            begins and ends with k1; COR select needles for row 3, change to col B, knit one row, do not turn, do not cut yarn; COL bring all needles out to hold, free pass to right to pick up col A on next knit row, end COR

4            begins and ends with k 2; col A, COR select needles for row 4, repeat from * to *

5             begins and ends with k 1; COR select needles for row 5, col A, repeat from * to * do not turn

6            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 6, change to col B, repeat from * to *

publisher’s project photo

beautyberry-blanket-600-12-315x441

my swatch, knit on a whopping 9 stitchesrav blanket 300


 

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 2

My previous posts on using gimp to generates charts and images suitable for knitting: 1, 2, 3, 4 . I am working in Mac OS 10.10 now, so there may be some variations in results from earlier OS or for Windows versions users.

the edited repeat from the previous postcropped

It is possible to knit this design in DBJ with the same separation as for knitting it as a maze, both are 2 color slip stitch patterns, the maze separation is less laborious. To process for use in DBJ, the image needs initially to be doubled in length. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a new gimp document, several times the size of the repeat, select and copy the corrected repeat , in turn pasting it in the new, larger canvas. I used 40 by 60; color 1 is red, color 2, white, most of my charting is done at 1,000 times magnification

copy and paste

drawing a vertical line in non pertinent color to border areas having several rows with no second color present, as seen below, may help define end or start of selections when attempting to invert colors. Color invert may be achieved in RGB mode, not indexed. Below the inversion occurs on “even numbered” every other rows. The program in my OS now showed the previously red squares in blue, the alternate squares in black.

screenshot_16
After using color invert, non pertinent color (blue) may be erased (using pencil tool, each square on grid is a single pixel) as well as those yellow “border” squares. In the image below the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card. One drawback in this program, because of the scale using single pixels, is that no text to include row numbers, etc. is possible. The final repeat is 10S X 44 R.
screenshot_24_DBJ

If one wants to avoid using double length in the automated machine settings, the image of holes to be punched may be doubled in length. To do so color mode needs to be changed to indexed (4 colors) to retain image clarity.screenshot_19

screenshot_20X2

 fabric knit in DBJ, long stitch on left, bird’s eye backing on right 500_2355

Maze and mosaic knitting, my previous posts: drawing motifs, from design to pattern (Excel), from pre punched cards,  and references and pubs. The repeat worked out for slip stitch, and edited down to 2 colors. Again, the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card.

screenshot_21-mazeTo further mark the repeats in blocks, making chart easier to follow in absence of numbers, the subject of drawing straight lines comes up. Most of the online tutorials for using gimp are for its Windows version. The pencil tool may be used. Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not (Mac), you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options, which opens the option window of the selected tool. In theory “Ctrl:This key changes the pencil to a Color PickerShift: This key places the pencil tool into straight line mode. Holding Shift while clicking Button 1 will generate a straight line. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line.” On my Mac I worked out this method: first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK.

windows: dockable itemswindows_dockable dialogues

gimp lines

separation for maze knitting 10S X 22R, elongate X2
maze_needsX2 borderknit as a single bed slip stitch, changing colors every 2 rowsscreenshot_01as dbj 500_2361

The dropped stitches were a problem when using the ribber on one of my two 910s, that adventure can be the topic for another post.

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 1

Laura Kroegler shares an online generator for “mosaics”unikatissima offers them for mazes and cellular automata. Representations of such patterns have cropped up in relation to hacked knitting machines and electronic downloads such as those seen in the Claire Williams blog, and in published information by Fabienne, who of late also has a kickstarter project. Such patterns may be charted for hand knitting or for use on punchcard machines once the size of the repeat is taken into consideration. Mirroring either vertically or horizontally can make the image far more interesting, but that has to be a consideration in planning if the stitch repeat has a constraint of 24 stitch limit. A beginning unit 6 stitches wide will allow for the horizontal mirror to be repeated twice on the punchcard. The minimum punchcard length is 36 rows. The maximum scroll down to height in the Kroegler generator is 20, so for the least punching, an 18 row max would “fit”. The caveat here is that if the generated pattern is to be knit as DBJ or as single bed slip stitch, those 18 rows need to be color separated accordingly. For the design to be charted out easily, it may be saved, and then in turn gridded in Photoshop or Gimp with grid matching stitch size in the generated pattern preview (ie below note X and Y values are 5 X 5, so grid used would be 5 X 5 pixels as well).
After reviewing the tiled generated pattern, the image may be carefully captured from screen and saved. I worked with an 8 stitch repeat for my tests. Below are screen grabs of the resulting patterns after some of the various options offered were tried. Mirroring this repeat horizontally, makes it too wide for a punchcard (16 X 2=32).

38_400

40_400

42_400

46_400

44_400

using a 5X5 grid after capturing a portion of another generated image, using a simple 8X8 repeat, outlining single repeats, thinking punchcard machinescreenshot_34

checking the result tiled to predict possible knit “look”screenshot_28

If working with a 6 stitch repeat, horizontal mirroring becomes possible for punchcard machines, perhaps making things more interesting; the program can generate a single repeat as a png, and punching holes is a drag so maybe length remains on the short side in anticipation of the punching holes and color separating for knitting the motif as either DBJ or single bed slip stitch, so here goes: having the generated image produced so each stitch and row is represented by a single pixel allows one to work within any program preset to superimpose a 1X1 grid:screenshot_07

screenshot_08my saved png, supposedly for an 8X12 repeatnewgridded in gimp, revealed as  11W X 23 Hscreenshot_09

testing tiling: oops!screenshot_10

the trimmed repeat, eliminating double lines, 10 St W X 22 Rows Hcropped

tiled, looking closer to originalcropped_tiled

and then there is the knitting of it….

For the latest version of gimp use on Mac, version history may be found at gimp website, for Mac Yosemite and Mavericks’ latest information on version 2.8.14 .

A block lace pattern on the KM 1

A friend recently posted a forum query on a published pattern that has led to my exploring another hand to machine knit transfer lace. The “flemish block lace” design from the second treasury of knitting patterns by Barbara Walker, p. 270 seemed to be the lace pattern motif used. Here is a partial detail from the fabric that began the discussion

try to copy

Below is a chart for the Walker repeat produced with Intwined. The repeat is a multiple of 14 + 3 border stitches, the first row is purl, but I could not enter an all purl for row one and not have the remaining symbols altered by the program, which assumes in lace the first row is knitflemish block lacethe program’s generated HK instructions for one repeat plus 3 border stitches screenshot_04In attempting the machine knit version I chose to use the HK chart for my transfers as it stood, the directions of the transfers being mirrored vertically did not matter to me.

This design has “chains” traveling along some of the edges of the diagonal shapes. A lot of moving stitches in groups of 2 or 3 is required to achieve the look. It may be possible to achieve the fabric knitting with the aid of a lace carriage,  but planning the punchcard or electronic repeat and correcting any dropped stitches pose special challenges. My first samples were knit on the bulky KM, working in width of the 17 sts illustrated above.

I began to test transfers by moving stitches every row. Interesting things happen when single rows are knit on the machine as opposed to the traditional 2 in multiple transfer lace, as well as the resulting shape being half the number of rows long. The eyelet yarn lies single, without the twist usually seen, and begins to look more like ladders (see previous posts on zig zag ladder lace).

knit sideIMG_1938purl sideIMG_1939

with 2 knit rows between transfers (the missing eyelet in marked spot is due to operator error) the familiar look of multiple transfer lace appears1940

IMG_1941

below the swatch image is flipped horizontally for a different perspective, approaching the original hand knit inspiration1940looking at charting differently, back to Excel: single repeat

BW repeat_12

                    checking alignment, adding border stitches4 repeatbw                                                adding colorcolored repeat

moves                    checking alignment, adding border stitches4 repeat color2The next consideration might be how to make executing the pattern easier on a standard machine. Needle pre selection may be used to guide hand transfers. Working out the electronic repeat, represented by black squares:isolating mylar rep                                         the transfer directions

transfers                        the chart in repeat , including bordersmylarx4_borderthere is no transfer on row 3 of repeat next to border on chart left, it is omitted in bottom of chart, shown on top half. End needle selection is cancelled throughout. The resulting test swatch, one operator error transfer missing on mid left:

                                                    knit side 500_1945                                                     purl side500_1944One of the issues I encountered during the initial tests was that of occasional needles “sneaking”/ dropping back on the machine, so ladders rather than eyelets were formed. The needle retainer bar is old, and I like to work lace with the ribber off and a tilted main bed, explaining the possible cause.

“Button holes” and “make many – increase” “lace”

An image often found on Pinterest, with its source attributed to a Vero Moda garment and accompanied by a “how to” request, led me to give “designing” it a shot. Here, I believe, 2 layers of a garment are pictured, resulting in the stocking stitch knit that appears behind the eyelets.augudAnalyzing the fabric: a wide, flat rib is created. The equivalent of “buttonholes” with fewer cast on than bound off stitches is in use, creating the narrowing effect at the top of each slit, four stitches are “lost”. Making multiple stitches from one (4 in this case) restores the original stitch count and returns width to fabric. To make 4: Knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1 into the same stitch, or in this case, the bar between the 2 center stitches. Executing this is not “practical” on the knitting machine. Below is one possible method that could be adapted for groupings with slits of varying sizes.

My chart, showing 4 repeats (black border) and 3 added starting rows. Green numbers on bottom indicate the repeat’s width (20 stitches), and on the left its height (12 rows). Slits are created every 6th row, with right side facing. Two more stitches would be added on far right for each side to match in the finished piece. Side borders and top and bottom bands could be made wider and longer respectively, knit in garter stitch to keep edges flat. repeatX4_31

the symbols used

screenshot_30

my unblocked sample, knit on 32 stitches in worsted weight acrylic, using #8 needles

IMG_1907

 

Zig Zag ladder lace 2: hand knit

I work primarily on a Mac, Maverick OS. Intwined software has had some issues operating in Mac consistently in the latest OS versions. The chart to text can be a really nice feature. The repeat, drawn here with symbols in the built in stitch library, shows errors in row 2 and 4 of the accompanying text.single repeatmistakes single

On a larger canvas, the original repeat is outlined below in red. Yellow indicates knit border stitches around ladder lace pattern repeats; row 22 is absent from the text that accompanied the larger chart.

full chart

full directionsSkitch is a free program, available for both Mac and Windows, that allows the opportunity for of highlighting or further editing a graphic. Taking the information above, here I added numbers that reflect actual repeat rows, used the arrows as a reminder of change in direction of zig zag, and the red outlines vs green indicate changes in type of knit decrease. It is easy to add as much or as little additional information as one feels helpful. There are controls for line thickness, shadows, etc.

actual repeat

JKnit is another program that may be of interest to anyone who prefers to track their projects, progress, and much more on their iPad or iPhone. The Lite version is free for both devices.

Below is an image of the hand knit swatch, unblocked, which appears three dimensional; transfer  lace has traditionally been blocked to lie flat and maximize eyelets. The fabric may be very interesting without blocking. If a slightly thicker yarn with “memory” is used, the piece may be steamed lightly, and the pattern segments will tend to shift in and out from the flat surface, whether the piece is hand or machine knit.IMG_1901

The yarn used was a “throw away” swatch testing acrylic. A very quick, light press and a bit of steam and here it is in the resulting killed, forever flattened version

IMG_1905  and it reverse side

IMG_1906

Pleats: ribbed , folding fabrics

I created the illustrations/ charts below in Mac Pages, which has changed quite a bit since the Mavericks upgrade. With Apple’s continued efforts to make programs more compatible between devices, many features I preferred for designing my charts  in previous OS, are now defunct.

RIBBED, FOLDING PLEATS result from varying the needle arrangement on both beds, usually in every needle rib. As with any knit fabric, the knit piece will fold toward the purl side along the length of the piece, not away from it. Leaving needles out of work on either bed will create a vertical stripe of stocking stitch on the other, creating purl stitches on the rib ground, and the resulting knit will fold toward that bed, and the plain knit stitches. The same principle could be applied to hand knitting. The symbols: black dots indicate needles out of work, purple arrows the direction of the fold in the resulting fabric, | the needles in work on either bed, any machine.

Sharp angles occur when there are enough needles in work on both beds to allow the fabric to fold over itself crisply before it is forced by next group of out of work needles to fold once again in the opposite direction

needle arrangementalternating direction of folds to create sharp or knife pleats

folds up as

repeat above configuration across the needle bed, going as narrow or as wide as desired

double sharp or box pleats  are a variation where the direction of every other pleat is reversed, extra stitch groups may be added between pleats to vary their spacing

added stitch group represented by star, stitch count varied to suit

star

stars add

fold up as

box_sharp

accordion sharp pleats out of work needles evenly staggered on both beds

accordion

 fold up as

accordion sharp

Putting out of work needles on one bed close to out of work needles on the other will not allow the fabric to fold over completely before reversing direction, and will result in rounded or rolled, rather than sharp pleats. There should be one full needle rib stitch between needles out of work, highlighted below in red. Repeating the same selection results in rolled single pleats 

rolled

fold up as
curved knife

double rolled pleats mirror needle groups

double rolled

fold up as

curve1

in accordion rolled OOW needles are spaced evenly on both beds

accordion rolled

fold up as

sunray roundTypes of pleats, their width, spacing and mixing with stretches of every needle rib, may be used in whole garments or garment details ie cuffs, peplums, single fold large pleats in skirts and jackets, etc.

Brother Ribber Techniques Book page 37 illustration

page37

some considerations

Normal shaping procedures are not practical in these fabrics. Tension changes are used from loose to tight to achieve shaping from wider at bottom to narrower at top, requiring extended swatches. The larger the finished items, such as skirts, are more predictable in result if the test swatch is a large one. A minimum of 100 rows for gauging is recommended. A test segment is made for each tension change. Swatches should be allowed to rest after being treated like the finished garment will be: blocked, pressed, washed, etc., then hung vertically and allowed to rest. After deciding the length, 2-4 inches need to be subtracted from the desired measurement to allow for “drop” that is likely in the finished piece over time.

The fabric may look a bit different on one side than the other, either works as the exterior of the piece, is a matter of preference.

These are knits where the clicks between numbers on tension dials on machines come into use. In addition to the usual gauge calculations for knitting garments, a bit more math is needed.

The number of needles used need to be divisible by the number of stitches used for any pleat.

Joining on inner folds rather than outer ones produces better results. Having an extra stitch at joining edges, with seaming using half a stitch on each side, will keep pleat widths constant.

The larger the pleat, the more bulk is created. Most skirts will require 3 panels with one seam worn on center back. Yokes may be added to decrease bulk rather than having pleats meet at waistline.

Ribbers on Japanese machines tend to knit tighter than main beds. At times an increase of 2 tension numbers may be required to get stitch sizes created by both beds to approach being equal. The other factor to consider is that the wider the plain knit vertical portion of the pleats, for stitches to knit off properly, the more the tension needs to approach the # used to knit the same yarn in stocking stitch on the respective single bed. Tolerance varies between machines.

Experimentation is needed even before knitting the large swatches. It pays to be familiar with both your ribber and your yarn before trying these fabrics, and to keep good notes.

 

Machine knit “dragon scales” update

I had previously posted on an Armani inspired knit scale like pattern  that sometimes was described online as a machine knit “crocodile stitch”. A fellow raveler just shared on her project page an interesting variation that includes variations in scale of the scales themselves. All her transfers are made onto a single center point, eliminating the vertical separation that appears at the center of my version.

my previous smaller, machine knit sample

IMG_1648

a hand knit lace cousin to try with full repeat and directions, chart and text generated in Intwined, border stitches not shown

armani hk

armani hk how

Some cables to try, hand knit

The first repeat below is for a vertical cable panel 24 stitches wide, 12 rows high (2 repeats shown); within the repeat, odd rows are all knit, even rows are all purl. Colors are indicative of cable crossings.

Borders in swatch, or area in between multiple vertical panels, may be worked as 1. purl on even numbered rows, knit on odd numbered rows to create a purl ground behind the cables on the “right side”, or 2. knit every row for garter stitch in same areas.

Abbreviations : RS: right side, WS: wrong side. CF and CB indicate where the cable needle (CN) is held during the process.

CF: CN to front | LC: Left Cross, cable leans toward left

CB: CN to back | RC: Right Cross, cable leans toward right

Dotted borders in chart outline columns 3 stitches wide; all cables in sample are 3X3 crosses.

An alternative way to picture things: numbers on left of chart below indicate row numbers; on the right they indicate number of stitches knit before crossing cable stitches begins on that row

the hand knit swatch

IMG_1656Adding a purl stitch ground: a shortened chart using Aire River Design font, odd rows only shown

screenshot_02

screenshot_03

using color in Excel, showing every row

screenshot_04A

screenshot_03Avisualizing multiple repeats

in repeat

a very quick, hand knit test swatch, knit with needles a bit too large for yarn used

300_1658

another possible charted in Excel, multiple repeats shown

screenshot_13

If patterns are for publication in specific venues, conventions in symbols may or should have to be observed. To keep track of personal projects we often differ in what format or shorthand makes the most sense to us. If the like of the above result appeals to you, I am sharing a workbook with pertaining puzzle pieces. I find working at 200% magnification is the easiest for me, that may be easily changed to suit.

cable_purl_share

PS: My working palette in the original document was as seen in the images above. You may find some of the colors will be different in your download, depending on your computer. I have read on other sites in the past that the color change can be an issue in excel knit charting downloads. The image below reflects such a change. It is a quick capture of part of the chart when I tested the download myself. The large color blocks are the ones affected, and may be easily changed to match the cable crossing colors.

color change

A swatch experiment

A while ago the image of a sweater attributed to Armani  caught my attention in Pinterest, and I became obsessed with creating a variant.

13f255bf1c030f6b7f6d5710caf2d860

Lace is actually an interesting 3D fabric until it is blocked and made to lie flat. I went the lace route to work out my “scales”. The swatch I created below is hand knit, could be reproduced as a machine knit hand technique with the aid of multiple transfer tools. I would recommend a yarn with “memory”, such as wool. The bottom of 3 sets of “shells” were knit on #  7 needles, and the remainder on #5. I found I preferred to control the lean of knit together stitches on the knit side, but did not deem it necessary on the purl.

the knit side

IMG_1646

and purl side!

IMG_1645

my working notes  (Excel) showing multiple repeats

scales_in_repeat

symbols used symbolsa printable PDF  scales_all_info

A mini-me version knit on 4.5 mm. machine, using the same yarn as in hand knit sample above, at tension 10+. Repeats are worked out around 2 center needles, on which stitches are doubled as transfers are made. When the the pairs of doubled up stitches are reached with loops on either side of them after the last transfer/knit one row in sequence, knit one additional row across all stitches before reversing direction of transfers. That row is represented in green in the chart below. Symbols used are minimal since the same side of the knit is in constant view (incomplete full pattern repeat)

KM_repeat

knit side

IMG_1648

purl side

IMG_1647

see update3/28/2015