Tuck lace trims (and fabrics 2)

Working between electronic and punchcard machines needs to take into account that repeats on a punchcard KM must be a factor of 24 (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12). An electronic tuck stitch repeat 

Since it is seven stitches wide, if punched accordingly it would occupy 21 out of 24 stitch units on a punchcard, so as is (unless those extra needles on the far right and left are left out of work for ladders) it would not be suitable for an all over fabric. It can however, be used for a trim. If the latter is the intent, only one series of vertical repeats as seen below needs to be punched. The numbers below the image indicate Brother needle tape markings. This is a 6 row tuck fabric, so thinner yarns should be used if the pattern is automated, as tuck loops build up in needle hooks. If you wish to experiment with slightly thicker yarns, decrease the unpunched areas to 4 rows, or execute using holding. Held stitches sit on top of the needle shank, tolerance is determined by how many rows it either takes for knit stitches on sides of the loops jumping off needles, or accumulated loops being unable to knit off consistently on the next all knit pass. To test yarn out, try the technique by using holding, then punch your card. Automating makes the process less prone to error and faster if great lengths of a trim are needed. 

Using the trim as the cast on edge for a garment: determine the length required after a technique test. Knit a bit extra and remove on waste yarn, so more may be added or some be unravelled if needed or you wish to change the configuration using it as your cast on. Rehang and cast on later when it is completed. The flared out portions of the trim will be used to “cast on” the edge of the piece, continuing with some needles out of work

an attempt at line drawing the “trim” sideways

Using the curved out edge of the trim, hang stitches half if possible, or one full stitch away from its edge as illustrated below. Knit 4 rows. With a tool pick up all ladder loops created by NOOW (RC 1-4) and hang on center empty needle. Knit rows (RC 5, 6), hang ladder loops on still empty needles, knit across all needle, continue with garment

needle arrangementpicking up loops 

The yarn is a cotton, and appears to have a tendency toward biasing on knit rows as seen in the tendency to lean in one direction in above photos. It has no stretch, so stitches that knit off several tuck loops remain  elongated. A look at the structure on the purl side:

In Brother knitting when needles are out of work, the automatic end needle selection  may interfere with the pattern, and this is a consideration in many knits. Intro to all over tuck “lace” patterns: one to try. Two 8 st repeats shown, suitable for all kms 

Single bed: arrange the needles as shown. Cast on and knit a few rows, set knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, and knit desired number of rows.

Double bed: OOW needles on main bed will now be in use on the ribber Set half pitch lever on H, racking indicator on 5. Cast on desired number of stitches, knit base rows. Set half pitch lever on P, transfer stitches between beds arranging them as shown with NOOW on both beds. Set change knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, knit in pattern for desired number of rows.

Machine knitting yarns info

More of my class notes, assembled from various sourcesThese guidelines  were provided for knitting using Jaggerspun yarns. I have no affiliation with the company. I do still continue to use some of lines, and have a great appreciation for all their yarns. Their wool used to be the required fiber in my knit labs at RISD until students began to understand some of the basics in stitch construction. I have permission from the company to share content.

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: tuck lace trims (and fabrics 1)

Any discussion of crochet like fabrics on home knitting machines, whether single or double bed, invariably lead to looking at gathered loops, whether created as a hand technique using holding, or automated by using the tuck setting. The function of the card remains the same when cam buttons are engaged, regardless of whether knitting single or double bed. In Brother machines punched holes result in needles being selected to D position (brother has no C), those needles will knit (second color in FI, thin yarn in thread lace / B feeder). Unpunched areas remain in B position, and will tuck or slip, (color 1/A feeder FI, both yarns together in thread lace) based on cam settings. Another Brother feature is that the needle tape to help with markings for stitch counts, pattern repeats, etc. centers between 2 # 1 needle positions. This can cause some confusion when translating patterns from other makers that rely on needle position numbers only for their directions.

I often use punchcard designs on my electronic machines after isolating the repeat, most often for the sake of speed and convenience. Swapping out the needle tape for the electronic with one for a punchcard machine makes identifying and placing repeats easier. In Brother punchcard machines tapes the heavy solid line, followed by a thin line on alternate sides, reflect each 24 stitch repeat. Repeats on these KMs are fixed, there is no option for altering starting position. When using electronics in some patterns, aside from the added convenience of color reverse for minimal “drawing”, it is helpful to know that the punchcard design reflects what happens on the purl side, so letters, etc are reversed on the knit side. As a result, when translating for electronics, some patterns may also require being flipped horizontally. Using the markings on needle tape is pointless if tape is not properly centered. Check needle “bow” mark at 100 on left side, the last needle on that side should rest directly in its center. As retainer bar begins to loosen a bit from wear, tape may start shifting position, and cello may be needed to anchor it in place

Marking colors have varied over the years

“Trims” can be any width, from narrow to wider bands. Punching cards is enough work so that it is worthwhile to get as many functions or fabrics out of each card as possible. Software makes it easy to check for repeat tiling, or simply copy card with black paper behind it, cut it up and cello together to sort out needle placement. I chart mostly in Excel, old fashioned colored pencils and graph paper work just fine if any software is unavailable

self drawn punchcard for Brotherside by side repeatsin this instance, left side needs some adjustment 

got a prepunched card? tucks occurring for 3 rowsfor an all over pattern,  or trim choosing section of repeat Studio card (use appropriate starting row for machine)same needle arrangement, tucks will now occur for 4 rows

Love your ribber? use any tuck lace appropriate card. Transfer any or all of the needles to be left in A position (OOW) on main bed onto the ribber, and you will have a pattern combining knit and purl stitches. Use waste yarn, ravel cord, and ribber comb with weights through waste yarn. Cast ons and bind offs may require planning and choice depending on yarn used and the number of rows tucking. These in turn result in stretch and diminished length proportionately in the body of the finished fabric. After casting on and setting up both beds, set ribber on P (so needles on both beds are directly opposite each other) to center ribber created vertical columns between those on opposite bed.

Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages vs color changer, Brother punchcard KMs 2

After my recent attempt to resurrect my single bed color changer and frustration with my 910 behaving “flaky” when reading mylar sheets drawn using template marking pencils (perhaps, because over time of some of the marks flaking off the surface of the mylar, with changes their density as a result), I went back to the idea of using my punchcard machine. I pulled out an old friend, illustrated in my post http://alessandrina.com/2012/10/15/mosaics-and-mazes-from-design-to-pattern/ , had forgotten about my other post http://alessandrina.com/2016/08/25/knitting-in-pattern-with-2-carriages-brother-punchcard-kms/ and actually came up with a second alternative for starting to knit with 2 carriages. Here is a bit more description: I began with a card punched with repeats that are single rows in height, and would normally have to be elongated for use with a color changer. Since 2 carriages are used, starting side does not necessarily matter. With COR, color 1, carriage set to KC, card set on row 1 but not locked, but rather, set to advance normally. The first carriage then is moved to the opposite side of the bed (in this case the left). The second carriage is now placed on the extension rail on the right, cam settings set for choice stitch to be worked (in this first case tuck or slip). It is threaded with the second color, is used to knit 2 rows of col 2, returns to right. The carriage on the left now comes off the rail on that side and onto the needle bed, with cam buttons set for appropriate stitch type, it travels to right,  and then back to its starting point. Yarn weight alters the appearance of any fabric considerably. As always, slip is short and thin, tuck short and wide.

The same method may be used with any punchcard requiring color changes every X even number of rows. FI can be knit with 2 separate sets of colors in each carriage, or with one carriage set to select but with no cam buttons engaged for solid color stripes between motif repeats (it will plain knit, with color in A feeder, the card keeps advancing). Cam settings may be combined for different or opposing textures or stitch types without any manual changes to cam buttons. Of course, also helps if your punchcard is punched correctly to start with ;-). Problems in the slip stitch red and white segment were due to tension adjustments being needed for stitches to knit off properly. 

Lastly, there has never been a single bed 2 color changer for the 260 bulky. Extension rails for the bulky machine were manufactured at one point. If a second carriage for the bulky is available as well as the rails, working this way opens up a range of complex fabrics for execution more easily.

And then, buyer beware! I am still experimenting with a patterned ruffle. So I tried the card first with 2 carriages, but the design was different than one of my aged swatches using the same card.

I went back to the color changer, assuming this yarn pair might work in it, and it did, but here is the resulting fabric, so it would appear the above is technically twice as long. Frankly, when the color changer works, when only one carriage cam setting is used or very few changes are needed, and if you don’t do things like push the wrong button, have your yarns happily mating or causing loops in all your brushes as they travel from the yarn changer side, it may even be quicker than using 2 carriages. What is possible may not produce what you originally intended, but sometimes the surprise can be a very pleasant one. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board to accommodate for the techniques and yarns involved. Pictured below is part of the working repeat, whited out areas are not punched for these swatches, they are covered with cellophane. Denise Musk’s book on the technique of slipstitch provided the source/ inspiration for the experiments. For the second swatch, the card was flipped over vertically. 

Areas of the knit placement on needle bed may be changed to suit. I like working within the 24 stitch marking on the needle tape for this sort of work. Flipping the card vertically when using the color changer in this instance will allow that, and begins each row with knit stitches (every hole punched on right in image above), and patterned knitting and needle selection stops shy of the “slipped” stitches (unpunched areas on left). In using the slipstitch setting this may not make a significant difference, since the yarn threads stay in front of the gate pegs. This repeat is also suitable for tuck setting. The yarn gets laid in hooks as the non punched area of the repeat is cleared. While not knitting or necessarily affecting the pattern, this can cause added issues with loops and yarn tangles on that side (one may be noted in photo of purl side of swatch below). Seam as you knit can also now occur on the opposite side, away from yarn ends and color changer.

Purl side showing loop at non knitting (or punched) side, and edge curl on the left may actually be used as a “design feature”. The density of the tuck stitch helps keep it in place.

the knit side 

an “oldie” of mine, using the technique in a single color 

4/6/17

I am getting along better with the color changer by making different yarn choices, so I now have a WIP, and am going about a shawl design backwards: ruffle first, body later. Reasoning: seam as you knit should be easier if not taking place during ruffle knitting. If the latter is not bound off it may be continued with body knitting taken off on scrap yarn if needed to facilitate doing so. BTW, as with all knitting that uses patterning on only part of the knitting on the machine, end needle selection must be cancelled on the knitting undercarriage. Any reverse movement of the carriage will advance the card a pattern row, so that is an added possibility for errors as the knit grows in length. The pattern has 18 row segments, 36 for the full repeat. For 36 passes of the carriage, only 8 full rows of knitting take place. Every individual has their own design process. I tend not to sketch, but rather to make decisions as each piece grows. As for some math? 800 rows would actually take 3600 passes of the carriage, the shawl requirements tbd. (3276 on completion).

A previous post with notes on color changers: http://alessandrina.com/2014/01/26/some-notes-on-machine-knitting-color-changers/

Older model machines had no provision for a second yarn mast, and an accessory was available for mounting on their left side. Having the yarn in that position brings it closer to the changer and seems to help with undesired looping and sliding within the changer’s wheels. This shows the carriage traveling toward the extension rail, with auxiliary mast in place

If the ribber setting plate needs to be moved forward in order to balance your ribber when in use, setting it as close to the needle bed as possible or even removing it may be needed if it starts to catch and hold the yarn

 the “finished” ruffle; HK markers every 20 repeats to help track rows knitand being joined on with “seam as you knit” technique
the finished shawl after a successful truce with  my color changer 

going green the series grows 

A shawl tale 2

Recent runway knits include lots of color/ technique patches, and ruffles galore. I no longer share that information here, for those interested they may be found in my pinterest boards http://pinterest.com/manydrina/

My “spider web” shawl has been a popular for sale item for me for a very long time. From time to time the line was joined by chenille and felted ones with variations in shape

wool rayonfelted wool chenille 

Most of my chenille inventory traveled with me to my new residence. The yarn has some challenges in knitting and handling, which may relate to the core content holding the fibers in place, and its twist. Lace holes may disappear with blocking, fibers shed sporadically with washing, and so on. The quality and behavior is not necessarily price or source dependent. Swatching is always worth it. As I work on new ideas, I occasionally decide to “wing it”. I prefer shawls that work with a bit of neck shaping rather than simple triangles. So I thought: faroese style shawl, 2 triangles and a shape with a bit of holding at the center, just “knit it”. The first triangle knit was the striped section, shaped with increases from 3 stitches to desired width. The wedge section had interesting issues with biasing, even with blocking . The solid green triangle, shaped with decreases actually knit to a size different enough so it had to be unravelled and re knit. There are many hand knitting patterns published that offer directions for “asymmetrical” shawls, which use such differences as design features, and that certainly can be an option in machine knitting as well. Calling the item a shawlette or scarf also discounts many issues. That said, I got this sort of shapeand wanted this, with close to equal shaping on  either side of the center wedge

The original idea had been to create a ruffled edging with color patterning using the slip setting, automating needle selection, pattern, and shaping. Brother has Imo created the worst single bed color changer on the market. It is the only one I know of where the yarn does not leave the changer and in turn travel with the knit carriage sinker plate. The chenille yarns simply did not clear it properly for me, sticking together, and looping far too easily (though smooth yarns had no issues). So then my 910 got set up, and I thought to try knitting with 2 carriages. For the pattern I wanted to create even this involved issues with carrying yarn up the design stripes, and after trying slip and FI patterning I gave up and went for the KISS principle, returning to single color shaping using holding to create the ruffled edging.

the finished chenille shawl

purl side

Some of the steps I would do differently or add in future pieces:

1.definitely gauge swatch, perhaps even draft shapes on knit leader and use it to guide triangle (or other shaping) for shawl segments

2. shape both large triangles with decreases, requiring one to be started on waste yarn (yellow line) and rehung prior to section knit in holding. Red arrows indicate direction of knitting for each piece

3. yarn markers every X # of rows along outer edge of shawl or on inner ruffle edge if it is knit separately, may be helpful both for seam as you knit, or later for joining the ruffle by hand

4. if color changer is required, try to use the double color changer, with knitting weighted as for rib (this is a very viable option for frequent color changes on bulky machine). Drawback here is the pattern is no longer immediately visible, so any errors or dropped stitches may be missed in time for immediate repair.

…………….

 

 

Return to circles, knit “pies”, miters and spirals 4

I  have gotten used to seeing charts for crochet in the round, and prefer charts to written instructions in knitting as well. My hand knitting has usually been project oriented in terms of experimentation or exploration. Reviewing information provided by both Zimmermann and Thomas in their early publications has led me to new appreciation and admiration for their efforts and for the knowledge made available to their readers, and not just in their time.

Looking at the additional medallions by Mary Thomas, I thought I would play with attempting to illustrate them, some in rounds rather than individual wedges lining up flat with blank or greyed out squares between them. The first example is my imagined square medallion (straight, geometric), p. 239 in my Dover edition 1972, and created in Excel. The work is begun on 8 stitches, divided evenly among 4 needles, knitting with a fifth. The cast on is equal to double the number of sides of the square geometric shape, 4. A hexagon would begin with 12 (6X2), an octagon with 16 (8X2). In this instance the increases are arranged at the beginning and end of stitches on every needle.  When compiling information on machine knitting, I generally swatch to proof ideas. I am not planning on making accompanying samples or swatches for these.

I knit primarily on the machine, and prefer hand knitting on long straight needles as opposed to rounds, so I find myself often referring to counts as rows rather than rounds. For square medallions cast on 8 stitches, divided on 4 needles, knitting with a fifth. In all patterns after cast on row is divided, first round is knit in back of all stitches to flatten them. Stitch counts after increases sorted high to low are helpful when knitting from the outside edge in, and in that instance they become decreases. For the square medallions they are shown in that order, with counts for many more rounds than those in the illustrations. Beginning with the pentagon, they reflect stitch counts from the start of each segment shown.
The windmill medallion (square, p. 240) instructions given: beginning on round 6 “M1 into the second stitch from the beginning and the third stitch from the end of each needle. Continue thus on all even rounds”

The maltese cross medallion (square, p. 240) lines up the M1 increases side by side, in the center of each wedge. Increases are grouped together at the center of each of 4 needles in use may also be grouped on either side of 2 center stitches they may also be grouped on either side of 2 center stitches In a square medallion (bias, swirl, pp. 241-242) increases are placed on only one side, at the beginning of each wedge. Yarn overs are used to create eyelets for more ease when attempting to keep the square flat, and the increase round is to be repeated “as required”. If double yarn overs are used, drop the second yarn over on the next round. They are made before the stitch. Single increases are to be made each round. Here are the wedge shapes side by sidearound a center core For a pentagonal medallion (pp. 242-43) cast on 10 stitches divided evenly, or as number of segments increase, work 2 sections or more on any one needle. For the swirl double yarn overs may be needed to keep the work flat. Thinner yarns may require additional knit rows between increases. Stitch counts For hexagonal medallions (p. 243) cast on 12  stitches, two sections are placed on each of three needles, knitting is done with a fourth. Each increase round will add 12 stitches; 2 or possibly even 3 rounds may be needed between each increase row to keep the shape flat. STS column reflects their number after increases have been made 
The hexagonal medallion swirl (p. 243) is shown using both M1 and YO increases. Here the rate of increase in rounds is slower than above (2 per needle as opposed to 4), so increase rounds are separated by only one row knitThe octagonal medallions (pp.244-245) are cast on 16 stitches, divided on 4 needles and knit with a fifth. To make a smaller center hole, 8 stitches may be cast on, doubled on the next round, and then divided. The first geometric medallion shows increases (4 per segment, 16 per round) in single rounds, requiring several knitting rounds between the increases. The second medallion uses more frequently (2 per segment, 8 per round), so single all knit rows separate roundsFor the octagonal medallion swirl  (p.245) directions are the same as for the hexagonal one, with a 4th segment providing extra sidesIf the perimeter or circumference of the shape to be knit are known, the process may be reversed from the edge in, with decreases replacing increases. The advantage to working from the center out is that adjustments i.e. extra knit rows between increases, changing increases to yarn over(s) for added ease or decoration, etc. may be made far more easily as the work grows. Considerations should be given to leans of M1 stitches so they point in opposite directions on alternating sides. Motif and pattern placement can only be planned after these building units have been sorted out.

Two online guides for increases in hand knitting and their results:
http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/index.php/component/content/article/35-features/1041-increasing-your-options
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter09/FEATwin09TT.php

another variation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIy0LtyIH2s

Return to circles, knit “pies” 3

Elizabeth Zimmermann provided guidelines for circular shawls in her books and publications, including “Knitting Workshop”. For a basic pi shawl (p. 112, Schoolhouse Press, 1984) the assumption is that each section is twice as deep as the previous section and has twice as many stitches. Below CO row represents cast on stitches if the work is to begin from the center out, Column A the row count on which the increases take place, column B the number of rows knit just prior to increase row (A-1), and C the number of rows available for any planned repeat (A-2), thse are constants. The columns directly below each cast on (CO) number (orange) counts represent the number of stitches when increases are complete. The stitch count doubles when the number of rounds has doubled.Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns, Dover 1972, p.p. 245-247 provides guidelines for circular medallions. She calls her first a “disc” medallion. In executing it the aim is to scatter increases so they are less visible and do not form spokes. Four stitches are cast on, with 4 stitches increased in the total count every other row. The number of stitches between M1s increases by one on every other row. My chart happens to read from left to right. As with any knitting in the round, the process may be reversed, starting at the circumference and moving toward center. I personally like charts to help visualize results, and have revised her counts in the illustration below so increases are at the same rate, but placed a bit differently within the rows. On rows with even numbers between decreases, start row with half that number of knit stitches before the first increase. Because one is knitting in the round, with knit side facing, all rows are knit. If the work were knit on 2 needles, knitting every row would produce garter stitch.what happens if increases “line up”For her circular “radiant” medallion after the first 2 rows increases are made every 4th round. My chart is renumbered excluding the first 2 rows, so the increase rounds would occur on numbers divisible by 4, making it easier for tracking them. Each “building” round increases the number of stitches by 16.

In her “target” circular medallion, the building increases are arranged in concentric circles. Each increase row begins with a M1. Once RC 20 is reached, a stitch is added between increases on each increase round. This chart reflects the knitting progress, but not the shape. STS column on right reflects the total number of stitches after increases have been made. Each building round after RC 6 increases the count by 32. Formulas for more, varied geometry based medallions are also offered in the book.  I finally “discovered” actually using formulas in Excel! The video that clearly and quickly helped me learn how to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFVkSnGgZZclooking at the flow in table form for the first 2 medallions

These formulas do not take into account changes in gauge, or stitch type within bands. For similar shapes to be achieved in machine knitting, the number of transfers would be prohibitive. In order to achieve similar shapes one begins with the radius of the finished circle and the shapes in the family may be knit sideways, using holding.

Handknitters can work with 4 double pointed needles, one or 2 (or more) circular needles, and crocheters can follow similar shaping methods. The advantage to long circulars is less bunching up as the work grows, and if you like working flat or want to try the garment on while shaping it, you can use more than one long needle, making the piece or the try on manageable. Working from the top down when knitting such shapes may give one more control over the size of the finished piece i.e.. on length of body and sleeves, height between bands, extending a yoke into a shoulderette or cape. Stitch pattern size and repeats add to the math calculations. Garter stitch is the only hand knit stitch that approaches a square gauge, could be used in combination with patterned bands.

The charted patterns above rely on M1 to increases. Yarn overs may be used for decorative holes at increase points. If preferred, the hole may be diminished by twisting the stitch when picking it up on the next round.

When knitting in stripes, the “jog” at the color change in knitting can be eliminated by slipping the old color purl-wise, and starting to knit the second stitch. TECHknitting provides more alternatives in her posts: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/01/jogless-stripes.html
http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2011/03/jogless-stripes-pretty-picture-version.html. For a method using yarn ends and a needle when yarn is cut http://imgur.com/a/NREsH.

For shawl shapes and their geometry using YO increases, see the posts and publications by Holly Chayes.

To start it all from center out: I am used to doing the magic loop cast on with a crochet hook, and then moving on from there, Kitty Falol shows it worked with DPNs.

Return to circles, knit “pies” 2 (round yokes and more)

Just as other knitwear styles have varied in style, ease and fit over the years, round yoke sweaters have also done so. Yokes can be wide or narrow, in patterned or textured stitches, and in varied proximity to the neckline. This is not generally a tailored style. Ease in knits can be calculated on the basis of fashion or personal preference. With some familiarity with slopers measurements may however, be adjusted in this style as in any other sweater. Neckline measurements do not reflect the measurements achieved after adding finishes i.e. turtle or round. Depending on the size of the yoke, shaping can begin at the armhole level bind off (seen in the early hand knitting directions in the 70s), while smaller yoke shaping can begin at whatever point is desired, extending to the neckline, or simply to create a design band. The shaping is created by decreases if the garment is knit from the bottom up, and with increases if worked from the top down. In most styles the same number of rows are worked from the armhole bind off or held section to where yoke sections meet. At that point if hand knitting on circulars the 4 sections: i.e. left sleeve, front yoke, right sleeve, and back yoke may be picked up and joined for completing the yoke. My illustrations have been created using Mac’s Pages lines and shapes.  They are not to scale.

Beginning to visualize process: yokes are generally superimposed on raglan shaping

they form part of a flat circle; here is how they might appear in a partially seamed cardigan without front bands. They may be created in varying widths or patterns,

and in a pull over with shaping in back that raises the rear neckline. Some of the early patterns were executed with front/ back and both sleeves sharing equal measurements and slopes

separate the elements: the yoke 

the front and back can be begin to consider shaping at breasts, waist, and those wedges under where the yoke “circle” meets the sweater may be short rowed on each side with the intent of achieving a much better personal fit

sleeve 

Hand knitters are probably familiar with Elizabeth Zimmermann and her daughter, Meg Swansen. Handknitting with Meg Swansen 1995, and Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting workshop 1981, Knitting around 1989, Knitting without tears 1971 are classical references that include information on yoke creation, including these guidelines

Other authors suggest 1/4 of total body and sleeve measurement in stitches (excluding armhole) for a tighter neckline (turtle neck), one third for a more open style (crewneck). Original circumference/ body measurement should include any ease. Though decreases for the yoke: first halfway up 25%(one out of every 4), second 3/4 up 33% (one out of every 3), and last 1/2 inch before full depth is reached 40% (two out of every 5) are the most common, they can be placed and varied to suit your own design.

In drafting your own patterns and partnering with someone, a tape measure or string can be laid on shoulder line, etc. for an idea as to preferred placement and measurement. Necklines finished by bound off stitches whether machine or hand knit, do not stretch, so measuring your head with something that does not as well gives you a guideline. Yokes end in open stitches, so the thing to consider there is what method is used to finish the neckline, and its own stretch factor after bind off. Hand knitters have the added benefit of splitting the work on 2 circulars and trying on the sweater or its pieces on while in progress to double check fit.

Japanese designers began to publish patterns that often included yokes that were constructed on the top of the drop shoulder line, with the back yoke placed higher than on the front. Such yokes also began to be represented in stepped figures showing decreases. In the round calculations are gauge based, not relying on the pi formula.

modified raglan for higher placement of yoke on back of body

full pattern with traditional full cap sleeve

pieces meeting at dropped shoulder line: dotted line represents back collar placement, note difference in height between back panel on lower back, and front panel on lower right

a sample diagram from a Japanese magazine 

Yoke shaping may be indicated in stacked format. The final count and frequency of decreases is shown, publishers may vary in language. On the first row here 4 sts – 2X means there is a group of 4 stitches followed by a decrease 2 times, then 5 stitches followed by a decrease 23 times, etc.

Two online calculators are available to help with DIY:  1. the Yoke-U-Lator, and 2. for Lopi, Icelandic styles. The image below is a screenshot from the latter website, indicating a sample possible result.

Jessica Tromp offers free circular knitting patterns with round yoke, dimensions in inches and ounces.

There are endless possibilities for combining math formulas, gauge, and pi. There are many ways to do decreases. With planning so that much more frequent intervals happen between decrease rounds, the decreases themselves can be fabricated to line up in line, and the resulting texture creates the interest in the sweater as opposed to any color patterning (i.e. along white lines)

“pie wedges” may be placed on neckline, yokes, sweater parts, various silhouettes and garment pieces, or full shapes (red dots outline possible dolman sleeve)from a Japanese magazine a hint of detail that must be calculatedand the pie may be oriented in different locations on any one piece 

from a Japanese knitting magazine, an idea for long sleeve and side details merging with and becoming part of a circular yokeFor some of the math  calculations please see:  http://alessandrina.com/2011/06/18/oh-the-math

“Decreases” in rib sometimes can be achieved through changes in needle size if hand knitting, or tension changes on the machine. The yoke in machine knitting would need to be split in 2 parts or knit sideways. Plain colored rows between bands of FI may appear noticeably lighter in weight, so using a 1X1 one color FI pattern or double strand of one of the pattern colors may improve the look.

Before transferring stitches on the machine in the single color rows, make your transfers. The lace carriage may be used after selecting appropriate needles and putting them in position. Knit the following row before removing knitting on waste yarn or garter bar. If stitches are tight for garter bar use sometimes the row after transfers may be knit at a looser tension to facilitate the process, and the difference may not be noticeable when knitting at “normal tension” is resumed. The carriage should be set to plain knit for row prior to and after transfers. It may be easier to work toward the center from each side when returning stitches to the needle bed. In order to match the pattern at the shoulder seams or when motifs need to stack in position on separate bands, the stitches need to be rehung at specific positions on the needle bed that take into consideration the size of the repeat and its location within the stitch count. Also, take into account the seam allowance. One stitch extra on each of the meeting seam sides will allow the end needle selection stitch or an extra patterning needle to be hidden within a full stitch join. Working on machines that preselect needles or pushers makes tracking a bit easier. It is possible to combine knitting pieces in both directions. For example, knit yoke up toward neck, join shoulders, and then pick up appropriate stitches to knit body and sleeves from the top down. Top down makes any adjustments in length easier prior to finishing the sweater. Short rowing in garment segments underneath the yokes makes for a better fit at bust line and upper back.

Calculators to help with all that math: online
http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603mfcalc.aspx
http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0601magicformula.aspx
http://www.getknitting.com/mk_0603frilled.aspx
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/MagicFormulaSleeveTopDown.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/MagicFormulaSleeve.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/EvenlySpace.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/IncreaseEvenlySpace.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/EZsweater/catalogSizeChart.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/PieWedgeShawls.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/PieWedgeShawls.html
http://www.eskimimimakes.com/knitulator-increase-decrease-knitting-calculator-eskimimi

for purchase:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/knitting-toolkit/id960312887?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/knit-evenly-calculator/id370449748?mt=8

Going low tech: if gauge works out to whole numbers, shapes can be plotted out on square grid graph graph paper (or grid created within software to suit) where each square represents one stitch, one row. Draw connecting lines, follow outline, filling in squares (or removing them) as the edge moves a whole unit (k2 tog). Here the goal is to go from 39 stitches to 5 over 60 rows. Color bands could be added and planned between decreases, which should occur on single color rows. Once a gauge is obtained, charting on graph paper or within programs can be boiled down to connecting dots and following outlines as above. Some simple breakdowns for outlines of garment pieces/ shapes 

more inspiration from an old Japanese magazine

visualizing a peplum 

Illusion DIY patterns in crochet

I previously posted on illusion knitting, and on one approach to designing simple patterns using the technique. The first 3 images below are of the swatch illustrating one of my hand knit patterns. 

Since I am now involved in a group interested chiefly in crochet, I got curious about executing the fabric in crochet. Part of the problem is that enough texture needs to be created to be able to read the “shadows”. I tried crocheting in different parts of the chain, around the posts in the row below, and ultimately went back to afghan stitch. I had not used the latter since making blankets first for my son, and then for my grandchildren.

the tunisian aka afghan stitch fabric as it looks head on tilted up to its side and its rear view

Those of you new to the technique can find some instruction at the Red Heart website , and in a beginning how to video from Crochetcrowd. I used Tunisian simple and Reverse Tunisian simple stitches to create my pattern. In this technique, chart texture rows are read right to left. The return rows are not illustrated. It takes 2 passes of color one, followed by 2 passes of color 2 to complete one pattern row. Yarn is carried up the side, color is changed in the same manner as in any crochet stitch. In my test swatch, no border stitches were planned for or included. It is always wise to test the repeat in repeat before working the fabric.

 two passes are needed with each color, so here is the repeat double length 

columns    A: color used   B: forward and backward pass for each color   C: number of passes to complete a single repeat. The highlighted box at bottom indicates a completed single design row. Only 2 colors are in use in the swatch. I found it easier to track my work and the edges where the textures need to meet by using an additional pair of colors in the chart itself. Rather than use the crochet terminology I marked my first stitches with F and B for each color, referencing the front/ forward, and rear/ back vertical loops/ posts respectively. As one moves across the row from right to left, when the color/ texture change is reached, the yarn is brought to the front or the back as needed, and the next color/ texture is worked in the reverse post/ loop.

working in back loop only of the starting chain produces a firmer edge at the bottom of the piece return pass every other row, not represented in chart changing color Front, vertical loop Back, vertical loopH: horizontal, V: vertical red indicates hook entrance through front, green for through back vertical bars respectively, prior to working the next stitch

Both swatches were made using similar weight yarns. The crochet version required more passes back and forth than in knitting, where the work may be turned over and the texture reversed on each knit row. The knit repeat measured approximately 5.5 inches L by approximately 4W, isolating my best guess stitch number equivalent to the crochet one. The crochet swatch measures 7 inches L by 6W.

Return to circles, knit and crochet “pies” 1

I began a series of posts on miters and spirals created on the knitting machine back in 2011. The oldest posts, 12, and 3 begin to address creating flat circles in machine knitting using holding techniques.

Hand knitting in circular format and crochet share some similarities. There are 2 methods of constructing circular work in crochet. 1: in rounds, (akin to knit miters in shape) where the end of each circular row is joined up to its own beginning to form a ring. A new starting chain (s) is formed to take the row up to the proper height for the next row to remain constant. Depending on the pattern, one has the option of continuing by turning the work or not at the end of each row. Doing so allows the opportunity of altering textures and working in the fronts or backs of stitches. 2: in spirals. Rather than joining the ring, one continues on by going into the tops of the posts in the previous row.

With spirals it is useful to mark the beginning of each round. Knitting markers shaped like safety pins are handy for that purpose. A line of contrasting color can also be created using a separate strand of yarn and alternating carrying it back or to the front prior to forming the first stitch in the new row.

As with knitting, crocheted circles are not true circles, but rather, they are polygons. The way to make shapes more circular is to scramble the increase points, putting them in different starting positions in each round (always spacing them equally and keeping the formula). Within limits one may make the starting number of stitches in the first round a multiple of the number of segments in the finished shape.

With the creation of a flat circle in mind, the number of stitches needed depends on the height of the stitch. The taller the stitch, the greater the number of stitches required. If the stitch stays the same throughout, the number of stitches added on each round is constant. Test work regularly at intervals as the work grows by placing it on a firm, flat surface, to see if working only one stitch into each stitch is required / enough at that point to maintain the shape. The more segments, the smoother the circumference.

Unlike in hand knitting, the first loop on the hook does not count as a stitch until you make it into something.

Spirals or miters knit on the machine begin with their radius; one possible construction method may be inferred from these images

Spreadsheet programs such as Excel and Numbers have pie charts and other tools that can help visualize or even plan the work with symbols. Unlike machine knitting, both crochet and hand knitting may begin and grow from the center out or from the outside in. Calculated shaping with increases or decreases along circumferences at different points on the pie create the desired shape. For the purposes of this discussion I will address stitches in US terms. There are various published guidelines with some variations. Fiber content and matching gauge (if required) may need editing of the numbers, but, as starting points:
Single Crochet [sc] : Start with 6 sc and increase 6 sc in each round so that the total stitch count in each round is a multiple of 6
Half Double Crochet [hdc] : multiple of 8
Double Crochet [dc] : Multiple of 12
Treble [tr]: multiple of 16

Some symbols and number of stitches required in base rows in table form, for working from center out:
the more wedges in the pie, the smoother the circumference no matter what the method. Single crochet is worked in 6 wedgesdouble crochet in 12 wedgeswedges may be reduced to simple line segments rounds may also be created to log in and track more details adding wedge outlines before filling in symbols

single crochet worked with slip stitch at the end of each row will produce  points similar to those seen in miters in machine knitting

spirals produce a rounder shape double crochet echoes the forms 

Building your own charts requires vector programs to allow for rotation of symbols around an axis. My chart was quickly produced in Inkscape, which is free to download for both Mac and PC users. Mac users in addition will also need to download XQuartz to run the program. I created the chart with my own symbols and freeform laid them down while viewing the grid. It turned out however, that there are 2 published videos on how to use the program for charting crochet stitches, part 1 and part 2 by StitchesNScraps.com

Two YouTube videos on topic:  using Illustrator CS 5.1, Marnie Mac Lean’s video, and using StitchWorksSoftware. An online generator by Stitch Fiddle, and its associated video.

if donuts are the goal: find your round 

An example: in single crochet, if round 3 had been completed, there would be 18 completed stitches. Chain 18, either slip stitch or continue in spiral to match count at that point. For round 4: increase every 4th, round 5: every fifth, round 6: every 6th, round 7: every 7th stitch.

A few sites to see for crochet tutorials:
magic ring start : no chain stitches, no center hole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUaywX0-WE
working in spirals
http://snovej.com/archives/freeform-crochet-spiral
a nice ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_sW4xX_O70https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_sW4xX_O70
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L_rtWt78Jw&t=32s
crocheting a flat circle in single crochet: note the start “magic circle”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oDubbFVE3Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZiCnCGP_NQ
changing colors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8cLufFeenU

I tend to swatch in easy to see colors, “friendly” yarn, and use tools that allow moving in and out of stitches easily until I have techniques sorted out. When knitting circles in the round, things get a bit more complex, particularly if one begins to introduce items such as round yokes with patterns into garments where gauge matters significantly.

Some of the same principles may be used in hand knitting. For magic loop start with circular needles: KNITFreedom, and on DPs Webs yarn