Lace point cams and lace isolation on Brother machines

This is a quick reference in response to a Ravelry question. L cams clip onto the needle bed (like single motif cams on some punchcard machines). Where there is a cam the needles won’t select for lace. They come in 4 or 8 stitch size. They can also be used across the bed if you want to block part of the punchcard for plain panels. You can even put several next to each other to block 12 or 16 sts. On some lace carriages the cams may be a bit high but you can shave a tiny bit off the top so they fit. They can be moved along mitered edges to highlight the miter.

The pages below are from Brother machine manuals. I don’t believe there ever was a separate manual for the LCs themselves, though they were often sold as a separate accessory.

for electronic 910

from Punchcard Pattern Book vol #4 LC Variations using the point cams 

control for end needle selection on carriages that have the ability works the same way as on knit carriages with same option

over the years color varied, but function remains the same 

A lace mesh series: GIMP, superimposing, Brother 910

I like placing motifs, grounds, and borders myself whenever possible, in any knitting technique, rather than relying on adding or combining them via the built in KM software.  It is simply my strong personal preference in designing and gives me additional controls over patterning. However, the ability to superimpose is a convenient feature, available on multiple machines and worth mentioning. I have used it more frequently in operating my Passap, than my Brother 910. That said, it would appear to be an easy feature to use for programming shapes onto mesh grounds. For illustration purposes I am using a 24 stitch repeat. Electronics width and height potential depends on use of mylar or PC download. The “rose” is not a workable, resolved repeat. When electronics were first introduced, at one point Kathleen Kinder wrote a book on electronic knitting (? 1984), exploring the full potential of managing designs by combining settings and flipping buttons for both the Brother 910 and the Studio 560.

A bit of review on machine buttons and functions for the Brother pattern case for those unfamiliar with it.  M= Memory: each of the tiny red spots on the garment representations lights up, as specs on motif are entered or reviewed. CE= cancel entry: corrects programmed numbers or cancels the red error light when it flashes. CR= cancel row: press in a number, say 2 on the panel, and the card moves back 2 rows. If you press the button and no number is entered, the error light flashes and the card stops advancing. This is the same as locking the punchcard to repeat a pattern row. RR= row return, brings the card back to the set line. This is routinely done before shutting off the machine when knitting is complete or to remove the mylar for editing.  CF= card forward. The mylar returns to programmed design row 1.  Numbers pressed in using CR or CF do not change those programmed using the M button.

When the pattern selector button on the 910 is down, the pattern is centered on green #1. A reminder: Brother has 2 needle #1 positions, one on each side of 0. When the pattern has an even number of stitches, it will be centered with half that number of stitches divided evenly on each side of 0. For 24 stitches, the pattern’s limits are yellow 12 and green 12. If the repeat is an odd number of units wide, the center stitch then will be placed on green #1 (right of 0). If the repeat is 25 stitches wide, then the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13. If using a 24 stitch repeat, the machine automatically knows that the first needle position (FNP) for the pattern is yellow 12. When the pattern selector is in the upper position (motif A) and the middle position (motifs A & B) we can choose the FNP, and with A & B the number of stitches separating them. One way to produce filet lace as is to program A & B motifs. The lace mesh is the A motif, the “rose” the stocking stitch motif. The A motif can be on the left or right of the mylar, but it is always the taller of the 2. In most cases it is the dominant pattern. The starting row for the combined motif is shared.

In lace knitting transfers and resulting eyelets are programmed as black squares. Superimposed solid patterns in stocking stitch occur in unmarked areas of the mylar or downloaded image, so they need to be “white squares”. In order to get the 2 to meet, the mesh repeat in the height required (column A in illustration), and a single width is drawn or programmed in reverse (column B), with the result being  read as (column C) when it is programmed as the base for a complete overlap. The basic mesh becomes the A motif in programming the 910, the stocking stitch “shape” is the B motif.  If end needles are selected during knitting, they need to be pushed back to B manually, or use the orange L cams. It is possible in addition to mark the “L window” on mylar, but the mesh repeat is so regular you may not find that necessary.The “rose’ would also need to be drawn in black, and positioned or programmed, with first placement resulting on the image seen below right. Color reverse is then used converting white squares to black, and lace knitting could proceed based on the black markings resulting in eyelets.  As is already noted, there is no guarantee the image placement on mesh the will yield a precise shape or the best possible results for motif edges, its definition, and its segments’ outline In terms of placement: if the all over mesh is programmed centered on G1, and the motif is positioned with FNP other than G1, any simple, extra rows of mesh prior to starting the all over pattern (below green line), will need to be programmed separately with adjustments also in FNP to match the superimposed segment. The programmed repeat for the mesh “rose” below would begin immediately above the blue line, and the extra mesh rows at the top would provide the transition to the start of the rose once again. The height of pattern seen in the B column in the first illustration may be adjusted accordingly. 

Color reverse (button #6) will provide “black squares” for creation of transfers to create eyelets. The mesh and superimposed design need to share the same starting row. Image above reversed, shows extra white at the bottom of chart that needs to be eliminated. Brother lace starts on a selection row (black squares), ends with 2 blank rows at the top of the pattern (white squares). This is reversed in Studio knitting.

What happens when starting row placement is the same for both motifs, and color reverse is used: the first row lace carriage selection is good to go. The height of the mesh above the rose may be adjusted to suit. Trying to place multiple roses in different locations on the finished piece using this method is more than my brain wants to even consider. Punchcard knitters are not completely out of the superimpose loop. If you are so inclined, areas on mesh punchcard ground may be taped over to test the repeat. Again, this works best for simple shapes. Tape may be shifted or trimmed as needed. If intended for extended use, trace holes over a blank card, punch the final version, and proceed. Images on punchcard machines are reversed on the stockinette side. If direction matters, flip the card over horizontally, mark and punch, or if the card is already punched, work with lace carriage on right, knit carriage on left. No worries about multiple programs or a mix of starting points, etc. Know the rules for where to begin and end for lace knitting.

Sharp single stitch points are not attainable. In the illustration below, the yellow indicates the “desired point”, red squares indicate the additional stitches knit, adding to the intended shape as the alternating directions transfers are completed. The one stitch start, is actually converted to 3 stitches, 3 to 5, etc .

A lace mesh series: using GIMP

Eons ago I owned a BitKnitter for my Passap machine, and to this day I miss it and some of the other Cochenille software that is no longer available, especially when working with multiple colors for color separations of any sort. When using it for downloading the resulting motif, picking the same exact color for each “square” on the grid was a necessity for accuracy. If “only” black was involved, the same guide applied. Working in GIMP one can set the color mode to fewer colors to start with, reducing the palette. This can limit your editing ability sometimes, and switching between modes may be required. I tend to go autopilot when I work on color separations for any purpose and work with built in colors rather than custom.

It is helpful to have previous experience with any program as well as with basic knitting  before tackling and combining large scale designs and  fabrics such as lace. This is not a step by step how to use GIMP (search for my other posts on topic), merely an illustration of my experiment in working with superimposing an image onto a mesh grid.

To start with: a 1 X 1 grid is set up. “Black squares” become single pixels in downloads. For the single stitch 1 X 1 grid to be visible, I prefer to work in at least a 500X magnification. Because I do not own a hacked machine I am unable to provide a corresponding test swatch to the final chart.

The resulting image may be tiled to produce a large enough mesh ground, the grid needs to be turned off for this step

The tiled image will appear on a different part of the screen, shown in both versions below, I realized reviewing the above that the width was for more pixels than could be programmed on a 200 needle machine, I resized its width to 120 pixels

here the grid is removed for further processing 

the goal is to retain the black squares for the end bmp, so the ground is filled with a color that will later be removed gridded again if and when needed 

Today’s image is a letter (20 pixels by 24), produced in a new file with text from one of my built in computer fonts. I happened to be working in RGB mode the same image as it would appear in indexed mode Here some edges “clean up” has been worked with grid on, then removed for tripling the motif length (now 72 pixels) and pasting on the “mesh” ground 

Switching to indexed colors (6) if you have worked in RGB to this point, it may make cleaning up of edges easier.  I flood filled the A to insure only one red was in use. Below the A is selected (fuzzy selection tool) and copied for paste onto the “mesh”. Magnification reduction to 500X makes the whole file more easily viewed on my mac

the A pasted in placewhite color fill leaving only black squares of letter and ground

Superimposing may be used in some machines, but eliminates the choice of editing when one is “not happy with edges” until after sampling the knit, has several parameters and limitations. Above image gridded for editing:
feeling better, with the exception of the left side bottom of right leg of Aone last bit of clean up, switching between magnification  as needed happier grid removed, image magnification reduction to 100X for export as bmp and download to KM

When downloading a large image that constitutes the width of your piece, programming an extra square or 2 vertically for the height of the pattern in “white” on each side will insure that stitches in those areas are not selected for transfer by the lace carriage, and a knit border will be created.

Things become more complicated with more complex shapes. This is part of a filet crochet chart, and a rose now becomes my goal

use selection editor or fuzzy selectpaste and move to “best” spot not quite a rose

Back to the drawing board: the mesh and knitting method are altered. For a possible knitting method option see http://alessandrina.com/2017/07/28/unconventional-uses-for-punchcards-2-thread-lace-cards-for-filet-mesh/  The ground “mesh” is now composed of every other stitch, alternating every other row. The “rose is not lengthened. “Stitches” need to be “cleaned up” to approximate a more recognizable shape.

 When satisfied, export in format for download.

 

Unconventional uses for punchcards 2: thread lace cards for “filet” mesh


Mock filet crochet machine knit lace has surfaced in a ravelry blog of late. The sample in question was made by Tanya Cunningham, using a hacked knitting machine and software to download the repeat. Sometimes punchcard machines or early electronic users feel left out of creating particular fabrics. If one can settle for working with simpler and far smaller repeats however, one can achieve interesting results in that scale.  Several years ago I wrote a series of posts on lace meshes and lace patterns inspired by filet crochet, this link will take you to them. There also has been a thread lace  ravelry “thread”, and today’s avoidance of housework led me to thinking about pre drawn thread lace patterns to create filet mesh.

What to look for a first experiment (Brother machines only): large unpunched areas creating motifs, with no side by side punched holes, and no more than 2 consecutive punched rows. Some samples are provided in stock cards that come with machine purchase. One such

The lace carriage (LC) selects on first pass, transfers on the second. It advances the card with each pass of the carriage if is operated consistently from the same side. If 2 knit carriages (KC) set to select needles for any technique are in use in punchcard machines, as one is put to rest and the other one begins to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance on the first pass, so selection for the previous row is repeated one more time. If all lace transfers are made in the same direction the resulting fabric will bias. For balanced lace fabrics, the direction of the transfers needs to be reversed, whether in alternating series of rows, or with every other set of transfers. In a situation such as this, the LC makes one set of transfers operating from the left, with the next set of transfers operating from the right. For the correct set up, the first row selection with the card locked is made on the row jut below the one marked #1 (in this instance that would be row #40), then the card is set to advance as usual. If the first selection row is made with the card set to below the #1 line, the card needs to be already joined with snaps into a drum or the card reader will be selecting the all punched row which is normally part of the overlap that sits over the last 2 rows of the pattern repeat.

I began with my LC on the left for transfers to the left, and alternately placed it on the right after knit row(s) for transfers to the right. A “simple” lace is produced with only one row knit between transfers, a more complex lace if 2 rows are knit between them. The LC moves left to right, transfers back to left. If the knit carriage is used for one pass only, it stays on left. The LC is now taken off the machine and moved to the right, used for 2 rows, and will be removed from bed to ready it for its return to the left side. The KC follows with one pass from left to right. The LC is returned to left and operated for 2 rows, starting the sequence over again. The LC is always moving toward the KC to select, and away from it to transfer.

Brother knitters are used to knitting 2 rows after lace transfers. It can be done with this card as well. The problem here is that when knitting for 2 rows, the knit carriage consistently returns to the same side, so that when transfers need to be made from its starting side with the LC, the KC needs to come off the machine until after transfers are made. There is a lot more juggling of carriages and keeping track of what needs to be where. The elongation that occurs with 2 rows knit after each set of transfers, and the difference in the appearance in the yarn forming the eyelets (single/magenta arrow vs crossed/glow green arrow strands) for the respective methods is shown below.

another Brother card, more possibilities

The above shows long vertical lines of transfers are possible in design motivs (punched holes). Adding shapes to all over mesh may require some editing along edges where the shapes meet the mesh. Varying size swatches are recommended before commitment to any large piece. As always punched errors may be taped over. Red squares in the image below reflect holes missing in card if the goal is a smoother circular shape. When this technique is used, selection, transfers, and knitting occur in each single, completed row of the design.

note differences in circle sides
an amended, wider repeat 

The slight bias zig zag at the top of the swatch results from a missing reverse direction transfer before continuing with plain knitting and binding off. Ultimately whether the final fabric is worth the effort in making it is a personal choice. Sometimes small swatches work like a dream, and when large pieces are produced, problems multiply or the result is disappointing. In the past I have also tried to use thread lace inspired patterns for drop stitch lace (ribber fabric), but have found the result far more subtle than expected. As always yarn and color choice make a significant difference. The yarn used in these samples is a 2/15 wool blend, knit at tension 6.

BTW: Studio pattern books have multiple sections of published 24 stitch thread lace patterns. Not all Brother machines have the capacity for knitting this type of fabric, so not all of their publications include “suitable patterns”. If one understands what punched holes vs unpunched do, some of the Brother weaving and “pick rib” (perhaps another post’s topic) can be used as is or adapted.
electronic http://machineknittingetc.com/knit-in-punch-lace-silver-m…
punchcard http://machineknittingetc.com/pattern-library-for-punchca…

previous blog notes on thread lace http://alessandrina.com/2016/11/03/thread-lace-on-brother-km/

 

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.

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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