Machine knitting seam as you knit

This technique can be used in many ways including to attach a front band to a sweater, body pieces of a garment such as when knitting a raglan sleeve from the top-down, flat pieces of knitting to make a tube ie in some socks, and for decorative joins adding a strip of knitting between 2 (or more) previously completed pieces. Most often, one is joining the 2 (or 3) pieces with purl side facing.
Looking at the purl side of any knitting you will see a knot and a loop along the side edges of the work. The loop is formed on the carriage side at the start of each pass, the “knot” opposite the starting carriage side as that side of that row is reached and the yarn twists. Work the first piece, A, remove from the machine. Generally, with smaller row gauge it is best to join loops, with thicker yarns,  larger stitches, or if you plan to felt the finished piece, work with the knots. Any single or even double eye tool, Jolie, or another favorite may be used to insert into the individual space at the edge for picking up.
If joining rows to rows: begin the second piece, B. Though the join can happen on either side, in this case, cast on, knit a row, end with the carriage on the right side (COR).  Pick up the first knot (or loop) on A, from its bottom-up, and hang it onto the left end needle (opposite the carriage) of the cast on row for B.
Knit two rows, returning to COR
Go to the next knot (loop) on A. Pick it up and place it on the outside left edge needle of B, opposite the carriage.
Knit 2 rows and continue on, repeating the last 2 steps to the desired length.
Remember to pick up knots (loop) opposite the carriage every other row.

If the pieces to be joined are long, place a yarn marker on the side(s) to be joined at regular intervals simply by adding a short piece of contrasting color yarn laying it in the hook on the end needle(s). It will not become a permanent part of the stitch. The markers will serve as guides in seaming, can be easily removed when they are reached by a quick tug.

Open stitches may also be joined using this method, but they would have to be hooked onto the second piece every row rather than every other, and caution should be taken in terms of skipping any stitch, as any such stitch will unravel at the end of the process unless it has been secured.
If a bound-off edge of a sideways knit is joined to a knit band, then some adjustment in gauge or row count needs to be made. Knit stitches generally around 4 in width to 3 in height so every 4th part of the bound-off chain may need to be skipped Depending on the stitch type and yarn used a simple tension change and observing the loop (knot) rule every other row may work without any additional adjustments. The Brother Knitting Technique Book offers an interesting variation as a way of creating a double-wide repeat using a punchcard motifThis is a long-ago demo swatch. The chevrons are shaped by holding, could be knit on any machine in any width. After the first strip is knit to the desired length, the second is joined to it as it is being knit. I generally prefer the joins with the carriage on the right and  the completed strip hooked onto its left side. If the color changer is to be used, then the strip being created to join to the finished piece should always be knit on the left side of the bed in order to allow for traveling to and from the color changer every 2 rows. The image here is turned sideways, the chevrons could be used either vertically or horizontally depending on design plans.The above method may be used to join fair isle patterns in order to achieve significantly wider final panels. Some artists, when no electronic models were available, would join cards in continued lengths and planned their repeats side by side to achieve large, non-repetitive images. The punchcard width markings on your Brother needle tape can serve as guides. I use punchcard repeats so often I replaced the needle tape in my 910 early on with one for punchcard models. Markings may also be seen on them for every 8 stitches If the second piece is to be joined with the new piece on its right, add a single stitch to the full punchcard repeat (solid line or thin line section on tape, anywhere on the bed) on the right side, hook up the edge loop (or knot) from the first piece onto the new one, which uses the same needle location as that extra needle in the previous piece for the first stitch in work on its left (full line or blank space on tape). The cast on thread as shown in the techniques publication is not necessary. If wishing to join on the opposite side, then add the extra needle to the first piece on the left edge of the full repeat. With care one can plan for smaller stitch repeats as well. The needle tape or even the knit bed may be marked with water-soluble markers to indicate the extra needle position when adding new vertical strips of knitting. In this former demo swatch, I used a space-dyed yarn for ground accounting for the difference in color on each piece. Color pooling in such yarns is another consideration that may require specific planning in any technique. Here a slip stitch ruffle was joined on the left to one of my completed shawl bodies.The above discussion is based on joins occurring on the same needle location on the needle bed. There is no reason why that should be a constant. A strip or shape can be created with two separate, completed knit pieces joined to it as it progresses in length. “Always” hook onto the new piece opposite the carriage, with usually a minimum of 3 stitches on the new center panel.
Here I grabbed 2 random swatches, one is knit side out, the other purl side out, and one is upside down. The magenta yarn is thinner than the wool, the tension initially used was a dot more than one, left that way from some other experiment or poltergeists. It pays to check all settings prior to beginning any project. To start with I cast on with the magenta and knit a row, hooked up the loop from piece one, starting from its planned bottom edge, COLknit one row to other side, hooked up piece 2, CORand continued until I reached the point where I wanted to experiment with increases, keeping the shape symmetrical. I picked up a loop from both added pieces and hooked them onto the first empty needle on each side of the strip, essentially casting on an added stitch on each side each time, following with 2 knit rows.  After working my “desired shape” I tested decreases:COR: after hooking up the next row, knit one row to the left and transfer the stitch just created on the left onto the adjacent needle on its right, creating a simple decrease.  Knit to the right continue with a straight edge on the right side, repeating the decrease on the left every other row, I kept a straight edge on the right after I reached the top of the piece there. Here is the reverse side of the piece. The cleanest joins happen when the edges are straight to start with, above there was movement of the edges happening because of the distortion of the fabric created by the eyelets. A light pressing if possible may also set the edge stitches, help them lie flat, and make them more visible. When working with slanted edges on the first piece this is one way to join it, taking into consideration whether any adjustment in the frequency of hooking up needs to be made.A better edge will be obtained if the decreases to that piece were made using the full-fashioned method, resulting in a neat “chain” for pick up along its finished edge.

There are other options for decorative joins as one knits, one such is shown in a video by Roberta Rose Kelly.

And not to be forgotten, playing with materials or anything else that allows for an edge to be hooked onto a latch holding a knit stitch ;-). Here the add on is polar fleece, it could be crochet, lace, etc.

Ribber cast ons: breaking the “rules”

This is a quick note attempting to illustrate the third circular row as shown in manuals is not needed and in some yarns, at least to my eye, there is an extra “bar/float” making a difference between purl and knit side of the fabric. I find the 2 circular rows also make a bit tidier, tighter edge. My swatches are very small, in fine 2/18 silk wool.
This is the purl side facing, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightthe knit side, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightevery other needle, purl side facing, 2 circs on left, 3 on the right, with markers indicating the “extra float”the knit side, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightI knit the samples as tightly as possible. When making dbj slip stitch scarves I wanted the bottom to match the top in width. The ribber stitches were transferred to the main bed and tested on a test swatch whether I preferred to knit an added row or not before performing a latch tool bind off around gate pegs. To deal with the cast on width,  I simply planned to knit the zig-zag row on at least garment tension, thus leaving me with what are normally considered ugly loops. There are 2 such loops for each stitch. With a latch tool, begin opposite the yarn end, and consistently choose the next right or left loop, chaining them through each other.

Two circular rows are also used when transitioning from varied configurations to every needle ones, illustrated in the post on  racked-ribber-cast-on-and-rib-configuration-tips

picking up an edge loop, moving it behind the latch proceeding  toward the yarn end, pick up one of the next 2 loops in hook, here I consistently chose the one on the right if the first loop slips in the hook again as well, get it behind the latch once more before proceeding
pull the second loop through the previous onework across the row, secure the yarn end the appearance on the reverse side I can be a little bonkers with my finishing, have even been known when dealing with getting top and bottom edges to match in look and width to rehang every other loop, knit a row, and then perform the latch tool bind off. If tuck double bed fabrics are knit, they require planning for loose cast ons and bind-offs. Slip stitch is short and thin, tuck stitch is short and fat, whether knit single or double bed and then is compared with fabrics where either bed predominantly knits plain.

Sock knitting resources and ideas for machine knitting

The only sock(s) I have ever knit have been as demos in my classes. I actively dislike wearing them, and it winds up being a sheer necessity in our winters to actually break down and wear them. I have had an ongoing interest in 3D knitted, explored some pleating, have always been fond of holding techniques. This year has not allowed for as much time exploring and producing as I might have wanted, am hoping to increase both activities in the coming one.
Forums of late have buzzed with knit socks, here are some possible online resources: from machineknittingetc.com:
studio-tips-and-techniques-issue-37-charting-socks
singer-sock-book-seamed-and-circularmachine-knit-news-machine-knit-socks-supplementempisal-sock-patterns

From assorted sources: visualizing shaping sequences: aspect ratio was disregarded in order to combine several images into a large one, particularly noticeable in the middle image on the top row 😉Patterns from manufacturers: Superba manual  Passap Duo 80From a Brother pub. The original paper version actually came with knit leader patterns

There are many ways to seam join such shapes. Seam-as-you-knit is another option. Diana Sullivan offers a video on the technique. Considering its limitations: the seaming needs to occur on equally shaped segments, this would eliminate any shaping to allow for widening parts of the leg as one moves up toward the knee, so the height of the sock would need to be shortened, planning for fit. If one desires a true rib at the top of the completed sock, IMO seams at least for the rib are unavoidable, and one must take measures to make certain cast ons and bind offs for ribbed bands match in look and width. The same issue with shaping occurs when knitting socks tubular. For a tube to grow or decrease in diameter retaining its circular form, the only way to achieve the result is to increase or decrease evenly across knitting bed(s) involved, far easier to achieve if one surrenders the seamless idea and allows for a seam in the design. Here A sections would be knit first, B sections would follow with seaming along the dotted lines. The toe is a 3D shape achieved by holding, with no seaming necessary.
If one is fond of holding intarsia techniques and cumulative joins, this book is available  For advice and ideas on knitting the swan socks see https://knitterstoolchest.wordpress.com/category/circular-knitting/
a video link is included, as well as this schematic

machine knit sock and slipper pattern resource
socks, heels, and more 
eliminating short row holes
general instructions 
penny socks 

Sock calculators: http://roued.com/supersockcalculator.php  https://www.goodknitkisses.com/sock-calculator/  https://www.storey.com/crochet-calculator/toe-up-sock.html

From Knitty, an online hand knitting magazine: universal sock article 
A hand knitting resource on choosing your sock heels 
From Drops design, HK, a spiral sock , and a side to side version, both food for thought in terms of adapting for machine knitting.

For folks who prefer videos, a search on youtube will offer lots of choices, and Roberta Rose Kelley offers 2 that provide a wealth of ideas and information, on tubular socks, the other on adding afterthought heels , using decker combs on Passap machinestransferring ribbed band stitches using a garter bar 

Small scale experiments for larger ideas: the spiral sock
Mary Thomas’ book of knitting patterns was first published in 1943, my edition in 1972. This is the usual cover photo on page 38 a repeat and instructions are offered for a spiral tube sock. The latter has no heel shaping, but traditional toe shaping can be added. The knit/purl design can easily be executed single bed by folks who own a G carriage. My mini sock was knit on 30 stitches +1 for sewing. The blocks can be varied in width depending on the required circumference of the finished tube. The extra pattern stitch in the chart is to allow for seaming a half stitch on each edge and maintaining the pattern. *After every 6 rows knit transfer the right-hand needle of every ribber group to the main bed, on the main bed transfer the right needle of every group down to the ribber**,  repeat * to ** for the desired length. There are a number of ways to deal with the toe part of the stocking. I would opt for transferring stitches to the main bed and knitting one row, using holding remove half the width onto waste yarn then bringing half the stitches on the alternate side into work. The toes may then be worked using stocking stitch, scrapping off, and seaming or grafting the stitches held on scrap to each other. My working repeat, with a 12 stitch repeat usable on punchcard machines as well isolated by the added green border testing the tiling, making certain any programming would line up Cast on for a ribbed band at top of the sock in any preferred configuration. Be certain cast on stretches enough to accommodate the finished width of the tube as it stretches to fit the leg. Transfer stitches between beds in the desired knit/purl configuration. When the desired height is reached transfer all stitches to the top bed, drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, knit a row on all stitches, divide for toe shaping. Here one half away from yarn end and carriage is knit with waste yarn and dropped off when shaping is complete, After toe shaping is finished and waste yarn is added, the work is removed from the machineBecause all transfers are made in one direction, as in any knit fabric where that happens, the fabric will biasHere the toe shaping is seamed, the twist in the body of the sock begins to showOne side of my knitting was looser than the other, something to watch in any “real” piece. Thin yarn knit on tension 4 is probably also not the best suited for any socks in terms of wear. After seamingand worn by a few cotton balls 😉Lastly, it is possible to knit socks sideways (as well as gloves), usually in garter stitch and in hand knitting. This is a crochet illustration that points to the general construction method.

On the machine, the shaping would need to occur with increases and decreases rather than holding to create the heels, and toes could be shaped, probably best by full-fashioned increases and decreases. There would be at least one grafted seam the width of the sock, the cuff could be added with the side straight edge picked up and knit from there. To get shaping to match, in theory,  one option would be to start with waste yarn, knit to half the above  shape, scrap off. Rehang starting open stitches, reverse shaping, graft seam. Dotted lines represent open stitches, decreases and increases can be planned so that only the smaller group of stitches on one side are moved with a garter bartest swatch to follow

Twisted headband meet fisherman rib, seaming, variation ideas

The machine knitting forums in both Ravelry and Facebook have recently been buzzing with versions of twisted headbands in varied techniques and yarn weights. Tanya Cunningham sparked the discussions by showing her bulky tubular knotted version. In her blog, one may find clear instructions on fold and assembly.
I chose to knit mine in full fisherman rib, making the fabric reversible, so that facing side at the start did not matter when seaming. I wanted a single thickness and a lightweight but warm fabric that would lie flat, perhaps being worn under jacket hoods on winter walks. My first band was knit with a punchcard carriage with a magnet placed for using it on my electronic. I forgot I had removed its row counter when it was last used for knitting with 2 paired main/ribber carriages in order to clear the end of the bed. As a result, I was unable to use the row counter, as that fact eliminated the tripper for it.
Part of my plan was also to avoid bulk at the twist as much as possible. Increasing the stitch count for such warmers can easily approach more of a hat shape, and a “top” could be added to complete the piece if it is intended to be worn as one.
In terms of inspiration, there are endless sources for twisted bands available, most for hand knitting, but sometimes they can be adapted to machine knitting easily enough, especially if one also owns a G carriage. One such source is Dropsdesign , simply enter headbands, knit, in the search field.
Head sizes and what each of us determines as comfort can vary tremendously. A table of head circumferences may be found at craft yarn council, and for much more detailed charts see
The twist will take up some of the finished lengths.
My first band sailed through on my Brother 930 standard:
Cast on 22 stitches in 2/18 silk wool, tension 5/4, at the same tension as the body of the band, intentionally loose.
Knit to head circumference, checking the length on the machine with weight off periodically after weight hits floor (scientific measurement), and periodically after the weight and comb are moved up.
Transfer stitches to main bed
Knit one row single bed at a looser tension (I used 8 in this version)
Bind off around gate pegs, OK if tighter than the bottom, it will be part of the seam
Twist and fold,  rehang one side of the chain, alternate loops from the loose cast on
Knit a loose row across all layers and bind off,
Turn inside out.
Variations in color are due to the wonderful lighting in my apartment on another gloomy, rainy winter fall day.
Visualizing the necessary folds: make certain not to twist the fabric, fold it in half. Colors are used to represent portions of the finished, continuous  rectangle, dotted lines the approximate center line when it is folded

For my second effort, I switched the yarn to a yummy feeling 2/14 wool that was plagued with random dropped stitches on the Brother, no matter what I tried. That piece wound up lightly felted by hand after intentionally adding more knit length. I eventually gave up and moved over to my Passap, where things went smoothly knitting on 4/4. A reminder: in this fabric, one bed knits every needle while the opposite bed makes loops on every needle. It is helpful if the first stitch on each bed knits as carriages move to the opposite side.
Passap setting EX/ EX beginning on right and moving toward the left will tuck on the back bed (ribber setting), knit on the front (main bed setting) while tucking on front and knitting on the back when moving from left to right. Operating from the same side, the Brother settings to match would actually be the reverse of those illustrated in the ribber manual. Starting sides are in Brother instructions are often based on cast ons with 3 circular rows. I prefer 2 as I have explained in the past, it avoids a float forming between stitches on one side of the fabric. In this instance, it matters in set up only in terms of planning ahead as to which bed will form knit stitches first and having the first needle in work on that bed to ensure that the stitch will knit. In matching patterns between brands, cam settings could matter more. End needle selection brings stitches out to knit in patterning, but if KC is used here, all needles in work will be brought out to knitting position, so that is not a solution for having those stitches knit. Another thing to note in the instructions is one that might be missed upon a quick view. The Brother setting shown is for full pitch. That is because their instructions are for full fisherman knit for when every other needle is in use. If every needle were in use, the setting should be on H, not P There is also the option when one wants to insure end stitches knit in patterns such as tuck to bring end stitches out to hold manually prior to knitting the next row.
A gauge swatch in double bed tuck should be at least 80-100 rows in length. One can sometimes “wing it”. It is important if you do that, that the length is measured between the beds as close to needles as possible, and down from there without weight and after the fabric has relaxed. Do not assume it will stretch to fit, the result may be several inches too small.
A comfortable length for me in the blue wool consisted of 310 rows, knit at T 4/4. Stitches were quite small, so after transfer to the back bed, I knit a row to the opposite side at tension 8 before binding off. I also placed contrasting color yarn markers at the center point of the cast on and bind off to make seaming up evenly easier, and held things together with a double eye tool so as not to accidentally twist the piece.

The number 4 band is my first sample, knit on Brother standard. Number one got pulled on to the planned length based on the “it will stretch” assumption. A metal ruler/yardstick was marked with tape at the desired height, while on the machine the marker was reached, but when off it, the final measurement was a whole 16 inches as the knit relaxed, far too small for most human adults! Number 2 is the brother version felted by hand to hide dropped stitch and edge stitch repairs, knit and shrunk to a measurement longer than head circumference for finished width, taking into consideration the fact that stretch is lost in felting. The fit was tested on my own head during shrinking and before drying. The number 3 band is the “comfy wool” one knit on my Passap. When I taught my course, after weeks of swatching the first “garment” involving a variety of automatic and hand techniques, students were required to knit a “baby hat with earflaps” exactly as given in printed instructions, using any stitch pattern and yarn of their choice. It provided an interesting exercise in gauge and proof of the need for swatching before beginning plans for actual garments. The results varied from so small the hats would only fit a small doll to ones too large for any human head.
Knitters are often resistant to swatching, but making assumptions about results can result in not the best use of both time and materials. If working in tubular stocking stitch the tension used should be the same as for knitting of that yarn in that stitch single bed. Tuck stitch is short and fat. In every needle rib there are stitches being worked on both beds, so double the number on the top bed would be actually worked than when using needles on only one bed. Loosening the tension by several numbers on both beds does not equate to matching width for similar numbers of stitches to the ribbed version. Here is a resulting mini-band, testing the same seaming technique used in the fisherman-rib samples. It was 20 stitches in width, 80 rows in length. I cast on at a loose tension, matching that used in the body of the stocking stitch tube and knit a row to seal before setting for circular knitting When the top is reached, transfer stitches from the ribber to the top bed, knit at a looser tension tow to the opposite side prior to binding off and seaming (here I used 10). The technique should be usable on bulkier bands as well.The elongated stitches at the top of the “band” are due to an extra needle in use on the ribber. To review, the proper settings from the Ribber Techniques Book:

Racking on EON rib: some considerations

WORK IN PROGRESS 

Manuals can sometimes make my head hurt, and as a result, I often rely on previous experience which in turn can lead to assumptions that may require clarification, even in my own mind.
A question came up on Ravelry about racked ribs on every other needle. My instinctive answer was that racking would need to happen by 2 full numbers at a time for the proper swing to occur. Here is an attempt to explain some of what happens, and why that is not always true.
To start with, manuals usually have the knitter start with the carriages on the right-hand side of the machine, perhaps to prepare them for fabrics that will need to travel to and from the left if the color changer is in use (“Japanese” machines). If the latter is not, there is no reason not to begin knitting from whichever side you prefer. Then we get to 3 circular rows. The third row is not needed, it gives floats on one side of the rib that may or may not be noticeable depending on which side of the knit is the public side. If 2 circular rows or a racked cast on is used, that may set off the start of patterning in the wrong direction from that published.
The usual depiction of the zig-zag row with the cast-on-comb in place on the machine is this The intent when knitting ribbing is not to have needles point to point, smashing into each other as one travels from side to side. On every needle rib, the Pitch lever on P will set just that up, H for half-pitch will place needles so they move smoothly halfway between those on the opposite bed. On every other needle rib, the P position will set up needles in the center of the spot left empty by a needle out of work on the alternate knitting bed. In racking, as the ribber moves, its stitches will align (usually) to the right or left in turn of stitches on the main bed creating a sort of crossed texture. If the needle set up remains as above, and racking is performed one step to right or left followed by another in the opposite direction to the starting position, the stitches on the main bed remain in the same space, there may be movement between the purl columns, but not across them. For a single position racking to occur the needles on the ribber need to be brought closer to the stitches on the opposite bed. One way to achieve that is to set the ribber for half-pitch. That will bring its stitches off-center and more to one side than the other of the space on the opposite bed. The zig-zag will lean slightly to one side The next step is to ensure that as racking begins, you are not moving stitches back into the same empty space on the opposite bed, but rather crossing into an adjacent one If that is understood then one can make the choice of moving left or right and be off and running in the pattern, aside from the starting side or some of the other directions given in patterns or manuals. Cam buttons and patterning may be introduced as well. This is how a row of knitting might appear after racking. The difference between the top and bottom of my test swatch is that the bottom was knit in half-pitch, using 2 single alternating number positions (ie. 5,4,5,4),  the top was knit in P setting, racking by 2 number positions (ie. 5,7,5,7) in each direction. One row was knit between movements. Both carriages were set to simply knit.This page from the Ribber Techniques book shows fabrics knit on EON, adding tuck cam buttons into the mix and slightly different needle arrangements, varying the look of the finished knitting. Most Brother racking patterns are accompanied by diagrams such as the one included above. They are shorthand for what is happening on both beds. If the knit starting side is different than the one recommended, as long the necessary movement direction against the fixed stitches on the main bed is recognized, the starting point can be chosen to be on either side of the main bed needles (ie. starting on row 3 on left, above blue line of the chart as opposed to row 1).If multiple side-by-side stitches are in work on the ribber, the half-pitch setting applies as well. When tucking is added, for increased stretch, it may be necessary to compensate for the width of the resulting fabric by casting on on every needle and then transferring in the desired configuration between the beds. Transferring is easier done in full pitch with a return to half-pitch prior to continuing to knit. The bind off is likely to require considerations for added stretch as well. Slip stitch narrows the fabric. Such adjustments are usually worked out in test swatches.
Using the half-pitch in EON brings the needles on the ribber closer to those on the main bed, which in turn may have an effect on yarn weight use when building up loops in hooks ie in fisherman or half fisherman rib variations. Sequential racking ie. 5, 6, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, etc will not produce crossed stitches with single position shifts on EON. This attempts to imagine where actual crossings would occur, every 2 position shifts in either direction. The starting point for cast on may also require a change in position, based on the number of positions available; for example, Brother has 10, Passap has 6.By the way, the racking position indicators are slightly different in the Brother standard vs. the Brother bulky machines

Geometric shapes on ribber fabrics with tuck stitches 2; knitting with 4 carriages

When switching between N/N and tuck/ tuck on the ribber it is not necessary to switch the tucking lever from its up position to the lower one. The ribber will knit every row when used in either of these settingsIt is possible to knit this type of fabric using color separations such as those seen for one type of DBJ where color one for each design row knits 2 rows, followed by color 2 for corresponding design row also knitting for 2 rows. Each color may be drawn and programmed once, followed in turn with elongation X2 on both punchcard and electronic machines. I prefer to work with the elongated images, believing it makes it easier for me to correct errors or knitting problems, should they occur. This color separation is the default on Passap. In Brother electronics, it would need to be hand done and programmed. It is best to start with simple shapes. This triangle series has been used in several of my previous posts. The chart shows the transitions in the process

Brother DBJ settings using tuck on either bed, not addressing hand needle selection on the ribber for production of reversible fabrics. The yellow color highlights cam settings that require changing by hand for every other pair of knit rows and making the changes with each color change. With the exception of the bottom 2, the same settings were used in some of my brioche variation experiments. The resulting fabric, knit in reverse order from chart (top setting down to first). The dropped stitches happened when I did not notice the ribber weight was resting on the floor, with no resulting weight on the fabric. There are single repeats of each motif. Two more possible DBJ variations

A full range of DBJ variations of the same repeat, including ones using slip stitch and shared in a previous post, executed in both one and 2 colorsPassap knitters have the option of arrow keys and stitch type on the back bed that make fabrics possible with ease that are daunting to reproduce on Brother machines. There is a category search on my blog that will lead to a collection of posts on the topic of knitting with 2 carriages selecting patterns.

I have often considered the possibility of using 2 coupled knit and rib carriages for some of my patterns but found it limited knit width because of carriage stops on the ribber bed, the unwillingness to have my ribber carriages fly off the bed, and the added limitation imposed when both carriages are selecting needles. Now that setting changes were required every 2 rows on the ribber I found a solution of sorts. It is one of those try at your own risk tips, but for me it made several of the last swatches in brioche achievable far more quickly and accurately.

As in any knitting with pairs of carriages, when needle selection is happening from opposing sides, the turn marks need to be cleared on each side of the machine as the opposing carriage begins to move across the needle bed to avoid breaking the belt.

I happen to be knitting present swatches on my orphaned 930, which still knits producing interesting sounds. It came with no carriages. I am actually using a knit carriage from a 910 and one from my 892E punchcard machine, with a magnet glued to the proper location facing the rear rail. I removed the stopper pins from either side of the ribber bed, placed lace extension rails on both sides as well as the color changer with all change buttons released as seen in this illustration. On the left, as the carriages move beyond the end of the needle bed, the return signal lever is tripped, making a characteristic noise. At that point the turn mark on the left has been cleared, and it is safe to operate the carriages from the right toward the left
The right side of the machine is more problematic. The extension rail will store the knit carriage safely, but the ribber carriage has to move out enough so without its stop it would fall to the floor. My solution was to jerri rig an extension the appropriate height so the ribber carriage could slide out as much as needed while being supported. I was able to knit the hundreds of rows required for many swatches with no problem other than operator errors. Here the pair of carriages on the right are seen resting far enough off the machine to clear the belt, at an adequate height for them to slide off and on easily. At first I secured the connecting arm to the connecting pin with an elastic “just in case”, but that proved unnecessary. 

I have been asked lately about the lili setting used in all my ribber carriage illustrations (center position). I tend to use that as a default to prevent errors and for consistent quality in my ribbed fabrics, especially if matching gauge ie in garment pieces or bands are needed. That said, for the carriage to travel far enough on the right in this setup, the slide lever had to be used on I. The plastic tray helped reach the appropriate height, and made for easy slide off and on. There are a few minutes of maneuvering when setting up the first selected row. As always it is good, to begin with, familiar yarn and previous experience with double bed fabrics.

Some of my own operator errors are due to the fact that I still am not used to the fact that the 930 appears to revert to factory defaults with each new design entered, that I have to remember to switch from isolation to all over, that the image is reversed on the knit side like on punchcard machines unless the reverse key is used. I spent decades using the 910, where once the selections were made and once the pattern variation buttons were set, that became the default until buttons were changed for specific applications.

The 2 pairs of carriages may also be used for vertical striper backing using lili buttons on Brother machines, and for both slip and tuck variations of same. I will add information in a separate post. More “patterns” are possible as well, emulating some of the Passap possibilities for its back bed settings.

Double jacquard motifs in multiple styles, shapes, and sizes may be knit with variations in tuck settings. My post on a-return-to-brother-ribber-and-dbj-settings/   reviewed many of the possible cam configurations as well as working with multiple and even altered carriages. Passap machines have the added benefit of far more patterning than Brother on their back bed, the equivalent of the Japanese ribber. I am still obsessing over 3D folding effects, racked herringbone is back on my mind, as well as tuck ribber settings on Brother if one is willing to hand manipulate needle selection. I have been browsing through some of the directions in Susanna’s book again. For anyone unfamiliar with it, it was published first in 1986 and is the ultimate textbook on knitting fabrics on punchcard machines. It predated most electronics. Susanna continued to write for magazines and later addressed electronics in those articles and in her teaching lectures and workshops. This shows the cover of the paperback version.Over the years as many folks have written on DBJ, the separations have been named with some variations. In Susanna’s book, the original design is referred to as punchcard type A, the KRC separation built into Japanese machines is classified as Type B. This image shows the now-familiar series of triangles used in many of my blog posts on DBJ including at the start of this one. It is illustrated as the original repeat, then the separation is shown with either color represented by black squares. One of the peculiarities of this separation is the single row color start. One may choose whether black squares or white squares knit first based on the pattern itself rather than simply on the convention in their specific machine brand. Color reverse in electronics is easy, but the function cannot be combined with KRC. It can easily happen if the separation is completed in software, prior to downloading the final repeat and knitting it. If a punchcard is used, simply exchange positions for each of the 2 colors in the color changer and follow the usual sequence. Designs must have an even number of rows.Susanna classifies the subsequent separations as C1 and C2.  Because each color in each row knits twice, there may be an odd number of rows in the initial design repeat. I am often asked as to why a type C1 or 2 separations would be a boon to fabrics made on Japanese machines. The options for new settings and resulting variations in the knit surfaces on both sides is increased many times over. These are some of Susanna’s suggestions for using the tuck setting in DBJ and begin to illustrate the point.

Tuck stitch meets thread lace repeats and vice versa

A recent share in the Facebook machine knitting group led to this blog post by its author <https://www.knittingmachinemuseum.com/single-post/Knitmaster-580-Electronic>

The inspiration fabric led to ideas for recreating it on a punchcard machine, and my own trip down that rabbit hole led me to think about the relationship between tuck stitch designs and thread lace ones.

Not all Brother knitting machine models were equipped with the capacity for thread lace. The 260 bulky happened to be one of those models, which were manufactured with 2 MC buttons seen in this illustration

Studio manuals refer to the fabric as punch lace. Early pattern books including ones for electronic machines provide a large range of pattern repeats for such fabrics and can be design sources for other knit stitches if one understands the structure being created.

In tuck stitch the unpunched areas, white squares or pixels represent loops created on non selected needles, punched holes / black squares or pixels represent knit stitches. In punch/ thread lace those white areas knit both thick and thin yarns together, while in punched holes/black square or pixel areas the thin yarn knits on the stocking stitch side of the fabric, with the thicker yarn floating behind it. Depending on fiber content, gauge, etc. the illusion of eyelets can be created. This is half of a Brother punchcard repeat, suitable for thread lace, reworked for knitting the design in tuck stitch. That is, in turn, doubled in length to allow for color or yarn value changes occurring every 2 rows. The resulting swatch is tested first in 2 colors to proof the repeat, then using clear serger thread as one of the 2 “colors” for a very different effect that blends that of both fabrics.

Looking at design sources for possible redesigns for the alternate knit fabric: published punch lace cards

published tuck stitch cards DIY a place to start is with simple color reverse punch lace to tuck test. Not suitable are any areas with lots of side by side white squares. In the bow solid lines those could be modified, most of the repeats in the colored swatch segments of the published charts are unsuitable.

Once the chosen repeat is isolated, the punchcard can be further edited for electronic knitting. Tuck to punch lace: any of these would be worth a test, some results may be very subtle.From punchcard repeat to electronic: strong black and white images that have punched holes represented as dots may be the hardest to process quickly in Gimp. It is best to isolate the single repeat. Some clean up of the gridded image may be required. Test the latter by tiling it. Color reverse the single it if that is the original goal, using built-in function in electronics or punching black squares in cards.

Not to be forgotten: the easy variations for visualizing results with a few clicks of a mouse,

and an added source for both stitch types are slip stitch patterns in suitable configurations

A previous post on editing repeats such as the above using Gimp, and one on superimposing shapes onto a mesh ground that may be the springboard for superimposing self-drawn shapes on tuck or thread lace suitable backgrounds

Lastly, an earlier post on thread lace on Brother machines

 

Parts and accessories “hacks” / adaptations

WORK IN PROGRESS

There were back rail and carriage/ parts modifications from year to year. Any of these carriage swaps may not work across model years, and should be tested with caution. I happened to have magnetic ” rectangular pin backs” from some of my previous projects, was able to remove the magnets fairly easily and to obtain consistent results using them

Using punchcard knit carriage on an electronic knitting machine
The magnet on the back of the electronic carriage is what trips the reader in the 910. With the 892 and 910 carriages side by side, I marked the approximate spot I wished the magnet to be. It is presently in place with cellophane tape for my tests. I believe it to be a rare earth magnet, 12 mm in diameter, part of a jewelry piece from days gone by, with a deep attraction to all KM metal parts.

the first location was too high, pattern did not read properlyplace40what turned out to be a much better spot 

Punchcard lace carriage on electronic, adapted from video; it took a bit of fiddling with getting the magnet positioned properly. A resulting test swatch knit on my 930 using a built in pattern on the right

Ribber fabrics produced with 2 knit carriages selecting needles

Altering the KC sinker plates and arm: remove 6 small screws from the sinker plates, leaving only their arm

The carriage with the altered sinker plate in place in turn will then be used to replace rows that were to be knit with the ribber set to slip in both directions <– –> . In my sample it operated from the right, with the combined carriages (KC2), from left. 

I have random parts, some never used. When trying to familiarize myself with a 930 I came across the ID for one such part I had never used. It turns out it was intended for older ribber connecting arms on newer model beds

the connecting arm

one clearly marked with a number 2, one not immediately below it

Brother Plating feeder and how to use it

cast on will fail if the yarn is placed in the rear plating yarn feeder onlyas opposed to in the main yarn (front0feeder

There now is a 3d printed device for the Passaphttps://vimeo.com/101599762. It as well as the earlier mercer plating device http://www.knittingparadise.com/t-396061-1.html require gluing or drilling to affix parts to locks, are not easily available. At one point in time I tested a far “simpler” version of a yarn feeder for a second, thinner yarn aiming for a plated effect, using a thin plastic tubing taped securely on a passap yarn feeder. The goal is to keep the tubing clear of any needles as the locks move across the knitting beds.Samples were knit on Brother machine (left) and on Passap (right): on Brother needles were set up 2 in work, 2 out of work. On the ribber an even number of needles were in work, with lili buttons in use, and the ribber carriage was set to tuck in both directions while the main bed remained set to knit throughout. Passap had the 2 in work 2 out of on work needle arrangement on the front bed set to N, with pushers one up, one down, both arrow keys in AX (tuck setting) on the back bed, fabric is not “blocked” in any way. 

Reversible DBJ, Brother knitting machines

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

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

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


better results with the different yarn choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garter bars and how to use them

I previously wrote on a ruffled trim using the garter bar and holding. While recently searching online I found some hints/ publication links I thought I would share. The “manual” that came with the 4.5 mm set was written in Japanese when I purchased mine, includes patterns for vertical weaving/ “embroidery. The supposed English counterpart does not have the pictorial stitch information, but provides basic technique clear instructions.
Using garter bar on the bulky
Studio tips and techniques 

If needles and gate pegs are not bent, with a bit of practice, in most instances and unless working on very wide pieces of knit I have found using the needle stopper unnecessary.

The Brother publication on topic: