From punchcard to hand technique or hand knit

Emulating the repeat in the previous post here is a tentative chart for reproducing it as a hand knit, genereated in intwined

the accompanying text generated by the program

executing ssp from Knitters Brewing Company

I tried the pattern as a hand knit and had difficulty keeping track of the reversals of twists front and back, so I headed back to my more familiar territory, machine knitting, and to the bulky machine to make the number of transfers a bit more manageable. The repeat is 14 stitches wide, outside the range of an effective repeat for a punchcard, but with transfers every row there is another way to use a card that requires no punching. Observing familiar rules, and text or symbols that are meaningful to us for the particular project (ie also for racking sequences), the card is used for notekeeping rather than needle selection. The carriage is set to KC, set for normal knit, no cam buttons in use. Because no holes are punched, there will be no needle selection. The card is locked on row 1 as usual prior to the first row of any pattern knitting , set to advance normally, and in my scribbly version it reminded me of several things. Each pattern segment is 5 rows, with the dark stripe indicating the beginning of each new segment. The numbers on alternate sides show the number of stitches that need to be transferrd with the aid of tools,  leaving an empty needle that will create the hole, and overlapping stitches on either side of a center point in part of each motif. I worked with 2 repeats. On rows 1-5 as marked on punchcard, stitches were trasferred beginning on the right, toward the right side edge of the knit,  then following the remainder of the partial chart repeat. When the next segment of rows was reached as indicated by numbers appearing on the left of the card, beginning on the right edge again,  the first group of stitches was transferred away from the knit side edge, once again following the chart segment. As the lines of holes begin to show, it is easier to see the direction in which one needs to move as is the resulting pattern. The ridges created as the stitches overlap on either side of the center single knit stitch also can serve as guides in keeping track. I used no weights, just the opposite hand to pull and guide as needed. The number of moves is likely to require a looser tension than usual for any familiar yarn.

the swatch, knit side, using worsted weight, tension 6

its purl side

Studio transfer lace knit on Brother 910

Eons ago I had “saved” a random copy of a japanese punchcard pattern in the someday I will figure it out pile. I was attracted by its opennes and what appeared to look like ladders as well as holes in the small B/W photograph. I have more experience in knitting and understanding of lace now, and in the process of studio clean up and paper possible recycling I found my “future project” and thought I would “tackle” it

the card

as can be noted in numbered markings, the card is a studio lace card, and between series of transfers there is a single blank row = a single row of knit as opposed to the 2 rows commonly seen in brother’s kms’ lace

my mylar repeat, with notes on R sidebar as to # of LC passes, rows knit

the method: with no repeat adjustments or conversions

I began with lace carriage on left, knit carriage on right. Because a selection row is required for the first transfers row to occur, I added one row to each of the suggested lace pass sequences marked on the punchcard. Because the LC as a result travels an odd number of rows, it will begin to move opposite from and to the KC, and at the end of the sequences it will be on the same side as the KC; at that point it is released from the needle bed, and the KC knits only one row. The LC returns to the bed opposite to the KC, and the sequence is repeated.

I used a waste yarn acrylic for my swatch, which became scratchy, flat and stiff, losing any texture when pressed, and shrinking a bit so as to almost looking felted, yet another reminder  test small swatches fefore committing to larger pieces.  Here is the result

knit side

purl side

a new day, a different fiber, the joy of missing dropped stitches

“unblocked”, rayon yarn

a bit closer, after light pressing

Some notes on machine knitting color changers

one example

Brother 900 E DB changer for use on both standard and bulky

Studio/singer YC6 may be used either single or double bed simply by repositioning one piece. It includes a 4 color tension unit, a special sinker plate,  and a set of cards which are only for DBJ.  It has a 4 button yarn changer, can be set for automatic 2 color changing. Brother/knitking  comes with a supplementary two color yarn mast, a special sinker plate, and a four button changer. A button must be pressed for each color change. It sits where the ribber setting plate usually does, so the ribber and in turn the plate its bracket slides into on the left side of the machine need to be removed. To color change on Studio the next color button is pushed/selected when the KC is on the right, in Brother the button for the next color selection is pushed after the KC is in the yearn changing area,  after the audible “click” produced when the carriage has traveled far enough.

The wires and tension units exert more tension on the yarn than standard tension units, which affects gauge so if one is knitting garments, the units should not be changed while working on the same piece, nor should calculations for gauge be used if they were produced in the same yarn, but using the alternate tension unit. Tension may have to be raised by at least one number or more to prevent dropped stitches and obtained desired feel/drape.

If a carriage jam occurs, the sinker plate needs to be removed before using the release lever for KC.

If using for fair isle: in single bed FI knitting normally the contrast color, corresponding to  punchcard holes (black squares on mylar, or pixels, depending on machine and programming) is placed in the B feeder, and background yarn in A. When using the color changer the manuals will state that the main color is normally in B while the contrast color is in A, where it can be changed automatically. However, that depends on which part of the design is to include the color striping.  If it is to occur in the motif, the card needs to be modified by being punched in reverse. If the striping is to occur in the background, standard card and position may be used. If one wishes to alternate, both ground and motif may need to be punched separately.

More than 2 colors per row require color separations of the original design for knitting with slip stitch setting, one color at a time, in 2 row sequences.

The double bed color changer is used often for DBJ with color separated cards though other fabric options are possible. It may also be used for single bed work, but the ribber must remain raised and the ribber connecting plate is used. This means that single bed fair isle is not possible, because there is only one feeder in the ribber connecting plate. Using it is a viable option for knitting striped patterns on the bulky machines. There are no brushes to help anchor knitting  in place like the ones in the single bed sinker plate however, so even though the fabrics may be worked only on the top bed, careful weighting is required ie in color tuck/slip mosaics etc, knit with color changes every 2 rows.  I have read that Toyota did not have a color changer due to their built in simulknit facility, automatic DBJ, but only 2 colors knit in any one row.

Sometimes metal parts/wires get bent in storage or handling even on ribber sinker plate, and may need a bit of bending and tweaking if colors are not getting properly picked up. Some Brother color changers have small adjustment screws under the arm that may loosen, and change its alignment to the needle bed, which is easily solved by adjusting/tightening the screw. Sinker plates should be cleaned and may be adjusted if required, just like the standard ones.

Some references: Studio YC6, Brother manuals

High tech version: 1 : set up 2 in use Automatic knitting system based on the Brother KH-970, consisting of a knitting machine Brother KH-970, set for the ribbing attachment KR-850, KE-100 motor drive and automatic color changer KRC-1000E (6 color changer).

Later post including color changer info:

Holding stitches/ short rows

I am planning a thread on motifs and miters, here is a brief review of holding stitches in preparation: short rows are just that. Instead if going the full width of your stitches across, you knit only a portion of the stitches on the machine, turn, and go back to the beginning, which results in one portion of the fabric knitting more rows than the other side or fabric. It is also referred to as partial knitting. It is used to create many angles and curves. The machine’s knit carriage needs to be set appropriately; needles pulled the furthest position (E_Brother_holding lever, D _ Studio _Russell levers, Passap will need pusher adjustments) will not knit. To return stitches to work in increments push stitches back into upper working position (C or D depending on machine brand). In patterned knitting stitches must be returned to the proper position for patterning with a transfer tool. In Brother machines needles need to be arranged manually in proper location for the pattern to knit correctly, Studio machines will do it automatically since they select and knit on the same row. When using holding with the lace carriage held stitches are knit back to A using ravel cord, and returned to the needle hooks in work position when they need to be knit. Because knit row sequences are in pairs (or more) there will be slits or “holes” perceived at the edge of the held knitting, these can be considered a design feature or nearly eliminated by “wrapping” first adjacent held needle before knitting the second row, or knitting one stitch less than the required amount toward the held stitches, and then bringing the remaining needle into work before knitting back. Bringing more that one needle into hold on the carriage side will create “floats, so multiple stitches are usually brought into hold opposite the carriage. Knits often tend to stretch more in width than in length, so in garments such as pleated skirts, it is likely the piece (knit sideways) will grow in length and tighten in width, with tension and garment weight providing 2 more factors. Large swatches and having them rest in the position in which the knit in the final piece will be worn are a necessity in calculations. Some references:

Settings and images of wrapping to avoid holes

Calculating frills and triangles online

Short row one side only Diagonal corner Short rowing 2 sides at once

Shaping shoulders and necklines (Studio) Knitting: see for PDF download info

Machine Geometrics – Susan Guagliumi – Threads magazine, April-May 1987, pp 66-71.

A ravelry post on topic with hints for hand knitting by Rox Knits

TechKnitting on HK topic


Using the Brother knitleader: some tips

I recently brought my knitleader out of moth balls after a long period of no use, tend to use the magic formula for most of my simple charting

some hints on using the Brother knit leader:

Standard machine:

Vertical control: before you can shift gears you must depress the clutch.

Testing for accuracy: set the row regulator to 150 mm and turn the knob 20 rows. The mylar should move the distance between 2 heavy lines, 5cm or app 2 in. After measuring your swatch: draw a small horizontal line on the mylar sheet, followed by a vertical one to match cm +mm measurement for 60 rows, and a small horizontal one again, air knit 60 rows, beginning at the bottom mark, and at their completion the top mark should be reached.

For ruler accuracy: there should be exactly 40 stitches between 0 and 40, lining up the tape on your swatch stitches and corresponding lines should match. If they do not, select another ruler close in range, until they do.

The pin is usually set in the feeding lever in the hole on the left.  The hole on the right is used when the length of 60 rows is less than 6.0 cm, which can occur in textured stitches such as tuck and slip.  In such cases the row measurement is doubled, and the pin is inserted in the right side hole.

Using it on the bulky: make swatch as directed. The bulky machine included stitch rulers when purchased new. There are 2 gauge numbers on each corner instead of 1.  Every 20 stitches and 30 rows should match the numbers used for measurements. With the pin placed on the left hole of the feeding lever the arm will be tripped twice with each pass of the carriage.  The shorter tripper on the back left of the knit carriage trips it once, the longer row counter tripper on the right also trips it on the travels from one side to the other.

Using half scale patterns on brother’s full scale knitleader.

Make the usual 40 by 60 row swatch (on the bulky 20 X 30 rows), or your preferred size and adjust measurements accordingly.  Measure swatches with any centimeter ruler.

The stitch gauge: 1: follow outline but double the number of stitches indicated at all times, or 2: purchase a set of studio half scale rulers and the accompanying “green ruler”. The S side of the ruler is used to measure stitch swatches over 20 stitches. The number just inside the right marker corresponds to the number of the correct stitch scale to be selected from the set. Each mark indicates one stitch. Measurements are based on 10 cm (4 inches).

Plastic rulers need to be taped into position. If there is a handy copier, paper tapes can be constructed and placed/adjusted to suit, after checking on accuracy of reproduced scale.

For the row gauge: On the knitleader the central peg is normally put in the left hand of the 2 holes on the plastic fingers in the front. If you put it in the right hand hole however, the chart only moves every 2nd row, which balances out the 1/2 scale in length. Program as always, setting cm and mm after pressing the clutch, but drop the connecting pin into the right hole of the feed lever.

Every other needle knitting: measure the swatch in the usual way, divide it by 2, and count every other line as a stitch, or use a ruler that factors in the number of needles as “stitches” before needles were put out of work.   If the row count is higher than the highest number available on the regulator, divide the total by 2, and draw the outline half scale.

I like to measure a large swatch, and get my final measurements via math to the second decimal point. It is possible on my model to shift tape to change the center 0 postion. For sideways knit or wide pieces tracings of rulers can be made with 0 marking at the far left or right as needed.

The mylar sheet may be turned over, shiny side up for use in asymmetrical shapes that need reversing / do not have a central axis.

Drawings on mylar may be followed for colored intarsia, or intarsia weaving.

Altering scale of pattern drawings: he studio half scale ruler was quite handy, pictured

studio gauge rulers

a ravelry post on “unraveling the green ruler’s mysteries; scale drawing and rulers’ use; instructions for creating printable rulers

water soluble markers are helpful  for colored cues for garment segments, multiple drawings on a single sheet, etc. I use

template marking pencils may also be found in colors

A bit of fair isle

Fair isle accessories, scarves in particular, can be problematic. I tend to make most of my scarves in the 64-72 inch length after blocking, lining them would result in a very heavy scarf. Knit has a tendency to curl to the purl side in length, and toward the knit top and bottom. Rayon chenille is a customer favorite, knitting it double bed in any DBJ variant is nearly impossible on my E 6000 because of shedding and electronic eye reading errors (I would consider ladder DBJ), and I was left with finding a short float pattern that might look acceptable on its reverse, and lie flat. Weaving draft charts can be a great source for repeats for geometric FI knitting. The pattern used below is an adaptation of one. The first swatch (1) looked fine. The long one followed it. When I ironed it however, I noticed not only a missing black square or 2 in my mylar repeat (hidden by the fuzz of the chenille in the first swatch), but how lovely to have a totally curved, far longer edge (if only that was what I wanted)! On analyzing the possible cause I noticed the repeat had many more stitches knit in the chenille than the wool along that edge. Back to the drawing board: the repeat was sorted out using high contrast, smooth yarns (3 and 4), and the pattern was adjusted to a different location on the needle bed.

Then, I thought I might introduce a border. The chenille is thicker than the wool, so any hem or stocking stitch edge was too wide. I would have preferred to chain behind the knit to help flatten the bottom and top edges, and ran into yarn breakage galore. The final piece was made using 1X1 FI in the chenille “solid” color stripe to keep a balanced width and fabric thickness, and cast on and bound off edges were rehung and “bound off” again, to help cut down on their rolling toward the knit. The finished scarf measures 8″X69″, both knit and purl sides are shown below, side edge lengths now match.

Assuming one uses a crochet cast on and binds off around gate pegs at the top, a chain is created at both ends, akin to that created in crochet, and one can idetntify a front loop, a back loop, and the whole chain. Any of the 3 may be “rehung” onto the KM, and the options are to knit a row and bind off again, or simply bind off again, for different looks that start to emulate single crochet a bit and can help stabilize edges or decorate them.It is helpful to keep notes as to sequence used and which side is facing with each re hanging.  Audrey Palmer at one point authored the Empisal book of linked edgings ISBN 0969485905. Intended for use with the empisal (later = Studio) linker, there are lots of interesting uses for combinations of essentially find off techniques, and some resurfaced when she published her books on knit weaving.

the same pattern knit on Passap, using tech 129 and 138; there is noticeable difference in width and openness of fabric with yarn weight change, and at top with tucking for twice as many rows

a scarf knit in pattern, using tech 138, double bed on Passap KM; light weight and drape allow it to be wrapped and worn in multiple ways; knit in 16/2 cotton, measures 11 X 76 inches partially blocked

Ladder lace

The inspiration: part of a magazine photo

A slightly different approach than in last post. The tale begins with a hand knit graph:

expanded to include alternate rows

the “graph” paper version

If a punchcard is to be used, all colored squares represent punched holes. I used my 910, Studio mylar for my swatch. The mylar repeat and programmed numbers:

The approach in the execution is a bit different from the previous samples. In this instance, colored squares represent number of stitches to be moved/ number of prongs on transfer tool to be used; the pairs of transfers are made away from each other, orange to the right, green to the left. The transfers produce 2 empty needles side by side; they are left in work, as the next row is knit they will produce loops on each needle. Side by side loops do not make stitches, so subsequent rows will continue the ladder. It is helpful to use yarn that does not split and get caught in hooks, as that may partially knit on the next pass. Also, rows with loops should be checked to make certain they are in the hooks, not off, before the next row of knitting. Do not release the loops; on the next set of transfers, treat the loop (where circles occur in graph) as you would a stitch, moving it over on its own prong. As with transfer lace, it bears taking the time to knit slowly and prevent errors rather than having to attempt “fixing” large runs due to dropped stitches.

the resulting swatch on the standard KM (2/8 wool)

the punchcard

the related swatch knit on the 260 bulky KM

The yarn is an alpaca too thick for the standard.  I liked at tension 1 for stocking stitch, but I had to increase the tension to  3.. to be able to manage the transfers, especially the ones over by 3 stitches X2.

for a sense of the scale difference between the 2 swatches

The punchcard was made from a roll purchased directly from Hong Kong, advertised specifically for Brother. The roll is continuous, with separations as seen in the image below. Numbering however is for Studio KM systems, so adjustments need to be made for using them on Brother KMs (ie. first selection row will be row 3 as marked in punchcard used in swatch above).

More GIMP charting (3)

These are quick notes from some of my continuing experiments, not explicit how tos or item patterns. Possible lengthening of designs dependent upon knitting technique is not considered; the “charts” were created keeping aspect ratio of original motif. The initial images are copyright free.

from scanned B/W source, 200 pixels X 227

open document

Image_Mode_B&W 1 bit indexed_ Convert

Image Scale 200 wide down to 50

areas were “cleaned up” using single pixel pencil, when satisfactory capture window with grid enlarged for working graph,  or remove grid, export in format for download

this is a partial repeat of a large black and white .png image

working with a smaller, random selection

Open image

Image_Mode_B&W 1 bit indexed_ Convert

enlarge, show grid, decide on accuracy of repeat,  when OK , graph or export and knit, no clean up required for this one

Filter_Map_Tile_magnifying result  will test accuracy of repeat

the motif was a random crop, with obvious issues, more work would need to be done with the original image to isolate the proper section for tiling accuracy to occur

a multicolor image 143 pixels X 112

Image_Mode_Indexed _3 color (manual change from 4 to 3)

Image scale to 100 pixel wide

Enlarge for viewing grid and/or cleaning up; result yields 2 repeats that could be used 50 sts wide each, leaves could use a bit more detail

a partial image grab, pre any “corrections”

if color separations are needed for software that can superimpose  colors and do the necessary color changer manipulations cues a link on color separations for screen printing provides some ideas. Another method

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select


Create new document same dimensions


repeat for each color

the results: the flower is actually in the “wrong place” even with what appeared to be same document settings

easier and “on the spot”:

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select

Click on color one (flower)


Fuzzy select, click on screen outside of image: the result

Re-open original image

Tools_Selection Tools_By Color Select

Click on color two (leaves)

Edit _ Cut

Fuzzy select, click on screen outside of image: the result


Illusion /shadow knitting DIY designs_HK

I have played with excel (and Numbers) before to create charts for various fabrics requiring color separations. My latest efforts relating to this knit group have gone in a different direction; I have also attempted to simplify the technique  in terms of following the instructions for knitting them. This sample began with use of Intwined to create the document and graphs. The first chart is set up with alternate row color striping, color 1=dark, color 2 = light. Blank colored square are used as knit symbol, horizontal dash for symbol for purl stitches. Beginning on light colored, even numbered rows, design is marked in purl stitches

On odd numbered rows beginning with row 1, mark all empty squares in even numbered light colored row immediately above it  with purl symbols

All unmarked stitches throughout the design are knit, whether on the “wrong / right” sides, all dashes are purled, patterning occurs on the second row of each color.To visualize the full pattern one may use the add row below feature to expand the graph (chart below is missing very first row)

Now adding the second row of each color , and grounding stripe (s) at bottom of repeat. Most patterns will start the illusion immediately after casting on with dark color, row 1 above. I was interested for my sample in having a border of sorts on its top and bottom

Tthe resulting knit swatchshadow side

Intwinded has the capacity for building row by row written instructions for patterns, but there were discrepancies on some rows for these charts, and I opted not to include them.

Another program I have just acquired and begun to use is GIMP; it is free, and now also available for use in Mac OS Mountain Lion. Both Gimp and Photoshop make it possible to design using single pixel pencil and grids to build motifs from scratch as well as gridding of preexisting images. I have a different method for these fabrics using GIMP, easier for more complex, overall shapes. The same series of steps may be used for mosaic knitting (color inversion sequence is different). Below are images generated for a different illusion pattern, I will share my “how to” for designing the motifs later, referencing mosaics and mazes. To achieve such motifs one is drawing in magnification of multiple hundreds and more, there is no way to number within a one pixel space, so these charts as generated are lacking numbers for stitches and rows, one drawback. Another is that this color inversion works only in black and white. One advantage: the proper repeat may be cropped and saved with grid removed in a variety of formats that may be used to import to various machine knitting download programs, and gridded may be used to establish punchcard or mylar repeats.  Screen grabs of magnified charts were saved, and are shown below. Black squares represent purl stitches in second row of each color. First row of each color is always knit, not represented in these charts

the red squares are guidelines for no color inversion rows, the yellow ones isolate the repeat

the actual repeat

color inversion beginning on row 1 and following every other row (if numbered these would be odd rows)

testing the repeat through tiling filter mappinga working chart that can be printed to suit with dark/light row markings, and blank squares for tracking knitting  rows in execution of patternthe knit swatch: “shadow side”its reverse side

for online tutorials, patterns, and inspiration see Woolly Thoughts

Feb 18, 2017 I have recently become curious about creating illusions such as these in crochet, am developing ideas and returned to this chart. The image below is intended to have symbols and notes superimposed on it. It shows the tiling in a different way, so I thought I would add it to this post as well. Repeats are highlighted with darker borders. The repeat on right needs to be trimmed if the goal is to achieve matching edges. Row counts on right would differ in knitting, the plan is to execute this pattern in Tunisian crochet, which handles rows in a very different manner than knitting or standard crochet.




Not all parts are created equal

A recent forum discussion brought up the possibility of exchanging sinker plates between models. This is often possible, with some adjustments at times being required. The images below show the one sinker plate I know of with truly distinct parts, made for the 892E, 894, 4.5 mm Brother punchcard models that had a thread lace capability like that seen in the bulky 260 machines.

the illustrations on operation and parts from the manual

The bottom view in the first photo shows the distinct brushes and their white plastic “arms” (for lack of the technical name). The red line on the right shows the span and “nub” that may not align properly on the knit carriage if there is a huge disparity in model years. I knit using a lot of “fussy” yarns, substitute tuck wheels for the brushes usually on far right and left of image as viewed here to avoid problems sometimes caused by the bristles getting damaged and worn with use. Some people actually remove the same brushes altogether, but I have not had good results doing so. The three screws above the wheels on each side are used to adjust the space between the sinker plate and the gate pegs if needed. When the gap is too small yarn may get caught, when too great stitches may not knit off properly. Generally loosening the only the 2 side screws is enough to allow movement of the sinker plate in relationship to the gate pegs. It is helpful to have an old credit card or other “tool” to help hold the correct spacing while screws get tightened back up with carriage in its knitting position on the main bed.

This view shows the front of the sinker plate; the white plastic “arms” may be seen at the top of the image, 2 other distinct features on this model were the 2 metal pieces marked on the right

BTW: though some compatibility charts online list the 910 series as having thread lace capability, they indeed do not. I will try to find information on later models, and share here.