A tale of 2 donuts

Gauge swatches are often the bane of many a machine knitter, as are math calculations. I have recently come across several instructions for hand knit donuts, embellished in a variety of ways and was curious about turning the knit sideways in order to create a machine knit version. Yes, there are formulas for creating such shapes, but once in a while “winging it” on small projects may provide an easily achieved, workable result.

I began with the formula: 30 stitches in width, divided by 3 = 10; 5 stitches used to create held, narrowed bands at both sides, the 20 remaining stitches knitting throughout the length of the piece, for 20 wedges/ repeats.

The method: cast on with waste yarn over 30 stitches, knit one row in “donut”  yarn; set the machine for hold; bring 3 needles opposite the carriage into hold, knit to opposite side, repeat two times: bring 2 needles opposite the carriage into hold, knit to opposite side, repeat two times; bring 5 needles into work opposite the carriage, knit across to other side, repeat twice. At this point all stitches will have been knit, begin sequence over again. This chart reflects 3 repeats, 30 stitches by 6 rows. Knitting begins on the left, and holding stitches begin with carriage on the right:DONUTS

A single repeat may be programmed into an electronic machine, knit with the carriage set to slip throughout, and with end needle selection cancelled (covered in previous posts).

When I taught courses in machine knitting, the first “garment” made after several weeks of swatching and learning the various stitches, was a “baby hat with earflaps”, with the proviso that the same directions had to be used by everyone in the class for stitches and rows, but each student was free to select yarn and stitch type. This often became the first lesson in the importance of gauge, with results varying in size from mini doll size “hats” to gigantic ones. For my donut versions I used the same directions. The striped one is produced with a random sock yarn that gave my machine fits at tension 8, and produced a very tight fabric; the yellow is from a good quality 2/8 wool at the same tension, resulting in a much looser knit, and a much larger final product. I was casual about seaming the 2 open ends of knit together on the machine by simply using a latch tool bind off, an invisible seam could be created by grafting with kitchener stitch. I did a bit of stuffing as I went along in seaming the lengthwise portion of the piece in the second donut, as opposed to leaving a smaller opening in the first, making the process easier, and I paid more attention to seaming of the side “tube” stitches. Once again, it is obvious that changing the material may change the size the of the final product significantly, making those tension square calculations important for any predictable results in sizing.




Wednesdays at the asylum: “Barbie” knitter stand

Over the past few months I have been intermittently involved with a local maker space, artisan’s asylum. Beginning November 13th, we are going to try a free fiber arts work night, with the aim of working, sharing, and learning from each other, and with the possibility of classes being planned if the need arises. My background is fibers with an emphasis on knitting. I have long planned on trying a tubular knit in thin yarn that could in turn be knit (whether by hand or on the machine) or crocheted like some of the ribbon yarns now in use onto a background for ruffles or used for insertions, applique, etc. Thinking about what possible random demo/work item I could bring to the first meet I resurrected my Barbie Knit Hits knitter and various cord makers and spools. Managing lengths of the tubes as they are knit with a plastic knitter that likes to wander can be a tad challenging. At one point in time I had the delusions that I would play with kumihimo braiding, and built a crude “stand”, with both a square and a round top and necessity meets invention: the square top turns out to be the perfect size support  and here is my “hobby knitter stand”  in hands free other than for cranking operation

11/20/ 2013: the tape pictured below was knit using the equipment above, knitting a length in  8/4 slub rayon

attempting to use it as “ribbon yarn” on a standard machine: (1) at first I tried hanging a complete stitch/row on each needle on standard KM, the fabric was too flat (2) results were better when hanging every other stitch/row chain on every needle, fabric was heavy and to spread things out a bit more I (3) switched to using EOS/R on 2 km needles, and skipping the third. How to make it go round? (4) remove knitting on garter bar, turn over, “hang” ribbon on garter bar in proper configuration, slide all stitches back on machine and keep knitting. Stitch gauge on 4.5 KM anchors knit tape securely, as tape is tugged at stitches closest to plain knit elongate, edges ruffle

purl side

knit side

other inspiration alternatives for similar knit tubes



GIMP color reductions for 2 color “portraits”

The many faces of Rocco

The image is used with the kind permission of Rocco’s owner. I have used this image before, when I posted previously on some ways to reduce colored images to B/W for possible knitting using a Mac computer, please see post on 013/03/14/ color-reduction- conversions-mac-os/. Gimp offers some alternatives to the familiar dithers, and is available, free, for both PC and Mac platforms.

Image_Mode_Indexed_ one bit black: immediate result, too dark

Threshold adjustments may not be made in indexed images to alter above image, so it’s back to grey scale. Reductions to grey scale may be achieve through Image_ Mode_ Greyscale or choosing Colors_Desaturate_OK options. Desaturation offers additional choices



rocco desaturated, in “knittable portrait size”

using edge detection and its algorithms

Difference of Gaussians

what happens if in addition color_ invert is used with Roberts

adjusting B/W with Treshold

after a bit of “tweaking”

Image_Mode_Indexed, rendering it “knittable in 2 colors”

getting silly with filling ground with pattern behind floating head

Free Pixel art patterns for both Photoshop and Gimp may be found at texturemate. To get them to work in GIMP if they are multiple sets, I would suggest combining them all into a single folder which may then be added to preferences, renaming or numbering patterns if the series #s repeat. The tutorial may be found here. The same patterns may be added to PS, a method for doing so may be found here.

As for camera portrait apps: SnapDot ($1.99) will render dotted “artworks”

I had no luck reducing this to one bit recognizable 1 bit B/W in PS, but here is the GIMP version in “knittable ” size

It’s all math

Modular knits get lots of attention of late. Most hand knitters are familiar with “domino knitting”. Horst Schultz , Vivian Hoxbro, Iris Schreier,  Ginger Leuters, Pat Ashforth with Steve Plummer and others have written extensively on subject. The cover of one recent pub that is dedicated solely to entrelacs is shown below (how to for MK article by Cheryl Brunette archived last June may be found here).

Complicated stitch patterns often are more easily managed in simple forms. Laying out shapes in scrumbled knits or ones that emulate quilting blocks get back to math and breaking down larger shapes into smaller ones which makes me think of origami. A video source on a paper folding approach by Robert Lang may be found on TED , along with mention of a software program by the speaker (TreeMaker). The geometric shapes created by the fold lines could be translated into intarsia, simple sweater outlines laid on top or under different areas of the “folds” in graphics programs can help with placement of modules to create the final garment silhouette (perhaps a subject for a future post).