Ladders with lace, “making things work” 1

Just about 2 years ago, I had an obsession with leaf shapes in lace, and wrote a series of posts on approaches to both designing them and rendering them in knit on more than one machine. One such early post. Recent publications are reflecting the increasing interest in bulkier knits and combining  ladder “lace (created by needles remaining out of work) with shapes floating within the resulting open spaces. I thought I would address some of the issues in such fabrics, while returning to a leaf as the focus “shape”. My samples are knit on a Brother 260, using hand techniques that require only the basic set of transfer tools.

Long verticals in knit may have problems with the edge stitches separating from the rest of the knit, i.e. in FI vertical stripes. In plain knit, the edge stitches may stretch, become distorted, and may encroach on the ladder space. A series of actions taken on the edge stitches of ladders will help prevent that, here I am choosing to use a simple 1 X 1 cable cross every 2 rows to stabilize them. Having the cables coincide with the rows on which transfers are made to create the chosen shape makes tracking them easier.

my first schematic (Excel chart)

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symbols used

symbols2

imagining in repeat

in repeat

my first swatch

for decreasing stitches in work on right or left at the top of the chart I used a simple decrease

edge_decrease

using the “fully fashioned” option would provide a different look along that edge

ff_decrease2

For my test swatch I used a crochet cast on across 17 + 4 for single full pattern repeat, + 4 edge stitches on either side = a total of 29 stitches. To create the transition  from 1 to 3 stitches in the center of the leaf,  I  e wrapped an additional 2  empty needles

e_wrap0-2

#1 reflect the e wrapped increase just above the cast on, #2 show results of the same technique at the top of the established “leaf” pattern

e_wrap1_2

the chart repeat amended for a different start

screenshot_15the second swatch, trying a different way of adding stitches

#1 shows pattern beginning on a group of knit sitches, as opposed to a single center one for leaf

#2 shows a full “leaf” repeat as charted, red arrow points to e wrapped yarn traveling in front of the shaping

#3  red arrow indicates the same is happening with the float, while the green shows my desired twist, with stitch to front

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Sorting it out: a third swatch, with an amended way of e wrapping. To make sampling quicker, I modified the repeat, eliminating cables, decreasing the number of stitches at the widest part of the leaf, making fewer eyelet transfers.  The results show how much the shape of the “leaf” may be varied with just a few changes. Note the twist and location of floats in relationship to stitches just above #1

e_wrap4_2

I will document the 1X3 increase method I liked best out of several trials in my next post.

If having a single pivot stitch for the repeat is not important, the chart below is amended again to accommodate that

screenshot_16

if eyelets are eliminated to create a geometric pattern and/or for the sake of speed, increases may be created on both sides beginning on row 12 of the above chart by picking up from the row below

make_one

Some cables to try, hand knit

The first repeat below is for a vertical cable panel 24 stitches wide, 12 rows high (2 repeats shown); within the repeat, odd rows are all knit, even rows are all purl. Colors are indicative of cable crossings.

Borders in swatch, or area in between multiple vertical panels, may be worked as 1. purl on even numbered rows, knit on odd numbered rows to create a purl ground behind the cables on the “right side”, or 2. knit every row for garter stitch in same areas.

Abbreviations : RS: right side, WS: wrong side. CF and CB indicate where the cable needle (CN) is held during the process.

CF: CN to front | LC: Left Cross, cable leans toward left

CB: CN to back | RC: Right Cross, cable leans toward right

Dotted borders in chart outline columns 3 stitches wide; all cables in sample are 3X3 crosses.

An alternative way to picture things: numbers on left of chart below indicate row numbers; on the right they indicate number of stitches knit before crossing cable stitches begins on that row

the hand knit swatch

IMG_1656Adding a purl stitch ground: a shortened chart using Aire River Design font, odd rows only shown

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using color in Excel, showing every row

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screenshot_03Avisualizing multiple repeats

in repeat

a very quick, hand knit test swatch, knit with needles a bit too large for yarn used

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another possible charted in Excel, multiple repeats shown

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If patterns are for publication in specific venues, conventions in symbols may or should have to be observed. To keep track of personal projects we often differ in what format or shorthand makes the most sense to us. If the like of the above result appeals to you, I am sharing a workbook with pertaining puzzle pieces. I find working at 200% magnification is the easiest for me, that may be easily changed to suit.

cable_purl_share

PS: My working palette in the original document was as seen in the images above. You may find some of the colors will be different in your download, depending on your computer. I have read on other sites in the past that the color change can be an issue in excel knit charting downloads. The image below reflects such a change. It is a quick capture of part of the chart when I tested the download myself. The large color blocks are the ones affected, and may be easily changed to match the cable crossing colors.

color change

A bit on ribbers: Japanese KMs, alignment, and symbols

Before approaching using ribbers in relationship to cables I thought I would mention a bit on alignment. Online sources reviewing the topic with downloadable PDFs: Brother bulky , Brother standard . Studio machines’ how to may be found on youtube video by Roberta Rose Kelley. Before making any adjustments check that the clamps that hold the ribber in place are flush with the table and securely clamped; that the screws in the setting plate are not loose, and that they are installed at the same depth.

Make any adjustments based on needles at each end. Ribbers tend to bow in the center with wear and age. To check how needles in both beds line up in relationship to each other: with the racking lever on 5, the pitch lever on P, pull forward at least 10 needles on each end of both the main bed and the ribber, they should line up point to point. If any of the needles do not touch or line up, loosen the 2 screws to the left end of the ribber just a bit, tap the end of the ribber with your hand just enough to the right or left to line up needle positions. Recheck the alignment on several spots across both beds, tighten screws, check again.

To check the height of the ribber: pitch lever on H, bring it to full up position (Brother has 2 up positions) and bring forward at least 10 needles at each end of the main bed. Use spacers ie. a credit card, or claw weight hangers that came with ribber as measuring aides; they should slip easily between main bed needles and ribber gate pegs, the recommended distance between the back of the KR needles and the KH gate pegs is 0-0.6 mm.

The online PDF has additional photographs of the nut that needs to be loosened in order to change the height. To loosen it, the ribber needs to be brought to its down position. Use the spacer tool, start with a quarter turn to begin with, (lefty loosey, righty tighty) . Lift the ribber into place. By moving the thin metal lever (adjuster plate) up and down the height may be adjusted, one side at a time. Bring the ribber down to tighten bolt, up again for a final check.

Lastly, with main bed needles out of work bring groups of ribber needles out to E. A single claw weight should slip behind the ribber needles and in front of the main bed gate pegs. Repeat adjustments if needed so the space between the beds is as equal as possible. The space between the bottom of the main bed and the top of the ribber gate pegs should be between 1.1 and 1.7 mm.

To adjust the distance between the 2 beds: bring at least 10 needles out at each end of the ribber. Use the spanner to loosen the thumbscrews, and a screwdriver to loosen the flat clamps. My own ribber actually bows in the center toward the knit bed, so its ends need to be further away than any recommended mm. As adjustments are being made, and the thumbscrew is tightened, the setting plate may actually slide toward the main bed, narrowing the gap. To prevent that from happening I had to use a metal spacer between the stopper and the main bed. After adjustments are satisfactory, return to needles to A position, drop the ribber, and tighten the flat clamps.

Yarn thickness and needle arrangements may also require some tweaking of height and other adjustments. Listening for changes in machine sounds as the fabric is knit, and visual checks over time are a great help in avoiding problems.

Knitting symbols used for the ribbing attachment show what the stitches would look like on the “wrong” side of the knit. In Brother system, KR refers to ribber bed, KH  to the knit one: typical illustration of symbols as found in Brother punchcard pattern and technique books:

rib set up

 

ribber_5

ribber_4

A swatch experiment

A while ago the image of a sweater attributed to Armani  caught my attention in Pinterest, and I became obsessed with creating a variant.

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Lace is actually an interesting 3D fabric until it is blocked and made to lie flat. I went the lace route to work out my “scales”. The swatch I created below is hand knit, could be reproduced as a machine knit hand technique with the aid of multiple transfer tools. I would recommend a yarn with “memory”, such as wool. The bottom of 3 sets of “shells” were knit on #  7 needles, and the remainder on #5. I found I preferred to control the lean of knit together stitches on the knit side, but did not deem it necessary on the purl.

the knit side

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and purl side!

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my working notes  (Excel) showing multiple repeats

scales_in_repeat

symbols used symbolsa printable PDF  scales_all_info

A mini-me version knit on 4.5 mm. machine, using the same yarn as in hand knit sample above, at tension 10+. Repeats are worked out around 2 center needles, on which stitches are doubled as transfers are made. When the the pairs of doubled up stitches are reached with loops on either side of them after the last transfer/knit one row in sequence, knit one additional row across all stitches before reversing direction of transfers. That row is represented in green in the chart below. Symbols used are minimal since the same side of the knit is in constant view (incomplete full pattern repeat)

KM_repeat

knit side

IMG_1648

purl side

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see update3/28/2015

Visualizing knit cables in color_ Excel

In the past I have suggested methods for working in Excel, and provided links to excellent material shared by others online. Of late I became interested in using the program to produce simple color graphics for cable illustrations. It is helpful to have prior experience in using Excel for knit charting. This is not intended as a complete tutorial. I am providing a document for experimentation. I would suggest copying and pasting the individual shapes to a different part of the document before playing with color changes, resizing, etc. This may be done within the chart in progress, or separately, and then copying /pasting or moving the final result into place.

The resulting charts may be used in both hand and machine knitting. My illustrations here are intended for machine knits, so they do not combine purls and knits on their ground. Images represent single side view: as they would appear on the knit side facing hand knitters, or the purl side facing the machine knitter. Stitch, row marking, and text may be added as wanted.

Chosen from the view menu, the object palette allows selection of built in available shapes. Once a shape is drawn into the workbook, the formatting palette allows access to image size, rotation (including flipping both vertically and horizontally, and alignment (moving front to back and reverse).

object_format_palette

Color fill – unless standard colors are chosen, there will be issues matching colors combined when using with bucket fill from toolbar to add color to cell(s)

toolbar

toolbar

formatting options: fill

shape_fill

shape border: line, color (or not)

shape_line

one of the ways to access size, rotation, aspect ratio

shape_size

sample results

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an in progress document for experimentation: blog_color_cables. Adjust zoom to personal preference for either viewing or working, grab portions of working screen for images of sections of workbook to save, or save as, and explore PDF options.

More on charting, foreign symbols, and cables

This topic has come up as part of previous posts. I recently reviewed links, and thought I would re-group them a bit differently here, adding some new.  Please click on continue reading to have list appear as active links if they do not immediately do so in your browser. Latest additions are at post bottom.

http://www.knittinguniverse.com/downloads/KFont/index.html

http://www.stitchmastery.com

http://www.woollywormhead.com/knitting-fonts/

https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adriprints/stitchin-knit/

https://www.softbyte.co.uk/designaknit.htm

http://www.envisioknit.com/features/

https://stitch-maps.com/about/key/

pixelated lettering

http://www.fontpalace.com/font-download/Notice+3+Std/

http://www.fonts2u.com/munro-small.font

http://www.fontspace.com/ten-by-twenty/munro

letters in knit stitches

http://www.fonts2u.com/knitfonta.font

http://www.fonts2u.com/knitfontb.font

http://www.fontspace.com/honey-and-death/knitfont

care labels

http://www.fontpalace.com/font-download/Notice+3+Std/

more on cables

http://www.impeccableknits.ca/cable-knitting-resources.html

http://eunnyjang.com/knit/2005/11/technickety_how_to_unvent_a_si.html

I have been trying to navigate Mac Numbers again, but in playing at my own latest charting with software after the Yosemite update, I find I am drifting back to using Excel once more as my primary “graph paper”. Charts published in foreign languages and magazines, and particularly those in Russian (where the same symbols appear to have different functions depending on the publisher) provide challenges in translating for using charts provided in hand or machine knitting.

Some sources from/for different countries that may help with interpretations:

http://www.knittingfool.com/Reference/KF_Symbols.aspx

http://www.burdafashion.com/downloads/PDF/Zeichenerklaerung_EN.pdf

http://www.verenaknitting.com/pdf/Abbrev&Symbol.pdf

http://www.garnstudio.com/glossary.php?langf=it&langt=en

http://www.shelda.net/pitsilised.html

http://www.tezukuritown.com/lesson/knit/code/index.html

http://www.jessica-tromp.nl/knittingpatterns_breipatronen/japanese_knitting_stitches.htm

I began a spreadsheet that includes a few of their alternative symbols, and some cable configurations working with shapes available within excel for charting them. Here is my editable WIP excel document with the start of the process, a possible DIY start , will update in future

foreign symbols2_share  2/1/15

Anna Burda magazine symbols PDF, includes HK how to illustrations:  ab2  2/1/15

4/24/15: sconcho  is a GUI for creating knitting charts  that comes with a built in stitch library. A manual is available. Custom stitch symbols may be created in Inkscape to form personal vector shapes.  X11 may be required to run Inkscape on your computer as well, all are free.

Knit charting in Mac Yosemite; visualizing knit cables

Some previous blog posts on topic

http://alessandrina.com/2013/01/03/chain-cable-hk-experiment/

http://alessandrina.com/2013/02/07/hand-to-machine-symbols-4-cables/

http://alessandrina.com/2014/07/07/a-bit-of-cables-and-lace-charting-hk-to-mk/

http://alessandrina.com/2012/01/28/a-few-to-try/

http://alessandrina.com/2011/12/23/more-cables-and-lace-links/

in reviewing the 2011 post I found that the knitting chart maker by Jacquie no longer works in Yosemite due to Java plugins conflicts

Updating to Yosemite has provided some interesting issues for me. The first was Safari pretty much becoming unusable. It took a Mac expert and a chunk of his time to resolve the issue. There are still hiccups in other apps. I thought I would revisit some of the methods I have mentioned as usable in knit charting on Mac via a bit of discussion on cables and visualizing them.

Intwined began having issues in Macs with any custom built stitch libraries in mid year 2013. The last update offered and installed September 2013 has continued to have some functionality issues in later Mac OS versions (Mavericks, and now Yosemite), stripped of any custom stitches built previously, not allowing for their addition. It has become only an occasional go to for me now. Charts  created in the program are easily recognizable.

Inkscape (recommended for creating icons for use in Intwined, a free vector program) will require a  XQuartz update for Yosemite. Their previous release allowed for its use in Mavericks.

http://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/

http://xquartz.macosforge.org/trac/wiki/X112.7.8

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sconcho/ is an open source, free charting software with built in stitch libraries that may meet many of your charting needs in any OS version

Excel behaves as in the past (my version:Office 08)

Mac Number has once again deleted some familiar menu options, added new ones.

http://home.earthlink.net/~ardesign/knitfont.htm

and some of my accumulated knit symbols from other font sources continue to work on the mac, but are unsupported if using the iPad version of the program, where they appear as the original  keyboard strokes, rather than the assigned symbols

GIMP 2.8.4 (2.8.8 did not), HyperDither, appear functional as in past.

Tracking and visualizing custom cables outside the parameters of built in libraries or fonts/symbols in alternative software, using Numbers 3.5: one of the problems that can be encountered in charting cables is that programs with built in stitch libraries may not provide for cable crossings specific to your pattern. The charts below have not been proofed executable in a swatch at this point in time, are simply a way of exploring drawing methods, my working notes from some quick experiments, not a step by step tutorial. I have no way of confirming results in previous versions of the software or OS.

available “shapes”

To make them editable, click on shape, go to format menu, highlight shapes and lines-> make editable. Click on shape and in turn on format symbol below in the image below, and windows become available for style and arrangement choices

The knit and purl symbols on the left of my first chart utilizing line with arrow shapes are standard ones. The right side uses a dot for purl stitches instead of a line, and that began to make the whole more readable to me. One drawback is “shapes” do not seem to respond to any copy and paste demands and I had to draw each individually. I preferred to place them outside my chart. Guidelines then appear to suit for easy re sizing and the resulting edit may then be dragged and dropped into appropriate location in chart, readjusted as/if needed. Color palettes for drawing appear limited to the built in shades; toggling between available colors may be accessed by clicking on the dots below the pen tool in the first illustration above.  In the chart, purple lines indicate stitches brought forward, yellow the stitches brought to back when working the cables. The number 10 in the left hand column should be a one.

Cleaning up lines and adding color if needed may be done in Photoshop or GIMP; this makes forward stitches a bit clearer

bucket fill provides an added way to follow movement of stitches

Utilizing the pen tool in shapes menu to draw custom cable crosses and filling them using the option within the numbers program  moves toward an all color chart_ far quicker than using lines and bucket fills. The red segment indicates knit stitches traveling in back for the cable cross

A lot of information is available on creating reversible cable fabrics using ribbed configurations. I thought I would play with knit/ purl blocks rather than vertical rib lines. The initial chart was begun in Intwined, bucket filled in Photoshop to extend colors within cable crosses. The red border outlines the pattern repeat. Alternate right side rows are shown; all wrong side rows are worked as the stitches appear (knit stitches are knit, and purl stitches are purled). Here the cell colors happen to be reversed from their use in the above, the yellow is used for knit stitches, the green the purls. I opted to indicate knit stitches by color only, no symbol.

This is the resulting swatch, in a random acrylic yarn, with varying numbers of rows in between cable crossings my plan is to create a scarf in significantly thicker alpaca yarn, a strictly HK fabric. Photo shows both sides of fabric.

A hand knit stitch tale 2: a bit of cables and lace, charting, hk to mk

For a while there was agreement on “international symbols” for charting knits. With the proliferation of programs now and methods for self charting and publishing using fonts and personal icons things can get a bit confusing. Hand knitting in the circular akin to machine knitting, results in stitches always worked on one side of the fabric, another consideration. In the last Russian pattern in the previous post I was unable to get the repeat to work properly regardless of any common meaning I tried to assign to several of the symbols. I have used Intwined for some charting in the past, am finding it problematic again in Mavericks Mac OS, and my go to for the moment is the latest version of Numbers (3.2), which appears to include changes that make it even more intuitive and easier to use than the previous version. My symbols library includes the Aire river knitting font, and an assortment of wingdings and oddball characters found in some of the Mac’s built in libraries.

my hand knit version

Taking it to the machine: chart’s beginning

tweaking it a bit, taking in consideration only the purl side will be facing

flipping it to achieve same direction transfers as HK

knit on 260 bulky KM

The large hole at the bottom left of the image is not due to a dropped stitch, but rather to yarn breakage. The sample was knit in a worsted weight wool, and I found I needed a far looser tension than I would normally use for the same yarn to allow the double transfers to knit off properly. Eliminating the combinations of knit and purl within any one row as seen in the hand knit version avoided retooling those stitches as well.

 A revisit on topic, April 2015

I am back now to once again, using primarily excel to create all my charts. Various Russian, German, and one English pub have offered variations of this particular fabric, some needing interpretation, but consistencies in repeats are easily recognized and isolated.

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screenshot_02

this image is from knittingstitchpatterns.com, they call it grand-eyelet-lattice, and provide written instructions  for its execution

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below is another relative, charted in Intwined, with the program’s associated written instructions; repeat is 4 stitches wide by 8 rows tall, border stitches are not represented; cable crosses are reversed after every other eyelet sequence, yet another pattern variable

trellis 3repeats

eyelet trellis how toa chart for same using Sconcho and its built in stitch library. For software details please see symbols post 

sconcho

4/26/15 a variation found today on knitca, another resource for hand knitting stitch pattern collections; this is their image, please visit site for details

lace_6

 1/2/2016 a Ravelry post on the stitch family

A hand knit stitch tale 1

Last year a photo of a model (Jessica Hart) wearing a particular sweater began to appear acrossTumblr and Pinterest. The stitch was interesting, which led me to looking for similar structures, without much success for quite a while

from a sale site for the garment

a published stitch version on russian blog

purling all WS rows produced a very different fabric, I did find a reference in another publication for the dot being a purl stitch on RS, knit on WS, again a different fabric

a translation via ravelry  (see credit in chart) led me to developing the charts and directions below

A: shows the offered repeat in symbols; a multiple of 6 + 7 stitches is required

B: symbols and translation

C: all symbol expanded chart showing both RS and WS rows; I find too many symbols confusing

D: choosing colored squares to represent knits on WS rows; arrows show direction of reading chart during knitting

the resulting swatch: knit side  RS

its WS

a relative, found on a different blog, chart not yet deciphered