Vertical racking 3: automating half fisherman in pattern (2)

Working with the half fisherman racking discussed in the last post, here is an approach to interpreting the fabric seen below for knitting on a Brother model knitting machine500_557For the sample chart I chose a 12 stitch repeat, making it executable on any knitting machine. The ribber is set to half pitch. An often overlooked clue as to what is happening or is about to, is found in the arrows just below the racking position indicator. With the latter at 5, the red triangle appears pointing to L. As the bed is racked to position 4, the red arrow now points to the letter R. This is a simple racking pattern involving only the 2 positions, either to R or L

pitch_rack

Once on position 4, the red arrow indicates the direction in which the bed was racked on the last move (R), the “empty” arrow the direction for the next move (L), bringing position back to 5. More complex patterns require a bit more planning and tracking to avoid errors.

rack2

Racking patterns in books often recommend beginning fabric with the setting on 5, or the center position for the machine in question.  Doing so allows for balanced edges in patterns that swing by multiple positions in both directions. In this instance, for the sake of avoiding mistakes in as many ways as possible, I would start the pattern on racking position 10. Racking cannot go any further to the right, so no chance for example of racking to 6 rather than 4 in the knitting because of inattention. Having a “cheat sheet” with row numbers where no racking occurs, and position of the carriage to R or L at their start and or after knitting is also helpful. I had to lower the tension on both beds considerably to avoid forming loops that in turn got hung up on gate pegs. Especially at the start make certain that the comb and weights drop properly. Using KCI will insure that the first and last stitch on the main bed are always knit. In the patterning used on the Passap back bed (previous post), the groups of needles in each half of the repeat will change to the alternate position with each pass of the lock. On the rows where the back lock is changed to N, selection continues in pattern, but no tucking occurs. In this chart the pattern is maintained continuous throughout, while blank “remaining” squares are filled in on rows where no tucking or racking occurs = N, every needle knits. In Brother machines both tuck buttons are pushed in. Selected needles knit, non selected tuck across the row. 

new program 2symbols

I tested the pattern approach on my 910, with a 38 row, 20 stitch repeat in a random acrylic. I had some issue with some needles not selecting properly, for whatever reason. The repeat was not planned so a full 10 stitches were at each side of the knit, resulting in the difference on the right side of the swatch photo from its left.

larger repeat

half the repeat with color change on single plain knit row (use of color changer only possible with even row change sequences), top stripe of swatch in plain rib

half repeatN1

1rowN1_584

back to scales and knitting them

Overall,  wider repeats and thicker yarns gave me harder to knit fabric, with less noticeable pockets and lack of stretch and “bounce”;  ultimately I went back to a 6X6, 12 stitch 2 row sequences illustrated in the chart above. The thinner yarn needs to be with a bit of stretch, and enough strength not to break when ribbed and racked at the tightest possible tension. This is a fabric that requires concentration, having as many clues as possible to help stay on track is useful. If errors are made close enough to the all knit row, it is possible to unravel carefully to that point, and continue on. Mylars or punchcards may be marked to reflect racking position. Here the mark on the right = 10, the one on the left = 9. Marks take into consideration that the card reader’ design row and knitter’s eye level row views are not the same.

mylar_marks

A row cheat sheet can help track carriage location for all knit rows. Pictured below is part of mine. Wording for clues or description of sequences should make sense to the person knitting, not necessarily follow a specific formula.

screenshot_34

some of what “did not work”, including a very long swatch with a confused pattern due to creative operator error

500_591a finished piece with yarn ends not yet woven in500_590

The fabric is tugged lengthwise, left unblocked, and pockets may pop on either side of it, with the majority on one side of the knit as opposed to the other

the start of a series in varied colors and fibers500_604

Racking 2: vertical chevrons/ herringbone +

Here again, half fisherman or full fisherman rib is be used. The zig zag happens at the top and bottom of the fabric. In half fisherman, the set up is once again for full needle rib. If knitting in one color the sequence is : knit one row, rack a space, knit one row, rack back again (X and Y below represent the 2 racking positions involved screenshot_39

for 2 color fisherman the sequence is knit 2 rows with col 1, rack one space, knit 2 rows with color 2, rack one space back again

screenshot_41 this fabric is produced in conjunction with a pattern repeat using the principle that black squares knit (pushers up, needles preselected), white squares tuck (pushers down, needles not selected), the repeat is 12 stitches wide, 2 rows high; it is possible to have 6 stitches tucking side by side because this is an every needle rib, and there will be a knit stitch on the opposite bed anchoring down each tuck loop

screenshot_42

screenshot_02

one color half fisherman side one500_528one color half fisherman side 2500_5292 color setting, color changes every 2 rows, side 1, thinner yarn
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side 2

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2 color version, changing color every 20 rows; racking interrupted with plain knit rows at top and bottom creating horizontal pockets20rows_plain

20rows_plain1

when single or multiple odd # of rows with no racking are introduced at intervals the zig zags once again  happen at sides rather than top or bottom, with the knitting after the no racking row(s) reversing direction. The yarn used in these swatches is a random acrylic, presses flat, not the best if aiming for any 3D textures; the color difference is due to photos being taken at different times of day

side one 500_530side two500_541

what happens when multiple odd numbers of rows are knit changing back lock setting to N (all knit), no tuck stitches. The fabric still swings in opposite directions, and in addition the all knit rows produce areas that “poke out”, beginning to create scales of sorts

side one 50537side two500_538back to vertical: full fisherman with color changes every 2 rows, side one500_539side 2, with a few stitch knit off issues  500_540

it is a matter of personal preference whether the extra effort with full fisherman rib is worth any difference in appearance or result in the final fabrics. Changes in tension, yarn fiber content, and machines used add to the variables. Good notes in trials help one determine predictable results and to choose whether the effort may be worth it or not. Using laborious techniques for borders rather than whole items is always an option.

1/22/2016: half fisherman racked rib knit in thinner yarn, wider # of stitches and more rows in pattern group before single N/N row, no blocking

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500_558same fabric with color change every 2 rows 500_561

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Ribber pitch, a bit on racking chevrons/ horizontal herringbone

A “how might this be done challenge” of late re this fabric brought to mind racked patterns for chevrons, both vertical and horizontal, and possibility of producing them on home knitting machines. racked_scarf_mediumTo review some of the principles in racking in both Brother and Passap knitting machines: pitch is the distance between each needle groove along the needle bed, is sometimes also referred to as gauge. The size varies between machine brands and type of machines. For example, the Brother bulky has a 9 mm pitch, the Passap a 5 mm one; the larger the pitch number, the thicker the yarn that may be used.

Full pitch lines up needles, and gate begs (or channels) on both beds directly opposite each other. To knit patterns in full pitch, the rule is that for every needle in working position on the main bed, the corresponding needle on the opposite bed must be out of work, and vice versa. This setting is never used when groups of all needles are in work on both beds. Stitch patterns using this setting are designed to have opposite needles in work on either bed at any one time, but not both at once. The number of maximum needles in use for ribs on both beds will usually total 200 (4.5 mm machines), and the setting accommodates yarns thicker than when every needle is in use.

In half pitch both bed needles are now offset by half a position, centering them between each other. The full complement of needles for possible use now is potentially 400 (4.5 mm machines); the setting accommodates thinner yarns than one might use single bed.

The half pitch lever on Brother may be moved from P to H to change alignments. In Passap the racking handle may be used in up or down position to do so. The racking or swing lever allows the ribber bed to be swung one full pitch to the right or to the left in a series of stepped moves. The racking handle on Brother machines is located on the left hand side of the ribber bed. Racking swing indicator positions are numbered 0-10. When the racking indicator has been moved over to the next number, this means the ribber has moved by one full pitch. With the swing indicator at 5 both beds will be centered opposite each other, the usual position. Starting points may vary when racking is used in pattern. Beds cannot be racked with needles in holding, as needles will then crash into each other. It is always a good idea to check ribber alignment before tackling more complex, double bed fabrics. In Passap the racking indicator is situated above the racking handle, and arrows indicate the direction of the last movement. The scale at the top of the front bed shows the possible racking movements from a center point of 0 to 3 to either to right or left of center. I chose to place numbers below the factory ones on machine from 0 to 7, finding that method easier to follow, since I do not rely on built in patterns and racking prompts from the console. For the purposes of these swatches I am reverting to the factory indicators.

In Passap system the racking handle has 2 main positions: up, and down. When the racking handle is up needles are directly opposite each other (P pitch in Brother), when it is down the needles are between each other on opposing beds (H on Brother). There are some racking handle positions at different parts of the “clock” that are recommended when using some of the Passap accessories.

Regardless of machine brand needles have 3 basic functions: knit, slip (do not knit), tuck (gather loops). Passap pushers have 3 positions: work, rest, and out of work. When a pusher is in the up position the corresponding needle will knit no matter what the setting on the pattern dial. This is the equivalent of having needle pre selection on Brother, but forgetting to change cam buttons from normal knit setting. When a pusher is in rest it will slip or tuck depending on lock setting to AX, DX, or FX (in Brother these would be needles not selected, in B position). If locks are set to C, E, or G, the pushers have no effect on the needles. Pusher positions may be changed manually, automatically by arrow keys (back lock Passap, lili buttons and levers Brother ribber), automatically by readers whether electronic or punchcard on both brands in the Brother main bed or front bed Passap are in use.  NO pushers are used in : N (double or single bed plain knit), CX (tubular), EX (double bed, tuck).

I personally find racking easier in terms of the numbering in Brother brand machines. For these samples however, I chose to work on my E 6000. Adding tuck to the mix creates more textured surfaces, and half or full fisherman’s rib where every needle tucks, then knits as the carriage reverses direction on either single or both beds, is a place to start. I have written previously on tracking brother racking sequences using a punchcard numbering system. If no other pattern is used on the main or front beds, needle and pusher selection might be used to track racking position there as well. These fabrics require concentration. In terms of chevrons, both horizontal and vertical may be produced. Some published sources include a youtube video by Diana Sullivan, knit on a Japanese machine, and a baby blanket in full fisherman rib knit on the Duo 80. The version below is my half fisherman adaptation of the latter. The photos illustrate both sides of fabric. The racking is done by moving single of each of only 2 positions to the right or to the left. Single (or multiple, odd numbered) rows at the end of each sequence place the carriage at its start on the opposite side, rather than altering the numbered sequences as in the Diana video. I began my fabric on Passap racking position 2, to the right of 0, locks set at KX, N, first and last needle in work on the front bed. Back bed tucks every needle right to left, knits them left to right. There is a slight difference in texture between the 2 sides of the fabric.

300_514300_515

activate row counter after CX rows in cast on, with locks on left, so knitting the racked pattern begins with locks on Right, RC on 1. Below is my working “cheat sheet”

symbols

cheat sheet

settings

 

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)

screenshot_14

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

300_92_2

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

Machine knit cables: using patterning as a guide to transfers

If you have a machine which selects needles to the forward position, you may use a punchcard, mylar sheet or program to select needles for indicating cable placements. On the single bed, the selected needles act as the signal to actually create the cable crosses. Working double bed, the needle selection on the row before the cables are crossed may serve to remind you to put extra needles in work on the ribber, thus providing extra yarn for the crossings. Previous posts on topic

http://alessandrina.com/2011/12/19/aran-knits-a-new-thread/

http://alessandrina.com/2012/01/07/a-simple-braided-cable-and-card/

Keeping crossings all in the same direction and having ladders to mark vertical placements makes the process far easier. The stitches on either side of the cable may be knit, dropped every X# of rows and latched up to create a purl ridge on either side of the cable, at times there is enough slack in the ladder created to achieve the same. End needle selection needs to be cancelled (KCII) in any pattern with needles out of work. In simple patterns using selection to keep track, ladders are not needed to stay in a clear vertical.

An alternative repeat for combining 2X2 cables and 2 twisted stitches is illustrated below. The repeat is suitable for punchcard use, must be drawn in multiples to meet machine requirements (at least 36 rows in length). Spacing between twists and crossings may be far more varied in machines that use mylars or programs

punchcard repeatfor an all over pattern

twists and crosses

for a 22 stitch repeat or vertical panel, with ladders added

ladder

22 st repeat

If using the ribber, stitches marked for “ladders” may actually be transferred to the ribber to create the purl ridges on either side of the cables and twists.

Cables in color

Fair isle, like any slip stitch fabric is “shorter and skinnier” than any produced using the same yarn colors in plain knitting, single bed. Cables also narrow the fabric considerably. Begin with tension set at least 1-2 numbers looser than usual, and make tension swatches large enough to include all cable variations. After the cable crossings, be sure to return the needles to correct pattern selection before knitting the next row. Do not pull the whole group out to holding (E), as the whole group will then knit the color in the B feeder, and you will have a striped “mistake” on the next row knit. Leaving any needles OOW in the knit will select the needle on each side of the ladder to come forward, knitting the color in the B feeder. This may not work for you in terms of how the motif is affected by the vertical line created. If ladders are required, the vertical line in the B color may be eliminated by canceling end needle selection (KC II), or by dropping those stitches before you cable (which will give you a bit extra yarn for those crossed stitches). Ladders may be also latched up is you like, but watch where those floats are going in the fabric.

Making your own cards: try to control the length of the floats. Pre punched cards with lots of punched holes can produce areas to be cabled by selectively masking areas with tape (both sides of cards). Conversely, you may punch diamonds, squares, etc. in the center of other shapes  that would normally have floats too long for FI, to produce a B feeder color area for cabling.

Like color, most often, needs to land on like color, so stitches need to move further than they would in a one color knit. Reversible ribbed cables share the principle of like needing to land on like (knit on knit, purl on purl). Starting out with a single row punched card, mylar, or program repeat, with the card locked, provides a quick test for tension, keeping track of patterns, etc. There are many, so at least initially, cabling on a constant number of rows apart, may help avoid errors.

beginning to visualize the crosses

FI cables2

another of my “quick reference – some to try” handouts

color_cables

Machine knitting cables: single bed, introducing the ribber

Using two beds is the obvious means of creating a purl ground in combination with your cables, it will be addressed in later posts. If you are trying to cable more than 4 stitches on the main bed, using the ribber to provide extra yarn for the cross over may solve problems in accomplishing the cross. The ribber needs to be set at half pitch the row before the cables. Needles on the ribber are kept out of work until that row, pushed up to work position, and the row is knit. The loops formed on those needles are then dropped off, the ribber needles are put out of work, and the cables are crossed. The main bed knits until the next row before the cable crossings are once again due. I have recently begun to use water-soluble markers to mark needles positions on metal beds clearly for help in keeping track of locations for specific manipulations.

An illustration of 2 (or more) possible places to pick up extra yarn for a 6 stitch cable crossxtra_yarn

Below is a revision of a punchcard used in a previous post to track crossings for 3X3 cables, with punched holes added, taking into consideration locations for picking up extra yarn on the ribber. After 2 needles are selected on the main bed, one needle on the ribber on either side of them is brought into work. As the carriages knit across, the ribber needles pick up loops, while 6 needles are selected indicating the location of the cable cross on the next row. Ribber loops are dropped, and the needles creating them are returned to out of work position. The cable stitches are then crossed, and knitting resumes, continuing until needle selection once again indicates that an action is required.

IMG_1681

An alternative solution: reverse the beds, with the ribber doing the knitting. A card may then be drawn to select needles for picking up those extra loops, now on the main bed. The knit carriage is set to slip throughout. Punched holes (or programmed pixels in downloads, black squares in mylars) will preselect in Brother KMs, not only keeping the needle selection error free, but also tracking rows knit between cable crosses being made. Brother ribbers tend to knit more tightly than main beds, so tensions will require adjustment as well. With a bit of planning ahead and doing some “air” knitting, all needles not involved in picking up the extra yarn may be noted and placed out of work. Only the needles for selection will remain in work, thus making it easier drop the loops formed on them during knitting.

This method allows for creating the cables while retaining a somewhat tighter tension. Since the ribber carriage has no wheels or brushes to help hold the knit in place, weight must be used. Too much of it will lead to more frequently dropped stitches. It is always good to bring cable group stitches out to holding (E) in order to visually check that transfers have occurred properly,  and that there are no dropped stitches before continuing to knit.

 

 

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

screenshot_02

screenshot_03

using color in Excel, showing every row

screenshot_04A

screenshot_03Avisualizing multiple repeats

in repeat

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

300_1658

another possible charted in Excel, multiple repeats shown

screenshot_13

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

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

screenshot_33

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.

Machine knitting cables: single bed, 1

In hand knitting complex crosses are often worked on the same, knit side of the fabric, making them a bit easier to visualize and track. Knit and purl combinations in surfaces on either side abound. In machine knitting, one is always facing the purl side. If one is attempting to duplicate a hand knit pattern and the direction of the cables is important in the motif created, crosses in the machine knit need to be reversed as seen in an illustration from an earlier post http://alessandrina.com/?p=4218

cable350

Common representations take into consideration purl side is always facing the machine knitter for single bed crosses:

KCcrosses

Crossings of more than 3 over 3 stitches become difficult on home knitting machines unless special techniques are brought into play. Methods and suggestions vary, depending on source. The least satisfactory one is to knit the whole row prior to the cable crossings at a looser tension. If there is plain knitting between crossings, the change in stitch size across that particular work may be quite noticeable. “All over” cabled fabric will be obviously narrower than plain knit, a feature that may be used in garment “shaping” to draw in resulting fabric in selective areas on plain knit grounds. Generally a looser tension will be required than when using the same yarn in plain knitting.

To start testing the best number of rows knit between crosses, it is a good idea to begin with at least the same number of rows as the total number of stitches involved in the cross ie. 4 rows for a 2 X 2 cable, 6 for a 3 X 3.

Ladders created by leaving needles OOW may be used as markers for vertical rows of cables. They may in turn be left as created or latched up in segments or at the end of knitting to create purl (or other) stitches on both sides of the cables on the  fabric’s knit side. An alternative method for latching up illustrated below, produces tuck stitches in ladder spaces

tuck_latch_up

Working the knit on the single bed, extra yarn for a bit more “give” may  be created by dropping one stitch on either side of the 2 groups to be crossed. The dropped stitches may be latched up after each cross and will appear as purl stitches on the knit side, or left unraveled for open vertical space on cable sides. Bringing needles with crossed stitches all the way forward out to “holding” position helps them knit off more easily and to visually check if indeed all stitches have been placed on the alternate group of needles.

A: crossing stitches, B: latching up the ladder

cross and latch 2

Sometimes the cable configuration may be changed for a similar look to render crossings easier ie. using a 5 stitch cable crossing 2 and 3 stitches respectively,  may be substituted for a 6 stitch one. Larger number crosses may be broken down into smaller groups ie in this 9 stitch cable modification. The chart below is for hand knitting, created in Intwined, with their accompanying directions. Not all publications or software approach HK and symbols and charts in the same manner, requiring varying degrees of study and interpretation in how to either follow or adapt them.

intwined combo

Creating longer stitches to facilitate moving them for cable crosses may be done on any one row by using additional strands of yarn and knitting involved stitches back to A position, creating elongated stitches. If slightly shorter lengths are needed, a cardboard or other spacer may be placed against the rear rail to keep loops even size while pulling yarn back. In the “old” days of MK seminars, a favorite such spacer was made from cutting segments of extra (narrow) strips from window venetian blinds. Bringing needles back into  work requires a bit of care and at least a claw weight, to keep long stitches formed from bouncing off the needles. The larger cross can then be executed and made easier if one has adjustable 7 prong tools. After the cross the larger stitch size may be adjusted slightly by pulling  cautiously on the long end of the yarn. The Brother knitting techniques book is available for free download on more than one site, here is one option. It is a very good resource apart from any standard manuals. Creating the longer stitches is described and seen in the illustration below, found on pp 68-69 of the book. Also shown there: how to carry up the yarn rather than cutting it after each cross,  thus avoiding extra ends that later require weaving in

screenshot_13

Larger groups of stitches may be cabled by using holding to shape each section, then removing each of them off the respective needle groups, and crossing them as wanted.

As an experiment: for single, long  crossing strip, I found 7 stitches to be pretty much my maximum manageable width, with tension adjustments. The number was chosen with the intent of using two 7 prong transfer tools to hold and move the stitch groups.

The process: working over a group of 14 stitches  for 7 X 7 cross.

COR: Set your carriage for holding. I had a needle out of work on either side to make tracking easier.

On the side opposite the carriage bring all beyond the 14 cable sts to hold, knit one row.

Now pull all the needles out to work except for those involved in cable. Knit 3 rows across the 14 stitches.

Bring 7  stitches opposite the carriage to hold. Knit an odd number of rows on them (7 in my sample). Yarn will be resting on top of some of the needles that have been in hold, watch that it remains free as you move stitches.

Cross the long strip with the group of 7 stitches towards the front of the fabric, the rest toward its back / the purl side facing you.

Bring cable group’s 14 stitches an the remaining on the side opposite the carriage into work, knit one row, there will still be stitches being held on carriage side.

All stitches in work: knit desired even number of rows, ending with carriage on the same side as at the start of the process, and repeat process for crossings to continue in same the same direction.

Each cable group may also be knit in individual strip forms and then crossed. At least one of the group pairs needs to be knit with a separate strand of yarn. Some experimentation on number of rows knit, etc., and attention paid not trapping the yarn in the wrong place when crosses are made is required. Both methods are fiddly, but manageable after repeats are sorted out. My sample is knit in acrylic, which flattens considerably with steaming . On the left are crosses made with single long strip, on the right, for illustration purposes, the red represents a second strand of yarn that I was able to keep continuous.

combo

To work cables with 2 separate strands of additional yarn, work each cross segment separately, then remove it on waste yarn, dropping it off the needles. Rehang each strip in desired location, crossing as required in pattern. Cut yarn ends may be woven in as plain knit rows between crosses are formed if piece is one color. The experimental swatch below is from one of my much earlier posts on topic. Though my examples here align in straight vertical manner, this method allows for placement anywhere on the knit, in desired spacing, repeat, and cross formation.

br4

Large safety pins, hand knitting stitch holders, and thin circular needles may be used as alternative tools to remove any strips of knitting and in turn used to ease those stitches onto their new needle placement.

Using yarns that are not fragile or easily broken when tension is applied, and that have some amount of “give” at all, such wool as opposed to cotton, also render the process a bit more friendly. Yarns with “memory” such as wool will also retain dimensional qualities and spring back after any blocking.  There are no single best ways to achieve any specific machine knit fabrics; personal preferences and adjustments evolve with experience.

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