Ribber cast ons: breaking the “rules”

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

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

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

Twisted headband meet fisherman rib, seaming, variation ideas

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

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

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

Ribber trims/edgings 1

An example of a common ruffle/ frill is produced with variations using both beds: cast on for every needle rib, knit X rows at full fisherman rib, followed by X rows at half fisherman, and then possibly by plain rib for X rows, EON rib or even following with transfer to single bed for X rows, bind off. The yarn used in this swatch is a wool-rayonExaggerated frilled starts: no cast on needed, working on every other needle patterning on both beds.  A few rows will produce a curly edge, more rows a ruffle proportionate in depth to the number of rows.  

Passap KM: AX/AX or AX/KX 4-10 rows, continue in plain rib N/N
AX/KX 4-10 rows, knit 1 row N/N, transfer to 1X1rib, continue to knit in plain rib
racking cast on
BX/KX 6-10 rows, continue in plain rib
Pushers in upper work position (UWP) will make the needle knit while those in the lower nonworking position (NWP) will respond to lock patterning settings. E6000 either program front bed for the pattern (1000), or bring every other pusher completely out of work to avoid having them return to work position after the first pass. The motif repeat for 8 stitches/rows usable on any machine

Working it on Brother becomes a bit fiddly. Whether working on a punchcard or electronic KM, it is possible to introduce patterning on either or both beds as seen below.  I preferred the look obtained with the racked cast on at the start. Setting up the Brother machine: program the repeat, half pitch for every needle rib, air knit to place the pattern on the bed so that the first needle on the left (or right if you prefer) is preselected forward and will produce a knit stitch on the first row knit.  The yarn used is a 2/24 acrylic Both beds are set to knit, lili buttons will be in use. On the ribber bed, the second needle from each side will knit, so starting on the left side on the ribber the first needle to the right of the first needle in work on the main bed is brought into work. It will need to be the second needle in work when the carriage moves from left to right in pattern knittingnow another needle on the ribber is brought in to work on the far left, it will tuck with lili selection when moving from left to right remember the ribber rule with lili buttons: an even number of needles must be in work, this shows the start and end of selection on the ribber on alternate needle tape markings, as required It is sufficient to continue with no circular rows after the first zigzag one. The start will be “loopy”, but will improve when the bottom row is stretched vigorously. In this Brother version, the first row of the pattern needs to be selected toward the carriage and yarn after the first pass by the paired carriages. Beginning COR, a row is knit to the left side. The knit carriage is removed from the bed and brought back to the right. COR: a “free pass” can be made with the machine set to tuck in both directions as well as to slip. Using tuck avoids errors in recalling to switch cam button functions.  Using KCI (or II) the carriage with no yarn makes the free pass preselection row to the left, where the carriages are coupled again. I used KCI for my swatch. Before continuing to knit make certain lili buttons are engaged, that both carriages are set to tuck in both directions, and continue in pattern for X rows. Switch both carriages to N/N and continue in every needle rib (or knit 1 row N/N, transfer and continue in EON rib or single bed). If stitches are transferred for EON rib or stocking stitch knit on a single bed, the yarn tension will need to be adjusted.
To review: lili buttons on ribber, checking needle selections on both beds. Cast on with no circular rows, zigzag only, option 1: tuck <– –>, tuck <– –> loops will build upon every other needle for single rows, so the frill can be continued for any desired height
option 2: tuck <– –>, tuck <– –> to desired # of rows, knit 1 row N/N, transfer for 1X1 rib
option 3: combination slip/tuck
With no circular rows after zigzag note the edge, and the amount of stretch

Using a racking cast on followed by same carriage settings as above
COR zigzag row right to left
COL rack 1 to left (increase 1 number on racking lever), KCI (pattern pre-select), program row 1 of pattern, knit one row to the right
COR rack to right (decreasing number) set both beds to tuck, knit X rows (I chose 10).  After completing the desired number of rows continue in every needle rib or knit one row with carriages set to N/N, transfer for every other needle rib, and continue on EON rib.Both pieces compared for width and rippling

I was plagued with random dropped stitches after my transfer to EON rib, one seen above left.
I finally sorted out that I had been using a ribber arm from an older model punchcard machine. When I replaced it with the later model arm shown at the top in the photo below, etched by the factory with #2 (outlined in magenta), I no longer had any problem.

The latch opening plate use and installation

Here the latch opening plate has been secured into place in the connecting arm without the #2 mark. The change in height is noticeable, brings the unit closer to needles when on the machine during knitting

A reminder: if the needle presser bar on the ribber (all plastic) is to be removed, it is reinserted back in with ridges facing, and flat side down

From the Brother Ribber Techniques book: frills and more:pp113-115An intro to scallops: p.120

A previous post on checking ribber alignment 

 

 

 

Casting on, double bed

The Brother KR850 manual, pp 19-29 has clearly illustrated how-tos for this process. Old manuals often have a translation from other languages that may be from amusing to confusing or even incomprehensible. Method 2 below illustrates the “broken toe” cast on. The term partial knitting has nothing to do with its more familiar application to holding techniques.
The tubular cast on is probably the most commonly used and published one. It tends to have an uneven edge, but steps can be taken to compensate for this. In every case, on the first row, the yarn travels from a needle on one bed to a needle on the other. Remove the single bed sinker plate. Push the ribber up to work position, connect both carriages with the connecting arm. Make a couple of passes with the coupled carriages to ensure needles are aligned properly. To drop the yarn between the beds prior to threading it into the carriage threading it through a double-eyed bodkin will make it easier for it to be dropped between the beds. It is commonly advised that the cast on zigzag row be done on the tightest tension possible. That also varies depending on the yarn, whether the cast on is to be decorative, or if the loops that are commonly considered undesirable are in turn to be chained through to match a latch tool bind off at the top of the piece. It is often recommended that for circular cast ons 3 circular rows be used. That produces one side of the rib with small “floats” with an appearance that differs from the reverse side. Arrows in this illustration point to that third row
Only two circular rows do the job and avert that problem. Conversely, 4 tubular rows may give extra firmness and strength when using very thin yarns. For the final row set both carriages to close the zigzag, increase stitch size to rib setting and knit one row. At that point, stitches can be rearranged on the needles if needed.
For a tighter cast on row sometimes a thin elastic is threaded with the main yarn and used for only the first zigzag row. Do not hang ribber weights until the cast on is completed.
Other variations: set up knitting on a single bed only with waste yarn and ravel cord and cast on comb and weights, ending with a row of ravel cord. Using both beds, begin with garment yarn, follow instructions for tubular cast on. When knitting is complete tug waste yarn lengthwise to set stitches before removing the ravel cord.
On the double bed, after the zigzag row, lay a piece of ravel cord right on top of the zigzags, dropping the ends between the beds and anchoring the ends with a clothespin or other small clip. It will be enclosed in the knit as you continue to work. Upon completion of the piece, pull lengthwise on both ends of the cord to set stitches before removing it.

Cast on using e wrap single bed: knit several rows in waste yarn, either in EON rib or single bed. If single bed knitting is used, poke the ribber cast on comb through the waste knit or use it to cast on a single bed, making it the future home for weights. If a rib start is used, the stitches then would need to be transferred to the main bed. A row is then knit in ravel cord. Proceed with a single bed e wrap cast on, dropping the ribber if needed. When the e wrap is completed, bring the ribber bed back up if it had been lowered. Knit a row to the opposite side. Transfer stitches in your desired arrangement. Thread the yarn, proceed in rib.
Since my trial swatch was quite narrow, I opted to skip the waste yarn or rib cast on and transfer to top bed prior to e wrapping; the yarn used is a 2/8 woolbefore the next pass make certain there are no needles in work on the ribber, they will pick unwanted loops,  also, give a tug at the yarn on the carriage  side as you begin to knit the next row in order to avoid loops as seen on the right below. Knit to opposite side.Transfer stitches in the desired needle set up. With waste yarn, ravel cord and weights prior to its start this cast on may be used for wider flat ribs ie 2X2, 3X3, etc. Here the comb is in place,  ready for 1X1 ribthe resultsIt is also possible to e wrap on empty needles set up for rib on both beds. The first pair of diagrams show movement from left toward the right. Loops are wound alternating clockwise or counterclockwise directions as seen below, being careful not to make the loops too tight.working from the right to the left sideThe e wraps may be made with variations of movements that are counterclockwise or clockwise. Depending on the variations there can then be two distinct sides, requiring a choice to be made as to whether the purl or knit sides of the final fabric will be facing out. With a clockwise wrap a row of purl loops (red arrow in swatches)) will show at the bottom of the “wrong”, purl side. To reverse them, wrap all stitches counterclockwise.

Here all needles are wrapped clockwise, a slip knot on that first needle on left would steady the yarn, needles are brought to holding position on both beds for easier knitting on the next row row is knit carefully to the opposite side
the comb is then hung. Make certain its teeth are placed properly across the row holding stitches down. Here they are not on the right, resulting in the issue marked with black arrows at the bottom of the corresponding swatchtension adjustments may be required. Knit slowly and check that stitches are properly knitting off.  Bringing needles to hold on both beds for a few rows prior to knitting them may help prevent random dropped stitches.

This is the set up alternating clockwise and counterclockwise wraps on both needle beds.  This cast on has a good deal of stretch, looks  the  same on both sides, its test swatch is shown on the right. 
If working in fine yarns, 2 tubular rows may be needed after the wrapped cast on.

Another hand out from eons ago follows below. The broken toe cast on is often used whenever both the knit carriage and the ribber are used to create the fabric but stitches are dropped off one bed or the other, such as in drop stitch lace. The placement for the comb if the ribber stitches are to be dropped is illustrated below. Red and yellow show the areas held down by the comb’s wire that will remain on the main bed when the ribber stitches are dropped. Below it, the wrong placement of the comb for this purpose is shown. The reverse would be true if the main bed stitches were going to be the ones to be droppedCasting on the double bed previous blog posts
racked cast on tips  included racked cast for every needle rib, and samples knit on Passap,  for 2X1 and 2X2 commercial ribs
Picot cast on for every needle rib 
transitions from EON (every other needle) to FNR (full needle rib)
ribber e wrap cast on   video by Roberta Rose Kelly

A decorative cast on with lots of hand transfers on the ribber bed  by Emanuela Mammarella.

Studio tips and techniques #13

Taking advantage of the “wavy” first row to produce a ruffled effect: zigzag row at rib tension or one number less than rib. Set one carriage to tuck, and the other to knit. Make one pass with both carriages to the opposite side. Reverse carriage settings, make a second pass to the opposite side. Repeat one more pair of rows, reversing carriage settings with each pass (as in fisherman rib setting). One may also experiment with more tucking variations or a greater number of rows in a pattern before proceeding in rib. Before the closing row, depending on the configuration chosen, slipping on one bed and knitting on the other may make for a more pleasing transition.

The start of playing with needle/pusher arrangements, with both beds knitting in pattern. Instructions will follow in a future post on ribbed trims.

Binding off, double bed

A DBJ discussion re Ayab use recently brought up the topic of ribber bind offs. My plan for this post is to gather information and illustration on a variety of methods, beginning with those illustrated by Brother, then moving on to others I have come across over the years in a variety of publications. Transfer to single bed methods: transfer all the stitches onto the top bed,  then use single bed techniques to cast off. Having multiple stitches unevenly distributed can make the cast-off lumpy, and such techniques may also be too tight for the fabric. For latched through bind-offs one way to get extra length/size in stitches on the main bed is to bring every other needle on the ribber back into work after transfers. Set the ribber to half-pitch, knit one row with both carriages set to knit to the other side, drop off newly created ribber stitches by using ribber carriage only to  release the stitches by moving it back to the opposite side, dropping the loops just created, adjust the amount of weight, and bind off. That extra knit row may also be useful in rib configurations that leave empty needles after the transfers. Loops will fill in empty needles. Chain only through stitches, not loops. The latter will help create enough give to bridge the gaps. Technically, once the ribber stitches are moved to the top bed, any single bed bind off may be used, whether through single or double loops. Some techniques produce more pleasing results than others. Each look is different, as is the amount of stretch. Testing on swatches in specific yarns used helps one determine the preferred method. If a latch tool is used to do a crocheted bind off after transferring a 1X1 rib it is possible to maintain the rib. Insert the tool from the front of the stitches that were originally on the back bed, and into the front of the stitches that were on the front bed. Stitches have “legs”, inserting the latch tool back to front from behind the right leg will change the direction of the lean in the chain. As one enters the center of the stitch, the left leg is picked up by default.

When latching stitches through single bed after transferring all stitches to the main bed, to keep bind off in rib on the purl stitches hook the stitch back to front (red line), on the knit stitches hook the stitch through the center (green line)Reviewing approaches to binding off with needle and yarn: working single bed is sometimes performed on the machine and is illustrated below working from left to right. It is referred to as back or stem stitch and “sew off” method, and is shared in many of the old machine knitting manuals. It is easier to achieve if after the knitting the last row one knits at least 2 or 3 more rows in waste yarn to make the stitches more accessible. The knit side shows single loops in view upon completion. Dropping small groups of stitches off as one makes progress across the row may make the technique easier, helping with the placement of the other hand to hold the work. On the machine, the fixed distances between needles and gate pegs help to keep the tension even. The backstitching may be done off the machine, but maintaining even tension there may be a bit harder.

and here from right to left

Some references advocate this method for binding off rib after transferring all stitches to the main bed. A row is knit across the transferred stitches prior to stitching through the now single thickness.

The process, whether executed on the machine or off, to my mind is easier with waste yarn knit after the transfers. Here is an illustration of single bed knitting removed from the machine.

The top of the last row of the body of the knit may then be bound off using a crochet hook or latch tool chain using a continuous thread,or the needle and yarn sewing method may be used.  There is a limit as to the length of yarn used so as not to pose problems. Very wide pieces may prove to be a challenge, requiring more than a single yarn end to complete the bind off. My own yarn end max limit for sewing up or off is about 18 inches

For folks who prefer to view videos, these are some methods on single bed bind-offs offered by others on this topic:
latching off through looser stitches any KM, by Diana Sullivan my least favorite,
wrapping around needles , familiar to Passap owners, by Susan Guagliumi
several sinker plate bind offs also by Susan Guabliumi. The very last method illustrated is my favorite go-to, around gatepegs whether single, double or more, though I do it a different way.

Latch tool bind-offs both beds: 1. chaining through stitches on both beds
Knit the last row at a looser tension, begin by setting it as high as possible in your first experiments. Begin on the side opposite the carriage and the yarn end. Go through the center, front to back through the stitch on one bed, moving it behind the latch. Then go through the center of the stitch on the opposite bed, hold its yarn in the hook of the needle, and pull it through the previous stitch held behind the latch. Continue across the bed, securing the last stitch. adapted from Passap publications

Video: chain through each stitch on the machine by Ruth Raymer
2. transfer the stitches to the knit bed in Japanese machines, either bed on Passap, after a plain knit row if textured patterns are in use. Follow it with a last row of knitting. leave all the needles on the ribber in work after the transfer. Move toward the carriage. Go through the center, front to back through the stitch on one bed, moving it behind the latch. Then go through the center of the stitch on the opposite bed, hold its yarn in the hook of the needle, and pull it through the previous stitch held behind the latch. Continue across the bed, securing the last stitch.
Latch through the loops on the main bed. In bind-offs such as these, the proper loops need to be latched through, or one may wind up with open stitches and no bind off.
3. Video after transferring to one bed, and taking off on waste yarn by BarbaraDeikeThis edited illustration, also from a Brother manual, expands on the one above, showing how the yarn is threaded through the stitches in numbered sequence according to the stitch configuration for the ribbed fabric
I prefer an alternative method for waste yarn scrap off ending in place of circular or U knitting: knit the last row in garment yarn. Thread up waste yarn, knit it at single bed tension. Knit 4 rows on one bed, with a separate strand or even a second contrasting color of equal weight, knit 4 rows on the opposite bed. Repeat alternating until there are more than 12 rows on each bed and scrap off. This will allow you to press the waste knitting only, and the flaps are opened up to reveal the tops of the stitches created on each bed. Finishing can then be executed as below.

Slip stitch marking row: EON needle is transferred to the top bed.  From right to left: COR stitches that appear as knit ones on the purl ground are brought out to hold,  the knit carriage is set to slip from left to right, purl stitches will slip.  Set carriage to knit both ways, continue with waste knitting, drop the piece off the machine, continue as illustrated in circular fold over method.

Here any waste yarn is folded over, exposing the tops of ribbed stitches. The threading and stitching sequence is numbered, illustrated for both one by one and two by two rib. Depending on the planned seaming  choice, an extra stitch may be added on either or both sides of the knit so that half a stitch or a whole one can be absorbed into the seam, resulting in a continuous rib configuration on the outside of the garment

More on Brother DBJ, including KR 260 bulky KM options

Any repeat suitable for a 2 color 24 stitch DBJ separation published or self-drawn for a 4.5mm machine is suitable for DBJ on the bulky. At times yarns ie 2/8 to 3/8 wools that knit stocking stitch at tension 8-10 on the main bed and are too thick for every needle rib on the standard may produce a fabric that is not too dense, and still has some drape at lower settings for tension on both beds on the bulky. Electronic standard knitters can double the size of the repeat prior to separating the 2 colors and then work on every other needle both beds, proceeding as usual for DBJ. Thicker yarns begin to make too thick a fabric for wearables, may work well for other uses. If some drape is required, the ladder back method becomes the preferred one in bulky KM DBJ. I no longer have available the bulky dbj samples from my teaching days, my 260 KM is not set up, so, for now, this post will not include swatch photos. As always swatching is a necessity to determine whether the resulting knit is one that meets our expectation, preferences, and often, patience.

To review: the 260 KH carriage will be familiar to Brother punchcard 4.5 mm machine users and has the option for creating thread lace (“split” cam button in center position), which is not commonly available in Brother models.

The Brother 270 electronic knit carriage offerssimilarsettings

There is no automatic method for eliminating end needle selection ie KCII, rather, adjustments for it are made on the underside of the carriage, as in other punchcard machines terms of DBJ, the electronics allow for the familiar KRC 2 color separationKR 260 parts as described in the ribber manual, followed by possible settings for cam levers are illustrated below. The absence of lili buttons is immediately noticeable. There is no automatic every other needle selection on the bulky ribber carriage shown, as opposed to that choice being available on the standard KM.

slip to rightslip to leftslip both directionstuck to righttuck to lefttuck both directions

hand selection tools for either bed, 4.5mm on top,  sometimes interchangeableevery needle selector for standard, operates similar to Jac 40, EON here for use bulky, adjustable 17.5 inch workshop cut model in a plastic for 2X2 selection on bulky nowadays 3D printed custom options are also beginning to be available

The DBJ setting that requires the least intervention on either standard or bulky machines is the one produced with the separated motif being knit with the ribber set to slip all needles in one direction, and to knit every needle in the other. Reproducing the lili effect is done on the KR 260 is achieved with hand needle selection. For birds eye, where every needle is in use on an even number of needles in work on the ribber, select every other needle on the ribber beginning with the second needle on the right for preselection row, push up to holding position. The ribber carriage is set to slip both ways, will knit hand selected needles as it makes its way to the opposite side. Now select every other needle on the ribber beginning with the first needle on right, bringing those needles up to hold. Stitches on those needles will knit on the ribber as the carriage makes its way back to the left and to the color changer. Colors continue to be changed every 2 rows as in any standard 2 color birdseye fabric. 

Ladderback or modified Jacquard is at times used on standard machines specifically for the effect created on the fabric reverse side, and most often used with bulkier yarns in order to be able to make a garment with more drape than it may have in regular jacquard, or to knit large designs with no long floats. This technique on the KR 260 ribber involves hand manipulation of the ribber stitches to reduce the number of stitches created on the ribber as well. Ribbing is often set up in order to produce a band that is not hugely different in stretch and width than the body of a garment, with further transfers for the ladder back configuration when it is completed. No more than one needle is usually in work on the main bed beyond needles in work on the ribber bed. If an additional needle on the main bed is required, it should be on the left-hand side. The rib is knit as tightly as possible, tension is loosened as one progresses into the jacquard portion of the piece. Common arrangements are 1X1, 1X3, 2X2, etc.  When needles are arranged in “even groups” ie 2X2, 2X4, 4X2, etc, the lili setting or manual needle selection to emulate it on the 260 may be used. Tuck settings may be experimented with as well, but tend to create a more noticeable vertical line between ribbed repeats on the knit face. The larger the number of needles in work on the main bed between ribber needles in work, the more the main bed tension needs to approach that used for the yarn when it is knit single bed. 

In EON ladder back an increase on the ribber is usually necessary after 4 increases on the main bed. On the bulky, this may be needed as often as in every 2 rows. The hand needle selection must remain constant throughout the piece to maintain the birdseye backing or any of its variants, which are based on pairs of needles alternating functions every 2 rows. Striper backing is achieved by selection of the same needle for each of the 2 colors used, slipping the opposite color needle locations. First needle selection on right is easier to track by marking the location of the first needle used on that side on the needle tape or needle bed as a guide for subsequent rows. 

The row counter will show double the number of rows than if the fabric were produced in Fair Isle. Four passes of the carriages complete one design row. The motif will appear elongated to a degree depending on the yarn and techniques used. Ladder back and vertical stripe backings may produce vertical separation lines in the fabric that may be quite noticeable depending on color, tension, and yarn used. Watch closely for dropped stitches or split ones. Splices and knots in yarn may tend to break due to use of added weights and tension. Plan on adding new yarn at sides and use ends to seam up, or use Russian join before the point at which a new yarn end is required, and continue knitting. The latter has become my favorite even in lace knitting on the standard machine. A recent tutorial on the technique may be found here <https://www.mybluprint.com/article/this-method-of-joining-yarn-ends-is-pure-magic>

Check alignment and oiling requirement of machine frequently. 

Other backings: one color backing. The main bed is set as normal for DBJ, but the ribber is set to knit for 2 rows of one color, and to slip for 2 rows with the other color. This means on any machine (unless using 2 electronic carriages as described in another post) the operator has to change ribber settings every 2 rows. It will now take 4 carriage passes to complete 2 rows of knitting. Floats will be formed in the non-backing color, may be caught on the ribber on slip rows, so check frequently, begin with small repeats, always test new yarns or even a different color or dye lot in same yarn on swatches prior to committing to larger pieces. 

Patterned backing: selection of ribber needles in blocks of alternate colors, or selecting ribber needles in between those selected on the main bed applies here as well. Yarn thickness and end product serve as guides as to whether the fabric serves one’s purpose or preference.

In large areas of solid color on garment face, if bleed through is noticeable, a pattern of 2 black rows alternating 2 white ones may need to be programmed, with color changes continuing as in pattern areas. If the goal is simply to match density or drape, then continue in settings used for design area without color changing. Most punchcard double jacquard separations and “rules” apply to both standard and bulky machines.

Later posts: ribber bind offs at first, and casting on. I was never quite content with ribbed edgings on my bulky knits. There are always several options for achieving a look that pleases us more, or a technique that will alter the unwanted results. In this instance, one is to knit a row on the main bed after several rows of waste yarn, continue with the body of the garment piece, rehang that first knit row, knit the rib upside down, and bind off. The latter can happen on the machine, by hand off on waste yarn with a “sewing” needle, or removing the work onto hand knitting needles and going that route. The 260 ribber manual recommends the following method. 

Having the waste yarn U style with an opening on right with the bind off beginning on that side, or finding a way to mark the first needle on the ribber in the sequence may make finding that needle position easier when the knit is off the machine.

This illustration, also from a Brother manual, slightly edited, shows the sequence for how the yarn is threaded through the stitches in numbered sequence according to stitch configuration for the ribbed fabric