Lace and weave: a brother punchcard to electronic

This is actually a reworking of a previous post. I usually sit on any post for a while, returning to it, editing multiple times out of view, and publish when satisfied with occasional return visits. Thanks to comments from another Ravelry member, I realized after my first “quick” publication on 589 that I needed to take another look at my thinking on this particular card from the very start.  I chose to stay public during editing to show that no matter the level of skill or time spent knitting, sorting out issues for any particular design or fabric can take time, sometimes obstinacy, and that at times the simplest route is taking good notes during the actual process for the most direct results in terms of clarity.

I have been knitting a long time. Sometimes things seem so obvious to me as I work, that I do not take notes. I still have a swatch from my teaching days that fell into that category, and that I have never been able to duplicate. With the 910 and the limited availability of space on mylars, I sometimes erase too quickly, and now that my charts are being created in a new and not yet habitual and familiar to me programs (Numbers, in high Sierra and Pages) wonderful, “surprise” variables can happen. So tips to self: keep step by step notes to return to as a reference, choose order of steps top down or bottom up and stick to one or the other, try not to scrawl randomly and everywhere on any one sheet of paper (never mind keeping it legible), don’t recycle papers with such notes when you think you are done, and watch those autosaves and revert options in Numbers and Pages. Then there’re the added factors of occasional WordPress crashes during saves, taking what one assumes as familiar for granted, and of simply putting even single, lone black square in the wrong place on a mylar sheet. I found with this series merely editing information in the software was not enough. Some of the errors became easier to see when matching the software theory to actually taking notes the old fashioned way with each carriage pass on the 910.

Some information on punchcards, their use, and pattern repeats may be of help to any of you who have not used a card before. The previous post included a reference to this punchcard from a Brother punchcard book in its combining weaving and lace section. I began with the assumption that knit carriage would operate from right, and lace carriage from left, their traditional placement in most lace knitting

its supposed related swatch

Analyzing the card, sorting out possible repeats follows, since mylars or bitmaps for download often only require a single repeat of the pattern. If you are not used to doing this, sometimes beginning with recognizable vertical ones first is a bit easier.

the apparent width and card height repeat

Going from lots of dots to far fewer ones can be dizzying. The punchcard multiple vertical repeat on the left is double checked to insure that all marks are in the correct placement on my chart. Black dots for EON needle selection, red ones for lace transfers. Here things get checked off twice, particularly for lace holes. Lace cards are the hardest to copy and place pixels or black squares accurately, simply because their markings are so few. I usually begin on the left hand side of punchcards to  isolate my repeats. The number markings in the center image reflect those found on the far right of Brother punchcards. The #1 on the factory cards represents where the card reader teeth are reading the holes on the interior of the machine, not at the operator’s eye level on the machine’s exterior. That is also the reason why in any fabric, needle selection does not match expected design row. On the far right,  a single repeat in height is isolated further. The same sort of check should be done when punching cards from published images. Blowing up the source and printing can help with accuracy. 

Operating carriages for even number row sequences is is the most convenient. The assumption on the basis of the arrows in card 589 is that each carriage makes 2 passes, operating in a continuous loop. That simply did not work for me in terms of producing 2 rows of lace followed by 2 more in any other pattern when operating LC from left, and KC from right.

If punching a card, verify your final punching by holding black paper behind the punched holes. In this instance there is an obvious mistake on the third row of holes. I am at the end of a very long punchcard roll. Some of the new rolls are wonderfully sturdy material, but the roll can retain a curl that may make it easy for the card to roll back into the reader unless joined into a tube (resulting in patterning errors), and making it hard to feed its starting rows  into “punching machines”. The rolls are marketed for Brother use, and numbered separated into “standard” lengths with blank segments between them.  Those markings may however,  be for Studio machines use (seen here, at row 5),  with row one on the right actually being 2 rows too low for Brother, so as punched LC  first preselection row would need to happen on row 3.589 begins with lace transfers. A second option, is to begin with a weaving pattern, with the KC on the left for the first selection row, and beginning your pattern reading 2 more rows up from the lace starting line in the punchcard. Markings on the side of the image above have nothing to do with actual starting rows. Pencil lines are outlining individual repeats, have no other reference. Numbers and other necessary marks would require adding by hand. If hesitant, #1 marking on right may be double checked by overlaying a factory pre punched card over your own.

Beginning the mylar conversion : my adjusted repeat checking squares vs holes again

The end needle selection needs to be cancelled on lace rows to avoid transfers or dropped stitches on the edges of the piece. If a needle is selected, manually push it back to B. If patterning ie tuck, slip, or FI are used on alternate groups of rows, then end needle selection is preferred. In weaving,  2 side by side stitches drop a float, so keeping the EON selection on both sides gives a better edge. Invariably, some operator involvement is needed altering end needle position, no matter the setting for it on either carriage.

Even with a lot of knitting and design experience results are not immediate. I ran into issues when I first tried to knit on the 910 with a later, “final” repeat selection being correct, but the technique failing, resulting in a loopy mess. In weaving, weaving brushes need to be moving freely, so check them, unscrew them, remove any fluff, and air knit, making certain they are down and turning at the same rate in both directions. Tuck wheels if movable, should be in the forward position, lined up with all other wheels or brushes on your sinker plate. To isolate the problems further: test lace with your knit carriage selecting,  but no cam buttons pushed in. The KC will knit for 2 rows across LC transfers, creating only the lace pattern involved. Your mylar markings get checked, also offering an opportunity to sort out why stitches may drop, and if you indeed have patience to combine techniques for more than a few rows. It is easy enough with an EON needle pusher to test both weaving yarn and needed ground yarn tension. If that is successful as well, then issues occurring with patterning may be from other causes. They were in my case. I had to switch sinker plates in my knit carriage to get weaving to work properly. I failed, however, at combining the final repeat with tucking, even with the KC set to tuck immediately after the transfers, and to knit every needle in the opposite direction.  I tested the carriage, sinker plate, and patterning with EON tuck only with different designs, and had no problem. At such a point I would abandon that fabric combination with the particular mylar repeat.

Returning to actions on the punchcard: the preselection row can be confusing in any translations. The last row in the card takes care of lining up repeats for us as it is rolled continuously in the drum, but there can be oddness to the eye when only a small repeat is singled out. Looking at the image of the repeats tiled allows one to choose a different starting row, rather than lace markings. The direction of transfers raises the quest to yet another level. This was my progression in editing and moving starting row for beginning the fabric with a weave start rather than a lace one: the numbers in my charts reflect carriage passes and direction, not completed row counts as they might appear on KM counter

Pass 1: COL, KC, N for knit row, slip <—> for free pass that selects only, move carriage—>
Pass 2COR, KC, EON pre selected, set card to advance normally, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 3: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 4: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection, moves to —>
Pass 5COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 6: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left
Pass 7COR, KC, EON, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 8: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 9: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection moves to —>
Pass 10COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 11: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left.  This row matches design row 1, and is starting the repeat sequence again
Passes 2-11 complete 10 rows of knitting, as well as the first vertical repeat as drawn

My chart has had multiple drafts, which included using software to insert a row to allow for that repeated selection as the carriages switched sides. The goal is to keep the 2 lace transfers to the right, with LC beginning each sequence on the left side, ending on the right, matching the punchcard movements listed above.  Keeping things as simple as possible is something I at times forget to do. After several drafts, here is a simpler way to look at things. In D black squares with dots indicate stitch that will be transferred on the next pass of the LC, the yellow squares the location of the eyelets. All pattern repeats with the KC preselecting for the first row of knitting on the left, with the change knob set to either KC I or KC II

the 10 row repeat and its mylar companion

In actual knitting of this stitch combination,  since needles preselect for the next row knit, once the pattern is set up correctly, it is easy to recognize when carriage changes are required by looking at the number of needles selected. EON rows are for weaving, starting on right. Few needles selected are for lace, starting on left. Lace transfers happen on the stitches selected the previous row, in the direction in which the carriage is moving, here transfers are all to the right. Grey squares indicate repeated selections, black squares with yellow dots indicate stitches transferred to the right on the next pass of the LC. The mylar repeat would only require the black squares

Below the repeat in the chart is used, knit first on my punchcard KM, then on my 910, but it misses the mark in terms of matching the swatch in the pattern book

This is the result I was still trying to get back to. The first lace pattern test swatch: gotta love dropped stitches in lace!

no tucking allowed in combo with lace, but not a carriage or mylar problemweaving test: fails were from a problem sinker plate weaving lever in one direction only, hand technique success was with change of sinker plate lace and weave with 2 different weight yarns and, hallelujah!

Taking another look at the original punchcard and those arrows on the left hand side, a detail I had originally missed. Both carriages operate from the right side, for 2 rows each, switching their place on the machine bed. Arrows for design row 1 begin above red line. Transfers are all first to left, then to right. The card advances a single row for each carriage pass. With carriages operating on the same side, the punchcard advances one row for each carriage pass. Operating the LC from the left, and releasing it when it is on the right as in the previous fabric produces the desired results. The blank row on rows 3 and 8 allow the LC to travel to right, making selection for the transfer to left on the next row

the  10 row repeat and its mylar companion

the actions

the fabric, again!

Reworking the repeat in order to use the LC for four passes, beginning and ending on the left hand side of the machine, its usual home

the now 12 row repeat and its mylar companion

what the carriages are doing the final fabric  rendered in lace, with resulting transfers in proper direction

Bowknot/ Butterfly stitch on the machine_ WIP

A recent Pinterest post got me searching out some of the fabrics in this group. In hand knitting, floats creating the butterflies/ bowknots are usually apparent on the knit side. For two such patterns please see http://www.knittingstitchpatterns.com/2014/11/butterfly-bowknots.html

http://www.knittingstitchpatterns.com/2015/04/butterfly.html

https://handlife.ru/vazanie/obemnyy-uzor.html caught my attention. Here we have a combination of knit and purl stitches, with floats formed on the purl side, making the fabric or a “cousin” of it possible on the machineThis is my first experiment with gathered slip stitch floats on purl side of knit. To begin, this chart indicates one punchcard pattern’s full repeat in width.  Four repeats in length would be required (the punchcard minimum repeat in length to achieve smooth continuous card feeding is 36 rows). Punch out blue squares, leaving white ones unpunched. A single repeat (outlined in black, 8 stitches by 12 rows) is for use in electronic patterning, where one may  alternately draw or program white squares, then use color reverse. Red line represents 0 needle position in Brother KM

Pitch on H5, ribber needles are centered between main bed ones, so the “knot” width, represented by white squares, can be even in number. Begin with first needle left of 0 (red line) in work position, continue across ribber bed with every 4th needle in work

The main bed knits in slip stitch pattern for 4 rows, then knits 2 rows across all stitches. Floats are created every blank row throughout, composing the knots or butterflies. The ribber is set to knit (N,<–>N, will pick up stitches only on selected needles.
The fabric is a slip stitch one, so it will be short and narrow. That is something to be considered when planning cast on, bind off, and beginning and ending edges of the piece.
In Japanese machines a ribber comb is recommended. If casting on single bed, start with waste yarn, poke the comb through that, and proceed as you would for any other rib fabric.

My sample is knit on a 910, with white squares drawn. This is what happens when you forget to color reverse. The all blue squares now became “white”, so those 2 rows were slipped, not knit, bringing float repeats closer together  the result with color reverse working out a mylar, electronic (unless DM 80 40 stitch width is in use) repeat for a variation of the fabric knit single bed. The stitch count is odd,  allowing for a center stitch manipulation. KCI is used to make certain the first and last needle knit on each side. Floats created close to edges may be left without hooking them up. The fabric separates slightly along the “bowknot”  edges because color reverse is used, blue squares in chart slip, create floats  when Rows 6 and 12 are reached respectively, that single square becomes a non selected needle, pick up those floats with any preferred toollift them up and onto that single non selected needle, push that needle out to hold
with the next pass the single needle and loops knit off together and become part of the alternating all knit block in the design
the swatches are knit in a 2/15 wool, the fabric might be better served using a thicker yarn. Here the “blocks” creating  “floats” are side by side

For another single bed cousin in different weight yarn, please see previous post 

Fabrics worked single bed with groups of pulled up stitches on the purl side will have some distortion of the stocking stitch side depending on weight of yarn used, the number of rows hooked up, and stitch type. Working on the opposite bed to create the floats produces a more balanced fabric.

My charts often evolve. This may be done on graph paper if there is no access to software. I began adding a space between between each block, thinking about those knit stitches I want to create on the purl ground, hooking stitches up on red squaresadding border stitches and more theory on placement of stitch type
the result actually places “knit” stitches in center of butterfly (magenta arrow), not at its sides, and I see and extra purl stitch (green arrow). Multiple stitch wide borders create unwanted floats on one side
back to the drawing board, and working things out first as hand technique

I began with my carriage on the right (COR), after setting up the repeat on a multiple of 6 stitches +3 as indicated above. The last stitch on either side on both beds is never transferred, and the short loops every other set (rows 5 and 17 in chart) are not hooked up. This will produce a slightly rolled edge on each side. Larger number of border stitches become problematic. The photos were taken while knitting 2 different swatches, so needle tape markings are not the same in all photos. To produce the circular knit, opposite part buttons are pushed in so with carriage on right (COR), the settings would be

Cast on in any preferred method, ending with all stitches on the ribber Configure main bed needles as illustrated in stand alone set up row at the  bottom of chart With carriages traveling from right to left, the main bed knits on those single needles, creating floats between them and the ribber slips. When carriages travel from left to right, only the ribber knits, the main bed slips. Here the carriages have traveled to left, and back to right 
With row counter (RC) set to 000 at the start if knit, hand techniques occur on RC 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, and so on. Hooking up loops and transferring stitches between beds always occurs with carriages on the left (COL). On those rows the floats are hooked up on the center needle of the 5 empty groups. In this photo the ribber is dropped to show what is happening on each bed. The last stitches on each bed are not moved, and those short floats when created on completion of alternate repeat top halves are not hooked upafter the three floats have been hooked up, with COL each time, the in between main bed stitches are transferred back down to ribberCOL: be sure when hooking up floats that all in the series are picked up. The space between the beds is fairly narrow, tool used is purely preference based. Shifting main bed needles forward will provide a visual check for loop count as you go. I bring needles with multiple loops out to hold before transferring to ribber, and then also the transferred stitches on ribber out to hold to insure they will all knit on the next pass from left to right. Patterning occurs on every 6th needle on both beds, with the exception of border stitch groups

this is the needle arrangement / position in my final swatch, knit in 2/8 wool, COR

So what can be automated in process? The knit bed needs to work the stitches that form floats every other row, while the card or mylar need to advance every row. Trying patterns out as an all hand technique helps determine tolerance on the part of the machine and degree of patience available. With thinner yarn, the fabric would be more compressed, and maneuvering stitches more frequent to achieve similar finished size knits, so I switched to a thicker yarn. I found more than 3 rows of floats was too hard for me to manage successfully.  “Air knitting” to determine placement of knitting on any bed prior to patterning helps determine the number of needles in use, especially if edge needle placement or count matters: here is the first pass using my mylareliminating needles to any desired width, leaving only one needle in work on each side of selected needle each bed for this fabric reducing main bed count so only one needle is left on either side of a selected onethat needle (green arrow, gets transferred down to ribber now the number of needles involved on both beds is evident on both beds

While knitting in pattern the ribber pitch is set on P (point to point) to keep stitches on opposing beds centered (P pitch also makes it easier to transfer directly from one bed to the other). If the cast on is for an every other needle rib with stitches then transferred between beds for pattern knitting set up, the cast on and any all rib rows need to be knit in H pitch, with switch to P for transfers and knitting in pattern to be completed. With first row set up on selected segment of needle bed, there are additional steps to take.

This is my working repeat. Since it is 6 stitches wide, it could be worked out on a punchcard, punching out all black squares. On my mylar I marked yellow squares only, with no color reverse
To work consistently with the method described in the larger chart, the first row was manually set up on both beds preparing for pattern with COL: change knob set to KCII (cancel end needle selection, not every needle in work on main bed), KC set to slip <–>, so non selected needles slip with each pass of the carriages, advancing the mylar or card one row. The ribber set to N/N or as below, will knit from left to right. Pre selection row is made traveling to right, ribber only knits

With COR: set RC (row counter) to 000. Make certain proper part (slip) buttons are engaged. MB knits in pattern based on selected needles, ribber knits when moving from left to right. The fabric is tubularHand techniques will now also occur when carriages are on the left, on RC 5, 11, etc as described in hand technique chart, on rows with no needle selection. As in hand tech, transfers and multiple loop containing needles are brought out to hold before moving the carriages from left to right and selecting the needles for the next set of floats with that same pass.

This is my resulting fabric, hand tech shown, short mylar test above was cropped 

Revisiting knit “bubbles” brother KM

Sometimes months or even years go by before I revisit previous posts. As I review the information, it may occur to me to think about it further, and /or to present it in a slightly different way. I find it hard to believe how much time has passed since http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/06/more-knit-bubbles/ got published.  Here is another way to look at the fabric on Brother KM. Since I knit on a punchcard or a 910 electronic model, I will refer to pattern repeats in terms of punched holes or black squares.

Bubbles and drop stitch lace share some of the same principles, the effect is created by stitches that are larger than others. Slip stitch setting can be used to automate needle selection. Black squares or punched holes will knit, unpunched areas or white squares will not, with needles left in B position. Brother preselects needles for the next row of knitting, so when combining hand techniques with needle selection, one has the option to intervene before the next row in the design is actually knit. Using the card or mylar to read row 1 of the design helps determine where on needle bed to set up your repeats. In this instance the ribber knits every stitch, every row, with one extra needle on left (or more on each end if preferred) in addition to repeats # required to achieve the desired width. All needles are in work every row on both beds. Main bed knits in response to programming.

Working in multiple of repeat -1 on the top bed, plus one needle in work at each end on the ribber. Considerations need to be taken to align design properly. Markings on my metal bed are from a totally different project.The goal is this needle arrangement “air knitting” with carriage set to KC will help identify patterning repeats. Groups of 7 include a needle on each end which will be pushed back to A position in the body of the knit/ NOOW (needle out of work) indicated in chart for main bed needle set upthe first selection row a needle on either side of the groups of 7 is pushed all the way back to A position, remain there throughout  the piecean extra needle is brought into work on the ribber on either side of repeat ends. Machine settings: main bed set to slip <->, ribber set to normal knit
the ribber has now been set  up for knitting every needle, every row, with cast on and desired edging completed. The first row is selected on main bed for pattern knitting. since there are needles out of work and pattern knitting is involved, if KCI is used or end needle selection is not cancelled, the end needles on the areas being slipped will be selected to knitting position, so patterning errors will occur. First row knit on both beds is shown on remaining needlesBrother knits a row while preselecting for the next one. Here the needles in B would slip/ not knit on the next row, needles out to D (Brother skipped the letter C in needle positions) will knit. Prior to knitting that next row, stitches on the now non selected needles should be dropped across the bed this shows those stitches have been dropped, their needles are now empty, and returned to B position

end knitting with same treatment as it bottom (swatch was simply dropped off).

It is possible with solid geometric shapes such as these to release stitches at the completion of each shape. Type of yarn used and loop behavior upon dropping stitches are variables that influence success in doing so (other swatches )

An acrylic yarn was used: the first image is the fabric’s “relaxed view”

after steaming and pressing

the variation in width is due to adjustments in tension, the swatch folded over itself shows the difference in another way

Tuck lace trims (and fabrics 2)

Working between electronic and punchcard machines needs to take into account that repeats on a punchcard KM must be a factor of 24 (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12). An electronic tuck stitch repeat 

Since it is seven stitches wide, if punched accordingly it would occupy 21 out of 24 stitch units on a punchcard, so as is (unless those extra needles on the far right and left are left out of work for ladders) it would not be suitable for an all over fabric. It can however, be used for a trim. If the latter is the intent, only one series of vertical repeats as seen below needs to be punched. The numbers below the image indicate Brother needle tape markings. This is a 6 row tuck fabric, so thinner yarns should be used if the pattern is automated, as tuck loops build up in needle hooks. If you wish to experiment with slightly thicker yarns, decrease the unpunched areas to 4 rows, or execute using holding. Held stitches sit on top of the needle shank, tolerance is determined by how many rows it either takes for knit stitches on sides of the loops jumping off needles, or accumulated loops being unable to knit off consistently on the next all knit pass. To test yarn out, try the technique by using holding, then punch your card. Automating makes the process less prone to error and faster if great lengths of a trim are needed. 

Using the trim as the cast on edge for a garment: determine the length required after a technique test. Knit a bit extra and remove on waste yarn, so more may be added or some be unravelled if needed or you wish to change the configuration using it as your cast on. Rehang and cast on later when it is completed. The flared out portions of the trim will be used to “cast on” the edge of the piece, continuing with some needles out of work

an attempt at line drawing the “trim” sideways

Using the curved out edge of the trim, hang stitches half if possible, or one full stitch away from its edge as illustrated below. Knit 4 rows. With a tool pick up all ladder loops created by NOOW (RC 1-4) and hang on center empty needle. Knit rows (RC 5, 6), hang ladder loops on still empty needles, knit across all needle, continue with garment

needle arrangementpicking up loops 

The yarn is a cotton, and appears to have a tendency toward biasing on knit rows as seen in the tendency to lean in one direction in above photos. It has no stretch, so stitches that knit off several tuck loops remain  elongated. A look at the structure on the purl side:

In Brother knitting when needles are out of work, the automatic end needle selection  may interfere with the pattern, and this is a consideration in many knits. Intro to all over tuck “lace” patterns: one to try. Two 8 st repeats shown, suitable for all kms 

Single bed: arrange the needles as shown. Cast on and knit a few rows, set knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, and knit desired number of rows.

Double bed: OOW needles on main bed will now be in use on the ribber Set half pitch lever on H, racking indicator on 5. Cast on desired number of stitches, knit base rows. Set half pitch lever on P, transfer stitches between beds arranging them as shown with NOOW on both beds. Set change knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, knit in pattern for desired number of rows.

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: working with short rows

Another Ravelry thread recently looked at knitting this pattern, from an old Knittax pattern book

I found this in a different manual, with similar structure, and “english” directions

symbols used in Knittax patterns 

On the purl side this creates structures that emulate crocheted shells. My first attempts at trying to knit anything like this were in thin yarn, and I had enough issues to give up for the moment. Things worked out much better when I switched to a sport weight yarn that seemed to like knitting at T 10 for stocking stitch. With NOOW set up, my sample was knit at T 9. Waste yarn and ravel cord are often a good way to start, but not always necessary, same is true of weight. I began with a crochet cast on, every needle, multiple of 4 st + 2, then dropped the alternate pairs of needles between the first and last 2 pairs of needles in work, pulling the needles back to A position, determining the width of my “shells”

Working from right to left, starting with COR; the first pair of needles on carriage side in work, remaining needles away from carriage are in hold position moving toward left, the adjacent needle in the first pair in hold gets wrapped; be sure to retain proper positions for knitting and holding the first wrap completed, needles in position to continue the process is repeated X number of times. I chose to wrap X 5, which requires 10 rows of knitting, making the row counter usable to track rows in easy increments. When wraps are completed, push wrapped needle and its partner into work, knit one row make certain all the loops have knit off , wrap the first needle to their left, bring pair on the right to hold continue for your desired number of wrapsreturn wrapped needle and its partner to work position, knit one row, wrap next single needle on left remember to bring needles to right of the pair just knit into holdrepeat to end of row. Reverse process moving from left to right (in progress photo). I found a single tooth from a claw weight on pair of stitches doing all the knitting helpful. 

The resulting swatch knit side its purl side

Variations can include the number of needles used for knit stitches or ladders width created from NOOW, yarn choices, etc.

here the technique is used for a trim, both sides shown  trying to imagine process  chart format 

online inspiration: a youtube shawl , and techniques that use holding while moving across the needle bed in similar manner, though not necessarily producing “crochet like” fabrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR_7Ys9KIaU&t=4s    http://postila.ru/post/29275341  http://alessandrina.com/?s=wisteria

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: working with “chains”

For the month of June, on Ravelry, a group of us are going to look at crochet like stitches produced on the knitting machine. This will be an evolving and growing post series as I have time to gather and share information. http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/machine-knitting/3631399/1-25#25

There are a group of single bed braids/edgings following horizontal chains produced on the knitting machine that have reminded me of crochet. They are based on frequent latch tool bind offs that occur with the fabric facing either side as it is regularly removed from the knitting machine. The bind offs by necessity will move in either or both directions, since a continuous yarn strand may be used unless one chooses to change colors. The bound off edge is rehung and worked further. It is a great way to get proficient at the technique, or to get some use from that linker that has been in storage (providing a loose enough tension producing big enough stitches for it to work smoothly may be used). For the purposes of this discussion, this illustration of a crochet chain shows places where the hook might be inserted and exit before picking up yarn to create the next stitch with a hook. I think of rear and front loops illustrated as creating a “chain”, and the one in the rear as a “bump”.

Below I have used an acrylic yarn that tests the 4.5 mm machine’s limit at the loosest possible tension. In a crochet cast on, the “bump” is sitting on top of the needles, the “chain” below them

parts of cast on structure taken off the machine: the “bump” “rear loop”“front loop”“both loops”

most of these fabrics start with latch tool cast on required number of stitches for chain +1 knit one row, bind off remove work from machine, do not cut yarn 

options for picking up and rehanging stitches: front loop of “chain”back loop of “chain”both loops of “chainroll work toward you to reach rear “bump”work turned over, rear “bump”rear loop of “chain” as shown in topfront loop of “chain” with rear of fabric facing you 

To keep the number of stitches constant for straight edge on both sides of piece, the loop at the end gets its own needle. A sample created picking up rear loop only, without turning the work over at any time. View of side 1 and loop consistently worked. Note the slight bias in fabric, due to its being worked always in the same direction. Turning the work over would eliminate the problem, in a similar way as transferring eyelets in opposite directions achieves that in lace.

its reverse side 

Such trims may be used for no roll edges anywhere on a garment. The number of stitches may be decreased following shaping ie in necklines. Starting with waste yarn, ravel cord, and a chain cast on row, one can produce stand alone trims. The look as always varies considerably with fiber used and its bulk. Other variations and tips:

  • knit more than one row between bind off (2 or 3) at maximum tension, the chained row will roll slightly, giving a different look; removing the work from the machine and turning it over before binding off, will get the chain to roll to the opposite side
  • keep the number of needles in use constant for straight edges, use math to calculate episodic count adjustments such as decreases if needed
  • reverse side is usually the one facing away from the knitter. That is a consideration in planning the look of the trims, depending on whether the body of the piece is to use the purl or knit side as the “public” one.
  • in Brother machines holding position is E (they skipped C), in Studio machines it is D. To ensure stitches’ knitting off properly, work may be brought to this position after each knit row
  • textures are further varied by using needles out of work or transfers within knit rows or rehanging concave or concave loops in varied sequences. Looking at stitch formation after 3 knit rows

Convex loops are what is picked up when hanging a hem or turning the work over. In sampling I tend to use any yarn at hand. Quality of material directly relates however, to quality of results. The white here is a 2/15 acrylic, the blue a 4 ply wool. I knit a long white strip, making a side available for rehanging on the machine, and continuing with a series of trial trims. All samples were made with purl side facing, but depending on preference and end use, the fabric could be returned to machine with knit side facing as well. It is helpful to have a neat selvedge. If the edge includes increases or decreases making them fully fashioned with provide one. Yarns with “memory” ie wool will retain the rolling effect produced by extra knit rows. Stitches are picked up on the finished knit a full stitch away from edge. I tend to keep my yarn continuous rather than binding off with separate threads. Pull a long loop out at the carriage side, avoiding tugging and distorting of end stitches when lifting them off the gate pegs in order to rehang them on needles after turning the work over. Adjust loop size prior to knitting the next row. Hang it on the first stitch on that side, or on the adjacent empty needle if you find you are a single stitch short (machine knitting magic)

Trim 1: stitches rehung on machine  all needle brought out to hold position knit 2 rows latch tool bind off (LTBO)

Remove work from machine, turn the work over (in this case the knit side was now facing me), pick up concave loops and rehang on km, keeping track of stitch count. Bring needles out to hold, making certain each needle has a stitch on it

knit 2 rows, LTBOI steamed swatch, some roll lost because of fiber used 

Trim 2: hang stitches on every other needle, thicker yarn 
bring needles out to hold, check stitches, knit 2 rowsLTBO
turn work over, rehang EON (every other needle) knit 1 rowLTBO, lift off

proceed as above, except after first hanging stitches on EON, bring all the empty needles out to work, check stitches knit 2 rows on every needle LTBO, lift off loop that gets picked up and rehung with work turned over, rehang stitches EON bring all needles out to hold, check stitches, knit 2 rows LTBO, lift off

Trim 3: stitches on EON, introducing tuck loopsknit multiple rows hook ladders up on empty needlesbring all needles out to hold, checking stitches LTBO, lift off machine, turn work over picking up grouped loops placing them on EONknit 2 rowsLTBO, lift off


Linker manuals: Studio , Brother 

A no longer “mystery pattern”

A Ravelry post  was followed up by my first , untested interpretation of the repeat here the center stitch selection in center of knit blocks is eliminated partial repeat for punchcards electronic repeat X 2

reviewing idea after a few days I realized the repeat should be edited; orange squares need to be knit stitches

Slip <-> creates floats to be hung on center non selected needles of blocks of 5. Before next row is knit, bring that needle out to hold to insure groups of loops  in needle hook will knit off with next carriage pass.

When I sampled this repeat, I decided three all knit rows between loops were too many, and this became my final repeat, tiled X 4 (suitable for punchcard)

multiple tuck loops, side by side  do not even stay in hooksslip stitch sample, purl side a bit closer knit side

A new “leaf” lace

I am often surprised when I return to visiting past ideas and discover how long I have actually been blogging. In 2016 Vogue knitting published what appeared to me to be an interesting pattern for a leaf lace variant combining dropped stitches and lace transfers. In looking back my leaf “phase” began in 2011. Here are links to my previous posts and process at the time:http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/15/beginnings/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/20/in-progress/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/20/on-the-blocking-board/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/02/25/back-to-lace/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/02/28/more-on-those-slanting-lace-leaves/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/08/back-to-leaf-lace-add-rib-and-take-it-to-the-passap/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/20/getting-there/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/27/the-joys-of-lace-on-the-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/03/22/ladders-with-lace-making-things-work/

Below, I am sharing my WIP swatches and notes. I am presently working on some production knitwear pieces, and it is unclear when I will return to more samples of this variant.

The “new leaf” requires hand techniques, working with multiple transfer tools. Dropped stitches in hand knitting may translate to ladders in a machine knit. My first trial swatch was made on the standard KM.  Casting off and on posed interesting questions. The lines where knit stitches meet ladders, as pointed out in previous posts, can result in the knit stitches aside the ladder growing in size

I do not enjoy time consuming hand techniques on the machine, so to speed things up I moved on to the bulky. As with any other knitting, the lengthwise sides of the knit are going to want to curl to the purl side. I deliberately worked with an acrylic yarn, anticipating that blocking it would be required to attempt to get the results to stay flat. Here is the resulting swatch, as first off the KM

after pressing with steam 

A couple of days later the fabric was still lying flat, so I decided to try to chart it out for slightly different results, while planning for a different turning angle and a consistent number of ladders throughout.


I began to use Excel 2008 in 2009, as well as Apple’s Pages and sometimes Numbers over time to produce my charts and illustrations. I keep learning tiny bits as time goes on. Some features may disappear in such programs or become added with upgrades. These are settings I prefer for backgrounds and borders in Excel

format

and for screen grabs or improved visibility, zoom comes in handy 

For links to online tutorial by others authors http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/29/charting-knits-in-excel/, a search in my own blog will lead you to my own explorations over time. Simple graph paper and color pencils may be used if software is not available to help work out proper repeats, etc. A single repeat of my leaves so far is shown in 2 segments for increased visibility, successful knitting, probably in another “killable yarn” tbd.

A shawl tale 2

Recent runway knits include lots of color/ technique patches, and ruffles galore. I no longer share that information here, for those interested they may be found in my pinterest boards http://pinterest.com/manydrina/

My “spider web” shawl has been a popular for sale item for me for a very long time. From time to time the line was joined by chenille and felted ones with variations in shape

wool rayonfelted wool chenille 

Most of my chenille inventory traveled with me to my new residence. The yarn has some challenges in knitting and handling, which may relate to the core content holding the fibers in place, and its twist. Lace holes may disappear with blocking, fibers shed sporadically with washing, and so on. The quality and behavior is not necessarily price or source dependent. Swatching is always worth it. As I work on new ideas, I occasionally decide to “wing it”. I prefer shawls that work with a bit of neck shaping rather than simple triangles. So I thought: faroese style shawl, 2 triangles and a shape with a bit of holding at the center, just “knit it”. The first triangle knit was the striped section, shaped with increases from 3 stitches to desired width. The wedge section had interesting issues with biasing, even with blocking . The solid green triangle, shaped with decreases actually knit to a size different enough so it had to be unravelled and re knit. There are many hand knitting patterns published that offer directions for “asymmetrical” shawls, which use such differences as design features, and that certainly can be an option in machine knitting as well. Calling the item a shawlette or scarf also discounts many issues. That said, I got this sort of shapeand wanted this, with close to equal shaping on  either side of the center wedge

The original idea had been to create a ruffled edging with color patterning using the slip setting, automating needle selection, pattern, and shaping. Brother has Imo created the worst single bed color changer on the market. It is the only one I know of where the yarn does not leave the changer and in turn travel with the knit carriage sinker plate. The chenille yarns simply did not clear it properly for me, sticking together, and looping far too easily (though smooth yarns had no issues). So then my 910 got set up, and I thought to try knitting with 2 carriages. For the pattern I wanted to create even this involved issues with carrying yarn up the design stripes, and after trying slip and FI patterning I gave up and went for the KISS principle, returning to single color shaping using holding to create the ruffled edging.

the finished chenille shawl

purl side

Some of the steps I would do differently or add in future pieces:

1.definitely gauge swatch, perhaps even draft shapes on knit leader and use it to guide triangle (or other shaping) for shawl segments

2. shape both large triangles with decreases, requiring one to be started on waste yarn (yellow line) and rehung prior to section knit in holding. Red arrows indicate direction of knitting for each piece

3. yarn markers every X # of rows along outer edge of shawl or on inner ruffle edge if it is knit separately, may be helpful both for seam as you knit, or later for joining the ruffle by hand

4. if color changer is required, try to use the double color changer, with knitting weighted as for rib (this is a very viable option for frequent color changes on bulky machine). Drawback here is the pattern is no longer immediately visible, so any errors or dropped stitches may be missed in time for immediate repair.

…………….

 

 

Ribber cast on comb/ open stitch single bed cast on

My first encounter using a ribber cast on comb for open edge single bed knitting was in using the Passap machine. Its use for this purpose is possible on other brands as well. It provides an easy way to deal with waste yarn and weight application on ribbed fabrics.  I like using ribber cast on combs when knitting single bed to distribute weight evenly across pieces if needed. A second comb may be inserted as knitting grows. Weights may then be removed and moved up, and so on. Unevenly distributing weight causes elongated stitches in those areas, and makes shaped knitting unpredictable unless the ratio of weight to width of knitting is maintained. Here the topic is using the ribber comb in single bed open cast on and hanging hems.

My Japanese machines are used chiefly for production of single bed items, so usually they are ribber free. Balancing the ribber on older KMs can be fussy, so once the ribber is up, working, and well balanced, my recommendation is to leave it in place if it is going to be used on a regular basis.

For this technique use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., brand is not relevant, only tooth spacing is. It is possible to cut ribber cast on combs into different widths for use when knitting is planned on fewer stitches than those accommodated by their available commercial widths. In the yarn used in my swatches, I found knitting the first row at stocking stitch tension created large enough stitches for later picking up and hanging the hem. Test your yarn, if necessary use a looser tension for the “cast on” row, and evaluate any inside hem “drop” if looser stitch size is used.

Remove wire from comb. Bring the comb up and between needles to be used, and  re insert wire. Needles and latches will need to travel easily under the wire when the first knit row takes place. 

The knit carriage will not clear the comb properly because of the location of its brushes, etc. For the “cast on” row, exchange the sinker plate on your knit carriage for that normally used with the ribber. The first photo below shows the approximate location for the comb during the first row knit. Needles are centered between the teeth, the teeth themselves line up with gate pegs. The comb needs to be manually held in place, since there is no opposing bed in use to help balance it. The latter would ease the process in wider pieces of knit. The ribber sinker plate has no brushes or wheels to anchor knitting on the knitting bed; any rows knit single bed using it, will need to have needles brought out to hold position prior to knitting each row for all stitches to be formed properly

the comb in positiona pass is made slowly with the ribber sinker plate in place the comb is droppedbring all needles out to hold position knit one more row, returning to starting positionchange sinker plate on knit carriage, proceed with hemthe comb will then need to be lifted up to close the hemfirst rest a knitting needle or similar tool on the open hem  lift comb up enclosing knitting needle, add weightslift comb perpendicular to needles, move it forward sightly for a better view of stitchesneedles (red dot) need to enter the stitches through their center (yellow highlight), not their side (orange highlight) or stitches will later drop; push needles through the center of each stitch on comb continue across the bed 

remove wire from comb, lift it up and offremove weights and knitting needle; wrap cut yarn end around last needle on that side pick up from row below to fill in “missing single stitch” on opposite sidecomplete hem with looser joining row, return to standard tension, continue knitting 

To achieve joining hems in this manner with the ribber in place, though possible on both beds, it is quickest to cast on the back bed (Passap) or on the knit bed (Brother, etc.). Hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up as shown above, with the flow combs/ gate pegs, and the needled can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the front bed/ ribber, and tilts the comb against the back/ knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the lock or carriage across. Take the locks / carriages across to opposite side, drop the comb and weigh it, knit 2 rows on Passap before using strippers. In Japanese kms drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit on the main bed.

“bump”: Passap comb“bumps”: Brother comb 

For other purposes and an edge similar to a “weaving cast on” executed on Japanese machines use EON for the “cast on row”, then bring into work and add the rest of the needles prior to knitting the second row.