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.

MK ladders, and a bit of crochet

I have recently been thinking about collars and edgings again, this time adding crochet detailing to help cut the edge curl and add interest. In a previous post I showed an edging done in drop stitch (double bed lace). Here to simplify things, I decided to work with ladder spaces to create the fabric. If a large width of this fabric is required, multiple bands would need to be joined to achieve it, crochet is then applied in turn to the the finished knit piece. Seam as you knit can make the joining nearly invisible. Using excel, I tried to also create crochet symbols using its shapes menu. The number of rows knit in open pattern or all knit prior to binding off are at your discretion, depending on your needs and planned final product. For my sample I began knitting with COR, and to end with COR for bind off row, I chose to work with even numbered groups of rows. Consider fiber content if the intent is to permanently block as flat as possible, or not.

my chart symbols symbols_70

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needle set up, waste yarn cast on, knit for desired length  setup_62img_4095bring one empty needle into worktransfer_63img_4096knit one row, bring remaining empty needle into work plain-knit_64img_4097knit one row img_4099knit rows desired for top bandimg_4100transfer eon from L to rightallk-transfer_65img_4101latch tool bind off around gate pegs for all needles/stitches img_4102

img_4103do not cut yarn, lift work off machine; turn work over (knit side facing)
chain 5, slip stitch into eyelet created by transfers, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last eyelet space detail_4121turn work over (purl side facing once again), chain 3, 2 double crochet, slip stitch into center of chain 5 space, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last chain 5 space detail_4120unblocked trim, 2/15 acrylic yarn img_4104

img_4105detail after steaming, the trim is side leaning img_4119

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To use: rehang open stitches on every needle (or other arrangement) eliminating ladder spaces and bind off,  join to another piece of knit, etc.

Zig Zag ladder lace 2: hand knit

I work primarily on a Mac, Maverick OS. Intwined software has had some issues operating in Mac consistently in the latest OS versions. The chart to text can be a really nice feature. The repeat, drawn here with symbols in the built in stitch library, shows errors in row 2 and 4 of the accompanying text.single repeatmistakes single

On a larger canvas, the original repeat is outlined below in red. Yellow indicates knit border stitches around ladder lace pattern repeats; row 22 is absent from the text that accompanied the larger chart.

full chart

full directionsSkitch is a free program, available for both Mac and Windows, that allows the opportunity for of highlighting or further editing a graphic. Taking the information above, here I added numbers that reflect actual repeat rows, used the arrows as a reminder of change in direction of zig zag, and the red outlines vs green indicate changes in type of knit decrease. It is easy to add as much or as little additional information as one feels helpful. There are controls for line thickness, shadows, etc.

actual repeat

JKnit is another program that may be of interest to anyone who prefers to track their projects, progress, and much more on their iPad or iPhone. The Lite version is free for both devices.

Below is an image of the hand knit swatch, unblocked, which appears three dimensional; transfer  lace has traditionally been blocked to lie flat and maximize eyelets. The fabric may be very interesting without blocking. If a slightly thicker yarn with “memory” is used, the piece may be steamed lightly, and the pattern segments will tend to shift in and out from the flat surface, whether the piece is hand or machine knit.IMG_1901

The yarn used was a “throw away” swatch testing acrylic. A very quick, light press and a bit of steam and here it is in the resulting killed, forever flattened version

IMG_1905  and it reverse side

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Zig Zag ladder lace 1: on knitting machine

My previous posts on combining ladders and lace: 1, 2 . The chart below, found in a random Japanese publication, started the process of my sorting out a possible “how to” on the knitting machine
bulky zig zag lace

In hand knitting, the 2  empty circles generally indicate a double yarn over. On the machine these can be simulated by working with extra empty needles. For swatching, a few rows of stocking stitch will do as a start. In a final fabric, waste yarn may be followed by ravel cord and a crochet cast on. After the crochet cast on, the chain on the needles for the extra “yarn over” location can be dropped, leaving those needles “empty”, and the pattern may begin immediately.

One of the 2 yarn overs will be created by manipulating an empty needle, the other by transferring stitches by hand as one would in lace.

If the empty needle if moved back to A, a ladder is created that is essentially a float in front of the gate pegs up to the next knit stitch. For purposes here, the result did not give me enough yarn to be able to maneuver.

The first step is to decide on the repeat between transfers, and emptying appropriately spaced needles, seen here in A position

IMG_1878

for the longer “float”: before the first row of the pattern, the empty needle is brought out to work, a row is knit, resulting in loops on those needles, that will create extra yarn slack

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the loop is in turn dropped

IMG_1883a tool is inserted through the loopIMG_1893

turned  clockwise for  casting on  in one direction,

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and turned counter clockwise for casting on in the opposite. Note that in one instance the long leg of the e is in back of the knit on the purl side, in the second in front. This makes a difference on the knit side of the fabric as well.

IMG_1894

to get the look of ssk and ssp as seen in hand knitting (instead of a simple decrease),  depending on the direction you are traveling, the needle 3 stitch is moved to its right or left onto the center one to create the second “yarn over” . Both stitches are then returned  together to the needle 3 position

IMG_1879

and with the transfer and e wrap completed, one is ready for the next row of knitting. Bringing the 3 needles out to hold gives one the opportunity to check all transfers and wraps, makes the next row easier to knit

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the turn of the zig zag: pick up from row below for increase, instead of e wrapping for a neater turn

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my first swatch: 1/ ladder at start of row; 2/ shows chain moving along the knit side, emulating ssk and ssp decreases seen in hand knitting; all my e wraps were made clockwise, 3 shows the long leg of the wrap moving to front of fabric as opposed to the rear as in 5, each giving a different look to ladder’s edge; 4 indicated the pivot point for reversing the direction of the zig zagnumbered_1892below shows the results of alternating the directions of the e wraps in each section: clockwise when moving to left, counter clockwise when moving toward right. The large eyelet at the top illustrates what happens typically when an empty needle is brought back into work at the top of a ladder.

IMG_1890 (1)

Ladders may be created in any desired width. The look of the vertical knit edges becomes a matter of preference. Good note-keeping helps insure consistent results.

 

Ladders with lace, “making things work” 2

My preferred, e wrapped  1 to 3 increase

knit side

300_12purl side

300_13

The how: begin with transferring 2 side stitches onto the center one

knit row 1

1knit row 2

2

insert tool as shown

3

turn clockwise, place yarn twist on needle to left of center one

4

insert tool as shown

5

twist counter clockwise, bring twisted stitch behind float on right of center, lift twisted loop and place it onto the empty needle to right of the center

6

pick up a loop from the triple stitch below last 2 knit rows as shown, and lift it onto center stitch

7

knit 2 rows, continue in pattern according to chart

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

Ladder lace

The inspiration: part of a magazine photo

A slightly different approach than in last post. The tale begins with a hand knit graph:

expanded to include alternate rows

the “graph” paper version

If a punchcard is to be used, all colored squares represent punched holes. I used my 910, Studio mylar for my swatch. The mylar repeat and programmed numbers:

The approach in the execution is a bit different from the previous samples. In this instance, colored squares represent number of stitches to be moved/ number of prongs on transfer tool to be used; the pairs of transfers are made away from each other, orange to the right, green to the left. The transfers produce 2 empty needles side by side; they are left in work, as the next row is knit they will produce loops on each needle. Side by side loops do not make stitches, so subsequent rows will continue the ladder. It is helpful to use yarn that does not split and get caught in hooks, as that may partially knit on the next pass. Also, rows with loops should be checked to make certain they are in the hooks, not off, before the next row of knitting. Do not release the loops; on the next set of transfers, treat the loop (where circles occur in graph) as you would a stitch, moving it over on its own prong. As with transfer lace, it bears taking the time to knit slowly and prevent errors rather than having to attempt “fixing” large runs due to dropped stitches.

the resulting swatch on the standard KM (2/8 wool)

the punchcard

the related swatch knit on the 260 bulky KM

The yarn is an alpaca too thick for the standard.  I liked at tension 1 for stocking stitch, but I had to increase the tension to  3.. to be able to manage the transfers, especially the ones over by 3 stitches X2.

for a sense of the scale difference between the 2 swatches

The punchcard was made from a roll purchased directly from Hong Kong, advertised specifically for Brother. The roll is continuous, with separations as seen in the image below. Numbering however is for Studio KM systems, so adjustments need to be made for using them on Brother KMs (ie. first selection row will be row 3 as marked in punchcard used in swatch above).

Ladders and Lace

The patterning resulting from creating and manipulating ladders with needles out of work can create interesting open work fabrics. I like to use punchcards or mylars for “automatic” patterning in selecting needles, with carriage set to plain knit,  to help keep track of where to introduce transfers when possible. Microsoft Excel or Mac Numbers remain my favorite “graph papers” for working out repeats at various stages of developing the trial swatches.

A work in progress sketch: 2 side by side repeats, my first “drawing”. Empty circles indicate where I think I want to produce holes, green transfers and orange ones are toward each other, colored squares (orange and green) indicate number of prongs on tool used for transfers: orange transfers are made with single eye tool, green with triple eye one. Needles in greyed out area are left out of work after each transfer to create ladders. Where a lace hole is desired the empty needle is returned to work after its stitch is transferred. The yellow line is the knit every row center stitch of the pattern. The chart does not match the card, which was further edited

the punchcard repeat for the edited final version, including markings showing directions of transfers and ” row 1″

the resulting swatch

have a brick repeat sorted out, not certain about its end use

another card, 2 prong tool used for transfers, arrows on right indicate direction of those transfers, color change indicates its reversal

the resulting fabric: A_ empty needles left in work throughout, B_ as direction of transfers is reversed, the empty needle on top portion is “filled”in by  lifting up purl bar from row below on its adjacent side , C_ 2 adjacent needles are constantly left empty to create ladders, with one needle brought into work for every one taken completely out of work as needed. There are more possibilities. When experimenting it is helpful to keep good notes to insure ability to reproduce the desired effects.

previous post on leaf shaped lace