Revisiting drop / release stitch lace

This technique is called drive and mesh lace, release stitch or summer fair isle by Passap, and drop stitch lace in some of the pattern books. Drive lace typically has lines of patterning where loops are formed between rows of all knit stitches. The main fabric, usually stockinette, is knitted and produced by either bed. Selected needles knit pattern stitches on the other bed for one or more rows, then are dropped from those needles, unraveling back to their starting point, creating the larger, open stitches.

The fabric may be created both as a hand technique or using automated patterning. In sources that show loops being formed on the ribber, stitches are released by uncoupling the ribber carriages and moving the it across the knitting and then back to its original spot, thus dropping the stitches. In studio machines the P carriage may be used to drop stitches, see previous posts on modifying one for use on Brother KM.

The tension setting on the patterning bed affects the loop size and its tension is frequently one to three numbers looser than the all knit bed tension. In Brother machines the ribber knits at a tighter gauge than main bed, so take that into consideration and adjust it when knitting all knit rows on every needle on the ribber, where the tension may need to be loosened one or more numbers than when knitting same yarn in stocking stitch on the main bed. Matching tensions numbers on both beds may provide enough of a difference in stitch size for loop formation. The difference in gauge between the beds also merits calculating adjustments when knitting in circular or U format.

Releasing stitches may happen after every pattern row, after groups of pattern rows (such as bubbles or check patterns), or even at times when knitting is completed. With groups of pattern rows I have had better results with more frequent stitch release. Two types of mesh can be created. “Stockinette” mesh has an equal number of rows on both beds. The result is enlarged “stocking” stitches  along with narrower, single bed ones on any one row. Half Milano mesh has a horizontal ridge on the purl side with 2 rows knit on the all knit fabric bed, to every one row on the patterning bed. One of the rows has the patterning bed slip every needle, with the ribber only knitting, the second row forms the combination size stitches as discussed previously. In patterning in Brother KMs this would need to have such rows added to the programmed design. The fabric is a bit more “stable”. Passap offers multiple techniques for dropping stitches, often referred to as summer fair isle and using 2 colors per row. Different looks are achieved by changing built in technique number, as well as when using a stitch ditcher on every row knit, as opposed to using “empty” passes of locks to drop the stitches.

Previous posts on topic: http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/24/working-out-the-kinks-in-my-drop-stitch-lace-saga/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/16/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-passap-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-japanese-machines/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/14/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-brother-km/
knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/

stitch dropping tools
http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchersdumpers/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/10/brother-kms-pile-knitting-ribbed-stitch-dropping-tools/

anther related fabric: http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on single (either) bed http://alessandrina.com/2017/02/14/ribber-cast-on-comb-open-stitch-single-bed-cast-on/

Working with positive and negative space variations: the repeat is suitable for any machine, my sample is executed on Brother KM. Since alternate, all blank rows have no needle selection, before knitting that row (ribber only will knit), dropping stitches knit on the main bed on the previous row will not alter pattern

using any method you prefer, set up knitting so all stitches are on the ribber. If you prefer to set up complete repeats prior to watching, “air knitting” prior to ribber set up or using position option on the main bed if that is available, will help achieve that  set knit carriage to KC II (used when patterning does not occur on every needle across needle bed), both part buttons pushed in for free pass to opposite side of km, no knitting occurs but first row of pattern knitting is selected. Ribber is set to N<–> throughoutas the carriages now move to opposite side, selected needles on the main bed pick up loops, non selected needles stay empty. Ribber knits every stitch using a ribber cast on comb, stitch “dumper”, or other tool, move needles holding stitches forward to drop loops, and return empty needles to work position (B)as carriages move to opposite side, needles are selected for next row of knit stitches to be knit on main bed carriages now move to opposite side, loops are picked up on selected needles all needles are now not selected,  above stitches/ loops are dropped, needles are returned to B position before the next carriages’ passcarriages move to opposite side, selecting pattern needlescarriages move to opposite side, picking up loops

before carriages move again, drop stitches formed. Watch loops after they are dropped, if tugging on knit is not enough to pull them out of way of needles returning to patterning, take a tool or something like a credit card. Slide it from one side to the other between the beds, thus keeping loops clear away from main bed 

In summary; assuming one is starting on right side of machine COR
step 1.  <-carriages select needles that will form loops
step 2.  ->carriages knit picking up loops
step 3.  drop loops just formed, returning all empty needles to B position
step 4+   repeat 1-3 for entire length of piece

My sample was knit in a slightly fuzzy wool. Smooth, thinner yarns result in longer stitches whose patterns get read more easily. Because wool has “memory” the vertical edges tend to roll to purl side, and return to rolling even after heavy pressing and steaming. There are a couple of spots where no long stitch was created due to markings on mylar not being dark enough.

Other things to consider: this fabric widens when blocked, so cast on, bind off, and beginning and ending edges need to accommodate that. This particular design creates a fairly balanced fabric. In many drop stitch fabrics, it is recommended that edges contain stitches dropped in pattern in order to maintain vertical length at edges. To achieve that, first and last needles on both sides should be on the main bed. That said, having an all knit border (stitches knitting only on ribber, no dropped stitches) may work well in your pattern, or pull edges in too tightly when compared to the all over motif released repeats. Testing on your swatch can be achieved easily by simply taking some needles on the main bed out of work on one side, thus creating the “all knit border”. The latter can happen by accident if not all needles are returned to B position properly after dropping stitches.

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

“Camino” bubbles, hand knit

I was written an email asking about the possibility of creating bubbles in hand knitting, this is my attempt, may serve as a starting point for DIY.

Below a small sample serves as illustration of my first attempt. It was knit in acrylic,  steamed to the point of death, but shows the type of elongation of the “bubble” stitches using this technique. To keep things simple I stuck to a “square” shape. Stitch counts and placements of shapes may be adjusted to suit. It is possible to knit or purl the yarn overs, unraveling the extra stitches before knitting the original number of stitches when the top of the bubble is reached, but the resulting look is a bit different. It is worth trying, depending on preference for type of result, or the way one is accustomed to dealing with elongated stitches and yarn overs in hand knitting.

So I now own a new Mac, no longer have Microsoft Office available, and am now working my way through charting diagrams using Mac Numbers.  Below is a  possible working chart with a different stitch count than above. I would suggest larger blocks of all knit stitches and rows between “bubble” repeats

The further step of taking the technique to a brick repeat follows. I have been experimenting with a varied number of rows and stitches. Subsequently I was happier with knitting or purling the yarn over as an extra stitch/ increase until I had worked the desired number of rows, then dropping those extra stitches, thus working once again on the original number cast on. The shape also seemed a little less square to me if a second row was worked before returning to making yarn overs. A border of more than one stitch on either side helps stabilize the shape edges.

This sample was worked in my “throw away” acrylic 4 ply. To my eye the most pleasing and effective bubble happened on the least number of rows of dropped stitches (diagram provided above). The top and bottom edge of the “bubble” looked the best when stitches were taken off the needle on one row, and not allowed to “run” to the yarn over row until after the next row was knitted or purled all the way across. That may not be the best idea, especially when working much wider pieces of knit. Dropping back to yarn over row as you work row 6, 13, etc. of chart provides a more controlled way of checking “runs” for individual stitches, making repairs for any errors easier. Dropping yarn overs with each pass seems to me to be the easiest way to track knitting as it progresses or gets wider, and counting bubble rows is far more easily tracked. Below, variation #5 matches the above chart.
the reverse of the fabric, lightly killed with steaming and pressing 

A last swatch: here a row is knit or purled as seen in chart above, after yarn overs and their treatment is completed. If the aim is bubbles which will not be flattened out, dropping the yarn overs on each row worked gives a flatter (bottom of swatch), less of  a “bubble” effect than knitting or purling the yarn over before dropping it at the appropriate point (top of swatch). If the fabric is to be “killed” as flat as possible, dropping the yarn overs each row may be good enough.


My machine knitting posts on this topic:  http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchersdumpers/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/06/more-knit-bubbles/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/07/a-bubbles-cousin/
http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

 

Carpet or pile stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 2

Trial swatches do not necessarily require a permanent edge. A main bed cast on with all open stitches is familiar to knitters accustomed to using a single bed Brother cast on comb. A quick version of the same type of cast on is also doable when both beds are in use, and the goal is to knit all stitches only on one bed or the other. The broken toe cast on for rib is so called because if comb and weights are hung in the wrong location on the needle bed, when stitches on the opposite bed are dropped, so will the comb be along with weights, heading for your feet. If the ribber is going to be the bed doing the knitting that anchors dropped stitches or pile in Brother kms, please note: prongs of ribber comb line up directly in front of main bed needles (blue arrow) and to each side of the loops on ribber bed needles (red arrow). The ribber comb wires will anchor down loops on needle bed where plain knit rows will be formed. As mentioned above, this method will result in stitches all being open, does not produce a permanent edge, is suitable for quick swatching or for waste yarn at the bottom of weighted fabric. It is possible to perform this cast on with ribber comb with wire already inserted in both brands, but the broken toe method is potentially less hazardous to needle health.brokent_toe_arrowsAnalyzing what is required to move between km brands with the goal of achieving 2 color or isolated pile motifs: in Passap with the back bed set to FX, one arrow key, EON pusher/ needle selection changes every 2 rows. In Brother this may be achieved on the main bed by pushing in one tuck button and programming a repeat.  The alternate, adjacent cam button, left in its normal position, will knit every stitch when knitting direction is reversed regardless of whether any needle selection is happening. On the ribber lili buttons may be used for alternate needle selection. Its levers determine whether tucking or slipping, in one direction or both, occur. The number of stitches on the ribber must be even. An easy visual check is to check markings on needle tape, which consist of what I refer to as dashes and blanks. For an even number begin with one, end with the other.  Passap will automatically revert to the alternate pusher for patterning on the subsequent 2 rows. In using lilis this is not an automatic function, and some handwork is required to obtain the same effect by changing first needle selection every third row as seen in this post.

If the ribber is chosen as the loop making bed, selection there needs to be manual for any pattern other than across whole rows. In my swatch, to knit across all needles the ribber carriage is set to slip in one direction, knit in the other. The all knit rows in pile knitting need to follow the ones with tuck loops on the opposite bed.  Extra needles are on main bed, which creates the fabric backing. The ribber carriage can be disengaged and used to drop stitches after all knit row on the main bed.

In the actual knitting, if plain one color pile with plain color backing is the goal, some rules may be broken. The thickest, most stable pile is achieved when the yarn anchoring the loops is as dense as possible. If the goal is to knit every stitch across each row to create loops and in turn drop them, one is in fact working an every needle rib. This makes it possible to create tuck loops on either bed creating the backing across the whole row, because in fact there are stitches on each side of the tuck loop on the opposing bed anchoring it in place. Normally when 2 or more needles tuck side by side, rather than the stitch formation usually seen in tuck, the loops do not get anchored, drop off, and create a float like those seen in slip stitch patterns.

In my first sample, the fabric is cast on the main bed, the loops are formed on the ribber. The carriages are set for main bed to tuck traveling to right, knitting to left. The ribber is set to slip to left, knit to right. The ribber is used to drop the stitches, simply by disengaging it from the main bed, and running it across from one side to the other. Dropping stitches occurs (on either bed) after all stitches have been slipped there for one row (no needle selection if patterning). Starting side for my swatches was on the left of the machine. It is helpful to have a ruler or tool to help push loops down between the beds after dropping each row of loops, and also to occasionally drop the ribber in order to check whether any loops may be caught on gate pegs.

In this swatch I had some problems (blue arrow) on the right side related to changes in tension while determining what might be the best. Section 1 has every needle tucking on the main bed. Section (2) begins to try to emulate the Passap pusher selection using an EON 2 row tuck repeat on the main bed, resulting in things going awol and loose, even at tightest tension possible on the main bed. Any time patterning is used on the main bed, end needle selection is cancelled (KCII). The tuck repeat2 row tuck

the settings (here lili buttons are not in use1X1 card MBno lili2

ribber loops2To create every needle loops for pile on the main bed: CO is on ribber. With settings on image below left (no lili buttons in use), the ribber tucks loops on every needle traveling to right, knit all stitches moving to left. Moving to the right the main bed knits on every needle, slips whole row moving to left, giving the opportunity to drop stitches off. With settings on below right, lili buttons are in use, and the ribber now produces an EON needle selection, every row. Left alone the selection is what would be seen using the 1X1 card on the main bed, its repeat 1X1tuckloops on MBThe yellow yarn is a 2/8 good quality wool knit at 4.2 on main bed, 3.2 on ribber. Switching to a rayon twist of similar thickness created instant havoc. The dark grey was a mill end, tighter twist 2/8 wool. Red arrows show what happens when loops are caught up on gate pegs and not immediately noticed. The green arrow indicates longer loops that can happen when knit stitch on either side on the opposite bed do not knit off properly. The result is a dense wool fabric, so the tendency to roll at top and bottom of each piece toward the “knit” side of the fabric needs to be considered at top and bottom edges of finished pieces.

knit with no lili buttons in usemain bed loops2

In 2 color knitting, or creating isolated motifs whether on one color or striped ground, anchoring loops by tucking on every needle is no longer possible, making reverting to EON needle selection on ribber a necessity. The results are dramatically different. These swatches were made using lili buttons or hand selection on ribber, loops on main bed. If things don’t work in one color, they will not in 2, so one color, every needle pile is a place to start evaluating the results

1X1 lili selection left me with “where are the loops?”white_lili

In bottom section here I tried 1X1 hand selection for 2 consecutive rows,  the narrow band in center back was back to 1X1 to separate areas using lilis, at the top I used lili buttons and brought an extra needle into work on ribber before traveling to right every third row (making needles in work on ribber an odd number), returning it to out of work before knitting back to right. Dropping stitches every 4 rows makes tracking the sequence easier. The resulting pile is far more “subtle” than samples worked with every needle tucking on the bed creating the backingyelllow-lili_500

So far I still have had no luck with getting anything that does not look like a variant of drop stitch lace when attempting patterns separated for 2 color knitting, either in embossed one color, or in striped 2 color versions.

Carpet or pile stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 1

Pile, carpet, or loop stitch are terms used for a raised relief fabric made on KMs using both beds, with or without programmed patterning motifs on either bed. Two color patterns are sometimes also called “punch pile”. Depending on machine brand and on thickness of yarn, loops may be formed every row or every other, varying the pile density. Beds are always at half pitch, the same setting used for every needle rib. The “needle rule” is disregarded. First and last needle are always on the non patterning bed, to anchor down any loops close to the edge of the fabric. In machines with automatic end needle selection, the function is cancelled. Some yarns and designs will even tolerate loops being dropped at the end of knitting. Sometimes dropping them every few rows will work. If any yarn splitting or fussy knitting off because of fiber content occurs, then dropping stitches may be needed after every row of loops formed. If using multiple colors of yarn on either of these 2 brands, having them equal gauge/weight is helpful.

The Passap knitting machines as well as the Brother, did not have a built in yarn feeder to facilitate knitting this fabric such as that possible in the Studio brand. Particularly with the advent of the E6000 Passap model, for a while there was keen interest in how to produce similar fabrics. Susanna Lewis was among the first to describe knitting pile across multiple brands, whether punchcard models, or, later, electronics.

The fabric loops are created with one pass of the carriage, the next row of knitting is intended to anchor down those loops, and with no needle or pusher selection, no stitches knit on the patterning bed. This fact gives one the opportunity to drop loops without disturbing pattern selection. Some of my drop stitch lace previous blog posts discuss designing such fabrics. Color separations are required. The E 6000 console performs many of these automatically, one simply has to plug in the appropriate “technique” number. The default DBJ separation made by the console in Brother electronics may not be used because blank rows for no needle selection need to be added in order to attempt the long loop or stitch fabrics. This in turn requires the knitter to do the work. Design rows are expanded

  • Graph        Motif        Color
  • Row 1        Row 1       Color 1
  • Row 2        Row 1       Color 2
  • a blank row is inserted  on top of each of the separated rows, so for each 2 color design row, there will now be 4 charted rows

The E 6000 has some built in technique choice options for knitting and automatically adding blank rows in charts where needed. This allows for the locks, empty of any yarn, to travel from and then back to the color changer achieving stitch dropping. My preference is to work with stitch dropping tools instead of the extra rows “knit” without yarn. Also, if the goal is to work between KM brands, keeping the separations more compact is practical, particularly if one plans to use the end chart with a punchcard or a mylar sheet for programming.

I had tried some pile fabrics on the E 6000 in the past, found the knitting a bit loose for my liking, but by lightly felting (wool yarn) the result, I had a stable, attractive fabric that could easily be cut and sewn in combination with other knit companion DBJ fabrics. Another option in wearables to add stability may be an iron on knit interfacing used on areas of pile knit. This time I pushed the back bed tension as much as physically possible with the yarn used, and was happier with the result. The only problem I encountered was in thinking I could knit a few extra rows on the back bed only before dropping the knit off the machine for inspection. The old adage still applies: if more than a row or 2 are to be knit across all stitches on any single machine bed, each yarn has an optimum tension required for stitches to form properly. Pushing limits will lead to problems. I had a lovely lock jam. For wide ribs the same principle applies: the more stitches on either bed, the closer tension on that bed to what number would apply to single bed stocking stitch on that bed.

CARPET STITCH KNITTING ON PASSAP E-6000 with release stitch tool. Use any 2 color fairisle pattern from the pattern book that accompanies the machine. Both Passap manuals are now available for free download online. I randomly chose # 1407 for my test. Start with all stitches on the back bed. If you have done ribbing, transfer front bed stitches to back. For test swatches, if open stitches do not matter, it is possible to do a quick single bed cast on on the Passap in a couple of ways, the “broken toe” cast on will work across brands. Have an extra needle and pusher each side on back bed when setting up work for patterning. Back bed tension as tight as possible, front bed 1 – 1.5 tension numbers looser than back bed. As always test small swatch before committing to a larger one.

One color carpet stitch:  Technique 256. Black strippers are recommended. I rarely if ever use black, go for orange first, sometimes combining with one blue or switching to 2 blues if the fabric calls for it. Ignore console instructions. Back bed is set to FX  left arrow key <–, not BX as instructed. Do not use the AX setting by mistake. FX will tuck right to left, knit left to right (toward the color changer, which in Passap sits on the right side rather than on the left as in Brother machines). Knit rows help anchor loops. Back bed pushers are in 1 up, 1 down set up. Using one arrow key means the same selection is repeated for 2 rows before the switch is made to the adjacent pusher and the corresponding needle.  The front bed is set to LX (slip) throughout. Racking handle is down (setting for every needle rib).  Two rows are knit, then the front bed stitches are dropped (Passap knitting beds are in reverse position to Japanese machines set up with their ribbers). If loops are long they may need to be pushed between the beds before knitting the next row. Passap machines have pushers for this purpose, in Brother rulers or any number of tools may be used for the same purpose.

Two color carpet stitch:  Technique 185, black (or other) strippers, 184 may also be used, its graphic gives the added reminder for EO pusher set up on back bed. Back bed setting is the same as for the one color pattern, Front bed knits in LX throughout. In theory stitches may be dropped every 4 rows. Some yarns may split and catch the alternate color requiring dropping after each color is used, others will tolerate much less frequent dropping. It is all an experiment to start with.

Again: the back bed tension must be as tight as possible, the front bed at least 1.5 tension numbers higher until tests determine what is best for the yarn being used. Multiple strands of some thinner yarn may also be worth a shot. Weights are needed on the knitting, no matter what brand machine is in use.

One color trial: back tension too loose, note change in texture after tightening back lock tension; the loops are formed on the purl side

passap front 1col

passap back 1col

the 2 color version, with adjusted tension on back bed

Passap front2col

note vertical stripes in backing
passap back 2col

At the end of knitting pile, add anchoring rows of knit on back bed only (tension may need to be changed after a couple of rows), proceed as preferred.

embossed one color pile (black 2/8 wool)

Passap black pile

Previous posts with info on accessories useful for dropping stitches and loops 1, 2, 3.

Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 3, end release

I began to think about color separations again, in reference to pile knitting, and returned to the chart used in the circular shape in the #1 blog post in this thread. While studying it, it occurred to me that the fabric might be created by releasing the stitches at the end of the knitting. Brother  punchcard books (now downloadable for free online), at the back usually had a page with “lace like patterns by KR” illustrating some of the possibilities in what I have been referring to as drop stitch lace. Once again, all stitches are transferred to the non patterning bed. Selected needles whether by hand or by the machine, are in this instance, not released until the very top of the piece is reached. In long pieces of this type of lace, I find dropping stitches at regular intervals rather then waiting until the end helps things run smoothly, and gives one the episodic opportunity to evaluate proper stitch formation, to move up weights, etc. I found in my first swatch my inexpensive grey wool was really sticky and kept trying to knit with the white after the color was changed, explaining the mess on the left of the purl side image. Also, it pays to have some weight on, or at least to keep an eye on, the color changer side. As yarn colors are carried up (every 2 rows) between color changes, if they are not long enough they will pull in the fabric on that side. If the end product is to be gathered at one end i.e. in a skirt, that could be an asset, but not so if the intent is to have it lie flat.

The pattern is programmed beginning on a row with black squares in it, ends on a blank row. Selection row in this instance is done from right to left (toward the color changer), the next color is picked up, and the process repeats every 2 rows. At the desired height I like to have the ribber knit the last row on only its needles, before the stitches on main bed are dropped across the width of the knit. Tugging on the comb and weights will speed things up. The fabric grows significantly in length, so watch where those weights are headed.

my first try, purl side500_991

knit side500_994

Along with changing the “nasty” grey yarn in the next swatch, I moved the knit further away from the color changer, and things went very smoothly. If where the repeat is placed in the knit matters however, then the needle bed would need to be programmable as well to change the center needle position

500_992

500_993

the illusion knit inspired method of charting and working the released stitches does not work for this technique, the result is simply very large, striped, single color per 2 rows, loose stitches500_995

Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 2, Brother KM

Occasionally I do play with hand knitting and charting for it. A couple of years ago I wrote on the topic of  illusion / shadow knitting. The repeat is 24 stitches wide, so it is suitable for use on punchcard machines as well.

a chart from that blog posttry_drop_stitch

the resulting hand knit, on purl side
IMG_0823

While working out the circle in the previous post it occurred to me that the results were quite similar to shadow knits, where depending on the angle from which the fabric is viewed, images begin to appear in the striped fabric. The above chart is missing those all blank rows that result in no needle selection. The solution for using this type of color separation for drop stitch on the machine is to use double length. Other KM settings  remain the same as in the previous post. The first selection row is from left to right. The big difference is that once again, there will be the same needle selection on the next row. With some needles in B and some in D, a slider or pusher will not move across the needle bed. In the past I tried to drop stitches selectively on the main bed with rulers or whatever was handy. Now, instead, I found pushing the whole row back to B, allowed me to use my new tool to move back and forth across the needle bed, making faster work of the process, and returning needles in position for the next main bed row to be selected on the first pass, knit on the second. The swatch was casually steamed

knit side 500_987

purl side, viewed as it would appear in a sideways knit 500_988

Without the “tool”, all stitches can be brought to E and back to B with a ruler, piece of garter bar, ribber cast on comb, or other handy toy. Dropping stitches is done while carriages are on the right, they return to the left knitting only on the ribber. In the previous post, the ribber only knit first, both beds knit on the second row, and stitches were in turn dropped with carriages and yarn on the color changer side (L), after no needle pre selection across the main bed.

Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 1, Brother KM

These pattern repeats may become quite large, and are suitable for designing and downloading with software. Testing repeats in a small section to start with, insures methods and accuracy when planning the larger ones. Here I would prefer a wider, brick repeat, however, I am working with a mylar on a 910 so in this test I settled for a vertical repeat, the result shown below. The pattern reminds me of shadow knits.

knit side500_986

purl side500flipped

purl side, as it would appear in a sideways knit500

charting things outcircle drop stitch

As it stands, the repeat is 32 stitches wide, 32 rows high. The colored 3 row segments on right, if collapsed would result in an all black row, with no overlap. Colors are changed every 2 rows unless the repeat is designed differently. Care is needed on the color changer side, making certain both colors are not picked up together as the color is changed, resulting in the ribber knitting both yarns together. KCII is used, canceling needle selection. An extra needle is put into work at each end on the main bed. This fabric widens considerably, so casting on and binding off need special consideration. Before pattern knitting starts, all stitches must be on ribber bed alone, with needles in work, but empty, on main bed.

I chose to knit my swatch with first row selection from left to right. The KC is set to slip <—>, the ribber N<—>N throughout. This knits all stitches on the ribber, selects needles for main bed stitches to be knit on the next row. On RC 2, selected stitches will knit, while preselection for the next row will place all main bed needles in B position as the carriage moves to left, leaving them ready to get “dropped”. Use your tool of choice to drop stitches and return them to B position once again.  Color is changed, and sequence repeats.

Previous blog posts on topic: 2 colors per row, Japanese machines, on the Passap, an edging, stitch dropping tools, and occasional bits of info in other threads, ie. on drop stitch “bubbles”.

I prefer to automate needle selection whenever possible. Published material often requires hand techniques. Some samples readily available for inspiration: first image shows basic settings and some variations from the Brother pattern books. Stitches to be dropped are created on ribber. Pattern 942 may be released at end of knitting. Cards (or mylars) may be marked to track racking handle positions, addressed in my previous post http://alessandrina.com/2015/11/07/unconventional-uses-for-punchcards-1/ ,or rows marked in color for other repetitive functions

from the ribber techniques book page 23:

Brother KMs “pile knitting”/ ribbed stitch dropping tools

I am pondering returning to some drop stitch lace experiments on my Brother KM, have blogged previously on drop stitch lace, and some of the tools that can help speed up the technique. Studio has marketed a “pile knitting” accessory usable for this purpose, still being manufactured. A recent web search revealed its cost is presently in the range of approximately 13 to 20 dollars per unit. As is, the tool does not work on the brother machine. One of the critical differences between brands is in the shape of the rear rail. Brother kms in addition have an elevated metal piece at center of km, behind the rear rail and in front of the belt, as seen below in 2 of their different models, that hinders smooth movement by a tool across the length of the space it rests on.extra metalIssues with using the tool as manufactured: its back “rail” (1) is taller than the front (2), keeping the unit from sitting flat on the Brother bed, and also striking the metal rectangle pictured above. The front parts (3) and (4) do not align properly with the metal bed, and further interfere with use. studio p carriage:presser

Some sliding of the tool along the Brother metal bed, comparing the placement for areas within which the needles need to move, led to my altering the carriage by trimming the rear rail (1). Initially I used a hand held electric sander, followed by a nail file to “even” things out rather than making any effort to cut the plastic.

In my revision (1) is now shorter than (2), rather than taller, and flush with the top of the curved ridges between both.

cut_offmm

full altered_500

the Brother Bulky 260 “D slider” was supplied with bulky kms1So far I have tried out the altered Studio tool out on solid color knitting with hand needle selection. All knitting needs to be on ribber if the main bed is going to make stitches for pile, drop/ long stitch (aka mesh in some references) lace. For a test: with both KC buttons selected to slip, hand select needles for long stitches, put out to holding and knit across all needles. Selected stitches only will have caught loops on the main bed, all stitches knit on the ribber. Using the tool now that needles are back in B on the main bed, passing it from Right to Left brings all needles out to D, traveling back from Left to Right with it realigns them in B, dropping them. B is the needle position for needle selection on rows with no punched holes, black squares or pixels, when programmed patterning is used on the machine.

Instructions in the studio manual showing it in use, with all parts in place. A reminder: Studio needle positions are A, B, C, D, while Brother skipped the third letter of the alphabet, using A, B, D, E on its beds.studio directions

Broomstick lace on the knitting machine

Some illustrations of this fabric may be found in my previous posts: forming long loops and stitches using cast on comb and weights or ruler , some long stitch swatches, a few more tips and ideas from the earliest post on topic.

Here are some ideas on creating a basic 3 loop “broomstick” cross. Most of my teaching has been on 4.5 mm machines, so the above swatches were executed in thinner yarns. For this post my swatch is knit in a random scrap yarn from my studio, on the 260 Brother Bulky machine.

The basis of this type of stitch is to create long loop stitches, and in turn to re- hang them in various configurations. The look I prefer among others I have tested, results when loops are hung in on every other needle, whether singly or in groups, and the next row is simply knit. Here, as in any machine knit  fabric, if there are 2 or more empty needles side by side, any other than a single needle must be e wrapped, cast on, or have a loop lifted up from the row below (used in increases), or the result will be a ladder vs. knit stitch formation on that needle.

Begin with waste yarn and some rows of knit. As long stitches are formed, some weight will be required to keep loops from jumping up, forward, and off the KM. Since you are asking the loops to stretch quite a bit on a fixed width metal base, some testing is required to determine the best tool for forming the optimum loop length. Yarn thickness factors into this as well. I found knitting stitches back to A loops too short, and using a cast on combs and paper clips or any of my rulers made them too long, so I opted for the plastic rod insert from one of my window shades.

I like to work my loops from left to right, so the last row is knit from right to left. They may certainly be formed in either direction. In this instance, COL needs to be returned to the right before resuming knitting. This can happen before or after forming long stitches, by any method you like. Consistency helps eliminate errors.

I bring needles out to hold/ E position, lining them up to form new stitches one at a time, the yarn is brought around to the end of the “ruler”

61guided under the needles yet to be wrapped, resting to the right of the next needle out to E on left side

59

placed in the needle hook

60

and knit through, repeating process across the row: the number of loops should match the original number of stitches

63the spacing tool is removed; the next 2 steps  may be easier to perform if the needles are once again brought out to holding / E first

64pulling down on your knit will create the long stitches

65working in groups of 3: remove first 2 loops on right, transfer to needle 3 on left

66

insert tool in center of group of 3, lift strands onto needle 1 on right

67

bring center needle (2 of 3) out and over multiple loops, all 3 to E pos68

repeat across row 69COR: knit 3 rows (or more, odd #),  ending with COL, so the yarn tail will once again be on the left to begin the process of wrapping.

knit next row carefully, adjust stitch size and loop length if needed

the top row in photo shows all 3 loops transferred onto center needle, with crochet cast on  (indicated on purl side by blue arrow) on all needles involved in the plain knit areas before the next row of knitting

broomstick_23

Hairpin lace diagrams can be a source of design inspiration for designing loop configurations. The crochet cast on  any empty needles could be used where chains occur in crochet diagrams, and it needs to be loose enough for the next knit row to be formed easily. In my swatch I actually had to hand knit the first/ next row, my carriage jammed in the areas where the triple loops were in needle hooks as well as my cast on chain.

The number of knit rows between forming the long stitches may be odd or even, providing one gets comfortable with working in both directions. The carriage gets switched frequently from side to side. Sometimes the least likely to drop your work carriage “free pass” is simply to take it off the machine on one side,  bring it to the opposite side, and engage it on the machine  once again, with no need to change cam settings or worry about traveling with it across your knit piece.