Long stitches meet transfer lace

Eons ago, when I was exploring long stitches I shared directions for a tuck stitch combination fabric At about that time I came across this image on Pinterest.
It combines transfer lace and long stitches, has characteristics that make some lace patterns unable to be reproduced on home knitting machines. Upon inspection, one will see that the number of stitches varies in different parts of the repeat. Aside from creating eyelets, the smaller triangular shapes increase in width, the fan shapes are decreased by half on their top row. Long stitches are created across all needles in work, then they are reconfigured so the center single stitch of the triangle and the center 2 stitches of the fan shape realign in the same position. The number of stitches at the start of the pattern and after the long stitches are created remains constant. Trying variations on inspiration sources can lead to success, failure, somewhere in between, but also increase learning and skill that will carry over into other knitting techniques, even if the results are never used for a finished piece.

The Brother ribber is used to produce the long stitches. A bit of review: the bracket lever has 3 positions:

Dropping the ribber down 2 mm on each side gives enough clearance for thicker yarns.  At a seminar, I saw Susanna use the position to create transfer lace in ribbed fabrics, something I have been threatening to try for decades, but have not yet. Here the lace carriage is shown in position, clearing the ribber’s gate pegs. My preference is to create a chart in order to visualize and plan an “attack” prior to any knitting. White squares represent needles emptied by transferring their stitches to the right and to the left respectively. One must remember to keep empty needles in the work position to form eyelets. I found making the transfers easier an the process more visible if I dropped one side of the ribber to the second, 17 mm. position

The ribber remains set to slip <– –> on all transfer rows, and any all knit rows on main bed only. The ribber is set to N <– –> for three rows. On the first pass, all its needles will pick up the yarn, creating loops on every needle
With the ribber carriage alone,  still set to N/N, free it and make two passes to and from its starting side. The first pass releases the loops, the second returns it for coupling with the knit carriage. Below the long loops can be seen. My needle tape is “somewhere”, has not yet been returned to the ribber after my racking handle adventures were completed.Return the ribber settings to slip in both directions, and repeat the process. Dropping the ribber to the lowest position at any point can verify goings-onHere one row has been knit on the main bed only, anchoring the loops, returning carriages to the opposite side prior to starting transfers once moreA word of caution: if loops are picked up on any single row that in theory was set to slip and was to be worked on only single bed, check to make certain the tuck lever has not been accidentally brought up to the tuck position. Although tuck <– –> can serve for a free pass on the main bed, having this setting on the ribber will create loops on all needles in work My test swatch had a couple of different# of transfer trials in horizontal segments and a few operator errors. It was knit in wool for the “spring” of the fiber, and unpressed formed pleats of sorts, while with a hard press it flattened out considerably, with not as much of a wave as I might like. My later effort led to a fabric that was different from the inspiration one, but far more interesting to me than the one above. I began with a schematic, originally planning only 4 eyelets, then adjusted for 5 (yellow line marks the change) I cast on 55 stitches 27 left, 28 right. A ribber comb and weights are required.
Having a chart with any numbering that makes sense to you is helpful.
I used a water-soluble pen to mark the center needle location for the start of transfers on either side, in this case, 18 left, 1 and 19 right. The 55 stitches include 2 full repeats of 18 plus a half (9) on each side edge.
Brother has 2 #1 positions, one on the left and the other on the right of center, separated above by the red line. The fact is something to be kept in mind with stitch counts for hand techniques where needle selection is not automated across the needle bed but is reliant on accurate counts by the knitter
A 3 prong tool was used to make transfers, the pattern could be translated for use with lace carriage if one desired to do so.
At the bottom of the swatch I stopped after 4 transfers before creating the long stitches, and then switched to 5 guessing I would like the transition better, also a clearer stopping place occurred when a single stitch was left with doubled-up ones on either side of it.
I did not find it necessary to drop the ribber at all to check on the progress of transfers. Below the swatch is shown on both sides, both relaxed (to my eye the more interesting) and after light pressing

It appears to me to be the sort of fabric that is worth revisiting after a break.  😉

Machine knit fringes 2/ pretend hairpin lace

WORK IN PROGRESS

Hairpin lace, familiar to many crocheters, is based on a central column with side loops that can be produced in strips, in turn, joined together in different configurations to compose open inserts, shawls, garments, serve as trims and joins.
A double-sided machine knit fringe can serve the same functions. My first swatch is knit using the #1 punchcard. Tension is totally dependent on the yarn used, the fabric may be executed on any machine, but as is often the case I am writing specifically for Brother.
The needle arrangement includes 2 center stitches, an even number of out of work needles to determine the width of the long loops, and one stitch at each end that is knit for the duration, then unraveled to loosen loops for various joining methods or uses.
To start with 2 needles are cast on in the center of the piece, knit one row on them alone. This will produce a small tab that is woven in upon completion of the strip, as are yarn ends, and creates a base so whole loops may be added in equal numbers on each side. Bring the side stitch on the carriage out to work, knit one row to the opposite side, bring outside needle on that side out to E, set machine for preselection row, knit back to the opposite side. Proceed to knit with both tuck buttons pushed in.
A separate cone or ball of yarn will be needed in matching or contrast color to anchor stitches in the central vertical column. Bring the row counter to 000. Multiply the number of loops required X2, since it will take 2 passes of the knit carriage to complete each pair, one on each side of center.
I brought the side stitch on each side prior to knitting the next row out to E, rather than settling for using KCI alone, found that kept the side edges stable and I was not getting dropped loops. If long strips are to be knitted, control over what is happening on each side matters in their assembly. The separate strand of yarn is used to e wrap around the needle that comes forward with each pass of the carriage. Even though the illustrations for the technique show equal loop withs, they can actually be created asymmetrically as well, or the central column may actually be moved on the knitting machine as one advances through the piece. The dots on the metal bed are from another piece

the first selection of a needle forward by punchcard e wrapping with second yarn before moving to left e wrapping with second yarn prior to returning to right, completing a sideways figure 8, end stitches out to E before prior to each carriage passUsing the finished sample as an insert brings up the topic of joining knits. Here there is a single stitch on each edge. The unbound off the stitch at the top on each side can be hooked on and secured with the first pick up. Stitches in the sides of knits form “loops and bumps”. The loops are formed carriage side as the row knits, can be used as possibly the least satisfactory single stitch increase. Opposite the carriage, as that same pass is completed the yarn will twist and create the “knot”, an easy and often acceptable single stitch increase. Which of the two is used to pick up for joining depends on yarn thickness and desired effect. Swatching will serve as a guide. Being consistent gives the best seam/join, without bumps and lags. The single edge stitch side border needs to be stabilized if it is going to serve as the detail at the bottom of the piece.

E wrapping every other needle as shown above with separate strands of yarn for 2 stitches on each side may be used to produce a no-roll edge on the sides of any knit fabric.
Knot vs loop:Using thinner yarn for knitting after the join even if on the same number of stitches, will gather the fabric More on seaming and joining knits 1 and 2. Extensive accumulation of images (crochet) for inspiration and possible technique links may be found on Pinterest 
On the left is a sample using an asymmetrical width, latched join method, while on the right loops are twisted broomstick lace fashion, and there is a crochet stitch joinstrips of different colors usedgathering tightly on one side can be the start of circles and shells

Japanese design books include their own symbols, here is part of a schematic for a shawl. It precludes an understanding of crochet symbols. The latter are simply illustrated and there is more convention for their meaning than that for knit symbols, particularly as more and more designers are adding homegrown ones to self-published patterns The convention for joining strips of machine knitting by crocheting or latching side loops together suggest having a ladder space (white square, one or more may be used) and a side edge stitch on either side in segments of the final piece ie. afghan strips.When binding off at the top of the piece, the first and last stitch on either side is skipped, leaving them open so that they may, in turn, be unraveled. The easiest method if the goal is to join pairs of strips is to line up two of them side by side, unravel side stitches from the top-down, only enough rows to match the number of loops that will be latched through each other, and proceed for the length of the piece. Depending on the yarn, work can be rehung on the machine, followed with a latch tool bind off, a segment at a time if needed, while maintaining a continuous piece of yarn. Steps may be repeated for a crochet pretender edging at both ends if the number of needles on the machine will support that. Another alternative for the horizontal edges when no fringe is planned is to bind off with a crochet hook as follows: knitted edge: slip stitch in each knitted stitch, open section: chain 1, 1 single crochet stitch into first jumbo stitch, chain 1, 1 sc into second jumbo stitch, chain1 repeating across the row. If desired, sc again across all stitches. A row of single crochet may be needed to balance cast on edge as well. Then there is the option of “winging it” and making a personal decision about other suitable alternatives.

When strips approach traditional hairpin, if you wish to work bottom-up or arrangements of loops are planned to be varied, whether by crochet sequences or rehanging loops on the knitting machine, unraveling may be done while also threading a length of yarn through the loops akin to a lifeline in other types of knitting, making them more manageable. A hand knitting video by Bernat Yarns illustrates the principle on conventional hairpin laceThe technique is sometimes referred to as a cable join. The video also provides a reminder that if all the latching through is done in a single, same direction, the fabric will bias. To avoid that, start latching on right for one pair of strips, on left for the next pair. Finishing side edges by latching is shown in the Bernat #4 video along with adding a fringe to finish the top and bottom of the piece.  If you enjoy crochet patterns longhand in the “old fashioned” way from out of print sources, here is a reference for inspiration, with hairpin illustrations # 448-456.
A join and side finishing, one side of each strip chaining strands of  loops through each other, the outside edge twisting loops akin to broomstick lace:A partial illustration from Pinterest from an unknown source showing how the loops coming together to make shapes might be charted out: the ovals represent chain stitches, the v slip stitches, the different colors the finish of a complete strip’s edge Tuck lace is a fabric produced with needles out of work in combination with tuck patterning on the main bed. Patterns for it can serve as the starting point for either the center strips in double-sided loop fabrics or they can be worked in repeats with wider ladder spaces between them for a far quicker “pretend” version. This is one of my ancient swatches for the technique from a classroom demo, using the 1X1 punchcard, shown sideways to save space.
The card is used at normal rotation. Any time there are needles out of work, end needle selection is canceled to maintain patterning throughout including on end needles of each vertical strip. Tuck <– –> is used resulting in texture as opposed to simple stocking stitch and ladder fabric (center of the swatch). In the right segment, the ladder threads are twisted, in the one on the left they are not. This is what is happening: for twisted ladders on an even total number of needles have an even number in the selected pattern (4), and an even number out of work (6). This is one fabric that definitely benefits by the use of some evenly distributed weight and a good condition sponge bar.Here the stitches are arranged with an odd number in work (3), an odd number out of work (7)

A way of working out needles out of work vs patterning/ in-work ones for both tests: the first is knit on a multiple of 10+4, the second on a multiple of 10+3These fabrics will narrow considerably when off the machine, here is an image of the above swatch after a period of “rest”

 

A collection of fringes 1

Fringes are not a personal favorite of mine on machine-knit garments in their “simplest” forms. I can recall using them rarely. Here a cut Passap version was applied to a piece made in my student days,  a ruana for which I no longer have the measurements. It was composed of wool DBJ, worked in 10 panels, using a mylar sheet on a 910 for patterning, hand pieced, and is still being worn by its owner. I made a few items with twisted strands inspired by those seen in wovens produced by my weaving friends. I have no photos of those, failed to document my work for quite a few years. One excuse was the quality of any photos I attempted, and even back in the day, professional photographers charged $180 an hour plus model fees if used. It seemed that adding the cost of such photography to limited edition runs that were planned for sale would make the wholesale price higher than the market would bear. We all make choices based on information we have at that particular time, which was long before the recent easy to use photo technology.
There now is a very good video by Diana Sullivan showing a machine knit version of twisted fringe produced on the machine.
For a while, I was on an i-cord kick. I liked the look, but they were very time consuming on production items, lots of ends to weave in, and there was a balance to be sought between far too many to be practical and too few and skimpy to be attractive.Here a ladder space created by needles out of work is left between vertical fair isle repeats, producing a fringe in 2 colors. The design was not planned, a standard punchcard was used for the purpose of the demo.  A planned repeat would have more impact. End needle selection is on, which is usual in FI, not for most patterns with tuck or slip stitch settings combined with needles out of work, is also true here so that a vertical line on each side of the needles out of work between repeats aids in sewing the strips together. Width is limited since the fabric will be gathered by seaming and become significantly narrower and likely turned sideways. Both sides are shown. Joining could be planned to occur only at the bottom of a piece if desired, stitching lines will be less visible if thread color matches that of the yarn A needle in work away from the edge produces a side “fringe” followed here by felting partially, cutting the single edge stitch, and finishing the felting process
Adding thicker or multiple strands of yarns in long loops on edges, isolated areas, or all over Let us not forget knit weaving with several strands of yarn, adding strips of the result as one knits, or simply hooking on strips of fake fur or thrums (the bits of yarn that litter the floor after you cut your weaving off the loom) at chosen intervals

Finished edges on woven or lace trims, strips of fabric, even roving along with self-made tassels may all be added at any point. Jolie tools, intended to aid in picking up dropped stitches can sometimes be helpful in picking up close to the woven edge (and pricking or piercing body parts on some days). The tool is available for both standard and bulky machines Most often every other needle use is best. Here a lace and pom pom trim are used, purchased fringes of all sorts could be applied the same way anywhere in the piece, joins to knit can be seena length of roving may be twisted in its center and applied as you knit. For a while mittens using it as a lining for warmth were popular. A video by Carole Wurst shows a method used in socks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FWmH6XW_FU. Roving will felt together to varying degrees over time, as seen here in another of my ancient swatches. The “sparkle” is there as a result of using an angelica/wool blendthe same twist in the center/ knit through method may be used with torn strips of silk or other thin fabrics, mine here are 1.5 cm. wide. Background yarn may knit fine at standard tension commonly used for it, testing will determine it and the spacing required to meet your goal

How-tos: to begin with, this is the “passap” version illustrated in the Duo Manual. One may choose wider knit bands between the floats that will be cut or folded over and doubled up

The thickness of the yarn chosen is of critical importance. When I first attempted to knit a version of it on my 930 I encountered problems. To start with, I kept dropping off the stitches on one side or the other. I checked the ribber alignment, proper placement of the cast on comb, switched ribbers, carriages, continued to have problems. After all that, the solution turned out to be simply adding another 4 stitches (2 on each bed) toward the center of the piece (I did not count). Here I used a 2/24 which obviously does not have enough body to use as an edging. The Brother equivalent for the Duo setting is half fisherman rib, where one carriage knits in one direction, tucks in the other on every needle for every 2 rows knit, while the other bed’s carriage does the same, but in opposite directions. I used 3 needles on each side rather than 2 as in the Duo repeat, starting with the first needle in work on the left on the ribber, the last needle in work on the right on the top bed. One may begin to knit on either side, but when manually setting the cam buttons lead with settings so that first stitch knits as it moves to the opposite side. Using waste yarn at the start of the piece will produce a better cast on edge for the trim.  Operating from the right:

A 2/11.5 acrylic provided more of a tension adjustment challenge but made for a better fringe.The first and last 3 stitches on either side were transferred to the top bed and bound off, the center stitches were not, allowing them to be unraveled if desired ie in case the fringe is to be folded in half. Those extra center stitches also provide a guide for cutting either down their center (bottom of photo) or on either side of them (toward the top). I found the latter method to produce a cleaner cut lineSuggestions for going wider with racked half fisherman rib on Japanese machines: begin with needle arrangement below, out of work needles can be as many as needed, set up and cast on with preferred racking position ie on 5, knit several rows in waste yarn making any adjustments needed so stitches knit are formed  properly, weigh appropriately. Add needles on the main bed and remove one on the ribberContinue the test including in pattern, switch to a couple of rows of plain knitting and end with one knit row using ravel cord in a contrasting color. Cast on for fringe, knit 2 rows. Set for tuck rib, knit 2 rows, rack to position 4, knit 2 rows, rack to position 5, continue racking for the desired length, end with 2 knit rows and bind off or scrap off in case any additional length might be needed. When knitting lengths of trim, ending the piece on open stitches and waste knitting will give one the opportunity to either unravel or add more rows if needed.
Knitting fringes with a center band and cutting side edges will form variations on “feathers”. Pretend “hairpin lace ” produced on the knitting machine also uses related ideas.
An aside tip: if knitting pieces with strips of stocking stitch between ladder spaces often the side edges of the vertical knit columns will not hold and become wider and distorted. Using a single stitch in from each side of the columns on the ribber as well and racking one to left, one to the right from the original position every one or 2 rows will stabilize them. This swatch was knit in a very slippery rayon/cotton blend over 20 years ago using single neighboring stitches on both beds the edge that holds the fringe together is to be very narrow (or even added as one knits) and one wishes to work single bed there are several options. With 4 ply and a “matching color” 2 ply I began with the top needle arrangement, and then switched to the one below it, knitting on a 4.5 mm machine. A permanent cast on needs to take place in preferred method over needles in work knit 2 rows. The stitch on the second needle from the left is going to want to stretch and tends not to be stable. To reduce that happening, there are 2 options involving a second strand of yarn. Here using a 2 ply helps serve that purpose and keeps the fringed strands closer together. The slower method is to remove the second stitch from the left on a tool after every 2 rows knit, then bringing the separate yarn strand behind the now empty needle first from the right, then in turn from the left, returning the removed stitch to the machine, knitting 2 rows. I found that too slow for my patience, switched to just laying the second strand over needles before knitting each pair of rows, and decided to eliminate the out of work needle on the left side, moving the second stitch in work to its leftThe single stitch on the far right of the chart need not be bound off. There will be 2 options after the work is off the machine. One is to unravel the single stitch column on the far right if loops are the goal, or cutting it off,  leaving a fairly good trimmed edge here, and what, in this yarn, appeared to me to be an acceptable edging.  The 2 edge stitches on the left in my swatch did roll, making a very tight edge. Adjusting tension used to change that effect would be another choice. Yarn use and personal taste contribute to a range of “successful” results when using any of these techniques. This version creates a true i-cord edging on one side, produces a double fringe. Begin cast on with 5 stitches on one side, 1 at the opposite side to accommodate the desired width. As I knit my sample, I added a second stitch on that same side to make for an easier, more stable cutting line. Any changes in tension will affect the width and rigidity of the i-cord, and more markedly any stitches on the opposite side, and the length of the cut loops. As when knitting any slip stitch cords, the tension needs to be tightened by at least 2 numbers from that used in knitting the same yarn in stocking stitch. The carriage is set to slip in one direction, knit in the other, producing a float the width of the knit. Cast on. Beginning with COR knit one row to left, set the carriage to knit in one direction only (I happened to use the right part button, either can work). The process that draws the left side vertical column together into a cord : * transfer the fourth stitch from the left onto the fifth, move both stitches back onto the just emptied fourth needle, leave the fifth needle in work, “knit” 2 rows*.  Technically,  the 2 passes of the knit carriage to and from the left will produce only one knit row.  I used the 2/11.5 acrylic, on the skimpy side. Thin yarns may be plied for the best effect.  Here that second stitch has been added on the right, a few rows have been plain-knitThis shows the length of the slipped row, and that a loop is formed on the return to the other side on the empty but in work needle # 5. The transfers from needle 4 to 5 and back have been made, leaving the empty needle 5 in workAt the top of the piece I transferred and doubled up the stitches on left, bound them off, the yarn end(s) can be woven back into the cord. The side with the transfers is the “public” one, the finished fringe is usually hand sewn on, but it may also be used to cast on or be applied to several places in the knit both close together or at various intervals. Tension changes may be observed viewing from left to right, as well as the difference in length of loops as opposed to after cutaway edge. The third stitch in work on the right may make for a more stable cutting line if looser tensions are preferred. Because the sinker plate used on the single bed has brushes and wheels in use, the width of the fringe can be considerable, without having to be concerned about stabilizing the center as it is when working double bed.


Introducing patterning single bed: knit weaving is perhaps the best way to control the number of plies, color mixing, designs in vertical bands, and for knitting 2 fringe lengths at the same time. The 1/1 brother card is the most basic, but small repeats can be isolated for more interest or syncing with designs in garment pieces. To start: cast on and knit at least 2 rows on the chosen needle arrangement. Hang claw weights (or smaller) on each block of stitches. Combining strands for weaving adds fullness to the fringe. When any fringe is removed from the machine it should be stretched lengthwise and steamed to set the stitches (which I did not do in any of my swatches). As with other samples, the odd small number of stitches in the center or on the side are cut off to release the fringe. A sample arrangement: odd number of needles on either side and center, even number of needles out of work in-betweenVisualizing the punchcard or electronic needle selection on the same number of needles in work as above helps. Here the first and last needle on each side knits at the start. End needle selection is off; if it is not the outside automatic needle selection will give that edge a different look. Using both settings will help determine if one is more preferred than the other.A closer look at both sides of my ancient swatch knit in 2/8 woolLong loops are best in a thicker yarn, here they are shown in an every other needle arrangement using mohair on 2/8 wool ground related post reviews some of the methods for creating the loops, there is at least one other. Published directions have taken it for granted that thinner yarn is in use: if working on a machine with a ribber use the gate pegs on the ribber as your gauge. Wind the yarn around the needle, then down to sinker plate below it with ribber down one position, then around the same needle, down to the same gate peg, then up and around the next needle, continuing across. When the row of loops is completed, knit several rows, lift ribber up to release loops.
My test is with yarns of 2 thicknesses, one half the number of plies in the other. Cast on with background yarn, knit at least 2 rows. I wrapped the 4 ply on every needle on the main bed counter clockwise when moving from left to right (think e wrapping in either direction), clockwise when moving from right to left, bringing it down and around the corresponding gate peg. I found it easier to work with needles that were to be wrapped moved forward from B position. The loops prior to being lifted off sinker plates The first ribber height drop produced short loops (2.5 cm)With ribber in the down most position (4.5 cm loops)I found that just by knitting 3 more rows in this yarn I could lift the loops off the ribber sinker plates easily, dropping them between the beds and repeating the process. No need to raise the ribber back up. Whether these loops will bear being cut or be too slippery to stay in the ground will be determined by yarn choices.
There are times when a fringe is desired on one or both sides of the piece. Simply leaving needles out of work and an additional one in use to determine the width of the fringe can have skimpy results and an unstable edge stitch on the knit body. This is my solution for solving both: I began by knitting a couple of rows in the background yarn, then added a strand of yellow, and eventually the third strand in light blue, e wrapping the extra strand(s) in the direction away from the carriage. In this case, knitting ended opposite the fringe, only these stitches were bound off, not the single one on the far right The single stitch column was trimmed off, leaving a fairly full, stable fringeCut lengths of yarn may be added to edge or in the body of the knit, eyelets could be used as markers or for an all-over fabric, guiding placement. This illustration is from Annie’s catalog Fringes could also be crocheted or hand-knit, used to cast on the piece or be stitched in place upon its completion. I do not have the source for this, will credit it if I can find one

Drop stitch lace using Ayab software

Some notes on how tubular software color separations such as the one automated in the ayab circular setting may be found in previous post

In an effort to respond to a request I have had via my blog, I am sharing information on this topic as I have time to explore it. My first attempt when up and running with the Ayab software, was to to reproduce an earlier sample I had created as a color separation originally intended for a hand knit shadow knit experiment.

a chart from that blog posttry_drop_stitchthe resulting hand knit, on purl side
IMG_0823the color separated sample knit pre ayab the sample knit using the Ayab circular setting

Patterns predawn for shadow knitting, appear to be one published source for interesting 2 color drop stitch variations. What about geometric shapes or developing your own designs? Designs created using this technique lengthen considerably when off the machine. Both color sets of stitches become elongated as they are dropped, and that should be a consideration in planning your design. If your goal is a circle, the actual shape programmed may have to be closer to an egg laid horizontally rather than that of a “true” circle. The fabric also widens considerably when blocked and off the machine, making cast on and bind off methods considerations another necessity. Design repeats may be drawn in Paintbrush or GIMP (both freeware), or Photoshop. I have been a long time GIMP user, and prefer to use it in tiling repeats as opposed to the copy and paste features in Paintbrush to accommodate the Ayab requirement of programming the repeats horizontally in the width of your piece.

In my previous, how to posts on designing your own 2 color drop stitch lace, part of the color separation required elongating the design X 2. Starting side in Ayab for needle selection always needs to be from left to right, and elongation of the motif is not required when using the Ayab circular option.

This was my first working repeat, A = repeat charted out. B = the working bitmap or png, etc. (which would be the only requirement for the mylar). C = the image tiled for the chosen number of stitches (again, Ayab requires the repeat be programmed for the width of your knit piece). D = the image elongated, not usable for this fabric, it results on too much elongation. If you would like a knit border on either side, that can be achieved by having extra stitch(es) in work on the ribbera possible ayab repeat, 56 stitches wide by 36 rows high

The results up to the point in which I had a yarn caught in brushes and stitches dropping on the left of the needle bed:

Drop stitch lace has been referred to over the years in other terms as well, such as release stitch, drive lace, and summer fair isle in Passapese. Passap knitters will recognize the results from this first method are akin to those produced using Technique 185.

Getting started: stitches intended to be dropped may be created on either bed. If the ribber is used to create loops, then the technique is a manual one. Using the main bed in Japanese machines to program dropped stitches increases accuracy and ease.

If you are swatching and testing, a permanent cast on is not necessary. The broken toe cast on is one of the two quickest on the Japanese machines, usable on either bed. It is fondly called that because if ribber cast on comb and weights are in the wrong place so that the wrong loops are dropped, everything falls to the floor, and likely on your toes. There is an online video by Diana Sullivan that shows its use for a tighter cast on row in 1X1 rib, but the use here is for a different purpose.

In producing this fabric you are technically knitting an every needle rib. Cast on a fairly tight zig-zag row. The ribber comb wire needs to be placed so that it holds down the stitches on the bed on which you need to keep them. The principle and results are akin to the first row knit when you use a single bed cast on comb, and the second pass, with the first knit row anchors open loops before you continue to knit. Any loops not secured by the comb will result in dropped stitches. Any fabric, any time, when 2 stitches are empty side by side, stitches are not formed and the yarn is dropped off them creating a float or ladder.  The red line indicates the ribber wire on top of the ribber loops in the zigzag row, placed so released knitting will be left on the ribber. Black lines your zig-zag yarn loops, blue dots the teeth of your ribber cast on comb. You can check placement by dropping just a few loops on the main bed before hanging your weights on the comb. 

zigzag row showing the placement of cast on comb teeth, on each side of main bed needles
with wire in place, anchoring ribber stitches testing out dropping a few stitches all stitches now on the  ribber in preparation for dropping stitches created on main bed 

It is possible to also use a wired cast on comb for an open stitch cast on the top bed only. Remove the wire from the 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 the one 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. Working with the ribber up would ease the process in wider pieces of knitting. 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 position 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 if needed, proceed with knitting

To use the same method with ribber in place: hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up with gate pegs as shown above, and so the needles can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the ribber, and tilt the comb against the knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the carriages across to opposite side. Move carriages to the other side, drop the comb and weigh it. If continuing on the top bed only drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit.

“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.

Use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., the 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.

As for dropping those loops that will form the long stitches, one can do so manually with improvised tools. For more automatic dropping of stitches using knit carriage in Brother patterning, one may punch a card or draw a mylar with a method akin to color separation. A pass of the KH carriage across the knit is made with no yarn in the feeder, color 2 is actually no yarn/empty from left to right while establishing the proper needle selection on its return. The ribber would need to be reset to slip, or the ribber carriage separated from the knit one for the 2 passes to and from the color changer. This is the “scariest” option by far, more error-prone. It is not applicable when using the circular Ayab setting in creating the fabric. Without a specific 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 left, after the return to the color changer side. It is possible to modify the Studio accessory used to drop stitches

full altered_500

For 2 color drop stitch, the main bed is set to slip in both directions. Because not all needles on the main bed are used for patterning on every row, the KC II setting on the change knob is used, eliminating end needle selection on the 910. The ribber is set to knit every row

Ayab: begin  your design repeat on your first row, choose its circular setting in machine type pull-down menu on the right
First design row is preselected left to right
The main bed is set to slip <– –>, change knob on KC II (end needle selection is canceled)
Ribber is set to knit <– –> for the duration
COL: as you go from the left to right, needles are preselected on the top bed, they will knit, picking up loops that you will in turn drop on the subsequent passes of the knit carriage from right to left.
COR, the KC knits on preselected needles as it moves to the left.
Clear the color changer, set up your next color. Drop the stitches knit on that last pass

It may be necessary to push those loops down between the beds before you next pass, remember to pull down on your knitting periodically,  visually check needle alignment on the main bed (all needles in B in work area)

*With the new color move to the right, preselecting the next row of loops
Knit right to left, picking up loops on preselected needles, change colors, drop stitches,** and repeat * to ** steps in 2-row rotations

so I want circles, here is my test pattern more like eggs, the black squares in shape appear as drawn on the purl sideshapes are reversed as drawn on the knit side 

It is possible using the circular setting to drop only one of the 2 colors, whether background or shape. I began by dropping the white ground. I used to encourage students to develop a tune/ repeat in their head when regular actions needed to be taken. For me, in terms of yarn color,  it was “white, knit, drop”,  “brown =  erase (push back to B), go back”. 1: white travels to the right, needles are pre-selected; 2: white travels to left, picking up loops 3: on left, change color, drop stitches. For brown: 1. travel to the right, needles are preselected 2: on the right, before traveling back to left push all selected needles back to B. Only the ribber knits on the way back to left, so brown will have knit 2 rows with no dropped stitches. I ran out of brown yarn, started over with the blue and white, planning on having the shape drop the stitches. There is a difference in the fabric width with the change in the distribution of stitches. I stopped knitting, not due to any mis-patterning, but because I encountered another Ayab behavior that may be well known to punchcard knitters. Due to a yarn mast issue, I moved the knit carriage back to disentangle the yarn, and lo and behold the pattern advanced a row.  Punchcard machines will advance a row with any movement of the carriage outside the edges of the knit. This was never an issue in the unaltered 910. At that point, I stopped knitting. 

Not fond of stripes? prefer one color? the sample below was worked on 40 stitches in width, using the repeat charted for 56 stitches. Here decisions are made at the design phase of your repeat. For single color, drop stitch use an image double length, and single setting in the Ayab software. The process is the same: *preselect stitches left to right, knit on selected needles right to left, drop loops just picked up traveling to left**, repeat from * to **. Settings are the same as for the 2 color drop stitch, but the elongation depending on the number of stitches dropped is not as noticeable. The texture in my swatch is diminished after a quick press, the yarn is an acrylic blend. The charted repeat illustrated is wider, but I worked it on only the center 40 stitches. As always in slip stitch, the black squares knit and they represent the stitches that are dropped. If you wish to create the long stitches on the ground (white squares),  reverse use Ayab Action Invert prior to knitting

the chart as viewed and explained at the top of the post

Sources of inspiration from studio publications vary, patterns designed for pile knitting make for suitable one color drop stitch. A partial punchcard repeat

from an electronic collection

and a punchcard pattern book, where markings emulate eyelets, usable only for single color knitting 

Note that in #2 card directly above, there is a solid row at the very start that is a design row (third all punched). In Ayab again, first-row preselection is left to right, you will be picking up loops on preselected needles going from right to left and then dropping them. That first design row needs to have punched holes or black squares/pixels in it. The color separation is essentially done for you in the source image. Do not use circular in Ayab, but rather, use “single” setting and follow instructions for creating the fabric as described above,  with no color changes. The blank punchcard rows match the no selection rows in self-drawn color separations,

If double bed work is daunting, for a different stitch, worked single bed, that may cause interesting distortions in all knit, single bed fabrics see block stitch post.


The self-drawn design repeats for 2 color drop stitch may be offset as well, resulting in colors being dropped alternately.  The design shape needs to be created in 4-row blocks in order for the yarn to make it back and forth to the color changer with both colors to complete one design row. The second pairs of rows in each 4-row block is erased. In this instance as well, rows marked with black squares will pick up loops on the main bed, which are in turn dropped to create the long stitches. The second design repeat is offset to try to get sections of it to create loops to be dropped as well. The final motif must be a multiple of 8 rows in height if it is to be used as Ayab’s infinite repeat in length.
Color changes are indicated in the vertical strip in the center of the design. This was my starting idea

Elongation to 4 rows per block, erasing the second pair of rows for each color on right. The repeat on the right may be used if only one color is to be dropped; the 2 blank rows in the design field represent stitches that will knit only on the ribber for 2 rows. No stitches are dropped in color(s) used in sequential rows of blank squares in all “white” areas of the chart, including multiple rows above and below the design shape. Color changes every 2 rows continue, creating continuous stripes. shapes staggered, visually checking for placement of alternately dropped stitches 

To accommodate the Ayab preselection for the first row to be knit from left to right, move the last blank row in the design to the first-row position. As the carriages travel from left to right and back to the color changer, the stitches will knit 2 rows only on the ribber. Continue knitting in steps as described earlier in the post, changing colors every 2 rows. On a larger knit ground such shapes may be arranged to suit. This was my working repeat, but I used a third fewer stitches in the swatch than in chart. Note that the images will be reversed on the knit side, so if preferred, use Action Mirror to flip the image horizontally prior to knitting it

The swatch has been quickly pressed, so the texture is flattened out, but I am reminded a few shadow knits when viewing its purl side

In an unaltered 910 with the ability to double the width of the programmed repeat, mylar users are not excluded from exploring a similar fabric. The repeat above may be rescaled to half the width,  drawn that way, and then use the twice as wide built-in feature. Gimp does an “interesting” thing when scaling this design to half width, note the right side of each repeat is an odd number of squares, the left side an even. The repeat may be used as is or redrawn, adding or eliminating black squares if symmetry in each shape matters.  Paintbrush produces the same image, mirrored.

The explanation: further analysis of the original design reveals the fact that some of the pixel numbers in the design black square blocks are uneven in width. In this instance, 3.5 is half of 7, and half pixels cannot be rendered, so the software assigns the split to 4 and 3.  

 

Revisiting drop / release stitch lace 1

Hand knitters may be familiar with drop-stitch patterns where the yarn is wrapped multiple times around the knitting needle, followed by knit stitch(es). On the next row, when the wrap is reached, the extra wraps are dropped off the needle, and the remaining single loop is knit in a regular manner. On the knitting machine 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,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. Sometimes a distinction is made between terms used, in drive lace the bulk of the punchcard is left blank, there are far fewer marks than in drive lace. In mesh lace the balance of holes to punched or blank areas is 50/50 or more punched areas than blanks, often the “holes” or black squares are side by side. Drive lace marks out the shape of the pattern, mesh forms the background. Blank rows across the width of the repeat allow the knitting of plain rows between dropped stitch including ones, separating the series of holes, or stabilizing the fabric.

Both types of mesh may be combined in the same fabric, with dropping planned on same rows. The diamond on the left represents drive lace, the one on the right a mesh version. On the right, solid “lines” echo the shape. Repeat is suitable for punchcard but may be altered to suit for both cards and electronics.

revised with fewer single dots, solid lines in ground

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 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 the 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 the topic
2012/09/24/working-out-the-kinks-in-my-drop-stitch-lace-saga/
2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-japanese-machines
2013/10/16/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-passap-km/
2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-japanese-machines/
2015/06/14/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-brother-km/
2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/
2018/01/16/drop-stitch-lace-using-ayab-software

knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation 2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/

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

another related fabric: 2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on  either bed
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 the 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 the needle bed), both part buttons pushed in for free pass to opposite side of km, no knitting occurs but the first row of pattern knitting is selected. Ribber is set to N<–> throughout the carriages now move to the opposite side, selected needles on the main bed pick up loops, non selected needles stay empty. Ribber knits every stitchusing a ribber cast on comb, stitch “dumper”, or another 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 bedcarriages now move to opposite side, loops are picked up on selected needlesall 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 knitting it is not enough to pull them out of the 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 the entire length of the piece

My sample was knit in 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 the pattern in order to maintain vertical length at edges. To achieve that, the 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.

It is possible to produce drop stitch on the bulky machine or depending on the yarn, knitting with heavier yarn on EON on the standard machine. The resulting “patterns” happen with varying the number of rows used to knit in each color, which has not been addressed in previous posts. I prefer to use patterning on the top bed to select needles, but this pattern may also be knit as a hand technique, using the ribber to produce the loops that will be dropped. This page from the ribber techniques book reviews the baseline process and settings

purl side shown first for each segment, followed by its knit

Changing fiber content affects the scale of resulting patterns and dropped stitches, the yellow is a wool rayon, less than …” in width than the purple cotton variation

If using punchcard machines, factory issue punch cards provided with the KM may be usedPlaiting is also possible, but depending on the color choice the pattern may become muddied

A slip stitch edge may be planned to keep edges of items such as scarves from rolling

consider top and bottom edgings that include the technique (illustrated in previous post)Adding complexity: dropped stitches may be combined with other stitch types, shown here in combination with tuck stitch on the main bed, dropped loops created on ribber

An alternative way to produce this fabric on Brother is to use the knit carriage with no yarn to do the “stitch ditching”. The basic design programmed into any brother machine, electronic or punchcard will need to be altered. The intended design in my sample is a 4 X 4 square, colors represent what would be punched holes, black squares, or pixels. Simple block patterns such as these may be released upon completion of each “square” series, in this case, after 4-row segments.

Two rows are added at the top of each “square”, one repeating the motif width, the next completely free of any markings

Rows 5 and 6, 11 and 12 are not part of the original repeat. The 5th design row provides needle selection, traveling from right to left. When the carriage passes in turn from left to right with no yarn, those preselected needles will drop while preselecting a blank design row (6) that allows the carriage to return to the left-hand side. As it moves back to left, the carriage will preselect the first row of the design. With COL yarn is picked up in order to knit the next set of dropped stitches. A color change may be made while the carriage is on the left.

Begin with all stitches transferred and in work on the ribber only. Every needle will be in work on both beds for the remaining fabric. Ribber half pitch lever is on H. With COR set change knob to KC, preselecting from right to left for the first row to be knit after pushing in in both part buttons. This allows the KC to travel to the left without forming any loops or stitches, but the preselecting first row of pattern. Change color if using more that one color, knit 4 rows. color 3 (or 2) can be an empty feeder. Change to color empty so yarn(s) in use are held until picked up again and there is no yarn in the ribbers sinker plate yarn feeder. There are 2 options for dropping stitches. One is to disengage the KC from ribber, it will be picked up again as you move into the color changer to pick up the yarn once more. The other is to keep the carriages paired, set the ribber to slip for 2 rows, then back to knit as you return to the color changer, pick up the yarn again, and continue to knit. If row count is important ie in making a garment, the row counter gets turned off for the 2 rows when stitches are dropped, remember to turn it back on when knitting the next 4 pattern rows. I personally find this fussier and more error-prone than other methods I have described. My swatch is knit in acrylic thin yarns and lightly steamed, so bubbles have flattened out considerably. The fabric is a relative to that shown in the ribber techniques book page 23, created by picking loops up from the ribber combined with racking.

This is my ayab repeat, this time executed by configuring the knitting to begin on the last pattern row 16 for that first preselection row from left to right instead of altering the repeat itself


Lace patterns may be used for drop stitch following a similar “no yarn” method. Program the pattern in the usual manner. Set change knob to KC II canceling end needle selection, the knit carriage to slip <– –> and continue knitting until all needles are in the B position. At that point disconnect main bed and ribber carriages, unthread the yarn or have it held for you in yarn changer. Set the main carriage to knit, move across needles in B, dropping them since no yarn is in use. Bring the disconnected carriage across the knitting again, reconnect to the ribber carriage and rethread. Set KC to slip again, repeating the process. As an alternative for dropping stitches, leave KC set to slip, push all needles out to hold. With no yarn in the feeder, any loops will be dropped. Make the 2 passes with KC only as described, reconnect carriages, rethread, and continue until no needles are selected again.

Tuck cards may also be used. Plain knit rows between series of tucked rows make for an easy to identify the spot for dropping stitches. Since in such cards you are working with punched holes or black squares, the empty knit only carriage may be taken across with no yarn, dropping the complete, all knit row. It is not necessary to change the knit carriage setting from tuck to slip to do so. Tuck is an alternative option for a free pass as well, and realizing that helps avoid errors in patterning by missing resetting the cam buttons between the two functions.

 

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 the 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 the caston and desired edging completed. The first row is selected on the 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 an 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 the 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 knitting. 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 the 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 the swatch), less of a “bubble” effect than knitting or purling the yarn over before dropping it at the appropriate point (top of the 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