I previously posted on both single and double bed pleats. In light of the recent thread on mesh, I am sharing some of the information on pleats created using lace transfers, working out gauges for knitting predictable size fabric using them, and published in the Brother techniques book
I created the illustrations/ charts below in Mac Pages, which has changed quite a bit since the Mavericks upgrade. With Apple’s continued efforts to make programs more compatible between devices, many features I preferred for designing my charts in previous OS, are now defunct.
RIBBED, FOLDING PLEATS result from varying the needle arrangement on both beds, usually in every needle rib. As with any knit fabric, the knit piece will fold toward the purl side along the length of the piece, not away from it. Leaving needles out of work on either bed will create a vertical stripe of stocking stitch on the other, creating purl stitches on the rib ground, and the resulting knit will fold toward that bed, and the plain knit stitches. The same principle could be applied to hand knitting. The symbols: black dots indicate needles out of work, purple arrows the direction of the fold in the resulting fabric, | the needles in work on either bed, any machine.
Sharp angles occur when there are enough needles in work on both beds to allow the fabric to fold over itself crisply before it is forced by next group of out of work needles to fold once again in the opposite direction
repeat above configuration across the needle bed, going as narrow or as wide as desired
double sharp or box pleats are a variation where the direction of every other pleat is reversed, extra stitch groups may be added between pleats to vary their spacing
added stitch group represented by star, stitch count varied to suit
fold up as
accordion sharp pleats out of work needles evenly staggered on both beds
fold up as
Putting out of work needles on one bed close to out of work needles on the other will not allow the fabric to fold over completely before reversing direction, and will result in rounded or rolled, rather than sharp pleats. There should be one full needle rib stitch between needles out of work, highlighted below in red. Repeating the same selection results in rolled single pleats
double rolled pleats mirror needle groups
fold up as
in accordion rolled OOW needles are spaced evenly on both beds
fold up as
Types of pleats, their width, spacing and mixing with stretches of every needle rib, may be used in whole garments or garment details ie cuffs, peplums, single fold large pleats in skirts and jackets, etc.
Brother Ribber Techniques Book page 37 illustration
Normal shaping procedures are not practical in these fabrics. Tension changes are used from loose to tight to achieve shaping from wider at bottom to narrower at top, requiring extended swatches. The larger the finished items, such as skirts, are more predictable in result if the test swatch is a large one. A minimum of 100 rows for gauging is recommended. A test segment is made for each tension change. Swatches should be allowed to rest after being treated like the finished garment will be: blocked, pressed, washed, etc., then hung vertically and allowed to rest. After deciding the length, 2-4 inches need to be subtracted from the desired measurement to allow for “drop” that is likely in the finished piece over time.
The fabric may look a bit different on one side than the other, either works as the exterior of the piece, is a matter of preference.
These are knits where the clicks between numbers on tension dials on machines come into use. In addition to the usual gauge calculations for knitting garments, a bit more math is needed.
The number of needles used need to be divisible by the number of stitches used for any pleat.
Joining on inner folds rather than outer ones produces better results. Having an extra stitch at joining edges, with seaming using half a stitch on each side, will keep pleat widths constant.
The larger the pleat, the more bulk is created. Most skirts will require 3 panels with one seam worn on center back. Yokes may be added to decrease bulk rather than having pleats meet at waistline.
Ribbers on Japanese machines tend to knit tighter than main beds. At times an increase of 2 tension numbers may be required to get stitch sizes created by both beds to approach being equal. The other factor to consider is that the wider the plain knit vertical portion of the pleats, for stitches to knit off properly, the more the tension needs to approach the # used to knit the same yarn in stocking stitch on the respective single bed. Tolerance varies between machines.
Experimentation is needed even before knitting the large swatches. It pays to be familiar with both your ribber and your yarn before trying these fabrics, and to keep good notes.
I work primarily on multiple model Brother machines, in this instance the 910. Some of the information provided below may need tweaking for use in other brand KMs. “Automation” of some holding functions may be achieved using slip setting to knit required stitches. Below is the mylar sheet repeat used for my samples swatches. The setup is on working needles 21L, 19R, program for color reverse and twice the height; KCII (cancel end needle selection); first row needle selection from left to right, and with carriage ending on the right the first set of needles selected will be those that knit, the remaining bed will slip. This is opposite to the configuration familiar in holding, where needles out to E are held, those in B or D will knit (Brother needle position jumped the letter C, they are A,B,D,E). In this type of knitting all needles in use on the bed should be cleared with each pass of the carriage.
I have gotten used to keeping programming numbers for locations on mylar around a square to correspond to the lights surrounding the house icon on the 910, and worked with the following 2 options for my test swatches
In the samples below the first set of every other stitch/ black square in the increasing/decreasing angles were slipped on the non selected needles to create/mark the inner purl fold , the second set in the area that does straight knitting tucked on non selected needles to create/mark the knit outer fold. For the latter to occur, the cam buttons need to be switched to tuck <-> for 2 rows, and then back to slip <-> for the remaining knit repeat. Small holes are created at edges of slipped areas as miters are created, as would appear were the fabric created tthrough holding.
A: the alternate fold areas as they appear on the machine during knitting
the fabric after some casual steaming shown on the knit side, the pleating just about doubling on itself
B: with the added knit rows, the swatch before steaming
here is the purl side after some steaming showing the change in overlap
its knit side
both fabrics allowed to “hang”
The look may be varied considerably by changing the sequencing of the number of knit stitches, and the number of plain knit rows between the EON slipped or tucked ones. Electronics facilitate that, and with machines capable of accepting programming of the whole needle bed, there is even greater freedom. The sample above was knit loosely in acrylic, the holes would be less apparent in a tighter knit. If bothersome they may be “avoided” by factoring in “wrapping” if every row of the repeat is drawn rather than every other. With only 60 squares available on the mylar it is possible to go twice as wide and produce fabric width that may suffice for a skirt’s length. However, a problem results not so much in the inner fold slipped rows, but in the outer fold tuck ones. As in nearly any knitting when needles have 2 side by side loops resting on them, these loops will create a float/ ladder, so the tuck rows will essentially behave like the slipped ones as the double loops are dropped rather than anchored on the subsequent pass of the carriage. In the configuration here if the double wide button is used, one way to solve that issue would be to bring consistently the same of either of the 2 non selected needles out to D or E position (still faster than hand selecting repeats by hand for holding). The same repeat redrawn to factor in reduction of the eyelets at edges of slipped areas:
a partial graph showing “automatic wrap” to decrease eyelet size
plain knit rows (blanks on mylar) may be added at the bottom or top of the repeat to change pleat depth
An added alternative for fold lines: create outside crease transferring EON to make a row of eyelets, create inside crease by knitting the desired row double row of with 2 strands of garment yarn. “Automatic” repeat must be adjusted accordingly, whether by re drawing or punching, or using cam settings for the correct stitch formation.
Seaming should be planned on the inner fold of the fabric, depending on whether the purl or knit side is used as the “public” side, the least visible join being one that is grafted ie with kitchener stitch.
The same principles may be applied to punchcard knitting but because the repeat size is 24 stitches the resulting fabric is one suitable for portions of garments/ accessories, in details such as ruffles and edgings. Because the punchcard does not have the option for color reverse, the punched holes would be the white squares above, the black squares the unpunched areas. “Air” knitting helps determine exact needle location required , and to decide which side the first row must be selected prior to actual knitting. The image below shows the start of only one possible partial repeat based on the original mylar repeat above, with dots on yellow ground indicating punched holes, the greyed out areas indicating what might be the markings were color reverse a possibility.
I usually sample my repeats by using hand selection and holding before committing to drawing on mylar or punching holes. The former are hard to get, the latter time consuming to punch, and “repairs” are more difficult when there are that many holes side by side. An even number of rows is required in this technique.