Unconventional uses for punchcards 1: tracking racking positions in ribbed fabric

In a long ago post I shared the punchcard image below. The card is used double length throughout. Cast on in your favorite method.  “Memorize” first row of pattern, set card to advance EOR, set KC to tuck in both directions, set RC (ribber carriage) for normal knitting throughout. This is a racked pattern. The numbers to the right of the card are for the racking position on each visible row (takes into consideration your eyes can view card 7 rows above card reader teeth). There are only 2 positions in this card as written, 4 and 5, so the results are vertical columns in textured rib

checkerboardthe corresponding swatch, both sides shown 

The tracking for the racking sequencing may be created for any punchcard, whether punched holes are required in the card for patterning or not. The image below is  taken from the Brother Ribber Techniques Book. If KC is used, no holes are punched, and the carriage is set to plain knit, though the card advances, all needles knit. End needle selection is not a factor. page 17

the racking handle movement repeat isolatedworking repeat

In the card, for use on Brother, the first row of the repeat with machine on racking position 10 would be placed on row one pre marked position found on stock brother blank cards. Always check markings for your machine. I have a roll purchased for Brother kms specifically that actually are stamped for Studio, with # 1 two rows below where it should be on right.  No holes need to be punched in this instance. Needles are brought into work and filled as illustrated in the ribber book page. Knit one row across stitches with card set to advance normally. In this instance marking row numbers in preferred colors will indicate when the racking sequence changes direction. Green rows rack to left, orange to right. The racking handle position repeat is 20 rows high (shown on left), a minimum of 36 rows for the card to roll properly) is met by repeating it twice, and the “motif” is broken up to accommodate the fact that the reader is working on 7 rows below row number visible on machine exterior. Rows 34 and 35 would become the 2 every square punched rows always placed at the top of pattern cards. The blue numbers on right reflect racking handle position for that row before the next row is knit. They can be marked on any blank square if card is blank, or alongside existing row numbers as seen in the punchcard for the checkered swatch. It is helpful to have consistent habits if one needs to stop for any length of time ie. always knit row, rack to position or stop after knitting, rack upon return.whole card

Machine can be set for double length for racking after every 2 rows knit.

Using the method for cables and crossed stitches  (3 posts)

Lace cards on 260 bulky PDF

Machine knitting cables: single bed, introducing the ribber

Using two beds is the obvious means of creating a purl ground in combination with your cables, it will be addressed in later posts. If you are trying to cable more than 4 stitches on the main bed, using the ribber to provide extra yarn for the cross over may solve problems in accomplishing the cross. The ribber needs to be set at half pitch the row before the cables. Needles on the ribber are kept out of work until that row, pushed up to work position, and the row is knit. The loops formed on those needles are then dropped off, the ribber needles are put out of work, and the cables are crossed. The main bed knits until the next row before the cable crossings are once again due. I have recently begun to use water-soluble markers to mark needles positions on metal beds clearly for help in keeping track of locations for specific manipulations.

An illustration of 2 (or more) possible places to pick up extra yarn for a 6 stitch cable crossxtra_yarn

Below is a revision of a punchcard used in a previous post to track crossings for 3X3 cables, with punched holes added, taking into consideration locations for picking up extra yarn on the ribber. After 2 needles are selected on the main bed, one needle on the ribber on either side of them is brought into work. As the carriages knit across, the ribber needles pick up loops, while 6 needles are selected indicating the location of the cable cross on the next row. Ribber loops are dropped, and the needles creating them are returned to out of work position. The cable stitches are then crossed, and knitting resumes, continuing until needle selection once again indicates that an action is required.

IMG_1681

An alternative solution: reverse the beds, with the ribber doing the knitting. A card may then be drawn to select needles for picking up those extra loops, now on the main bed. The knit carriage is set to slip throughout. Punched holes (or programmed pixels in downloads, black squares in mylars) will preselect in Brother KMs, not only keeping the needle selection error free, but also tracking rows knit between cable crosses being made. Brother ribbers tend to knit more tightly than main beds, so tensions will require adjustment as well. With a bit of planning ahead and doing some “air” knitting, all needles not involved in picking up the extra yarn may be noted and placed out of work. Only the needles for selection will remain in work, thus making it easier drop the loops formed on them during knitting.

This method allows for creating the cables while retaining a somewhat tighter tension. Since the ribber carriage has no wheels or brushes to help hold the knit in place, weight must be used. Too much of it will lead to more frequently dropped stitches. It is always good to bring cable group stitches out to holding (E) in order to visually check that transfers have occurred properly,  and that there are no dropped stitches before continuing to knit.

 

 

My recent knits

More of the extended twill FI, chenille  and rayon or wool combinations

In addition to all the usual suspects, I have been playing with DBJ once again, keeping my Passap battery charged, crossing my fingers that my ancient Dell laptop will keep working, playing with colors, using super thin yarns and plying them as needed

using built in patterns

my own pattern inspired from weaving drafts, borders mirrored to match direction when scarf is worn

More knit bubbles

The topic of “those bubbles” has recently turned up again on ravelry, where another forum member (Tanya /It MakesYou Smile) had come across a russian video by Anna Kovin, with results that closely resembled those in the blue sweater and blankets pictured in my previous post, and poses a great solution for knitting the alternating, same side knit and purl variants of the stitch. I knit my samples on my Passap, simply because I tend not to keep my ribber on my brother machine. My production is single bed for most pieces in that gauge, and I find it easier to both see and work without the ribber on. That said, the method can work on any machine.

Drop stitch makes for a very loose, wide fabric, so casting on and binding off need to accommodate that. I often will start with waste yarn, a loose first row, end the piece with a loose row. My bind off is often around 2 gate pegs or more if needed, and rehanging the bottom  and binding off in the same manner has top and bottom match. I did not do this in my swatch, and it is easy to see where some of the problems may be.

For swatching I chose to hang the comb with the first knit pass (open cast on trick) on the back bed (would be main bed on Brother), using a multiple of 5 stitches, knit several rows and then transferred in a 5/5 rib configuration, sorting out the proper tension for my yarn. I began with 5 stitches on back bed (main bed in japanese KM), transferred next 5 to ribber, and repeated process across the width of my fabric. The front bed/ ribber was set at half pitch when pattern was about to start, with an extra needle on left. The portions of the bed that create the long stitches will essentially be knitting an every needle rib, so if point to point is used to make tranfers easier, it needs to be changed back to proper pitch for the remainder of the knitting. The swatch does not address the best beginning and ending of the fabric for any possible end use

1. set up 5X5 rib, begin by leaving the first five needles on main bed (passap back bed)

2. bring all main bed needles into work (ribber needles at this point will be 5 out of work, 5 in across bed)

3. knit 8 rows

4. drop off groups of 5 stitches on main bed, begin with the second group of 5 from the left, moving across the bed (every needle rib sections), pushing groups of needles out of work as they are emptied

5. bring all the ribber needles into work (main bed needles at this point will be 5 out of work, 5 in across bed)

6. knit 8 rows

7. now drop ribber stitches, 5 at a time, begin with first 5 on the left, and continue across the bed, pushing all the needles out of work as they are emptied

repeat the process, beginning with step 2, through 7

the relaxed fabric, the knit blocks alternating knit and purl

the same swatch, illustrating what happens when you press acrylic, and some of the problems to be sorted out in terms of the start and end of any piece in this type of fabric

my previous post

The Brother version, with aid of patterning for needle selection: this particular version of the fabric is actually created by rectangular blocks of every needle rib, with straight side edges. If one wanted recognizable shapes other than this circle illusion, then more hand manipulation would be needed. The chart below illustrates the repeats for my swatch (4 sts X 6 rs or 6 X 6 would be suitable for punchcard KMs). The solid squares represent the every needle rib sections, where stitches will be dropped to create the larger ones.

With the machine set to KC and no cam buttons in work, needles are selected, but no patterning occurs. “Air knitting” can help establish where on the needle bed the pattern repeats, and how to set up the needles and stitches to be in sync with selection as the work progresses.

An alternative approach using this method, begins with all needles on the main bed in use as opposed to ribber ones as in my Passap test. Once the sequence is understood starting points for creating full needle rib can be varied, as can selecting the first row from either side. For these swatches I used a thinner yarn, in a bright color, which can help identify any issues in stitch formation, and I began the swatch in rib, to see effect that might have as well.

my amended repeat

Begin by checking needle selection, set up rib as described at top of post, beginning first group of 5 stitches on left with selected needles, next group not selected, etc. If all the steps are repeated beginning on the same side of the KM it does not matter which  block of needles are at the opposite end,  allowing for width/gauge adjustment. I like to mark my needle bed with water soluble pen so I will be certain to have proper needles in work, not relying on memory or my sometimes “creative note keeping”.

CO ENR (every needle rib) set up with first needle on left in work on ribber, last on right on main bed, racking at half pitch: knit 1 row N/N, hang comb and weights, 2 rows circular (using opposite part buttons), follow with one row N/N

rack slightly to right to make needle transfer easier, set up a multiple of 5 X 5 rib; begin with transferring first 5 on left down to ribber, pushing any empty ribber needles OOW; after transfer, rack back to original position so first ribber needle in work will once again be on left

bring all main bed needles into work (ribber needles at this point will be 5 in work, 5 out of work across bed)

select your first pattern row, KC II (no end needle selection), continue to knit until needle selection changes so the second block from the left on the main bed is selected; non selected needles on the main bed will now be dropped off, and those same emptied needles will be pushed completely out of work (first group from left is starting point here as well)

bring all needles into work on the ribber, knit until needle selection changes with all in main bed needles in B position, at that point I brought all remaining main bed empty needles between them out to hold/ D position in order to drop stitches on ribber between them, using main bed as a guide, pushing any newly emptied ribber needles completely out of work as stitches were dropped (beginning with second group of “5” from left)

as one physically looks at the stitches, there will actually be a count of six between MB needles, in my first sample I dropped  in series of 5, always beginning on the same left side.

This swatch shows the resulting fabric. Of note is that one side (marked with red) is holding together along dropped stitches far better than on the the right (marked in black), a desirable trait, and not as noticeable in the previous swatch knit on Passap, perhaps because of the difference in the weight of the yarn and stitch size

the result was much improved when only the center 4 of the 6 ribber stitches were dropped, producing a bit of a chain stitch on each side and with better definition of dropped stitch areas; both sides of fabric are shown below

at this point all main bed needles are in work, needle selection will once more begin on left; knit until needle selection changes, continue the sequence.

Cast on ENR rib edge has obvious width, bind off is around 2 gate pegs after transferring any remaining ribber stitches up to main bed.

The version of the stitch as worked out by Tanya Cunningham with her shared instructions for what she refers to as “bubble pops” may be found on Ravelry.

other commercial products utilizing the stitch type: aztec knit loose drape cardigan in beige

and “Mallow Peach Kleid”

Vertical striper backing on Brother KM

I reviewed and edited this post in mid March 2019, with plans to add a part 2 post on use of llili buttons when I am able. The content here explores one of the possible lili settings, where slip stitch is used in both directions for every other needle pattern selection on the ribber.

If one chooses to hand manipulate needle selection on either bed, bringing needles to be knit out to hold with the carriage in use set to slip, one can make knit stitches happen wherever one chooses. Automating any part of the process speeds things up, but comes with built in KM limitations. lili buttons enable every other needle selection on the Brother ribber carriage, behave in the same manner as when using the following card single bed.

Another way to look at it, showing the isolated smallest repeat bordered in red on the right side, and action on needles in work on the ribber, K for knit, S for slip. Movement of the carriages shown is from left to right and back to left, the color changer side

The usual rule when working with lili buttons and slip <– –> setting is to have an even number of needles in work on the ribber bed. The markings on the corresponding needle tape consist of dashes with spaces between them. For an even number of needles, if the first needle is positioned over a dash, then the last must be positioned over a blank space. The charts below take into consideration duplicate rows, knit first away from, and then back to the color changer resulting in striping every 2 rows. Patterning is fixed, beginning with second needle from the left when traveling from left to right, and second needle from the right when traveling from right to left. The second needle in each instance knits. This is true whether one starts on a “blank” or “dash” needle tape position. With an even number of needles in use, needles in work begin and end on opposing symbols in pairs ie dash and blank, or blank and dash

Dashes and spaces on the needle tape are shown in the yellow row in chart with first needle on a “dash”. Needles (colored squares in repeat) are numbered reflecting the sequence in which they are knit as the ribber carriage moves in the direction of arrows. 

If an odd number of needles is in use, the same needles will slip/knit respectively. Grey squares represent the needle location for which the ribber carriage thinks it is selecting, including the missing needle location to keep the number of stitches even. Unless settings are changed patterning is fixed on the same stitches.

To create vertical stripes using slipstitch, this would need to be the repeat, not “automatically” possible on the ribber

The card that is being imitated is card one elongated X2, here shown in the studio version

“Fooling the machine” into thinking a continued number of odd needles are in work is achieved by bringing an extra needle in work con the ribber carriage side on left, and then right in turn on the carriage side, or one empty needle on each side at the same time. The knitting happens on the needles represented by yellow squares, but the carriage thinks it is knitting the pink repeat

Odd needle set ups begin and end on the same symbol ie. Dash or blank on the needle tape, in this case the “dash”

If extra needles are brought into work with a starting even number of knit stitches, each 2 passes produce a single row of knit with alternating slipped stitches, resulting in a narrow stripe alternating with small checks, or plain stripes in each color on the fabric backing. Again, the movement here is away from and back to left side

The overall design is interrupted by knit stripes, depending on whether one or 2 extra needles are brought into work, here is one sample

Working with an odd number of needles on the ribber

To knit: *COL (carriage on left): color 1 knits to set up base in pattern for 2 rows, ending on color changer side. Before knitting with color 2 COL, bring an extra needle into work before moving from left to right. Knit one row. COR: drop the extra empty needle on left OOW, bring extra needle on right into work. Knit to left returning to color changer, drop extra needle on right OOW, change colors* repeat * *process throughout. Check regularly to make sure that extra needle does not become an unintended increase. Having an extra needle in work on both sides of those on the ribber on the main bed will insure end stitches knit off and side edges are cleaner, with less noticeable elongated stitches on each side. It is possible to bring up the pair of empty needles for color 2 at the same time. In my experiments I have found that if the needles in work on the ribber begin with a dash on the left, I had regular loop formation on the empty needles when using slip stitch. This did not happen when I began with first needle on left beginning with its placement on the empty space between the dashes on the needle tape.

Loop formation that requires their release before continuing to knit:

The fabric swatch from the original post illustrates the vertical striping. The thin yarn clearly shows the lengthening of slipped stitches, and why some DBJ fabrics are referred to as “long stitch” ones, with color bleed or grin through from colors traveling behind them. The plain rib at the bottom is significantly wider than areas where slipstitch is used, an issue if plain rib is to be combined with DBJ created with slipped stitches. On the knit side in this instance, the fabric is knit stripes. When using the color changer starting with waste yarn and testing yarns, gives one the opportunity to make any adjustments necessary including on occasion doing a bit of metal bending where needed.

A subsequent proof of concept for inclusion in the later post It is also possible to work with the same approach, using tuck settings. A first experimental test

lili buttons may be used with needles out of work when using thicker yarns, or for the resulting effect on that side of the fabric. A vertical stripe in that instance produced with hand needle selection on the ribber bedLastly, here is a tiny swatch in an arrangement beginning to explore odd number of needles in work on the ribber in conjunction with use of lili buttons, and adding needles to “fool the machine” as described above

A shawl tale

I have always been interested in mock crochet stitches executed on the knitting machine, have done a bit of experimenting in the past. The ones that are the most interesting to my eye are usually double bed, often making them reversible, which in turn may require hand manipulations. Browsing through old knitting magazines I came across this baby sweater, and became determined to produce a similar fabric, in a manner that might be more manageable for production. In this instance the back locks are changed in sequences of 3, 1, with button changes, they yarn is fine. First sample I produced was following the pattern stitch instructions.

The fabric as a hand technique, dropped stitches included

The challenge: creating a downloadable stitch pattern that will automatically select appropriate needles and duplicate this texture. Yarn used will be varied and different weights. Pusher/needle set up both beds critical, then there must be an edging…more to follow.