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 (ladderback) backing on Brother KM

If one chooses to hand manipulate needle selection on either bed and to bring needles to be knit off out to hold with machine set to slip, one can be in charge of knit stitches to happen wherever one chooses. Automating any of it may speed 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 repeat single bed. Both buttons are pushed in, turned toward the lili markings  <-   ->, and the ribber carriage is set to slip in both directions

The usual rule when working with lili <-   ->  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, for striping every 2 rows. Dashes and spaces on the needle tape are shown in the yellow row in chart with first needle on a “dash”. Patterning is fixed, beginning with second needle from the left when traveling from left to right, and second needle from the right as when traveling from right to left. This is true whether one starts on a blank or dash needle tape position. 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

“Fooling the machine” into thinking an even number of needles are in work by bringing an extra needle in work carriage side on left, the knitting happens on the needles represented by yellow squares, but the carriage thinks it is knitting the pink repeat

To knit: *COL: color 1 (orange) knits as set up for 2 rows. Before knitting with color 2 (green), COL, bring an extra needle into work before moving from left to right. COR: drop extra empty needle on left OOW, knit to left returning to color changer, change colors* repeat process throughout. Check regularly to make sure that the empty needle on the ribber as you bring it in/out of work does not pick up yarn and become an unintended increase. Having an extra needle in work on both sides of the fabric on the main bed will insure end stitches knit and side edges are “clean”

The fabric swatch illustrates the vertical striping. The operator error = horizontal stripe could become a design feature. 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.

this backing was used in one of the swatch segments seen in my May 4th post

Lace off KM, and yes I rib!

A few hours short of April Fool’s day the shawl is off the KM. This is it in its unblocked state. I am headed for the west coast for more than a week so any “surprises”  possibly revealed in blocking will wait until then. Perhaps I will also be “recovered” from the experience enough to work on a second piece, in a different color.  I tend to make one of a kind or limited edition items. So much time is spent in working out the issues in the pieces, that it is great to be able to use the patterns more than once.

On a totally different topic brioche patterned stitches have been discussed on one of the lists I belong to. Here is food for thought for those of you that follow me until I return. I actually resurrected my brother ribber from mothballs to double check my information (should be doing laundry …). 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). These markings will help prevent errors in long pieces or avoid confusion if knitting is interrupted for any length of time. The fabric is reversible, creating a textured checkerboard. For added interest and a color version, change color every 2 rows. I used this design in a line of “manly scarves” years ago. The repeat may be adapted for use on any KM.

a 2 color reversible relative of the card, showing both sides of fabric


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.