Tuck lace trims (and fabrics 2)

Working between electronic and punchcard machines needs to take into account that repeats on a punchcard KM must be a factor of 24 (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12). An electronic tuck stitch repeat 

Since it is seven stitches wide, if punched accordingly it would occupy 21 out of 24 stitch units on a punchcard, so as is (unless those extra needles on the far right and left are left out of work for ladders) it would not be suitable for an all over fabric. It can however, be used for a trim. If the latter is the intent, only one series of vertical repeats as seen below needs to be punched. The numbers below the image indicate Brother needle tape markings. This is a 6 row tuck fabric, so thinner yarns should be used if the pattern is automated, as tuck loops build up in needle hooks. If you wish to experiment with slightly thicker yarns, decrease the unpunched areas to 4 rows, or execute using holding. Held stitches sit on top of the needle shank, tolerance is determined by how many rows it either takes for knit stitches on sides of the loops jumping off needles, or accumulated loops being unable to knit off consistently on the next all knit pass. To test yarn out, try the technique by using holding, then punch your card. Automating makes the process less prone to error and faster if great lengths of a trim are needed. 

Using the trim as the cast on edge for a garment: determine the length required after a technique test. Knit a bit extra and remove on waste yarn, so more may be added or some be unravelled if needed or you wish to change the configuration using it as your cast on. Rehang and cast on later when it is completed. The flared out portions of the trim will be used to “cast on” the edge of the piece, continuing with some needles out of work

an attempt at line drawing the “trim” sideways

Using the curved out edge of the trim, hang stitches half if possible, or one full stitch away from its edge as illustrated below. Knit 4 rows. With a tool pick up all ladder loops created by NOOW (RC 1-4) and hang on center empty needle. Knit rows (RC 5, 6), hang ladder loops on still empty needles, knit across all needle, continue with garment

needle arrangementpicking up loops 

The yarn is a cotton, and appears to have a tendency toward biasing on knit rows as seen in the tendency to lean in one direction in above photos. It has no stretch, so stitches that knit off several tuck loops remain  elongated. A look at the structure on the purl side:

In Brother knitting when needles are out of work, the automatic end needle selection  may interfere with the pattern, and this is a consideration in many knits. Intro to all over tuck “lace” patterns: one to try. Two 8 st repeats shown, suitable for all kms 

Single bed: arrange the needles as shown. Cast on and knit a few rows, set knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, and knit desired number of rows.

Double bed: OOW needles on main bed will now be in use on the ribber Set half pitch lever on H, racking indicator on 5. Cast on desired number of stitches, knit base rows. Set half pitch lever on P, transfer stitches between beds arranging them as shown with NOOW on both beds. Set change knob to KCII, knit one row. Push in both tuck buttons, knit in pattern for desired number of rows.

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: working with short rows

Another Ravelry thread recently looked at knitting this pattern, from an old Knittax pattern book

I found this in a different manual, with similar structure, and “english” directions

symbols used in Knittax patterns 

On the purl side this creates structures that emulate crocheted shells. My first attempts at trying to knit anything like this were in thin yarn, and I had enough issues to give up for the moment. Things worked out much better when I switched to a sport weight yarn that seemed to like knitting at T 10 for stocking stitch. With NOOW set up, my sample was knit at T 9. Waste yarn and ravel cord are often a good way to start, but not always necessary, same is true of weight. I began with a crochet cast on, every needle, multiple of 4 st + 2, then dropped the alternate pairs of needles between the first and last 2 pairs of needles in work, pulling the needles back to A position, determining the width of my “shells”

Working from right to left, starting with COR; the first pair of needles on carriage side in work, remaining needles away from carriage are in hold position moving toward left, the adjacent needle in the first pair in hold gets wrapped; be sure to retain proper positions for knitting and holding the first wrap completed, needles in position to continue the process is repeated X number of times. I chose to wrap X 5, which requires 10 rows of knitting, making the row counter usable to track rows in easy increments. When wraps are completed, push wrapped needle and its partner into work, knit one row make certain all the loops have knit off , wrap the first needle to their left, bring pair on the right to hold continue for your desired number of wrapsreturn wrapped needle and its partner to work position, knit one row, wrap next single needle on left remember to bring needles to right of the pair just knit into holdrepeat to end of row. Reverse process moving from left to right (in progress photo). I found a single tooth from a claw weight on pair of stitches doing all the knitting helpful. 

The resulting swatch knit side its purl side

Variations can include the number of needles used for knit stitches or ladders width created from NOOW, yarn choices, etc.

here the technique is used for a trim, both sides shown  trying to imagine process  chart format 

online inspiration: a youtube shawl , and techniques that use holding while moving across the needle bed in similar manner, though not necessarily producing “crochet like” fabrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR_7Ys9KIaU&t=4s    http://postila.ru/post/29275341  http://alessandrina.com/?s=wisteria

A shawl tale 2

Recent runway knits include lots of color/ technique patches, and ruffles galore. I no longer share that information here, for those interested they may be found in my pinterest boards http://pinterest.com/manydrina/

My “spider web” shawl has been a popular for sale item for me for a very long time. From time to time the line was joined by chenille and felted ones with variations in shape

wool rayonfelted wool chenille 

Most of my chenille inventory traveled with me to my new residence. The yarn has some challenges in knitting and handling, which may relate to the core content holding the fibers in place, and its twist. Lace holes may disappear with blocking, fibers shed sporadically with washing, and so on. The quality and behavior is not necessarily price or source dependent. Swatching is always worth it. As I work on new ideas, I occasionally decide to “wing it”. I prefer shawls that work with a bit of neck shaping rather than simple triangles. So I thought: faroese style shawl, 2 triangles and a shape with a bit of holding at the center, just “knit it”. The first triangle knit was the striped section, shaped with increases from 3 stitches to desired width. The wedge section had interesting issues with biasing, even with blocking . The solid green triangle, shaped with decreases actually knit to a size different enough so it had to be unravelled and re knit. There are many hand knitting patterns published that offer directions for “asymmetrical” shawls, which use such differences as design features, and that certainly can be an option in machine knitting as well. Calling the item a shawlette or scarf also discounts many issues. That said, I got this sort of shapeand wanted this, with close to equal shaping on  either side of the center wedge

The original idea had been to create a ruffled edging with color patterning using the slip setting, automating needle selection, pattern, and shaping. Brother has Imo created the worst single bed color changer on the market. It is the only one I know of where the yarn does not leave the changer and in turn travel with the knit carriage sinker plate. The chenille yarns simply did not clear it properly for me, sticking together, and looping far too easily (though smooth yarns had no issues). So then my 910 got set up, and I thought to try knitting with 2 carriages. For the pattern I wanted to create even this involved issues with carrying yarn up the design stripes, and after trying slip and FI patterning I gave up and went for the KISS principle, returning to single color shaping using holding to create the ruffled edging.

the finished chenille shawl

purl side

Some of the steps I would do differently or add in future pieces:

1.definitely gauge swatch, perhaps even draft shapes on knit leader and use it to guide triangle (or other shaping) for shawl segments

2. shape both large triangles with decreases, requiring one to be started on waste yarn (yellow line) and rehung prior to section knit in holding. Red arrows indicate direction of knitting for each piece

3. yarn markers every X # of rows along outer edge of shawl or on inner ruffle edge if it is knit separately, may be helpful both for seam as you knit, or later for joining the ruffle by hand

4. if color changer is required, try to use the double color changer, with knitting weighted as for rib (this is a very viable option for frequent color changes on bulky machine). Drawback here is the pattern is no longer immediately visible, so any errors or dropped stitches may be missed in time for immediate repair.




A bit of holding 5: intarsia and more 2

So you have some shapes you love and know: wanting to go large, mixing them up, requires thinking things through. Testing on small swatches will help determine holding sequences and whether the results are predictable or even liked. I no longer have access to Adobe photoshop or illustrator, so some of my image editing is now achieved in gimp. Labeling below is with Skitch, and charting is with Excel.

A starting freehand swatch experiment and some observations: shape variations in red areas occur by altering sequence for knitting first and last 2 shapes in hold



Planning possible sequences out in charting can be confusing. The image direction will be reversed on the knit side. Approaching the technique like intarsia with individual yarns or bobbins eliminates the need for some of the concerns where 2 row sequences or specific starting sides are necessary to keep yarns continuous or for execution of the desired shape. Trying to imagine the shapes that create the larger one together in a simple 2D drawing can get one started, but  then shapes need to be rearranged. I usually began by “playing”, trying to figure out steps needed, and follow that by trying to produce an executable chart. Making the process as easy as possible to track is always a consideration.

screenshot_09possible stitch counts and adding a center line “stem”/ stripescreenshot_10its knitting sequence tulip_numbereda resulting swatch, stitch counts not consistent with chart


In the chart below the design is worked with 2 needles brought out to work or pushed back into work at any one time, making tracking changing numbers in hold unnecessary. Pink rows indicate starting and ending knit rows, orange “stitches” are cast on and bound off in turn, creating a shape extending out from the edge of the knit. Arrows indicate where shapes meet to create forms.


Holding sequence for each shape may be worked begin with carriage on either side; with experience this may be planned at times to eliminate some of those cut yarn ends that later must be woven in. Getting back to arrows indicating carriage moves, using the center shape for illustration purposes and beginning with COR

directionif beginning with COL, simply flip the image horizontally direction flip


The yarns used were “throw away acrylics” in white and red. The green is a rayon chenille, which required a looser tension, resulting in the other colors looser than I would want in a final fabric

idea for a larger image in the process of being editedscreenshot_07

A possible sequence in knitting if it is to be executed as shown. The arrow marks rows that knit all needles across the width of the piece. The piece segments are  numbered to create a starting line for later joining.
numbered1If the goal is knitting as close to a flat circle as possible, eliminating rows will create a smaller center hole as well after the form is completed and seamed. Knitting segments 1-6 should be adequatecircle2In larger pieces ie shawls, adding knit rows without adding stitches can be done by altering #8, 1, 6, 7. Red line indicates changing angles. Blue and green lines below indicate increasing rows knit at center of shapes as a result. exteded

Knitting and cast on sequences flow around left purl edge, straight or diagonal edges on a chart such as above may become foundation rows that are later seamed. Sort out your sequence and preferences on smaller swatches, keeping notes as you go. Additional shaping can happen along the edges of any plain knit rows between shapes by increasing or decreasing on either or both sides to create crescent shapes  or triangle variants.

Now a quandary if gauge matters: knit stitches are not square. One option is to generate a grid appropriate graph paper. In holding sequences happen in 2 row sequences. Graph paper cells may be created at twice the height desired. Each rectangle will represent a single stitch, 2 row sequence. To create your own knitting graph paper in excel please see post as a place to start. A common knit ratio is 4W X 6H. An editable workbook in 2W X 6H ratio that takes into account following outline in 2 row holding sequences: landscape2X6. Links for designing knit graph papers online:

Using the 4X6 model reduced to 2X3 this is a sample generated using excel, with borders in a 2X6 ratio, so in execution, each single cell represents one stitch and 2 rows knit. The shape is one from the shape menu in the program, easily resized. The yellow bars show the gradations in holding. These cells are too small for adding text within the program itself. The math can be double checked: there are 70 stitches, 34 rows in the rectangle at the center of the shape. Holding happens over 5 chart units (10 rows actual knitting) at the top and bottom of the center shape; 70/5 = 14 X5, matching the drawing shape on grid

the accompanying, editable workbook Excel 2008  landscape2X6

So the goal is a shawl or garment, graph paper is becoming impractical to follow? Time to pull out your knit leader. Draw out each wedge or piece full size, number  segments breaking sections into knitting sequences, and let the KL guide you. For consistency, if the same shape is to be repeated many times and accuracy matters, it may be worth “air knitting” it while noting shaping as you go, keeping a row by row flow chart. An editable workbook to help track holding patterns, increases, decreases, etc. as a starting point for your own preferences: tracking knit.

Gauge or shape do not matter? time to scrumble it all and be surprised!



A bit of holding 4: intarsia and more

Picture knitting / intarsia may at times be achieved using holding techniques. As in any such knitting, supplies include extras such as bobbins, clothespins or weighted clips, but no separate carriage. If the ribber is in use and one is working on a large piece, ribber covers allow the yarns to hang in front of the ribber bed.

Some of the rules for accomplishing this using short rows: it is helpful to work from a chart. Two row sequences are required, so having the working chart double length makes the process easier to visualize. “Follow” knitting direction with any tool to determine that the pattern is executable, with no long floats or slits.

The bottom of any diagonal lines is always knit first.

Needles are brought out to hold on the carriage side, pushed back into work opposite the carriage; one exception to this rule is if “automatic wrapping” is used. In the latter one less needle is brought into hold than needed opposite the carriage, the row is knit, then with the carriage on the alternate side the first needle in hold next to stitches just knit is brought out to hold, resulting in a “wrap” and correcting the count to the desired number. Any number of needles may be pushed back into work at any time. More than single stitches brought to hold on the carriage side will produce floats.

When knitting shapes the only needles in work are those being worked to create that shape.

Base rows of knitting, whether in waste yarn or as part of the pattern, are needed prior to working in hold.

Remember that you are working on the purl side, so any image will be flipped horizontally on the knit side. Reverse chart horizontally before working it if direction matters.

Begin with a simple shape. Letters indicate knitting sequence for short row sections. Patterning in these charts begins with COR, bold lines separate areas of plain knitting, letters indicate order for executing short row segments. The fabric produced lies flat, with no noticeable 3D protrusions.



screenshot_07marking sequences with numbers is easier for me to follow; color changes help define segments, do not reflect final colors in design diamond_29


a super mini swatch: holes are typical both in intarsia and in short rows if no wrapping occursIMG_2439be prepared to weave in a lot of yarn endsIMG_2901going larger, note “steps” created when larger number of needle groups are used500_717stripes500_716more complex geometry:  line drawing on “graph paper”complex_30the start of color placement screenshot_01sequence for executing segments at completion of designcomplex_number_01in actual knitting the pattern must be elongated X2

I find it helpful to use familiar yarn and to work variations of a familiar shape prior to taking on more complex patterns. Below is a cousin of the first shape illustrated in this post, with pattern worked beginning COL, repeated across the row, increments in number of stitches worked in short rows, but mirrorred on both shape sides (shown in first swatch segment).

screenshot_01filling in to produce a flat fabric, with straight sides: bottom segmentscreenshot_02top segmentscreenshot_04the amended chartscreenshot_05

Some of the same shapes may be placed on a shaped edge. The repeat will likely need some editing; arrows indicate direction of knitting for that row. If the background color is used for casting on and binding off, then the isolated shape floats on the ground, and the horizontal line of contrast color is eliminated.

screenshot_18edge 1creating an outline of shape with Color 1screenshot_23edge_21

horizontal rotation to achieve “leaf” shapescreenshot_05melding shapesno wrap_28don’t like wrapping? for smaller holes offset return to work position upper half of shape by one needle less at the start, added at endno wrap_28knitting direction leaf_25stacking shapes, with bound off stitchesstacking leaves



the yarn used is an acrylic, so pressing helps to make the shapes lie flat. Once again, using wool or any other yarn with “memory” will result in considerable curl at side ant top and bottom of knit piece, so that is a consideration in putting in the effort. The more striping, the more yarn ends to weave in and row counts to watch. Using space dyed or sock yarns may produce pleasing though unplanned stripe patterns in any of the shapes. My samples are not resolved final fabrics. There are many inspiring patterns available for purchase or at times free on the internet for hand knitting, usually in garter stitch as well as holding, resulting in a nearly square gauge, flat lying knit.

Taking it to garments: accessories are easiest, since gauge may not be significant. Shawl shapes in HK are often knit on circular needles, without the constraint of the fixed number of needles on any particular model KM. Sometimes, with adjustments, the same shapes may be rotated sideways on the KM. Segment sizes may differ due to the resulting change in gauge. Sampling techniques and shapes in smaller versions helps work out the kinks.

Sources for inspiration: large scale shapes


more details, varying concentration and placement

free pattern

for purchase on ravelry

A bit of holding 3: shape variations and more

Hand knit spiraling shawls and shawlettes often involve shaping on every row. Increasing essentially requires casting on one or more stitches. Below are cast on illustrations from varied sources I used in handouts in my intro to knitting classesscreenshot_19 (1)


A simple decrease occurs when the last stitch on either side is transferred moving away from the carriage, the empty needle is placed out of work, and the row is knit.

edge increaseThis illustration shows a fully fashioned version, which gives an edge that makes seaming easier and more attractive, and eliminates the small bumps usually seen along decrease edges, the process adds to knitting time involved in finishing the piece. Decreases may be made on every row.ff_decrease2

Simple increases: a factor that is often first noticed when approaching seaming is that the carriage side creates loops, while opposite the carriage one gets what looks like a knot, both alternate as starting position of the carriage swaps sides. To speed things up for single increases, one alternative is to bring an empty needle into work on the carriage side. This creates an elongated loop rather than a full stitch. Unless intended as a design feature, the edge is not the best one for seaming. A better looking increase is created by putting a needle into work opposite the carriage. For a “good edge”  two rows minimum of knitting need to occur prior to the next increase. Continuing on the thread begun in the last 2 posts, I experimented with every row increases and came up with what I consider a reasonable compromise. The method for increases on right edge:
*COR: bring an empty needle into work on the carriage side, knit a row. Insert transfer tool into loop created as shown, turn toward carriage (in this case clockwise), essentially creating an e wrap, hang on adjacent empty needle hook.

increase every row

COL knit to right*, repeat *  *

In the previous 2 posts’ samples I did not wrap any needles. Wrapping in both directions can create an interesting line along the center of the “leaf” or “other” shapes, seen in the photo below

experiment small

Interpreting hand knit patterns for use on the machine requires translations of some of the vocabulary and directions given. If an edge stitch is made in garter or slip stitch variations, disregard and simply add it to the total number of stitches on the segment of the needle bed that is being worked on. Wrap and turn is executed by wrapping the yarn around the adjacent needle in hold prior to knitting back to opposite side

2: knit <-                  1: wrap COR            1: wrap COL                2: knit -> both

pw2: picking up wraps and knitting them together happens when needles with wrapped loop and stitch behind it are brought back into work.

Terminology may vary in self published patterns, some are accompanied by very good tutorials. Ravelry HK searches can provide inspiration for many a holding technique variations. Other terms to look for in image and pattern searches include swing knitting, and on occasion, tapestry knitting.


A bit of holding 2 / moving shapes around

There are many hand knit patterns floating around the internet, placing shapes similar to these, with many variations, along varied locations in accessories and sweaters. The same shape discussed in the previous post is shown here placed near and then at the edge of the knit. There are many things to consider in addition to choice of shape. In hand knitting these patterns are usually knit in garter stitch, a fabric that does a good job of lying flat when completed. Short rows are used in both hand and machine knitting; the Brother G carriage produces it “automatically”, but is not short row friendly. The more practical solution is to try a plain knit version. Edges of the knit are still going to curl toward the purls side. Some of this can be averted by using an acrylic or other fiber yarn that responds to being “killed” with ironing/ steaming, and will lie as close to flat as possible after the fact. Section A shows the shape knit with no color change and close to the side of the knit, note the vertical edge remains fairly straight. In section B stitches were cast on, and at the end of the holding sequence all stitches are knit moving from right to left. An increase in the number of stitches cast on is now reflected in the total width of the fabric. The result of multiple repeats would appear as a sort of “ruffle”. In section C the same number of stitches are bound off as cast on. The bind off is critical for shape retention. I prefer a latch tool cast off for most knits, here I used the *transfer over one, knit one* method, note: the turning point sharpness is lost and the bound off edge is very different from the cast on one. In this instance, because the number of stitches increased and decreased stitches are identical, if repeats were executed and no other increases were made anywhere, the width of the final piece would remain constant. If the goal was to achieve a triangular shape such as in a shawl, increases would have to be made along the edges of the plain knit sections, prior to the color change for section C. In testing repeats I do not wrap any needles. Evaluate whether the extra step is needed when swatching in your final yarn choice.

the swatch 0n_the_edge

planning the shapes, arrows indicate direction of carriage moves


cast on stitches are knit as part of the last row


cast on stitches are bound off prior to last row


The last sample was also knit using the same yarn, followed by pressing. Again, I did not do any wrapping and holes created along the edges of the holding sequences are more visible. The swatch was knit from the bottom edge up. The cast on used was a weaving cast on. Both the bottom and the top edges show some of the distortion in the knit caused by the extra rows of knitting that occur in the shapes. Striping is added to the now familiar sequence, additional colors could be used, with shapes and stripes varied in placement along a wider, longer piece of knit to create interesting repeats. The top shows the start of a larger shape that with could be altered to resemble leaves, etc.

for a larger shape  going large

for a striped surroundstriped surroundknit side                                       purl side variations

A bit of holding 1

At a seminar during a visit to California in mid April just prior to the joys of downsizing and moving I showed this swatch and was asked for instructions for duplicating it.


I have moved, and I finally have a machine set up to proof my ideas. The images below show plotting out repeats in excel

odd number of rows knit between shapesodd rows between


movements of carriage to create each shape pretend knit2

if an even number of rows of color 1 is knit between shapes, the yarn is cut at the end of the holding sequence with color 2 (which is made up of an odd number of rows, begins on right, ends on left), a free pass is then made to return carriage to the right, there picking up color 1 for the plain knit sections

even rows between

some cut and paste following the direction of the arrows to work out knitting several shapes in any one row: in this instance the first row knit with color 2 is from left to right, as is the last row. Even number of rows in color 1 would start and end on the same side, COL. If changes of any 2 colors in any technique are for an even number of rows, yarn ends will occur on the same side

cut and paste

my original sample was made knitting single shapes with even number of knit rows between them. A reminder: Studio needle positions are A,B,C,D,  Brother needle positions  are A,B,D,E.  Holding position for Studio = D, for Brother = E. Upper work position for Studio = C, for Brother D. Settings for both are indicated below, for Studio, then (Brother)

color 1 cast on 60 stitches, knit 20 (or X) rows, end COR

first shape:  COR color 2 knit one row, end COL

COL at right bring 27 stitches to hold D (E) position. The rule is usually to always wrap taking yarn around the first needle in hold D (E) position, then to knit one row. I found in my samples the holes created were so small they could hardly be seen, so I did not wrap.

COR at left bring 27 stitches to hold D (E) position (6 stitches now in work), knit one row

holding sequence for each “shape”
COL at right, push 2 needles to work position C (D), knit one row
COR at left push 2 needles to work position C (D), knit one row
COL at right, push 2 needles to work position C (D), knit one row
COR at left push 2 needles to work position C (D), knit one row

COL at right return 2 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row
COR at left return 2 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row
COL at right return 2 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row
COR at left return 2 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row

COL return needles to right of shape to work position C (D), knit one row
COR return needles to left of shape to work positionC (D), knit one row

COL  cut color 2, make free carriage pass carriage to right

COR change to color 1, knit desired number of rows (20) end COR

COR for second shape with color 2 knit one row, end COL
COL at right bring 40 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row
COR at left bring 14 stitches to hold D (E) position, knit one row
“Always wrap taking yarn around the first needle in D (E) position, knit one row”
repeat shaping as directed above

COR change color 1, knit desired number of rows (20) end COR

for third shape COR with color 2 knit one row, end COL
COL at right bring 14 needles to hold D (E) position, knit one row
COR at left bring 40 stitches to hold D (E) position, knit one row
repeat shaping and /or wrapping as directed above
change to color 1, knit desired desired number of rows (20), bind off

Revisiting miters, spirals, going square, round, and more

I am working on updating my flickr photostream albums, including “all things holding” and will be revisiting posts on this topic over  the next few weeks, possibly adding edits.

There are times in knitting when math becomes a necessity. With online libraries, tools, and fairly intuitive software, drafting angles and shapes is now much easier. I will be teaching a class that includes miters and spirals at a seminar next month, leading me to revisiting the topic. Most published pattern instructions will give starting carriage locations, but shapes may be constructed counter clockwise or clockwise depending on preference. With understanding of how the shapes are formed and stacked, they may in turn be automated (depending on their size and the type of km) using the slip stitch setting. Stitches that are to be knit on each row are programmed as pixels, black squares, or punched holes.

Miter shaping may occur on side or in center of each triangular shape; a minimum of 2 knit rows usually occur at designated spots. Adding more knit rows and playing with angles of triangles will create ruffling effects, other angular shapes, pleats, and more. I have returned to using  Mac Numbers, their shapes and charts to generate most of the images below. Here the colored areas represent knit stitches, white negative (white) spaces stitches in hold. Red lines represent all knit row(s)/ spots for seaming at top and bottom of sequences. Seaming is easiest when done by joining all knit rows. Stitches are always brought into hold opposite the carriage side, returned to work on carriage side. In shaping guide, COL= carriage on left, COR= carriage on right.

knitting each segment

COR                                   COLwedges

Yellow triangle segment: bring all needles out to hold, push them back into work on the carriage side at the determined rate until all needles are back in work. Green triangle segment: with all the needles in work, begin to bring stitches into hold opposite the carriage at the determined rate until all the needles are in hold.

If seaming is desired in miter shaping with resulting eyelets at sides of triangle, the full wedge is split between the top (yellow segment) and the bottom of the piece (green segment). Knitting always starts with at least one or 2 rows of knitting (depending on whether the finished shape is to have a grafted seam.  For the full wedge: * yellow segment, bring all needles out to hold, push them back into work on the carriage side at the determined rate until all needles are back in work. Reverse shaping with green segment: with all the needles in work, begin to bring stitches into hold opposite the carriage at the determined rate until all the needles are in hold. End with knit rows (red line) across all stitches*. Repeat  from * to * for desired number of full segments, end at top with a yellow segment if needed, followed with knit row(s) (red line) before binding off or seaming.

shaping with resulting eyelets at sides of triangle: the final shape COReyelet at sidethe knitting sequence with top/bottom 1/2 triangle segments shown

COR                                   COLfinal at sides

For miter with shaping and resulting eyelets at center of triangle: begin with all knit row(s) (red line) at the start. To shape full wedge: *green segment is worked bringing stitches into hold opposite the carriage at the determined rate until all the needles are in hold. Shaping is next reversed with yellow segment, pushing needles back at the determined rate until all needles are returned to work. End with all knit rows (red line) *. The sides of this miter are all knit rows, an easier place to seam/ graft joins if needed.

shaping with resulting eyelets at center of triangle: the final shape COReyelet at center2the knitting sequence

COR                             COLfinal at center

a tiny test

shaping at side                              shaping at center



In the following images the red or blue lines indicate seams or joins

segments composing a square shape 
adding squares or rectangles to alter the square
squarextra_seamsadding triangular segments: hexagonpentagon_seamexpanding it with rectangles, shaping at sides
dodecadon extra_seams2shaping at centerhexagon extra_seamsgoing 3D: triangular pocket with point at center 3dmiter

combining shapes: this one is often seen in tams (hats); bottom shaping is on only one side, at the top it occurs on both sides


tam2adding rectangles or squares to alter shape


bringing needles out to hold opposite carriage

Spiral stack 1/ green full triangle : knit row (s), *with all the needles in work begin to bring stitches into hold opposite the carriage at the determined rate until all the needles are in hold, end with all knit row(s) (red line).

COR                                   COLspiral stack1 cor

Spiral stack 2yellow full triangle:  knit row (s), *bring all needles out to hold, push them back into work on the carriage side at the determined rate until all needles are back in work, end with all knit row(s) (red line).

COR                                   COLfull stack 2

3D spiral 3Dspiral

If the object is to construct a circular shape, the greater the number of panels, the smoother the outer edge of the piece . Some of the pie-bilities: so many pies

In all instances above the radius and therefore 2 sides of each wedge remain equal in size, and therefore are composed of the same number of stitches. The triangle knit to achieve these shapes are isosceles triangles, where 2 of 3 sides are equal in length and in this case, number of stitches. The 2 equal sides are usually referred as legs, the remaining one as the base. The 2 base angles are equal as well. The remaining angle is the vertex one. In knitting, this will be the pivot point for the wedges, the center point of the “pie” shape. In the illustrations below the vertex angles are marked by blue dots. Its angle value is the first represented in the numbers immediately below each shape, with the other 2 numbers indicating the remaining, equal 2 angles. The sum of all 3 should equal 180 degrees.all anglesTaking it to a shape: octagon (half the total # of wedges shown). In colored shapes spiral, stacking equal triangles is shown on left; full triangle, divided into 2 segment shaping for miter on right.octagon col

Oh, yes, the math! The desired shape may be drawn to scale using any number of tools. Wedges may in turn be shaped following the scale drawing on any charting device such as knit-leaders, or stitches and rows required may be calculated on actual full drawing measurements. In knitting, the equal sides (AC, AB) of the triangles are formed by stitches, the height of the triangle (CB) by rows. If finished size matters, accurate gauge is required. One approach to calculating the base (CB) is to think of the whole shape as a complete circle, in this case divided into 8 “pie” wedges, with congruent sides (radius) measuring 10 inches each. To find the circumference of the circle, multiply the diameter (20) inches by pi 3.14 = the total in this case, of 62.8, rounded off to 63. Divide that number by the number of sections (8) = 7.85, rounded off to 8 inches (rows). If stitch gauge is 6 stitches and 8 rows per inch, each triangle would be 60 stitches wide, 64 rows high. Holding happens every other row, opposite the carriage, so total number of rows is divided by 2 = 32 for knitting a spiral. The stitches are distributed along one edge over the total 64 rows in height. The goal is to reduce shape down to the next to last group, followed by two rows knit over all the stitches at the end of each section. This will cause a small hole at the center of each completed pie due to extra rows knit. For a miter 2 triangular shapes are required for each wedge, so holding sequences are recalculated with shaping now occurring over 16 rows for knitting a miter. screenshot_09 color

An online calculator is available to help calculate the number of stitches brought into hold opposite the carriage or into work on carriage side, sequence preference should be tested on swatches where gauge is significant

  spiral screenshot_02miter Miter online

Magic formula (X represents times)magic formula

In the photo below I chose to start with all the needles out to hold,  pushing them back into work across the knit for the spiral. For the miter again, I began with all needles in hold, pushing back the required needles into work; for the top half of each wedge needles were returned to hold opposite the carriage at the same rate, forming the upper half of the “pie slice”. The swatch is not worked at the same rate as shapes calculated above. It is shown on its purl side with color changes to highlight the intersections where wedges begin to repeat. The yarns used are random acrylics, in different weights. photo miter spiral

A previous post on short row knitting from with links to other online sources http://alessandrina.com/2013/12/18/holding-stitches-short-rows/. A category search in my blog roll for miters and spirals will link to blog posts including pies: http://alessandrina.com/2011/06/18/knitting-math-and-pies1/  http://alessandrina.com/2011/06/22/back-to-that-pie-a-bit-of-holding/  breaking and mixing up pie wedges: http://alessandrina.com/2014/07/21/miters-and-spirals-visualizing-charting-and-more-3/ . A garter bar short row trim:  http://alessandrina.com/2013/02/28/garter-bar-short-row-trim/. Charting shapes: using Gimp and Mac Numbers: http://alessandrina.com/2014/07/14/miters-and-spirals-visualizing-charting-and-more-1/  . Executable charts, shapes, automating with slip stitch: http://alessandrina.com/2014/02/24/holdingshort-rows-hand-tech-to-chart-to-automating-with-slip-stitch-1/  http://alessandrina.com/2014/02/20/wisteria-cousin-revisited-holding-using-slip-stitch/  http://alessandrina.com/2013/01/21/automating-pleating/ http://alessandrina.com/2013/12/28/short-rows_-balls-tams-3d-rounds/  http://alessandrina.com/2015/09/07/a-tale-of-2-donuts/ http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/29/lace-meets-hold-and-goes-round/  http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/29/the-doilies/

Tuck and garter stitch: from hand knit to machine knit hand tech pattern

A Ravelry question on the possibility of executing a particular fabric on the machine has led to the experiments in this post. The pattern that led to the discussion is  free hand knit one,  shared and published on the Purl SOHO website and on Ravelry. The gauge for their project is 4.75 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern, it includes garter rows. Such rows may be executable on home knitting machines by transferring from ribber (Passap front bed) to main bed, alternating with reversing the process at predetermined frequency, depending on stitch type. K1b is the hand knit equivalent of tuck for that stitch on that row, adding to the mix.  Not practical for G carriage use, as the latter does not form tuck loops, and hand retooling would be required for all k1b stitches.

Using holding to create tuck stitches in non auto patterning days was commonly used, and I chose to do so here. As machine knitters we are conditioned to believe that single color rows are impractical to execute, and that the yarn would need to be cut on each side after the one row. Color changers are on one side or the other, making striping with frequent color changes practical if executed in even multiples of rows. Transfer carriages are available that will help move stitches from one bed to the other, I personally have never had the patience to work with them enough to get good at using them without dropping stitches, so I went back to even lower tech than usual, using the garter bar on the bulky, and beginning pattern row 1 with COR.

Before attempting nearly every row turns, it is helpful to have some practice with turning work over using garter bar, develop a sequence to repetitive actions, keeping careful notes as to what works for you, and using contrasting yarns in tests to better understand stitch structure. In my sample the white yarn was thicker than the blue, reversing colors or balancing yarn thickness would change the visual look of the fabric.  Beginning on small samples helps work out issues and the making of the decision to try on a larger project or simply as a border.

Analyzing the pattern repeat:

screenshot_43tools to help with EON needle selection tools

the results of rows beginning with k1 sequence after the row is knit, note the “tuck” loops on top of E position needles, which will be knit off on the next row knit K1_after knit

a row that begins with a k2 sequence, before it is knit; the needles holding the single, blue stitch will form the loops on top of the needles as the yarn moves across to opposite sidek2_before knit

E position prior to transferring stitches onto garter bar, also for free pass to other side to pick up yarn after stitches are removed on bar free pass473

1            begins and ends with K 1; COR select needles, col A * knit row, COL, bring all needles out to hold, remove on garter bar, free pass carriage to opposite side, COR, flip garter bar over, replace stitches onto needles push all stitches against gate pegs *

2            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 2, col A repeat * to* end COR

3            begins and ends with k1; COR select needles for row 3, change to col B, knit one row, do not turn, do not cut yarn; COL bring all needles out to hold, free pass to right to pick up col A on next knit row, end COR

4            begins and ends with k 2; col A, COR select needles for row 4, repeat from * to *

5             begins and ends with k 1; COR select needles for row 5, col A, repeat from * to * do not turn

6            begins and ends with k 2; COR select needles for row 6, change to col B, repeat from * to *

publisher’s project photo


my swatch, knit on a whopping 9 stitchesrav blanket 300