Lace edgings on Brother machines

The initial goal here is to produce a knit fabric using lace transfers in the familiar way, but the knit carriage will now be set to slip <–>, selecting needles with each pass. In routine lace patterning the KC is set for plain knit, does not preselect needles, advance the mylar, punchcard, or other electronic patterning.

If this image, where all blue squares represent knit stitches and white squares unworked ones, was provided with the intent of its being produced as a piece of knit on the machine, the initial approach might be to use a single prong tool to move the edge of the blue in one stitch to the right for a decrease, and out one needle to the left for an increase. When the decrease is made on the bottom curve, the needle from which the stitch was taken is put back out of work. When an increase is made, a stitch is moved to work on left, and the last stitch on that side is transferred onto it. As knitting continues, that now empty needle location will create an eyelet.

I decided to wing it for the first swatches. This illustrates the same knit shape. Blue rows represent all knit rows and stitches, the empty pairs of rows leave areas to insert lace eyelets in pattern.

Arrows indicate the movement of the lace carriage on left, knit carriage on right. Red squares now represent transfers to right, green ones transfers to left

A second transfer to the right is included in the pattern close to the left edge of the trim to create eyelets next to the decreases, matching those eyelets created by stitches moving out in the increase segment of the chart

A theoretical series of right and left transfers is then inserted, creating a shape in the center of the trim’s width

Now reducing it all to black and white squares or pixels for first preselection from right hand side using an electronic. This repeat is not suitable for use in a punchcard machine even though it is 24 stitches wide. Electronics advance a design row with each pass of the carriage when cam buttons are pushed in and with both carriages set to needle select. Punchcard machines in those circumstances do not advance when the alternate carriage is brought into work from the opposite side. This charted repeat is usable as is on an unaltered 910, with the first preselection row from right to left. LC operates from the left, KC from the right.

For use with Ayab software two other things need consideration. Ayab mirrors lace repeats, so either mirror the repeat of the original design, or choose action mirror in the software prior to knitting. This is a screen grab of the repeat used for my initial swatch test. I later changed the section where the diamonds cross in at the center of the eyelet repeats In addition: those first 2 rows need to be all knit, so the top row of the design was moved down to row 1 position.
KC preselects left to right, knits black squares to left, preselects same needle selection again to knit those same stitches traveling back to its home on the right, creating the two knit rows that in “normal lace” would be worked with the KC simply set to knit.  As the KC now knits the second row, it preselects needles for the first row of transfers, rests on the right
LC transfers to right as it travels to left, preselects the next row of transfers. As it moves back to left it transfers to left, preselects for first of 2 all knit rows, rests on left
The sequence is repeated  until the piece reaches the required length.
End needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row, but was not happy with the elongated stitches on alternate rows edge stitches on the increase side. These would be the carriage actions To review: end needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row. I had a serious yarn tangle on the right about halfway up the swatch, with some of the evidence visible in the approximate center of the swatch photo 

changing that crossing of the diamond outlines, still winging it

My fiber is now a crisp cotton, unmarked weight, tension 8, and it is much easier to observe areas that may still be a problem to me as the designer. Ideally I would prefer the lines created by the transfers marked in cyan to match the quality of those immediately below or to the ascending part of the diamond on their opposite side, that would require changes in the transfers sequences and space between knit rows. The LC non selected stitches on the straight creating an every other row slipped stitch are still something I like.  The difference on the edge stitches in the ascending angle are happening because with each transfer out, there is a single thickness of yarn on the new edge stitch and moving the stitch over a needles space elongates it. Longer loops btw are also created when single increases are made by bringing needles into work on the carriage side prior to knitting a row across all needles. In the trim’s decrease edges, the transfers in each new edge stitch have double the yarn thickness contributing to a different appearance, highlighted with magenta arrows. There are 2 rows that have no edge transfers programmed intentionally in the center before reversing direction, so that area has no resulting edge eyelet.  The last shot at adjusting the repeat, with improvement in those cyan marked areas. Plain knit rows may be added between each repeat, the edge of the knit will be different than in the remaining trim on each side

Going back to the wheel that has already been invented, how can pre drawn published mk lace repeats be used instead of “winging it” endlessly or not having the confidence to perform the necessary assigning symbols and proceeding with the required separation? Still trying to work with a pattern that knits for 2 rows, transfers for 2, a chart from Stitch World:marking the 2 all knit rows that will be plain knit by programming black squares The pattern is actually for an all over lace. All the transfers in the central diamond actually are happening in the same direction. If the repeat was programmed in the usual manner, beginning with LC on the left, those transfers on the first design row and in the whole of the center diamond shape would all be to the left. I can live with them all being to the right, and would be interested in more eyelets at the edge of the trim. Here is a new repeat, with the increased eyelets at the curved edge Remember if using ayab to mirror the above repeat (seen on right) prior to preparing to knit it There is a disruption for 2 rows in the very center of the diamond, where no increases or decreases occur on the shaped edge prior to reversing the shaping. It was there in the earlier sample marked with arrows as well, but not as noticeable where the edge was created with the addition of single eyelets on increase and decrease rows.

Not finding any other candidates to alter for this purpose in stitch world at the moment I am left with the option of going back to the Brother punchcard book collections, and reviewing what needs to be changed for those same patterns that work so well with the KC set to plain knit but are now to be knit with the KC set to slip <—–>……


a lace punchcard repeat with transfers in opposite directions Assigning colors to transfers: red to left, blue to right. In theory the same repeat could be used flipped horizontally for operating the lace carriage from the right. Yellow lines highlight the 2 blank rows in card that will be replaced by black squares/ pixels (remember rules are different for slip and lace in punchcard knitting)Since the goal is a trim, things are rearranged for knitting to begin on the full 24 stitches There are 2 ways to get the above repeat to work, one is by adding extra blank rows. I chose to reverse positions for transfers, moving left transfers upon row, and red down one row. With lace carriage operating from the left this is my new repeat, with edge shaping added for trim edgeKC is set to slip after the first preselection row, first set of transfers is selected on its second pass to the right. The first transfers with the LC are made to the right, the second set to the left. If knitting the repeat using Ayab remember the above is mirrored by the software, so choose action mirror prior to configuring

I knit a swatch using the thinner yarn again. The difference in increasing angle can be seen here as well, the pattern is short, so the outer curve of the trim reflects that 

This would be my test repeat for knitting the same trim in ayab with the LC operating from the right. The software would mirror it, no action needed. The last row is shifted to the bottom to allow for the knit carriage finding a home on the left. First row knit would preselect 2 needles only, with KC then set to slip in both directions, the next two rows should knit, preselecting the first row of transfers to be made by the LC operating from the right.

I am unable to test the repeat. I have had intermittent problems with patterning in the sofware from the time I installed the kit. In multiple efforts and restarts I am now getting no selection at all or wrong selection with LC operating from right, while rows advance in the software and beeps continue. I have knit lace with the LC on the right before, but not with the KC selecting needles as well. Possible solutions and causes to be determined. 3/8/18 I have been told upon testing by others the same issues have been encountered that I did when using the KC to select from left and the LC from right, and the problem appears to be the result of a bug in the software to be addressed in future updates.

3/10/18: an adaptation of Susanna’s automatically shaped trim for Brother KM, p. 223 of “A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics”. This chart shows the first rows of the published punchcard. Please note: using my own lace carriage, when I tested canceling end needle selection, the problem was not solved. Brother setting recommendations made for a similar transfer pattern in an edging published by them, are given and repeat is pictured at end of my post.

Row 1: LC moves to right, no needles selected
Row 2: LC moves to left, preselects next row of transfers
Row 3: LC moves to right, transfers preselected needles to right (red dots), selects needles (if any) for next pass to left
Row 4: LC travels to and transfers to left (green dots), preselects for first row to be knit by KC In this particular pattern the direction of the arrows match the direction of the transfers with movements of LC operating from left
Row 5: KC from right, set to slip <—  —> knits all needles in D position, repeats the same selection as it travels to left (yellow marks)
Row 6: KC travels back to right, in the second shaped knit row, preselects for the next transfers to be made by the LC
Row 7: LC travels to and transfers to right, preselects for next row of transfers
Row 8: LC travels to left, transferring to left if any needles have been preselected on the previous pass, and the process continues

The numbers on the punchcard chart do not reflect actual row numbers in knitting because when row 4, 10, etc is reached, on the next pass (a blank row in the card), the card does not advance and the previous selection is repeated. For each carriage to make an even number of passes to travel to and from its original position, the total length of the repeat must be an even number of rows.

Here are the 24 stitch repeats adjusted for knitting on the electronic. A for an unaltered 910, B indicating direction of transfers (red to right, green to left). Arrows mark the problem row, and my solution to it C on the far right, along with the repeat adjusted for use with Ayab.the ayab screen image for working the edging  Both KC and LC are set not to select first and last needles in my directions. When the decreases start to happen on the left of the chart, because the end needle selection for transfer to right again does not happen in areas marked with magenta arrows,  there is an extra stitch that remains on the left that does not get transferred (orange dot) so it is not knit off and simply get held as subsequent rows of knitting take place. Restoring needle selection in the LC is not a solution for the problem, so the final repeat has been amended by me to get that edge transfer. The pattern starts on  cast on 20, not the full 24 stitches. Ayab knitters: use the LC to begin selection from left. The first pass will select for a knit row, push those needles back to B, and the LC will select for transfers to right on the next row as it moves to the left. When knitting is to take place there is a clear distinction in the number of selected needles (black squares). The KC will be set to slip <–  –>. Make certain to remember to return the remaining 4 of the 24 total stitches back to B so the full repeat is in work on the needle bed before continuing in pattern, otherwise there will be needles there to accept stitches moved over for increases to left.

The two extra passes of the LC in this method result in a 2 stitch border on the increasing and decreasing angles of the piece, creating a much nicer edge than that in the samples at the top of the post. The eyelet so close to the right edge stitch which also winds up being slipped every other row made for very messy loose stitches in the thicker cotton that I could not control. The sample did better when I pulled the non selected needles on knit rows out to hold prior to moving across them with KC. 

When working on electronics the 24 stitch limit in width for the repeat is no longer there, extra knit stitches may be easily added to the right of the pairs of eyelets along the non shaped edge. Having those extra stitches knit on the right side of the repeat made it possible for me to use my cotton again, giving me a controllable edge on that side without having to pull stitches out to make them knit. To my eye, I find the extra passes with the LC and those extra knit stitches on the right are well worth the effort and planning in the finished piece

the ayab repeat  

Something to try: I found instructions ascribed to Brother
for another version of an edging using a pattern that has the same eyelet sequences along the shaped edgings. Their recommendation for a 950i is to remove the non selection mechanism on the lace carriage, and mention was made of the “rubber wheels on the carriage” being uppermost, allowing the end needles to be selected. My lace carriage has fixed, old fashioned brushes, not rubber wheels, and my eliminating end needle selection did not solve the problem with that single stitch in the center of the repeat. And if there is not enough to keep track of, this also combines fine lace and traditional transfer lace, would work fine as just lace.

3/15/18 after more testing I have come to the conclusion that end needle selection cancellation on my 910 LC is working properly, but is not operative when I am working with the my Ayab interface.

Double jacquard using punchcard machines

Each row of double jacquard consists of  at least 2 rows of slip stitch patterning, one with ground yarn, the other with contrast. The rows knit per each design row varies with the number of colors used in the design. Punchcard knitters are not excluded from producing such fabrics, but the color separation is done by hand or using software, and then the cards are punched. Size of repeat is less important in creating interesting knits than choice of yarns, colors, and technique choices. In early art to wear days, pre electronic home knitting machines, large, non repetitive images were created by breaking down the large images into several vertical panels the width of the punchcard repeat plus seaming allowance. Upon completion, they were  joined side by side to create the final image. Ribber settings for DBJ apply across models in principle, may need adjustment depending on the age and brand of the machine. If working on a bulky machine, consider  using ladder back method.

The common method suggested in instruction manuals for Japanese knitting machines can be viewed in this punch card, laid over a colored template. The limit in repeat width is the fixed 24 stitch. To fit the design on a single 60 row factory punchcard, the maximum is 30 rows in motif height, because one row of pattern requires 2 rows of punching in the card. The step by step separation follows.

Helpful tools: on one blank card color each section of the card, representing color row sequences. This may be used later to check color separation. Box the edge numbers in pairs, beginning with numbers 56, 57, skip two rows to numbers 60, 1, and so on. This separation splits the first and second row of color 1 between the first and last row on the punchcard.

On a second blank card, prepare a master.  First row is left blank, then 2 rows are punched out, followed by 2 rows left blank, repeat, ending with a blank row. Again working upward, number each row you have punched out on the left hand side starting with number 54, then 55-56, 57-58 etc, ending with a single row, 23. This will result in number markings matching both sides at the bottom of the card, below the #1 factory mark. My own master began on the left with the # 53. I also added corresponding design row numbers for each row on the far left. (1 and 2, 3 and 4, and so on). Written notes on right: an even number of rows need to be knit in each color, so in this method pattern must be an even number of rows in  height, boxed numbers represent rows knit in ground color.

Take a blank card and put the master card on top, fastening the 2 cards together with snaps.You can now mark holes to be punched. Copy the first 2 rows of color 2 on rows marked 54 and 55 (or 53 and 54 in my case), repeat in pairs for the required height. I like to mark the card to be punched with colored pencils that differ sharply for each color. They have the benefit of being erasable, and can help with keeping each row distinct when punching.

When the completed repeat is marked, unfasten the snaps and move the card down by one row.  You will now see that the marks you have made through the top row of each set on the master card. Mark through each lower row any blank squares in the row above.

Again, after completing the repeat unfasten the snaps and slide the master up by 2 rows.The card will now be back to its original position, and up by one row. Now you will see the marks you have made on the blank card showing through the bottom of each row of the master card. Mark through each upper row on any square opposite the ones marked in the row below. 

After the repeat is completed, make certain to punch across 2 final rows for the card to create the overlaps for a continuous pattern, as with any other stitch type. Punch out all marks, and you are ready to knit. To check your design visually lay the finished card over the colored master, correct any errors if noted. Your card is now ready to knit DBJ.

First preselection row is right to left with color 1, it will knit from right to left, moving toward the color changer  where colors are then changed every 2 rows. This color separation will not work for fabrics that require the same needles knitting for 2 rows.

A second master that may be used with the same approach, for a different type of color separation: 

This separation works with any number of rows repeats. The design will be elongated because each design row knits twice in each color, with 4 rows completing it. Fabric will be thicker as well, so use thinner yarns when working it. Draw shapes in colors that are chosen for clear contrast, not because they are to be used in the finished piece. Here I am back to those triangles used in earlier posts. The choice of which color you begin with, whether in the separation or in the knit is ultimately up to you.

With the masked card, the first row is marked on the very bottom of your new design, I began with the red, which would produce the equivalent of this

Remove the mask. Beginning with the second row from the bottom, mark in contrast any square not colored in the row below Punch all colored squares and you are ready to knit.  I prefer to not rely on built in elongation if I am making a garment or a long piece of knit. If errors are made or correction of dropped stitches, loops, wrong color selection, etc. is required, unraveling rows is complicated enough without having to also sort out exactly where you need to be in relationship to where the card did or did not advance. Black squares represent punched holes, a segment one separated by the red line in repeat width could be used on a mylar or for electronic download 

Another master for the elongated design, advancing every row, numbers represent rows being filled in, beginning with odd in this orientation, and even with the card rotated for marking even # rows in color 2

This is the same repeat, color separated and elongated X 2; proceed as with the directions above, but in this instance each row in each color is marked twice. The expanded repeat: 

I have used these images to illustrate color separations in far older posts.

The reason the resulting separation here looks so different from the one above is simply that in this latest series of charts the color selections have essentially been inverted. The inversion creates a mirror mirrored back to the original orientation with the inverted colors in place, and the color reverse is now recognizable 

As a matter of course it is helpful to be consistent in choice of starting color when separating motifs. Any single repeats isolated from above are usable in electronic machines, reduced to black and white squares. Electronics vary in the built separations in terms of choosing black or white squares for the first row knit, whether you download an original image or work with built in ones. With preselection of needles in Brother or pushers in Passap, with an easy to count color repeat and some air knitting,  planning starting color of choice and needle placement can be sorted out for more confidence when actual knitting starts.

If you would prefer to work on graph paper that matches the size of your punchcard, there are a downloadable PDF and word doc with some guidelines in my previous posts more-low-tech/ and creating knit graph paper. The posts were in 2011 and 2014, with illustrations drafted in earlier versions of OS and apps. Working in Pages I was now able print an image just about to perfect scale to part of a blank factory card. Here is part of the first repeat in this post traced through the  punchcard holes onto it: 

I then exported 2 documents, one to Word, the other to PDF. The first printed  image and the PDF one (opened in Preview) printed to identical scale using my Epson Printer. Here are the new docs for you to try, they may need tweaking. My measurements, adjusted in Pages were 11 cm by 18.2, for 30 rows in card height: PDF  no numbers card, Word doc exported from Pages no numbers card . I have found squares of the  blank card BMP provided may be filled in in either GIMP or Paint, using the paint bucket tool, but printed size is not in scale to the printout of the original in the pdf.

If scale does not matter and you prefer convenience, this is a numbered “full” punchcard template as PDF scaled to fit on a single page  punchcard numbered , and as an editable Excel document exported from Mac Numbers: punchcard templates_ excel

Quilting using Ayab software

My last post reviewing the quilting on the machine topic so far. Ayab does not allow for the first pre selection row to be made from right to left. In any fabric where preselection needs to occur from that direction, with pattern instructions written with that requirement, in order to match the fabric the solution lies in shifting the last row of the repeat down to the first. If you are working on an odd number of needles and set up matters, pay attention as to whether the program places the extra needle on the right or the left of 0 before you commit to placement on your needle bed, the software is not consistent in this. Here the odd # is placed on Left, in a later swatch on the right. From Adrienne Hunter the tip “I think you are expecting that the odd number will always be on the left. But that’s not it, the rule is that the larger number will be on the left, which may be even or odd.

Ayab settings: 
I began with this partial repeat from an older post

To avoid any confusion with which KC (Knit Carriage) slip buttons to push, simply push in both. The selected needles that should knit in slip stitch will knit, and the ones that should slip (not selected) will slip. Knitting starts COL, prep the interface, travel to right. With COR proceed to left. Machine can be set to knit those first 2 rows, or to slip both beds if you do not wish to have the extra 2 knit rows. Now with COL set main bed to slip <–  –>, ribber to slip <–

My first repeat for a “square” pocket was wrong. The total number of rows in height needs to be an even one. It takes 2 passes of the carriages to complete one circular row. The first repeat below is 17 rows high; so I got as far as one series of pockets followed by mis patterning that was the fault of the design, not the program. The software gives one the opportunity to easily check for stitch and row counts. Though I loaded images 60 stitches in width, my samples are knit 40 stitches widethe amended repeat, now 16 rows in height 

I had a problem when I first paused to stuff pockets with the software advancing a row even though I was outside the left mark, but no issues after I restarted the process and continued. Because the pockets are knitting stitches separately on each bed except for where shapes are joined, the resulting knit approaches stocking stitch qualities and tension settings. It lacks the stretch of every needle rib, where twice as many needles are in work. The joins on the knit side (L) nearly disappear unless fabric is stretched, while joins on the purl side (R) are more visible. 

A “diamond” 12 stitch repeat as it would appear across the bottom of a punch card with the option for first preselection from either side, followed by appropriate cam settingsThe repeat adjusted for preselection from left, illustrating row shift on right
The repeat adjusted for knitting across an Ayab 60 stitch swatchThe bottom of swatch, with absent pockets, shows what happens if wrong slip/knit combinations are in use. Knit side is shown on left, purl side on right, with a bit of cotton ball “stuffing” poking through  
While trying to work with the circular and other settings I found an easier way to achieve one color quilting, still working with that “diamond” from my early post 

I use GIMP to create most of my images for download to either the Passap or now also the 910. In order for the elongation not to be muddy with an image outline in multiple colors, or to cleanly tile it, the image will need to be converted. To draw or paint, begin in RBG mode, then change image to BW palette for scaling or tiling 
make certain the number you wish to remain constant is highlighted
click on “chain” to break aspect ratio
change the second value to desired one click on scale, here is the single repeat, without the necessary last row shiftto tile the image across the width of your swatch make certain the value you want to remain constant is highlighted 
“break the chain”change width to stitch count of your swatch

the tiled image will appear in a different part of your screen, it will be the repeat usable for the first preselect row from right to left. More on using GIMP.

For use with ayab with a repeat that is already tiled but needs “correction”, using snap to grid, dot to dot, copy and paste all but last row onto a new image at the top of a new canvas with the same pixel width and height. Then copy and paste the last row from the above tiling to the first, blank row of the new image. You may also simply work on the original image if you are comfortable with moving the larger cropped image around, pasting it in place at the top, and then editing the first row by hand.  Finish with “export as” in your preferred format for download The smaller diamond would also be workable, but resulting shapes would be very small. The initial, unaltered tiling:for use with Ayab:
Ayab setting is for “single machine type”. The carriage settings: opposite part buttons, right on KC, left on ribber, are set after the first 2 preselection passes, with COL

the resulting elongated diamond fabric, knit and purl sides respectively

Thickening the outlines of the “diamond” varies the joined outlines; solid geometric  shapes may also be created and used as seen in other posts. I like to work with same or similar shapes to understand what the different settings do to their knit structure and scale

Working in more than one color: using the color separated repeat double height. The first chart below illustrates it as it would appear on the bottom of a punchcard. Here first preselection row would need to happen moving from right to left, toward the color changer, with subsequent color changes every 2 rows  
adjusted repeat/ top row shift to bottom for use with Ayab’s preselection from left This fabric requires changing ribber settings manually every 2 rows, thus creating a solid color back. Set the ribber to slip /levers up when most needles are selected on the top bed, set ribber to knit / levers down  in both directions when a few needles are selected on the top bed. The latter selection forms the “stitching” lines on “quilt”. The first color to knit after preselection toward the color changer knits the black squares on rows 2 and 3 in the chart above, so it will create the dominant color in front of the fabric, the second color change will knit the background / white squares on rows 4 and 5 above, and seal the edges of the diamond / black squares 
Reminders: no matter what stitch type, if you forget to select proper cam buttons after N/N settings you will only get plain knitting (stripes at bottom of my swatch). If you are working on a Mac make certain to set your energy saving preferences to insure it stays “awake” for the duration of your knitting time. I happened to knit my samples with cam button set to KC II. KC I is the better setting, giving a slightly different seal along the edge away from the color changer. 

What of using the ayab circular setting and letting the software do some of the “work” for you? The setting was developed for tubular fair isle, so the main bed  with slip stitch <–  –>  knits alternating colors. When the one color knits on the main bed, it skips and forms floats in front of needles not selected for that color. The process is repeated with each color change. There will be a pair of  floats on the inside of the knit for each completed design row. For some how-tos to achieve color separations involved, and more info on tubular knits including Passap techniques please see previous post

The goal is to had been to use the ayab circular setting to produce quilted fabrics, joined at intervals rather than as an open tube with a different pattern on each “side”.  When attempting to utilize anything “off label” for a use other than intended, lots of trial and error can be involved. Ultimately the choice needs to be made as to whether the final technique is worth using simply because you can. I habitually double check my settings and fabrics at least once, a day or more after I knit my samples and post. The work in progress posts actually show some of the editing as it happens, with corrections and mistakes included. The heading goes away when I think I am done with the topic. A day after my pink and white adventure I tried to reproduce the fabric with absolutely no success. This was as close as I got, with different carriage cam settings, the knit side is shown. 

After quite some time and a collection of expletives in 2 languages it appears the solution to my inability to produce the fabric is because the ayab setting I used for knitting it was not the circular one. After a software patterning error and a program restart, I apparently selected ribber rather than circular machine type and proceeded happily to success. To produce the fabric in my re do: the ribber “machine type” setting was chosen 

the green yarn is thinner than the pink, so the bleed through of the white on the reverse side is greater. The remaining information applies. My first samples using a single stitch outline, length X 2 for the “diamond” were a disaster in terms of stitches falling off, the fabric being a squishy, shortened mess.

Back to the drawing board: I thickened up the outline of the shapes, grading up and down in 2 rows in height sequences, needed for getting to and from the color changerI chose to continue to test on a narrower repeat. An added consideration: in knitting fair isle, the first and last needle on each side is normally selected whether by using change knob on KC I in 910, or adjusting knit under carriage in punchcard machines. One can program black squares on either side of the full pattern repeat for the width of the fabric to insure that any number of edge stitches knit every row on each side. Working on a smaller repeat, now 47 X 24note: the odd # and even number needle positions for this new repeat are in reverse order from the one at the top of this post. Here the odd # is placed to the right of 0, not the left
If for any reason you choose to work in color reverse, the black border on each side will be lost.The amended repeat to keep that knit border (black squares/ pixels filled in; this was my working repeat It takes a few tries to sort out what may work. These were my first effort switching ribber settings around until I reached  creating pockets.The color choice needs to be made re solid color for backing and sealed areas of the fabric; for me it was the pink. This is where things get a little fiddly. The fabric settings once the first design row is preselected: KC is set to slip in both directions throughout (remember to change main bed to slip if preselection row have been with KC set to knit). I began with pink for my “sealing” stitches/ solid backing color.

After return to left, change color (white),  no stitches are knit on the ribber, only on main bed

here the floats become increasingly apparent the ribber  now dropped a notch on the right side 
stuffing pockets with cotton balls the ribber is returned to up position, knitting continues 

A: setting operator error creating solid color row. B: same, ribber not set to slip in both directions, resulting in white joining all selected needle. C: stuffed pockets, tending to make fabric wider and shorter   A, B: extra sealing rows (2 in white). C: stuffed pockets and a bit of peek through cotton. D: points to bleed through backing color of white floats on the inside of the pocketsA helpful tune: pink down, white up in reference to right ribber slip lever.

The question now follows: which color separation does Ayab perform automatically for DBJ?


Combining knit carriage needle selection with racking

Work in progress

4/23/18:  inspiration source is from a Russian pin, bottom left #198

The first swatch , produced with manual selection, varying the number of rows between racking to establish yarn tolerance

There are single rows knitting on both beds, so the option of using 2 knit carriages is out of the running. My test swatch had the main bed doing all the knitting, the ribber knitting the joining segments with manual changes in its buttons from slip to knit and back when appropriate. The staring needle arrangement, on “graph paper”, and the subsequent racking positions: the top illustration is for racking position 4, the bottom for racking position 0.A tentative plan of attack: the combined knit and ribber carriages are to be used throughout. The main bed KC is set to knit, but change knob is set to KCII. The blank squares will actually knit thanks to the setting, the selected needles will indicate the direction in which racking is due to take place prior to knitting the next row. 

This is the starting ayab repeat, with single repeat segments highlighted (one alone would be adequate for most other electronics). 

You will be working on the purl side of the knit. In what is an increasingly irksome feature to me, Ayab will automatically mirror horizontally any loaded image, so to get the above, you need to actually be either mirroring the image prior to loading it (my preference), or remember to do so through ayab’s actions after.  Enter this, the ayab screen shows this 

This is what appears on the left side of the Brother ribber. I prefer to rely on other methods to track directions and numbers of positions in racking, but the ribber itself provides some clues. My pitch lever will not move all the way to H, but that is made up for in the ribber adjustments, so it is not a problem. A reminder: turning the racking handle to the left is toward increasing numbers on the indicator, to the right is toward decreasing numbers  The set up for my swatches, and first row knit on racking position 0

First preselection row in Ayab knits above needles on both beds. With carriage on the right, set the ribber to slip <–  –>, and knit up to the next row where needle pre-selection appears. *Change the ribber button on the side to match the direction in which you will be moving the carriage (left if knitting to left, right if knitting to right) to knit from the slip setting, knit to the opposite side (no more needle selection), change ribber lever back to slip again prior to any more knitting.** Repeat * to ** . Position 4:

I began to run into issues with ribber stitches being too tight, this was knit with a tension adjustment, resulting in a less defined texture

Going a different route: another repeat, with each position repeated once, repeat is pre mirrored  
a swatch with the racking happening only in center of needles in work

Starting position can be variable. With more stitches cast on, while keeping the same ribber configuration, racking can happen further to the right or to the left. There need to be enough stitches on the main bed so ribber needles do not travel beyond them when racked. The knit bed uses tension close to that used for stocking stitch. The ribber stitch size may need to be adjusted to allow for the wider move toward either side. A looser ribber tension results is a less sculptural surface on the knit side. I have seldom been able to knit more than 6 rows on the main bed with ribber combination stitches on Brother, often maxing out at 4 depending on yarn. Consistent habits help develop one’s own most meaningful reminders for taking action.

5/12/18 2 more samples. This time racking is done by 3 positions, ribber set up is with 3 needles out of work, 5 in work. Set up is with racking handle on 3, move to and from positions 0 to 3. Knit 4 rows single bed. Rack to next position. Use ribber set to knit for 2 rows for sample on left, for a single row for the sample on right 

A printable “rib setup” to aid in charting  P and H needle configurations, with some space for notes and carriage settings


The Brother Ribber Techniques book provides guidelines for variations on this stitch type,  the following among them. It is available for free download online from various sites and is an excellent resource

These images were shared on Facebook, they are from the Empisal ribber stitch book

I have worked with racking in the past, but never attempted to have racked shapes interacting with single bed patterning across the width of the piece on the KM. My 910 is presently connected to a Mac via the EMS Ayab kit. Sampling is quick and easy, replacing the mylar. One critical difference is that the repeat used must match the pattern in width numbering the same as needles in use for the piece, so at least for testing my initial repeats were 30 stitches wide.

I find trying to chart things out before I actually knit helps me plan and understand what actions I need to take. Mac Numbers is my go to for charts for the moment.  Here a random slip stitch pattern is put on a ground that takes into consideration possible racking positions, with the ideal position for reversing the bend at the center of the chevron pattern. With a bit of planning punchcard markings or even mylar ones may be used to help with tracking racking numbers for accuracy, but that appears lost using Ayab software

When planning for racking within the width of a piece, the racked columns will extend beyond the vertical edges of the knit. Since this is not about having zig zag edges, but keeping the design within the body of the knit, starting point and spacing for your ribbed stitches matters. Brother racking handle is numbered from 0 to 10. The numbering and direction of movement varies between KM brands. If you begin at 0, you are only allowed to move the ribber to the left, if at 10 the ribber only moves to the the right. So that said, the racking sequence in the above illustration should be reversed, traveling from 10 to 0, and back. The green squares represent the direction in which the ribber stitches are moving, the numbers in the column on the right represent racking handle positions. 

I found this slip stitch repeat produced too little detail in my swatches, but were it reduced for mylar use, it would remain 7 stitches high. It was taken from a punchcard book, so black squares/punched holes represent knit stitches. To match the fabric, in mylar use, color reverse would do the job. The Ayab kit bypasses both the mylar reader and the programming capacity of the buttons on the left, so double height, double width, color reverse, etc. including the DBJ setting are planned for in the file import into the software. In some instances Ayab settings (ribber for DBJ, and “circular”) do the work for you. I am using GIMP to create my BMPs. Paintbrush is a free program, still available for Mac, and functional including in High Sierra. It is the program used by some forum members to create their repeats, provides an easy alternative for people who not be used to working with image editing programs.

the slip stitch repeat in its original state: because slipped stitches create their texture on the purl side of the fabric, images do not need to be mirrored for the direction of the texture to be matched using electronic machines 
If the goal is to have the machine take care of keeping track of knit rows for you, without having to make changes in cam buttons, in the mylar a single repeat with blank squares programmed at the top and/or bottom of the repeat could then be knit using color reverse. Here the situation is similar to that of punchcard users who need to punch a hole for every knit stitch, but considerably faster. If the original pattern is satisfactory,  planning for all knit rows as automatic needle selection can be done by color reversing the pattern in the software, and adding all black rows in the image for download.  
some other all over variations to try, individually, or even sequentially for slip stitch all over texture

the first tests, for the various slip stitches, nothing quite “there” yet  
this is getting closer to the goal

The above working repeat, and all above swatches were knit with first preselection row from right to left, not left to right. For these stitches the starting side does not make a difference. If the pattern however, was in blocks that were even numbered in height (2, 4, 6, 8), and the color changer needs to come into play for striping using it, accommodations need to made so that preselection for row 1 happens from the right side to the left, toward the changer. The programming needs to be set to begin on the very last row, so the repeat returns to row one for preselection from right to left, and knitting rows 1, 2, etc begin with the KC set to appropriate cam buttons, to and from the left side of the KM.

The racking sequence needs to be adjusted to have the points of the zig zag land in the center of both the slip stitch areas and those in plain knit, if that is the goal.  I am encountering needle selection issues with my hack, so this fabric is getting put to bed for the moment. In principle the black squares in the illustration represent knit rows, and their number is easily enough adjusted in height. Punchcard users would need to punch holes for each black square, mylar user can fill in the white squares for a single repeat, add blank rows at top or bottom, and color reverse when programming. In Ayab software the repeat has to be drawn for the width of the piece, but will repeat “infinitely” in length.

This is a possible punchcard template, with shorter racking sequence. Numbered column on left indicates racking position. Pattern rows are preselected, so racking occurs prior to knitting across each row. I am also in need of purchasing more punchcards or another roll, so there is no test swatch at this moment. Top and bottom rows of punched holes on colored ground are not part of the repeat, they overlap the first and last 2 rows of design in the punchcard, allowing the pattern to repeat in length. Ascending numbers swing to left, descending to right. Rows may be added at level of #7 (7, 8, 9, 8, 7), so that the center of the swing may then occur on #9 positions in racking handle, lengthen the card accordingly.


Tubular machine knit fabrics: work in progress

This will be another of my WIP (work in progress) posts. I will add information and edit as I have time.

I recently came across this topic in yet another forum, so thought I would share some of my thoughts on it. The technique involves different patterns on 2 opposing beds. Table for 2 offered one option for programming 2 different  knitting machine beds to achieve reversible DBJ or true tubular fair isle. I will be addressing Brother settings for the moment. Things to consider: the piece will be double thickness and 1.5 times the finished weight of one knit in single bed FI. FI technically knits 2 colors for each design row, the ribber at least one for the first piece here, so thinner yarn is probably best. If the main bed is creating a 2 color slip stitch, whether one color at a time (DBJ) or 2 colors together as in traditional FI, the fabric will be shorter and thinner because it gets pulled in by the shorter floats of yarn in areas that do not form knit stitches with that color. Generally, in FI it is good to have end needle selection on, so that the second color gets caught at the edge, and the design does not separate from the rest of the knit at the sides. I knit my sample using KCI on the knit carriage. The ribber is going to knit one row for every 2 passes to complete each design row by knit carriage, so some adjustments in tension both beds need to be made for each side of the tube to be balanced. If the goal is to have the tube open at the bottom, I like to start in waste yarn, and begin tubular while leaving a long end of the first color used so “bind off” can happen by sewing or crocheting the open stitches when the piece is done. The same can be done at the top of the piece, and both ends will match. Setting the needles point to point during tubular knitting will diminish any gap at sides of the knit if tube is made in the traditional set up. Since only one bed knits at a time, needled will not come in contact even if directly opposite.

This fabric shares features with quilted fabrics, except there are no areas where the fabric gets joined to make pockets (needles on both beds knitting on any one pass of the carriages), the goal here is a continuously open tube. Minimal manipulation of carriage settings can be achieved in color separating for the specific fabric. My previous posts on quilting: 1 and 2 , and on color separations for DBJ 

It is always best to start with a simple design that allows one to recognize needle selection. Long verticals can separate at their edges if knit single bed, but I went for a simple pattern of squares to test out my premise and winged it. Thinking color 1 knit left to right, slip right to left and ribber slips when main bed knits right to left, knits when main bed slips left to right. The all blank rows indicate the main bed slipping the width of the involved needle bed. Same applies after any other consecutive color change. My mylar repeat, free drawn End the circular cast on/ waste knitting start  and begun with opposite part buttons pushed in with COR; set change knob to select pattern (KC I), to prepare for move to left toward color changer. Main bed only will knit. With main bed set to knit <–, needles for the first row of pattern are selected, but all stitches knit. The ribber needs to slip <– completing the circle. If in doubt, push up both part levers on ribber.

the start of the tube, needle selection for first pattern row 

after the color change, with COL, change settings once more. The main bed will now knit to right and slips to left based on needle selection, while the ribber now slips to R, knits to L  (the goal here is simple stripe)

the start of a tube is evident if the ribber is dropped a bit the tube dropped off the machinethe FI created on the main bedthe pattern on the reverse, created by ribber

It helps to analyze the carriage actions on knitting the repeats. These charts illustrate the 2 colors knitting alternately with each pair of carriage passes. With any knitting motif, it is worth testing repeats consecutively in height and width to get a sense of what will take place using them on the finished knit. Here 2 lengthwise repeats are shown. The pattern could be planned to start the repeat with the area outlined in red on the right, and a full block would occur at the start of the tube. A bit of editing would make all rectangles equal in height.

So now that I have some blocks, what about other patterns and shapes? ……

In a previous post with exercises on DBJ, 2 separations of the triangular shapes below were offered. Testing the idea of using pre designed jacquard separations for knitting tubular fair isle, I chose to use the 2 alternatives presented. The related information is available in PDF format for punchcard and electronic machines

Here we have the motifs, and 2 methods of color separation for DBJ, charted, drawing each color design row only once

The middle image shows the method for separation achieved automatically in Brother by using the KRC button when using only 2 colors per row. It causes the least (if any) elongation of the motif. Each design row knits only once, programmed as is. If the KRC button is used, none of the other functions including double length are allowed. The separation on the right is the most common color separation, actually knits each design row twice, which elongates the motif. As drawn, it would need to be programmed double length. If the knitting is representational, adjustment may be needed in altering its height prior to downloading it for knitting. I used both separations above  drawn on an old mylar for my second tubular FI attempt, sticking with my thin yarn, and working in small swatches while testing technique ideas. My initial premise was to knit each row twice using double length. The preparation was as already discussed. After the color change and resetting the carriages COL, the first row slips on the ribber, and the main bed knits first design row in the alternate color, seen here in white. As in single bed FI, floats are created in that color between needles knitting it  with COR, before  traveling back to left for the color change, return all main bed needles back to B position with a ruler, ribber comb, or any preferred tool, so that only the ribber only will knit, keeping the knit tubular as you travel back to the color changer.

COL: change colors and repeat. Here are my trial tubes, again in too thin a yarn, but proofing the concept. My mylar was ancient, marked in #2 pencil on its reverse, and I can see a couple of spots that need darkening, but that is not a concern for this exercise

Adding color and expanding the charts to match the B/W versionseach row elongated X 2what knits when setting machine for tubular; in the swatches the blank rows were achieved by manually pushing needles back to B as shown abovethis shows what happens when the first separation is collapsed into what actually gets knit by the carriages in this technique
and the result in repeat in B/W like my swatch

Both elongated repeats are reduced to black and white squares below, with blank rows included to let the carriage do the work, without having to push any needles back to B position, KC set to slip <–  –>. I often work out my separations in color, then fill the colors in with black and white. It is easier for me to draw the black only squares on the mylar or to enter them as pixels, than trying to do that from a colored graph. I am now charting in Mac Numbers, no longer have access to Microsoft office on my new Mac.

DBJ patterns predawn for punchcard machines or provided as charts for electronics may all be used for the FI pattern. The first separation method will yield a surprise. The second method if each row is illustrated only once, needs elongation. In separations where the work is done for you, producing a result like the elongated swatch on the right, the pattern is ready to go.

Creating the separations by hand is time consuming, having software separate the motif, eliminating that design time is quite helpful and more error proof.

The ribber needle selection can be altered to produce patterning with hand needle selection, or with changing the slip lever positions as frequently as every row. That is a post for another day. That said, some things to consider: my own DBJ scarves often involve more than 1200 rows of knitting. The number of carriage or lock passes involved to achieve the same length in increased exponentially should I choose to knit the same designs tubular. If any needles on both brother beds wind up in work at the same time prior to the next row knit, the fabric will seal closed in those areas (another range lovely fabrics, but not the plan here). For the ribber to knit in any other pattern than an easy stripe, one needs to either select needles by hand or add changes in levers possibly as often as every row. If multiple rows are knit on the ribber and then in turn on the main bed, one is actually creating a tapestry technique and there will be small slits at the sides of the knit, depending on the number of rows knit on either bed. It is truly helpful if the software in use or the machine’s console are able to recall last row knit and to take you back to that spot if knitting is interrupted or put off for another day. That is one of the very convenient features of the Passap system providing the battery is still holding the charge. The latter also performs the same function and returns to correct pattern row if one has to unravel rows and the number of unraveled rows is entered into the console. If long, non repetitive in length designs are in use and need to be downloaded in segments (wincrea has such limits), a warning noise when the end of the pattern repeat is reached would be nice to have. In my opinion it’s fun to achieve things because we can, then it becomes a personal choice as to whether the process is worth it, and under what circumstances to use it.  My own accuracy when a lot of hand manipulation or other details are in use, has faded with my increasing age and decreasing attention span. Others can tackle the same with great success, such as seen in some of the wonderful all hand transferred complex machine knit laces found on Ravelry, and then there was the man who used to tour machine knitting seminars with a MK sweater he had made for himself in fine yarn that incorporated over 3,800 (yes, thousands) cables, weaving in and out of each other and in turn in and out of crossing diamonds in a fine yarn (no, no one I know of actually counted them, the count was accepted on faith).

The Passap console has built in color separations for tubular knitting. As with Brother, the simplest fabrics are in one color. For one color fabrics CX/CX (the equivalent result in Brother happens by using opposite part buttons on either bed) is used on both locks.

For 2 color fabric the DM 80 front lock (carriage term equivalent) is set on HX <— while if using the E 6000 one may select KT (knitting technique) 243, with the front bed set to LX (slip). I have had very limited experience with the DM80 decades ago, can only speak for the E6000. The front bed is programmed as for any other pattern. With back lock set to CX (no pattern) or HX (pusher selection for pattern) the function is fixed, the front bed knits to left and slips to right, the back bed slips to left and knits to right to create the tube

Horizontal stripe is the simplest to execute: set the back bed on CX, or put all back bed pushers in work position and set back lock to HX, no arrow key. Pushers up knit, pushers down slip. (in Brother set the appropriate ribber lever to slip in one direction)

Vertical Stripe: “automatic”, bring pushers under every back needle into one up, one down, alternating in work and in rest. Set back lock to HX, left arrow key <—, changing color every 2 rows. The same needle selection is in the same location with each color change, creating the stripe

Bird’s eye backing, manual tech involved/ lock setting change involved:  set back bed pushers alternating one up, one down, thus alternating in work, out of work. Knit 2 rows with the lock on HX, no arrow key, and 2 rows with the locks on HX <—.

Solid color backing is possible: set the front lock is set to LX <— (slip <—). When Tech 243 is in use, after the set up rows are completed, the console gives the prompt for setting up the pushers, all in work, and for HX <—on the back bed. The result is that for 2 rows in the lining color, stitches knit alternately on each bed. The front bed then knits alone in turn for 2 passes;  the color yarn in use creates a float the width of the knit as the locks return to the right, making it the least acceptable variation, and an unbalanced knit. The set up is different for both quilting (BX <—/LX)  or solid color backed DBJ from tubular FI created in this manner.

My Passap manuals have been well used, often technique numbers are surrounded by notes in my scrawl. Techniques perform the color separations for the specific fabric, the accompanying diagrams and directions are suggestions for swatches provided as well in the alternate accompanying manual. Lock settings can be set to suit i.e. tuck substituted for slip, etc. The separation is fixed, but all lock settings are in the hands of the knitter.

2 color circular tucked designs are produced using techniques 162-165, with the frequently unfamiliar settings using OX/DX. As with many other techniques, some may be used with stitch patterns, some not, but if you understand what is happening front bed patterning could be converted to automated pusher or needle selection by entering a planned color separation as a pattern. OX is a combination, tubular tuck setting, paired with DX. OX is a combination of KX (tuck in pattern) and CX (circular). DX is the tubular tuck setting for the back bed. OX and DX will knit needles with a pusher (needle selected on Brother) in work (selected needle), and tuck on needles with no pusher in work (non selected needle) moving from right to left. From left to right the front bed is not knit any stitches (contributing to making the fabric tubular). The back bed knits knits only from left to right, the second side of the tube. E6000 technique 185 with locks set to N/OX will produce tubular FI with long stitch.  For three and four colors where the colors are separated at one row per color  use technique 252, locks set to N/OX. Superimposing patterns for three and four color techniques require entering card reader techniques. With my cable set up, when I was experimenting with reader techniques eons ago, I believe I was successful downloading the pattern for the design from the PC, and entering the card reader technique as a second pattern, via the card reader. I have never tried doing so with additional software, and shy away from any situation where I have to enter commands to get software to work.  Out of the group, 162 is the only one that can be combined with stitch pattern. The console gives cues as when to change lock settings, with some thought similar fabrics could be knit on the Brother KM. The techniques, and my notes, which at this point would need some self interpretation. The UX scribble is in reference to a fabric that slips over needles with pushers selected down from right to left, then tucks over needles with pushers selected down from left to right. Needles with pushers up will always knit. In Brotherese the pattern is knit with opposite function cam buttons  in use slip <–, tuck –>. It will not produce a tubular knit. Worked out patterns for such fabrics were included in some of the Brother punchcard pattern books. 
For tucked 2 color fair isle use technique 185 with lock on N/OX. 

What that means to anyone knitting on Brother machines?

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 the 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, usually 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 allows the knitting of plain rows between dropped stitch including ones, separating the 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 the 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 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 topic:
knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation

stitch dropping tools

anther related fabric:

using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on single (either) bed

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

My sample was knit in a 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 pattern in order to maintain vertical length at edges. To achieve that, 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 scale of resulting patterns and dropped stitches, the yellow is a wool rayon, less than ⅔ 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 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 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 first row to be knit after pushing in in both part buttons. This allows the KC to travel to left without forming any loops or stitches, but 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 ribber’s 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 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 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 on 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 cancelling end needle selection, the knit carriage to slip <– –> and continue knitting until all needles are in 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 feeder any loops will be dropped.  Make the 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 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.


Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages vs color changer, Brother punchcard KMs 2

After my recent attempt to resurrect my single bed color changer and frustration with my 910 behaving “flaky” when reading mylar sheets drawn using template marking pencils (perhaps, because over time of some of the marks flaking off the surface of the mylar, with changes their density as a result), I went back to the idea of using my punchcard machine. I pulled out an old friend, illustrated in my post , had forgotten about my other post and actually came up with a second alternative for starting to knit with 2 carriages. Here is a bit more description: I began with a card punched with repeats that are single rows in height, and would normally have to be elongated for use with a color changer. Since 2 carriages are used, starting side does not necessarily matter. With COR, color 1, carriage set to KC, card set on row 1 but not locked, but rather, set to advance normally. The first carriage then is moved to the opposite side of the bed (in this case the left). The second carriage is now placed on the extension rail on the right, cam settings set for choice stitch to be worked (in this first case tuck or slip). It is threaded with the second color, is used to knit 2 rows of col 2, returns to right. The carriage on the left now comes off the rail on that side and onto the needle bed, with cam buttons set for appropriate stitch type, it travels to right,  and then back to its starting point. Yarn weight alters the appearance of any fabric considerably. As always, slip is short and thin, tuck short and wide.

The same method may be used with any punchcard requiring color changes every X even number of rows. FI can be knit with 2 separate sets of colors in each carriage, or with one carriage set to select but with no cam buttons engaged for solid color stripes between motif repeats (it will plain knit, with color in A feeder, the card keeps advancing). Cam settings may be combined for different or opposing textures or stitch types without any manual changes to cam buttons. Of course, also helps if your punchcard is punched correctly to start with ;-). Problems in the slip stitch red and white segment were due to tension adjustments being needed for stitches to knit off properly. 

Lastly, there has never been a single bed 2 color changer for the 260 bulky. Extension rails for the bulky machine were manufactured at one point. If a second carriage for the bulky is available as well as the rails, working this way opens up a range of complex fabrics for execution more easily.

And then, buyer beware! I am still experimenting with a patterned ruffle. So I tried the card first with 2 carriages, but the design was different than one of my aged swatches using the same card.

I went back to the color changer, assuming this yarn pair might work in it, and it did, but here is the resulting fabric, so it would appear the above is technically twice as long. Frankly, when the color changer works, when only one carriage cam setting is used or very few changes are needed, and if you don’t do things like push the wrong button, have your yarns happily mating or causing loops in all your brushes as they travel from the yarn changer side, it may even be quicker than using 2 carriages. What is possible may not produce what you originally intended, but sometimes the surprise can be a very pleasant one. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board to accommodate for the techniques and yarns involved. Pictured below is part of the working repeat, whited out areas are not punched for these swatches, they are covered with cellophane. Denise Musk’s book on the technique of slipstitch provided the source/ inspiration for the experiments. For the second swatch, the card was flipped over vertically. 

Areas of the knit placement on needle bed may be changed to suit. I like working within the 24 stitch marking on the needle tape for this sort of work. Flipping the card vertically when using the color changer in this instance will allow that, and begins each row with knit stitches (every hole punched on right in image above), and patterned knitting and needle selection stops shy of the “slipped” stitches (unpunched areas on left). In using the slipstitch setting this may not make a significant difference, since the yarn threads stay in front of the gate pegs. This repeat is also suitable for tuck setting. The yarn gets laid in hooks as the non punched area of the repeat is cleared. While not knitting or necessarily affecting the pattern, this can cause added issues with loops and yarn tangles on that side (one may be noted in photo of purl side of swatch below). Seam as you knit can also now occur on the opposite side, away from yarn ends and color changer.

Purl side showing loop at non knitting (or punched) side, and edge curl on the left may actually be used as a “design feature”. The density of the tuck stitch helps keep it in place.

the knit side 

an “oldie” of mine, using the technique in a single color 


I am getting along better with the color changer by making different yarn choices, so I now have a WIP, and am going about a shawl design backwards: ruffle first, body later. Reasoning: seam as you knit should be easier if not taking place during ruffle knitting. If the latter is not bound off it may be continued with body knitting taken off on scrap yarn if needed to facilitate doing so. BTW, as with all knitting that uses patterning on only part of the knitting on the machine, end needle selection must be cancelled on the knitting undercarriage. Any reverse movement of the carriage will advance the card a pattern row, so that is an added possibility for errors as the knit grows in length. The pattern has 18 row segments, 36 for the full repeat. For 36 passes of the carriage, only 8 full rows of knitting take place. Every individual has their own design process. I tend not to sketch, but rather to make decisions as each piece grows. As for some math? 800 rows would actually take 3600 passes of the carriage, the shawl requirements tbd. (3276 on completion).

A previous post with notes on color changers:

Older model machines had no provision for a second yarn mast, and an accessory was available for mounting on their left side. Having the yarn in that position brings it closer to the changer and seems to help with undesired looping and sliding within the changer’s wheels. This shows the carriage traveling toward the extension rail, with auxiliary mast in place

If the ribber setting plate needs to be moved forward in order to balance your ribber when in use, setting it as close to the needle bed as possible or even removing it may be needed if it starts to catch and hold the yarn

 the “finished” ruffle; HK markers every 20 repeats to help track rows knitand being joined on with “seam as you knit” technique
the finished shawl after a successful truce with  my color changer 

going green the series grows 

Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages, Brother punchcard KMs 1

I touched on knitting with 2 carriages in some previous posts:

If 2 carriages are in use for patterning extension rails are a must. For this discussion we are excluding the lace carriage as the #2, the intent is to use 2 knit carriages with each set to desired cam functions. As one carriage is put to rest and the other one is set to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance, so the last row selected is repeated one more time. In one of those lightbulb moments today (any excuse not to do laundry) it occurred to me that starting out with an odd number repeat pre punched card, coming from the opposite direction at the end of each odd row repeat, an even numbered repeat would actually be knit. The card below is Brother issue with all standard knitting machines. Card number (2 in this instance) may vary, depending on year of purchase. Color changes here as well would have to be planned for an every even number of rows, so respective carriages can travel to and from each side.


The swatch below begins with locked selection row on punchcard row marked #1 (standard location); tuck setting is used in first 2 segments, FI on third; pattern produced is “OK”, but not actually tucking for 4 consecutive rows; note how much narrower FI is than tuck. Tuck tends to be short and fat, slip and fair isle short and skinny when compared to plain knit in same yarns 500_326


Since Brother preselects for the next row of knitting, setting the first selection row one locked below the usual spot on in this case #48 got me what I wanted, each color now tucking for 4 rows



Then something a bit more exciting occurred to me; one is an odd number, so any card where single rows are punched could be executed in theory, changing color every 2 rows (remembering to start with first selection row one row below # 1 row mark on card). This sample was knit with 2 carriages, using a maze card, illustrated in a previous post , in which each row had been punched only one time, requiring for the repeat to be elongated X2 500_319500_320

the image from the previous postgrey_slip

Using 2 carriages allows for combining yarns using different tensions, cam settings, fiber content, or sometimes using materials that the single bed color changer is not “friendly” with. Also, there is no pushing the wrong button, causing errors in sequence, or dropped knitting if no yarn is picked up.

A punchcard carriage may be used on electronic machines. I work on a KH892, and a 910. The 910 is from a much earlier model year than the punchcard machine. The back rail for the KH to travel on, is a different shape, with slits as opposed to smooth, and a bit more raised. The electronic carriage set on KC locks on the belt, and advances the card appropriately, but the fit is quite snug, making it hard to push, while the 892 behaved well on the 910. If borrowing carriages and sinker plates from different model years or type of machine to use on another, proceed with caution and listen to your machine. Sometimes the span of time between model issues is irrelevant, even if model years are only a year apart, and the swap is not the best for successful knitting, may “work” in one direction, but not as well in the other.

sample back rails: 910 910892rail2

Pintucks, ripple, and blister fabrics 1

Another ravelry question is bringing me to a new topic and thread. The information will be edited and added to as I have time and can gather corresponding swatches. Information, at least initially, will pertain to Brother brand machines.

The size of the pleat creating the ripple/  pintuck depends on the number of rows that can be knit on the all knit bed before the fabric begins to ride up and becomes difficult to retain on the needles in work. Tolerance depends on knitting machine brands as well as yarn used. Bold patterns read better than smaller ones. Weights are usually helpful. The term is commonly used in reference to fabrics created in every needle rib and their variants. The Brother Ribber techniques book (now available for free online) addresses the topic on pp. 20-23.



page 22

I have added a few patterns from published sources in a flickr album , most take into account any one stitch not being slipped for more than 4 rows. Doubling the length if using electronics is not recommended.

These fabrics may be created in combination with needles out of work. Charting out ribber needle set ups requires brick layout graph paper. The images below may serve to illustrate needle set ups. Print and add needle arrangements by hand, or use image processor to add symbols for needles both in and out of work on either bed. The first series begins and ends with needles on the ribber (Passap front bed), the one below it with needles on the main bed (Passap back bed).

ribber needle set up

ribber needle set up


Charting shapes for short row knitting and programming

In machine knitting, stitches are usually brought into hold opposite the carriage. If multiple stitches are brought out to hold on the carriage side, floats are created. Triangles stacked vertically as seen in the previous post, will create a spiral curve along the line where stitches are held. The carriage needs to get to the opposite side and back after each ‘decrease’ or ‘increase’, so pairs of rows are used to execute and reverse angles in short row shaping. When multiple rows are knit independently from the rest of the knit, slits are created. In two row sequences these are generally similar to holes created in lace, in longer sequences much larger slits are produced. The latter are often used as planned design elements. The small holes being visible may not pose a problem for the knitter. If they do, wrapping the adjacent needles can help eliminate them, but the doubled yarn in the wrapped needle may create small, sometimes visible bumps on the knit side of the finished piece, creating a secondary pattern.

Reducing eyelet size: in traditional wrapping  required needle(s) are brought out to hold, the yarn is wrapped under and around the last needle in hold on the carriage side before knitting the next carriage pass

                        COR                                                              COL                                both

The “automatic method” for wrapping

Decreasing: if COR (COL), to hold 1 stitch at a time, set the machine for holding. Bring one needle on the same side as the carriage into hold position. Pass the carriage to the opposite side. COL (COR) repeat if shaping is 2 sided, or if shaping is only on the starting side, knit back to it, and with COR (COL) repeat process. Increasing single stitch : bring 1 needle always opposite the carriage into work position.

Decreasing:  more than 1 needle or stitch at a time: if COR (COL), place 1 needle less than required into hold on the opposite side as the carriage, knit 1 row to left (right), toward the needle in hold. When COL (COR), bring into hold the last, additional needle. COL (COR) repeat if shaping is 2 sided, or if shaping is only on the starting side, knit back to it, and with COR (COL) continue decreases on the single, opposite side.

Increasing:  to remove stitches from holding , COR (COL) place the desired number of needles into working position on the side opposite the carriage, knit one row, repeat with COL (COR) if shaping is on both sides, or knit back to starting position COR (COL) and continue increases on the single, opposite side.

Charting out shapes knitting or programming stacked equal triangles / spirals: the wedge illustrated in the previous post single spiral wedge“Air knitting” is often used to think out fabric issues before swatching using yarn. Drawing lines to follow carriage movement direction required to keep the knitting continuous, whether or graph paper or within software programs, can help sort out shapes that will work in short rowing. Holding needs to happen in 2 row sequences. Below, black lines and arrows indicate the direction of knitting for each row, in this instance beginning with COR. Blue = knit stitches, yellow = all knit rows at the completion of each wedge (2 or multiple of 2, depending on planned design). This repeat is suitable for knitting a continuous strip with ruffling/spiraling at various degrees, not for ‘pie’ shapes.


Working out the repeat: the red line represents the starting, selection (KC), knit  row, the numbers at the bottom the width of the repeat, the numbers to the side its height. The first repeat A, results in the fewest punched holes, drawn squares or programmed pixels, requires being knit double length. The remaining repeats (B, C) are drawn double length, standard card rotation is used. Eyelets form at the held edge. C takes automatic wrapping to decrease eyelet size at held edge into account. When any sequences are programmed for knitting using slip stitch, the end needle selection is always cancelled by using KCII, or turning non needle selection cams in punchcard models.

A                                 B                                    Crufflethe start of a miter shape: blue repeat, extra knit rows in yellow, auto hold on bottom rightscreenshot_45

Going 3D: in many designs the original repeat may simply be mirrored to be executed. If this is done here, one can see there is no longer a continuous knitting line, directional arrows are moving in opposite directions or toward each other from center point

offset1restoring continuity offset 2shifting rows around to create a workable repeat offset 3one shape 3 different ways:  red row = KC II, all knitdouble spiral

An executable 24 stitch, 26 row repeat:  black arrows alone indicate movement of carriage on the first row of the repeat, black arrows on red line indicate starting point and direction of movement of carriage for KCII rows. A begins to knit repeat with COR, B with COL. whole repeatsThe triangle’s vertex can be squared off, the height of the repeat shortened, to make 3D shapes much rounder ball1X8ball1X8

Not just for electronics: some punchcard repeats to try (also suitable for any machine). End needle selection is cancelled.  Selection rows are always toward the first pair of rows knit in holding pattern, so for the first 2 cards they would be from right to left. Single rows are punched but 2 row sequences are needed, so cards must be elongated X 2; miter shaping repeat is shown on the left, spiral on the right. Narrower shapes may be created and knit on the appropriate segment of the 24 stitch repeat needle positions. Use needle tape markings as guides for placement. Selection row is from right to left, the pattern repeat begins with COL. All punched, extra series of pairs of rows of knitting may be added at the top. Note: just a few rows may not be added with a small a segment of an additional card with clips, the whole repeat may have to be split in sections to allow for the extra rows and its smooth passage through the card reader. As an alternative, more rows of all holes could be added to the original card when first punched, tested, and then trimmed if not needed. It is useful to try out the repeat as a hand technique first in any of these instances, to determine personal preference.


Going 3D: punch only actual holes (black pencils marks were originally used to mark squares that needed to be unpunched for auto wrap on right, not the best choice for B/W scans). Two row sequences are punched, so no elongation is needed for either repeat. Miter shaping is shown on left, spiral on right; mem <– indicates direction for KC row; decreasing angles are auto wrapped, increasing angles need not be as seen in the top of miter on left, where needles are returned back to work to create the reverse shape.3Dmiter_spiral corrected

Some ruffle possibilities: all knit rows were added to the card on left with snaps, and are composed of all punched holes. The number of all knit rows  between held segments determines the spacing between wedges and the degree of spiraling of final fabric. KC row needs to be R to L for A, left to right B. Holding sequences are now staggered, changing the angle of the resulting curves. Where 2 stitches are brought to hold on the carriage side, a short  float is created.                                                      

A: elongate X 2                              B: use as is         ruffle-pair-

The recommended minimum for punchcard length is generally stipulated to be 36 rows. Card A without the added rows is 28 rows high (last 2 rows are for card overlap when adding snaps), so the repeat below, with extra segment removed, would need to be punched twice

A single_correctedeyelet pattern reflects shaping500668



B: dotted lines outline segment: yellow dots on purl side, the 1 needle floatsruffle_floatone possible card revision: red dots indicate punched holes, stitches in hold as carriage moves from left to rightruffle16_CORany difference in the swatch, in this yarn, was almost imperceptible; results would vary depending on yarn thickness and fiber content.

rufle not floatthe swatch as a “ruffle”ruffle_show