Combining KC patterning with racking_ WIP


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_WIP

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

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.

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: http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/24/working-out-the-kinks-in-my-drop-stitch-lace-saga/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/16/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-passap-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-japanese-machines/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/14/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-brother-km/
knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/

stitch dropping tools
http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchersdumpers/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/10/brother-kms-pile-knitting-ribbed-stitch-dropping-tools/

anther related fabric: http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on single (either) bed http://alessandrina.com/2017/02/14/ribber-cast-on-comb-open-stitch-single-bed-cast-on/

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.

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 http://alessandrina.com/2012/10/15/mosaics-and-mazes-from-design-to-pattern/ , had forgotten about my other post http://alessandrina.com/2016/08/25/knitting-in-pattern-with-2-carriages-brother-punchcard-kms/ 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 

4/6/17

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: http://alessandrina.com/2014/01/26/some-notes-on-machine-knitting-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:
http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/30/knitting-with-2-carriages/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/29/lace-meets-hold-and-goes-round/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/03/31/combining-tuck-stitches-with-lace-2-automating-them/

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.

punchcard

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

500_327

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

500_325

500_324

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 or ripple 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.

page20

page21

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.

offset

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.

miter_spiral1

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

500_

500_676

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

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 2

My previous posts on using gimp to generates charts and images suitable for knitting: 1, 2, 3, 4 . I am working in Mac OS 10.10 now, so there may be some variations in results from earlier OS or for Windows versions users.

the edited repeat from the previous postcropped

It is possible to knit this design in DBJ with the same separation as for knitting it as a maze, both are 2 color slip stitch patterns, the maze separation is less laborious. To process for use in DBJ, the image needs initially to be doubled in length. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a new gimp document, several times the size of the repeat, select and copy the corrected repeat , in turn pasting it in the new, larger canvas. I used 40 by 60; color 1 is red, color 2, white, most of my charting is done at 1,000 times magnification

copy and paste

drawing a vertical line in non pertinent color to border areas having several rows with no second color present, as seen below, may help define end or start of selections when attempting to invert colors. Color invert may be achieved in RGB mode, not indexed. Below the inversion occurs on “even numbered” every other rows. The program in my OS now showed the previously red squares in blue, the alternate squares in black.

screenshot_16
After using color invert, non pertinent color (blue) may be erased (using pencil tool, each square on grid is a single pixel) as well as those yellow “border” squares. In the image below the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card. One drawback in this program, because of the scale using single pixels, is that no text to include row numbers, etc. is possible. The final repeat is 10S X 44 R.
screenshot_24_DBJ

If one wants to avoid using double length in the automated machine settings, the image of holes to be punched may be doubled in length. To do so color mode needs to be changed to indexed (4 colors) to retain image clarity.screenshot_19

screenshot_20X2

 fabric knit in DBJ, long stitch on left, bird’s eye backing on right 500_2355

Maze and mosaic knitting, my previous posts: drawing motifs, from design to pattern (Excel), from pre punched cards,  and references and pubs. The repeat worked out for slip stitch, and edited down to 2 colors. Again, the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card.

screenshot_21-mazeTo further mark the repeats in blocks, making chart easier to follow in absence of numbers, the subject of drawing straight lines comes up. Most of the online tutorials for using gimp are for its Windows version. The pencil tool may be used. Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not (Mac), you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options, which opens the option window of the selected tool. In theory “Ctrl:This key changes the pencil to a Color PickerShift: This key places the pencil tool into straight line mode. Holding Shift while clicking Button 1 will generate a straight line. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line.” On my Mac I worked out this method: first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK.

windows: dockable itemswindows_dockable dialogues

gimp lines

separation for maze knitting 10S X 22R, elongate X2
maze_needsX2 borderknit as a single bed slip stitch, changing colors every 2 rowsscreenshot_01as dbj 500_2361

The dropped stitches were a problem when using the ribber on one of my two 910s, that adventure can be the topic for another post.

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 1

Laura Kroegler shares an online generator for “mosaics”unikatissima offers them for mazes and cellular automata. Representations of such patterns have cropped up in relation to hacked knitting machines and electronic downloads such as those seen in the Claire Williams blog, and in published information by Fabienne, who of late also has a kickstarter project. Such patterns may be charted for hand knitting or for use on punchcard machines once the size of the repeat is taken into consideration. Mirroring either vertically or horizontally can make the image far more interesting, but that has to be a consideration in planning if the stitch repeat has a constraint of 24 stitch limit. A beginning unit 6 stitches wide will allow for the horizontal mirror to be repeated twice on the punchcard. The minimum punchcard length is 36 rows. The maximum scroll down to height in the Kroegler generator is 20, so for the least punching, an 18 row max would “fit”. The caveat here is that if the generated pattern is to be knit as DBJ or as single bed slip stitch, those 18 rows need to be color separated accordingly. For the design to be charted out easily, it may be saved, and then in turn gridded in Photoshop or Gimp with grid matching stitch size in the generated pattern preview (ie below note X and Y values are 5 X 5, so grid used would be 5 X 5 pixels as well).
After reviewing the tiled generated pattern, the image may be carefully captured from screen and saved. I worked with an 8 stitch repeat for my tests. Below are screen grabs of the resulting patterns after some of the various options offered were tried. Mirroring this repeat horizontally, makes it too wide for a punchcard (16 X 2=32).

38_400

40_400

42_400

46_400

44_400

using a 5X5 grid after capturing a portion of another generated image, using a simple 8X8 repeat, outlining single repeats, thinking punchcard machinescreenshot_34

checking the result tiled to predict possible knit “look”screenshot_28

If working with a 6 stitch repeat, horizontal mirroring becomes possible for punchcard machines, perhaps making things more interesting; the program can generate a single repeat as a png, and punching holes is a drag so maybe length remains on the short side in anticipation of the punching holes and color separating for knitting the motif as either DBJ or single bed slip stitch, so here goes: having the generated image produced so each stitch and row is represented by a single pixel allows one to work within any program preset to superimpose a 1X1 grid:screenshot_07

screenshot_08my saved png, supposedly for an 8X12 repeatnewgridded in gimp, revealed as  11W X 23 Hscreenshot_09

testing tiling: oops!screenshot_10

the trimmed repeat, eliminating double lines, 10 St W X 22 Rows Hcropped

tiled, looking closer to originalcropped_tiled

and then there is the knitting of it….

For the latest version of gimp use on Mac, version history may be found at gimp website, for Mac Yosemite and Mavericks’ latest information on version 2.8.14 .

More slip stitch experiments

Slip stitch fabrics are capable of creating interesting textures. When blocks of stitches are slipped, the floats that may appear on the purl side are considered problematic by some knitters. One solution is to work using mosaic and maze “floatless FI” designs. This was addressed in previous posts, including color separation methods for planning them, and a variety of knit swatches.   The images below have often appeared in knitting boards on Pinterest, I am returning to the slipstitch design thread.

source

missoni combo

source

lyst combo

I decided to plan a “square” shape to sort out the technique; it could easily adapted to a diamond one. By necessity, larger repeats need to be executed on an electronic machine whether via mylar or download program. The plan is to change colors by any means available, usually every 2 or every 4 rows, requiring a motif repeat that totals an even number of rows. In hand knitting garter stitches can become part of the resulting texture, but they are impractical here. Often commercial knits are produced on machines that can automate many more functions and textures per row. The Missoni sweater is a fine knit, and on a detailed examination, reveals lace eyelets in the some of the stripes in addition to plain knit and slipped stitches. Not impossible to do on a standard KM “home” electronic, but simplest way to add lace eyelets would be via hand transfers.

my starting chart

repeat start

 checking that that repeats line up

multiple repeats

possible mylar repeats

mylar repeats

I drew the top repeat above onto mylar for use on a 910. The sample swatch was knit using 2 carriages (and lace extension rails). I selected R 1 from right to left, with the carriage that was to remain on that side, and began knitting with the second carriage, placed on the right, holding the alternate color. There are a few ways to achieve the pre selection row, depending on the choice of start to the fabric, and whether a color changer as opposed to a second carriage is in use.  Contrasting colors help see and understand stitch formation. For the bottom of the swatch I used double length as well as color reverse, with color (carriage) changes every 4 rows. The top of the swatch is knit with color changes every 2 rows. Slip stitch is short and thin. Since there are more stitches slipped on the bottom of the swatch, the fabric is pulled in in those areas, making the knit on either side “bubble” in a way that the top of the swatch, does not, and resulting shapes no longer appear as straight lines horizontally.

striped slip ksidepurl side

striped slip p side

The single width blocks that form the stitch pattern are usable for tuck knitting as well. Whether the motif may be elongated on standard machines depends on yarn thickness used. Tuck stitch fabric tends to be short and fat, so the finished knit piece will be wider than the slip stitch version.

Taking this shape to a punchcard requires editing, and results are quite different. One sample idea, moving stitch groups around to fit a 24 stitch repeat:

punchcard repeatAll the white squares would need to be punched to form knit stitches, the yellow left unpunched, to form the slipped ones, the look of the fabric would be very different.

Previous blog posts on related topics: tuck and slip color striping , block stitch color separations 

As for creating “solid” block shapes: an initial repeat is charted below, 16 W X 24 H. Black blocks are drawn on mylar or downloaded, color reverse is used, no elongation. Knitting starts with base rows knit in the color that will form the “block” on the knit side of the finished fabric

block shape

the knit side

block_front

and the purl, note floats as wide as the “block”

block_back