Pleats: automating “pleating”, single bed

This post was originally written in 2013. I found myself reviewing it in 2018, and editing it with the intent to attempt a pleat sample using the Ayab interface. In those days I was using Intwined for some of my charts. The program has since been unsupported for Mac, without upgrades and a series of problems that led to my switching over to excel completely for my charts, and now to Numbers in the latest Mac OS.

I work primarily on multiple model Brother machines, in this instance the 910. Some of the information provided below may need tweaking for use in other brand KMs. “Automation” of some holding functions may be achieved using slip setting to knit required stitches. Below is the mylar sheet repeat used for my samples swatches. The setup is on working needles 21L, 19R, program for color reverse and twice the height; KCII (cancel end needle selection); first row needle selection from left to right, and with carriage ending on the right the first set of needles selected will be those that knit, the remaining bed will slip. This is opposite to the configuration familiar in holding, where needles out to E are held, those in B or D will knit (Brother needle position jumped the letter C, they are  A,B,D,E). In this type of knitting all needles in use on the bed should be cleared with each pass of the carriage.

I have gotten used to keeping programming numbers for  locations on mylar around a square to correspond to the lights surrounding the house icon on the 910, and worked with the following 2 options for my test swatches

In the samples below the first set of every other stitch/ black square in the increasing/decreasing angles were slipped on the non selected needles to create/mark the inner purl fold , the second set in the area that does straight knitting tucked on non selected needles to create/mark the knit outer fold. For the latter to occur, the cam buttons need to be switched to tuck <-> for 2 rows, and then back to slip <-> for the remaining knit repeat. Small holes are created at edges of slipped areas as miters are created, as would appear were the fabric created tthrough holding.

A: the alternate fold areas as they appear on the machine during knitting

the fabric after some casual steaming shown on the knit side, the pleating just about doubling on itself

B: with the added knit rows, the swatch before steaming

here is the purl side after some steaming showing the change in overlap

its knit side

both fabrics allowed to “hang”

The look may be varied considerably by changing the sequencing of the number of knit stitches, and the number of plain knit rows between the EON slipped or tucked ones. Electronics facilitate that, and with machines capable of accepting programming of the whole needle bed, there is even greater freedom. The sample above was knit loosely in acrylic, the holes would be less apparent in a tighter knit. If bothersome, they may in theory be “avoided” by factoring in “wrapping” if every row of the repeat is drawn rather than every other. With only 60 squares available on the mylar it is possible to go twice as wide and produce fabric width that may suffice for a skirt’s length. With software that allows for programming the width of the needle bed, possibilities expand even more. When going double wide with a repeat such as the one above, some  problems result not so much in the inner fold slipped rows, but in the outer fold of the tuck ones. As in nearly any knitting when needles have 2 side by side loops resting on them, these loops will create a float/ ladder, so the tuck rows will essentially behave like the slipped ones as the double loops are dropped rather than anchored on the subsequent pass of the carriage. In the configuration here if the double wide button is used, one way to solve that issue would be to bring consistently the same of either of the 2 non selected needles out to D or E position (still faster than hand selecting repeats by hand for holding), resulting in knit stitches and single tuck loops.

5/18/18  Working out the kinks: the same repeat redrawn to factor in reduction of the eyelets at edges of slipped areas: a partial graph showing “automatic wrap”. However, the “wrap” will fail with color reverse, and that first row would have only one stitch knitting. If double wide is used, then the wrap will happen around 2 needles, creating yet another “float”. 

its color reverse 

Plain knit rows (blanks on mylar) may be added at the bottom or top of the repeat to change pleat depth. Here is an amended repeat, discarding the “automatic wrap” idea, first prior to color reverse, then after

 
Those all blank rows would result in no stitches being knit, essentially a 2 row “free” carriage pass, and are removed. The repeat is  now also capable of being knit twice as wide if desired, adding the hand technique on tuck folds

Below the edited repeat begins design using one pixel per stitch and per row. “Automatic” wrap happens as one row is knit, while the next preselects an extra needle. The yarn travels under the extra needle prior to its being knit on the next pass from the opposite side. There will still be an eyelet, a bit larger than hand wrapping, but smaller than without any wrap at all. The EON pixels in the center of the shape are tucked. For that to happen the knit carriage needs to have the cam buttons switched from slip to tuck, and back to slip after the 2 row sequence. The fabric fold out to the knit side. The EON (every other needle) set at the top of the shape are knit is slip stitch setting, resulting in the fabric folding in to the purl side. Process could be reversed to have each fold to the opposite side of the knit.

The carriage needs to be on the opposite side of increases in the number of stitches worked. Here the first preselection row should be from left to right, with carriage traveling to and from right for the subsequent pairs of rows. 

More variations: the slip stitch configuration below is changed to the same EON selection for 2 rows. The same could be done for the tuck fold. For this repeat, the first preselection row should be from right to left, making that the side the knit carriage returns to after each pair of rows knit. The sample was knit in a too thin acrylic. Both eyelets and their “wraps are visible, as well as the direction of folds.

These are pleats in a skirt made eons ago, that have retained the fold over the course of many a year 

An added alternative for fold lines: create outside crease transferring EON to make a row of eyelets, create inside crease by knitting the desired row double row of  with 2 strands of  garment yarn. “Automatic” repeat must be adjusted accordingly, whether by re drawing or punching, or using cam settings for the correct stitch formation.

Seaming should be planned on the inner fold of the fabric, depending on whether the purl or knit side is used as the “public” side, the least visible join being one that is grafted ie with kitchener stitch.

The same principles may be applied to punchcard knitting but because the repeat size is 24 stitches the resulting fabric is one suitable for portions of garments/ accessories, in details such as ruffles and edgings. Punched holes would match the black squares in the color reversed repeats.  “Air” knitting helps determine exact needle location required , and to decide which side the first row must be selected prior to actual knitting. The image below shows the start of only one possible partial repeat based on the last one above

I usually sample my repeats by using hand selection and holding before committing to drawing on mylar or punching holes. The former are hard to get, the latter time consuming to punch, and “repairs” are more difficult when there are that many holes side by side. An even number of rows is required in this technique.

Slip/ tuck stitch experiments

These scarves were designed using the same method as described for mazes and mosaics, they are knit in rayon chenille, fringes are composed of  i_cords applied to cast on and bound off edges. The smaller shape/repeat allows for more control over fabric width while retaining full repeats

blue ovals: 11X58 inches excluding 3 inch fringe

BW: 9.5 X 58 inches excluding 4.5 inch fringe

time to stop playing and get back to winter inventory production!

hot off the presses 11/10: tuck stitch 11 X 60 rayon chenille

an unplanned “mutation”

scarves measure and average 9(+) inches in width, 60(+) in length after blocking

11/17/2012: some colorways

.

Mosaics and mazes: machine knits_ from design to pattern

Maze patterns have long vertical and horizontal lines broken by regular gaps and the pattern lines change course from the vertical to horizontal, and vice versa. Maze cards can be identified by completely punched sections, some alternating with every other square marked for two rows, usually geometrically shaped. Areas of stocking stitch produce horizontal colored stripes, and alternating pattern stitches that slip or tuck cause the vertical stripes, which are sometimes pulled nearly diagonal by the influence of tuck or slip. The fabric will be unbalanced because the number of needles slipping or tucking will not be the same on every row. Odd rows form 2 color horizontal stripes, even rows vertical stripes, with color changes occurring every 2 rows.

Mosaics have a brick arrangement (tessellae), with clear perimeters and cores, and stepped diagonals (frets) that are partially formed bricks, their positive and negative spaces are created by the use of contrasting colors. The stripe sequence is not as obvious. The punchcard looks even less like the original design.

In single bed work the reverse of the fabric will show the original design in the texture of its slip or tuck stitches. There  usually will be no floats longer than one or two stitches.

The knit side may look like fair isle but the back lacks the usual long floats, hence the name “float-less fair isle”

The row gauge is compressed. Tuck fabrics are short and fat, slip ones tend to be short and thin. Some patterns elongate in washing. The tension used is usually one number higher or more than that used for stocking stitch for slip patterns to reduce their narrowing, tuck patterns may also have to be adjusted to suit. Smooth yarns in contrasting colors are the easiest to establish and test the pattern, then the choices can be far more personal.

Designing your own: traditional “rules”

  1. if scale matters consider that the height of 2 rows may equal the width of one stitch
  2. start small, let each square on your graph whether on graph paper, in a design program or spread sheet/vector program cell equal one stitch, each line on graph represents 2 rowsof knitting, when knitting the pattern double length specific to KM may be used .The unfilled squares represent the lighter color/color1, the colored squares represent the dark/color2
  3. no more than one stitch to tuck, two to slip at a time
  4. row 1 and all odd numbered rows (most stitches knit) can have any number of squares marked, the slipped (tuck, or slip/part tuck in alternating directions) are represented by blank grids (no more than 2 side by side for slip, single for tuck), they are generally knit in the lighter color/color1
  5. even numbered rows must have single squares marked, they are generally knit in the darker color/color 2, there should be no more than 2 “light squares”/ unpunched holes side by side, the slipped (tuck, or part/slip tuck in alternating directions) are represented by marked grids
  6. vertical lines must begin and end on odd numbered rows
  7. vertical lines must always consist of an odd number of rows in total
  8. the finished design must be an even number of rows to allow for traveling back and forth to color changer for picking up and carrying the subsequent color
  9. if the design is not to be elongated check to see that every light square to be worked in the dark color is present in the row below, that every dark square in the row to be worked in the light color is also present in the row below

Susanna’s chapter on mosaics has information on fabrics where “rules” get broken. Changing the order of the colors or introducing a third color may yield pleasant surprises. Knitting is started on a non patterning row with first row selection toward the color changer in Japanese machines. If you have a machine that preselects needles: color must always change when the needle selection changes. Four movements of the carriage are required to produce two rows of knitting.

One approach with a design that breaks some rules:

masking alternate rows and “separating them”: odd rows knitting in color 1

dark squares get punched out/ drawn, light ones tuck or slip depending on cam settings

color 2 knitting even rows:

light squares are punched out/drawn and will knit, dark squares ones tuck or slip depending on cam settings

colored areas below are those to be punched overall

I used Excel to eliminate yellow fill on odd rows, darker fill on even. Many articles on this subject date back to graph paper, pencil and eraser days. Quick color fills including empty make the process quicker with software. Still finding the image above  confusing, it may be easier to decide what to draw on the card/mylar if all areas to be punched are dark, blank squares can then be more easily identified and marked, punching everything else or coloring them in and using color reverse if your machine has that ability. In the image below the lighter color is replaced by a darker one

the resulting card

the fabric in slip and tuck settings (breaking the usual rule), some of the tuck rows have a bit of color scrambling

slip stitch front

the back

tuck front

tuck back

one may also start process with point grids, which are of 2 types

in turn pattern may be drawn over them

staggered units may require some clean up and “erasing”, as represented by pink squares

when shape is what one desires, color separation follows as for the design at beginning of post

Susanna Lewis at one time did publish a technique that could be entered in the E6000 that essentially did the separation; wincrea does not presently download techniques, there are other programs that can, and/or a combination of card reader sheet  and computer download may be used, but that is for another day.

Mosaics and mazes from “FI” “universal” patterns

Many punchcards that obey the usual restrictions for tuck in particular may be used to create “random” mazes and mosaics. Test swatches will show differences in surface texture, patterning, width and height of knit, and it is useful to use clearly contrasting colors to study how the structure of the fabric is affected by the different techniques. One series follows: swatches were knit as a class demo, for easy visibility, not as studies for finished garments or accessories. They were produces on Brother punchcard KMs, with a single bed color changer. Electronic KMs advance a row for each pass of the carriage regardless of its beginning position/side, so such fabrics are produced more quickly and easily if an electronic and 2 compatible carriages are available for use. Yet another pattern variation would be to use opposing buttons for tuck/slip, that was not done in the samples below.

FI pattern front with a bit of bleed through where floats were hung up on back

FI back

tuck 1 color front

tuck 1 color back

slip 1 color front

slip 1 color back with a few stitches that got away

tuck 2 color front

2color tuck back

slip 2 color front

slip 2 color back

last but not least slip stitch adding a third color front, still changing colors every 2 rows

slip stitch 3 color back

Mosaics and Mazes: knitting on the machines

Two great books on the subjects by Kathleen Kinder:

another article/printable PDF resource by Susan Guagliumi (this link no longer works, subscription and log in are presently required on her site for access to her free pubs)

Susanna Lewis:  “A machine knitter’s guide to creating fabrics” pp. 71-78, 1986. “Designing your mosaics” and “Figurative designs in machine knitting”  published in To and Fro Magazine, and presented at Passap University app. 1992

Denise Musk: “The technique of Slipstitch” pp. 36-46 1989

Barbara Walker Mosaic knitting companion CD by Morgan Hicks 381 motifs “charted and converted for your electronic knitting machine or crochet, .pat or .pcx format”.