Knit and purl blocks to create folding fabric/ “pleats”

Knit and purl combinations  may be executed in hand or machine knitting. Knit charts are generally planned and illustrated based on the fact that the same side of the fabric is always facing the knitter. Hand knitters have to accommodate for the fact that the the work is turned over (unless knit tubular) with every row worked, so plans would need to reverse knit for purl and vice versa if needed. For more ribbed, pleated/ folding fabrics please see 

The easiest way to produce this particular fabric on Brother machines would be to let your garter carriage do the walking and working. For those of us that do not have that option there are transfer carriages, (I honestly have only used mine once, decades ago, will have to dig it out of moth balls) and transferring needles by hand. Pairs of identical stitch transfer tools  may be used to move stitches from one bed to the other. If the goal is to produce a knit with tension as tight as possible, the latter can be problematic and result in dropped stitches, so testing the yarn and the mode of transfer should be part of swatch trials prior to committing to larger knit pieces.  I found moving stitches between beds one at a time for me was preferable and more reliable

The chart for the initial concept: The number of needles used for “pleats” is constant (7); 3 stitches move up (or down) in turn, indicated by arrows. After the first 3 are transferred, 3 more are now moved adjacent to the now remaining 4 stitches from the opposite bed in order to maintain the total of 7 on each bed, excluding any borders, in which stitch placement remains fixed.

cast on for every other needle ribafter completing cast on rows, set up for pattern by transferring between beds*knit 6 rows, transfer between beds  knit 6 rows, transfer again restoring original selections**repeat * to **; transfer to main bed, bind off. Swatch on KM prior to binding off 

If the goal is to retain the texture, it is best to knit using a yarn with “memory” such as wool, which may be steamed or blocked lightly while retaining the fabric’s quality. A rayon or cotton would flatten permanently if pressed. The photo shows both sides of my swatch, beginning on left with it slightly stretched with pins, relaxed in center, and with a bit of vertical “tug” 
The fabric changes a bit when some stitches remain fixed on alternating beds, and the same sort of approach is used. My initial intent had been to transfer every 4 rows, but I actually did so after every 6 rows knit. Colors in chart on right:Its numbers indicate the working needles on each of the 2 beds. The first 3 needles on either side are never transferred. Groups on either bed after transfers remain constant at 6 with the exception of the borders . The starting set upand the alternating one, repeated in turn throughout the knit. Note border stitch selection, constants in between still on the machine 
and my small test swatch. The fold on each side and the swing in the pattern appear crisper and better defined to me
What of horizontal folds? Transferring every stitch to and from the main bed manually is more than I am willing to deal with in addition to transfers for those blocks. I am also interested in the effect produced with use of thicker yarn. This repeat is presently on my hand knitting needles, is suitable for electronics or punchcard machines. A single unit is 5 by 16 rows, the punchcard repeat is 24 X 16 X 3; 32 rows is a tad shy of enough rows for the punchcard to roll and advance properly, 36 rows in height is the recommended minimum. Knitting as tight as possible makes for a stiffer, crisper fabric. I decide there were things about this repeat I did not like however, including the change in pattern at the folds 

The new repeat , with only 2 rows worked rather than 4 between block pattern reversal, the repeat is now 12 rows rather than 16 in height

The hand knit swatch, using 4 ply yarn on #5 HK needles. The arrows mark area where 4 rows were knit between knit and purl blocks rather than 2, creating an added ridge, and a straighter line than the row pairs

an attempt at a side view

Getting rid of those blocks altogether: a generously shared free pattern on ravelry , and a link to the author’s blog 



A complex published transfer lace to electronic repeat for download/ GIMP editing

Lace on the machine can render beautiful fabrics that closely resemble hand knitting, but programming very long repeats is a challenge both in placing every hole in the correct square in a punchcard, and in programming individual pixels on a mylar or as pixels for download correctly. I found the “leaf lace” repeat below shared frequently on Pinterest, and thought I would test the approach discussed in the post on using numbers and gimp to create images for electronic downloads . Because it is 16 stitches wide, it is not suitable for punchcard knitting, which requires a factor of (4, 6, 8, 12) and up to a 24 stitch maximum width.

The published pattern on the left is shown as shared on Pinterest. In turn in was captured, opened in Gimp, and magnified. After a threshold adjustment, it was converted to a BW indexed, scaled to its 16X96 original stitch and row count, and then saved in 100% magnification result for the possible electronic download.

On far left below is the first BW processed single repeat isolated from its source. To its right it has been adjusted so first row is a preselection row for the lace pattern, and the full repeat ends with blank rows (Brother KM characteristic). The latter in turn was saved as an image for download. Since the leaves change direction in the way they lean, spacing between each pattern swing in the repeat is actually 3 all blank rows, not the “standard” 2, including at the top. The bottom half begins with the first row resulting in transfers to the left, while after the the first 3 knit rows the  transfers will begin to the right.  The plan was for me to use Ayab for knitting a proof of concept swatch.  In order to achieve that, the full repeat is first flipped horizontally (ayab will auto mirror it,  so starting with it this way it will be in the correct orientation when knitting). The mirrored repeat may be used in unaltered  machines as is with LC operating from the right, KC operating from the left (not possible in ayab without adjustments). The full repeat consists of 16+14+18+16+14+18= 96 passes of the lace carriage, for each 12 rows knit. My sample was programmed horizontally for 3 full repeats, the width of my planned swatch. I added one additional needle in work on each side, with the LC end needle selection cancelled, allowing for full pattern as programmed with a single stitch all knit border on either side A tightly twisted cotton yarn did best in terms of handling the multiple transfers and not resulting in split stitches or breaking. I had occasional selection errors, seen in center panel at the top of each repeat (my common experience with the interface), but the repeat itself appears to be sound.

Lace repeats that have even numbers of rows for both and LC transfer and knit ones are easy to follow. Punchcards are also easily annotated and if knitting is interrupted needle selection is easy to return to or restore if necessary. In electronics, there may not be a any memo to indicate row #  location for each carriage pass in pattern, or when to switch carriages. Because in this instance there are so many transfers (some of multiple stitches) between knit rows and dropped stitches are best corrected as noticed during knitting if possible, I created a “cheat sheet” of sorts to help keep track of actions. Each block here represents one full repeat, read from their bottom up, with red borders at the start and end of each sequence representing knit rows. A visual check at the end of each segment’s # of rows in the series is well worth it to prevent unnoticed runaway dropped stitches and large holes. A check in boxes next to # could indicate completion of transfers. and a number added manually in that same row for that sequence, record the row on which knitting was interrupted ie. stopping on row 8 out of 16 to fix dropped stitches would be a reminder 8 more LC passes are required before the next visual check.  

Fair isle variations

Work in progress

A previous post shares information on gauge swatches and testing yarn for them. These are random FI samples from my collection, most from my teaching days. None of them were ever intended for use in finished product. They were knit to illustrate some of the possibilities for the different techniques using each of the cam button combinations. Some were knit during class demos. The colors made them easily identifiable as mine, from a personal yarn stash. The contrast helped identify how stitches were formed, the lack of helped evaluate some of the results from that as well.

In the first swatch, marking for measuring stitches per inch is done by leaving a needle out of work. Width between resulting ladders should be checked at various points after the swatch is treated in the way you plan to treat (block) the finished fabric. Adding a third color per row would require altering the pattern to a color separated slip stitch one, or one may add that color with duplicate stitch. Spots below are colored in with permanent fabric marker. At the height of the art to wear movement one artist in particular was producing limited edition knitwear by knitting the same design in black and white, and in turn over dyeing the white for different effects in each piece in the series. Eyelets at the bottom of the swatch are tension markings for the piece. The vertical line created by end needle selection (normally used in FI to avoid separation of colors et vertical edges) is interrupted in rows that are knit in only one color. 

Recommended max for floats is usually 5 stitches.  How much the floats droop and cause potential “problems” on the purl side depend on fiber content. Sometimes such floats are intentionally created and worn on the outside of the garment as planned design features. The longer blue floats are seen below in the areas of the ladders where only the yellow is knitting, creating a wider span of the alternate color.

These repeats are as simple as one can get. A reminder: if using them in pieces of a garment ie baby leggings, etc. take note of which yarn feeder each color is in. Even if the repeat is correct and placed properly, the surface of the knit will appear different to the eye if colors placement is reversed in alternate pieces

Color may be added or “taken away” as seen in post on bleach discharge on knits 

Here a factory punchcard is used. Thinner yarn in lighter colors may have some bleed through of darker colors traveling behind them, as seen on the left. Not an issue with the thicker wool on the right. Forgetting to set the card to advance can result in vertical lines, which could alternately be planned as a design feature.

The longer floats seem manageable in these yarns, there is a bit of hooking up on the bottom right. The yarn traveling up the swatch on the right is an alternative way to mark for gauge measurements. A previous post provides some information on float control.  

Varying the colors, fiber content, and considering complementary borders is worth exploring thoroughly at the swatch level, before committing to a larger piece. Truly contrasting yarn used at the bottom and top of the area to be measured for row gauge makes the process easier. As attractive and quick as single bed FI can be, keep in mind that long pieces knit in yarns with “memory” such as wool, will tend to roll to the purl side vertically even after blocking, and certainly with wearing of pieces such as scarves or shawls. 

tone on tone chenille and all rayon, with “color reverse” by switching yarn positions in feeder less effective with a flat yarn as the alternative to the chenille 
Using the same card:  every needle, 4.5 mm machine electronictransferring stitches to every other needle, odd needles in work on one side, even  numbered needles on other using worsted weight (2 needles in center in work side by sidemotif twice as wide, every other needle across fabric width 

It is possible to vary designs by using the 3 functions of the card reader: locked, normal rotation, and elongation. Designs with long vertical features tend so separate at the edges where the 2 colors meet. Lining the fabric with a fusible makes the knit lose stretch, but it may be an option for stabilization, mock quilting, and float control. Hi contrast colors are best for sorting out how stitches are formed. Embroidery alters the “step ladder” effect outlining the shapes. Hand techniques (in this case cables) can be combined with FI. In Brother it helps to be familiar with pattern, as needle selection may have to be manually restored after the technique is performed to stay in pattern hooked up floats not just for float control; note puckering on knit side where they have been hung up in groups swatches were worked from bottom up, starting with positive/ negative comparison, sorting out possible placement of ladder with the intent of adding ladder lace details. Cancel end needle selection because of needles out of work, but bring needles into D or E positiong to avoid separation of colors and/ or dropped stitches at side edgesfrom bottom up: transitioning from ladder resulting from single NOOW, to 2 NOOW, hooking up floats on opposite sides, ending in “lace” pattern aloneHere stainless 32 gauge wire is used as the second “color”, making the piece moldable and shape retainingThere is a vertical, single stitch line due to end needle selection in the contrast color formed on either side of any needle(s) out of work that can provide a visual guide for altering the fabric. This swatch was knit with wide NOOW spaces, then sewing machine stitching  joined the contrasting vertical lines to form a 2 color “fringe” on the knit side (left) and purl side (right)Variations with fibers: wool with raffia on bottom, fishing line on top The same swatch continued on, using 3M elastic as the second colorSwitchingThe same repeat in a rayon chainette and wool, followed by some felting. The rayon “bubbles” more visibly when the wool creates the wider floatsreversing color positions
The punchcard is limited to varying the vertical repeat automatically in 3 ways: locking the card, normal rotation, and double length. Repeat width is fixed. Felting can produce interesting surfaces if one yarn is capable of being felted (green), and the other not (blue). The stitches knit with the latter will create puckers/ blisters. Since the knit will shrink in both width and height, the repeats here were used at double length. Note the added drooping of the blue floats on the purl side.A punchcard can be further manipulated by masking areas with tape. It is not a good solution for production knitting, but adequate for testing out ideas before committing to punching a full, new card. The surface blisters here are much more dramatic. The green floats do not felt as much as in the previous swatch, and are considerably wider. On the right, far side you can see some of them were latched up, creating yet another design detail.   The reverse of both swatches showing the resulting difference in relative width A factory supplied punchcard pattern, also felted. The fringe is created by ending on one side (in this case on the right) with a group of needles out of work and the outermost 2 needles in work, essentially producing a large “ladder”.  Some needles close to the edge of the knit  were brought in and out of pattern to create the “zig zag”. Knit side on left, purl side on right, no clearly visible, separate floats

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?


Revisiting machine knit “quilting”

This will are another work in progress post for a while as I gather materials, and prior to commenting on how to create these fabrics using the Ayab interface. In 2013 I shared my first post on the topic, covering single bed quilting as a hand technique, with the aid of a punchcard to pre select needles only, and with an intro to a simple ribber repeat in a single color. It was followed by a post explaining the color separation for 2 color quilted fabrics. It is also possible to use an altered knit carriage to knit rows on main bed only, while leaving the couple carriages on the left instead of changing ribber settings from slip to knit and back with color changes, see post on ribber-fabrics-produced-with-2-knit-carriages-selecting-needles/

one color experiments using monofilament 

In my swatches below, the red stars mark the spots where one fabric surface separates from the other. All use 2 color patterning, with a single color only appearing on the reverse side. In Brother machines to achieve this result, the ribber settings are changed manually every 2 rows. The ribber is set to knit when carrying the backing color, which is also creating the “stitching/ joining” sections, while it is set to slip when the color creating the pockets is worked. The settings on the illustration on the left create the foreground color pockets, the ribber slips for 2 rows. The settings on the right will knit every row on the ribber. Two rows of each color are knitted alternately, the same as in DBJ. Since there are as many “blister” rows as there are rib rows, the blister/ pocket design will lie flat against the backing. If the goal is a lined Jacquard, the yarn tension must be evenly balanced to produce a fabric which lies flat. The texturing of the quilted surface is produced with an uneven tension, knitting more loosely on the main bed.  The looser surface may be left as is, or wadding may be inserted between the beds as knitting progresses, while dropping the ribber part way. Commercial versions of these fabrics are sometimes referred to with the terms eight lock or interlock, and double jersey. The punchcard instructions for the first swatch, from Brother Ribber Techniques Book 

reverse of fabric (black) folded over on bottom

Passap Technique 181

here the large areas are obviously “stuffed”

Pockets  may result as part of  any larger, DBJ design, when monofilament or thinner threads may be used for the second color

Possible problem areas: stitches may be dropped along areas where fabric is joined (A), sealing side edges (C) will keep them from separating (B). The end needle on each bed must knit the opposite selection as its neighbors in order to close the selvedges. The last needle at the side opposite the color changer may require pushing needles to E manually if not selected by the KM at regular intervals. 

Blister fabrics and pintucks are cousins. Quilted fabrics are sometimes referred to as “single blister”. Both rely on one group of stitches knitting more rows than another, can occur both in single color, or multiple colors. The ribber slips while the main bed knits X number of rows in pattern, and pleats/ pockets are created, eventually sealed by knit stitches on both beds. The number of rows for which this action may be taken in Brother machines is far more limited than in Passap, where the strippers help keep fabric in place. Single color pintucks/ blisters began to be addressed in my post, which reviewed Brother ribber techniques suggestions. A multiple row blister sample executed on Passap, in turn programmed from and ancient DUO 80 magazine, eliminating hand selection on back bed, and programming it in terms of black and white squares on the front bed.

its reverse side

My E 6000 manual is annotated extensively, and my scribbles make a good argument for keeping better notes. I immersed myself in learning the machine when first purchased. The technique for solid color backing, tubular FI illustrated in the manual, is a workaround to create “quilting” “automatically”. A bit of translation and a different set up from my working notes is offered after the scanned image. The circular setting in Ayab software performs the same automatic color separation. 

With this arrangement, pouches will be formed on the white squares of the card. If you think in terms of the colors of the squares, then it is not important which color is determined as the background color by the console. The set up may be different in your copy of the manual. Knitting four consecutive rows with either color reverses the position of the colors in the pattern. Each 4 passes of the locks complete one design row. Reversing the BX <— pusher selection (manually, on right, prior to color change), will reverse the areas quilted. The first pushers on both left and right are aligned in the opposite position to rest. Floats are created between the layers by the color not knitting on the back bed, and the altered pusher position will keep them from jumping off. Depending on the size of the pockets you may want 2 pushers in that position rather than one. Always swatch before you commit to a large piece of knit. The identical design methods as those offered for Japanese machines and the associated fabrics may be reproduced by entering the separations as a pattern and then in turn entering technique 129. The PDF suggests a method for using Japanese designs as drawn on punchcard knitting machine in an E6000. My scribbles from my Passap manual. The console and manual recommendations are only guidelines. Any and all technique lock settings may be altered to suit planned fabric, and if the machine offers beeps and reminders for the factory program, simply disregard them.

Double bed work requires at least 80 stitches by 100 rows for gauge testing for finished garments. Any machine: for blankets or warm jackets, the pockets may be filled with padding every X # of rows, the front bed may be dropped to make this easier. Mono filament and /or fine wire may produce structures which have objects “dropped” into pockets ie marbles, sequins, sponges that will expand into the space when wet with fluid, etc.

While working on a later post on knitting this fabric using Ayab software in a hacked 910, I found using  a simple single pixel height per row diamond shape outline, elongating it X 2, and working in the circular setting produced the single color quilted fabric with no other fuss ie. a color separation. Below is the working repeat for use with first preselection row from right to left, knit with right slip button on main bed, left slip button on ribber throughout. The same settings and approach should work in punchcard Brother machines. 

Ladder back double jacquard: backing variations

Periodically questions come up with regards on how to manage float control other than using familiar DBJ settings, or the best way to proceed to achieve it when one prefers to work in thicker yarns.  In this technique all main bed needles are in use for patterning and in working position, the ribber needles can be arranged in nearly any configuration in groups with 1 needle in work, and one or more needles out of work. The main bed tension is close to what would normally be used for single bed fair isle, while the ribber is set at least one or two whole tension numbers tighter, thus reducing bleed through or vertical separation lines on the “outside” of the knit. The fabric uses less yarn than every needle rib DBJ, is lighter in weight, has more stretch, but will not lie as flat. In Brother, if needles are arranged in groups of 2 (pairs of lines and spaces on the needle tape with even spacing between them (i.e. 2 X2, 4X4, 2X4, etc) then lili buttons can be used. The latter method has less chance of the backing showing as a vertical line/ separation on the pattern surface. Sometimes the ribber needle arrangement may result in a secondary, interesting pattern on the purl side. It is still a good idea to have floats that are limited in width, generally less than 5 stitches`. For the purposes of illustration, I knit 2 row stripes on the main bed, while altering settings on the ribber.
This was my initial set up. The ribber needle tape is marked in what I think of as dashes and blanks, in continuous pairs. When using single ribber needles for the ladderback, the number of out of work needles may be even or odd between the ones in work

As each row is knit the ribber will pick up yarn, or not, depending on carriage settings, creating a knit stitch vertical chain on the purl side of the knit 
If empty needles are simply brought into work above plain knit rows, eyelets will be created. One way to reduce their size would be to pick up loops between stitches on the main/ opposite bed, and use them to “cast on” your ribber needles. With ribber carriage set to knit in both directions, each color will knit with each pass of the carriages (2).
With it set to knit in one direction, slip in the other, each color will knit on the ribber for a single pass, slipped in the opposite direction, and the slipped stitch becomes elongated (3).Having a needle in work on the ribber close to the edge of the knit may help reduce the roll along that edge (4). A slight separation may appear on the knit side in the location of the vertical columns created by the ribber stitches, it is less apparent when ribber knits on every other rowIt is possible to only have one of the 2 colors knitting on the purl side. In my case it was white knits, blue slips. Here the ribber carriage settings need to be changed with each color change, so for white I used

for the blue

Setting up for using lili buttons: needles need to be in pairs, each with a matching “dash and a blank”, even number of out of work needles in between them. My previous set up required a bit of moving stitches around
 ribber is set to slip both ways, lili buttons engagedWith the above settings, the needle on the right of each pair will catch the yarn on the pass to the right, the needle on the left of each pair will pick up the yarn on the way back to the color changer. Stitches are elongated because they are slipping alternately for one row, and are slightly offset from each other with a bit of a “jog”  because they are not knitting on the same pass. This is noticeable in lili backed full DBJ as well. The color change from blue to pink is simply because I ran out of the blue yarn. My ribber stitches should have been tighter throughout, but even in this tension situation, the knit side has the least noticeable vertical separation along vertical column edges in the series of testsThe technique may be used on any machine. This sample was knit on a Passap, using one of the patterns built into the consoleSimilar backing may be produced on the Brother machine, but now a hand technique is involved. The ribber remains set to slip <– –> throughout, no lili buttons. The spacing may be chosen on the basis of the interaction with the main bed motif, or in a different configuration for each color, making hand technique easier to track. Needles are brought to E position on the ribber for each row to be knit in that color. Here the differing colors are easily identified

the ribber settings

There are 2 options: one is for bringing appropriate needles to E position for each color only once. I chose to do so immediately after each color change, with carriages on the left (below dots). The other is to to bring them to E for the second pass of the carriages on their way back to the color changer as well (above dots). There is elongation in stitches in both options, less so when each color knits on the ribber for 2 consecutive rows, where one short and one longer stitch for each color may be observed. The first option also caused a bit of puckering on the knit side, which disappeared with pressing.

the reverse side 

Similar ideas, playing with configuration of color blocks on either or both beds, can result in appliqué, embossed jacquard including pleats, and a whole range of other double bed knit fabric variations. A quick sample with transfers between beds



Woven Lace: a brother punchcard to electronic

This is actually a reworking of a previous post. I usually sit on any post for a while, returning to it, editing multiple times out of view, and publish when satisfied with occasional return visits. Thanks to comments from another Ravelry member, I realized after my first “quick” publication on 589 that I needed to take another look at my thinking on this particular card from the very start.  I chose to stay public during editing to show that no matter the level of skill or time spent knitting, sorting out issues for any particular design or fabric can take time, sometimes obstinacy, and that at times the simplest route is taking good notes during the actual process for the most direct results in terms of clarity.

I have been knitting a long time. Sometimes things seem so obvious to me as I work, that I do not take notes. I still have a swatch from my teaching days that fell into that category, and that I have never been able to duplicate. With the 910 and the limited availability of space on mylars, I sometimes erase too quickly, and now that my charts are being created in a new and not yet habitual and familiar to me programs (Numbers, in high Sierra and Pages) wonderful, “surprise” variables can happen. So tips to self: keep step by step notes to return to as a reference, choose order of steps top down or bottom up and stick to one or the other, try not to scrawl randomly and everywhere on any one sheet of paper (never mind keeping it legible), don’t recycle papers with such notes when you think you are done, and watch those autosaves and revert options in Numbers and Pages. Then there’re the added factors of occasional WordPress crashes during saves, taking what one assumes as familiar for granted, and of simply putting even single, lone black square in the wrong place on a mylar sheet. I found with this series merely editing information in the software was not enough. Some of the errors became easier to see when matching the software theory to actually taking notes the old fashioned way with each carriage pass on the 910.

Some information on punchcards, their use, and pattern repeats may be of help to any of you who have not used a card before. The previous post included a reference to this punchcard from a Brother punchcard book in its combining weaving and lace section. I began with the assumption that knit carriage would operate from right, and lace carriage from left, their traditional placement in most lace knitting

its supposed related swatch

Analyzing the card, sorting out possible repeats follows, since mylars or bitmaps for download often only require a single repeat of the pattern. If you are not used to doing this, sometimes beginning with recognizable vertical ones first is a bit easier.

the apparent width and card height repeat

Going from lots of dots to far fewer ones can be dizzying. The punchcard multiple vertical repeat on the left is double checked to insure that all marks are in the correct placement on my chart. Black dots for EON needle selection, red ones for lace transfers. Here things get checked off twice, particularly for lace holes. Lace cards are the hardest to copy and place pixels or black squares accurately, simply because their markings are so few. I usually begin on the left hand side of punchcards to  isolate my repeats. The number markings in the center image reflect those found on the far right of Brother punchcards. The #1 on the factory cards represents where the card reader teeth are reading the holes on the interior of the machine, not at the operator’s eye level on the machine’s exterior. That is also the reason why in any fabric, needle selection does not match expected design row. On the far right,  a single repeat in height is isolated further. The same sort of check should be done when punching cards from published images. Blowing up the source and printing can help with accuracy. 

Operating carriages for even number row sequences is is the most convenient. The assumption on the basis of the arrows in card 589 is that each carriage makes 2 passes, operating in a continuous loop. That simply did not work for me in terms of producing 2 rows of lace followed by 2 more in any other pattern when operating LC from left, and KC from right.

If punching a card, verify your final punching by holding black paper behind the punched holes. In this instance there is an obvious mistake on the third row of holes. I am at the end of a very long punchcard roll. Some of the new rolls are wonderfully sturdy material, but the roll can retain a curl that may make it easy for the card to roll back into the reader unless joined into a tube (resulting in patterning errors), and making it hard to feed its starting rows  into “punching machines”. The rolls are marketed for Brother use, and numbered separated into “standard” lengths with blank segments between them.  Those markings may however,  be for Studio machines use (seen here, at row 5),  with row one on the right actually being 2 rows too low for Brother, so as punched LC  first preselection row would need to happen on row 3.589 begins with lace transfers. A second option, is to begin with a weaving pattern, with the KC on the left for the first selection row, and beginning your pattern reading 2 more rows up from the lace starting line in the punchcard. Markings on the side of the image above have nothing to do with actual starting rows. Pencil lines are outlining individual repeats, have no other reference. Numbers and other necessary marks would require adding by hand. If hesitant, #1 marking on right may be double checked by overlaying a factory pre punched card over your own.

Beginning the mylar conversion : my adjusted repeat checking squares vs holes again

The end needle selection needs to be cancelled on lace rows to avoid transfers or dropped stitches on the edges of the piece. If a needle is selected, manually push it back to B. If patterning ie tuck, slip, or FI are used on alternate groups of rows, then end needle selection is preferred. In weaving,  2 side by side stitches drop a float, so keeping the EON selection on both sides gives a better edge. Invariably, some operator involvement is needed altering end needle position, no matter the setting for it on either carriage.

Even with a lot of knitting and design experience results are not immediate. I ran into issues when I first tried to knit on the 910 with a later, “final” repeat selection being correct, but the technique failing, resulting in a loopy mess. In weaving, weaving brushes need to be moving freely, so check them, unscrew them, remove any fluff, and air knit, making certain they are down and turning at the same rate in both directions. Tuck wheels if movable, should be in the forward position, lined up with all other wheels or brushes on your sinker plate. To isolate the problems further: test lace with your knit carriage selecting,  but no cam buttons pushed in. The KC will knit for 2 rows across LC transfers, creating only the lace pattern involved. Your mylar markings get checked, also offering an opportunity to sort out why stitches may drop, and if you indeed have patience to combine techniques for more than a few rows. It is easy enough with an EON needle pusher to test both weaving yarn and needed ground yarn tension. If that is successful as well, then issues occurring with patterning may be from other causes. They were in my case. I had to switch sinker plates in my knit carriage to get weaving to work properly. I failed, however, at combining the final repeat with tucking, even with the KC set to tuck immediately after the transfers, and to knit every needle in the opposite direction.  I tested the carriage, sinker plate, and patterning with EON tuck only with different designs, and had no problem. At such a point I would abandon that fabric combination with the particular mylar repeat.

Returning to actions on the punchcard: the preselection row can be confusing in any translations. The last row in the card takes care of lining up repeats for us as it is rolled continuously in the drum, but there can be oddness to the eye when only a small repeat is singled out. Looking at the image of the repeats tiled allows one to choose a different starting row, rather than lace markings. The direction of transfers raises the quest to yet another level. This was my progression in editing and moving starting row for beginning the fabric with a weave start rather than a lace one: the numbers in my charts reflect carriage passes and direction, not completed row counts as they might appear on KM counter

Pass 1: COL, KC, N for knit row, slip <—> for free pass that selects only, move carriage—>
Pass 2COR, KC, EON pre selected, set card to advance normally, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 3: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 4: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection, moves to —>
Pass 5COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 6: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left
Pass 7COR, KC, EON, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move  <— will weave first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 8: COL, KC weaves second row EON, preselects firs row of lace on its way to right —>
Pass 9: COL , LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection moves to —>
Pass 10COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves <—
Pass 11: COL, LC transfers pre selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves —>, release it, return it to left.  This row matches design row 1, and is starting the repeat sequence again
Passes 2-11 complete 10 rows of knitting, as well as the first vertical repeat as drawn

My chart has had multiple drafts, which included using software to insert a row to allow for that repeated selection as the carriages switched sides. The goal is to keep the 2 lace transfers to the right, with LC beginning each sequence on the left side, ending on the right, matching the punchcard movements listed above.  Keeping things as simple as possible is something I at times forget to do. After several drafts, here is a simpler way to look at things. In D black squares with dots indicate stitch that will be transferred on the next pass of the LC, the yellow squares the location of the eyelets. All pattern repeats with the KC preselecting for the first row of knitting on the left, with the change knob set to either KC I or KC II

the 10 row repeat and its mylar companion

In actual knitting of this stitch combination,  since needles preselect for the next row knit, once the pattern is set up correctly, it is easy to recognize when carriage changes are required by looking at the number of needles selected. EON rows are for weaving, starting on right. Few needles selected are for lace, starting on left. Lace transfers happen on the stitches selected the previous row, in the direction in which the carriage is moving, here transfers are all to the right. Grey squares indicate repeated selections, black squares with yellow dots indicate stitches transferred to the right on the next pass of the LC. The mylar repeat would only require the black squares

Below the repeat in the chart is used, knit first on my punchcard KM, then on my 910, but it misses the mark in terms of matching the swatch in the pattern book

This is the result I was still trying to get back to. The first lace pattern test swatch: gotta love dropped stitches in lace!

no tucking allowed in combo with lace, but not a carriage or mylar problemweaving test: fails were from a problem sinker plate weaving lever in one direction only, hand technique success was with change of sinker plate lace and weave with 2 different weight yarns and, hallelujah!

Taking another look at the original punchcard and those arrows on the left hand side, a detail I had originally missed. Both carriages operate from the right side, for 2 rows each, switching their place on the machine bed. Arrows for design row 1 begin above red line. Transfers are all first to left, then to right. The card advances a single row for each carriage pass. With carriages operating on the same side, the punchcard advances one row for each carriage pass. Operating the LC from the left, and releasing it when it is on the right as in the previous fabric produces the desired results. The blank row on rows 3 and 8 allow the LC to travel to right, making selection for the transfer to left on the next row

the  10 row repeat and its mylar companion

the actions

the fabric, again!

Reworking the repeat in order to use the LC for four passes, beginning and ending on the left hand side of the machine, its usual home

the now 12 row repeat and its mylar companion

the actions the fabric again, in lace only repeat 

For reproducing the fabric using Ayab software: please see


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.


Revisiting knit “bubbles” brother KM

Sometimes months or even years go by before I revisit previous posts. As I review the information, it may occur to me to think about it further, and /or to present it in a slightly different way. I find it hard to believe how much time has passed since got published.  Here is another way to look at the fabric on Brother KM. Since I knit on a punchcard or a 910 electronic model, I will refer to pattern repeats in terms of punched holes or black squares.

Bubbles and drop stitch lace share some of the same principles, the effect is created by stitches that are larger than others. Slip stitch setting can be used to automate needle selection. Black squares or punched holes will knit, unpunched areas or white squares will not, with needles left in B position. Brother preselects needles for the next row of knitting, so when combining hand techniques with needle selection, one has the option to intervene before the next row in the design is actually knit. Using the card or mylar to read row 1 of the design helps determine where on needle bed to set up your repeats. In this instance the ribber knits every stitch, every row, with one extra needle on left (or more on each end if preferred) in addition to repeats # required to achieve the desired width. All needles are in work every row on both beds. Main bed knits in response to programming.

Working in multiple of repeat -1 on the top bed, plus one needle in work at each end on the ribber. Considerations need to be taken to align design properly. Markings on my metal bed are from a totally different project.The goal is this needle arrangement “air knitting” with carriage set to KC will help identify patterning repeats. Groups of 7 include a needle on each end which will be pushed back to A position in the body of the knit/ NOOW (needle out of work) indicated in chart for main bed needle set upthe first selection row a needle on either side of the groups of 7 is pushed all the way back to A position, remain there throughout  the piecean extra needle is brought into work on the ribber on either side of repeat ends. Machine settings: main bed set to slip <->, ribber set to normal knit
the ribber has now been set  up for knitting every needle, every row, with cast on and desired edging completed. The first row is selected on main bed for pattern knitting. since there are needles out of work and pattern knitting is involved, if KCI is used or end needle selection is not cancelled, the end needles on the areas being slipped will be selected to knitting position, so patterning errors will occur. First row knit on both beds is shown on remaining needlesBrother knits a row while preselecting for the next one. Here the needles in B would slip/ not knit on the next row, needles out to D (Brother skipped the letter C in needle positions) will knit. Prior to knitting that next row, stitches on the now non selected needles should be dropped across the bed this shows those stitches have been dropped, their needles are now empty, and returned to B position

end knitting with same treatment as it bottom (swatch was simply dropped off).

It is possible with solid geometric shapes such as these to release stitches at the completion of each shape. Type of yarn used and loop behavior upon dropping stitches are variables that influence success in doing so (other swatches )

An acrylic yarn was used: the first image is the fabric’s “relaxed view”

after steaming and pressing

the variation in width is due to adjustments in tension, the swatch folded over itself shows the difference in another way

“Camino” bubbles, hand knit

I was written an email asking about the possibility of creating bubbles in hand knitting, this is my attempt, may serve as a starting point for DIY.

Below a small sample serves as illustration of my first attempt. It was knit in acrylic,  steamed to the point of death, but shows the type of elongation of the “bubble” stitches using this technique. To keep things simple I stuck to a “square” shape. Stitch counts and placements of shapes may be adjusted to suit. It is possible to knit or purl the yarn overs, unraveling the extra stitches before knitting the original number of stitches when the top of the bubble is reached, but the resulting look is a bit different. It is worth trying, depending on preference for type of result, or the way one is accustomed to dealing with elongated stitches and yarn overs in hand knitting.

So I now own a new Mac, no longer have Microsoft Office available, and am now working my way through charting diagrams using Mac Numbers.  Below is a  possible working chart with a different stitch count than above. I would suggest larger blocks of all knit stitches and rows between “bubble” repeats

The further step of taking the technique to a brick repeat follows. I have been experimenting with a varied number of rows and stitches. Subsequently I was happier with knitting or purling the yarn over as an extra stitch/ increase until I had worked the desired number of rows, then dropping those extra stitches, thus working once again on the original number cast on. The shape also seemed a little less square to me if a second row was worked before returning to making yarn overs. A border of more than one stitch on either side helps stabilize the shape edges.

This sample was worked in my “throw away” acrylic 4 ply. To my eye the most pleasing and effective bubble happened on the least number of rows of dropped stitches (diagram provided above). The top and bottom edge of the “bubble” looked the best when stitches were taken off the needle on one row, and not allowed to “run” to the yarn over row until after the next row was knitted or purled all the way across. That may not be the best idea, especially when working much wider pieces of knit. Dropping back to yarn over row as you work row 6, 13, etc. of chart provides a more controlled way of checking “runs” for individual stitches, making repairs for any errors easier. Dropping yarn overs with each pass seems to me to be the easiest way to track knitting as it progresses or gets wider, and counting bubble rows is far more easily tracked. Below, variation #5 matches the above chart.
the reverse of the fabric, lightly killed with steaming and pressing 

A last swatch: here a row is knit or purled as seen in chart above, after yarn overs and their treatment is completed. If the aim is bubbles which will not be flattened out, dropping the yarn overs on each row worked gives a flatter (bottom of swatch), less of  a “bubble” effect than knitting or purling the yarn over before dropping it at the appropriate point (top of swatch). If the fabric is to be “killed” as flat as possible, dropping the yarn overs each row may be good enough.

My machine knitting posts on this topic: