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.

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.

 

 

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 http://alessandrina.com/2018/01/02/lace-punchcards-meet-ayab/

 

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. Sometimes a distinction is made between terms used, in drive lace the bulk of the punchcard is left blank, while in mesh lace the balance of holes to punched or blank areas is 50/50 or more punched areas than blanks.

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.

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

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 http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/06/more-knit-bubbles/ 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:  http://alessandrina.com/2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchersdumpers/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/06/more-knit-bubbles/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/09/07/a-bubbles-cousin/
http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/

 

My new knitting projects

Back in 2015 I met a math teacher in a group setting, and as a result of some discussions I became interested cellular automata. Since my blog post  Fabienne has come a long way. For more information on her progress post her kickstarter see https://knityak.com

My own repeats on the Passap are limited in size by an early chip. The download happens using wincrea and a Croucher cable and switch switchbox. At present I work out repeats on my mac, share them with an ancient dell.

This is my first scarf, produced using a segment of an automata in repeat. When viewed vertically and from a bit of distance there is a movement created by the varied sized shapes that is interesting to me, and that I want to explore further. 

9/20/17 My new Mac is here. At present I am designing on the Mac, using a flash drive to transfer the patterns to my ancient Dell laptop, and going on from there. This is the second in the series. It uses the identical yarns to the scarf above, yet because of the colored stitch ratio distribution, looks to be knit using a charcoal shade for color 2

Here are the 2 fabrics side by showing the color contrast. The scarves are air drying after hand washing. The fabric is DBJ, so little blocking is actually needed, but the fiber is wool, and I am testing the waters to see if hand washing the pieces will soften them up a bit 10/7/17: a third in the series after some technical issues with pattern downloads to PassapThe plan is to continue with one offs, photography to be sorted out for consistency as well 😉one with a color reverse border on only one end

Unconventional uses for punchcards 2: thread lace cards for “filet” mesh


Mock filet crochet machine knit lace has surfaced in a ravelry blog of late. The sample in question was made by Tanya Cunningham, using a hacked knitting machine and software to download the repeat. Sometimes punchcard machines or early electronic users feel left out of creating particular fabrics. If one can settle for working with simpler and far smaller repeats however, one can achieve interesting results in that scale.  Several years ago I wrote a series of posts on lace meshes and lace patterns inspired by filet crochet, this link will take you to them. There also has been a thread lace  ravelry “thread”, and today’s avoidance of housework led me to thinking about pre drawn thread lace patterns to create filet mesh.

What to look for a first experiment (Brother machines only): large unpunched areas creating motifs, with no side by side punched holes, and no more than 2 consecutive punched rows. Some samples are provided in stock cards that come with machine purchase. One such

The lace carriage (LC) selects on first pass, transfers on the second. It advances the card with each pass of the carriage if is operated consistently from the same side. If 2 knit carriages (KC) set to select needles for any technique are in use in punchcard machines, as one is put to rest and the other one begins to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance on the first pass, so selection for the previous row is repeated one more time. If all lace transfers are made in the same direction the resulting fabric will bias. For balanced lace fabrics, the direction of the transfers needs to be reversed, whether in alternating series of rows, or with every other set of transfers. In a situation such as this, the LC makes one set of transfers operating from the left, with the next set of transfers operating from the right. For the correct set up, the first row selection with the card locked is made on the row jut below the one marked #1 (in this instance that would be row #40), then the card is set to advance as usual. If the first selection row is made with the card set to below the #1 line, the card needs to be already joined with snaps into a drum or the card reader will be selecting the all punched row which is normally part of the overlap that sits over the last 2 rows of the pattern repeat.

I began with my LC on the left for transfers to the left, and alternately placed it on the right after knit row(s) for transfers to the right. A “simple” lace is produced with only one row knit between transfers, a more complex lace if 2 rows are knit between them. The LC moves left to right, transfers back to left. If the knit carriage is used for one pass only, it stays on left. The LC is now taken off the machine and moved to the right, used for 2 rows, and will be removed from bed to ready it for its return to the left side. The KC follows with one pass from left to right. The LC is returned to left and operated for 2 rows, starting the sequence over again. The LC is always moving toward the KC to select, and away from it to transfer.

Brother knitters are used to knitting 2 rows after lace transfers. It can be done with this card as well. The problem here is that when knitting for 2 rows, the knit carriage consistently returns to the same side, so that when transfers need to be made from its starting side with the LC, the KC needs to come off the machine until after transfers are made. There is a lot more juggling of carriages and keeping track of what needs to be where. The elongation that occurs with 2 rows knit after each set of transfers, and the difference in the appearance in the yarn forming the eyelets (single/magenta arrow vs crossed/glow green arrow strands) for the respective methods is shown below.

another Brother card, more possibilities

The above shows long vertical lines of transfers are possible in design motivs (punched holes). Adding shapes to all over mesh may require some editing along edges where the shapes meet the mesh. Varying size swatches are recommended before commitment to any large piece. As always punched errors may be taped over. Red squares in the image below reflect holes missing in card if the goal is a smoother circular shape. When this technique is used, selection, transfers, and knitting occur in each single, completed row of the design.

note differences in circle sides
an amended, wider repeat 

The slight bias zig zag at the top of the swatch results from a missing reverse direction transfer before continuing with plain knitting and binding off. Ultimately whether the final fabric is worth the effort in making it is a personal choice. Sometimes small swatches work like a dream, and when large pieces are produced, problems multiply or the result is disappointing. In the past I have also tried to use thread lace inspired patterns for drop stitch lace (ribber fabric), but have found the result far more subtle than expected. As always yarn and color choice make a significant difference. The yarn used in these samples is a 2/15 wool blend, knit at tension 6.

BTW: Studio pattern books have multiple sections of published 24 stitch thread lace patterns. Not all Brother machines have the capacity for knitting this type of fabric, so not all of their publications include “suitable patterns”. If one understands what punched holes vs unpunched do, some of the Brother weaving and “pick rib” (perhaps another post’s topic) can be used as is or adapted.
electronic http://machineknittingetc.com/knit-in-punch-lace-silver-m…
punchcard http://machineknittingetc.com/pattern-library-for-punchca…

previous blog notes on thread lace http://alessandrina.com/2016/11/03/thread-lace-on-brother-km/

 

Tuck lace trims (and fabrics 2)

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

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

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

an attempt at line drawing the “trim” sideways

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

needle arrangementpicking up loops 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

symbols used in Knittax patterns 

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

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

The resulting swatch knit side its purl side

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

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

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