Return to circles, knit “pies” 3

Elizabeth Zimmermann provided guidelines for circular shawls in her books and publications, including “Knitting Workshop”. For a basic pi shawl (p. 112, Schoolhouse Press, 1984) the assumption is that each section is twice as deep as the previous section and has twice as many stitches. Below CO row represents cast on stitches if the work is to begin from the center out, Column A the row count on which the increases take place, column B the number of rows knit just prior to increase row (A-1), and C the number of rows available for any planned repeat (A-2), thse are constants. The columns directly below each cast on (CO) number (orange) counts represent the number of stitches when increases are complete. The stitch count doubles when the number of rounds has doubled.Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns, Dover 1972, p.p. 245-247 provides guidelines for circular medallions. She calls her first a “disc” medallion. In executing it the aim is to scatter increases so they are less visible and do not form spokes. Four stitches are cast on, with 4 stitches increased in the total count every other row. The number of stitches between M1s increases by one on every other row. My chart happens to read from left to right. As with any knitting in the round, the process may be reversed, starting at the circumference and moving toward center. I personally like charts to help visualize results, and have revised her counts in the illustration below so increases are at the same rate, but placed a bit differently within the rows. On rows with even numbers between decreases, start row with half that number of knit stitches before the first increase. Because one is knitting in the round, with knit side facing, all rows are knit. If the work were knit on 2 needles, knitting every row would produce garter stitch.what happens if increases “line up”For her circular “radiant” medallion after the first 2 rows increases are made every 4th round. My chart is renumbered excluding the first 2 rows, so the increase rounds would occur on numbers divisible by 4, making it easier for tracking them. Each “building” round increases the number of stitches by 16.

In her “target” circular medallion, the building increases are arranged in concentric circles. Each increase row begins with a M1. Once RC 20 is reached, a stitch is added between increases on each increase round. This chart reflects the knitting progress, but not the shape. STS column on right reflects the total number of stitches after increases have been made. Each building round after RC 6 increases the count by 32. Formulas for more, varied geometry based medallions are also offered in the book.  I finally “discovered” actually using formulas in Excel! The video that clearly and quickly helped me learn how to: at the flow in table form for the first 2 medallions

These formulas do not take into account changes in gauge, or stitch type within bands. For similar shapes to be achieved in machine knitting, the number of transfers would be prohibitive. In order to achieve similar shapes one begins with the radius of the finished circle and the shapes in the family may be knit sideways, using holding.

Handknitters can work with 4 double pointed needles, one or 2 (or more) circular needles, and crocheters can follow similar shaping methods. The advantage to long circulars is less bunching up as the work grows, and if you like working flat or want to try the garment on while shaping it, you can use more than one long needle, making the piece or the try on manageable. Working from the top down when knitting such shapes may give one more control over the size of the finished piece i.e.. on length of body and sleeves, height between bands, extending a yoke into a shoulderette or cape. Stitch pattern size and repeats add to the math calculations. Garter stitch is the only hand knit stitch that approaches a square gauge, could be used in combination with patterned bands.

The charted patterns above rely on M1 to increases. Yarn overs may be used for decorative holes at increase points. If preferred, the hole may be diminished by twisting the stitch when picking it up on the next round.

When knitting in stripes, the “jog” at the color change in knitting can be eliminated by slipping the old color purl-wise, and starting to knit the second stitch. TECHknitting provides more alternatives in her posts: For a method using yarn ends and a needle when yarn is cut

For shawl shapes and their geometry using YO increases, see the posts and publications by Holly Chayes.

To start it all from center out: I am used to doing the magic loop cast on with a crochet hook, and then moving on from there, Kitty Falol shows it worked with DPNs.

Illusion DIY patterns in crochet

I previously posted on illusion knitting, and on one approach to designing simple patterns using the technique. The first 3 images below are of the swatch illustrating one of my hand knit patterns. 

Since I am now involved in a group interested chiefly in crochet, I got curious about executing the fabric in crochet. Part of the problem is that enough texture needs to be created to be able to read the “shadows”. I tried crocheting in different parts of the chain, around the posts in the row below, and ultimately went back to afghan stitch. I had not used the latter since making blankets first for my son, and then for my grandchildren.

the tunisian aka afghan stitch fabric as it looks head on tilted up to its side and its rear view

Those of you new to the technique can find some instruction at the Red Heart website , and in a beginning how to video from Crochetcrowd. I used Tunisian simple and Reverse Tunisian simple stitches to create my pattern. In this technique, chart texture rows are read right to left. The return rows are not illustrated. It takes 2 passes of color one, followed by 2 passes of color 2 to complete one pattern row. Yarn is carried up the side, color is changed in the same manner as in any crochet stitch. In my test swatch, no border stitches were planned for or included. It is always wise to test the repeat in repeat before working the fabric.

 two passes are needed with each color, so here is the repeat double length 

columns    A: color used   B: forward and backward pass for each color   C: number of passes to complete a single repeat. The highlighted box at bottom indicates a completed single design row. Only 2 colors are in use in the swatch. I found it easier to track my work and the edges where the textures need to meet by using an additional pair of colors in the chart itself. Rather than use the crochet terminology I marked my first stitches with F and B for each color, referencing the front/ forward, and rear/ back vertical loops/ posts respectively. As one moves across the row from right to left, when the color/ texture change is reached, the yarn is brought to the front or the back as needed, and the next color/ texture is worked in the reverse post/ loop.

working in back loop only of the starting chain produces a firmer edge at the bottom of the piece return pass every other row, not represented in chart changing color Front, vertical loop Back, vertical loopH: horizontal, V: vertical red indicates hook entrance through front, green for through back vertical bars respectively, prior to working the next stitch

Both swatches were made using similar weight yarns. The crochet version required more passes back and forth than in knitting, where the work may be turned over and the texture reversed on each knit row. The knit repeat measured approximately 5.5 inches L by approximately 4W, isolating my best guess stitch number equivalent to the crochet one. The crochet swatch measures 7 inches L by 6W.

Online Pattern generators, hacks, free KM manuals, and more

last review/ update: 12/19/16
I welcome being contacted re any problem links
generators that require color changing every 2 rows using a color changer (or 2 carriages)
generator used by Fabienne
other generators that can help with shaping garments, or some basic knit motif design
knitting pattern
top down circular raglan calculator
iceleandic round yoke design
online tessellations motifs
charts: lace, cables and more
math calculators for knitting
free online manuals, magazines
only the intro is in german: a nearly hour long presentation by Fabienne
another approach for Brother models KH‑930, 940, 950i, and 970: and the associated group on ravelry 
970 how to hack instructable 
for additional cumulative information, software compatibility and hardware specs see Claire Williams’ website
color reductions/ conversions for large, non repetitive images Mac
online generators
photoshop tutorial
pattern generators/ web design
open source charting program
quick screen shot

1/21/2016: Online weaving program by Andrew Glassner ; associated blogpost 


Plarn/tarn/ tarn my way

When I first shared plarn information here, I was under the impression the term applied to anything cut into strips and in turn used as “yarn” in knitting or crochet. Now however, it appears the term “tarn” is in use when t shirts or fabric are used. There are many ways to create tarn easily found online, including youtube videos by several authors, and even commercially dyed and prepared skeins/balls for purchase. Since I machine knit, I am interested in producing “tarn” that may knit on the bulky KM, which results in limitations that do not apply if one is to knit it by hand or crochet, where needle and hook sizes are far less limiting.
In my sewing stash of “rulers” I had one product by June Tailor which since my purchase appears to have evolved. Its closest cousin by the same manufacturer  is the shape-cut-ruler. It is a convenient cutting guide which I have also used on felted wool to produce even slits for later manipulation such as chaining.In this case, I began by cutting off the sleeves and upper body from armholes to neck, resulting in a tube, which in turn I pressed and folded in half, leaving a single fold edge for later cuts to produce the continuous strip.

Below the ruler is positioned over T shirt tube folded almost in half in this case, with single fold border at top for later continuous cutting into tarn yardage

this is a better view of upper edge; rotary cutter moves within slits, inverted “teardrops” at top serve as stops for cutter, leaving an even, upper border intact, I tend to use rotary cutter moving from bottom up; this is not a hard and fast rule and may be adjusted to suit your preference

follow cutting guides through slits across the piece; a sharp blade helps considerably; when finished with the first pass, move ruler along each cut line, and make a second pass with the cutter to eliminate any areas skipped on first pass and thus uncut, while applying even pressure on ruler; this is quicker and neater than using scissors; in turn, release the strip and lift away  from the ruler, move ruler one strip over ( I am right handed, so moving from right to left), repeat process across fabric width

one T shirt down!

here I like to use a long curtain rod, broom handle, or anything else on hand and slip the slitted but partially intact tube onto it

here is the above rod, perched with ends resting between my kitchen table and the opposing countertop. The black marking line indicates location of first border cut from right towards left, and cutting (with scissors) continues in same movement across the width of the fabric

time to make a ball! beginning in this case with “yarn end” on right, “milk” about an arm’s length of strip (as you pull on fabric it narrows and curls inward), and begin winding the result into a ball. As you move across the supporting rod the ball will have to be moved over and under it at regular intervals to keep fabric flowing easily. I did so at the end of each loop circumference, that was easier for me than lifting the right end of my rod to free the “yarn”. The result:

the “yarn” superimposed on the ruler for an idea of the change in fabric width after pulling/stretching

samples will follow…

On my crochet hook

Lots of crochet patterns of late have featured chains and bobbles as components. I have been playing around with an idea combining both. Fabric could be shaped by varying the number of chains and double crochets creating bobbles, and with very thick yarn the fabric may appear nearly solid. This is my working graph. Ovals represent chain stitches, beginning at left chain is created, first bobble row is represented in red/orange; second bobble row is represented in green, crochet after work is turned over, and when the opposite side is reached, visually it will appear as though a single row of 5 bobbles has been completed. The numbers represent the number of triple crochets in each popcorn, the crosses are joining single crochets for anchoring chains to previous rows, and closing off popcorns. The graph was created in Excel.

The yarn in use here is a very soft acrylic, intended for someone who cannot wear wool.

a thicker wool, less open space

Nearly any crochet fabric has the potential to be incorporated into knit items of clothing and accessories.