Racking mechanical problem and possible repair saga

I enjoy the technical aspects and structures of knit fabric, learned to do simple, common minor repairs in a studio where there were not technicians during lab hours or even studio hours. That said, I had a broken knit carriage that was going to be my source for learning to work with its inner guts that never made it to any useful reassembly in spite of the passage of a couple of decades. I have a lot of hesitation in taking equipment apart, though out of necessity and with the help of online videos and information I have been able to go increasingly further with more confidence. Still saving carriages full of springs and “things” for someone else ūüėČ

Over the years I have not used my KR850 ribber frequently. Last year at some point I produced a collection of racked, ribbed 3D effect scarves, giving it a major work out. I traditionally kept my ribber off my Brother machines, used my Passap for double bed and DBJ, and my line of accessories for sale was often knit single bed on my standard or bulky machines. As a result, I rarely needed to adjust the ribber bed position relative to pitch. I had purchased the ribber used.
As I have returned to knitting more frequently of late and wanted to expand posts that included racking I found suddenly the first movement upon reversing racking direction failed, requiring 2 full turns of the handle before advancing to the next position. Not too long after the pitch lever was not moving properly as well. The operation and service manuals for the ribber had not provided much advice, nor could I find any helpful information online. I highlighted pertinent areas with color in the images below. From the service manual: I asked on Ravelry for advice or shared experiences. A possible culprit was suggested to me, and I was pointed toward the parts manual, where I was faced with this, which at first seemed pretty daunting

When I tried to turn the screws marked in red I found they were loose. After I  took apart the racking handle, braving far more disassembly than turned out to be needed, housing little screws and washers in separate small plastic containers along with their comrade larger parts, I found perhaps I could have reduced the effort considerably. I did not take photos during the process, as I was not brimming with confidence in the result. Enlarging a portion of the above helped me understand how parts related to each other a bit better.

The rectangular piece (red) was loose inside the machine. Removing # 57 is a necessity in order to get at the location for reinsertion of #10 in the slot under #9, to be held in turn by the screws #11. I marked critical areas with colored arrows in sequential photos¬†It really may not have been necessary to even remove the bracket lever. The #10 piece of metal was loose inside the machine, might simply have fallen out if I had turned the bed on its side and given it a mild shake after removing #57. This is with the piece in question in its housing where it belongs (white arrow), shown in relation to the needle retainer bar (black arrow) and screws marked with red arrows that hold it in place.¬†The piece is obviously thinner than the space it lives in, so for screws to anchor it properly, a flathead screwdriver or other improvised tool needs to be inserted under it, lifting it into position and holding it in place with its holes lined up with outside of bed so screws can grip it and be tightened properly. My racking handle and pitch lever seem to be working properly once more. I had hours of intimacy with my ribber, it has now been thoroughly cleaned and oiled and has all its screws no longer off or loose, we are far better acquainted. No regrets, but the “repair” as illustrated above would have taken a matter of minutes.

A return to short row shapings: bumps and slits meet entrelac

My recent revisiting of holding techniques led to my coming across handouts and notes from the late 1980s and early 90s, including the working notes below for an entrelac fabric. I sometimes read instructions I assembled long ago, and they seem to be in a foreign language at first. Entrelac was referred to as basketweave as well. On the knitting machine, it is usually executed removing part of shapes onto waste yarn. In these shared instructions it is knit completely on the machine. Blocks can be any size, knitting is started on a multiple of the stitches planned for each shape repeat. The number of colors used is limited by imagination and patience for weaving in yarn ends and dealing with issues at the start of each new shape, familiar to anyone who has tried intarsia. Weaving in those yarn ends may be performed during the knitting of larger “diamonds”. ¬†It is helpful to understand the basics of short rowing prior to attempting this technique.

In a post in 2011, I shared a link to excellent directions found at howtoknitasweater.com , written by Cheryl Brunette. Here are 2 of my teaching samples, executed on 4.5 mm machine. In my teaching days, my demo yarns were in distinct colors, easily spotted, and not often preferred or even liked by students. They could be instantly recognized, so no one ever tried to use them in their class assignments, and colors were out of range for the comfort level of attendees at my workshops, so swatches tended to remain mine for the duration of those sessions and far beyond.

a rearview with ends woven in

It is best to start with a few rows of waste yarn, and the choice can then be made as to whether to cast on and go immediately into pattern, or ribs, stocking stitch, or other beginnings and endings may be chosen.
The blocks will appear square to rectangular depending on yarn choice and gauge, some writers refer to them as “diamonds”, they are joined together as you knit. My test swatches are all executed on Brother machines. My own working notes: Visualization: here pattern rows II and III are shown in repeat, along with the direction of the carriage movement, and the lean in the shapes created with the purl side facing This attempts to identify the shapes by assigning numbers, in their order of knitting. As mentioned, the fabric may also end with added rows of knitting on top of the last row of shapes as they are formed

These photos do not document each step, are meant as an aid in parts that may be a bit tricky when starting to experiment with the technique

The set up for starting triangles:  note the similarity to some of the surfaces created in the last post. When using short rows, part of the stitches in work will knit many more rows than others on the machine. Accessories such as the cast on comb will tend to ride up on one side and drop off When the end of the first row that row is reached, as contrast color is added, stitches need to be cast on on the far left in order to keep the work on the bed a constant number of stitches. The usual method suggested is e wrapping, this is picking up from the row below. I found either method produced looser, longer stitches on the far edge continuing across the row:reaching the far right: 

binding off across the row by transferring stitches when moving from right to left

The colors were chosen for contrast, the yarns are slightly different thicknesses, the white is a 2/24. The latter is usually used double-stranded when knitting on the single bed unless intended as a “thin”. Bleedthrough at joins and some of the other features ie eyelets at corners might be reduced simply by making a better yarn choice. As for those “wisteria” eyelets, they could become part of an intentional pattern between bands of basket weave. Once the principle is understood many other variations become possible.

Many details in any technique wind up relying on personal preference for use of or added editing. Studying results on swatches can help one determine whether larger pieces are worth the effort, and what habits and their results may need to be changed. Contrasting colors help with evaluating edges in patterns such as these. This method relies on transferring groups of stitches by hand on the needle bed. The process could get far slower and impractical if the “diamonds” increase significantly in size. At the intersection of the shapes, there will appear an eyelet (1), also seen in hand knits, which disappears if the fabric is not stretched or pressed. How stitches are rehung in any part of the process can change the look of what is happening there as well. Picked up finished edges if tight will draw in the shape on that side (2), holding happens in 2-row sequences, and small eyelets happen there as well (3). Consistency matters. Though the shapes lean diagonally in the finished piece, they are picked up along straight edges, forming a square to a rectangular piece of knitting, with the usual grain, allowing for the addition of other techniques within the blocks

Trying to imagine where stitches may need transferring to waste yarn or “off label” tool? Alternative shapings at sides: what needs to be cast on or bound off?

Troubleshooting ideas: a small weight might be enough to elongate those shorter closed edges to make them easier to rehang and to be a bit longer. Claw weights usually available with machines may be far too heavy, then DIY ones come into play. A common suggestion  at MK seminars used to be that of purchasing fishing weights, which commonly come in a variety of sizes often with openings or wire eyelets at their top, and using bent wire or even paper clips so one hooked end can be inserted into the hole on the weight, the other is used to hang it in turn onto the knitting. This is an exampleSuch weights are made of lead. That is a concern, there are products on the market that may be used to coat them. This one is easily found in home improvement stores and online

This round sample in the absence of the paint was covered in heavy-duty duct tape. It weighs 2 ounces, just half of one of my factory-supplied claw weightsIt does a good job of weighing down those straight edges along the bumps, making the stitches easier to pick up. When rehanging those stitches, uniformly hanging the loops, not the knots along the edges involved will give a smoother join. ¬†Here a paper clip is used as the “hanger”It is easy to get into a rhythm and think you “have it”. A reminder: the shapes at each side are triangles,¬†not the full shape. Row II starts on the right, begins with decreases followed by rehanging, row III starts on the left, involves increases and working stitches in hold to its right. ¬†Losing track will produce the start of an extra shape, which may perhaps be a “design feature”, ¬†but not a good thing if the goal is a straight edge on both sides. Unraveling is easy if the problem is noticed soon, but is problematic if more rows of shapes have been completed. Lastly, a swatch ending in all knit rows. The only remaining issue is the fact that those side triangles are formed by stitches that are looser than across the rest of the piece. This yarn is thin and a poor choice, but fine for getting the technique down and beginning to understand what happens to stitches, how one needs to move from one side to the other, and what happens along the edges of each individual shape In switching to a thicker, space-dyed yarn, the effect is lost to a degree because of the length between color changes. This sample begins to address keeping some slits, but the repeat needs further sorting out Following the same idea in visible colors: the yellow wool is another too thin wool (2/20), which makes the edge that will need picking up slow and tedious to deal with because of very small stitches. If I were to make a piece, I would work on the partial shapes in the magenta to make for a smoother¬†color transition start. I used the foundation triangles and row II, with 2 rows of knitting when they were completed to help close the spaces at the top of the eyelets in the magenta. Some striping between repeats at the end of row II is worth considering in alternate colors, for more rows, or even in a thicker yarn.¬†

It is possible to develop shapes,to consider the number of stitches required and whether the fact that other than garter stitch knit stitches are not square,Then there is the world of making each section /shape as large or as small as desired, shaping them by increasing or decreasing stitches adding and subtracting them as needed by casting on and binding off, partially joining them, knitting and joining them when completed with seam as you knit techniques, changing color within each shape or at the end of every row/section of adjoining ones, working the piece in one color only or using a space dyed yarn for random color patterning. Quilting diagrams can be a boon for inspiration for seam as you knit.

I found this on Pinterest, it strikes me as masterful use of related techniques

Lots of hand-knit inspiration and free patterns: https://intheloopknitting.com/entrelac-knitting-patterns/#freepatterns

This book explores the technique to the maxSome of its swatch images are shared in this review of it , there is also a sequel

Three slip stitch entrelac pretenders using slip stitch patterning and holding

Casting on, binding off single bed

There are many ways of casting on and binding off both single and double bed. ¬†Ultimately, if it is important to have the top and bottom of the piece match as closely as possible in finishing, the only way to achieve that is to start with waste knitting and a long enough yarn end (wrap around all needles at least 4 times to be “sure” not to run out). After binding off, rehang the bottom and finish on the top bed, or treat the first row of the knit above the waste knitting with the same method as the cast off at its top. Brother publications are now easily available online. The images below include some of the material that was included in my handouts as black and white copies. I am now also adding scans from both the Brother Manuals and the respective books for Techniques on both the single bed and double bed. ¬†The advice on methods differ¬†slightly depending on the source, and at times one explanation makes more sense when offered in one way rather than another. Some of the techniques are illustrated below more than once, offering different ways of exploring.
Any cast on or bind off can begin on either the right or the left side. If the yarn is to be used to manually knit off stitches, then one must begin on the side where the yarn end resides. If long stitches are chained through each other, then the yarn end needs to be opposite to the starting side, so that it can be used to seal the last bound off stitch.

Anyone preferring video format when learning can find excellent presentations by others online. Roberta Rose Kelley is a prodigious YouTube contributor along with Diana Sullivan , and Susan Guagliumi has also expanded her online presence there as well as both on her earlier website and blog

CASTING ON ¬†as mentioned is possible in either direction. Remember that the needle head will have to pass through the chain stitch or e wrap, so do not pull the yarn too tight as you move across the row of needles. If you are going directly into pattern knitting after casting on you will find it easier to have some waste knitting to hang weights from if needed, and to avoid problems with stitches forming properly for the first few rows after your chosen start. To do this, cast on with some waste yarn, end with a ravel cord row, cast on once more with “garment” yarn. There will be a waste ravel cord stitch and a new e wrapped or chained cast on stitch on each needle. Waste yarn can be removed upon completion of the piece. I prefer to do so a little after a short distance, to make certain no errors occurred. If weights are used it is best to move them up frequently. The rule for casting on is the same as for many other machine knit fabric: no two directly¬†adjacent needles on the same bed with loops on them will ever form a separate stitch on each needle on the following pass of the carriage. Simply making a pass with the carriage over the needles will create a series of side by side loops. If a cast on¬†comb¬†is used, it is possible to continue knitting, but when the comb is removed the stitches will run. That said, it is an easy method to use particularly when a piece is begun with waste yarn or is intended as a quick test swatch.

An open cast on may be achieved single bed using the ribber cast on comb.
There are other cast ons that will produce an edge that will not run but are not stable as permanent edges on the beginning of a finished piece.
Slip stitch cast on: bring every other needle out to hold position, knit one row at stocking stitch tension, knit one row. Now bring the in between to previously selected needles out to hold, knit a row to the other side. Do this at least once before continuing, the more rows used the firmer the edge.Weaving cast on only works on machines with weaving brushes ie Brother. I tend to knit with weaving brushes down no matter what the fabric unless using them results in problems ie the particular yarn being used has a tendency to get caught up in them.
Every other needle cast ons (EON) can be a quick way to make a gathered top for a hat knit from the top down or to gather the inner edge of a flower or other shape. The nylon cord cast on shown below is an alternate for open stitch cast ons when no combs are available. Any yarn that does not break easily, is smooth, and does not shed fibers when removed may be substituted for ravel cord. A ravel cord may also be placed over the gate pegs, in front of the needles as shown in the cast on the illustration below for a single row after troublesome cast on rows. Two or three rows of knitting then follow, and the waste yarn is removed prior to continuing to knit. 

E-wrap cast on: the comb is not necessary.¬†If the first row after this type of cast on is completed has issues knitting off properly, bring all needles out to hold for a couple of rows prior to knitting each of them, and that should solve the problem. With any cast on, any too loose loops may catch on gate pegs, if too tight, the yarn may break or the “stitch” will not knit off the needle over the closed latch and hook. ¬†The last needle on the side next to the carriage may be left empty and will pick up a loop when the next row is knit. Variations of this technique may be used to produce decorative edges.A variety of e wraps and chains that may be used to cast on or as hand embellishment or added within the body of the knit. EON configurations of the same wraps¬†on the standard with same movements allow for use of significantly thicker yarns

1-3  e wrap loops as shown
4      e wrap every other needle then weave over empty needles and under e wrap
5     e wrap every needle
6     e wrap every other needle with color 1, e wrap every other needle with color 2
7     e wrap every needle with color 1, chain every needle with color 2, may be done every other needle as well
8     chain every other needle with color 1, continue on alternate needles chaining in reverse, or use color 2

Chain or crocheted cast on: the illustration is from Brother, cast on comb is not necessary

It is possible to produce a looser chain in a variety of ways. The easiest may be to cast on using a needle or latch hook from a bulky machine. A video of an alternate method that involves wrapping the previous needle for cast on and previous gate peg or needle for bind-off in order to achieve matching width at the top and bottom of the piece may be found here.
Cast on problem-solving hints

BINDING OFF
From a Brother magazine, this copy is quite dark. I no longer own the original magazines to rescan and thus make any changes in clarity, but the text is clear

For the latch tool bind off without using gate pegs, suitable on any machines including plastic beds and Passap see video
Single eye tool bind off
I have always been hesitant to sew off or bind off live stitches directly on the machine, prefer working several rows of waste yarn, and then continuing either with the work remaining on the machine or after scrapping it off.
When using this method, a stitch is made manually through the stitch on the last needle on the carriage/yarn side and is then transferred onto the next stitch.  Both are knitted through, and those two steps are repeated.  The main problem is maintaining even tension and equal stitch size. One can bring the emptied needle from out of work forward to holding position for a more even length of yarn, bring the yarn under, around and over it, knit it through the adjacent needle with 2 stitches on it,  return the empty needle to out of work position, dropping the wrapped yarn.  Knit through the two stitches, and repeat the process.  Use a small weight and practice to keep the tension even. Continue until the last needle has 2 stitches on it, secure yarn as usual.
As an alternative *transfer the stitch on the second needle from the end #2 onto the end needle #1. Then transfer the double stitches back onto the second needle from the end #2. Put the now empty end needle #1 out of work*.
Repeat across the row

A crochet hook could be used in place of the latch tool.
Sewn bind offs on the machine, and after several rows of waste yarn.

 

Using the sew off method to join open stitches to a finished  edge

Slow, less often used, figure 8 cast off was introduced to my knowledge by Kathleen Kinder. It is slower, supposedly has a lot of stretch. Bring out the first needle and hand knit a new stitch. Make that new stitch a bit larger than the ones already on the needle bed.
Start on carriage side use the transfer tool, inserting it from back to front from left to right, toward the center of the end stitch on that side. Swivel the tool clockwise, the tool will now be in front of the gate pegs.
Do not remove the first stitch from its needle. The stitch on the tool is now twisted, creating a sideways figure 8. Use the tool to hang the twisted stitch on the adjacent needle, the two needles involved now share the transferred half stitch.
The second needle now holds 2 loops.
Knit the half stitch through the one behind it prior to hand knitting a new stitch, or (easier) bring the second needle out, hand knit a stitch through both loops on it.
Continue across the row with actions illustrated  from right to left.

A quick swatch shows the potential amount of stretch in this bind off. I tried dropping the stitch remaining on the right after its shared with the needle on its left and both “stitches” were knit through by hand about halfway and just proceeding across the remaining row without dropping until the bind off was completed. The latter was easier and faster for me. Once the knitting was completed I could see no difference between the two methods.

Some specific video references found online:
Sinker post bind offs using single eye tool and latch hook Susan Gguagliumi
A variety of sinker post (gate peg) bind offs Susan Guagliumi
Binding off around needles rather than gate pegs Susan Guagliumi
Latch Tool Bind Off around gate pegs single stitch at a time Diana Sullivan
My least favorite, loop through loop Diana Sullivan

Finishing tips
Seaming, joining, picking up stitches 2
and seaming, joining, picking up stitches 1

 

Geometric shapes on ribber fabrics with tuck stitches 1

The previous post elicited a facebook query as to whether it might be possible to create solid shapes within the field of brioche vertical stripes. The inspiration for the query was a hand knit pattern published in ravelry 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pariss-brioche-scarf

Many terms are used in instruction manuals and published directions. In my notes I will refer to fabric with tucking on both beds as full fisherman rib, tucking on one bed only as half fisherman. These were my first attempts at exploring the inspiration idea, the fabric has inherent differences as it requires both slip and tuck stitch settings, so technically it is neither fisherman. Knitting happened on a random drop stitch day, which explains the patterning interruption errors.When attempting to knit isolated geometric areas on a field of frequently tucking stitches, automating the task when possible makes the process easier and faster. This was my first “diamond” pattern repeat, suitable for a punchcard machine as well. The design is illustrated on the left, converted to punched holes/black squares/pixels on the rightThe knit carriage is set to tuck throughout. The programmed repeat will alternate the knit/ tuck functions across the bed based on black squares, punched holes, or pixels.For full fisherman rib (top swatch) the ribber needs to tuck in one direction only, opposite to the action taking place on the main bed. A choice needs to be made on either of these 2 setting directions based on needle selection on the main bed and stays fixed throughout knitting. The ribber is set to knit on even numbered design rows on the card, to tuck on odd. Row count numbers may be different than design row ones depending on row counter settings by the operator or built KM ones. Below are tuck settings for to the right on top, to the left on the bottom.

For half fisherman rib (middle swatch), the ribber is set to knit with every pass.

Note the half fisherman fabric is narrower than the full. Also, I am not used to my 930, overlooked that the machine was set for isolation, so its bottom diamond shaped repeats are incomplete.

In the bottom swatch, I tried to produce a more distinct shape on tubular tuck created with only knit stitches on both sides of the fabric. Hand selection on the alternate beds on all tuck rows produced knit stitches in the desired area. A needle out of work made it easy for me to find a proper location on the needle bed.

Getting back to automating at least part of the process for such shapes: the repeat needs to be altered main bed will be knitting the black squares in the chart on the right on every row, tucking the white ones. When the ribber carriage is on the side appropriate for it to tuck the following row and no needles are selected in design segments on the top bed (odd numbered design rows, ones with majority of black squares, tuck may not be used in those locations because then the resulting stitches would be tucking on both beds with nothing holding the tuck loops down.

bring all needles between selected main bed needles up to hold on the ribber so that they will knit while the remaining needles tuck on the next pass of the carriages.

In my sampling, the ribber was set to tuck when moving from right to left. Below is the resulting swatch, shown on both sides. Part of one diamond shape is missing due to the fact I was concentrating on moving needles around and missed the change in selection on one side of the machine.Back to the original the method used in the previous post where ribber settings are changed from knit to tuck <– –> every 2 rows along with color changes.¬†I chose a design that would make it easy to identify the location of non selected needles on the main bed on rows where ribber will be set to tuck in both directions. The result is interesting, but the solid areas, narrower than the remaining knit, are in the opposite color to the dominant one on each side, the reverse of the inspiration fabric.
When needles are not selected on the main bed, interrupting the every needle selection¬†bring all needles on the ribber between selected needles up to hold on each of the 2 passes from left to right, and right to left. Stitches on those needles will knit rather than tuckresulting in this fabric¬†The first swatch at the top of this post was achieved going a very different route. Two knit carriages were used to select and knit from opposite sides of the machine. Each carried one of the two colors. When working with the first color and coupled carriages the main bed is set to tuck <– –>, the ribber to knit <– –>. The second color is knit using the main bed knit carriage only, set to slip <– –>. A knit sinker plate may be altered¬†and used so as to knit on main bed only rows,¬†adjustments¬†to it are¬†shown in post http://alessandrina.com/2018/04/15/ribber-fabrics-produced-with-2-knit-carriages-selecting-needles/. The chart for my working repeat with a multiple of 4 rows in each pattern segment, color changes every 2 rows indicated on right trying to produce a diamond shape using this technique, my first repeat had arbitrarily placed pixels:the cam settings on the right of the swatch images correspond to those used in each swatch segment. Colors were changed every 2 rows throughout. First 2 rows in the pattern were knit in tuck setting, followed by 2 rows knit in slip. In segment B when no needles were selected on the top bed, all those needles were brought out to hold before knitting to the opposite side. Because every row is now knitting in the corresponding color changes the result is a striped pattern. Segment C is knit with both carriages set for 2 rows as in C1 alternating with knit carriage only set as in C2. At that point the color being carried knits only on the ribber, skipping non selected needles on the top bed, avoiding the striped result. A float is created between the beds in areas where no needles are selected that will be “hidden” as one returns to knitting in rib with 2 carriages. The arrow in the chart points to an area where two colors were picked up with the color swap rather than one. The resulting swatch samples

Analyzing the result in section C: the diamond is the same color on both sides, whereas the initial rectangular shape experiment reverses the colors. Reworking the diamond repeat in segments that are each a multiple of 4 rows:Other considerations in DIY designs. The background-repeat for this pattern is actually composed of units 2 wide by 4 rows high. If the pattern is intended to be repeated across a larger number of stitches on the machine bed than that in the chart, it is always worth tiling the image to pick up any errors (sometimes happy design features). Tiling in width readily shows an errortiling in height as well proofs row intersections as welltiling the corrected width repeat, now 42 stitches wide by 72 rows high sometimes tend not to keep immediate notes when I test ideas, which often comes with a price. I knit my first swatch using this repeat beginning the pattern with 2 rows of tuck, resulting in this fabric (and some randomly dropped stitches once more) with the same color diamond on both sides:Beginning the pattern with 2 rows of slip stitch on the main bed only mirrors the swatch at the start of this post. Where no needles are selected on the main bed, with passes of the combined carriages, two rows of tuck will now be produced, resulting in the wider geometric shapes and the increased bleed throughThe tuck loops created by the white in this instance have the elongated slip stitches in the alternate color (blue) partially covering them, creating the darker geometric shape in the top detail photo. The blue is thinner than the white, the effect will vary depending on yarn weight and tension used for the main bed yarn. One can begin to observe the change in width in areas with more stitches tucking. 

If the aim is to have a tighter, more clearly defined diamond, after the swatches rested, the swatch that began in slip stitch setting appeared to “work” better to my eye, even with the single color geometric shape on both sides taken into account. Ultimately the choice is a personal one. The wider vertical stripes created in the white yarn in the slip combination fabric happen because of the 2 stitch wide repeat on the top bed as opposed to a single needle one in a true fisherman knit. Because of the slip setting the results will be narrower in width from it as well.

Ayab knitters will need to program any repeat across the width of the intended number of stitches, and use the single setting. Electronic knitters can enlarge the background pattern field easily, or create brickwork, extended repeats.

Arah-paint offers a free program that allows drawing repeats in different orientations with a few mouse clicks. Shifting this pattern must also be in pairs of pixels/black squares in this instance because of the 2X4 stitch background unit. The 21 (half) pixel shift shows an error in its continuity 22 stitch shift results in a “correct” all over repeat

Quite some time ago I experimented with shadow knits including in posts

2013: DIY design2017 crochet

It occurred to me the same design might work in a tuck rib version. The original repeat was 24 stitches wide, 28 rows highscaled to double length, 24 stitches wide by 56 rows higha tile test of new pattern Knit tests: the red yarn was a very strong cotton, hard to knit smoothly, the blue encountered some stitches not being picked up on the main bed as well, but the concept may be worth exploring further. The main bed is set to tuck in both directions, the ribber to knit throughout. The red and white fabric is considerably wider because of the tension required to get the red cotton to knit. Better stitch formation results with the different yarn used for the second color

And lastly, a first quick adaptation of a design previously used for drop stitch lace, which requires some further clean up the yellow squares indicate loops tucking on both beds at the same time, the repeat on the far right is the one tested after eliminating those problem areas. It is 14 stitches wide by 80 rows highan “improved” version, the choice remaining as to whether to make all the blue shapes pointed at top and bottom or “flat”¬†this is my repeat, tiled. It is 14 stitches by 84 rows

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 work is turned over (unless knitting 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 mothballs) 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 decided 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 viewan earlier hand knit project in the same stitch familyGetting rid of those blocks altogether: a generously shared free¬†pattern on Ravelry¬†, and a link to the author’s blog

 

 

Garter bars and how to use them

I previously wrote on a ruffled trim using the garter bar and holding. While recently searching online I found some hints/ publication links I thought I would share. The “manual” that came with the 4.5 mm set was written in Japanese when I purchased mine, includes patterns for vertical weaving/ “embroidery. The supposed English counterpart does not have the pictorial stitch information, but provides basic technique clear instructions.
Using garter bar on the bulky
Studio tips and techniques 

If needles and gate pegs are not bent, with a bit of practice, in most instances and unless working on very wide pieces of knit I have found using the needle stopper unnecessary.

The Brother publication on topic:

 

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 the 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, the 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 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 every 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 canceled, allowing for the 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 the 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 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 outlined in red here represents one full repeat, read from their bottom-up, with blue borders at the center and red at the end of each half sequence. 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 box next to # could indicate the 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.¬†

9/23/18 In now have been experimenting on a 930, where each pass of the LC is actually tracked, akin to following numbers on a punchcard. ¬†Built-in patterns also offer a memo window, which will alert the knitter as to when knit rows are due¬†In testing the pattern with img2track I found the LC passes are still counted, but the memo window is absent upon download. I generated a chart in Mac Numbers, reads from the top-down, expanding on the one above. It illustrates the number of LC passes (left column) required to produce any significant length of fabric. ¬†Patterns such as these are not for the faint of heart and require a friendly yarn. 2168 passes of the LC (33 full repeats, outlined in green; red line separates half repeats) are accompanied by 396 rows of “actual” knitting.¬†In actual knitting, the pattern advances from row 1 to 96, and back to 1 again. A check-off list can be much simpler if one is desired. The numbers on left appear in the LC window in a 930, when reached 2 rows are knit with the KC. The numbers at the top reflect completed repeats. Boxes can be checked moving to the right as those rows are completed¬†Another option is to download the pattern in img2track, and then enter memo information prior to knitting it. Two youtube videos that show how to enter memos in machine models that allow it, 930 included ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0tXNT76v10¬† ¬† and ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR8MheT5Bao. The number 2 may be entered after numbers on left appear in the LC passes count window, and provide an easy guideline to follow. And this is what testing lace patterns can look like. In this instance, a tighter stitch tension, a bit of change in weight, and visually checking after each row of transfers brought me some success. This is not a stitch pattern that lends itself to easy “repairs”.¬†

 

Revisiting knit graph papers, charting, row tracking, and more

DIY proportioned charts may be created using spreadsheet programs. I began to use Excel for charting in 2009 and continued to in nearly all the colored charts in my color separations for knits posts up to my latest computer upgrade. I now no longer have access to Office and work primarily in native Mac OS programs. I reviewed links for working with Excel for this post, and these are still active  http://fibremuse.blogspot.com/2009/02/charting-patterns-with-excel-part-1.htm
http://marniemaclean.com/blog/tutorials.html#.Um_-wpFQY7I
http://www.chemknits.com/2010/01/how-to-make-knitting-chart-in-excel_9394.html
http://fleeglesblog.blogspot.com/search?q=charting+with+excel
http://anniebeeknits.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/charting-in-excel/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9dwuarghqE
https://colornotesyarn.com/create-knitted-design-chart-with-excel-spreadsheet/

one for google sheets:
http://fibercraftmama.blogspot.com/2014/10/making-knitting-charts-in-google-sheets.html

my posts on working with numbers with some edits recently added after review
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/28/color-separations-using-mac-numbers-for-knitting/
http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/29/charting-knits-in-mac-numbers-program-2/
http://alessandrina.com/2014/09/03/creating-knit-graph-paper-on-mac-using-excel-and-numbers/

Punchcard design planning, new: these are not to scale but can serve as a base for planning repeats on paper, may print to size with some tweaking by splitting on more than one page. The first sheet is marked as a Brother factory blank single card would be, the second has same markings as the roll I purchased as a “Brother one”, that actually has row # 1 markings for Studio kms, so Brother knitters need to begin knitting on row # 3¬†punchcards.

I have revised the nearly to scale template from a previous post; the first is not for a full card but designed to fit on one sheet. There are 36 rows/ 180 mm high, by 108 mm wide, prints to scale on my printer. It is bordered in blocks of 6, with no row numbers: scale no numbers.  A second document includes an added 6 rows, brother numbers row markings on right and a column for notes such as lace arrow marks, etc, prints to scale on my printer scale card extra2

It is sometimes helpful to have help in tracking information for actions to be taken on specific rows ie for increases or decreases during knitting on specific rows, or for lock/carriage setting changes in more complex double jacquard (DBJ). Going the printed paper route, this PDF  tracks single rows, every 2, every 4, every 6, and every 8 for tracking such instructions on individual pages. They have enough blank area left to write in pattern name, stitch, cam settings, stitch size, yarn, etc. It may be helpful to include short cuttings of fiber used. Each page may be printed separately, with printer adjustments made if required with your software: tracking rows

Some rib setup with room for notes, in both P and H settings

A Brother 910/ Ayab diary/ EMS kit

This is a work in progress post. I have now edited and included its previous version so the most recent observations appear first, the oldest last.

9/8/18 I have received a replacement unit from EMS.¬†I got this far testing a large scale pattern, no fault of the program at my stopping point.¬†I did not notice until I got across the last pattern row that I had actually knit with both strands of yarn.¬†Rather than try to fix the issue, I decided to scrap off.¬†This gave me a chance to test new yarns. I had never used chenille in DBJ on Passap, it sheds too much, resulting in error messages. I like to have my scarves at least 60 inches in length, and this combo looks as though it would reach that length when completed. I also did a bit more editing of the repeat as shown here.¬†We shall see if the equipment and I both last to a whole 1200 rows or so in one sitting anytime soon ūüėČ

6/25/18  the kit apparently has now gone from out of stock to officially no longer in production 

5/28/18 replacement kit never received, it’s back to mylars for me to actually try to get any significant knitting done¬†

4/27/18 I have been able to develop some fabrics using two knit carriages selecting needles from opposite sides, though the lace carriage will not select from the right if the knit carriage is also selecting from the left. The posts include altering a knit carriage to use as the second one to select needles as an alternative to changing ribber settings between normal and pattern knitting, and addition to posting on combining KC patterning with racking

I had been told my kit would be replaced due to persistent patterning error issues. Sales are presently on hold while the hardware is reviewed, and work is being done on a new version of the software, so any changes in status are to be determined.

3/ 31/ 18 At present there is no English text manual for using the software or a quick start guide. I am sharing some of the differences and similarities in actions I have noted between the unaltered 910 and those of the hack, beginning with settings, and including a few tidbits gleaned from support as I encountered patterning problems. They may be of interest to those making the transition after previous knitting experience and familiarity with the machine, or to anyone curious about the program and some of its features and differences.

Yellow text in this first image from a publication on the 910 indicates matching functions I have identified so far in ayab software.

the full illustration from the 910 manualactions on the unaltered 910

When the pattern selector is down, the pattern is centered on green #1 (right of  0). This means if the pattern is an even number, say 24 stitches, then the pattern limits are green 12 and yellow 12. If the pattern is an odd number of stitches the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13, the center being green #1. With an odd number of needles, Ayab places the larger number of needles on the left, its orange (yellow) side.

AYAB

I purchased my hardware kit (now off the market) from the developer : to purchase , wiki , interface , install. Online discussion groups:  Ravelry , Facebook, and GitHub.

At present, there is no cover readily available for the machine once the unit is installed, so the left side of the main bed remains exposed.

Though beeps heard upon preparing to preselect the first row from left to right are described as a triple beep, I hear them as a triple set of multiple beeps with pauses between. Not taking the time to “hear” them all will result in patterning errors from the get-go. Be sure to hear the beep and see the flashing of the unit before reversing carriage direction. Clear the left turn mark at least periodically while knitting. If you have experience with any production knitting on the unaltered machine you may feel the knitting speed is slowed when using the software and cable for downloading each row as opposed to that with which the mylar scanner accomplished the same task.

Ayab can be set for an infinite repeat in length, the function was automatic on the mylar unless one made the choice to stop at any point. A single repeat on the mylar was enough to program across the width of the needle bed, with ayab the full width of the pattern must be programmed, so designs need to be tiled accordingly.

Installation of software can be achingly slow on Mac desktop (I am using High Sierra OS). SiLabsUSBDriver  is also required. Security settings need to be checked/changed even if no warning is given by the computer leading one to assume there have been no issues with the download or the install. The driver will reside in the library/ extensions.

The hardware install is fairly straightforward.

The USB connection needs to be made prior to launching the software for the port to be recognized.¬†If port questions come up, click the “Refresh” button on the AYAB screen. When things are working correctly, you should be able to see a port name from the pop-up menu.¬†The plug-in power supply supplies power only to the needle selection.

The popping noise or clunk is heard usually but not always when you cancel AYAB and restart and is produced by the solenoids. I have been reassured it “does no harm” by support.

The launcher box remains open throughout knitting.

To start knitting:
1. Load your pattern in the width of the planned repeat
2. Set all the AYAB settings at default (2-color, start at row 1, single, center). Check infinite repeat if you want to knit more than one vertical repeat
3. Knit carriage is on the left, outside the turn mark
4. In the AYAB software, Configure/Knit
5. Wait until the software says Please Init carriage¬Ě at bottom of the screen
6. Bring the carriage across the left turn mark and stop before crossing any needles, wait for the triple set of beeps.
8. Continue across the first row and stop, wait for flash and beep, then proceed with movements to and from each side, again waiting for flash and beep that indicate each row download is complete.

If knitting a repeat in single height,¬†when you are one row ahead of the last selection the row numbers disappear as “Image Transmission is finished. Please knit until you hear the double-beep sound”.¬†The marker on the image jumps down to the beginning.¬†You knit across and it does the selection for the last row and gives the long beep sound. Knit one more row to actually knit that selection. When all needles are selected to B, you cancel your settings and you’re done.¬†

In some instances clearing both turns marks seems to help avoid errors and ensure consistent patterning. Beware of moving the carriage back and forth for any reason, ie to fix a yarn loop, dropped stitch, etc. The movements in my experience have been counted as rows, resulting in patterning errors as would happen when using a punchcard machine. If working on a desktop as opposed to a nearby laptop you may be missing any visual cues for row advancement provided by the ayab screen.

The image displayed on the screen may be magnified and reduced to fixed amounts, but at present, there are no programmable cues as might have been used on mylar ie. for color changes, lace vs knit carriage actions, etc.

When exploring the menus, creating an easy to view repeat helps to sort out available actions

The single setting is used for all single bed fabrics. The row numbering starts from 1, not 0, and focuses consistently on the row whose pattern is being selected, not the row being knitted; design row start line placement

start needle design stitch position on needle bed 

single design alignment test: left, center, right of the same repeat on an alternate start stop needle configuration 

As mentioned, with an odd number of needles, Ayab places the larger number of needles on the left, its orange (yellow) side. It also automatically mirrors all patterns, so lettering and images appear on the knit side as drawn. The mirroring, however,  is a problem with lace. If working from an established pattern, the lace repeat must be mirrored again either before loading the pattern or prior to knitting it or lace transfers will be made in the wrong direction. It is possible to operate the LC from the right side using Ayab, but if  knit carriage is also set to selecting needles ie. if set to slip stitch, and is used in combination with the lace carriage, the LC will not select when operated from the right, and the pattern will not advance properly (documented by others as well).

I used to constantly use 2 knit carriages in a lot of my accessories. At this point, that function is not possible due to patterning errors or loss of patterning when the second carriage operates from the right.

The first preselection row in Ayab is made from left to right. For any pattern that requires a start from right to left, ie one with color changes every 2 rows, there are 2 options. One is to place the design row start line at the very top row of the repeat. That row will be selected left to right, the first design row will then be preselected right to left, and the 2 color rotations using the color changer on the left can proceed accurately.  The other option is to shift the last row in the programmed repeat down to row 1 position prior to downloading the pattern and saving that as the working repeat.  I prefer the latter since it eliminates having to recall the change in the start line. An example of the shift is seen as applied to the automatically shaped lace trim

The ribber setting: a reminder, later color changers were also capable of being used on the bulky machine

Brother DBJ KRC setting including on the 910: white is the background (color 1), punched holes, black squares or pixels are considered contrast (color 2)

This is the KRC color separation described for DIY use on a punchcard machine: 

some of the possible backings (vertical striper requires extra steps)

Previous related posts: http://alessandrina.com/2015/04/18/a-simple-shape-an-exercise-in-dbj-brother-km/ and http://alessandrina.com/2017/10/26/dbj-and-color-separations-some-previous-posts-links/

AYAB¬†color sequence is reversed from the Brother convention of white pixels being color #1, and black pixels being color #2. It chooses black as color #1, white as color #2. The first pass to the right is set up with the “black” yarn. The actual position in the color changer can vary depending on how the yarn is threaded in the mast. The first pass to the right preselects for the first row of black squares, which will be knit on the first pass from right to left. In one option, the ribber needs to knit the yarn in order to get the carriages threaded with yarn to the other side, the KC makes a free pass, with nothing knit. This is achieved by having the main bed set to slip <– –>, and the ribber to selection to be used in the remaining DBJ fabric. After knitting across and waiting for beep, knit back to color changer, the beep happens again as you reach the opposite side. Press the button to change yarn to “white” and continue in pattern, changing colors every 2 rows. Depending on your choice of start to the piece, another option may be to have the ribber set to slip as well on the first preselection row from left to right, thread the “black” with the carriages on the right, using it to knit that first design row, moving toward its empty slot in the yarn changer, where you will then pick up the “white”. Check cam settings on both carriages before moving back toward the right. Thinking of the pattern in terms of black and white and matching the sequence as described frees one from the factory KRC convention.

KC I or II may be used, needle arrangements can vary depending on the look one prefers on the edges. It is helpful to have some previous experience with ribber use and understanding of how stitches are formed. Patterning resulting from choices on end needle selection on either bed may be considered a boon or a distraction, at times even create a smaller, secondary pattern (arrows)

The circular setting: was intended for tubular fair isle, some of my experiments to produce other fabrics may be found in earlier posts. The ravelry group discussion on the topic including using the setting in knitting socks, with an extensive tutorial by Adrienne Hunter: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/ayab/3346844/26-50#38

3/15/18 After more testing I have come to the conclusion that end needle selection cancellation on my 910 LC is working properly, but is not operative when I am working with my Ayab interface.

3/5/18 While working on a post on shaped lace edgings on Brother machines  I encountered 2 new issues. One appeared to be I was unable to restore end needle selection on my LC while sorting out the repeats. The other was that if 2 carriages are in use, the lace carriage will not select needles if operated from the right, while if is the only carriage selecting needles, it will work from either side. This is a property that is not isolated only to my set up.

2/28/18 I have continued to intermittently knit swatches on my hacked 910. The software continues to be a boon in terms of avoiding the mylar and producing test fabrics quickly. At one point it was suggested I flash the Arduinogo to the Tools menu, Load AYAB firmware. Choose 910, Uno, 0.9. It takes a few seconds to reload the firmware (the part of the program that’s in the actual Arduino. ¬†The changes from 0.8 to 0.9 were minimal, but it’s best to make sure you are using the latest.¬† EMSL preflashes them in testing so it’s not normally necessary for the user to do it.” Mine had not been. Doing so has not changed any of the behaviors that make me reluctant to even attempt to knit anything other than short fabric tests. ¬†The trick now has become to keep enough patience and distance to be able to not assume that any patterning issues or fabric inconsistency are due to the software and not my own inattention or faulty notes. A recent observation: if an odd number of needles are being used the rule is that the larger number will be on the left.

1/21/17 I have been reworking some of my previous posts to accommodate for the fact that Ayab preselects the first knit row only moving from left to right. After being contacted by a design school student in Europe with respect to creating specific designs in 2 color drop stitch using ayab, there is now a dedicated post on the topic. Nothing has changed in terms of my having reliable and consistent patterning for any significant knit lengths using Ayab. In addition, the knit carriage movements in the 910 when using the software now behave like the Brother punchcard knit carriages. Any change in movement in the opposite direction or jiggling of the KC for any reason can make the design advance pattern rows. This was never true for the unaltered 910 machines, which were wonderfully reliable if the knitting was interrupted, if carriage were moved outside the knit edges for any reason, did not need to clear end marks for any reason other than on the first row of knit, were able to preselect first row from either side, making patterns that required use of the color changer usable without design first row adjustments, and the list goes on. The Facebook group is an active one, and worth joining for anyone seeking more observations, advice, and inspiration.

1/7/18 Over the weekend it appears my software has now begun pre selecting  first with errors, and now correctly on that first pass from left to right, so I will now be reviewing any instructions I have posted this past month in case settings need to be changed for anyone trying to execute the same fabrics, beginning with  lace.

1/4/18 My Ayab software set up rows work this way:¬†the first pass from left to right only gets the carriage to the right, selecting only first and last needle if change knob is set to KC I.¬†The second pass from right to left preselects the first row of pattern.¬†The third pass (from left to right), knits the first row of pattern, selects the second, and so on; the subsequent selection is correct, no rows of the design are skipped. It has been pointed out to me that this may be a unique feature to mine or one unreported by others. “First preselection row should occur on that first pass from left to right”. My posts on using the software are based on the first pattern row knitting from left to right, not right to left as would happen if the very first pass from left to right preselected for the first row of knitting. At this point in time, it is also not possible for the first preselection row to occur moving from right to left. This, in turn, needs adjustments if patterning needs to occur in 2-row sequences from the left ie. in knitting mosaics and mazes unless preselection happens from right to left, ¬†a result of my version’s “quirk”. Since I also knit on an E6000 the first 2 rows feature to complete preselection for the first row of pattern is a familiar one, and from the beginning, I assumed it was an intentional feature in the Ayab software as well. It actually solves the problem if the first selection row needs to happen toward the color changer. Fixed starting sides can be problematic depending on the type of fabric being knit. ¬†Lots of options to explore.

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

12/25/17 my first try at lace: the LC is the one to select for transfers, the KC knits to complete the formation of stitches. Brother punchcards for lace usually begin with selection rows, end with 2 blank rows at their top. Using Ayab the repeats need to repeat across the width of the piece. One nice added feature is that when doing so, blank rows may be planned and left at both sides, creating a knit stitch border and eliminating the problem of paying attention as to whether end needles are selected or not, or what other measures to take. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones.

the resulting fabric, knit and purl sides

one more to try: a large diagonal eyelet lace combining lace and tuck 

1/22/18 swatches with preselection from left, similar results for shapes that are shaped with single row increments in height. Double height, the fabric creates tiny pintucks, not blisters as can begin to be seen at top of swatch;¬†KC slip <—, ribber slip —>;

shapes as seen in test swatchverifying presence of pockets 

For a full post on quilting in one or 2 colors please see later post 

12/23/17 The “quilted” fabric produced below is different than the one achieved by specifically designed color separations, the fabric has an interesting blister like effect, the knit areas have more horizontal texture. Because of limitations due to the eventual needle selection errors, I am experiencing with the software, my swatches are limited in length or have interrupted patterns. My new repeat¬†two of the “pockets” have beads dropped into them to highlight their location¬†

12/22/17: settings given below are for first preselection row from right to left, not for left to right,  testing out the waters with the circular settings, using the repeat. Please check later posts for reviewed content 

I tried to go for “quilting, but think that may require switching levers on the ribber, so to start with, this was knit in an every needle rib, with the¬†ribber set to knit <—->, main bed set to slip —>, producing a fabric with very subtle pintucks, which may be more interesting in 2 colors
Quilting: KC slip <—, ribber slip —>

The pink and white swatch is in “drop stitch lace”, ¬†was also knit using the circular setting. Instructions for color separations for fabric, how-tos, tools, tips, and samples may be found in my posts on the topic, with the same repeat used in¬†http://alessandrina.com/2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/¬†

the image resulting from my own past color separation its purl side, turned sideways

Previous posts have covered manual color separations for fair isle, quilting 1, quilting2, and a summary of series on drop stitch lace. A later post on drop stitch lace using ayab .

One of the differences in using Ayab, is that knitting set up begins on the left, with first preselection row happening on the second carriage pass from right to left. This makes sense if the goal is to set up patterning for moving toward the color changer. Passap E6000 uses the SX/GX (2 Rows) for set up, with its color changer on the right. The knitter may set the carriages or locks for any chosen setting (knit for knit rows, slip if the extra 2 rows knit are not desired as part of the pattern or those suggested by console or other instructions). In the original state 910, the starting side is of no consequence as long as one is outside the set line, and preselection happens on a first, single pass. The same is true of preselection in the punchcard, one may start on either side. In some fabrics such as slip stitch worked holding techniques, or if the color changer is in use and making moves in even numbers of rows toward and away from it are required, starting side matters. The Ayab circular setting does the color separation for the fabrics above, but other cam and lever settings may need adjustment, based on sorting out what selected needles are doing when knitting starts. For the “quilted” swatch above the left part button on the KC, and the right one on the ribber were used. Sometimes the guide to color selection or cam settings is whether the first square in the imported image for download is black or white. With the loss of the built-in color reverse on a hacked machine, it is easy to work when swatching and testing to color reverse the repeat by using invert, available in the color menu, providing the alternative repeat. In Gimp the grid color may be adjusted as well if you choose to work in black and white as your starting palette. For the individual image, Image/ configure grid changes the preference for single use.¬†

12/19/17 I am continuing to really appreciate the speed and ease for sampling pattern ideas. That said, I  have also again experienced selection issues varying from lost selection to repetition of the same pattern row indefinitely, frequently after more than 50 rows are knit, and in spite of increasing attention being paid to beeps and flashes. Short pauses also seem to put the software into time out mode. I have not done enough knitting to evaluate whether moving the carriage past both turn marks with any frequency prevents those selection issues. Support is responsive, with new tools come new learning curves for everyone involved.

There is a popping noise /clunk that I have now learned is routine and ¬†“likely from the solenoids being engaged or disengaged, when they’re first powered up, or released at the end.” It is a noise I have never heard in standard 910 use. I usually power down equipment when not in use, and have been told: “For the sake of longevity on the knitting machine, it’s probably better to err on the side of disconnecting the USB cable when you power down the machines.”

My present knitting efforts are to come up with some sort of variation of this fabric, published in an early Empisal Ribber Pattern Book, shared in a Facebook forum post.  I have used racking in a variety of experiments but never traveling over a MB pattern as in this instance. There is now a dedicated post on the topic 

12/17/17 I am brand new at using the system, my comments here are logging my personal experience and observation as I am learning a new tool, not intended as a guide. Please follow forums for advice from folks with more experience and knowledge.

The ayab interface from EMS is now up and running on my 910. The process was easy and straightforward in terms of hardware. Software install on the Mac is very slow initially, but the launcher operates quickly after that. ¬†I am using the system connected to an iMac presently running OS 10.13.2. There initially were issues with port failure when attempting to use the program to download. No security warning was received when the driver download was completed, but rather, the image below, which I took at face value, so I did not immediately access the preferences security panel to make any changes thereIt took some sorting out with EMS support and finally accessing preferences security settings and “allowing” the install to solve the problem. Apparently, there may be some change in the message received within a half hour of the install. So, easy fix, check system preferences security settings regardless of pop up window even if lacking ¬†familiar and obvious warnings such as

At present, there is no cover available to fit over the kit and its wires, so the left-hand side of the machine remains exposed. There is a row counter built into the software, but I tend to rely on the built-in on the 910. Any DIY cover should take clearing the row counter and the knit leader trippers into consideration. There is some conversation about 3D printed ones or even metal. Tiny detail: the kit comes with electrical zip ties to help secure the plastic shields on both sides of the board.  Clip the ends, and twist them so join sits either on top or under the interface, thus keeping them clear of KM parts, and, particularly, the belt drive on the left.

There are a series of beeps and flashes that indicate that the pattern row has indeed been downloaded and is ready to be knit. 910 mylar users are familiar with the sound coming from the reader as each row is scanned. Prior to using the Ayab system, I was initially concerned about beeps for each row adding to machine operating noise, since I am familiar with the Passap screech and at one point was also with the Studio electronic version. The Ayab beeps are actually on the soft side, and background noise or inattention may actually lead one to miss the cues. LED flashes occur in pairs indicating the row is ready to knit as well. Again, any cover may hide the light or soften the beeps, even more, making the cues available via the screen more essential.

The kit comes with a 3 ft. cable. I have rearranged placement of my machines to make using both the Croucher cable, switch box, and wincrea on the Passap, and the Ayab system on my 910. My initial wish was for a longer cable, which is possible to use. That said, there are several knit from screen clues that if you are operating the machine any distance from the computer get lost and become hard to see, including indicators for row numbers and the pattern advancement lines on your motif.

So far I have small FI samples and DBJ  samples. Ran into a problem after 60+ rows of each with mis patterning occurring, but that may well have been operator error. I have used my 910 for production accessories and was very familiar with a personal optimum speed. I believe I almost unconsciously with the initial samples, may have picked up speed and interfered with the accurate download of pattern rows. When I slowed down and was much more deliberate, waited for each flash and sound, a test got me to RC 110 with no issues before I quit for the day.

11/27/17 This punchcard was shared by someone trying to reproduce the implied fabric on their 910. It is intended to be used as a combination lace and weaving card, so on the punchcard machine, 2 carriages would be locked on the belt. If even number of passes are made with each carriage, there is the issue of the card not advancing each time when the opposite carriage makes its first pass. So far I have not been able to get this repeat to work for me as drawn, to produce results anything even resembling the “finished swatch” published photo. It did work for me using the LC carriage for 3 passes, releasing it, and following it by 2 rows knit with the KC set to tuck in both directions, a very different fabric. If the LC ¬†is released after an odd number of rows, then technically when the KC is first in use, ¬†the right to left and back to right selection is not interrupted, it is moving in the direction the LC carriage would have moved, and the punchcard row is not repeated. The first row with LC selects, second row transfers, selects next row. Third row transfers,¬†selects every other needle for the first tuck row on the next pass of KC, and LC is released. The fabric then tucks for 2 rows as punched, on every other needle. The second tucked row is completed with KC on right. The first LC row has now been preselected,¬†as the *LC heads back to the right (1) it transfers the selected needles, selects them again, but since they are now already empty, nothing happens to any yarn, and the next row of transfers is selected (2). The second set of transfers is made to the right (3) as the first tuck row is preselected. LC is removed. KC tucks for 2 rows (4, 5), selecting first LC transfer row with the second pass.* Repeat. The marks on the left should indicate carriage movements for each carriage, but they are off as well in my version of the fabric. My final repeats were for use on the 910 with a mylar.

the pattern book swatch image tuck swatch

Lace is a challenging enough fabric without adding weaving yarn floats, and definitely combining them requires a clear understanding of what the yarn is doing on the needle hooks as one progresses through the repeat. I will be starting a separate post reviewing card markings in punchcard pattern books, and translating them for electronic use. For further information please see post on 589

I have always been interested in machine knitting hacks and began sharing information from the internet on the topic as early as 2013. I own the 910 Brother model, and when the ayab hack first became available, assembling electronic components was beyond my skill and interest. I have a good supply of mylars, but have always knit more complex fabrics on my E6000, which has the Croucher cable and switch box for download to and from a Windows laptop, using Wincrea¬†. ¬†I had known a preassembled kit for the 910 hack was in development from a trip to CA, which included a visit to the Bay Area Machine Knitting Guild¬†¬†back in April 2016. ¬†A recent post on Ravelry alerted me to the fact that Ayab was “alive and well”, and that an assembled kit is now available and on the market. The hardware kit developer¬†, to¬†purchase¬† , wiki , interface , install . My understanding is that the software is still being developed in Germany.
Online discussion groups:  Ravelry , Facebook.  My compiled list of online pattern generators, hacks, free KM manuals, and more: 5435

I have purchased a kit and will share my experiences with it as time passes. In addition to bypassing the mylar use, the idea of having software that will render color separations that would normally have to be hand drawn for larger repeats than would be practical, or for complex fabrics, is an exciting one.

An artist whose work I admire, using the interface early on is Claire Williams , her tutorial¬† updated 2016 with DIY assembly of the original “kit”.

Taking knitting machines apart

Once in a while, beyond deep cleaning, even taking the machine apart may be needed. I tackled my own punchcard machine recently, here are photos of the action in progress
Needles now back in, needle retainer bar restoration left to go. In case you choose to tackle the process on your own, some clear instructions may be found at Knittsings for Brother machines¬†, and on Susan Guagliumi’s blog for Studio brand

For folks that prefer videos Roberta Rose Kelly has a series of maintenance related ones on youtube.