More on charting, foreign symbols, and cables

This topic has come up as part of previous posts. I recently reviewed links, and thought I would re-group them a bit differently here, adding some new.  Please click on continue reading to have list appear as active links if they do not immediately do so in your browser. Latest additions are at post bottom.

pixelated lettering

letters in knit stitches

care labels

more on cables

I have been trying to navigate Mac Numbers again, but in playing at my own latest charting with software after the Yosemite update, I find I am drifting back to using Excel once more as my primary “graph paper”. Charts published in foreign languages and magazines, and particularly those in Russian (where the same symbols appear to have different functions depending on the publisher) provide challenges in translating for using charts provided in hand or machine knitting.

Some sources from/for different countries that may help with interpretations:

I began a spreadsheet that includes a few of their alternative symbols, and some cable configurations working with shapes available within excel for charting them. Here is my editable WIP excel document with the start of the process, a possible DIY start , will update in future

foreign symbols2_share  2/1/15

Anna Burda magazine symbols PDF, includes HK how to illustrations:  ab2  2/1/15

4/24/15: sconcho  is a GUI for creating knitting charts  that comes with a built in stitch library. A manual is available. Custom stitch symbols may be created in Inkscape to form personal vector shapes.  X11 may be required to run Inkscape on your computer as well, all are free.

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 


Tuck and slip color striping

There is a very early Brother “how to” publication, which can now be found available for free online

The diagrams accompanying some of the tuck and slip patterns illustrating how the color changes combined with the stitch type affect the knit presented the information in an interesting manner. With both tuck and slip the unworked needles’ stitches get longer (unpunched holes, white squares), carrying up the last color knit in them until they are knit off again. If the subsequent color change is in the same color as at the start of the sequence, the in-between color (dark in diagrams) travels behind the longer stitches in slip, or is caught in with interim loops in tuck. The swatch photos show the knit side, the charts the purl side in symbols and  color change sequences

slip stitch

tuck stitch

More stitch types and techniques are represented as well in the publication as well.

Illusion /shadow knitting DIY designs_HK

I have played with excel (and Numbers) before to create charts for various fabrics requiring color separations. My latest efforts relating to this knit group have gone in a different direction; I have also attempted to simplify the technique  in terms of following the instructions for knitting them. This sample began with use of Intwined to create the document and graphs. The first chart is set up with alternate row color striping, color 1=dark, color 2 = light. Blank colored square are used as knit symbol, horizontal dash for symbol for purl stitches. Beginning on light colored, even numbered rows, design is marked in purl stitches

On odd numbered rows beginning with row 1, mark all empty squares in even numbered light colored row immediately above it  with purl symbols

All unmarked stitches throughout the design are knit, whether on the “wrong / right” sides, all dashes are purled, patterning occurs on the second row of each color.To visualize the full pattern one may use the add row below feature to expand the graph (chart below is missing very first row)

Now adding the second row of each color , and grounding stripe (s) at bottom of repeat. Most patterns will start the illusion immediately after casting on with dark color, row 1 above. I was interested for my sample in having a border of sorts on its top and bottom

Tthe resulting knit swatchshadow side

Intwinded has the capacity for building row by row written instructions for patterns, but there were discrepancies on some rows for these charts, and I opted not to include them.

Another program I have just acquired and begun to use is GIMP; it is free, and now also available for use in Mac OS Mountain Lion. Both Gimp and Photoshop make it possible to design using single pixel pencil and grids to build motifs from scratch as well as gridding of preexisting images. I have a different method for these fabrics using GIMP, easier for more complex, overall shapes. The same series of steps may be used for mosaic knitting (color inversion sequence is different). Below are images generated for a different illusion pattern, I will share my “how to” for designing the motifs later, referencing mosaics and mazes. To achieve such motifs one is drawing in magnification of multiple hundreds and more, there is no way to number within a one pixel space, so these charts as generated are lacking numbers for stitches and rows, one drawback. Another is that this color inversion works only in black and white. One advantage: the proper repeat may be cropped and saved with grid removed in a variety of formats that may be used to import to various machine knitting download programs, and gridded may be used to establish punchcard or mylar repeats.  Screen grabs of magnified charts were saved, and are shown below. Black squares represent purl stitches in second row of each color. First row of each color is always knit, not represented in these charts

the red squares are guidelines for no color inversion rows, the yellow ones isolate the repeat

the actual repeat

color inversion beginning on row 1 and following every other row (if numbered these would be odd rows)

testing the repeat through tiling filter mappinga working chart that can be printed to suit with dark/light row markings, and blank squares for tracking knitting  rows in execution of patternthe knit swatch: “shadow side”its reverse side

for online tutorials, patterns, and inspiration see Woolly Thoughts

Feb 18, 2017 I have recently become curious about creating illusions such as these in crochet, am developing ideas and returned to this chart. The image below is intended to have symbols and notes superimposed on it. It shows the tiling in a different way, so I thought I would add it to this post as well. Repeats are highlighted with darker borders. The repeat on right needs to be trimmed if the goal is to achieve matching edges. Row counts on right would differ in knitting, the plan is to execute this pattern in Tunisian crochet, which handles rows in a very different manner than knitting or standard crochet.




Knit topological shapes

It is possible to construct topological shape via knitting. In HK this may be done on circulars. One out of many tutorials may be found here, and the mathematical knitting is a very good, extensive resource.

A recent forum post on knitting such shapes on the machine led me to dig out an old sample of mine knit with brass wire and holding on the km flatbed; since I never actually determined an end use, the donut hole inner seam was never joined.
in this view the piece is about 3 inches in height, and 8 inches across

a side view

Garter bar/ short row trim

A recent MK forum request for a HK trim look alike led me to the following experiment :

the hand knit trim

There are multiple ways to achieve knit and purl combinations on the KM. Brother garter carriage will do so “automatically” albeit slowly, ribbers may be used in combination with main beds, ladders may be latched up by hand, or one may use the garter bars to turn work over. When large widths are required the options are to use multiple panels, or to knit the fabric sideways letting the width become the length. Some HK fabrics are impractical if not impossible to duplicate on standard home knitting machines, and compromises are chosen. I tried to create a distant relative of the proposed trim, with a bit of family resemblance.

Below the  short section to my garter bar is pictured. I mark every 10 eyelets with nail polish on my GBs to help with tracking stitch counts (do same with centers of ribber combs). The photo shows it in the position in which it needs to be held to take stitches off the machine prior to turning them over. The hollows under the eyelets (1) provide room for the needle hooks to slip under the yarn and catch the stitches when work is flipped over. Hollows under eyelets occur on the side with the convex ridge (2). There are many online sources for using the bars, now available in multiple gauges, including an article by Susan Guagliumi.

my working graph

I worked my edging on multiple of 12 stitches. The purl/knit symbols represent how the knit will appear when viewed on side where held shape is convex. Work begins by knitting foundation rows, and using waste yarn at the start with open stitches on first row of knit if the ruffle is to be seamed/joined at its ends upon completion. The magenta/green rows represent respective whole rows to be turned to reverse side using the garter bar after each knitting sequence is completed. Testing first is required to establish the optimum stitch size for gauge that will allow for easy stitch movement in transferring stitches on and off the garter bar:

arrows on blue ground indicate position of KC at beginning of sequences

end knitting of first “purl” section COR, turn work over (magenta)

COL: knit one row across all stitches, carriage moves to right (pink). I find it easier after holding starts to move the carriage to opposite side by taking it physically off the machine and leaving settings alone, results in fewer yarn tangles and problems for me.

COR: set machine for hold except for first 2 stitches on right. I tried one stitch at a time first, but the wedge was too deep, so I began working bringing stitches to hold 2 at a time, carriage side first. Stitches could be held opposite the carriage as well, but that created a set of additional holes when one returns to knitting those stitches in the opposite direction, and a pointy edge  (segment marked with dot #2, more on a later post on miters and spirals). The number of stitches brought to hold can be varied as needed, the goal here is a symmetrical result.

COR: when only 2 needles at left are left in hold opposite carriage, knit an even number of rows (orange area, I chose to knit 4, then 6 rows in my test)

COR: when last 2 stitches on right have been knit for 2 rows (green) transfer all the stitches to garter bar

Get carriage to left, COL: return stitches to needles, knit for an odd number of rows (magenta,COR), turn work over

COL: knit one row across all stitches to right (pink)

COR: begin holding sequence again

I began the sample with 5 rows in between the mitered shapes, and then tried 11. This is labor intensive if produced in significant lengths, so a choice can be made depending on personal taste and patience. Though it could be attached as one knits the item it is intended to trim, there is enough going on I would probably estimate the length, take it off on waste yarn, and hang it onto the larger item. If longer, the trim may be unraveled to suit. If an addition is required it may be added on but at least working with the much larger bulk of materials will not be for the duration. Holding lever may be set to knit for single passes prior to turning work over in sections using holding, or stitches may be pushed into work by hand.

dot 1 rests on “killed acrylic”  repeat test, the remaining sample in knit in wool: dot 2 marks the extra holes when the holding sequence is changed   as described above

with five “purl” rows between turning and holding

11 “purl” rows between turning and holding

the reverse side

about half the wool portion of the ruffle was pressed, the knit became smoother, the edges less rolled. Those are properties that can become a design choice/decision

If an all stocking stitch ruffle serves the purpose this could be the start of the working repeat for using slip stitch to knit programmed needles selected to patterning position; here the black dots represent areas that knit, white squares stitches in holding. The repeat must be an even number of rows, using it as drawn starting side depends on whether one is using a punchcard machine or electronics

Knit QR codes 1, repeats from BW images

A video on this topic. I work using Mac OS 10.10 at the moment. When I first wrote on this topic, I downloaded a then free converter The app, Aztec Code Generator, is now no longer free (11/2015), but costs $ 1.99 to purchase. There is a still free, online QR generator

my beginning code

the original image size was reduced to 60 pixels square, and in turn to 40 pixels square respectively, then magnified to 600 times for superimposing the single stitch grid as described in video; screen captured image saves are needed for saving gridded images

the 60 stitch repeat

the 40 stitch repeat

using the aztec code generator to control output size

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 9.30.23 AM



X1,000, cropped and gridded


not all units are created equal: areas numbered indicate where some of the horizontal  units are 5 wide rather than as most 4, and closer inspection will reveal the same for some vertical units. Reconfiguring the grid ie to 4X4 pixels would be an alternative way to “resize” the image, but fails because of the disparities when the unit is applied overallscreenshot_43

trying the same process on this BW jpeg, the resulting repeats require further clean up and editing along edges of shapes

using GIMP: 40 stitch repeat, no additional scaling, converted to 1bit BW, could use a bit of clean up, I prefer to work with a black grid

40s scroll

24 stitch24s scroll

as an afterthought: results using img2track to pixelate same image before gridding

please note these scroll graphs are not accurate working repeats to be knit as they are

it is always a good idea to test tiling for any “surprises” before any actual knittingscreenshot_41

11/2015_Knitting’ low resolution is reflected in the number of stitches and rows per inch or per repeat. In this instance Gimp was again used to scale and process the image

Today’s generated image: happy holidays QR code, Aztec code generator, 300 pixels square including white border

happy holidayscolor mode converted to 1 bit B&W; 100 stitch repeat


scaling, gridding for 30 stitch repeat


for 24 stitch repeat: note loss of detail as stitch and row count is reduced


and happy holidays via the free, online generatorstatic_qr_code_without_logousing the generator options to control available output size

QR generator

The above begs many questions. Upon investigation it appears there are 18 2D bar code variants, some static, some dynamic. Qrme is a UK site that provides information on trackable QR codes, forums and more. Their page shows scaled in size codes modules.