I have been continuing to experiment with “automating” some version of the staggered leaf, and have reached a “final” punchcard version. Wanting to add a border top and bottom and getting the 2 ends to “match” without a center pivot point led to the resulting fabric below (swatch is not properly blocked).
The punchcard for the leaf pattern is over a 100 rows in length.
I actually had never purchase anything on ebay. The length of the card repeats I want to play with led to my looking for punchcard rolls. “Back in the day” the ones available were clear, and not numbered or marked in any way, a relative “pain” to use. Through an online search I found this item and purchased it. The order was filled very quickly. The roll is of sturdy stock, with Studio numbering so a bit of added markings are required for use on Brother KMs. I live in an area with no local suppliers for this sort of thing, buying directly from overseas was an option I had not considered before, and proved to be a positive experience for me.
Prior to google translate, google chrome, etc. barring having friends that spoke the language and knit, here were some resources for translations
Brother : Japanese symbols for knitting (booklet)
Key to Japanese patterns by Jody Foster (booklet)
Japanese for machine knitters by Mary weaver (book 1983)
Knitting Languages by Margaret Heathman (book 1996) includes10 languages
The top illustration below creates what some demonstrators back in the day would refer to as a heart cable trim. The width of the strips of knit may vary, and the size of the holes need to be accommodated to suit the subsequent threading. The second illustration set results in a more traditional “pretend” cable. I-cord could be used for the second sample. Narrow strips of knitting will curl in however, and in many instances may be substituted for true i-cords. Because each pass of the carriage knits a row as opposed to slipping alternate rows, the knitting is twice as fast. In the instance below a series of holes are created for threading cording (or other chosen material)
The following illustrates threading option with a single length of the cording, which will need to be secured at each end with some stitching. Separate colors could be used on alternate sides for more color variation, and other threading sequences as well
some publications with inspiration photos
its online relative
part of another image
from MonTricot Magazine #26, 2011
A Susan Guagliumi article on the topic, available at her site.
A hand knitting book with many ideas for cord and strip use that could easily be adapted for machine knitting
A commercial foreign knit incorporating cables and woven cords.
From above site:
Cables on multiple brand KMs including some reversible at knittsings. A technique that first appeared in Japanese knitting books that “cheats” in creating cables by knitting tuck stitches that are regularly rehung on the back of the work was embraced by Ricki Mundstock, who published copyrighted designs extensively for a while, and named the technique magic cables. Superba was another machine knitting brand that may be familiar. At the site there is a thorough discussion of hand transferred lace patterns on the machine with clear illustrations and suggestions that could be applicable on most brand KMs.
In terms of charting software for designing one’s own pattern charts some sites to explore: Aran paint, Stitchmastery, Sweater Project, Knit Visualizer, Intwined Pattern Studio, and 2 online chart generators: Chartgen, and Knitting Chart Maker by Jacquie, in addition to previously mentioned tutorials such as those by Marnie MacLean.
Susan Guagliumi has written 3 books on hand techniques on the knitting machine
her first classic
her previously most recent
At her website, some of her articles and Studio KM publications are available for free download. Included are ones discussing a horizontal cable, two color electronic cable. 11/12/15 Please note: site now requires subscription and login, links as posted here as they are will fail to connect.
In creating large scale cables in the pasts tension changes, supplemental threads, and other ways to compensate for moving larger number of stitches on a metal bed (things start to get hairy when crosses become larger than 4X4) have been discussed. An interesting, clear, possible solution to produce textures or macro cables such as in this piece
may be found in her books and may be viewed in her youtube video. Handknit interpretations that also add lace to the mix may be found in Shirley Paden‘s portfolio photos of garments, she is the author of
Cables seem to be in vogue once again in myriad permutations. They pose some interesting issues when created in machine knitting. Interweave Knits Winter 2011 published an article on “Cables 101” that includes a way to color code and graph cable crossings. Some complex variants for those who like KM hand techniques may be found at Knit, not Knit , their courses here. “Back in the day” of regular, world wide machine knitting seminars several authors provided collections of machine knit cables including George Le Warre at Passap universities (copyrighted, George presently in England).
Simple crossings are a good place to begin and produce texture. If one is not interested in freeform but rather constant, recurring patterns it is possible to use punchcards to produce visual cues when stitch twists and crossings are to occur. This is not an option in Studio Machines, easy on Brother because of the fact that needles pre select, and Passap pushers may be used for a similar set of clues with a bit more fiddling.
When color coding information for referencing as one works, it is possible to be generous with symbols or edit down to bare elements. For example, one way to approach a schematic follows below, where knit stitches are illustrated as well as cable crossings. Red indicates stitches moved to the front, and the green indicates those traveling to back in each cable set. In hand knitting vertical or horizontal bars would represent knit and purl stitches. Since these are identical in this HK graph, they could all be eliminated
B the isolated repeat
The choice then remains whether or not to revert the crossings to match the HK pattern. One way to do that is simply to reverse positions for colors. The mantra becomes “red moves first, green moves second and over red”.
With all machines if the knit carriage is left set for normal knit, even if the patterning option is engaged (KCI or KCII if there are any needles out of work) needles will be selected, but the fabric produced is stocking stitch. The usual considerations are in order: the number viewed on the card outside the machine corresponds to the design row being read by the reader, but the punchcard holes in view are not necessarily the same as the design row selected. Because one is producing the cables on the purl side of the knit, if hand knitting charts are used the cables themselves will be mirrored. In many instances this may not matter, but if one is using the twists for representational crosses ie. in trees, owls, diamonds and other geometric shapes, it is a good idea to scan the repeat, mirror the image vertically, and then begin translating it into machine knit interpretations. Relatively easy with simple scanning and printing software (ie. the flip horizontal function in Preview, a bit harder by hand.
When I can I color code my cards: ie. with lace I draw a line across the card when I reach each knit row sequence with color pencil. This provides me with an easy to follow visual cue as to when the rows must occur, and also facilitates returning to previous selection sequence when mistakes in patterning occur.
Some basics: with a punchcard there is no row length limitation, but repeats are limited to 24 or a factor thereof. In this particular use wherever needles are selected, one has a visual reminder to move those needles in the desired direction.
I used the cards below to illustrate the idea in my intro to knitting classes. When needle selection occurs in the first, remove the selected stitches off the machine with a 3 prong tool in each desired location, then insert a second 3 prong tool back through front of those same stitches, in turn removing from the initial tool used. Rotate the twice transferred stitches 180 degrees consistently either clockwise or counter-clock wise throughout, and return them to their original position on the needle bed. The result is a consistently textured fabric with no counting stitches or rows between repeats.
a swatch using it
This card begins to address regular cable crossings, mine was punched in repeat the full 60 rows. A color may be assigned to help with opposing twists’ directions ie. to left (pink) or to right (green) when the corresponding color bar appears just above the card reader.
Switching to the abbreviated cowls/collars I found I needed lighter weight large “buttons”. These are hard to find or often expensive enough that in production the added cost would affect pricing significantly. As and avid collector of craft and multi media supplies, I have a significant stash of polymer clay dating back from months to decades. In an ah ah! moment I made prototypes for what I thought might solve the button weight and supply problem. After the fact I began to do searches on care of polymer clay buttons and methods used in making them, which in turn led to a big oops! moment.
I recommend dry cleaning for most of my items unless they are felted ones, in which case hand washing or even a gentle washing machine cycle in cold water works just fine. Polymer clay it turns out does not like dry cleaning chemicals. If used on items cleaned that way it is recommended that the button be covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil prior to exposure to cleaning agents. Hot water washes and driers also damage the clay, cool water hand /machine gentle washing appears to not be a problem.
Here are some online sources on this related topics: for a wealth of information on polymer buttons. Ready made molds and ideas may be found here. Button shanks are available if that method of securing the buttons is desired.
The option I am choosing to pursue is making the button removable when the item is cleaned, which led to a search for button covers. Local chains that carry sewing notions had not even heard of them. A local mom and pop craft store however, had an endless supply in their “back room” dating back to when they were “in vogue”. Have to love elderly owners that are the shop version of inventory software and can just “go to” things that have not been out on the selling floor in years.
For anyone not familiar with them, here is an image of the item, available in a few sizes depending on source.
The plan of the moment is to affix the baked clay to the flat metal surface with a glue such as E6000 and further test the idea. Having the removable cover also means clay could be painted and finishes could be varied in ways that would not be possible if item was to undergo dry cleaning. My sample first efforts which I will torture/test are below. If not buttons perhaps all that clay may mutate to use in shawl pins.
Equipment virtual museum.