A lace mesh series: GIMP, superimposing, Brother 910

I like placing motifs, grounds, and borders myself whenever possible, in any knitting technique, rather than relying on adding or combining them via the built in KM software.  It is simply my strong personal preference in designing and gives me additional controls over patterning. However, the ability to superimpose is a convenient feature, available on multiple machines and worth mentioning. I have used it more frequently in operating my Passap, than my Brother 910. That said, it would appear to be an easy feature to use for programming shapes onto mesh grounds. For illustration purposes I am using a 24 stitch repeat. Electronics width and height potential depends on use of mylar or PC download. The “rose” is not a workable, resolved repeat. When electronics were first introduced, at one point Kathleen Kinder wrote a book on electronic knitting (? 1984), exploring the full potential of managing designs by combining settings and flipping buttons for both the Brother 910 and the Studio 560.

A bit of review on machine buttons and functions for the Brother pattern case for those unfamiliar with it.  M= Memory: each of the tiny red spots on the garment representations lights up, as specs on motif are entered or reviewed. CE= cancel entry: corrects programmed numbers or cancels the red error light when it flashes. CR= cancel row: press in a number, say 2 on the panel, and the card moves back 2 rows. If you press the button and no number is entered, the error light flashes and the card stops advancing. This is the same as locking the punchcard to repeat a pattern row. RR= row return, brings the card back to the set line. This is routinely done before shutting off the machine when knitting is complete or to remove the mylar for editing.  CF= card forward. The mylar returns to programmed design row 1.  Numbers pressed in using CR or CF do not change those programmed using the M button.

When the pattern selector button on the 910 is down, the pattern is centered on green #1. A reminder: Brother has 2 needle #1 positions, one on each side of 0. When the pattern has an even number of stitches, it will be centered with half that number of stitches divided evenly on each side of 0. For 24 stitches, the pattern’s limits are yellow 12 and green 12. If the repeat is an odd number of units wide, the center stitch then will be placed on green #1 (right of 0). If the repeat is 25 stitches wide, then the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13. If using a 24 stitch repeat, the machine automatically knows that the first needle position (FNP) for the pattern is yellow 12. When the pattern selector is in the upper position (motif A) and the middle position (motifs A & B) we can choose the FNP, and with A & B the number of stitches separating them. One way to produce filet lace as is to program A & B motifs. The lace mesh is the A motif, the “rose” the stocking stitch motif. The A motif can be on the left or right of the mylar, but it is always the taller of the 2. In most cases it is the dominant pattern. The starting row for the combined motif is shared.

In lace knitting transfers and resulting eyelets are programmed as black squares. Superimposed solid patterns in stocking stitch occur in unmarked areas of the mylar or downloaded image, so they need to be “white squares”. In order to get the 2 to meet, the mesh repeat in the height required (column A in illustration), and a single width is drawn or programmed in reverse (column B), with the result being  read as (column C) when it is programmed as the base for a complete overlap. The basic mesh becomes the A motif in programming the 910, the stocking stitch “shape” is the B motif.  If end needles are selected during knitting, they need to be pushed back to B manually, or use the orange L cams. It is possible in addition to mark the “L window” on mylar, but the mesh repeat is so regular you may not find that necessary.The “rose’ would also need to be drawn in black, and positioned or programmed, with first placement resulting on the image seen below right. Color reverse is then used converting white squares to black, and lace knitting could proceed based on the black markings resulting in eyelets.  As is already noted, there is no guarantee the image placement on mesh the will yield a precise shape or the best possible results for motif edges, its definition, and its segments’ outline In terms of placement: if the all over mesh is programmed centered on G1, and the motif is positioned with FNP other than G1, any simple, extra rows of mesh prior to starting the all over pattern (below green line), will need to be programmed separately with adjustments also in FNP to match the superimposed segment. The programmed repeat for the mesh “rose” below would begin immediately above the blue line, and the extra mesh rows at the top would provide the transition to the start of the rose once again. The height of pattern seen in the B column in the first illustration may be adjusted accordingly. 

Color reverse (button #6) will provide “black squares” for creation of transfers to create eyelets. The mesh and superimposed design need to share the same starting row. Image above reversed, shows extra white at the bottom of chart that needs to be eliminated. Brother lace starts on a selection row (black squares), ends with 2 blank rows at the top of the pattern (white squares). This is reversed in Studio knitting.

What happens when starting row placement is the same for both motifs, and color reverse is used: the first row lace carriage selection is good to go. The height of the mesh above the rose may be adjusted to suit. Trying to place multiple roses in different locations on the finished piece using this method is more than my brain wants to even consider. Punchcard knitters are not completely out of the superimpose loop. If you are so inclined, areas on mesh punchcard ground may be taped over to test the repeat. Again, this works best for simple shapes. Tape may be shifted or trimmed as needed. If intended for extended use, trace holes over a blank card, punch the final version, and proceed. Images on punchcard machines are reversed on the stockinette side. If direction matters, flip the card over horizontally, mark and punch, or if the card is already punched, work with lace carriage on right, knit carriage on left. No worries about multiple programs or a mix of starting points, etc. Know the rules for where to begin and end for lace knitting.

Sharp single stitch points are not attainable. In the illustration below, the yellow indicates the “desired point”, red squares indicate the additional stitches knit, adding to the intended shape as the alternating directions transfers are completed. The one stitch start, is actually converted to 3 stitches, 3 to 5, etc .

A lace mesh series: using GIMP

Eons ago I owned a BitKnitter for my Passap machine, and to this day I miss it and some of the other Cochenille software that is no longer available, especially when working with multiple colors for color separations of any sort. When using it for downloading the resulting motif, picking the same exact color for each “square” on the grid was a necessity for accuracy. If “only” black was involved, the same guide applied. Working in GIMP one can set the color mode to fewer colors to start with, reducing the palette. This can limit your editing ability sometimes, and switching between modes may be required. I tend to go autopilot when I work on color separations for any purpose and work with built in colors rather than custom.

It is helpful to have previous experience with any program as well as with basic knitting  before tackling and combining large scale designs and  fabrics such as lace. This is not a step by step how to use GIMP (search for my other posts on topic), merely an illustration of my experiment in working with superimposing an image onto a mesh grid.

To start with: a 1 X 1 grid is set up. “Black squares” become single pixels in downloads. For the single stitch 1 X 1 grid to be visible, I prefer to work in at least a 500X magnification. Because I do not own a hacked machine I am unable to provide a corresponding test swatch to the final chart.

The resulting image may be tiled to produce a large enough mesh ground, the grid needs to be turned off for this step

The tiled image will appear on a different part of the screen, shown in both versions below, I realized reviewing the above that the width was for more pixels than could be programmed on a 200 needle machine, I resized its width to 120 pixels

here the grid is removed for further processing 

the goal is to retain the black squares for the end bmp, so the ground is filled with a color that will later be removed gridded again if and when needed 

Today’s image is a letter (20 pixels by 24), produced in a new file with text from one of my built in computer fonts. I happened to be working in RGB mode the same image as it would appear in indexed mode Here some edges “clean up” has been worked with grid on, then removed for tripling the motif length (now 72 pixels) and pasting on the “mesh” ground 

Switching to indexed colors (6) if you have worked in RGB to this point, it may make cleaning up of edges easier.  I flood filled the A to insure only one red was in use. Below the A is selected (fuzzy selection tool) and copied for paste onto the “mesh”. Magnification reduction to 500X makes the whole file more easily viewed on my mac

the A pasted in placewhite color fill leaving only black squares of letter and ground

Superimposing may be used in some machines, but eliminates the choice of editing when one is “not happy with edges” until after sampling the knit, has several parameters and limitations. Above image gridded for editing:
feeling better, with the exception of the left side bottom of right leg of Aone last bit of clean up, switching between magnification  as needed happier grid removed, image magnification reduction to 100X for export as bmp and download to KM

When downloading a large image that constitutes the width of your piece, programming an extra square or 2 vertically for the height of the pattern in “white” on each side will insure that stitches in those areas are not selected for transfer by the lace carriage, and a knit border will be created.

Things become more complicated with more complex shapes. This is part of a filet crochet chart, and a rose now becomes my goal

use selection editor or fuzzy selectpaste and move to “best” spot not quite a rose

Back to the drawing board: the mesh and knitting method are altered. For a possible knitting method option see http://alessandrina.com/2017/07/28/unconventional-uses-for-punchcards-2-thread-lace-cards-for-filet-mesh/  The ground “mesh” is now composed of every other stitch, alternating every other row. The “rose is not lengthened. “Stitches” need to be “cleaned up” to approximate a more recognizable shape.

 When satisfied, export in format for download.

 

GIMP, Inkscape, Numbers: updates Mac OS Sierra

I very recently updated to Mac OS Sierra, version 10.12.5. I use Gimp to process images and for some of my knit charting. The last version I had installed was stable in the previous OS, but cranky in Sierra. The latest version 2.8.22 download can be found at the developer site. So far it is downloaded by me, but not yet tested. X Quartz, necessary for using Inkscape is still unchanged, release version 2.7.11.

If you have been using Excel for charting, and wish to import files into the latest version of Numbers for any reason, Numbers will open files created in  Microsoft Excel – Office Open XML (.xlsx) and Office 97 or later (.xls). To import any spreadsheet file from Finder, right-click on the file, then click “Open with… > Numbers.” If Numbers is the only spreadsheet application on your Mac, you can simply double-click. If you are already in the Numbers for Mac app, choose File > Open, then click on the file you want to work on. If a file is grayed out, it isn’t in an acceptable format. Excel.xlsb files are such an example. Save document again in .xlsx or .xl format for the Numbers import.

A new “leaf” lace

I am often surprised when I return to visiting past ideas and discover how long I have actually been blogging. In 2016 Vogue knitting published what appeared to me to be an interesting pattern for a leaf lace variant combining dropped stitches and lace transfers. In looking back my leaf “phase” began in 2011. Here are links to my previous posts and process at the time:http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/15/beginnings/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/20/in-progress/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/02/20/on-the-blocking-board/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/02/25/back-to-lace/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/02/28/more-on-those-slanting-lace-leaves/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/08/back-to-leaf-lace-add-rib-and-take-it-to-the-passap/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/20/getting-there/
http://alessandrina.com/2012/03/27/the-joys-of-lace-on-the-km/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/03/22/ladders-with-lace-making-things-work/

Below, I am sharing my WIP swatches and notes. I am presently working on some production knitwear pieces, and it is unclear when I will return to more samples of this variant.

The “new leaf” requires hand techniques, working with multiple transfer tools. Dropped stitches in hand knitting may translate to ladders in a machine knit. My first trial swatch was made on the standard KM.  Casting off and on posed interesting questions. The lines where knit stitches meet ladders, as pointed out in previous posts, can result in the knit stitches aside the ladder growing in size

I do not enjoy time consuming hand techniques on the machine, so to speed things up I moved on to the bulky. As with any other knitting, the lengthwise sides of the knit are going to want to curl to the purl side. I deliberately worked with an acrylic yarn, anticipating that blocking it would be required to attempt to get the results to stay flat. Here is the resulting swatch, as first off the KM

after pressing with steam 

A couple of days later the fabric was still lying flat, so I decided to try to chart it out for slightly different results, while planning for a different turning angle and a consistent number of ladders throughout.


I began to use Excel 2008 in 2009, as well as Apple’s Pages and sometimes Numbers over time to produce my charts and illustrations. I keep learning tiny bits as time goes on. Some features may disappear in such programs or become added with upgrades. These are settings I prefer for backgrounds and borders in Excel

format

and for screen grabs or improved visibility, zoom comes in handy 

For links to online tutorial by others authors http://alessandrina.com/2013/10/29/charting-knits-in-excel/, a search in my own blog will lead you to my own explorations over time. Simple graph paper and color pencils may be used if software is not available to help work out proper repeats, etc. A single repeat of my leaves so far is shown in 2 segments for increased visibility, successful knitting, probably in another “killable yarn” tbd.

Return to circles, knit “pies” 3

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

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

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

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

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

When knitting in stripes, the “jog” at the color change in knitting can be eliminated by slipping the old color purl-wise, and starting to knit the second stitch. TECHknitting provides more alternatives in her posts: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/01/jogless-stripes.html
http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2011/03/jogless-stripes-pretty-picture-version.html. For a method using yarn ends and a needle when yarn is cut http://imgur.com/a/NREsH.

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

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

Return to circles, knit “pies” 2 (round yokes and more)

Just as other knitwear styles have varied in style, ease and fit over the years, round yoke sweaters have also done so. Yokes can be wide or narrow, in patterned or textured stitches, and in varied proximity to the neckline. This is not generally a tailored style. Ease in knits can be calculated on the basis of fashion or personal preference. With some familiarity with slopers measurements may however, be adjusted in this style as in any other sweater. Neckline measurements do not reflect the measurements achieved after adding finishes i.e. turtle or round. Depending on the size of the yoke, shaping can begin at the armhole level bind off (seen in the early hand knitting directions in the 70s), while smaller yoke shaping can begin at whatever point is desired, extending to the neckline, or simply to create a design band. The shaping is created by decreases if the garment is knit from the bottom up, and with increases if worked from the top down. In most styles the same number of rows are worked from the armhole bind off or held section to where yoke sections meet. At that point if hand knitting on circulars the 4 sections: i.e. left sleeve, front yoke, right sleeve, and back yoke may be picked up and joined for completing the yoke. My illustrations have been created using Mac’s Pages lines and shapes.  They are not to scale.

Beginning to visualize process: yokes are generally superimposed on raglan shaping

they form part of a flat circle; here is how they might appear in a partially seamed cardigan without front bands. They may be created in varying widths or patterns,

and in a pull over with shaping in back that raises the rear neckline. Some of the early patterns were executed with front/ back and both sleeves sharing equal measurements and slopes

separate the elements: the yoke 

the front and back can be begin to consider shaping at breasts, waist, and those wedges under where the yoke “circle” meets the sweater may be short rowed on each side with the intent of achieving a much better personal fit

sleeve 

Hand knitters are probably familiar with Elizabeth Zimmermann and her daughter, Meg Swansen. Handknitting with Meg Swansen 1995, and Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting workshop 1981, Knitting around 1989, Knitting without tears 1971 are classical references that include information on yoke creation, including these guidelines

Other authors suggest 1/4 of total body and sleeve measurement in stitches (excluding armhole) for a tighter neckline (turtle neck), one third for a more open style (crewneck). Original circumference/ body measurement should include any ease. Though decreases for the yoke: first halfway up 25%(one out of every 4), second 3/4 up 33% (one out of every 3), and last 1/2 inch before full depth is reached 40% (two out of every 5) are the most common, they can be placed and varied to suit your own design.

In drafting your own patterns and partnering with someone, a tape measure or string can be laid on shoulder line, etc. for an idea as to preferred placement and measurement. Necklines finished by bound off stitches whether machine or hand knit, do not stretch, so measuring your head with something that does not as well gives you a guideline. Yokes end in open stitches, so the thing to consider there is what method is used to finish the neckline, and its own stretch factor after bind off. Hand knitters have the added benefit of splitting the work on 2 circulars and trying on the sweater or its pieces on while in progress to double check fit.

Japanese designers began to publish patterns that often included yokes that were constructed on the top of the drop shoulder line, with the back yoke placed higher than on the front. Such yokes also began to be represented in stepped figures showing decreases. In the round calculations are gauge based, not relying on the pi formula.

modified raglan for higher placement of yoke on back of body

full pattern with traditional full cap sleeve

pieces meeting at dropped shoulder line: dotted line represents back collar placement, note difference in height between back panel on lower back, and front panel on lower right

a sample diagram from a Japanese magazine 

Yoke shaping may be indicated in stacked format. The final count and frequency of decreases is shown, publishers may vary in language. On the first row here 4 sts – 2X means there is a group of 4 stitches followed by a decrease 2 times, then 5 stitches followed by a decrease 23 times, etc.

Two online calculators are available to help with DIY:  1. the Yoke-U-Lator, and 2. for Lopi, Icelandic styles. The image below is a screenshot from the latter website, indicating a sample possible result.

Jessica Tromp offers free circular knitting patterns with round yoke, dimensions in inches and ounces.

There are endless possibilities for combining math formulas, gauge, and pi. There are many ways to do decreases. With planning so that much more frequent intervals happen between decrease rounds, the decreases themselves can be fabricated to line up in line, and the resulting texture creates the interest in the sweater as opposed to any color patterning (i.e. along white lines)

“pie wedges” may be placed on neckline, yokes, sweater parts, various silhouettes and garment pieces, or full shapes (red dots outline possible dolman sleeve)from a Japanese magazine a hint of detail that must be calculatedand the pie may be oriented in different locations on any one piece 

from a Japanese knitting magazine, an idea for long sleeve and side details merging with and becoming part of a circular yokeFor some of the math  calculations please see:  http://alessandrina.com/2011/06/18/oh-the-math

“Decreases” in rib sometimes can be achieved through changes in needle size if hand knitting, or tension changes on the machine. The yoke in machine knitting would need to be split in 2 parts or knit sideways. Plain colored rows between bands of FI may appear noticeably lighter in weight, so using a 1X1 one color FI pattern or double strand of one of the pattern colors may improve the look.

Before transferring stitches on the machine in the single color rows, make your transfers. The lace carriage may be used after selecting appropriate needles and putting them in position. Knit the following row before removing knitting on waste yarn or garter bar. If stitches are tight for garter bar use sometimes the row after transfers may be knit at a looser tension to facilitate the process, and the difference may not be noticeable when knitting at “normal tension” is resumed. The carriage should be set to plain knit for row prior to and after transfers. It may be easier to work toward the center from each side when returning stitches to the needle bed. In order to match the pattern at the shoulder seams or when motifs need to stack in position on separate bands, the stitches need to be rehung at specific positions on the needle bed that take into consideration the size of the repeat and its location within the stitch count. Also, take into account the seam allowance. One stitch extra on each of the meeting seam sides will allow the end needle selection stitch or an extra patterning needle to be hidden within a full stitch join. Working on machines that preselect needles or pushers makes tracking a bit easier. It is possible to combine knitting pieces in both directions. For example, knit yoke up toward neck, join shoulders, and then pick up appropriate stitches to knit body and sleeves from the top down. Top down makes any adjustments in length easier prior to finishing the sweater. Short rowing in garment segments underneath the yokes makes for a better fit at bust line and upper back.

Calculators to help with all that math: online
http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603mfcalc.aspx
http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0601magicformula.aspx
http://www.getknitting.com/mk_0603frilled.aspx
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/MagicFormulaSleeveTopDown.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/MagicFormulaSleeve.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/EvenlySpace.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/IncreaseEvenlySpace.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/EZsweater/catalogSizeChart.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/PieWedgeShawls.html
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/tools/PieWedgeShawls.html
http://www.eskimimimakes.com/knitulator-increase-decrease-knitting-calculator-eskimimi

for purchase:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/knitting-toolkit/id960312887?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/knit-evenly-calculator/id370449748?mt=8

Going low tech: if gauge works out to whole numbers, shapes can be plotted out on square grid graph graph paper (or grid created within software to suit) where each square represents one stitch, one row. Draw connecting lines, follow outline, filling in squares (or removing them) as the edge moves a whole unit (k2 tog). Here the goal is to go from 39 stitches to 5 over 60 rows. Color bands could be added and planned between decreases, which should occur on single color rows. Once a gauge is obtained, charting on graph paper or within programs can be boiled down to connecting dots and following outlines as above. Some simple breakdowns for outlines of garment pieces/ shapes 

more inspiration from an old Japanese magazine

visualizing a peplum 

Illusion DIY patterns in crochet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Return to circles, knit and crochet “pies” 1

I began a series of posts on miters and spirals created on the knitting machine back in 2011. The oldest posts, 12, and 3 begin to address creating flat circles in machine knitting using holding techniques.

Hand knitting in circular format and crochet share some similarities. There are 2 methods of constructing circular work in crochet. 1: in rounds, (akin to knit miters in shape) where the end of each circular row is joined up to its own beginning to form a ring. A new starting chain (s) is formed to take the row up to the proper height for the next row to remain constant. Depending on the pattern, one has the option of continuing by turning the work or not at the end of each row. Doing so allows the opportunity of altering textures and working in the fronts or backs of stitches. 2: in spirals. Rather than joining the ring, one continues on by going into the tops of the posts in the previous row.

With spirals it is useful to mark the beginning of each round. Knitting markers shaped like safety pins are handy for that purpose. A line of contrasting color can also be created using a separate strand of yarn and alternating carrying it back or to the front prior to forming the first stitch in the new row.

As with knitting, crocheted circles are not true circles, but rather, they are polygons. The way to make shapes more circular is to scramble the increase points, putting them in different starting positions in each round (always spacing them equally and keeping the formula). Within limits one may make the starting number of stitches in the first round a multiple of the number of segments in the finished shape.

With the creation of a flat circle in mind, the number of stitches needed depends on the height of the stitch. The taller the stitch, the greater the number of stitches required. If the stitch stays the same throughout, the number of stitches added on each round is constant. Test work regularly at intervals as the work grows by placing it on a firm, flat surface, to see if working only one stitch into each stitch is required / enough at that point to maintain the shape. The more segments, the smoother the circumference.

Unlike in hand knitting, the first loop on the hook does not count as a stitch until you make it into something.

Spirals or miters knit on the machine begin with their radius; one possible construction method may be inferred from these images

Spreadsheet programs such as Excel and Numbers have pie charts and other tools that can help visualize or even plan the work with symbols. Unlike machine knitting, both crochet and hand knitting may begin and grow from the center out or from the outside in. Calculated shaping with increases or decreases along circumferences at different points on the pie create the desired shape. For the purposes of this discussion I will address stitches in US terms. There are various published guidelines with some variations. Fiber content and matching gauge (if required) may need editing of the numbers, but, as starting points:
Single Crochet [sc] : Start with 6 sc and increase 6 sc in each round so that the total stitch count in each round is a multiple of 6
Half Double Crochet [hdc] : multiple of 8
Double Crochet [dc] : Multiple of 12
Treble [tr]: multiple of 16

Some symbols and number of stitches required in base rows in table form, for working from center out:
the more wedges in the pie, the smoother the circumference no matter what the method. Single crochet is worked in 6 wedgesdouble crochet in 12 wedgeswedges may be reduced to simple line segments rounds may also be created to log in and track more details adding wedge outlines before filling in symbols

single crochet worked with slip stitch at the end of each row will produce  points similar to those seen in miters in machine knitting

spirals produce a rounder shape double crochet echoes the forms 

Building your own charts requires vector programs to allow for rotation of symbols around an axis. My chart was quickly produced in Inkscape, which is free to download for both Mac and PC users. Mac users in addition will also need to download XQuartz to run the program. I created the chart with my own symbols and freeform laid them down while viewing the grid. It turned out however, that there are 2 published videos on how to use the program for charting crochet stitches, part 1 and part 2 by StitchesNScraps.com

Two YouTube videos on topic:  using Illustrator CS 5.1, Marnie Mac Lean’s video, and using StitchWorksSoftware. An online generator by Stitch Fiddle, and its associated video.

if donuts are the goal: find your round 

An example: in single crochet, if round 3 had been completed, there would be 18 completed stitches. Chain 18, either slip stitch or continue in spiral to match count at that point. For round 4: increase every 4th, round 5: every fifth, round 6: every 6th, round 7: every 7th stitch.

A few sites to see for crochet tutorials:
magic ring start : no chain stitches, no center hole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUaywX0-WE
working in spirals
http://snovej.com/archives/freeform-crochet-spiral
a nice ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_sW4xX_O70https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_sW4xX_O70
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L_rtWt78Jw&t=32s
crocheting a flat circle in single crochet: note the start “magic circle”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oDubbFVE3Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZiCnCGP_NQ
changing colors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8cLufFeenU

I tend to swatch in easy to see colors, “friendly” yarn, and use tools that allow moving in and out of stitches easily until I have techniques sorted out. When knitting circles in the round, things get a bit more complex, particularly if one begins to introduce items such as round yokes with patterns into garments where gauge matters significantly.

Some of the same principles may be used in hand knitting. For magic loop start with circular needles: KNITFreedom, and on DPs Webs yarn

MK ladders, and a bit of crochet

I have recently been thinking about collars and edgings again, this time adding crochet detailing to help cut the edge curl and add interest. In a previous post I showed an edging done in drop stitch (double bed lace). Here to simplify things, I decided to work with ladder spaces to create the fabric. If a large width of this fabric is required, multiple bands would need to be joined to achieve it, crochet is then applied in turn to the the finished knit piece. Seam as you knit can make the joining nearly invisible. Using excel, I tried to also create crochet symbols using its shapes menu. The number of rows knit in open pattern or all knit prior to binding off are at your discretion, depending on your needs and planned final product. For my sample I began knitting with COR, and to end with COR for bind off row, I chose to work with even numbered groups of rows. Consider fiber content if the intent is to permanently block as flat as possible, or not.

my chart symbols symbols_70

whole_69

needle set up, waste yarn cast on, knit for desired length  setup_62img_4095bring one empty needle into worktransfer_63img_4096knit one row, bring remaining empty needle into work plain-knit_64img_4097knit one row img_4099knit rows desired for top bandimg_4100transfer eon from L to rightallk-transfer_65img_4101latch tool bind off around gate pegs for all needles/stitches img_4102

img_4103do not cut yarn, lift work off machine; turn work over (knit side facing)
chain 5, slip stitch into eyelet created by transfers, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last eyelet space detail_4121turn work over (purl side facing once again), chain 3, 2 double crochet, slip stitch into center of chain 5 space, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last chain 5 space detail_4120unblocked trim, 2/15 acrylic yarn img_4104

img_4105detail after steaming, the trim is side leaning img_4119

img_4118

To use: rehang open stitches on every needle (or other arrangement) eliminating ladder spaces and bind off,  join to another piece of knit, etc.

A bit of holding 5: intarsia and more 2

So you have some shapes you love and know: wanting to go large, mixing them up, requires thinking things through. Testing on small swatches will help determine holding sequences and whether the results are predictable or even liked. I no longer have access to Adobe photoshop or illustrator, so some of my image editing is now achieved in gimp. Labeling below is with Skitch, and charting is with Excel.

A starting freehand swatch experiment and some observations: shape variations in red areas occur by altering sequence for knitting first and last 2 shapes in hold

tulip_knit

tulip_purl

Planning possible sequences out in charting can be confusing. The image direction will be reversed on the knit side. Approaching the technique like intarsia with individual yarns or bobbins eliminates the need for some of the concerns where 2 row sequences or specific starting sides are necessary to keep yarns continuous or for execution of the desired shape. Trying to imagine the shapes that create the larger one together in a simple 2D drawing can get one started, but  then shapes need to be rearranged. I usually began by “playing”, trying to figure out steps needed, and follow that by trying to produce an executable chart. Making the process as easy as possible to track is always a consideration.

screenshot_09possible stitch counts and adding a center line “stem”/ stripescreenshot_10its knitting sequence tulip_numbereda resulting swatch, stitch counts not consistent with chart
labeled_075

600_076

In the chart below the design is worked with 2 needles brought out to work or pushed back into work at any one time, making tracking changing numbers in hold unnecessary. Pink rows indicate starting and ending knit rows, orange “stitches” are cast on and bound off in turn, creating a shape extending out from the edge of the knit. Arrows indicate where shapes meet to create forms.

knittable_marked

Holding sequence for each shape may be worked begin with carriage on either side; with experience this may be planned at times to eliminate some of those cut yarn ends that later must be woven in. Getting back to arrows indicating carriage moves, using the center shape for illustration purposes and beginning with COR

directionif beginning with COL, simply flip the image horizontally direction flip

labelled_077600_078

The yarns used were “throw away acrylics” in white and red. The green is a rayon chenille, which required a looser tension, resulting in the other colors looser than I would want in a final fabric

idea for a larger image in the process of being editedscreenshot_07

A possible sequence in knitting if it is to be executed as shown. The arrow marks rows that knit all needles across the width of the piece. The piece segments are  numbered to create a starting line for later joining.
numbered1If the goal is knitting as close to a flat circle as possible, eliminating rows will create a smaller center hole as well after the form is completed and seamed. Knitting segments 1-6 should be adequatecircle2In larger pieces ie shawls, adding knit rows without adding stitches can be done by altering #8, 1, 6, 7. Red line indicates changing angles. Blue and green lines below indicate increasing rows knit at center of shapes as a result. exteded

Knitting and cast on sequences flow around left purl edge, straight or diagonal edges on a chart such as above may become foundation rows that are later seamed. Sort out your sequence and preferences on smaller swatches, keeping notes as you go. Additional shaping can happen along the edges of any plain knit rows between shapes by increasing or decreasing on either or both sides to create crescent shapes  or triangle variants.

Now a quandary if gauge matters: knit stitches are not square. One option is to generate a grid appropriate graph paper. In holding sequences happen in 2 row sequences. Graph paper cells may be created at twice the height desired. Each rectangle will represent a single stitch, 2 row sequence. To create your own knitting graph paper in excel please see post as a place to start. A common knit ratio is 4W X 6H. An editable workbook in 2W X 6H ratio that takes into account following outline in 2 row holding sequences: landscape2X6. Links for designing knit graph papers online:
http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/matrix/e-index.html
http://www.theknittingsite.com/knitting-graph-paper/
http://sweaterscapes.com/lcharts3.htm
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/KnittersGraph.html
http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/asymmetric/

Using the 4X6 model reduced to 2X3 this is a sample generated using excel, with borders in a 2X6 ratio, so in execution, each single cell represents one stitch and 2 rows knit. The shape is one from the shape menu in the program, easily resized. The yellow bars show the gradations in holding. These cells are too small for adding text within the program itself. The math can be double checked: there are 70 stitches, 34 rows in the rectangle at the center of the shape. Holding happens over 5 chart units (10 rows actual knitting) at the top and bottom of the center shape; 70/5 = 14 X5, matching the drawing shape on grid

the accompanying, editable workbook Excel 2008  landscape2X6

So the goal is a shawl or garment, graph paper is becoming impractical to follow? Time to pull out your knit leader. Draw out each wedge or piece full size, number  segments breaking sections into knitting sequences, and let the KL guide you. For consistency, if the same shape is to be repeated many times and accuracy matters, it may be worth “air knitting” it while noting shaping as you go, keeping a row by row flow chart. An editable workbook to help track holding patterns, increases, decreases, etc. as a starting point for your own preferences: tracking knit.

Gauge or shape do not matter? time to scrumble it all and be surprised!