Weaving drafts as inspiration for other textile techniques

Weaving drafts can be a source of inspiration for other textile mediums as well. Luminescence is an online weaving program developed by Andrew Glassner. There are ample instructions and help files on site re weaving. My first instinct however, is often to interpret images of all sorts for knits (I abandoned weaving many a year ago). I am sharing some very quick first experiments with the software with that possible intention. The same charts might be used for other counted stitch unit textiles. The first draft I chose to load from the app’s pull down menu was called High Seas. The numbers indicate “Fabric Size”

120High Seas120

Quoting from the help files: “Show grids: This is another cosmetic choice. Turning this on draws the internal grid lines for all 6 grids (warp pattern, warp colors, weft pattern, weft colors, tie-up, and fabric). These let you easily count the cells, which can make it easier to match a published draft. As with Show threads, this checkbox and its effect are disabled if the Fabric size is 100 or more.” “

“To save an image of the fabric, just right-click on it. You should get a pop-up menu that offers you a few options. One of these will be Save Image As… (or something close to that). Choose that, and you’ll get a standard dialog box that lets you put the image where you want it. The image is saved in the standard PNG format, which offers the highest quality. You can change that to JPG or anything else using almost any image editing program.” Safari in Mac Mavericks was problematic with saves, allowing only for a web archive or screen crop/ capture. No issues using Firefox as the browser.

99 Hi seas99easier to see and/ or count units, clear tiling: 60hig seas 60enough to easily sort out repeats: 30hi seas30

your preferred paint program may be used to draw lines that isolate single “knit” repeats; threading and tie up sequence repeats are used as guides, making process fairly straightforward

hi seas30 repeatimagining possible related borders screenshot_51a more complicated draftkiss me you fool 99isolating the much larger repeat kiss me you fool REPEAT

kiss me REPEAT

always double check tiling prior to knitting for accuracy, any “surprises”, and possible pattern placement on knitting machine’s needle bedtile check

got a draft from an online pub? always good to start simplescreenshot_01isolate the repeat (GIMP):  crop tool and size control154crop

in this instance the result is a 154X 154 pixel square image, with 14 X 14 unit desired subdivision, making my grid  preferences setting 11 X 11 pixels

200_11_11gridtiling test: looks like a match!tiled_04

line width, colors, etc. may all be set and changed to suit individual needs and preferences. Please note superimposed grid lines are lost when image is tiled or exported from GIMP, some version of screen grab or snap must be used to capture and save gridded images

an additional draft, same process


second sample



A bit on the charting: after launching the program and loading an image, the GIMP windows options will become available. I leave my toolbox always active. Tool Options give the opportunity for controlling crop size, pencil line width, etc. As you click on/ select any tool, the option windows will change and offer selections for managing that particular tool

windowscropcroppencil brushpencil

notes from a  previous post on charting for straight line drawing on Mac: “first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK”

QR codes for knitting (2) or other textile techniques: “happy holidays” a few ways

I reviewed, edited, and added information to an earlier blog post on QR codes and knitting earlier today. The results from the same steps in processing the generated images may be applied to any fiber technique which results from using counted, single units.  In light of the coming season I thought I would offer some “happy holidays” variants. In assembling them, I found an additional free online generator that allows for far more control on output code pixel dimensions than others I have previously experimented with.

aztec (smallest unit possible 100 pixels square)QRA100onto the morovia website the “blanket” sizeQR150getting back to knittable, less than punchcard widthscreenshot_45QR21a less than 50 wide repeat for mylar, and surprise!screenshot_53QR49

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 2

My previous posts on using gimp to generates charts and images suitable for knitting: 1, 2, 3, 4 . I am working in Mac OS 10.10 now, so there may be some variations in results from earlier OS or for Windows versions users.

the edited repeat from the previous postcropped

It is possible to knit this design in DBJ with the same separation as for knitting it as a maze, both are 2 color slip stitch patterns, the maze separation is less laborious. To process for use in DBJ, the image needs initially to be doubled in length. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a new gimp document, several times the size of the repeat, select and copy the corrected repeat , in turn pasting it in the new, larger canvas. I used 40 by 60; color 1 is red, color 2, white, most of my charting is done at 1,000 times magnification

copy and paste

drawing a vertical line in non pertinent color to border areas having several rows with no second color present, as seen below, may help define end or start of selections when attempting to invert colors. Color invert may be achieved in RGB mode, not indexed. Below the inversion occurs on “even numbered” every other rows. The program in my OS now showed the previously red squares in blue, the alternate squares in black.

After using color invert, non pertinent color (blue) may be erased (using pencil tool, each square on grid is a single pixel) as well as those yellow “border” squares. In the image below the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card. One drawback in this program, because of the scale using single pixels, is that no text to include row numbers, etc. is possible. The final repeat is 10S X 44 R.

If one wants to avoid using double length in the automated machine settings, the image of holes to be punched may be doubled in length. To do so color mode needs to be changed to indexed (4 colors) to retain image clarity.screenshot_19


 fabric knit in DBJ, long stitch on left, bird’s eye backing on right 500_2355

Maze and mosaic knitting, my previous posts: drawing motifs, from design to pattern (Excel), from pre punched cards,  and references and pubs. The repeat worked out for slip stitch, and edited down to 2 colors. Again, the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in card.

screenshot_21-mazeTo further mark the repeats in blocks, making chart easier to follow in absence of numbers, the subject of drawing straight lines comes up. Most of the online tutorials for using gimp are for its Windows version. The pencil tool may be used. Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not (Mac), you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options, which opens the option window of the selected tool. In theory “Ctrl:This key changes the pencil to a Color PickerShift: This key places the pencil tool into straight line mode. Holding Shift while clicking Button 1 will generate a straight line. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line.” On my Mac I worked out this method: first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a cross hair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK.

windows: dockable itemswindows_dockable dialogues

gimp lines

separation for maze knitting 10S X 22R, elongate X2
maze_needsX2 borderknit as a single bed slip stitch, changing colors every 2 rowsscreenshot_01as dbj 500_2361

The dropped stitches were a problem when using the ribber on one of my two 910s, that adventure can be the topic for another post.

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 1

Laura Kroegler shares an online generator for “mosaics”unikatissima offers them for mazes and cellular automata. Representations of such patterns have cropped up in relation to hacked knitting machines and electronic downloads such as those seen in the Claire Williams blog, and in published information by Fabienne, who of late also has a kickstarter project. Such patterns may be charted for hand knitting or for use on punchcard machines once the size of the repeat is taken into consideration. Mirroring either vertically or horizontally can make the image far more interesting, but that has to be a consideration in planning if the stitch repeat has a constraint of 24 stitch limit. A beginning unit 6 stitches wide will allow for the horizontal mirror to be repeated twice on the punchcard. The minimum punchcard length is 36 rows. The maximum scroll down to height in the Kroegler generator is 20, so for the least punching, an 18 row max would “fit”. The caveat here is that if the generated pattern is to be knit as DBJ or as single bed slip stitch, those 18 rows need to be color separated accordingly. For the design to be charted out easily, it may be saved, and then in turn gridded in Photoshop or Gimp with grid matching stitch size in the generated pattern preview (ie below note X and Y values are 5 X 5, so grid used would be 5 X 5 pixels as well).
After reviewing the tiled generated pattern, the image may be carefully captured from screen and saved. I worked with an 8 stitch repeat for my tests. Below are screen grabs of the resulting patterns after some of the various options offered were tried. Mirroring this repeat horizontally, makes it too wide for a punchcard (16 X 2=32).






using a 5X5 grid after capturing a portion of another generated image, using a simple 8X8 repeat, outlining single repeats, thinking punchcard machinescreenshot_34

checking the result tiled to predict possible knit “look”screenshot_28

If working with a 6 stitch repeat, horizontal mirroring becomes possible for punchcard machines, perhaps making things more interesting; the program can generate a single repeat as a png, and punching holes is a drag so maybe length remains on the short side in anticipation of the punching holes and color separating for knitting the motif as either DBJ or single bed slip stitch, so here goes: having the generated image produced so each stitch and row is represented by a single pixel allows one to work within any program preset to superimpose a 1X1 grid:screenshot_07

screenshot_08my saved png, supposedly for an 8X12 repeatnewgridded in gimp, revealed as  11W X 23 Hscreenshot_09

testing tiling: oops!screenshot_10

the trimmed repeat, eliminating double lines, 10 St W X 22 Rows Hcropped

tiled, looking closer to originalcropped_tiled

and then there is the knitting of it….

For the latest version of gimp use on Mac, version history may be found at gimp website, for Mac Yosemite and Mavericks’ latest information on version 2.8.14 .

A block lace pattern on the KM 1

A friend recently posted a forum query on a published pattern that has led to my exploring another hand to machine knit transfer lace. The “flemish block lace” design from the second treasury of knitting patterns by Barbara Walker, p. 270 seemed to be the lace pattern motif used. Here is a partial detail from the fabric that began the discussion

try to copy

Below is a chart for the Walker repeat produced with Intwined. The repeat is a multiple of 14 + 3 border stitches, the first row is purl, but I could not enter an all purl for row one and not have the remaining symbols altered by the program, which assumes in lace the first row is knitflemish block lacethe program’s generated HK instructions for one repeat plus 3 border stitches screenshot_04In attempting the machine knit version I chose to use the HK chart for my transfers as it stood, the directions of the transfers being mirrored vertically did not matter to me.

This design has “chains” traveling along some of the edges of the diagonal shapes. A lot of moving stitches in groups of 2 or 3 is required to achieve the look. It may be possible to achieve the fabric knitting with the aid of a lace carriage,  but planning the punchcard or electronic repeat and correcting any dropped stitches pose special challenges. My first samples were knit on the bulky KM, working in width of the 17 sts illustrated above.

I began to test transfers by moving stitches every row. Interesting things happen when single rows are knit on the machine as opposed to the traditional 2 in multiple transfer lace, as well as the resulting shape being half the number of rows long. The eyelet yarn lies single, without the twist usually seen, and begins to look more like ladders (see previous posts on zig zag ladder lace).

knit sideIMG_1938purl sideIMG_1939

with 2 knit rows between transfers (the missing eyelet in marked spot is due to operator error) the familiar look of multiple transfer lace appears1940


below the swatch image is flipped horizontally for a different perspective, approaching the original hand knit inspiration1940looking at charting differently, back to Excel: single repeat

BW repeat_12

                    checking alignment, adding border stitches4 repeatbw                                                adding colorcolored repeat

moves                    checking alignment, adding border stitches4 repeat color2The next consideration might be how to make executing the pattern easier on a standard machine. Needle pre selection may be used to guide hand transfers. Working out the electronic repeat, represented by black squares:isolating mylar rep                                         the transfer directions

transfers                        the chart in repeat , including bordersmylarx4_borderthere is no transfer on row 3 of repeat next to border on chart left, it is omitted in bottom of chart, shown on top half. End needle selection is cancelled throughout. The resulting test swatch, one operator error transfer missing on mid left:

                                                    knit side 500_1945                                                     purl side500_1944One of the issues I encountered during the initial tests was that of occasional needles “sneaking”/ dropping back on the machine, so ladders rather than eyelets were formed. The needle retainer bar is old, and I like to work lace with the ribber off and a tilted main bed, explaining the possible cause.

Zig Zag ladder lace 2: hand knit

I work primarily on a Mac, Maverick OS. Intwined software has had some issues operating in Mac consistently in the latest OS versions. The chart to text can be a really nice feature. The repeat, drawn here with symbols in the built in stitch library, shows errors in row 2 and 4 of the accompanying text.single repeatmistakes single

On a larger canvas, the original repeat is outlined below in red. Yellow indicates knit border stitches around ladder lace pattern repeats; row 22 is absent from the text that accompanied the larger chart.

full chart

full directionsSkitch is a free program, available for both Mac and Windows, that allows the opportunity for of highlighting or further editing a graphic. Taking the information above, here I added numbers that reflect actual repeat rows, used the arrows as a reminder of change in direction of zig zag, and the red outlines vs green indicate changes in type of knit decrease. It is easy to add as much or as little additional information as one feels helpful. There are controls for line thickness, shadows, etc.

actual repeat

JKnit is another program that may be of interest to anyone who prefers to track their projects, progress, and much more on their iPad or iPhone. The Lite version is free for both devices.

Below is an image of the hand knit swatch, unblocked, which appears three dimensional; transfer  lace has traditionally been blocked to lie flat and maximize eyelets. The fabric may be very interesting without blocking. If a slightly thicker yarn with “memory” is used, the piece may be steamed lightly, and the pattern segments will tend to shift in and out from the flat surface, whether the piece is hand or machine knit.IMG_1901

The yarn used was a “throw away” swatch testing acrylic. A very quick, light press and a bit of steam and here it is in the resulting killed, forever flattened version

IMG_1905  and it reverse side


X11 and open source programs: Mac Mavericks update

With the advent of Mac Mavericks, function of some open source design software linked to XQuartz was lost. Macosforge  now provides an updated X11 for OS X 10.6 or later (including Mavericks). X11 is required to run  Inkscape, a vector program, and ArahPaint5, a paint and drawing one that can be viewed being used in this video. Version4 is also included in a package with a free demo for ArahWeave. All have potential for creating and working with images, particularly useful in development of large format motifs for download to knitting machines.


Visualizing knit cables in color_ Excel

In the past I have suggested methods for working in Excel, and provided links to excellent material shared by others online. Of late I became interested in using the program to produce simple color graphics for cable illustrations. It is helpful to have prior experience in using Excel for knit charting. This is not intended as a complete tutorial. I am providing a document for experimentation. I would suggest copying and pasting the individual shapes to a different part of the document before playing with color changes, resizing, etc. This may be done within the chart in progress, or separately, and then copying /pasting or moving the final result into place.

The resulting charts may be used in both hand and machine knitting. My illustrations here are intended for machine knits, so they do not combine purls and knits on their ground. Images represent single side view: as they would appear on the knit side facing hand knitters, or the purl side facing the machine knitter. Stitch, row marking, and text may be added as wanted.

Chosen from the view menu, the object palette allows selection of built in available shapes. Once a shape is drawn into the workbook, the formatting palette allows access to image size, rotation (including flipping both vertically and horizontally, and alignment (moving front to back and reverse).


Color fill – unless standard colors are chosen, there will be issues matching colors combined when using with bucket fill from toolbar to add color to cell(s)



formatting options: fill


shape border: line, color (or not)


one of the ways to access size, rotation, aspect ratio


sample results


an in progress document for experimentation: blog_color_cables. Adjust zoom to personal preference for either viewing or working, grab portions of working screen for images of sections of workbook to save, or save as, and explore PDF options.

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.