More scales and chevrons in ribbed, racked (4) fabrics

WORK IN PROGRESS 

Over the years a variety of fabrics have been named dragon scales or crocodile stitch. Here dragon scales have referred to shapes created using a lace technique and resulting in a pattern such as this

that was followed by hand knit samplesand an investigation into possibly creating a ribber fabric with auto shaping resulting in similar protrusion

ribber-pitch-a-bit-on-racking-1-chevrons-horizontal-herringbone/

vertical chevrons/ herringbone  

which eventually led to this, where a reversal in racking periodically shifts the lean in opposite directions

automating the pattern in half fisherman rib/ mylar repeat tracking shown. Any repeat in a factor of 24 may be used on punchcard machine as well the start of a series in varied colors and fibers500_604

Sometimes I enjoy getting back to the simplicity and predictability of punchcard machines, though punching those cards can be slow and a bit tedious. I am presently curious about striping again, and creating a wider “scale”, with a crisper fold. The chart is for the working idea, the punchcard typical of what some of my cards begin to look like as my work evolves. When marking cards for any action, the fact that the eye is not on the same design row as the reader needs to be taken into consideration. Here racking numbers begin to get marked on what would normally be row one on a factory marked punchcard, or 7 rows up for Brother KMs on any other brand punchcard or cardroll # position. Though the final repeat is an even number of rows in height (42) note that each half repeat is not (21). The color changer sits on the left, so first preselection row is left to right, cam button on KCI to insure end stitches knit. Any color changes happen every even #X rows, so they will technically be in a slightly different spot on the alternate repeat. 

some of the trial and error, random yarns. The white is a 2/15 wool, the yellow a 2/12, the blue an unknown, also woolthe best fo the lot, but not “there ” yet, going back to one color knitting

So then you go for a yummy alpaca and silk, make a racking error and manage to correct the pattern, and lo and behold the yarn breaks halfway across the row a repeat up from there! “They” do keep talking about how relaxing knitting is ;-).  Yarn specsFiber Content: 80% Alpaca/20% Silk; Weight: Lace; Gauge: 8 sts = 1″, 1/2-lb cones/3472 YPP (1736 yards/cone)

This yarn is an English  import, 2675 yards per pound. It felts into a lovely fabric (not the goal here), and knit tolerably well. The fabric is quite stiff however, and the surface change is minimal and nearly lost completely2/18 Jaggerspun wool silk: worth a shot at a scarf. Starting ribber cast on on left, followed by 2 circular rows, one closing row right to left, and first KCI row from left to right, will set up patterning in tuck so that the direction of the arrows on the left side of the card, lines up with the racking number appropriate for that row prior to knitting it. The fabrics below are as they came off the machine, not blocking of any sort

I have some lovely cash wool in 3 colors, 2/48 weight. Using 3 separate strands fed through the yarn feeder separately resulted in uneven feeding, loops, and too many problems. Using 2 strands “worked” easily, but the fabric was nearly flatCautiously winding 3 strands onto a cone prior to knitting gave far more predictable results, and there now is a scarf in progress. The difference in color is due to lighting at the momentMy best advice to anyone attempting this is to knit slowly. The most likely spot for errors in my experience is at the point where 1: no action is taken for a row, so racking position remains at 10 for 2 rows, and 2: for racking position 9 the knit carriage position is reversed in each half of the repeat. One can get also reach a left right rhythm, and without realizing it, begin racking between position 9 and 8 as opposed to 9 and 10, throwing pattern off. Another look at racking positions: the numbers reflect racking position before the carriage moves to the opposite side, the arrows the direction in which the carriage will be moving

Revisiting pleats on the knitting machine: single bed


work in progress 

I am recently pondering self folding shapes, which begin with pleating. Presently, in fashion and knitwear, skirts and clothing with ruffled or folded fabric variations abound. In 2013 I wrote a post including downloadable files of one of my early handouts and working notes. This is the same information
It is possible to knit shadow pleats combining them with holding position to knit wedges which will produce a more circular shape . The shaping can occur in both thick and thin areas.

When working in stocking stitch, if a soft looking pleat is desired, the knitted fabric is simply folded to form the pleat and joined to keep the fold. Crisper folds require the added techniques described above. In hand knitting fold lines are created by slipping stitches on the fold line on the “public side”. Assuming the latter is the knit side of the fabric, this is often indicated by “sl 1 with yarn in back” for front fold line (and as another slip st  option, for with yarn in front for back fold line). A purl stitch is more commonly worked on the same side of the knit for the opposing, inner fold. Both the slipped stitch and the purl one are purled on the return purl row pass. It is also possible to work the former purl stitch as a purl, resulting in a garter stitch is fold inner fold.

To review, parts of pleats: 

knife pleats may be put next to each other, and pointing to the right (S) or the left (Z)

Box pleats are composed of alternating right and left knife pleats, pointing away from each other. Inverted box pleats are composed of one left and one right knife pleat, pointing toward each other.

Accordion pleas are a series of knife pleats in which the back of one pleat forms the face of the next 

The subsequent posts followed with the information in on pleated skirts made with lace carriage transfers (from Brother Knitting Techniques Book ) as well as on ribbed folding fabrics, and automating pleats single bed (‘holding’/slip stitch shaping).

Some authors and publications include hems in the category of pleats as “horizontal”. To my mind they merit their own category. Some related techniques that may be used at the bottom, in the body of the knit, at the top, or only on part of the surface may be found in my previous posts hems 1, hems 2, and ruching .

Punch cards to electronics: book symbols and samples

A number of variables need to be considered when adapting punchcard patterns for use on electronic knitting machines. These images pertain to Brother use, but the principles are shared between KM brands. I will add more information as time goes on. Online free downloads for magazines, manuals, etc. may be found at
http://knittsings.com/knitting-machine-manuals/
http://toyotaknitting.blogspot.com/
http://www.aboutknittingmachines.com/
http://s216.photobucket.com/user/Britlady52/library/?sort=3&page=1
machineknittingetc.com
https://www.knititnow.com/ManualAndDocuments/
some additions of late include designs in 12, 18, and 30 stitch repeats in addition to the familiar 24 and 40 ones, and to help with interpretations of symbols:  Japanese symbols for machine knitters 

For a later post including information on scanning and editing published designs electronically see http://alessandrina.com/2018/07/02/numbers-to-gimp-to-create-images-for-electronic-download/
As the transition was made from manual machines, to pushbutton, and then to punchcard selection systems, the early collections included diagrams of  symbols familiar to hand knitters, and interestingly worded text that disappeared or was reduced in later punchcard books. I am presenting information in the order in which it appeared in this particular collection’s paper version, I have not found this volume in the above mentioned sources for free download. Images are gathered from more than the one source, so there is some repetition of information


LACE KNITTING

Punchcards may be used to guide one for hand techniques, here a version of e wrap is used on selected needles for weaving  effect, diagram on upper left is for a different fabric. Punchcard may also be used to help track twisted stitches , cables , and racking This is a 2 carriages patterning operation, so lace extension rails must be used, with each carriage disengaged from the belt while the other is moving across the knitting and back to its resting place. 

SYMBOLS IN PATTERN KNITTING

Below each punchcard, the repeat the is identified in numbers for stitches and rows. The cards presented are the minimum length required for the card to roll smoothly within the reader when joined for continuous knitting (at least 36 rows). Electronic knitters may isolate the individual, smallest repeat, draw only the squares that appear as white in the cards, enter them via mylar or download, and use color reverse.

Skip is aka slip or part. These cards would work for tuck stitch as well, may even tolerate elongation, depending on yarn thickness.

Opposite cam buttons are in use, the fabric changes appearance depending on which of the 2 stitch types is forward, so if instructions with cards are to be followed, then the starting side for pattern in this instance should be COR. Both tuck buttons (or slip) may be used as well, for a different fabric. If the tuck or slip texture is created over an even number of rows (2, 4), changing colors for each paired row sequences can create some interesting color patterns with very short floats akin to planned mosaics and mazes. 

The fair isle patters below are actually poor choices in terms of float control, pushing its limits. It is usually recommended that floats be no wider than 5 stitches, and even then, they may have to be controlled to make the finished garment easier to wear. 

Brother only produces a transfer lace (as opposed to studio simple lace, where the carriage transfers and knits with each pass of the carriage). The lace carriage is the one advancing the punchcard. The knit carriage does not select needles, but rather, knits 2 (or more) plain knit rows

Lace card markings, including for fine lace. In the latter, stitches are transferred and shared between pairs of needles, best knit in a light color, with smooth yarn so surface texture becomes more noticeable.

Lace point cams may be used on the punchcard machine to create vertical bands of lace. This is also achievable on the electronic by programming for knit stitches between vertical (or horizontal bands).

Tuck (left) and weaving (right) may be combined with lace. In these fabrics both carriages are selecting needles, so extension rails must be used. The two column on the left of the cards indicate movements for the lace carriage on left, and the knit carriage on right. Straight arrows indicate single carriage passes, curved ones 2.

Yet another fabric using 2 carriages selecting needles for patterning

Here the “openness” is created by having the appropriate needles out of work, creating ladders in those spaces. Some interesting results can be obtained by transferring the recommended out of work needles’ stitches to the ribber. “air knitting” can help with verifying proper needle placement is in use

to match location of out of work needles to markings for punchcards, which are often given with lines delineating 0 needle position, the image will need to be mirrored horizontally

Suitable for tuck and possibly tolerant of elongation as well:

Punchcard machines mirror motifs when knit. This may not be noticed when copying small repeats, but it becomes more evident in larger ones. For knitting on the 910, the supplied motif would need to be mirrored when programmed to retain the intended direction.

Here are 2 FI samples: the one on the left is fairly evenly distributed, so little if any difference is noticed, the one on the right sends the biker to a different forest

reversal of lettering


and when you think that that is all sorted out in your head, there are these in slip stitch, the direction of stitches matches, because the purl side is used, images reverse on the knit side 

the mirrored punchcards the punchcard change knob has selections for single motif and pattern knitting (KC)

the 910 has settings KC I and II, KC II cancels end needle selection, while in punchcard machines this has to be done manually if the pattern stitch requires it. One such example  is when any patterns are made with needles out of work. End needle selection would make the needles on each side of the empty space select forward and create a knit stitch. In tuck or slip, that would be an out of pattern knit stitch, in FI, a vertical line of the color in the B feeder would appear along on each side of the OOW needles.

Ribber settings and symbols for Brother machines 

Lots of swatches

I have unearthed some of the hundreds of swatches that managed to  move with me when I downsized. They were produced when I used when teaching, often during class experiments and demonstrations. The yarn colors were chosen so I could spot them a mile away as my own (there were shared/public use yarn shelves in studio), and “different” enough so as not to tempt their being taken at any workshops ;-). I am adding them to my photostream as and when I can, and in turn shifting them into albums. In case anyone is interested the link is https://www.flickr.com/photos/drina2/ I am not certain I will have any opportunity to teach again, am hoping if people see them they may be inspired to try some of the techniques in materials and colors of their choosing. I would gladly explain more on any of them if any questions come up when viewing them.

Life changes; Flickr album links

There seem to be times when “life interferes with art” (or at least with one’s wished for schedule) is acutely true. I am in the throes of downsizing, moving and selling my home of 43 years, so there is not a whole lot of knitting or blogging going on.

I will be demonstrating at a Machine Knitting Guild on the West Coast next Saturday, and this had led me to re organizing my Flickr photo stream. For anyone interested, images of my samples albums links:  holding and ruching

Knitting failures: ribber

My previous post including information on brother ribber alignment suggested some things to test when ribbed fabrics are troublesome. I happen to own two 910 machines. The recent 2 posts on using generated mazes addressed developing the repeat for use in a punchcard model machine, but for the sake of speed I knit my samples on the electronic. In attempting to knit DBJ swatches relating the motif, I encountered random dropped stitches on the main bed, as may be seen in the last swatch pictured.

My Brother 850 ribber rarely gets used. I prefer to knit DBJ on my Passap, which can accept PC downloads.  With the 850 in place, all things I could think of were checked: ribber was balanced, at the correct height, brother ribber brackets and not studio ones in place by mistake, correct ribber sinker plate for model, all parts oiled, good condition needle retainer bar on main bed, no needles that vaguely look like they need to be replaced, familiar yarn in use. Knitting fabric single bed with ribber engaged and weights gives expected results with no problems, while dbj, no matter the setting, begins to drop stitches randomly or in groups on main bed (tried different amounts of weight as well). I did not try to use a fine knit bar, since the yarn in use had not required it in the past.  After spending way too much time rechecking everything yet again, I moved the knitting close to color changer, away from the center of the machine, and the darn thing knit perfectly. Back to center, same problem as before. I cannot see any noticeable difference in spacing between beds or gate pegs in the center, assume there may be an issue with some bowing, and briefly I got things to knit properly by lifting the middle of the bed up a bit with a support. A second shot at it with support failed. I even changed needles in the middle of the main bed. A few instances of mis patterning were probably due to static, relieved by using a vaporizer in the knitting room for a while. I took the ribber out of sheer stubbornness, removed it, slapped it on my second 910, using the same needle retainer bar on the main bed, and knit the same pattern with only one dropped stitch and one mis patterning error, knitting as fast as possible. I am admittedly flummoxed. The only thing I did not try was to use the troublesome 910 on a different knitting table. Some days are meant for walks on the beach and eating chocolate instead of knitting ;-).

 

Carpet or pile stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 2

Trial swatches do not necessarily require a permanent edge. A main bed cast on with all open stitches is familiar to knitters accustomed to using a single bed Brother cast on comb. A quick version of the same type of cast on is also doable when both beds are in use, and the goal is to knit all stitches only on one bed or the other. The broken toe cast on for rib is so called because if comb and weights are hung in the wrong location on the needle bed, when stitches on the opposite bed are dropped, so will the comb be along with weights, heading for your feet. If the ribber is going to be the bed doing the knitting that anchors dropped stitches or pile in Brother kms, please note: prongs of ribber comb line up directly in front of main bed needles (blue arrow) and to each side of the loops on ribber bed needles (red arrow). The ribber comb wires will anchor down loops on needle bed where plain knit rows will be formed. As mentioned above, this method will result in stitches all being open, does not produce a permanent edge, is suitable for quick swatching or for waste yarn at the bottom of weighted fabric. It is possible to perform this cast on with ribber comb with wire already inserted in both brands, but the broken toe method is potentially less hazardous to needle health.brokent_toe_arrowsAnalyzing what is required to move between km brands with the goal of achieving 2 color or isolated pile motifs: in Passap with the back bed set to FX, one arrow key, EON pusher/ needle selection changes every 2 rows. In Brother this may be achieved on the main bed by pushing in one tuck button and programming a repeat.  The alternate, adjacent cam button, left in its normal position, will knit every stitch when knitting direction is reversed regardless of whether any needle selection is happening. On the ribber lili buttons may be used for alternate needle selection. Its levers determine whether tucking or slipping, in one direction or both, occur. The number of stitches on the ribber must be even. An easy visual check is to check markings on needle tape, which consist of what I refer to as dashes and blanks. For an even number begin with one, end with the other.  Passap will automatically revert to the alternate pusher for patterning on the subsequent 2 rows. In using lilis this is not an automatic function, and some handwork is required to obtain the same effect by changing first needle selection every third row as seen in this post.

If the ribber is chosen as the loop making bed, selection there needs to be manual for any pattern other than across whole rows. In my swatch, to knit across all needles the ribber carriage is set to slip in one direction, knit in the other. The all knit rows in pile knitting need to follow the ones with tuck loops on the opposite bed.  Extra needles are on main bed, which creates the fabric backing. The ribber carriage can be disengaged and used to drop stitches after all knit row on the main bed.

In the actual knitting, if plain one color pile with plain color backing is the goal, some rules may be broken. The thickest, most stable pile is achieved when the yarn anchoring the loops is as dense as possible. If the goal is to knit every stitch across each row to create loops and in turn drop them, one is in fact working an every needle rib. This makes it possible to create tuck loops on either bed creating the backing across the whole row, because in fact there are stitches on each side of the tuck loop on the opposing bed anchoring it in place. Normally when 2 or more needles tuck side by side, rather than the stitch formation usually seen in tuck, the loops do not get anchored, drop off, and create a float like those seen in slip stitch patterns.

In my first sample, the fabric is cast on the main bed, the loops are formed on the ribber. The carriages are set for main bed to tuck traveling to right, knitting to left. The ribber is set to slip to left, knit to right. The ribber is used to drop the stitches, simply by disengaging it from the main bed, and running it across from one side to the other. Dropping stitches occurs (on either bed) after all stitches have been slipped there for one row (no needle selection if patterning). Starting side for my swatches was on the left of the machine. It is helpful to have a ruler or tool to help push loops down between the beds after dropping each row of loops, and also to occasionally drop the ribber in order to check whether any loops may be caught on gate pegs.

In this swatch I had some problems (blue arrow) on the right side related to changes in tension while determining what might be the best. Section 1 has every needle tucking on the main bed. Section (2) begins to try to emulate the Passap pusher selection using an EON 2 row tuck repeat on the main bed, resulting in things going awol and loose, even at tightest tension possible on the main bed. Any time patterning is used on the main bed, end needle selection is cancelled (KCII). The tuck repeat2 row tuck

the settings (here lili buttons are not in use1X1 card MBno lili2

ribber loops2To create every needle loops for pile on the main bed: CO is on ribber. With settings on image below left (no lili buttons in use), the ribber tucks loops on every needle traveling to right, knit all stitches moving to left. Moving to the right the main bed knits on every needle, slips whole row moving to left, giving the opportunity to drop stitches off. With settings on below right, lili buttons are in use, and the ribber now produces an EON needle selection, every row. Left alone the selection is what would be seen using the 1X1 card on the main bed, its repeat 1X1tuckloops on MBThe yellow yarn is a 2/8 good quality wool knit at 4.2 on main bed, 3.2 on ribber. Switching to a rayon twist of similar thickness created instant havoc. The dark grey was a mill end, tighter twist 2/8 wool. Red arrows show what happens when loops are caught up on gate pegs and not immediately noticed. The green arrow indicates longer loops that can happen when knit stitch on either side on the opposite bed do not knit off properly. The result is a dense wool fabric, so the tendency to roll at top and bottom of each piece toward the “knit” side of the fabric needs to be considered at top and bottom edges of finished pieces.

knit with no lili buttons in usemain bed loops2

In 2 color knitting, or creating isolated motifs whether on one color or striped ground, anchoring loops by tucking on every needle is no longer possible, making reverting to EON needle selection on ribber a necessity. The results are dramatically different. These swatches were made using lili buttons or hand selection on ribber, loops on main bed. If things don’t work in one color, they will not in 2, so one color, every needle pile is a place to start evaluating the results

1X1 lili selection left me with “where are the loops?”white_lili

In bottom section here I tried 1X1 hand selection for 2 consecutive rows,  the narrow band in center back was back to 1X1 to separate areas using lilis, at the top I used lili buttons and brought an extra needle into work on ribber before traveling to right every third row (making needles in work on ribber an odd number), returning it to out of work before knitting back to right. Dropping stitches every 4 rows makes tracking the sequence easier. The resulting pile is far more “subtle” than samples worked with every needle tucking on the bed creating the backingyelllow-lili_500

So far I still have had no luck with getting anything that does not look like a variant of drop stitch lace when attempting patterns separated for 2 color knitting, either in embossed one color, or in striped 2 color versions.

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

IMG_1906