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

Website changes

I may be changing web host and am experimenting with themes in my recently updated version of WordPress. This particular one renders content more easily viewable in portable devices, where sidebars are now available by toggling screens. Please excuse any inconvenience while issues are being sorted out, look for more frequent posts and changes in the new year.

Low tech moment/ memories

My 910 electronic of late has had some erratic patterning I cannot explain, and today the laptop (replaced an older dell) containing all my Passap design files  and knitting software may have bit the dust (I used bit knitter back in amiga days, and  later a cable from England  and PC for downloading, so this is like entering a time machine). As a result, for the first time in a couple of decades I am back to using something that would almost qualify for a “does anyone know what this is?” post

It’s back to the drawing board, literally, and to getting card, sleeves and ink to get read properly by the KM. One thing that is helpful with the long lines especially, and staying within them, is black drafting tape from stationers that sell architectural supplies (kept that). White correction tape can cover up any mistakes (since markings need to be in ultra black ink), and I may have ditched all I had thinking I might never again actually have any use for it. Happiness is…

follow up 9/10: The original error message on black screen was “non system disk or disk error, replace and press any key when ready”. I had recently transferred some ancient files from floppies onto my hard drive via a floppy drive, and somehow it appears the system wanted to boot from that, even though it is had not been connected  since the download (there was nothing in the disk drive). Via an online search I found information on BIOS, changing boot sequences, and learned what some of the F keys do on a PC.

http://www.auslogics.com/en/turbo-windows/change-BIOS-set… was a site I found helpful.

That said, wincrea took its turn, gave me an error message I had no idea even existed in loading 2 out of 6 new patterns, so my puzzles are are multiplying. Online communities are great for getting help, especially for those of us that don’t have technical backup easily available. Hard to imagine life if the power goes out! BTW: yes, I have a punchcard machine for a spare, just in case….

Frome lace chart to punchcard 4: a border tale

A forum post inquired on adapting the following border repeat for use on a punchcard Brother KM, using the lace carriage: the repeat is 14 stitches wide as was given below

Because of repeat restriction in punchcard knitting, the best way to match the above chart is through the use of hand techniques. The image below shows needle bed markings (in water soluble pen) to help in tracking hand transfers; the long line is the location for the center triple stich after stitch transfers, the dots place the first single transfers made toward the center long line on the KM, away from the single needle space between them

this is the result of the hand transfers; the fuzz on the left is a manufacturer’s yarn knot

a simplified repeat  keeping some of the elements, but missing that center ridge, adjusted to a 12 stitch repeat for use with punchcard; the missing lace hole was an error in punching out the card

the card for it, showing the correction also marked in red

since the intended use is for a border, it is not necessary to punch more than above; the first row for selecting to right with the lace carriage is marked, blue shows location for knitting 2 rows with knit carriage; the sequence is an easy 4 passes with the lace carriage, followed by 2 with knit carriage

another option’s results, creating the center ridge as in the hand knit: not identical, but related

the corresponding card: knit 2 rows after every 6 passes with LC, except for the last repeat segment, where LC makes 4 passes prior to continuing with KC and knitting beyond the border

If using cards I would recommend knitting several rows with waste yarn before casting on (as loosely as possible) and continuing in lace. The very bottom will want to curl toward the knit side of the garment, so cast on edge may require additional treatment to keep it from doing so.

for one more repeat please see next post

Re: copying/pasting my articles

I recently have received some posts asking  in the line of “Is it possible for me to copy and paste your articles for my blog site or is that copyright infringement?” I have chosen to share information freely here, appreciate the question. There certainly is no way to police what people do with the data, and google searches or sites such as tumblr sometimes will turn up some photos/info with credit as to its origins missing. I have made it a habit when posting articles compiled by others to give them credit, with direct links to their publications as provided by them, would appreciate the same courtesy being extended if my own information is to be shared on the web. TIA.