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.

A shawl tale 2

Recent runway knits include lots of color/ technique patches, and ruffles galore. I no longer share that information here, for those interested they may be found in my pinterest boards http://pinterest.com/manydrina/

My “spider web” shawl has been a popular for sale item for me for a very long time. From time to time the line was joined by chenille and felted ones with variations in shape

wool rayonfelted wool chenille 

Most of my chenille inventory traveled with me to my new residence. The yarn has some challenges in knitting and handling, which may relate to the core content holding the fibers in place, and its twist. Lace holes may disappear with blocking, fibers shed sporadically with washing, and so on. The quality and behavior is not necessarily price or source dependent. Swatching is always worth it. As I work on new ideas, I occasionally decide to “wing it”. I prefer shawls that work with a bit of neck shaping rather than simple triangles. So I thought: faroese style shawl, 2 triangles and a shape with a bit of holding at the center, just “knit it”. The first triangle knit was the striped section, shaped with increases from 3 stitches to desired width. The wedge section had interesting issues with biasing, even with blocking . The solid green triangle, shaped with decreases actually knit to a size different enough so it had to be unravelled and re knit. There are many hand knitting patterns published that offer directions for “asymmetrical” shawls, which use such differences as design features, and that certainly can be an option in machine knitting as well. Calling the item a shawlette or scarf also discounts many issues. That said, I got this sort of shapeand wanted this, with close to equal shaping on  either side of the center wedge

The original idea had been to create a ruffled edging with color patterning using the slip setting, automating needle selection, pattern, and shaping. Brother has Imo created the worst single bed color changer on the market. It is the only one I know of where the yarn does not leave the changer and in turn travel with the knit carriage sinker plate. The chenille yarns simply did not clear it properly for me, sticking together, and looping far too easily (though smooth yarns had no issues). So then my 910 got set up, and I thought to try knitting with 2 carriages. For the pattern I wanted to create even this involved issues with carrying yarn up the design stripes, and after trying slip and FI patterning I gave up and went for the KISS principle, returning to single color shaping using holding to create the ruffled edging.

the finished chenille shawl

purl side

Some of the steps I would do differently or add in future pieces:

1.definitely gauge swatch, perhaps even draft shapes on knit leader and use it to guide triangle (or other shaping) for shawl segments

2. shape both large triangles with decreases, requiring one to be started on waste yarn (yellow line) and rehung prior to section knit in holding. Red arrows indicate direction of knitting for each piece

3. yarn markers every X # of rows along outer edge of shawl or on inner ruffle edge if it is knit separately, may be helpful both for seam as you knit, or later for joining the ruffle by hand

4. if color changer is required, try to use the double color changer, with knitting weighted as for rib (this is a very viable option for frequent color changes on bulky machine). Drawback here is the pattern is no longer immediately visible, so any errors or dropped stitches may be missed in time for immediate repair.

…………….

 

 

Return to circles, knit “pies”, miters and spirals 4

I  have gotten used to seeing charts for crochet in the round, and prefer charts to written instructions in knitting as well. My hand knitting has usually been project oriented in terms of experimentation or exploration. Reviewing information provided by both Zimmermann and Thomas in their early publications has led me to new appreciation and admiration for their efforts and for the knowledge made available to their readers, and not just in their time.

Looking at the additional medallions by Mary Thomas, I thought I would play with attempting to illustrate them, some in rounds rather than individual wedges lining up flat with blank or greyed out squares between them. The first example is my imagined square medallion (straight, geometric), p. 239 in my Dover edition 1972, and created in Excel. The work is begun on 8 stitches, divided evenly among 4 needles, knitting with a fifth. The cast on is equal to double the number of sides of the square geometric shape, 4. A hexagon would begin with 12 (6X2), an octagon with 16 (8X2). In this instance the increases are arranged at the beginning and end of stitches on every needle.  When compiling information on machine knitting, I generally swatch to proof ideas. I am not planning on making accompanying samples or swatches for these.

I knit primarily on the machine, and prefer hand knitting on long straight needles as opposed to rounds, so I find myself often referring to counts as rows rather than rounds. For square medallions cast on 8 stitches, divided on 4 needles, knitting with a fifth. In all patterns after cast on row is divided, first round is knit in back of all stitches to flatten them. Stitch counts after increases sorted high to low are helpful when knitting from the outside edge in, and in that instance they become decreases. For the square medallions they are shown in that order, with counts for many more rounds than those in the illustrations. Beginning with the pentagon, they reflect stitch counts from the start of each segment shown.
The windmill medallion (square, p. 240) instructions given: beginning on round 6 “M1 into the second stitch from the beginning and the third stitch from the end of each needle. Continue thus on all even rounds”

The maltese cross medallion (square, p. 240) lines up the M1 increases side by side, in the center of each wedge. Increases are grouped together at the center of each of 4 needles in use may also be grouped on either side of 2 center stitches they may also be grouped on either side of 2 center stitches In a square medallion (bias, swirl, pp. 241-242) increases are placed on only one side, at the beginning of each wedge. Yarn overs are used to create eyelets for more ease when attempting to keep the square flat, and the increase round is to be repeated “as required”. If double yarn overs are used, drop the second yarn over on the next round. They are made before the stitch. Single increases are to be made each round. Here are the wedge shapes side by sidearound a center core For a pentagonal medallion (pp. 242-43) cast on 10 stitches divided evenly, or as number of segments increase, work 2 sections or more on any one needle. For the swirl double yarn overs may be needed to keep the work flat. Thinner yarns may require additional knit rows between increases. Stitch counts For hexagonal medallions (p. 243) cast on 12  stitches, two sections are placed on each of three needles, knitting is done with a fourth. Each increase round will add 12 stitches; 2 or possibly even 3 rounds may be needed between each increase row to keep the shape flat. STS column reflects their number after increases have been made 
The hexagonal medallion swirl (p. 243) is shown using both M1 and YO increases. Here the rate of increase in rounds is slower than above (2 per needle as opposed to 4), so increase rounds are separated by only one row knitThe octagonal medallions (pp.244-245) are cast on 16 stitches, divided on 4 needles and knit with a fifth. To make a smaller center hole, 8 stitches may be cast on, doubled on the next round, and then divided. The first geometric medallion shows increases (4 per segment, 16 per round) in single rounds, requiring several knitting rounds between the increases. The second medallion uses more frequently (2 per segment, 8 per round), so single all knit rows separate roundsFor the octagonal medallion swirl  (p.245) directions are the same as for the hexagonal one, with a 4th segment providing extra sidesIf the perimeter or circumference of the shape to be knit are known, the process may be reversed from the edge in, with decreases replacing increases. The advantage to working from the center out is that adjustments i.e. extra knit rows between increases, changing increases to yarn over(s) for added ease or decoration, etc. may be made far more easily as the work grows. Considerations should be given to leans of M1 stitches so they point in opposite directions on alternating sides. Motif and pattern placement can only be planned after these building units have been sorted out.

Two online guides for increases in hand knitting and their results:
http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/index.php/component/content/article/35-features/1041-increasing-your-options
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter09/FEATwin09TT.php

another variation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIy0LtyIH2s

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

Ribber cast on comb/ open stitch single bed cast on

My first encounter using a ribber cast on comb for open edge single bed knitting was in using the Passap machine. Its use for this purpose is possible on other brands as well. It provides an easy way to deal with waste yarn and weight application on ribbed fabrics.  I like using ribber cast on combs when knitting single bed to distribute weight evenly across pieces if needed. A second comb may be inserted as knitting grows. Weights may then be removed and moved up, and so on. Unevenly distributing weight causes elongated stitches in those areas, and makes shaped knitting unpredictable unless the ratio of weight to width of knitting is maintained. Here the topic is using the ribber comb in single bed open cast on and hanging hems.

My Japanese machines are used chiefly for production of single bed items, so usually they are ribber free. Balancing the ribber on older KMs can be fussy, so once the ribber is up, working, and well balanced, my recommendation is to leave it in place if it is going to be used on a regular basis.

For this technique use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., brand is not relevant, only tooth spacing is. It is possible to cut ribber cast on combs into different widths for use when knitting is planned on fewer stitches than those accommodated by their available commercial widths. In the yarn used in my swatches, I found knitting the first row at stocking stitch tension created large enough stitches for later picking up and hanging the hem. Test your yarn, if necessary use a looser tension for the “cast on” row, and evaluate any inside hem “drop” if looser stitch size is used.

Remove wire from comb. Bring the comb up and between needles to be used, and  re insert wire. Needles and latches will need to travel easily under the wire when the first knit row takes place. 

The knit carriage will not clear the comb properly because of the location of its brushes, etc. For the “cast on” row, exchange the sinker plate on your knit carriage for that normally used with the ribber. The first photo below shows the approximate location for the comb during the first row knit. Needles are centered between the teeth, the teeth themselves line up with gate pegs. The comb needs to be manually held in place, since there is no opposing bed in use to help balance it. The latter would ease the process in wider pieces of knit. The ribber sinker plate has no brushes or wheels to anchor knitting on the knitting bed; any rows knit single bed using it, will need to have needles brought out to hold position prior to knitting each row for all stitches to be formed properly

the comb in positiona pass is made slowly with the ribber sinker plate in place the comb is droppedbring all needles out to hold position knit one more row, returning to starting positionchange sinker plate on knit carriage, proceed with hemthe comb will then need to be lifted up to close the hemfirst rest a knitting needle or similar tool on the open hem  lift comb up enclosing knitting needle, add weightslift comb perpendicular to needles, move it forward sightly for a better view of stitchesneedles (red dot) need to enter the stitches through their center (yellow highlight), not their side (orange highlight) or stitches will later drop; push needles through the center of each stitch on comb continue across the bed 

remove wire from comb, lift it up and offremove weights and knitting needle; wrap cut yarn end around last needle on that side pick up from row below to fill in “missing single stitch” on opposite sidecomplete hem with looser joining row, return to standard tension, continue knitting 

To achieve joining hems in this manner with the ribber in place, though possible on both beds, it is quickest to cast on the back bed (Passap) or on the knit bed (Brother, etc.). Hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up as shown above, with the flow combs/ gate pegs, and the needled can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the front bed/ ribber, and tilts the comb against the back/ knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the lock or carriage across. Take the locks / carriages across to opposite side, drop the comb and weigh it, knit 2 rows on Passap before using strippers. In Japanese kms drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit on the main bed.

“bump”: Passap comb“bumps”: Brother comb 

For other purposes and an edge similar to a “weaving cast on” executed on Japanese machines use EON for the “cast on row”, then bring into work and add the rest of the needles prior to knitting the second row.

Machine knit hems 2

Hems 1: previous post. Guidelines generally given for stocking stitch hems do not take into consideration if the body of the knit is going to be considerably narrower or wider than stocking stitch, and whether the purl side of the fabric is to be used as the “public side”. In the latter case the solution is simply to reverse tension changes for the inside to the outside of the hem. For wider or narrower fabrics the number of stitches for the hems may need to be recalculated, depending on whether a series of simple tension adjustments can solve the problem. Fiber content, yarn weight, even color can affect results, so always test a swatch. It is possible to knit tubular hems using the ribber, but here the discussion is for single bed only.

Hems at the beginning: cast on and knit several rows of waste yarn, ending with ravel cord. Following step 1 below: set the stitch dial one number lower than that used originally in stockinette knitting. Knit the number of rows required for the inside of the hem. Loosen tension by 2 numbers for one row  (helps get a neater turning row). Tighten tension by one to original stockinette tension, and proceed as indicated in steps 2 and 3 below. Illustrations are from Brother techniques Book, pp. 16 and 17.

Picot hems: odd number of needles are required. 1: Cast on an odd number of stitches and knit several rows of waste knitting followed by 1 row knit with ravel cord. Set the stitch dial one full number (guideline) tighter than the main yarn and knit as many rows as required for the depth of the hem.  2: Picots are made by transferring stitches onto adjacent needles, making transfers to either left or right (shown in illustrations below). 3: Reset stitch dial to stockinette tension and knit the same number of rows. 4: Place the sinker loops on the corresponding needles, making sure to pick up the edge sinker loop as well. Directions usually say to pull our ravel cord at this point,  I like to knit a few rows and to make certain things have knit properly before removing the cord. 5: set the stitch dial 2-3 whole numbers higher than the stocking stitch tension and knit one row. This keeps the joining row from bulging out due to its double thickness. 6: Reset tension dial to stocking stitch tension and continue to knit.
After transfers, always check that proper transfers have indeed been made, and that each needle holds 2 stitches. Bringing all needles out to E before knitting the next row helps facilitate a visual check.

Hems with the 1X1 needle arrangement below will often require at least one more row for the outside of the hem than for the backing, since the EON produced stitches will grow in size and lengthen when the fabric is set
In step number 3 the e wrapped row essentially casts on on those empty needles, so that when the following row is knit, full stitches are formed on each needle, and when the hem is folded any appearance of eyelets is minimized.

for illustration the e wrap row in a contrasting color (white is acrylic fiber)continuing to knit hem exterior after some pressing hem interior

Alternate method to step 3, producing a picot at the turn of the hem: bring empty needles out to hold position, knit across to opposite side. With the first pass loops will form on empty needles, with the second pass reversing direction, an eyelet is formed and full knitting is restored for the outside hem. The EON knitting tends to grow in length. I  prefer to reduce EON tension by at least 2 numbers. Test on a swatch to determine the percentage of total rows needed to place the picot at the hem fold rather than having it roll out to the knit side, it will vary depending on yarn used.

For the picot hem transfers using the lace carriage: after knitting with waste yarn and ravel cord, knit half the depth of the hem. Place the Lace carriage opposite the knit carriage, on either the left or right hand side. Starting with the second needle from either side, bring forward every other needle to D position using the 1X1 needle pusher. End needles must be in B position. Move the lace carriage to opposite side, every other stitch will now be transferred onto the adjacent needle. Remove the carriage by using the release button, and continue to knit as described above.

Again, I like to knit several rows after picking up stitches, completing the hem, before removing ravel cord and waste yarn.

If you prefer not to use waste yarn, for inside hem on every needle  (method 1 from the previous post). If using the comb: e wrap eon on an odd number of needles, hang cast on comb with teeth pointing away from you, proceed as below.Using the cast on comb to speed up rehanging stitches to close hem: a foreign language video showing its use on mock rib at the top of socks. The method can be used for any configuration needle set ups. It is possible to use ribber cast on combs for same purpose, I will address that in another post. When EON loops are used to join hem, the inside of the hem will “drop” some when set, so fewer rows are required on the inside hem.

When hanging any hem, one stitch is lost on the side of the cut yarn end. Also, on the knot side the stitch may be less noticeable, so you want to make certain that that outside loop/ stitch is also included in the count (green arrow)

I like to secure the main color yarn end as seen below around the adjoining empty needle as seen below

continue knittingforgot ravel cord? find outside of last stitch knit  in waste yarn, opposite  yarn ends clip stitch, pull out “ravel cord”, continue knitting

Note: ravel cord ideally should be smooth, non shedding fiber, and strong enough not to break when pulled on. If like fibers are used and they shed as the cord is removed, you may have tiny fibers of the contrasting color permanently mating with your garment yarn. Check for any knots in cord at the each side of the knit before pulling it out.

A look at single bed mock rib

The Brother Knitting Techniques book has series of illustrations on how to manage a mock rib in various configurations on pages 7-15. The manual is now available for free download online, and is an excellent reference.

This technique requires waste yarn start, followed by a row of ravel cord. The resulting knit creates ladders or stitches that will in turn be dropped, then latched up and reformed into knit stitches on the purl ground. Reducing the knit tension by as much as 2-3 numbers is recommended after the ravel cord row.

The needles marked in blue and green in the first image below are needles that are pulled back to A position prior to starting the piece.  After the waste yarn and ravel cord (hatched yellow) start, three rows are knit with the garment yarn. Using a transfer tool, pick up the sinker loops from the first row knit (orange), and hang them on the corresponding needles on the diagram (follow red arrows).

One may at this point continue with needles (green) left out of work, or return the needles (blue) to work position. If needles are left OOW, ladders will continue to be created. If they are returned to work, a loop is created on the empty needle on the first knit pass, formed into a stitch on the second pass, resulting in an eyelet. Every needle treated in this manner will now be knitting. If stitches rather than ladders are formed for the height of the rib, then those stitches (blue) will need to be dropped, and in turn latched up. In both instances the latch tool goes under the first ladder created, 2 rows are skipped, the latch tool then catches the third parallel row, and pulls it through the first to make the required knit stitch. The process continues up the height of the “rib”. In this illustration the main yarn begins to knit with COL.

A 2X2 rib is possible. From the Techniques book: cast on with waste yarn and ravel cord (1, 2)

an alternate: cast on with waste yarn and and ravel cord, knit 3 rows

pick up sinker loop from a knit stitch, hang on 1 of  the 2 NOOW (R)

knit height of rib 

latch up ladder as shown in drawings above 

drop/ unravel the second stitch to be latched up (L)

dropped stitches reformed for rib 

continue across row, then proceed with main body of knit 

the rib off the machine 

stretched out

My sample was knit in a 2/15 acrylic, a bit thin for this technique, and if pressed, the fabric would be flattened permanently. If the intent is to have the rib retain it “spring and stretch” it is best to use a yarn with memory, such as wool. If a slip stitches or FI are to be used for the body of the knit, they will create a much denser fabric. The yarn in the rib may in turn need to be doubled to produce enough substance. As always swatching is recommended before committing to a large piece in any technique.

From the Brother Techniques Book a few more to try: 

2X1 rib using slip setting 

2 X 2 rib: working with Brother cast on comb, full text  using waste yarn