How years do fly! In “cleaning up” PDFs I found the following, which is actually composed of saved scans of an article I wrote in 1998 (is it really 2011 now?) in my amiga/commodore computer days. The “series” never did happen, the newsletter has long been out of print. The subject was E6000 knitting from Japanese knitting pattern repeats. Binder1
The goal is to produce a large-scale mesh without hand techniques or extra steps.
In both slip and tuck, every punched hole, black square in mylar, or pixel in electronic downloads that bring a needle out to D position (for some unfathomable reason Brother needle positions go A, B, D, E, poor C got skipped) will result in a knit stitch. In the slip setting the non selected needles get skipped creating floats, while in the tuck setting, the non selected needles will hold a loop in the needle hook until that needle is returned to the D position. Side-by-side loops are troublesome in any stitch type. That said, tuck can be employed to sequentially lay down loops in some patterns where the lace carriage moves to produce side by side empty needles as part of the planned design.
The usual caution with such fabrics: extension rails must be used since both carriages engage the belt. The yarn needs to be “friendly” enough to not break easily. Since stitches travel across a wider gap than in single eyelet lace, the tension needs to be looser as well. Small changes can make a big difference, and so can patience. If end stitches are selected prior to the lace carriage making the next row of transfers, push them back to B manually so as not to produce decreases or dropped stitches.
Working the punchcard on a punchcard machine:
The lace carriage is set for normal lace, preselects the first row of knitting with the punchcard not locked on its first pass to the right. The KH carriage is set on KC I with both tuck buttons depressed. Each carriage works in sequences of 4 passes throughout.
Actions performed by the carriages as they make their next pass to the opposite side:
COL: moves to the right with no preselection
COR: no transfers, preselects for transfers to the right
COL: transfers to the right, preselects transfers to the left
COR: transfers to the left, preselects for the first tuck row. There will be 3 single needles with 3 stitches on each of them and two empty needles on each side
COR: knits first tuck row, makes the same preselection
COL: knits second tuck row, preselect the next tuck row, on a different needle position
COR: knits third tuck row, in the alternate location, preselects for all knit row
COL: knits all stitches, preselects blank row
Some observations: the top bind off as seen in the swatch below, was tight for the fabric. To maximize its width, the bind-off should be around at least 2 gate pegs, even 3 if needed. This allows for completing the task on the machine without adding more work and adding hand techniques. Tuck stitch produces a knit that tends to be short and wide, lace wants to open up with blocking as well, so this fabric definitely will want to spread. The top approximate 1/3 of the swatch below was kit using the same white yarn but in standard single needle mesh, making the size difference in “holes” created with the tuck method easy to see. The white is a 2/8 wool, the other a 16/2 mystery fiber I usually use as waste yarn.
For me this experiment will probably fall in the “now that I’ve done it, broken several rules, and have a good result I am over it” category.
Transferring any single stitch to the adjacent needle will create a loop in that empty needle on the next pass of the knit carriage, and form that loop into a completed stitch on the second KH pass as it travels back to its original position. There are some constants in knit fabrics. For example, in lace, if all transfers are made in one direction, particularly in meshes, the fabric biases. Great if you want a bias fabric, not so if the original plan was to produce a balanced one. The cure: to alternate the direction of transfers sequentially, or in series. If done in series the result is a vertical zigzag with movement in the edges of the fabric to echo the bias direction in the knit.
If two adjacent needles (or more) are left empty, the first KH pass will create loops on those same needles. Without the knitter’s intervention and manipulation of at least some of those loops the space rather than creating holes, will be producing “ladders”. Ladder fabrics whether in combination with lace holes or not can be interesting, often involve hand techniques to make them more so, but the topic of the moment is transferred lace.
For knit stitches to form in/with the single second pass of the knit carriage, at least every other needle must have a loop or stitch on it. If two adjacent needles are empty one of several ways to achieve a larger round hole is to knit the first row, drop off one of the 2 “loops” created, continue knitting; this technique will create a secondary smaller hole in the fabric, it is a matter of preference as to whether this effect is acceptable.
To avoid a secondary “hole”, the method I prefer is to insert a one-eyed transfer tool back to front through the dropped off yarn, twist 180 degrees either direction, forming an “e”, and rehang the twisted stitch on the empty needle, thus “casting” that stitch on. This technique is sometimes used for buttonholes (not the best for that purpose). It is one way to bring the familiar e wrap used at the beginning of some knits into the body of a swatch/ garment. As the second knit row is completed the larger, “round” hole is now achieved.
In “automatic” slip small slits/holes appear where sequential rows of knitting occur, creating secondary patterns (seen in doilies).
It is up to the knitter to decide which trade-offs are acceptable ones. “Automating” functions add to design time and sorting out modifications to repeats but can speed up the final knitting process and facilitate accuracy when one transits from swatch to garment construction.
Lace cards can be planned to incorporate some larger holes, adding hand techniques to the mix.
And then there is the purposeful loss of holes, ie. in fine lace where the yarn is not transferred to but rather shared with the adjacent needle, creating a textured look rather than a hole filled one unless very thin yarn is in use.
At about the time I began my recent lace obsession, and pre my trying to actually use excel instead of simply knowing it lived in my computer, a friend was trying to work on a lace repeat that was found online as part of Staceyjoy’s knitting stitch portfolio, now part of the site. As a result, the downloadable pdf below bears the name it does, includes my how/to suggestions for the journey from electronic single repeat to punchcard, and the resulting swatch. One additional tip: when working with copies it is good to mark tops and bottoms clearly, especially if combining pieces of patterns so as to avoid marking/punching and vertical mirroring mistakes.
There are several brand KMs still around and in use, most are no longer being manufactured. Questions often come up on using one KM brand pattern card on another. Card readers inside the machine are below eye level, so exterior number/other markings on cards or mylars reflect that, providing the knitter with a visual cue as to where they “are” in the repeat. If machines pre select, the needle selection may not bear any relationship to actual design row on the punched card or mylar as opposed to what one “sees”. In addition to this variable in lace one often has 2 carriages in use. It is possible to develop cards etc. from lace hand knitting graphs, but there is enough “going on” so a good place where to start experimenting is with pre-drawn ones. Lace preselection on any single row may have no obvious relationship to where the lace hole will ultimately end up.
Here are some random facts gathered from both sources and experience, they are applicable only if the knit carriage is set for plain knitting and no other function ie. slip or tuck is involved; plain knit rows do not advance the card reading mechanisms. In mixed structure fabrics, the rules change.
the Brother and Toyota lace cards can be used on studio punchcard machines as long as they are patterns which have 2 blank rows after each transfer sequence
Brother and Toyota have u shaped arrows to identify when to knit with the knit carriage, both brands read cards 7 rows down
the first row on Brother is transferred from right to left, while on Toyota it is transferred from left to right; Brother and Toyota cards are interchangeable provided the card is mirrored vertically (or a simple cheat: use carriages on opposite sides of usual)
for Studio knitting find the row number of the U shaped arrow and circle the 2nd and 3d row below that row that number to identify rows in which carriage is changed/set to knit
Brother ends with 2 blank rows
Studio starts with 2 blank rows
on Studio begin brother card by locking card 4 rows before row 1, on row 3
Brother/Knitking lace carriage does not carry yarn, does not knit or trip the row counter; the stitches get transferred in the direction that the lace carriage is being pushed
Studio/Singer has a lace carriage available that transfers as it knits; on more complex laces one is sometimes instructed to set the carriage not to knit for a specified number of rows, the yarn may be removed, other adjustments are often required
though Studio and Brother lace cards are not directly interchangeable; aside from the numbering issue the transfer method is different, so a studio lace card “working” on Brother or vice versa is a happy accident and likely to result in a “different” fabric
Brother information is applicable to its “new” clone, Taitexma
A few references :
Machine Knitting: the Technique of Lace by Kathleen Kinder
Knitting Lace and A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics by Susanna Lewis
Machine Knitting: the Technique of Pattern Card Design by Denise Musk
John Allen’s Treasury of Machine Knitting Stitches
The Harmony Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches (their Colorful Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches does not include lace)
322 Machine Knitting Stitches (Sterling Publishing,1988)
Both Brother and Studio published punchcard volumes, now out of print.