The tarn knit on Brother 260

Knitting the T-shirt yarn on the 260 is possible. As when using any other unknown yarn it is a good idea to begin to knit with a familiar one. Space dyed segments are knit with worsted weight wool. An every needle tarn knit is hard to push for both the operator and the KM, making a wide, taut fabric. The transition multi-colored stripe is to allow for the transfer of stitches in use to every other needle set up. Subsequent tarn sections follow in plain knit, every other needle tucking in alternate needles in one direction, knitting in other, by pulling them to hold-position, and after some plain knitting lastly by tucking on alternate EON in one direction, knitting in opposite direction, using the studio #2 card and automatic needle selection. Most of the swatch is knit at T8, the very top at T4, all with lots of weight. The last segment was harder to knit, is stiffer, but stitches get forced apart on the knit side, making it more interesting.

the purl side

the bits of color are from a faded image printed on the Tshirt’s exterior

the punchcard repeat

Using Studio mylar sheets on brother KMs 1

Factory “drawn” Studio mylar sheets ie for 560 model KMs will work on the Brother 910 with some adjustments. Just as when using punchcards, the card reader drum as well as the mylar scanner “see” a different row as row 1 than the alternate brand KM.
The image below is a quick scan of positions of black/white squares on Studio mylar with a superimposed, unmarked one for Brother. The holes for movement of the mylar occur in just about nearly the same location. The first issue at hand is to draw a set line in the proper position for Brother pattern reading (traces of pencil line on the red studio mylar may be seen underneath the blue brother markings). Some machines are fussier than others with the set position, and I found drawing the line by placing the denser studio card over the brother one on a light_box surface made that very easy.
The second issue is that as can be seen above, the first design row on Brother is actually 3 rows below that on Studio, so when programming the repeat 3 rows should be added to the first row of studio repeat, and 3 also added to its top. For example in the studio mylar #1 segment below#4 pattern in Studio programming would begin on row 11, ending on row 14, to program same in Brother beginning row is 14, ending row is 17; stitch locations remain unchanged, but a reminder: Brother sheet is marked in 5X5 blocks of squares, Studio in 6X5.
Hand drawn studio mylars when using the pencil appropriate for them will not read, so sheets need to be marked with any tools you have used for doing so in brother markings in the past. One oddity I encountered is that with the drawn repeat below I had no needle selection until I programmed rows beginning above row 5, using rows # 9-12 as top and bottom of the repeat, not an issue with the factory mylar. I used a sharpie to draw the first pair of squares (has never worked for me), number 2 pencil on the reverse of the sheet for the second (my preferred method), and template marking pencil on the mylar front for the third. Drawing with the latter over hand-drawn studio mylars enabled those markings, in turn, to be read by my 910. One problem with the template pencils is that small pieces of the coating they produce may shed with use. The issue with bottom rows not reading did not repeat when I used a different blank mylar sheet and drew the identical repeat, nor did it occur with factory drawn. Sometimes there are no explanations…

Plarn/tarn/ tarn my way

When I first shared plarn information here, I was under the impression the term applied to anything cut into strips and in turn used as “yarn” in knitting or crochet. Now, however, it appears the term “tarn” is in use when t-shirts or fabric are used. There are many ways to create tarn easily found online, including youtube videos by several authors, and even commercially dyed and prepared skeins/balls for purchase. Since I machine knit, I am interested in producing “tarn” that may knit on the bulky KM, which results in limitations that do not apply if one is to knit it by hand or crochet, where needle and hook sizes are far less limiting.
In my sewing stash of “rulers”, I had one product by June Tailor which since my purchase appears to have evolved. Its closest cousin by the same manufacturer is the shape-cut-ruler. It is a convenient cutting guide that I have also used on felted wool to produce even slits for later manipulation such as chaining.In this case, I began by cutting off the sleeves and upper body from armholes to neck, resulting in a tube, which in turn I pressed and folded in half, leaving a single fold edge for later cuts to produce the continuous strip.

Below the ruler is positioned over T-shirt tube folded almost in half in this case, with single fold border at top for later continuous cutting into tarn yardage

this is a better view of upper edge; rotary cutter moves within slits, inverted “teardrops” at the top serve as stops for the cutter, leaving an even, upper border intact, I tend to use rotary cutter moving from bottom up; this is not a hard and fast rule and may be adjusted to suit your preference

follow cutting guides through slits across the piece; a sharp blade helps considerably; when finished with the first pass, move ruler along each cut line, and make a second pass with the cutter to eliminate any areas skipped on the first pass and thus uncut while applying even pressure on the ruler; this is quicker and neater than using scissors; in turn, release the strip and lift away from the ruler, move ruler one strip over ( I am right handed, so moving from right to left), repeat process across fabric width

one T shirt down!

here I like to use a long curtain rod, broom handle, or anything else on hand and slip the slitted but partially intact tube onto it

here is the above rod, perched with ends resting between my kitchen table and the opposing countertop. The black marking line indicates the location of the first border cut from right towards left, and cutting (with scissors) continues in the same movement across the width of the fabric

time to make a ball! beginning in this case with “yarn end” on right, “milk” about an arm’s length of the strip (as you pull on the fabric it narrows and curls inward), and begin winding the result into a ball. As you move across the supporting rod the ball will have to be moved over and under it at regular intervals to keep the fabric flowing easily. I did so at the end of each loop circumference, which was easier for me than lifting the right end of my rod to free the “yarn”. The result:

the “yarn” superimposed on the ruler for an idea of the change in fabric width after pulling/stretching

a sample knit EON on the 260

On my crochet hook

Lots of crochet patterns of late have featured chains and bobbles as components. I have been playing around with the idea of combining both. The fabric could be shaped by varying the number of chains and double crochets creating bobbles, and with very thick yarn the fabric may appear nearly solid. This is my working graph. Ovals represent chain stitches, beginning at the left chain is created, first bobble row is represented in red/orange; second bobble row is represented in green, crochet after work is turned over, and when the opposite side is reached, visually it will appear as though a single row of 5 bobbles has been completed. The numbers represent the number of triple crochets in each popcorn, the crosses are joining single crochets for anchoring chains to previous rows, and closing off popcorns. The graph was created in Excel.

The yarn in use here is a very soft acrylic, intended for someone who cannot wear wool.

a thicker wool, less open space

Nearly any crochet fabric has the potential to be incorporated into knit items of clothing and accessories.

Long loops: a bit on method

Below are some ideas for creating long loops on the machine using only a single bed. The essential difference between stitches and loops as mentioned before is that long stitches must be individually knit through the previous row, loops sit on the purl side surface. Yarn weight, loop concentration, number of looped stitches, and their locations open up endless possibilities. If loops for any reason are wanted on the knit side, the garter bar may be used to take knitting off the machine and hold them, loops are formed, the piece of knitting is then returned onto the machine, and continued. Swatching helps determine operator tolerance and preference as well. Some of the old manuals and pattern books such as the very early Brother Home Course offer this guide under the category of “weaving” while others refer to the same technique as “pile”. Punchcards may be used to preselect needles for patterning with the technique.  Working single bed:
1. knitting in place on the machine with its cast on edge weighted to keep it from curling up (use waste yarn if loops need to be close to the same edge), paper clips and weighted cast on the comb in place

this technique may be used on every needle, or only on selected parts of the needle bed; for the sake of speed for this ‘demo’ I will be working on EON; desired pattern area needles are brought out to the hold position

the loop yarn is mohair; slip knot secures start to cast on comb, yarn is wrapped counterclockwise in this instance up, around EON selected needle, and back down and around corresponding EON cast on comb tooth; if desired this could be done multiple times on anyone needle depending on the tolerance of KM in knitting next pass

the carriage now knits across all needles, yarn is secured

the cast on comb is removed, plain knit continues until the next set of loops

2. a ruler or other tool may be used to determine loop length; I prefer to use 2 rulers, yarn is secured, and wrapping follows as above around selected needles and then rulers

the second ruler is removed, allowing the first to drop down a bit, which will hold loops in place, while in most instances allowing the knit carriage to move across that row with the alternate ruler still in place

knit at least one row to secure loops, remove the ruler

3. once again using 2 rulers secure yarn, and wrap, creating a crochet chain with tested size crochet or latch hook

remove the second ruler, this will give you some ease along the chain edge

hook chained edge onto selected KM needles

knit at least one row across the area, remove the ruler

4. the samples: as can be imagined EON may be sufficient for a thick pile if fewer rows of knitting occur between looped rows
It is possible to cover a knit with long loops of any sort. Using the same mohair, here the swatch is covered with loops, and the mohair is brushed If loops out of thin or slippery yarns are desired, as an alternative, create wide ladders with narrow outside edges of the single or double stitch, fold in half, rehanging the sides of the strip onto the body of the knit
later post with tips for creating long stitches, no photos
long stitch swatches

A 2020 FB post led me to quickly explore another method for creating loops using ribber gate pegs. Normally one would begin with waste yarn, ravel cord, at least one row of knitting before beginning in any pattern. In tests that is not necessarily relevant. Begin with some knitting on the machine. Ribber setting on P, ribber brackets set to middle position

Have an every other needle pusher tool on hand and yarns of different thicknesses, knit a few rows and hang weight evenly across all stitches at any time in that process bring every other needle out to E (Studio D)/ aka holding position *work your way across the beds, wrapping every other E position needle clockwise and the gate peg directly below it, resulting in the twist knit one row, repeat wraps counterclockwise in the opposite direction knit  3 rows, returning to starting side use a tool to lift loops off the ribber sinker posts push loops down between the beds**repeat * to **,  knit at least one more row across any loops at the top of the piece and bind off.
The loops are directional, so if this were a scarf, their “lean” would be down at one end, and up onto the other. My loops are formed using a loose twist acrylic yarn, one less so would avoid any splitting issues as the piece grows. Steaming acrylic can flatten it permanently. I did steam my swatch to try to keep it from rolling as much, so the resulting loops are a bit flattened.
This technique is a variation of weaving. The heavier yarn will tend to force the stitches in the background apart, resulting in “bleed-through”. The frequency of creating the loops can vary, and just as in single bed knitting their location as well, but they will be fixed height throughout. After testing consideration may be given to automating the needle selection to make the process faster and perhaps more accurate. Brother preselects, so after that is done for each row, bring only the selected needles out to D consistently, and proceed as above. Below is a possible repeat to imitate my swatch based on the 24 stitch width restriction for punchcard machine users, remembering that any punchcard height minimum is 36 rows The minimum electronic repeat:

Some long stitch / loop swatches/ single bed

These date back to my teaching days, are not resolved fabrics, were part of my demos, have been shot straight from storage, with no additional care to them ie pressing or steaming

tension changes

selective loops

moved in groups

some with beads

combined with e wraps and beading

combined with ladders

felted wool, ladders treated with water proofing agent did not felt

both loops and stitches in one below, along with beading

chenille worms and is a poor choice for loops unless that is the desired effect

selective looping and e wraps

combined with twisting of loops on knit surface

weaving ribbon into ladder spaces rather than long stitches

A couple of tips

I  knit on multiple brand knitting machines, and my production knitting of most items is sporadic now. As I completed large series of any of the items I sought ways to make knitting faster and less error-prone after any long hiatus or distractions. My spider shawls involve holding with needles OOW across nearly the whole needle bed, with other items only patterning in sections of the needle bed. At one point I acquired multiple needle tapes, actually use the punchcard tape on my 910 as well since I do not usually use position green/yellow for patterning. One way to save time is to cut pieces of colored removable tape or dots, place these on the needle tape under single or multiple needles on the machine, and have the color correspond to a function. For example, if 5 in work, 3 out of work tape may be placed under each set of 3 for visual cue; if part of the needle bed needs to be with every other needle in work, those areas may be marked off with tape marking the beginning and end of that area. In the latter case, I mark between pattern needle changes. Marked tapes are easily removed/saved for future use.

At present 2 complete 910s and one without carriage for spare parts (the latter was a donation) live with me. One of them has been temperamental since it took a flying leap off a table, and had its off-on switch repaired by yours truly. In a moment of pretending as though I have a knitting business again, I found the latter randomly mis-selecting needles, and when I tried to use my usually dependent one, there was less mispatterning, but enough to be a problem when knitting the shawl border which consists of thousands of rows. I cleaned the KM, swapped carriages, checked mylar markings, all to no avail. I was using a sponge bar that seemed in good condition, but there was some play in the needles. When I replaced the bar with a brand new one that eliminated any play all mispatterning stopped.

Long stitches on KM (single bed)

Though long stitches in a pattern may be created by a variety of methods, I will begin the topic by discussing long stitch stripes across the width of the knit.
The easiest, quickest long stitches are produced by simply working with extremes in knitting tension. There are size limitations in this technique. One example would be fabric produced by knitting 2 rows at as tight tension as possible for the yarn ie. 2, and one row at the loosest tension possible: 10. Testing the yarn will help define the limits.
The loose stitches may have a tendency to jump off, so even weight is required. The tension dial must be adjusted for the appropriate stitch formation. Playing with the number in sequences will change the look of the fabric.
Adding stripes: if 2 carriages appropriate to the machine model are available, each tension dial may be set to different tension numbers. Keeping 2-row sequences or even multiples will get carriages back to the desired location on right or left. The same color may be used, threading with different color yarns will produce stripes easily, while also making it possible to avoid cut ends that must be woven in.
Another single bed method is to knit stitches back to A position, in turn pulling down on the knit since A position is an alternative one for holding and needles pulled back there will not knit; again, care and weight will avoid the long stitches created jumping off the needles. Weights need to be moved up at frequent intervals.
Leaving needles empty and out of work in either of the above methods will create ladders intersecting the long stitches, opening yet another series of patterning possibilities.
Rows of long stitches may, in turn, be manipulated ie. by cabling, stringing beads at intervals onto selected loops, and solid knit rows may incorporate patterning ie. lace, or tuck. As a larger number of continuous rows are knit or patterning is introduced, the tight tension may have to be adjusted accordingly, and long stitches may then appear inadequate in their height for the desired effect.
The single bed cast on comb or ribber sinker posts may be used to create longer loops. If using a cast-on comb, secure it with paper clips or lengths of yarn just outside the width of your knit, hanging enough weight on it to keep it from shifting. On the knit carriage side, the item used to secure the comb must be either adjacent to the first stitch to avoid loops on that edge or the yarn may be placed in front of it to avoid them.
Ribbon may be threaded through loops, drawn thread work may be imitated. “Cable” groups may be created, twisted, pulled through each other, and otherwise manipulated, some such groupings may evoke broomstick lace.
Some people find it easier to wrap yarn around an item of fixed width such as a ruler to achieve the desired loop length.
If a ribber is in use its gate pegs may be used for wrapping the yarn. Enough knit rows then need to happen on the main bed so the loops may be released from the gate pegs.
The yarn is wrapped counterclockwise in most instances for loops, swatch results to test the desired effect for any twist in stitches.
Long stitches are knit through the preceding row one at a time, long surface loops sit on the surface of the knit, may need to be e wrapped as they are created to further secure their placement.
Simple horizontal rows of elongated stitches may also be accomplished by knitting with the ribber in use, knitting fabric on the main bed;  ribber is set to slip throughout except for “long stitch” row, where the ribber knits across all the stitches, and at the end of the row those same stitches are dropped by any preferred method.
Any of these methods may be combined with hand manipulation and holding to vary loop sizes, locations, fiber content, color, etc. Susan Guagliumi’s book “Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters” is a good reference for several variations.
Transferring all stitches to ribber and having the main bed knit in selective pattern and techniques opens up a whole other area of textured, lacy fabrics, referred to as drop stitch lace.
On the Passap long stitches of even size across a whole row that may be further manipulated ie to imitate broomstick lace begin by casting on every other needle, some weight may be useful, transfer all stitches to the back bed.
With a strand of yarn taken from the feeding eyelet manually knit every stitch one at a time to the out-of-work position, carefully pulling to keep the stitch length even.
Pull down on the fabric. Rear bed needles will now be returned to work position.
Depending on the specific variation in grouping loops the locks may be brought to the opposite side before knitting the next row. Since the stitches are in the out-of-work position, they should remain unaffected. Alternately if there are wide open spaces as part of the design the yarn on the left may be used to cast on across the row while knitting together gathered stitches, and then return to the right side for additional knitting will have been achieved.
For swatch photos please see the post and how-tos bit on the method