Ruching 2: more working with stitch groups

Going straight up: color blocks in the chart below illustrate needle groups that get picked up and transferred onto the next colored row on the machine, with no specific references to needle tape or any other markings. When repeating the operation in the same needle locations, having NOOW, thus creating ladders, makes it easier to keep track of groups. The yellow lines represent needles taken completely OOW at the start of knitting.  Any of these fabrics may be made in a single color or varied color sequences. Sometimes changing the color in swatches, and using sharply contrasting ones in tests helps one understand the structure of the resulting fabric a bit more easily an illustration of what part of the stitches to pick up playing with spacings and rows, no ladders playing with ladder spacing using the FI setting in addition.  Some tips on ruched FI knitting: the fabric will shrink considerably in length, so most motifs will need to be elongated to accommodate that. Having a pattern that may be tracked easily by watching the floats on its reverse is helpful as may working in bands where the colors swap spaces (changing yarn feeder positions). Because of the fabric bubbles, knitting rows in only one color at intervals may track hook-up row, while not visibly disrupting the pattern on its knit side. If small groups of stitches are to be picked up and rehung, markers with segments of nylon thread or yarn may be placed on the corresponding needles and be temporarily knit in. In addition, the needle tape or needle bed may be marked with a water-soluble pen to indicate locations for rehanging. Depending on the pattern, the number of stitches involved, and personal preference in terms of floats, needle selection in brother machines may have to be restored “by hand” to keep the design uninterrupted.
A few more: playing with striping and segment sizes the red squares indicate a row of additional ruching in the center of solid striping going all one color in the middle all on one edge hooking up smaller numbers of stitches going partway, gathering one side, using thick and thin yarns as design bands going mini

Ruching 1: fern “pretender” and more

Ruched or manual pull-up effects can be created by rehanging stitches at regular intervals in a straight, diagonal, or random arrangement on plain knitting or patterned fabric. The pattern below could be considered a “fern pretender”, but is considerably quicker to knit. Again, for any textured fabric a yarn with “memory” is recommended for texture retention over time or after pressing, washing, etc.
Depending on how far over whether in this fabric, cables, etc, or how many stitches are moved on the needle bed, adjustments may have to be made either in tension or in the number of stitches moved. Adding striping and changing its sequences or combining different yarn weights may vary the look of the fabric considerably, and because it is a hand technique, motif repeats may be varied in size, scale, or location of hooked-up stitches. The working charts represent the side that is facing one on the machine, so by default, all stitches are purl. Dark grey represents needles out of work, which will create ladders in the final fabric. All other squares are knit stitches. Green illustrates the location of needles where the top purl bar of the stitch will be in turn picked up (in this case with a 2 prong tool), and where the tool will rehang those same stitches to create the desired texture. Red lines outline the repeats.
smaller repeat the larger.  The swatches are pictured below as they came off the machine, with no pressing or steaming. The smaller repeat curls considerably, the larger lies much flatter. The longer ladder “floats” bear watching when rehanging the marked stitches to insure free gate pegs and stitches knitting off properly. I prefer to knit nearly all fabrics without any additional weight, using my fingers to pull down on what needs it as I move across the knit. The larger swatch required a tension change of + 2, in addition to the longer span of knit rows. The purl side, with notable curling on the smaller repeat sample. In any fabrics requiring needles OOW, unless waste yarn and weights are a necessity, one may simply do a crochet cast-on across the required number of needles, then drop off cast-on stitches where NOOW are needed, pushing them back to A. In binding off using the latch tool bind off, treat empty needles as though they had stitches on them, and top and bottom edges will match in width.
Working with larger stitch groups and color changes: the pattern stitch is in groups of 5;  knit 9, 10, or 11 rows (depending on yarn and tension). Beginning on the left-hand side pick up 5 stitches from the first row, and hang them on the next group of 5 needles to their right on the last row knit. Skip the next 5 stitches, pick up the next 5 with a transfer tool, and hang them on the next group of 5 needles to their right, repeating across the row. After the whole row is hooked up, repeat the process, reversing the direction of hooking up. Starting side may be based on personal preference, consistency throughout is helpful. This pattern may be worked on an inset, resulting in ruffling on either side or on a fixed edge as well, with ruffling on one side.
The groups of 5 colored squares indicate each set of stitches and needle placement, the arrows the direction and order in which the stitches are moved. The same technique, used as a band rather than an all-over pattern

Wisteria cousin 2, also called fern leaf, hand technique

In seminar days this was referred to as a “fern leaf” pattern. Holding groups in these sequences give a bit more swing to the side of the finished piece. Directions for this fabric may be found in  the post 

The difference between the fabrics below and the ones that look like this swatch is that when the row of held sequences is completed from one side to the other, at least 2 rows are knit across all stitches before reversing the holding direction and moving toward the starting side to complete the repeat.
In addition, there is often a tension change between the groups that pull the fabric inward and enhances the texture. In my sample, the held segments were knit at tension 6, the tight rows at tension 3.
The pattern in this swatch is executed on a multiple of 8 stitches +2.
To knit: cast on the required number of stitches, the first four rows are tight, so waste yarn and ravel cord followed by the cast on and tight rows is recommended.
At T3 knit 4 rows, COR. Set the machine to hold stitches.
T6: bring all but the first 8 needles closest to the carriage into hold.
Knit 12 rows.
COR: on the side opposite to the carriage but closest to the needles in the working position, bring a group of 4 more needles into work. Knit one row.
COL: on the side opposite the carriage bring 4 needles into hold.
You will now again be working on a group of 8 needles. * Knit 11 rows.
COR: on the side opposite carriage bring 4 needles into work, knit one row.
COL: on the side opposite carriage bring 4 needles back into hold.*
Repeat *to* until the last set of 8 needles are in work on the left-hand side, knit 12 rows, ending COL.
T3 knit 4 rows.
Reverse the process, moving in the opposite direction, beginning with knitting 12 rows on the first group of 8 stitches on the left.

If the goal is to retain the texture, a yarn with “memory” ie wool is recommended; if a yarn such as acrylic, which has the capacity of being “killed” when pressed (sometimes the desired effect) is used,  the result may be seen below

lacing up a sample with knit i-cord

I had previously shared other images of this type of fabric, they may be found in my previous post, described as “horizontal cables“. The sequences there illustrate the use of other results from varying the number of stitches and rows in each held group, as well as the biasing that results when all rows of groups move in a single direction. A bit on the possibility of automating such fabrics using slip stitch. 

Holding/short rows: hand tech to chart to automating with slip stitch 1

These directions apply to Brother Machines; designs could be used as they are and programmed into Passaps, other brands would require some adjustments. In these samples, the holes resulting from holding for 2-row sequences are considered part of the design. Vertical strips in different colors could be knit and later joined. The final result is a “zig-zag” pattern. Written directions may read: to begin, cast on, and knit 2 rows. **COR: set the machine for holding. Place in hold all except the first 2 needles on the right (carriage side). Knit 2 rows. Return to work the next group of 2 needles on the left to work, knit 2 rows. Repeat until only 2 needles on the far left are in  hold, return them to work, knit one row (color 1 in the chart below). COL: pull the first 2 needles at far right to hold, knit 2 rows, repeat until last 2 are left in hold, knit 2 rows (color 2). COL: bring next 2 needles into work, knit 2 rows, continue until the last 2 stitches are returned to work on the right, knit one row (color 3). COR: pull first 2 needles on left into hold, knit 2 rows; repeat until last 4 stitches at right are put back into work, knit 2 rows**, and repeat from **. Knit 2 rows at end of the desired number of repeats bind off.
The sorting out hand tech sequences to achieve the desired shapes sample: When producing my charts for using slip stitch to automate holding I like to draw what I would actually be knitting for each row, each stitch and row being a filled square, so the colored areas below represent knit stitches/rows on each row, the blank squares the stitches in holding. I test the repeat as a hand technique first, before in my case marking the mylar, then essentially fill in the knit stitches with color, keeping in mind the location of the knit carriage and the direction of the knitting. The colored squares are then programmed as punched holes, black squares, or pixels, and the pattern may be knit using slip stitch <—>. Needle selection needs to be canceled, otherwise, the yarn will be knit on the side of non-selected needles on that last stitch, creating a long float. The selection row needs to be toward the first 2 knit rows sequence. Here they are knit beginning on the right for 2 rows, so the selection row is made from left to right.  Odd rows move, knitting, from right to left, even rows from left to right. At this point, I prefer mac numbers for charting.

the final repeat, working chart the mylarthe swatch

The  above repeat could be considered composed of 2 pairs of stacked, mirrored triangles, here is an instance of playing single “triangles”

the mylar repeat its accompanying swatch

“wisteria” cousin revisited (“holding” using slip stitch)

My previous post on the related topic.

I revisited the above fabrics in another experiment recently. This first sample was produced as a hand technique after casting on with 2 needles in work, 2 out of work. In the bottom half, there were variations from 8 down to 4 rows of knitting before additional groups were introduced, beginning on the right side of the machine, with the first group on right taken out of work after bringing the second on left into work and one row knit on both groups, so sequences are always on single groups of 2 except for the one row where the new pair is brought into work and knit. When proceeding in this manner the single long float will appear between the lines of knit stitches. The top of the swatch was knit in a manner similar to the method described for the second swatch series in the above post. The yarn is acrylic, barely steamed.

Automating these fabrics is limited if only a punchcard or mylar were available. In the repeat below if all “holes at edges” were wanted to match the size of those in the remainder of the row, the single 4 stitch segment areas would need to be redrawn, double their present length. Though the width of the fabric may be limited in terms of a garment or shawl, an inset is possible, or if turned sideways, the fabric may serve as a trim. Having an interface that allows programming the width of the needle bed and “infinite” length, gives one much greater leeway also in terms of segment widths. Here I am basing the repeat on groups of 4. The grey markings are ghosts from a previous test repeat.

The resulting fabric was 32 stitches wide, centered on the machine;  in the bottom segment all needles (in my case 16L to 16R) are in work, KCII (cancel end needle selection) row is from left to right, with knitting beginning from right to left, with the machine in turn set to slip <—>. Adding NOOW creates 2 more variants. In the middle the fourth stitch on the left of each group is transferred to its right, its corresponding needle is taken out of work, so knitting will be on groups of 3 stitches, with a single needle ladder between them; in the top the third needle on left of each remaining group of stitches is transferred to its right, now having groups of 2 empty needles between each pair of stitches, creating a wider ladder. This swatch was lightly pressed, flattening it considerably: a consideration when choosing yarn type.

Simply doubling the length and width of the repeat on the mylar, which in theory should give a larger repeat, does not work for these fabrics: the transition row as each new group is brought into work needs to be a single row event or floats will be created on the second pass of the carriage, so this in one instance of draw exactly what you want to knit unless you wish to manage the floats created by changing those needle selections manually when needed if doubling motif length.

From Stoll Trend Collection Europe Spring/Summer 2012 a sample fabric utilizing the floats between repeat segments as a design feature

a how-to video on the above fabric