A quick review of plaiting on Brother machines

Over time plying yarns and the resulting color distribution comes into question, and often that leads to discussions on plaiting. One of my ancient swatches shows some variations in using 2 different colored fibers in three ways. It was tagged for display with myriad other assorted swatches on corkboards in my classroom, which were usually covered with a variety of illustrations of stitches and techniques covered in weekly classes and in response to recent trends. As always, effects vary dramatically depending on the choice of color and yarn fiber and thickness. Here the 2 yarns were fed through separate tension masts, and knit together plaiting with yarns swapped in feeders for reversible striped effect yarns wound together with yarn twister and used as a “single strand”A mock plaiting effect may also be obtained without a special feeder by locking the pattern on any all blank row, the standard yarn feeder with A and B yarn placement, and the fair isle setting. Results are not as consistent in color distribution.
True plaiting usually requires a special feeder unless the specific model km has a built-in option. Two yarns are used in the plaiting feeder. They pass by the needles in sequence. One yarn always passes first, the other follows. The standard feeder that normally carries the 2 colors when knitting fair isle is replaced, so this technique may be used in fabrics using cam button combinations other than fair isle and thread lace. Looking into the plaiting feeder from above you will see a central hole that traditionally carries the “main yarn”, and a crescent-shaped opening that carries the second yarn, which will trail behind as the carriage moves across the knitting bed. The second yarn appears on the purl side of the fabric.
In days when lurex combination scratchy yarns, and in any situation where the fiber used is unpleasant if touching the skin, a softer yarn may be used and brought to the interior side of the piece for comfort. I made a chenille sweater at one point with traditional cap sleeves that absolutely refused to knit to gauge. Adding matching wooly nylon and knitting it with the chenille solved the problem permanently and stabilized the knit. The contrasting color can provide a pleasant effect when fold-over collars, cuffs, etc. are part of the garment, and so on.
Brother plaiting feeders: Be aware if considering purchasing one that other parts appear on e-bay and other sale sites under this name, but are not the specific accessory. The following illustrations and directions for use are from Brother pubs easily found for download. For use on the main bed: Canceling end needle selection applies in any situation is used in a tuck or slip stitch settings if there are needles out of work on the main bed for any reason to maintain proper patterning in needles in work. Electronic knitters have the KCII option in the change knob.
For use on the ribber:
More random, ancient swatches: stocking stitch using equal weight yarns in a single bed tuck stitch double bed every needle rib tuck stitch using the same pattern repeat a racked sample When working on large pieces especially, the yarn in the front feeder especially may have a tendency to slip out. This is one option for helping to prevent that when the ribber is in use At one point I produce several circular sweaters using equal weight yarns to obtain the reversible 2 color look. I had more than one feeder, so I actually used a dab of glue in the slit below the yellow arrow The drawback to doing that is that the yarn cannot then be easily slid in and out of its position, but rather has to be dropped through the remaining hole using a double eye needle.

Ribber fabrics with stitch transfers between beds 1

These images provide partial views of garments shown in a recent Facebook MK group post,  followed by the “how-to” question A quick analysis leads to a list of assumptions that both are double bed fabrics, with stitches subtracted or added to create moving shapes on a striped ground. A color changer will be in use, so each color must be carried for 2 passes. The color used in the traveling shapes (red in my swatches) knits on both beds, the second color creating the alternate stripe on the background knits on only one bed. The second row of the red stitches is slipped while the white knits, so they become elongated, something that is reflected on the striping on the reverse, as well as on the knit side.
Though the ribber is in use, this is not a standard dbj fabric, so if automation is the goal, the color separation for the knit needs to be hand-drawn.
It is possible to move stitches to and from needle beds when knitting true DBJ with striper backing. This is one of my ancient swatches, every needle is in work on both beds except for areas where stitches have been transferred down to and up from the ribber.  The main bed is set to slip in both directions, the ribber set to knit. The suitable dbj separation is the one where each color in each row knits for 2 rows, whether performed by hand, using the 3 colors per row separation in img2track or the default separation in Passap. The Ayab HOP separation is awesome, works for any 3 color design with as little elongation as possible, but is not suited for this purpose. How-tos for DIY separations and their automated versions by programs for knitting more than 2 colors per row have been discussed in other posts.
The process may be reversed between beds. Stitches can be picked from the opposing bed to fill in needles emptied by transfers or brought into work empty for increases. The resulting eyelets may be left as a design element or filled in by picking up from adjacent stitches or ones on the ribber bed.
In the first swatch, all stitches will be in work on the knitting bed, while patterning stitches will be in selected groups on the ribber. When testing a concept it is best to start with a simple shape, contrasting colors,  on a limited number of stitches. To begin with, I went the easy route and tested the concept with a small racked pattern using only 5 ribber needles. The ribber slips for the 2 rows knit in the contrasting color in the ground, knits the pattern for 2 rows, requiring cams to be switched every 2 rows The goal is to be able to see and understand stitch formation. Production got cut short when I was faced with dropping individual stitches followed by the whole piece falling to the floor. In one of those drat it moments I realized that for the first time ever, with the knit carriage properly set to N, I had not, however, engaged it beneath the metal bar on the back of the bed, leaving it with its rear floating freely. A similar process on the Passap allows for playing easily with both racked colors because of the possible arrow and pusher settings on the back bed, but on Brother, this would require hand selection on the ribber on every row or a specific color separation for needle selection on the top bedSeeking automation, keeping things simple, here is a basic zigzag pattern in a repeat also executable on punchcard machines. The ribber is now set to knit throughout (N/N), the main bed to slip in both directions. End needle selection must be canceled when using the slip setting selectively or when working patterning with  needles completely out of work 

The color separation: the desired design needs to be expanded, with 2 blank rows between each pair of design rows The pattern on my 930 is knit as it appears in the chart, on the purl side. Punchcard knitters or users of other programs may need to mirror it to match my output  The process using 3 colors: the patterning color will be knit on needles preselected on the top bed. As shaping is about to begin, in this pattern, one needle preselected out indicates the location for an “increase”, one preselected back to B position a decrease  To perform the decrease, using a double eye tool to transfer the B position stitch down onto the ribber needle adjacent to the first needle in D position on the top bed As the carriages move to the opposite side a loop will form on the preselected empty needle, creating the increase on that side, keeping the width of the patterning stitches constant  In order for the patterning to remain correct, all needles on the top bed must be maintained in B position while not in use, or preselection may be incorrect, and increase loops will not be created, so, not this  A sideways view (for space consideration) of the knit still on the KM begins to show the distortion in the knit created by the movement of the stitches. The red yarn creates a single line where stitches are skipped on the reverse, a double one when it knits for 2 rows The repeat and the knit shown on both sides: Comparing the 2 color and 3 color versions: aside from the obvious increase in length, note that the slipped segments in red on the 3 color swatch are now composed of longer stitches since they are held for 2 additional rows, and the overall fabric is more puckered than the 2 color version. The curling at the sides is the nature of edge stitches, especially if the yarn used is wool. At times that may be used intentionally, as a decorative edge.

Repeats where the design charts require expansion to accommodate techniques quickly grow in length. The simple zig-zag doubled in length from 32 to 64 rows. I work things out in a spreadsheet, open a screengrab of the final choice in GIMP, index mode the result, scale it, and save the PNG for download to the 930. Long color separations are harder to achieve cleanly in GIMP alone but are also possible.

Returning to the 2 color pattern in the inspiration image and limiting the width to the 24 stitch punchcard restriction: a way to begin is to design a 2 color shape to approximate the repeat in the desired fabric and as in any other designs, check for repeat alignment by tiling prior to knitting to find any easily visible errors. The first single (ultimately 24X32) repeat, suitable for standard DBJ, has not been cropped properly in the top illustration. It is followed by the correct one  Using the same color separation as for the simple zig-zag shape, the design is expanded to include knit bed rows that will be skipped completely, resulting in the ribber alone knitting in the second color for those rows. It is now twice as long as the original, 24X64The planned proof of concept added a 4 stitch border on the right for a 28 stitch swatch centered with 14 stitches either side of 0. Tiling the repeat X2 again in height made it easier for me to plan how to manage transfers to expose the varying stripes in the ground.  Visual comparison to the movement in the inspiration knit:  As the number of needles in work on either of the 2 beds is increased, it is likely tension or yarn changes may be required. The first preselection row is from the right, toward the color changer. The stitches on the non selected needles are transferred to the bottom bed with the color change, only preselected needles will knit on both the top and bottom beds moving to the right and will do so again on the return to the left while preselecting an all blank row on the next pass to the right only the ribber knits in the ground color;     on the following pass to the left the second ground color row is knit on the ribber, with preselection happening at the same time for the next row in the pattern color The red, 3 strand cash-wool was giving me grief, so I switched it out for the blue. Both yarns are on the thin side but OK for testing the concept. The initial partial striped lozenge shape is finished with straightforward knitting The solid ground stitches in the inspiration fabric, however, have a sideways movement as the next striped lozenge gets shaped. In any standard knit such movements are achieved manually by using multiple stitch transfer tools. Planning ahead in a spreadsheet helps. My first test of the full repeat approaches the desired result, but the transitions beginning at design row 30 for the decreasing angle in the white yarn is a bit clumsy and requires a redo to make it easier and with clearer instructions Back to the drawing board in order to reduce the number of hand manipulations involved, with a shift in the center transition, the repeat in my spreadsheet is now 24 stitches wide, plus an additional 4 stitch border, and gets marked up with colors. I prefer to program the width of my knitting as opposed to a single repeat for all over patterning The resulting final 24 stitch repeat with the added 4 stitch border, now 68 rows highThe choice can be made based upon the preference of moving stitch groups to the right or to the left with the horizontal direction of the repeat adjusted for your KM model or software used.  I planned the transfers in this swatch toward the color changer after picking up the proper color, white, and before knitting the next row using it. The 930 png: The preselection row is from right to the left, toward the color changer. End needle selection is canceled. All stitches not selected on the main bed are moved down onto ribber needles beneath them. Needle selection takes care of the increasing angle in the surface yarn (white), as less of the striped ground becomes exposed. At this point, row 34 on the 930 counter, the single elongated slipped stitch is moved down onto the ribber. The next preselection will require the first transfer on the top bed, row 38. In my case, the movement was to the left. After the transfer is made, be certain to leave any empty needles in B position, and to bring all transferred stitch needles out to hold so they will knit in the slip setting as the carriage moves across the bed to the other side. The preselection will insure all necessary stitches will knit on the way back to the left When the top of the repeat is reached, row 68, the only needles selected will be those of the 4 stitch vertical columns and the design repeat will return to its start
My proof of concept swatch is  3.75 inches wide The inspiration sweater was knit using a wider repeat and significantly thicker yarn, reflected here in the small number of repeats composing the sweater body front Amending the 24 stitch repeat is possible, its length will grow in proportion to the increase in its width. The ratio of rows/ stitches to maintaining shaping by single stitch increases or decreases as in the original remains at 2.8. The lozenge is likely to remain elongated. Since at any point, the ribber will be knitting a large number of stitches single bed, the tension on its carriage needs to accommodate that. When the majority of needles are selected on the top bed, the fabric is knitting in every needle rib, which requires a tighter tension than when using the same yarns single bed. As a result tension adjustment to reduce the height of the knit repeat may be very limited.
The last test is now 84 rows high, with 5 stitch vertical bands. An added 6 stitch border on one side changes the programmed width up to 36 stitches so I don’t have to think about positioning the pattern on the needle bed. The extra stitch was eliminated at the start of the piece:   The off white yarn used here was the same thickness but not fiber content as in the previous swatch, 2/18 wool-silk vs Australian wool in the former. It is not as smoothly spun. The result shows an interesting similarity in length, though there are 16 additional rows in the pattern repeat. This time I programmed my repeat for stitch transfers on the knit bed to move away from the color changer. Eliminating the border on one side, a double repeat (30 stitches) measure 4 inches in width. To put the difference in scale to the sweater in perspective, an oversize garment with 40 inches in chest diameter would require 20 inches in width for the front piece. Ten single repeats, as opposed to the inspiration’s sweater 4, bring the total required the number of stitches to 150. With the added border of 5 stitches for matching side edges, the fabric is in the realm of possibility for producing a garment on the home knitting machine. My tension was set at 3/3 for all the swatches, with some teasing required on occasion to encourage stitches on the main bed to knit off properly. Ribber height adjustment can also have an effect on those numbers. I tend to do all my knitting with the slide lever in the center position. The double 30X84 repeat with no added border

A return to Ayab knitting

I  am hoping to return to using the software more frequently, which requires rearranging my workspace to make the necessary cable connections.

After absences from topics, I find it necessary to review them and their categories. This list, for now, catalogs my previous shares on Ayab use specifically, all are subject to future editing
More on Ayab HoP  2/20
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 2/ HOP  2/20
Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ  1/20
Ayab: short rows automated with slipstitch  5/18
Revisiting knitting with 2 carriages single bed, 910 vs Ayab so far  4/18
A Brother 910/ Ayab diary/ EMS kit 3/18
Quilting using Ayab software  2/18
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software  1/18
Lace punchcards meet Ayab 1/18

Although my swatches this past year were often knit using another interface I have added mentions of ayab repeats which will turn up in searches. Other times I have added them to earlier posts such as this one combining KC patterning with racking 2017/12/20

 

More on Ayab HoP

WORK IN PROGRESS 

A three-color per row sample test .

I am not interested so much in large scale images when trying to understand how things work and like to be able to predict the placement of yarn colors in my designs so I can have a matching color placement in the finished knit. I had played a bit with loading colors into the program and found their “working” depending on the placement in the color palette. Subsequently, I found the explanation online that the program needs a pattern image which is 8-bit greyscale, each color is coded in a range of the 8-bit values. So for 4 colors, it would be 0-63 color a; 64-127 color b; 128-195 color c; 196-255 color d. It seems to be OK to give the image some color, so long as the gray component of the colors divides up as given. I began with a pattern using 3 colors,  with one color absent in some rows but considering color placement and the program prompts to help avoid errors in color changes, I decided to try converting the original in a few colorways to indexed 3 color grey shades for testing

Some studio electronic patterns translated for use on Brother KMs

Each machine brand varied control box symbols over the years, and at times cam options also evolved. My long since Studio electronic experience was using the 560. The image below was from a pattern book for a later model. I first included them in a post on knitting with elastic Identifying stitch types in Japanese symbols in decoding patterns and charts can be confusing. Some large type illustrations extracted from punchcard pattern books may be found in my post on knit terms and translations The Studio cam settings The 580 operation manual explains those ducks and the function of point cams

The stitch type is fair isle, also indicated by the recommendation in English of colored yarns, one combined with elastic,  being held in 2 different feeders   
Adding  a border on the left side by positioning

Mirror and combing the 2 patterns into one, center on the needle bed, the left duck symbol on means the pattern knits as you see it, and it is mirrored as the ducks are pointing  25: the original provided was 60X24, here it is adjusted to a full size 76X24

27: the repeat provided was 60X48, here it is adjusted to a full size 120X48  28: the repeat provided was 60X84, here it is adjusted to a full size 120X84tiled X2 in height to check for proper alignment



Knitting with “unusual” fibers/ elastic 2

WORK IN PROGRESS 

My first DBJ tests from a previous post on knitting with elastic. used an axometric shape, with the tentative repeat worked out and in turn, elongated X2 and tiled to check alignment. Until doubled in height the original repeat is composed of an odd number of rows in height. Usually, double bed knitting relying on color changes or automatic DBJ KRC separations require an even number of rows in the motif. The first sample was knit using single-ply cotton and elastic yarns respectively, fed through separate upper tension disks but knit together as a single color. The swatch is 72 stitches in width but measures only 14.5 mm (5.7 inches) in width, producing a gauge of nearly 13 stitches for inch, not achievable when knitting with standard fibers on a standard 4.5 mm machine. The pattern is subtle, more visible on the knit side, hard to tell there are pockets in the knit. The cotton is space-dyed, and as true when using such yarns, that causes some confusion in immediately identifying a clear pattern. The ruffled effect is simply from a plain knit start and color-changing stripes to test tension and knittability on the planned needle width. Machine settings: opposite part buttons,  no liliHere the same pattern was executed on the same number of stitches with the white wool used above, but the elastic was plied with a 2/24 acrylic yarn and knit as DBJ with the blue, stretchy combination creating the solid color backing. A comparison in scale The same pattern repeat knit with striper backing is far less interesting 

The solid color backing in DBJ can be produced by changing ribber settings with each color change from N/N fo slip <– –> and back. I have sometimes knit DBJ with 4 carriages or with a third, knit-only carriage working the rows normally slipped by the ribber. The sinker plate for one knit carriage is altered as described in the post. The knitting requires that the ribber stops be removed, and that carriage(s) be off the bed on extension rails while the other(s) are in use so as not to damage the belt. The maximum width of the fabric is limited by the necessity of having the knit cleared on both sides with all carriage passes.
My mongrel set up includes a 930 bed, an 892 punchcard carriage with a magnet attached coupled with the 850 ribber carriage, and a 910 carriage with the modified sinker plate. As a bit of possible disaster prevention, the knit/ribber combo has an elastic to ensure the ribber stays on its own bed as well, while I grabbed extras to help support the rail on the other side just in case the 910 carriage went too far. Because when using the KRC separation the white squares knit first, I planned the repeat for 64 stitches color reversing the repeat used the FI and thread lace samples in the previous post.to this, I used a 2/18 wool at tensions 3/3 for the backing fabric and two strands of the elastic with no added changes to its yarn mast tension, at tension 7 in the single knit carriage.
Using this method of DBJ, which is the same as that used in 2 color quilting, when the ribber and knit carriage both knit, the fabric is sealed where there are needles selected on the main bed. When the ribber is set to slip in both directions, or the method here is used, the main bed only knits selected needles and skips the non selected ones, creating floats and pockets in the fabric in those areas. The appearance of the fabric when stretched and weighted, still between the beds and off Going the far more traditional route of traditional dbj with use of the color changer, striper backing with the ribber set to N/N yields a wider, flatter fabric with an interesting purl side while my very brief effort at attempting to knit with one side of the ribber set to knit, the other to slip, met with immediate dropped stitches by the elastic. The birdseye version had more of a bent on the surfaces of both colors. I stopped knitting when a few of the elastic stitches on the left purl side dropped off. It would appear at this point that the most interesting effects in the simplest to execute DBJ setting are ones with balanced positive and negative spaces in the design.

Previously I used the repeat on the top left, also shown tiled. The subsequent swatch was knit using the bottom 66X22 tiled repeat, planning to start KRC preselection from the left on a white square, the ribber set to N/NI found the fabric attractive on the purl side, but I was having issues with dropped stitches I could not explain that would need sorting out if producing larger swatches. Adding a third ply of elastic was disastrous at any tension. Better results occurred simply by increasing the ribber tension by 2 whole numbers, the knit tension by 1, and reverting to the previous yarn usage. There is a single dropped stitch in the elastic, and the result has much more of a 3D effect.