A lace quest

This image sparked my search for a method to develop a DIY pattern for a similar lace It is taken from a video by Knitlabo, a wonderful resource for both Brother and Studio machine knitting. My first goal was to work with a recurring triangular motif in a brick repeat. The same repeat was also used in my previous post on using lace motifs in ENR (every needle rib) fabric.
The extra rows of knitting and the added contrasting color stripe between lace segments helps to visually separate them Before some light pressing, the lace had an interesting quality, harking back to my days seeking to form 3D scales A start at a brick repeat adds spaces for mesh eyelets to be added between the punchcard repeats,  the grey lines help align continuous vertical stitch placements The first effort to add the in-between eyelets is made easier if different colors are assigned to the left and right transfers, in this case, red for left, green for right Planning for the electronic repeats in a brick layout, still eyeing center lines, now every 12 columns. In addition, the bottom half of the chart is marked with the location of stitches doubled up after transfers visualizing and thus avoiding side by side transfers and other issues “on paper”. A single, full repeat is bordered in black A variation of the brick repeat, adding extra knit stitches aside previous mesh and knit shapes The related swatch segments:
A: the pattern with extra knit stitches, the error was an operator one, the result of mis-correcting a dropped stitch
B: the mesh without the extra knit spaces
C: B with extra knit rows. If adding a contrast color, knit 2 rows before changing color with the ground yarn, 2 rows or more with the second color, 2 rows of the ground once more prior to resuming transfers. The knit carriage in this fabric does not advance the pattern. The G carriage could be used to add purl rows between chosen repeat segments. The repeat is 24 stitches wide and because only the lace carriage is selecting needles and operating from the same side, it could be used, mirrored, on a punchcard machine.

Lace meets weaving on Brother Machines

Several years ago, this punchcard was shared on Ravelry as one that was problematic in execution on an electronic model using Ayabthe supposed related swatch pictured in the publication
At the time, I made a long, convoluted effort to produce the fabric. I am returning to the topic and comparing 2 cards in this post, the original 589, and a new-found cousin, 259. Looking to the published cards for clues, remember that markings for carriage movements related to the first design row at the bottom of the card begin on the left of the card, above the Brother line numbered 1 on the right. The start of both cards: Lace patterning is unique in punchcard use. The card does not begin with the reader locked. As the carriage moves to the right, the card will advance a row. The lace carriage will begin to move in the direction of the arrows, making transfers on preselected needles in the direction of those same arrows as it moves away from and returns to the opposite side.
A typical pattern for mixing weaving and lace, seen in 259, usually starts with a blank row, followed by 2 rows with lace transfer markings, and a single every other needle arrangement row intended for the weaving pattern, repeating in varied sequences for the height of the card. The source for the repeat is  Brother punchcard pattern book volume 5. Due to the added experience I have acquired in working with spreadsheets and converting lace punchcard repeats, it took literally minutes as opposed to hours to produce a working repeat for use on my now 930 and the desired proof of concept. It is interesting how our perspective and skill can evolve over time. This is the new, “quick” version,  beginning with flipping the card segment over horizontally, a requirement with Ayab or img2track on my 930. 259 shows the traditional approach combining the two techniques that take into account the fact that when the second selecting carriage starts to move from the opposite side, the punchcard does not advance, repeating the same preselection. Added discussion of the differences in repeats for both machine types may be found in the post: Doilies: Lace meets hold and goes round In this instance expanding the punchcard repeat with extra blank rows to allow for extra LC passes to maintain proper transfer direction is not necessary, but the repeated punchcard selections need to be taken into account. There are 2 options for starts: if beginning with lace rows, the first preselection row is from right to left with the LC, if beginning with weaving, the first preselection pass from left to right. End needle selection is in the KC is canceled. As knitting progresses, if an end needle is selected in the pattern push it back to B prior to making transfers in that row. The movements when working with two selecting carriages on the electronic are standard, the repeat advances a row in the design with each pass of the carriage. Here each carriage operates for 2 passes, to and from its original side after the first preselection row. I began my proof of concept with woven rows. The punchcard repeat has been reversed  The top swatch tests the repeat as given above, beginning with the weaving pattern. Mirroring the repeat also produced an interesting variation, as seen in the bottom test A review of 589, showed that it could be knit using each carriage for 2 passes as done above.  The same repeat as the one in the original punchcard, mirrored, produces the same fabric on the 930 as with using the more complicated separation methods described further below. The chart depicts the desired actions. My first row was knit with the KC set on KCII, preselecting while knitting a plain knit row from left to right, followed with the first lace transfer pass also from left to right the electronic repeat and its .png Analyzing the card, sorting out possible repeats follows since mylars or bitmaps for download often only require a single repeat of the pattern. If you are not used to doing this, sometimes beginning with recognizable vertical ones first is a bit easier. The first problem: matching the arrow markings beginning just above row 1 mark on the right, it appears the first set of transfers should be to the left, The pattern is simply not workable as given using both carriages selecting needles from opposite sides of a punchcard machine, each moving for 2 rows.
Reworking the repeat for use on the electronic in order to use the LC for four passes, beginning and returning to the left-hand side of the machine: the movements of the respective carriages on both models are plotted out, beginning with the theoretical punchcard one, mirrored horizontally, on the left, expanded in the center for the electronic, with the final repeat on the right. I now use different color cells to represent the direction of the transfers, here red for ones for those to the left, green for those to the right. The grey rows indicate blank ones that are required for the lace carriage to perform the necessary selections, transfers, and then to complete its return to the left side of the needle bed the smallest, single repeated in width X 2 for use on my 930its .png Extension rails must be used as both carriages engage the belt. The LC operates from the left-hand side for four passes throughout. The KC from the right for 2 passes each time. It advances the design by one row for each pass, preselecting needles or blank rows depending on the presence or absence of pixels as it would in any other fabric type. End needle selection is canceled. The weaving yarn is laid over the groups of every other needle in D position. A quick proof of concept swatch, the ground yarn may need tension adjustments for the best result an interesting variation with the above repeat flipped horizontally the mirrored repeat is used in the top swatch, any dropped stitches will result in floats. The repeat prior to mirroring was used to knit the bottom swatch. Dropped lace transfers may be missed behind the laid in thicker yarn. Transfers may need to be made manually if they continue to be a problem, especially if the ground yarn tension needs tightening in order to achieve the desired effect.  Starting the piece with 2 woven rows, rather than lace transfers: charting for working with the LC operating from the left for 4 passes, the KC from the right for 2 passes (worked on my 910, using mylar):
comparing the sequences for both starts, weaving on left, lace on the right Patterning issues are not always due to needle selection problems. Weaving and lace pattern combinations may be tested in lace first to establish eyelet selection accuracy. Here the weaving test failures were due to a problem with the sinker plate. The weaving lever was working properly in one direction only. Check that both brushes are turning freely. If they are not, remove the screw and any fluff caught under them before replacing them and continuing to knit. Occasionally the lever that moves the brushes up and down fails and a new part is called for. Here, the hand technique success followed a change of the sinker plate a sample using 2 different weight yarns; irregular weaving may require changing the yarn, or adjusting the tension used for the background yarn I like to test these repeats first in transfer lace, to sort out the best tension and yarn to use, errors in programming, Taking another look at the original punchcard and those arrows on the left-hand side, a detail I had originally missed, they all start from and return to the right, the line thickness changing marking the alternate carriage Both carriages operate from the right side, for 2 rows each, switching their place on the machine bed. Arrows for design row 1 begin above the red line. Transfers are all first to the left, then to the right. The card advances a single row for each carriage pass. With carriages operating from the same side, the punchcard advances one row for each carriage pass As I was trying to understand what was happening, I was also able to produce a swatch using the original #589 card, using a method that, however, produced all lace transfers to the right, and differed from the desired effect:
KC passes are indicated with green text, LC passes in blue
Pass 1: COL, KCII, N for a knit row which preselects the first weaving pattern row, knit to the right
Pass 2COR, KC, EON preselected, set the card to advance normally, lay in weaving yarn, KC moving  to the left will weave the first row, preselect the second weaving row
Pass 3: COL, KC weaves second-row EON, preselects the first row of lace on its way to the right
Pass 4: COL, LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection, as it moves to the right 
Pass 5COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves to the left
Pass 6: COL, LC transfers pre-selected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves to the right, release it, return it to left
Pass 7COR, KC, EON, lay in weaving yarn, KC will move to the left and will weave the first row, preselect  second weaving row
Pass 8: COL, KC weaves the second row EON, preselects the first row of lace on its way to the right
Pass 9: COL, LC transfers to right, repeats previous row’s selection as it moves to the right
Pass 10COR, LC no transfer happens on empty needle selected for the second time by the previous row, selects for the next row of transfers, moves to the left
Pass 11: COL, LC transfers preselected row to right, preselects first EON row for weaving, moves to the right, release it, return it to left.  This row matches design row 1 and is starting the repeat sequence again
Passes 2-11: each group complete 10 rows of knitting the knit, produced at the time on both my punchcard machine and with my 910 also requiring an LC release on its third pass, reflect all the transfers occurring in a single direction

Unconventional uses for punchcards 3: lace in rib

The question periodically comes up with regards to the possibility of using the lace carriage when knitting every needle rib fabric. The lace carriage does not operate with the ribber bed in use in the standard up position, there is not enough clearance between the beds for it to travel from one side to the other across the needle bed. It is possible to drop the ribber down one click, opening up the space between the beds, supposedly to allow for the use of thicker yarns.

My machine is old enough for the ribber to be bowed in the center, increasing the space between the beds there. Trying to use that position for every needle rib in my desired yarn I got yarn breakage in the center of the bed, some skipped stitches, and the sides of the needle bed were still up too high for the LC to have a clear passage. The problem appeared to be due to its brushes hitting the gate pegs. With the brushes removed, but with some grinding against those same gate pegs the LC was able to move along the top bed. At least on my machine, I am giving up on the idea of using it, even if only to preselect needles, let alone make transfers.
This page is from the Ribber techniques book. The fact that transfers are broken up with blocks where there are no transfers, including some with stitches transferred to the opposite bed, makes it easier to track transfers than if using all over designs. Standard pronged tools are sufficient to move the single stitches or groups of three. 

It is possible to transfer larger groups of needles on the main bed to create lace patterns, done of necessity in two-color brioche, but here I am seeking to modify lace punchcards so that the fabric based on them may be created successfully with as few errors and dropped stitches as possible.
My first attempt was made using a second knit carriage set to slip in both directions to preselect needles for transfers,  using a small lace repeat to test the idea. The advantage of this method is that the original lace repeat does not need to be altered in any way. The disadvantage, aside from requiring a second carriage to use, is that the width of the piece on the machine is limited.  The ribber carriage is in use and needs to remain at least in part on the machine bed on the far right, limiting the number of needles for possible use on the right side of 0 to about 20. The same work could be done using only one knit carriage as well, but that would require changing the cam buttons from slip in both directions to knit and back to slip at the appropriate points, one of the methods that make it possible to knit lace on the 260 bulky machines

The repeat used is for this swatch is from StitchWorld, and is knit using the second knit carriage for needle preselection.  Because each block contains lace transfers in only one direction, the fabric, even though it is a rib, reflects that in the biasing first in one direction, then in the opposite.

It helps to be clear as to whether one is producing lace repeat for use in a punchcard or an electronic model which in turn will require mirroring, such as when using Ayab or when using slip stitch selection with the knit carriage in combination with lace carriage selections to create shaped lace edgings. Testing on a small swatch will help determine whether mirroring is required for any specific design. Electronic machines usually produce the design as seen on the knit side, punchcard machines as they would be seen on the purl, thus making mirroring a requirement depending on the source for the design.
I usually begin by modifying my chosen repeat in a spreadsheet. On the left, the pairs of blank rows in the original repeat are temporarily colored in grey. It helps to be consistent. One repeat begins with a full motif, the other with half, which can be confusing when first starting out. The plan is to begin by producing a trim or edging, an all-over pattern for significant lengths appears daunting. Dropped stitches in single bed lace are no fun, in rib they may not even be noticed until the knitting is off the machine. The difference between the two repeats: the 2 grey rows on the left are replaced by black pixels or punched holes, with a blank row placed above and below each of the black row pairs. The design is now expanded from a 40-row height to a 50-row one suitable for use in a punchcard machine This explains some of the desired knitting actions Using the method described in other posts, this was the screengrab imported into Gimp. The grey line is a reference point. Cropping the image to content will allow the last blank row to be preserved by having the grey one there. After the crop, it can be bucket filled with white, or when the image is, in turn, bitmapped to B/W, you may find it disappears. Image scale is then used to reduce the repeat for knitting. This is the repeat used to knit the swatch in my 930. If working from it, punchcard knitters need to mirror designs from an electronic source such as this and will find it easier to do so by turning the card over, marking the holes that require punching on that side, doing so, and then inserting the card in the reader in its usual orientation.  The 930 .png: Prior to knitting the pattern using the ribber, it pays to test the repeat single bed to get a sense of where the knit rows occur and to make certain the transfers are happening in the correct direction and in what place on the needle bed. There should be no side by side empty needles, and in this design, the first pairs of transfers result in 3 stitches on one needle in the center of each shape, not side by side holes as seen here in the false start prior to mirroring the image Making things work: both carriages will be operating to and from the left-hand side. The process is facilitated by the use of an extension rail and a color changer. The knit carriage alone will operate to preselect the needles that will need to be hand transferred to create the lace pattern. With the following modification of the repeat, all transfers are made moving away from the knit carriage. So if the KC is on the right, transfer to the left, if it is on the left, transfer to the right. The paired carriages will create the two all-knit rows between lace segments. The blank rows above and below the two all punched or black pixel rows are there to return the carriages to the proper, left side to begin preselection for the next row of transfers. If any end needles are preselected on the knit bed, push them back to B.
It is best to knit 2 rows of full needle rib before beginning transfer, that will ensure that stitches on both beds are formed properly. I did not, had a spot on the cast-on where the loops were not properly placed on the comb, and that is reflected in the area that looks like a stitch was dropped. Begin with a zig-zag row from left to right, knit 2 circular rows, carriages will be on the right. Knit a sealing row to the left, followed by 2 all knit rows, ending with carriages once more on the left side.
COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, hold it in color changer by pushing the adjacent feeder number
separate the 2 carriages
cancel end needle selection
KC is set to slip in both directions, it will remain there for the duration of knitting the pattern, make certain all main bed needles are in the B position
KC operates alone to the right and preselects the first row of transfers
COR transfer preselected needles to the left, away from the carriage. Make certain all needles are in the B position before the next carriage pass. KC will preselect for transfers to the right as it returns to the left side.  Repeat the process until all needles are preselected for an all knit row as you knit back to the left
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles
Repeat: *COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, separate the 2 carriages, operate KC alone making transfers away from the carriage until all needles are preselected as you knit to the left. 
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles** until ready to continue in every needle rib.

This method is slow, I found it oddly meditative. It offers an opportunity to review stitch formation, thus avoiding dropped stitches. Hand transferring lace preselection on the single bed as well can sometimes make a fabric achievable that is otherwise cursed by dropped stitches and fiber issues.

Mosaic and maze inspiration from additional sources

Reviewing properties of both: maze patterns have long vertical and horizontal lines broken by regular gaps and the pattern lines change course from the vertical to horizontal, and vice versa. Maze cards can be identified by completely punched row segments, some alternating with every other square marked for two rows, usually geometrically shaped. Areas of stocking stitch produce horizontal colored stripes, and alternating pattern stitches that slip or tuck cause the vertical stripes, which are sometimes pulled nearly diagonal by the influence of tuck or slip. The fabric will be unbalanced because the number of needles slipping or tucking will not be the same on every row. Odd rows usually form 2 color horizontal stripes, even rows vertical stripes, with color changes occurring every 2 rows.
Mosaics have a brick arrangement (tessellae), with clear perimeters and cores, and stepped diagonals (frets) that are partially formed bricks, their positive and negative spaces are created by the use of contrasting colors. The stripe sequence is not as obvious. The punchcard does not resemble the original design.
In single bed work, the reverse of the fabric will show the original design in the texture of its slip or tuck stitches. There usually will be no floats longer than one or two stitches.
The knit side may look like a fair isle but the back lacks any long floats, hence the name “float-less fair isle”
The row gauge is compressed. Tuck fabrics are short and wide, slip ones tend to be short and thin. Some patterns elongate in washing. The tension used is usually one number higher or more than that used for stocking stitch for slip patterns to reduce their narrowing. Tuck knitting may need adjustments to lower tensions. Smooth yarns in contrasting colors are the easiest to establish an easily recognized test pattern, the choices that follow may then be far more personal.

After a while repeat units begin to become familiar. Pondering possibilities: Here the design knit as a fair-isle pattern would produce long floats, going through the steps of converting it for “floatless fair isle” proves of no benefit.

I previously wrote about the use of weaving
drafts as inspiration for other textile techniques, ie. knitting.
Endless published drafts may be found online or in books that might be interpreted for use with mosaic/maze single bed knitting. Having electronic machines available lifts restrictions in pattern width, while repeats too large for narrow items such as scarves may become useful for shawls or blankets. One such repeat,  with .pngs shown for both single and double-height:

This repeat is 36X36 before being lenthened X2 

A different sort of challenge was posed by this 18X18 image with a row shift in areas with a large number of both filled-in or blank squares. As one moves up its magnified version in Gimp it becomes apparent that a row will have a very long float in one of the two colors. One option is to skip that row, resulting in the green gridded repeats for the converted motif both shown both for single and double length. The result in the knitting test swatch produces an unplanned color shift which could be declared to be a design feature, or one can continue with editing the inspiration source. Repeating the separation process with a new graph produces a workable cousin to the original Generally when creating these patterns on Brother machines, patterning selection varies for each pairs of rows. I got distracted while making the above swatch by a phone call, got to the point where there is a very obvious solid black all knit row in the repeat, but “forgot” its presence. I assumed I was having a selection or a carriage issue and scrapped the knitting off. Note to self: “remember to always check the programmed design before you do that again in the future”.

 

 

Knitting machine history and information, Silver Reed +

For Brother/ knitking please see Daisyknits brother compatibility charts/

The same model years may be sold with different names in other countries. This chart is reproduced with permission, was developed by Claudia Scarpa This information is from a Chinese commercial site, not fact-checked or edited in any way, models in blue lettering appear to be what is available for purchase