Knit weaving 2: swatches, experiments

WORK IN PROGRESS 

Many of these swatches are part of my stash from my teaching days. They were usually not intended for finished pieces, merely to illustrate a range of possible results with the techniques, often produced during my demonstrations. The colors were chosen to stand apart in the shared yarn stash in the studio, intended only for my personal use and for easier visibility during demos. The latter were being videotaped from some height and projected onto a large screen during classes for added visibility. At times enrollment was between 15 and 20 students per session.
Eyelets indicate tension # used for ground yarns. It is best to avoid dots between whole numbers. If swatches are too small to reflect the tension used, knots can be placed on yarn ends at the start of each experiment. The ends themselves may need to be doubled to make knots palpable.

thin mohair over a cotton/poly chenille over cotton, tests for a pillow 
chenille ground, wool weft hooked up floats vertical weave, the second with a scorched spot from an iron, experimenting with direction of wraps, a combination of loops and wrapswool ground, felted, monochrome acrylic weft, cut floats wool weft over cotton, cut floats, further trimmed in the top photo The same card 3 ways: the weft is too soft, the effect is lost in monochromatic version, cut floats become muddied with wear worked in the intarsia method, with a separate yarn strand for each shape, possible on monofilament to create floating shapes when placed over another fabric layer fringe woven with multiple strands of thin yarn appliqued to a long swatch weaving through ladders and long stitches with a needle or bodkin automated pattern with added weaving through ladders with a needle or bodkin worked on bulky 260, tension 2, using  card 1 Some finished items from eons ago, the pillow used the gauge in the chenille swatch included above, the sweater was for my mom, likely knit in the late 1980s

Brother shadow lace, rib transfer carriage

I have probably owned this accessory since the early 90s. After making a faint-hearted attempt at using it at the time and failing, it has been stored in the original box in the interim and just came out of retirement. The multiple languages operating manual for its use may be downloaded from http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-ka7100-ka8300-transfer-carriage-user-guide.html. There several video tutorials available on Youtube as well, generally illustrating simple transfers across an entire row in structures such as ribs used for bands and cuffs.
The tool is designed for the standard gauge, transfers only from the ribber up to the main bed. It is best to use yarn that has some stretch. The recommendation in the manual and in youtube videos is to perform the transfers with the pitch set to H. My own ribber is balanced, I found I had problems with transfers in that position, several carriage jams, and to get things to work properly in half-pitch I had to use the racking handle to move the ribber needles slightly more to the left for the transfers. The needles containing stitches to be moved, need to be slightly to the right of the needles with which they will share yarn, that spot may turn out to also be just wide enough to allow for the pattern to be worked without changing the ribber pitch.  The yarn used is a 2/18 Merino, knit at tensions 3/5. In terms of positioning the carriage, a wire that is akin to that found on Passap strippers is on its underneath. In positioning the carriage on the beds, check visually that it is indeed lying between the gate pegs of both beds prior to attempting to travel with it to the opposite side If any carriage jam occurs, it takes cautious wriggling to release the wire and carriage. Upon completion of the transfers, simply lift up to remove it from the beds.
Generally, the ribber tension used needs to be set on 4 at the minimum. The last row just prior to transfers will likely need to be knit at a looser tension than the remaining rib. If the stitches are too small they will not be picked up for the transfer. Folks familiar with lace knitting are aware that just the right amount of weight can make a difference in forming proper transfers. With these fabrics, too little weight may result in loops forming on gate pegs, too much weight, and stitches may remain over closed latches on the ribber needles and not share their yarn for transfers.  Again, the transfer carriage operates only from right to left.
Studio instructions for their version of the accessory actually offer some different and more specific recommendations. When knitting full needle rib all the needles or pattern segments the machine generally will be in Half Pitch. Though there are needles in work on both beds, the ribber should be set to full pitch, aka P position, “point to point” prior to transfers, bringing them in close alignment in order to facilitate the process. Passap machines accomplish the same by changing the angle of the racking handle to other than the full, up placement in order to achieve the necessary alignment.
The Brother accessory and its parts, has clear imprinted illustrations for use

The change lever has only 2 positions, up and down respectively Its position is determined by the number of needles on the ribber one wishes to transfer.
The carriage manual recommends its use after knitting a last ribbed row to the left, but it is possible to use it with both knitting carriages on either side, as long as there is generous space to clear all stitches when the accessory is placed on the bed, moved to the opposite side, and removed. An extension rail may be needed to achieve that amount of clearance.
Operating slowly, one can watch the process of transfers while moving from right to left. Though skeptical, I found the transfers happened easily, with occasional skips. I worked with hand-selection of needles on the ribber to create a pattern, first with hand-selection, then with racking the ribber position to change the relationship of needles on one bed to the other, initially transferred after every 2 rows knit. The knit carriage was set to knit both ways, the ribber to knit in one direction, creating loops on the selected needles, and securing them in the other, allowing for the loops on the ribber needles to be transferred up to the main bed, before working 2 more rows. The “errors” in patterning were operator errors in needle selection as stitches were dropped, and not all the required needles were then returned to work position. Not a technique I would use for all-over fabric, but good practice. When the transfer occurs properly, the ribber needles will have yarn placed over closed latches, ready to be dropped, the yarn is shared and looped over stitches on the main bed, akin to tuck loops, outlined in the photo with the black oval. The first image is from the manual for the accessory, while in the photo, one improperly transferred stitch is outlined in red. To prevent dropped stitches from happening, any such locations will require a hand transfer to the opposite bed before dropping the remaining ribber bed shared stitches For my test I used EON needles on the ribber, planned alternating selection for each new transfer. This could be done by selecting dashes and blank spots on needle tape ie. dash in the above photo, blank spaces below  It was faster to achieve the effect by changing the ribber relationship to the main bed using racking by one position ie 10, 9, 10, 9, etc. prior to picking up the subsequent set of loops. The errors in the test swatch were from failing to bring all the needles back up to work after dropping their stitches. Using a tool ie. a ribber comb placed over the out-of-work needles prior to dropping stitches made the racking process far less error-prone,  will keep the appropriate needles from being accidentally taken out of work. My first attempt at creating shapes includes a band at the bottom where the EON transfers as above were made, but every row. Simply bringing needles into work on the opposite bed creates an eyelet. They can be eliminated by sharing stitch “bumps” on the opposite bed, but for the moment they are a design feature. The texture created appears in the areas involved on both sides of the knit It is possible to transfer single needles at sides of shapes ie or whole rows, but the change lever needs to be set to position accordingly.

Many knitters have one of these tools in their stash,  they are sometimes referred to as “jaws”,  intended to facilitate transferring between both beds, and patterning was intended for Studio punchcard machines. The enclosed punchcards: Studio machines select and knit in single pass rows. Brother preselects for the next row of knitting while knitting any one row in pattern as well, so transferring in pattern from the top bed down with such a tool would be problematic to maintain proper pattern needle selection. However, that brings to mind the possibility of having patterning on the top bed to help track patterning on the ribber in some way. This was my start, with the first draft of electronic repeats. I stopped when I began to have some tension issues, loops on gate pegs, and a distracted brain.
Transfers of stitch groups, whether by hand or using the accessories are made on rows where no needle preselection occurs on the main bed This series is a proof of concept for my approach to developing electronic cuesThe original repeats were modified to include 2 blank rows between segments that allow for transfers between beds not hampered by needle preselection on the top bed. The motifs are color reversed, but not the blank rows between themThe knit carriage is set to select needles KC I or II, end needle selection does not matter. All needles on the top bed knit every stitch, every row, whether or not those design rows contain black pixels. No cam buttons are pushed in. Blank areas between black ones indicate the number of needles that actually need to pick up loops on the ribber to create shapes, filling in spaces between selected needles until an all-blank row is reached for making transfers. The chart on the far right illustrates a shape where the easiest method becomes one where stitches on the ribber are manually transferred to the top bed in order to reverse the shape and maintain every row preselection. The selected needle corresponding to the black square marked with the top of the red arrows is pushed back, the ribber stitch below is transferred onto it, the needle with the couples stitches is brought to E position, moving across the bed in proper locations prior to knitting the next row.  In this repeat, the side vertical panels of ribbed stitches are added. The knit stitches on each side of them roll nicely to the purl side, creating what in some fabrics can actually be planned as an edging. My takeaway is to test the accessory with some patience, sort out the sweet spot for the ribber needles in relation to main bed ones in terms of handling transfers and yarn thickness, use colors that allow for easy recognition of proper stitch formation, keep good notes, and “go for it”.

Pretend multi color ribs

WORK IN PROGRESS

A recent Ravelry post brought this topic to light. Using slip stitch settings makes the final fabric narrow and not stretchable. That said, there may be times when vertical columns of color would benefit the remaining design. This first experiment is on a Brother machine. The repeat used is for a simple 2X2 block It is programmed for 2 color knitting, set up for use with the ribber and color changer. The first KC row is from the right to the left, with color changes following every 2 rows. When the carriage is first on the left, the knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. In the tests the ribber is set to knit in both directions for the sample on the left, to slip to the left for the sample on the right. When the ribber is set to slip, the main bed only will knit in the corresponding direction, and floats will be created between selected needles on the main bed. The number of rows completed on the ribber are cut in half, the resulting knit fabric is more compressed, less elongated, and narrower A closer look

Slip stitch patterns with hand transferred stitches

WORK IN PROGRESS 

The inspiration source found on Pinterest Adapting the motif for machine knitting, visualizing the actions needed The repeat is suitable for punchcard machines as well. The first preselection row is toward the color changer, end needle selection is on. Cable crossings, 1 front, 3 back, are made every 4 rows except where the color reverses at the midpoint, where 4 all knit rows are preselected and occur. The fourth, extra non selected needle, X, is removed on a tool and held in front of the work. The three adjacent stitches are then also removed on a tool, moved to fill in the now empty needle to the left in the bottom segment of the repeat, to the right in the top half. The single held stitch is then transferred on the newly empty needle. All stitches in the transfer group are brought to D, the remaining needles should have been preselected. If any have been disturbed, line them up as well so all the needles will knit with the carriage set to slip. The color is changed, and the row with the completed transfers becomes the first all knit row in the next color pair or rows. 
The repeat as programmed into my 930
It is possible to get the slipped stitches to create patterns on the purl side, by transferring all stitches down to the ribber and using slip stitch selection to choose only the moving stitches on the main bed. End needle selection needs to be canceled. All stitches except the ones creating the pattern will be in the B position.  the extra needle selection prior to the next all knit row helps track the direction of the moves, stitches are moved three at a time, there are no cable crossingsThings do not always “work”, that is part of the process Working single bed is for me, more user friendly. I like to program the width of my repeats when possible, they can then be treated as single motifs, the default in the 930, and I do not have to rely on notes, memory, or position programming to place the work predictably on the needle bed. My full repeatThe knit carriage was set to KCI and to slip in both directions, the same design and execution methods were used as for the first swatch. The yarn is 2/18 wool, the tension was set at 4.., the slipped and crossed stitches pull the fabric in both width and height, the swatch was steamed and pressed to flatten it. Small eyelets occur along the edges where the single stitches were moved to one side or the other across three needle positions. It was not possible to produce a 3X3 crossing at the center of the shapes. Over time I have encountered illustrations of unraveled knit or slipped stitches being brought out to the purl side, creating thread patterns on the knit surface, and changing the color structure on the purl. This illustrates a slip stitch being created via a hand technique Here the dropped stitch is hooked up on the purl side  Using the automated slip stitch setting simplifies the technique. The method often described to deal with moving the elongated slipped stitches is illustrated below. Using a latch tool inserted behind the slip floats, remove a single slipped stitch at a time, passing it under the slip stitch floats, and rehanging it in its original needle position In testing techniques, a simple design that is recognizable with preselection of needles makes it easier to track progress and accuracy. Though these patterns may be executed in a single color, working in contrasting, bright yarn colors is helpful in isolating stitch formations and understanding their structures. More than one stitch may be moved at any one time. I found when using more than 2 rows of slip the ground fabric began to look gathered and distorted, so my tests are knit using 2X2 pixel blocks.
To move the slipped stitches, slide a multiple eye tool under the slip stitch floats that are to be moved to the front of the knit, holding the tool parallel to the knit bed, lift floats up and onto the non selected needles,   pull tool forward, so stitches and floats move behind the latches push tool back toward the needle bed lift the slipped stitches and floats together onto the tool insert a latch tool from behind between the prongs of the multiple eye tool lift the floats over the eyes of the tool, placing them behind it and the slipped stitches, being careful not to hook them up onto gatepegs
now lift the original slipped stitches back onto their previous place on the needle bed, they will be part of the first all knit row in the contrasting color bring the needles with the restored stitched out to D, thus making certain they will knit as the carriage makes its next pass The pattern is charted below in development, color changes were planned every 2 rows. The third blank row in each slip stitch location marks the spot for the above manipulations to take place, noted in the chart with grey cells marked with pink dots. After the initial preselection row toward the color changer, only for the first all knit pattern row, push non selected needles out to hold, to ensure all stitches will knit in the ground color. Subsequently, the first design row is part of the continuing repeat. The next color change will begin to form the floats. The sequence at the bottom of the swatch is off because I had a change of heart about which color I wanted to form the solid color shapes To my surprise, the process became oddly meditative, and I moved onto a different motif built with 2X2 pixel blocks. As seen with mazes and mosaics, a design intended for standard fair isle, tuck, or slip, with color changes every 2 rows, will produce an altered final shape