After a slow down in my blog posts for a variety of reasons I find myself playing catch up with the eternal list of knit fabrics that I wish to explore out of my own curiosity and the attempt to answer questions from knitters who contacted me directly via the blog or have asked them in the online forums in which I am a member.
Stephen West is a prolific designer of colorful hand knits in a variety of techniques and complexity. This honey-striped scarf is an example. Slip-stitch patterning is a likely way of knitting a similar effect combined with
the use of the concept familiar to many when making bias cast-on rags.
A fixed number of stitches is cast on and positioned as far to one side of the machine as possible. They are then decreased on a fixed side and increased on the opposite one.
The strip moves across the needle bed, when far enough on the side opposite to the starting one, it is returned to the original needle bed position and the process is repeated until the desired length is reached.
If the moves to and from are performed on solid color rows matching needle selections may not be an issue. If the repeats in other cam settings are to match, then proper needle placement can be assisted by marking the metal bed, the factory-supplied needle tape, or a custom-printed one, and hand-selection for the first design row may be required and planned.
This chart attempts to visualize the proposed movement using colored stripes. Stitches are bound off on one side and cast-on on the other to maintain a fixed width with shaped edges. If the goal is to maintain straight bias edges, the design repeat would need to be rendered wider in order to compensate for the shifts on the needle bed in turn modifying increases and decreases at a different rate The black cells represent the adjusted stitch counts needed for each pattern band. When an item such as a scarf is worn, both options will appear as diagonals. If any picture knitting is included and the direction of it matters when the piece is worn, appreciated particularly in representational fair isle, such accessories are best knit as 2 pieces knit from the bottom up, and grafted together at their center after the fact.
Increases and decreases are calculated based on the knit gauge carefully for garments. The approach to accessories may be more casual.
Stripes heights are varied to accommodate any specific design motifs or cam settings and in turn, are added to the base visualization charts.
Here an attempt at 45-degree striping is made by beginning on a 3-stitch tab. Increasing on the carriage side creates loops, while those opposite the carriage form knots.
Increases and decreases are indicated by arrows.
Increases are made on alternating sides, opposite the carriage, to produce matching edges.
The red cells in the chart represent the carriage side prior to each pass.
Table cells have been rendered rectangular in a 4 to 3 ratio, estimating the difference in gauge between stitches and rows.
Striping for an even number of rows matters if color changes are made on a fixed side ie if a color changer is in use. Yarn ends at color changes may be cut or the yarn can be carried up the side depending on preference and the number of rows involved. If carried up for long stretches, the alternate color yarn not in use may be secured by e wrapping it on the end needle periodically. Care needs to be taken that the float up the side is not so short as to have an effect on the swatch length and having an effort to remedy that will leave yarn ends too short to be secured.
The result is not going to produce a proper square, garter stitch is the only knit stitch that results in approximately true square shapes.
If the center of the machine is always used for swatches, keep an eye on the stitch formation. If loops are formed repeatedly on specific needles akin to tuck stitches or problem areas such as those in the center of this swatch are encountered, they can be caused by damaged needles or sticky latches that may result from frequent use. Diagonal lines in knits that maintain straight sides are also achieved using short row/holding intarsia techniques. Segments are planned in specific orders which can be varied to form added shapes. Chevrons would be more easily created by knitting separate strips and seaming as you knit or after the fact. The addition of small-repeat fair isle patterns is also possible. Keep in mind when bringing needles back into work to reverse shaping, needle preselection for accurate patterning in Brother machines needs to be maintained by hand selection. Some of the published punchcard patterns can serve as a source for diagonal lines that may be tiled and programmed for the full design in addition to being used for their original intent. Numbers 52, 384, and 328 (published with error), are suitable for tuck, slip, and FI with moderately wide floats, while 335 would fail as a tuck stitch.
Tiling as in any patterning will reveal errors, such as here for 328. The latter was edited to a 22-stitch wide repeat, becoming suitable for only electronic machine models.
The charts with the red grid on the top row were rendered as tables in Numbers. Since their end use is different, they are the color-reversed version of the cards, whose screengrabs were in turn processed in Gimp to create knittable pngs.
The smallest repeats suitable for electronics are given in the center row of images, the amended 328 cannot be reduced in size. The last row illustrates tiling for all files as BW images that may be opened and amended to suit the size of the pieces planned.
Files in png formats for the group: if pngs generated by me in BW indexed mode are downloaded and opened in editors such as Gimp, they will open in RGB mode. To make them suitable for download programs, convert them to indexed BW mode again and save the result. There should be no loss of data.
384, 12X2412X48 144X144328, 22X44
24X48 144X144 52, 8X16
24X48 192X192 The black lines formed by units 2 rows in height can be followed or erased to establish short rows shaping a stitch at a time every two rows, in a view of at least 2X2 full repeats to check color placement as seen here. The method was used to isolate the previous ungridded color illustrations. Another instance of a published diagonal tuck card, in this case, incorporates a combination of 2 and 4-row tuck patterning. The repeat is 24X48 The previews may be used to replace color selections with those matching yarn colors used in the project to develop some idea as to how color shifts might affect the final piece.
Adding lettering or small shapes and maintaining the diagonal can result in distortion of the motifs.
One option to add such motifs is to form the knit by beginning on 3 stitches as in this shared swatch and planning the stripes to heights and widths that accommodate adding designs or fonts. Short-row intarsia will also produce diagonal striping, from simple to complex as seen in this chart, with knitting sequence numbered for each segment. A limited number of rows may be knit in stocking stitch in areas following shapes not simply to travel to the opposite side and reverse shaping, but also to add small rolls or hems.
Another use might be to add small vertical motif details or patterning in their usual orientation.
The limit appears to be a maximum of 8 rows of alternative patterns, in order to keep the short-rowed areas from developing into distorted edges, which may be variable depending on the yarn and pattern used.
This first swatch was knit using progressively thinner yarns, wool, wool rayon, and a 2/24 acrylic in the FI segment. FI is a slip stitch that narrows the knit. The dark acrylic color stitch definition here gets lost. The band is seen pulling in the short-row segments on both sides. The shaping in both the top and bottom segments is by 2 stitches at a time. The result in different yarns of equal thickness, with the FI band knit at a tension one full number looser than the stocking stitch areas, with the top and bottom solid color segments now shaped 3 stitches at a time. There is a trick when making A-line skirts to change the triangles that would poke out normally at the bottom if shaping were to begin immediately used as a design feature in many runway knits recently. If between an inch or 2 are actually knit up straight before shaping starts, the problem is eliminated. Depending on the design this may be a solution or it may read as a patterning error.
There are some conventions and “rules” for short-row techniques, but they do not always apply.
Keeping good notes helps to make successful experiments reproducible.
Two more tries began to experiment with working on the first and last groups in the holding techniques on a different number of stitches than the remaining shapes, noting differences. In the first an all-knit row is made across the short-row eyelets, reducing the planned FI band from 6 rows to 5. A rough spot in maintaining even stitches on one side is noticeable. Progress: holding happened at the start of the bottom wedge, the FI was knit at 2 tension numbers looser than the stocking stitch, for 6 rows. The goal in the short row shaping for the triangles is to maintain vertical edges that appear as straight as possible to the eye. One need not work on large swatches, small ones can provide clues as to differences resulting from variations in the starting side of the short-row shapings. Studying the results can lead to many variations. There are student theses and careers based on exploring limited techniques to the max.
Building a theoretical true square or other predictable shapes is subject to the yarn and tension used. Beginning with a small sample, this shows the order of knitting 2 triangular shapes with the carriage beginning to knit each shape from alternate sides. In this case, 2 stitches are to be brought in and out of holding at a time. Because each color knits for 2 rows, small slits happen in the fabric resulting in eyelets. They may be used as design features, or attempts can be made to reduce their size. One way to do so is to have plain knit rows between holding selections to keep the small slits from intersecting and becoming double height. On the left swatch, one yellow row was knit to the left before reverse shaping in the same color. In the swatch on the right, in addition, 2 rows were knit in the blue prior to reverse shaping. Reviewing the concept and developing a chart for larger swatches: the cyan color cells represent stitches in the hold position and the white cells stitches that will be knit.
At the top of the first wedge, most needles will be in the hold position, return them all to the B position manually before knitting the next row.
With the carriage on either side, set it for KCI with the cam buttons to slip for a free pass to the opposite side, the first FI pattern row will pre-select. Holding need not be canceled, since no needles are brought far enough out for the technique.
Cancel the slip setting, change the cam setting for FI knitting, place the pairs of colors in their corresponding feeders, and knit 6-8 rows of pattern.
Bring all needles out to hold except for the first desired group, if the holding lever has been canceled, reset it and commence reverse shaping. Merrily knitting along and you forget to loosen the tension for the fair isle stripe: And what if the FI were to actually follow diagonal colored stripes? The approach is the same. I am right-handed, my default is often to begin on the right. Left-handed knitters can mirror charts as needed to make them easier to follow.
The first triangle is shaped from right toward left, subsequent ones begin on the left, then to wrap or not wrap becomes the question. Review of wrapping, which does not disturb the stitch on or the position of the wrapped needle: I obstinately use random yarns at hand, sometimes too thin for the task at hand, true here. Any type of intarsia, of which holding is one, will be accompanied by lots of yarn ends that will require weaving in. Some of the stitches were wrapped here, some not, and maybe the eyelets could be considered a pleasing design feature. The 8 rows of FI, knit at 2 full tension numbers higher than that used for stocking stitch, minimizes the size of the eyelets all on their own on both sides of its stripe. Errors in bringing an added group or not into work may not always be immediately visible, frogging this type of knitting can be painful.
I would not use the last 6 stitch modification in any future swatches. Elizabeth Zimmermann published many patterns for hand knitting utilizing garter stitch and striped diagonal wedges for garment shaping.
Machine-knit stitches do not form as close to square ones found in garter stitches. Rendering the full-scale garment on a knit leader would make knitting to gauge while avoiding tons of math calculations possible.
DIY is a bit like assembling paper cut-outs that are required to fit together, first attempts at planning do not always succeed. One may begin at different parts of the piece and seam two halves together if necessary in order to keep matching stitch formations in both directions. Stripes may be added to form secondary intersecting shapes. On the left is a simple one-piece vest concept with no miters in the back panel, which may be knit from the bottom up or as two pieces with a center seam.
The bolero style is repeated in 2 separate pieces with mirror shaping in the second and would be joined at the center back.
The knit gauge is easier to maintain in short or small wearables. Many garments may be made following the concepts for creating “pies”.
Decades ago batwing sweaters based on a sideways circular knit concept were standard presentations at knit seminars. Short-row diagonal graduated wedges were followed by varying amounts of all knit rows.
This idea for a short sleeve garment is from a Japanese magazine. In creating such illustrations because of the scale of the publication, the aspect ratio is distorted. In the final garment, the bottom circumference can in fact be far narrower than it might appear to the eye in the sketch and may be gathered or left released depending on design goals. The neckline diameter at the end of the project, after joining one shoulder, is gathered with evenly distributed decreases to the desired measurement prior to knitting the collar. A way to form a long sleeve item, using binding off and casting on stitches in addition to shaped wedges followed by all knit rows. Knitting a garment on the bias at 45 degrees will produce a knit fabric that drapes differently.
Horizontal patterning can turn into diagonals and chevrons, and fancy decreases may be used in the center shaping of the garment.
Pre-computer programs and knitleaders, an easy way to sort out shaping for garments, was to begin by drawing on large sheets of graph paper. An all-square grid is fine.
Calculate a 10 cm/4 inch knitting gauge to the second decimal point before any rounding off. For example, if the gauge works out to be 5.728, and the measurement needed is 19.5 inches, the multiplied value result is 111.696, which can be rounded off to a 112-row line on the graph paper.
Working in cm can actually lead to easier calculations and is required when using a charting device.
Each cell in the graph paper grid equals one stitch and one row.
For knitting on the straight grain, based on gauge, draw series dots placing them on the beginning and the ending pots for each measurement, and connect them with straight lines.
Curves such as those necessary for necklines may be composed of short straight-line segments.
When knitting from the bottom up, continue with a colored pencil, filling in squares as they jog in or out, maintaining the new outline as close to the first as possible.
For the bias knit, whether on graph paper, the computer, or a charting device, begin by drawing a 45-degree line.
Rotate and trace the unmodified original straight-line image in place, follow the lines, and mark in and out jogs once more in color for contrast.
This is a very small chart so outline jogs in far larger pieces cannot be reflected. They would produce edges not as straight as in standard knitting, which will need to be considered when joining finished pieces.
As the piece is rotated, a wider grid base is required. Consider that the motif images as they are worked on the purl side will be mirrored horizontally on the knit side, a particular consideration if any text is introduced. Comparing theoretical purl as opposed to knit views on the left, two purl views on the right. Fonts in various stitch and row counts are useful when planning knit text.
The point at which the text or pattern is introduced needs to have enough stitches in work on the machine to contain the intended words, ie for the above, a minimum ground, independent of shaping, would need to contain more than 9 rows if solid color stripes are to be added above and below it, and 26 stitches in width in this case.
A proof of concept swatch with arbitrary shaping on every other row illustrates the need for shaping based on a calculated gauge if a square is indeed the aim.
I knit on a 930 where mirroring is automated for programmed designs, so the text was programmed as drawn.
Sometimes less information is more. It became evident very soon that the placement of the text on the left was wrong if the aim was to have it centered in the final shape, and that more rows were needed at the top of the design.
On the right, the purl side as it faces the knitter is shown, with black pixels used to represent increases and decreases. The center red line separates the needle placements on either side of 0, and the text is shown in the default mirroring. The respective swatches after their rotation preview one of the potential results A true diagonal repeat may be planned for motif patterning knit from the bottom up. The drawback is that for executing a fair isle using more than 2 colors or with multiple color changes, partially illustrated on the far right, the 32X32 repeat would need to be rotated and knit as above.
From the Brother machine knitting techniques book, a suggestion for dividing a sweater front into diagonal halves created by using the holding technique
The idea of chaining the eyelet areas to reduce the size of the slits is an interesting one that up to now I have not tested.