Knit weaving 1


WORK IN PROGRESS 

In knit weaving, the knit carriage is threaded with the main yarn as usual. The choice of pattern is determined by needle selection. The most basic technique involves pulling the desired weaving needles forward manually or by using needle pushers which are available in a range of selection options. Automatic needle selection makes the process faster, consistent, and capable of more variations.
The weaving yarn, according to instructions in manuals, may be threaded through the tension mast and guided through the weaving yarn guide. Feeding thicker yarn smoothly through the standard mast may become problematic. Moving yarn from the groove on one side to that on the other is cumbersome. The punchcard machine manual for the 860 machines has some clear illustrations and directions  From the 260 manual: The “yarn guide” is that mysterious notch in each arm of the sinker plate. In the Studio accessory, the AW1 weaving arm, the yarn is also fed through the yarn mast, and moved physically from side to side after each pass of the carriage. Start the piece with waste yarn and some evenly distributed weight based on fabric width. Make sure the weaving brushes are activated. In Brother standard, their position is changed using the corresponding lever, in the bulky 260 the L and R wheel brushes need to be placed in their corresponding slots.  A good repeat, to begin with, is one that selects every other needle, every other row. The card is a standard factory issue with punchcard machines. In general, the knitting yarn is thinner than the weaving one. The tension needs to be adjusted to accommodate the surface yarn, not the background one. The tighter the tension the firmer and narrower the weave. It is also possible to create soft knits with a lot of drape ie by using sewing thread for the ground and fine mohair for the weft, there is a huge range for exploration.
The “weft” precedes the base knitting yarn which knits the stitch. It is laid over the top loop of the old stitch on a needle selected by a hole in the card, goes underneath the top loop of a previous stitch on a needle not selected by a blank on the card. When card 1, above, is in use, the weaving yarn is caught in a series of two loops, one above, one below forming a honeycomb effect.  The structure is typically illustrated this way in Japanese reference books and magazines in particular.  Early Brother punchcard volumes have illustrations of the over_under structures and in between floats along with providing the pattern repeats. Setting things up:  the weaving yarn is in front of the machine, fed from the floor. The short end goes to the carriage side, the long end is away from it. It is laid in front of the gatepegs, atop selected needles. A clothespin can provide enough weight on the short end to keep it from riding up and having to be managed with one’s hand. “Weaving” can begin from either side, here it starts on the left. Knitting in 2-row sequences will return the yarn ends to the starting position. Locking the card, as with any other pattern, will repeat the same needle selection, creating vertical repeats that resemble twill weaving on a loom.
a: card set to advance normally, b: card locked a: because stitches are actually knitting every other row, slipping while the needles on each side of them knit, they will alternately be a bit elongated; b: same needles knit every row, so their appearance is consistent. Depending on the difference in yarn thickness, the knit stitches in the ground become forced apart with what can be significant “bleed-through” on the reverse of the weaving to make that a really interesting fabric feature as well.
Some weaving patterns with variable floats will produce better edges if the end needles are brought out to E every row if not selected to that position by the reader.
If a hairy or fuzzy yarn such as mohair is used it is possible that the fabric will start to bunch up, it may be necessary to reach up from behind the knitting and gently pull to release the little hairs from the gate pegs.
Most punchcards designed for weaving aim for short floats formed by unpunched areas, longer ones on occasion are planned for added manipulation.
Moving the yarn from the groove on one side to that on the other is cumbersome. Another way of working: the main yarn is threaded as usual and the weaving yarn sits on the floor. The method is often referred to as intarsia weaving. The shapes may be created using various punchcard designs ie diamonds, squares, etc, free-forming, or even through following planned drawings on knitleader mylar garment shapes.
The knitter guides the yarn. If the yarn is held too loosely it may jump off the knitting while weaving and thus create long loops. It should be guided and held just enough to slip through the hand as the carriage is passed.
Preselect for the first row of knitting. Lay the weaving yarn across selected needles in the direction in which the carriage will be moving.
If using yarns of different yarn weights within the piece, multiple strands of the thinner yarn may be used together, but test how the strands feed and if plying might lead to problems. Using wrapping methods on some rows or even creating floats and hooking them up periodically can produce added interest.
If using more than one yarn per row, the approach is similar to intarsia. In true intarsia, every needle is in use. These illustrations are from an intarsia carriage manual;  positioning the yarns for a first row from right to left, the “wraps” needed in each direction In knit weaving, assuming the first pattern row is preselected from left to right, with COR, the short end of the yarn of the carriage side, bring the first weaving yarn up from the floor, and lay it to the left across the selected needles, bringing it down between the last selected needle for A, and the first selected needle for B. In one method, bring the long end of the second yarn, B, up on the right side of the needle over which A just crossed, and lay it over the remaining selected needles and down to the floor. Small clothespins may be used to hold the short ends in place. When all the yarns have been laid in, grasp the ends loosely, pass the carriage to the left, and the first woven row will have been completed. The carriage will now be on the left, COL. For the next row begin on the right, bring A up and between the two needles directly above it, take it over selected needles to the end of selected needles, and down to the floor. Then take yarn B and bring it up around the left-hand needle, over and to between the two needles that served as the starting position for A. The yarns do not overlap the same needle going to the right, but they do to the left.
The more traditional intarsia crossings may be also be used, with the new yarn passing under and over the old between needles, seen here with the next row to be knit from left to right. a: crossings made using the traditional intarsia method, b: wrapping over the adjacent needle moving from left to right, c: no crossing at all also revealing single knit stitches between weaving yarns. In some spots, my weaving yarn split and got knit along with the ground yarn. To create isolated shapes: lay the yarn in any chosen area Shaping may happen in a straight vertical, a, there may be a slight separation along that edge. Increases are possible on both sides at the same time, are best done by adding single new selected needles to the pattern, b. Moving further out crossing over more weaving needles will cause floats, as seen in c and d. The woven segment forces the knit stitches apart, so the stocking stitch on either side of the shapes, e, appears to be formed  by smaller stitches, and pulls in toward the shape 
The ground yarn and color may be changed for added striping and color interest. Sharp angles are created by crossing over two weaving needles, and more gradual ones by crossing over more needles. Blank areas of ground may be left as well.
The intarsia approach may also be used with other cards designed for all-over patterning.

Using far thicker yarns may be made manageable when changing the card repeat or using weaving repeats with 12 stitch wide repeats, worked on specific needles on a punchcard machine, or simply programmed twice as wide on electronic ones. The expanded version of every other needle set up for the punchcard models.  Sometimes plain knit rows need to be added between lines of weaving to help manage thicker yarns in any configuration or to add color interest and width changes to the piece.
Woven rows may be used to create folds in pleats.

Other weaving techniques include the pulling up method, as a stand-alone or combined with lace patterning: from a Brother punchcard volume Three more hooking up variations, including latching graduated size floats 
Hand techniques: e-wrap rows may also be incorporated with any of the above or used alone, sketches of some varieties that may be used around every needle or every other depending on the thickness of the yarn: a sketch eons ago  Vertical weaving Japanese instructions that came with the purchase of the standard garter bar. The accessory also came with foam-backed strips seen here clipped onto the width of the garter bar segment being used, they were useful in maintaining even spacing between yarn threads when working on wide areas of vertical weaving, as well as providing helpful weight. Any weight used to help handle the long ends of the weaving yarn on any number of threads will need to be moved down periodically.    More wrap ideas Variations can happen by changing the spacing between wrapped stitches, the number of rows between the moves, spacing threads apart, using yarns in different thicknesses and colors.
In terms of tools to hold the weaving yarns, in addition to the garter bar, multiple transfer tools may be used, even bobbins. That said, the most efficient way is to have a guide suitable for the overall fabric, especially when creating wider pieces with spaced weaving repeats. It is possible to create cardboard guides with holes based on gauge, whether on the standard or the bulky, and with 3D printing nowadays a whole other world for custom tools is open. Matching the gauge with guides has some leeway, but the closer the match, the faster and easier the process. When using thicker yarns for the warp knit, spacing in both stitches and rows becomes a necessity.
A half-hearted attempt at a template. Markings were generated to be point/mm specific. If working in narrow panels, individual segments may be more effective to manage if a bit slower to use than a wider tool.
This is the wrong way to feed the yarn, as the row gets knit woven in, the yarn will be locked in place and cannot be advanced to proceed up the knit The way to have continuously available yarn: Adding a second set of holes for the yarn stabilize the short yarn ends and maintain even spacing throughout, some tape could be used in addition to secure the ends on wider widths of vertical weave A spreadsheet or graph paper may be used to plan the configuration of the weaves including double wraps, this was executed using Numbers, individual bobbins might be a practical consideration In my own experience most hand techniques and single bed textures are far easier to execute with the ribber removed. It is easier to view progress, move up weights, correct mistakes. That said, my machines are all set up with the ribber brackets, not flat, I feel it helps slide the knit down toward the gate pegs, and in my opinion that makes textures and even lace easier to produce. I have ribber covers, they can be improvised if needed with paper or cloth, never use them since I see no reason for moving the knit on the top bed in front of the ribber. If the ribber is removed, it is worth checking its balance once more prior to returning to any rib knit. Ultimately this sort of thing is about personal preference, no steps are ever universally applicable and correct.

Tufting may be created with the help of a sewing machine.

“Weaving” foreign objects can be achieved by picking up loops from other knits, woven, trims, crochet chains, etc. Beads may be threaded onto weaving yarn as well.

 

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 are several video tutorials available on Youtube. As a group, they generally illustrate simple transfers across an entire row in structures such as ribs used for bands and cuffs. This one is offered by Knitology 1×1, Elena Berenghean, a young knitter publishing very good machine knitting video instruction on a huge range of techniques.
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: Shadow lace tools are marked side 1 and side 2. Some are blue on one side, cream or white on the other, the blue side is side 1. The process always begins with side 1, or blue. When the stitches have been removed, the jaws are closed, allowing the stitches to slide over to side 2. The jaws are once again opened, and the stitches are transferred to the opposite bed. 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.
To transfer from the ribber up on any machine, place the teeth of the jaws on the needles on the ribber, holding it with both hands. Pull needles up until all stitches are behind the latches, then push down with another tool or one of your hands until all stitches are on the jaws.
Release the tool from the ribber needles, rotate it away from you, toward the main bed. Close its teeth so the stitches are transferred onto side 2.
Open teeth, place eyelets over main bed needles and stitches are transferred onto the main bed by rotating the tool away from you just a little and tugging down a bit.
On Brother, the possibility of having patterning on the top bed to help track patterning on the ribber in some way comes to mind. 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”.

One way to add color to the mix is to use the plating feeder.

In the first sample, equal thickness yarns were used, the colored yarn was a rayon slub with no stretch and slippery nature. The bottom of this test used a wool yarn of equal weight to the light color, which proved hard to knit. The red is a 2/48 cash-wooll A very narrow test for a possible pleated pattern  

It is possible to construct the same type of fabrics on a striped background. It can be achieved low tech with graph paper and pencils if needed, using a simple paint program, Gimp alone, this is my process using Numbers and Gimp:
1. determine the desired shape, its width, and height, checking that it also tiles properly
2. create a table with square cells the same width as the number of stitches in your design, twice its height; use an even cell size ie 20X20 pt
3. hide all odd-numbered rows from the top of the table down, the table will shrink from 20 rows to 10
4. draw your repeat
5. unhide all rows
6. copy and paste the table; double the cell pt height only to 40, making the repeat twice as long
7. mark corners or part of the edges with another color to make it easier for Gimp to identify them, select all and remove borders, grab the image with an added surrounding colorless border
8. open the screengrab in Gimp, use crop to content, fill colored squares with white, change the mode to indexed BW, scale the result to the appropriate size, in this case, 18X40, export png Cast on for EN or EON rib. Transfer all the main bed stitches down to the ribber. Extra stitches can be cast on and transferred in addition to the planned width of the repeats to create a border on either side of the designs. During patterning there will be stitches in work on both beds at intervals, so the pitch needs to be set to H while knitting. When the top of the piece is reached, transfer all ribber stitches to the main bed and bind off.
The first preselection row is knit from right to left in the contrast ground color.
With COR bring all the needles to be worked in the pattern color to B position on the top bed.
The knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. End needle selection is canceled. The ribber remains set to N/N for the duration. Knit to the left and begin changing colors every 2 rows.
The shape increases are created automatically, with eyelets at the edges where each stitch is picked up for the first time on the top bed. COL when the first needle is preselected in this case for the start of the next shape, transfer all previously formed design stitches on the main bed down to the ribber, continue knitting If any stitches are pushed all the way back or in mixed alignment during transfers,  be sure to return them all to B position, not disturbing the needles already preselected for the next pattern row,  repeat as needed. Because one color knits with every carriage pass while the other slips behind it not knitting for those 2 rows, the striped background fabric will become distorted depending on yarn and stitch size used, most likely particularly noticeable at the top and bottom edges of the piece.

Using the Brother knitleader: some tips

I recently brought my knitleader out of mothballs after a long period of no use, tend to use the magic formula for most of my simple charting
oh the math! Magic formula 
online generators 

When using the knit leader you do not have to match the given tension or gauge for a published pattern. See Intro to knitting: gauge swatches for added guidelines and tips.

Manuals for 6 different knitleader models may be found for free download online at sites such as machineknittingetc.com   These pages are from my own knitting KL-16 model, show some of the basics related to KL use

Standard machine:

Vertical control: before you can shift gears you must depress the clutch.

Testing for accuracy: set the row regulator to 150 mm and turn the knob 20 rows. The mylar should move the distance between 2 heavy lines, 5cm or app 2 in. After measuring your swatch: draw a small horizontal line on the mylar sheet, followed by a vertical one to match cm +mm measurement for 60 rows, and a small horizontal one again, air knit 60 rows, beginning at the bottom mark, and at their completion, the top mark should be reached.

For ruler accuracy: there should be exactly 40 stitches between 0 and 40, lining up the tape on your swatch stitches and corresponding lines should match. If they do not, select another ruler close in range, until they do.

The pin is usually set in the feeding lever in the hole on the left.  The hole on the right is used when the length of 60 rows is less than 6.0 cm, which can occur in textured stitches such as tuck and slip.  In such cases, the row measurement is doubled, and the pin is inserted in the right side hole.

Using it on the bulky: make swatch as directed. Swatch guidelines from the manual: I prefer to measure the full width in more than one place, then dividing the chosen result by half rather than relying on 2 single points as shown for the width measurement.
The bulky machine included stitch rulers when purchased new. There are 2 gauge numbers on each corner instead of 1.  Every 20 stitches and 30 rows should match the numbers used for measurements. With the pin placed on the left hole of the feeding lever, the arm will be tripped twice with each pass of the carriage.  The shorter tripper on the back left of the knit carriage trips it once, the longer row counter tripper on the right also trips it on the travels from one side to the other.

For ribbed fabrics with high numbers of rows per inch: illustration from Brother ribber techniques book

Using half-scale patterns on brother’s full-scale knitleader.

Make the usual 40 by 60-row swatch (on the bulky 20 X 30 rows), or your preferred size and adjust measurements accordingly.  Measure swatches with any centimeter ruler.

The stitch gauge: 1: follow outline but double the number of stitches indicated at all times, or 2: purchase a set of studio half-scale rulers and the accompanying “green ruler”. The S side of the ruler is used to measure stitch swatches over 20 stitches. The number just inside the right marker corresponds to the number of the correct stitch scale to be selected from the set. Each mark indicates one stitch. Measurements are based on 10 cm (4 inches).

Plastic rulers need to be taped into position. If there is a handy copier, paper tapes can be constructed and placed/adjusted to suit, after checking on the accuracy of the reproduced scale.

For the row gauge: On the knitleader, the central peg is normally put in the left hand of the 2 holes on the plastic fingers in the front. If you put it in the right-hand hole, however, the chart only moves every 2nd row, which balances out the 1/2 scale in length. Program as always, setting cm and mm after pressing the clutch, but drop the connecting pin into the right hole of the feed lever.

Every other needle knitting: measure the swatch in the usual way, divide it by 2, and count every other line as a stitch, or use a ruler that factors in the number of needles as “stitches” before needles were put out of work.   If the row count is higher than the highest number available on the regulator, divide the total by 2, and draw the outline half scale.

I like to measure a large swatch and get my final measurements via math to the second decimal point. It is possible on my model to shift tape to change the center 0 position. For sideways knit or wide pieces tracings of rulers can be made with 0 marking at the far left or right as needed. My math starts out with measurements to the second decimal point, rounded off up or down at the last possible minute.

The mylar sheet may be turned over, shiny side up for use in asymmetrical shapes that need reversing/do not have a central axis.

Drawings on mylar may be followed for colored intarsia or intarsia weaving.

Altering the scale of pattern drawings: the studio half-scale ruler was quite handy, pictured

Studio gauge rulers: depending on your machine, there are different numbers of stitches and rows marked. For 4.5 standard gauge you need to isolate 40 stitches and 60 rows; mid-gauge needs 30 stitches and 40 rows, and the bulky needs 20 stitches and 30 rows. To use the rulers:  one side has an “S” and the other side has an “R” marked on it. Place the gauge ruler with the “S” side up to measure stitches. Place the cut edge of the ruler is against your chosen markings for stitches. Where the edge of the yarn marks lay, note the number, this is the value for the stitches in 4 cm.
Flip the gauge ruler over to the “R” or rows side and place it vertically to measure rows. Place the cut edge and the bottom of the first stitch in the main color yarn. Look up to the top where the main color yarn meets the contrasting yarn row, This is the value for rows in 10 cm or 4 inches.

tt-30-stitch_scales / Studio tips and techniques #30, now available for free download online from multiple sites includes more information on their stitch scales

 scale and technical drawing; instructions for creating printable rulers

Water-soluble markers are helpful for colored cues for garment segments, multiple drawings on a single sheet, etc. I use

template marking pencils may also be found in colors