Adding fair isle patterning to short row patterns creating eyelets

WORK IN PROGRESS

In Brother knitting one of the issues encountered when combining fair isle patterning with short rows is that if the fair isle pattern is to be maintained, one must hand-select needles to the proper position prior to knitting across needles newly returned to work.
The short row method here is a modified version of that used in the “wisteria” post, with the addition of needles regularly left out of work.
Analyzing what is happening in fabrics in this group: the working repeats need not be symmetrical, but for the purposes of beginning to understand the moves required and developing an awareness of how the stitches on the needle bed behave, it is easier to begin by using hand selection that is rhythmic and consistent.
Avoiding dark colors is helpful in recognizing dropped stitches in time to pick them up.
With some exceptions, most machine knitting short row patterns are worked in two-row sequences with stitches brought out to hold opposite the carriage and into work on the carriage side.
Typically the first row of eyelets will be approximately half size, and the knitting may be stopped at the top of the piece to match that.
This chart begins to visualize a pattern composed of vertical columns with colors knit on every other needle, produced using the repeat. The arrows indicate carriage movements.
The grey cells represent needles out of work.
The blocks of black and white columns represent the colors in the FI pattern selected and relate to the A and B yarn feeders. In this exercise, preselection is kept constant to facilitate maintaining proper patterning as needles are pushed back into work. Often, after an initial number of rows, all but the first group of stitches in the pattern are brought out to hold. In my swatch, the fair isle pattern had already been established across the needle bed for several rows.
Here one would begin with the knit carriage on the right, COR.
COR: the first group is knit for an even number of rows, ending COR.
COR: a number of needles are pushed back into work on the left, FI needle position is restored with needles placed in proper positions, knit on one row on the combined groups to the left
COL: bring the first group’s needles out to hold, knit an odd number of rows, ending COR.
Repeat moves and selections until the last group of stitches is reached, knit an even number of rows, and end COL.
COL: reverse the process, moving from left to right.
This method results in threads appearing between the short rowed shapes. The first preselection row is made from left to right. End needle selection is canceled. Cast on is over a multiple of 6 stitches ie 36, with every 6th needle out of work. I began the sequence COR with 10 rows knit, returning COR, followed by 9 as the odd number of rows once the next group of needles is brought into work, and the last group worked is pushed out to hold, then reduced the even number to 8, the odd to 7 in the top half of the swatch.
Here the work is seen on the machine, on the left, COR, the needle selection for the pattern in the next group to its left is restored. On the right: after knitting to the left, the initial group of needles worked is brought out to hold before continuing to knit.
A mini version in a single color Changing the holding sequence to eliminate the long threads between held shapes, beginning once more to sort out the how-to before adding fair isle patterning: cast on 36 stitches, with every sixth out of work moving from left to right, knit several rows. To knit: each group of 5 stitches in work has a reference number, 1-6
first pattern row:
COR: Set the machine for hold, leaving only group 1 in work
COR: knit 8 rows on the first group of stitches on the right (1)
push second group (2) into work and knit 8 rows, returning to COR
COR: push third group (3) into work and knit one row to the left
COL: push group (1) on its right out to hold, knit 7 rows across the remaining  10 stitches, returning to COR
COR: bring a new group on left into work, knit one row to the left
COL: bring the group to its far right out of work, repeat the process across the row
when the second to last 2 groups on left (6 and 7) are reached, knit  8 rows on both, returning to COL
COL: push the second to the last group out to hold (6)
COL knit 8 rows on the last group on left (7)
COL, reverse the process repeating all selections moving from left to right for the second pattern row. Begin the process by knitting 8 rows first on the first group of five stitches on the left, which will now have been knit for 16 rows in order for the stitches to create the large eyelets that will now form.
In my swatch, I occasionally varied the odd number of rows knit between seven and 9. Even a couple of rows can make a noticeable difference depending on the color of the yarn, the tension used, and other usual suspects. Test out the idea in the swatch to help make the decision as to whether unraveling is required to keep a constant quality to the holes as the project grows, and to practice unraveling rows back to the proper location. If fair isle patterning is added, corrections become a bit more complicated.
The resulting proof of concept swatch:  With the addition of the fair isle patterning: note that here, when the last set of needles was reached, they were not worked twice before reversing direction, so the edge eyelets are of a different size than those in the remainder of the row, forming smaller waves on each side.   Any openwork fabric will likely be wider than that knit in stocking stitch or fair isle on the same number of needles, making it necessary to consider providing stretch in any rows knit at the bottom or the top of the planned project or using the contrast as part of the final design.
Adding hems to the above technique is also possible

The short row repeat used here is a modified version of the “fern leaf” one in the post. The sequences are different, every needle is in work.
I began by casting on 36 stitches, knitting 12 rows for the even number, and 11 for the odd, with random variations.
Results need not be symmetrical either in the length of the shapes or in the direction of the knit, but rhythmic repetition can help one understand stitch formation, other changes that follow can then be deliberately planned rather than accidents or errors, keeping notes while the work is in progress, will help reproduce effects.   The knitting method, and tips: the fair isle repeat is 2 stitches wide by one row high, and the respective cells are bordered in red, it may be programmed to suit.  When using a punchcard model, the card could simply be locked on any row with every other cell punched. The result will be vertical lines on every other needle, slanting in the direction in which short rowed shapes are knit.
I chose to begin my design with the first needle on the right selected to pick up the color in the B feeder and used that as the basis for adjusting selections in subsequent groups of stitches.
Electronic machines have the option of mirroring the pattern to change that, punchcard knitters can move the knitting one needle to the right or to the left to get the selection they prefer.
As additional needles are brought into work, the A and B yarn feeders selections need to be restored so as to maintain proper FI patterning.
If you have not worked with this type of technique before, it is good to start using a light color and to work in small stitch groups, not adding added patterning until later.
Attempting to visualize the movement of the stitches across the needles in work: the colored cells illustrate the movement of stitches across the needle bed as they are brought in and out of work, and the number of held rows is altered to reduce the chart’s height, does not match the directions for the test swatch that follow it exactly. The black cells represent all knit rows. 1. Cast on the desired number of stitches, in this case, 27, a multiple of 3, and knit several rows at tension appropriate for stocking stitch when using the same yarn
2. COR. Set the machine to not knit stitches brought out to the hold position.
3. Leave 6 needles (3X2, double the number in each working group) on the right in the work position, and push all the remaining stitches out to hold.
4. Knit 10 rows (an even number), ending COR.
5. Push back the first 3 needles on the left back into the work position
6. Knit one row from right to left (9 needles), end COL, and push the 3 needles on the right out to the holding position (6 needles will now be in work again).
7. Knit 9 rows (odd number) ending COR
8. Repeat steps 5-7 until you reach the last 6 stitches, knit 10 rows (even number) over these last 6 (3X2, double the number in each working group) needles, ending COL.
9. Set the machine to knit all needles out in the hold by pushing needles back or releasing the hold lever, knit 4 rows over all the needles. It is possible to vary the number depending on one’s preference, but for me, only two rows simply were not aesthetically enough.
10. Holding lever on H, reverse shaping from left to right, beginning again on 3X2=6 needles, (double the number in each working group).
Reverse the process, moving in the opposite direction, beginning with knitting an even number of rows on the first chosen group of stitches on the left.
The difference in the edging of the swatch, marked by arrows, is due to a variation in the sequence for working on the specific group of stitches. If performed as an error, it will appear as an obvious deviation if not corrected while the work is in progress. The same action may also be performed deliberately as part of the overall design.
Color changes may be made easily where the 4 rows are knit in between segments on every needle used. End with 2 rows in the first color, knit with two rows with the second color before returning to the holding sequences. 
Worked on a significantly smaller scale in one color.
This far more symmetrical result than the first effort worked in the vertical stripe fair isle pattern on 40 stitches: begin with some FI patterning, end COR
COR: bring all but the first 8 needles closest to the carriage out to hold,
Proceed as described for the single color design, but this time 4 stitches are pushed into work and returned out of work rather than 3. Knit 12 rows when even numbers are required, 11 for the odd number.
Four rows of fair isle patterning are knit at the end of each repeating segment.
It is possible to work with far larger groups as well, thus providing an opportunity for adding larger fair isle patterns into the mix. Cast on 48 stitches.
In this sample various size eyelets were produced, using 12 rows, A, which did not seem to yield the degree of 3D texture I wanted. More rows were tried where larger holes appear, B. Four rows of fair isle patterning separated each row of held shapes.
To produce a more symmetrical knit, begin working short rows COR with a group of 16 (8X2) stitches on the right, knit for 20 rows as the even number (in the range of 8X2X1.5), 19 for the odd, returning groups of 8 stitches into work knitting moves across the needle bed, ending the pattern with working 20 rows on the last 16 stitches in work on the left. Knit 4 rows restoring fair isle needle selection across the needle bed, returning COL. COL reverse shaping.   Knitting all the holding sequences in the same direction for multiple rows as in any eyelet fabric will result in a knit that biases to a degree proportionate to the number of stitches and rows in each unit. The start of yet another idea:

 

Shadow pleats with added patterning

Knit skirts have been present in runway and online publications again. Another Mary Dowse pattern has stirred up interest in a design knit in fair isle shadow pleats.
Shadow pleats knitting began to present some of the techniques involved in creating this type of fabric fold.
The permanence of the folds relies on blocking from careful and almost aggressive to far more casual approaches depending on the fiber content and end-use for the knit.
As mentioned in the older post, for a while, skirts in shadow pleats were very popular. One of the tips for blocking them at the time when acrylics were also new and in trend, was to hang completed pieces with the bottom evenly weighted inside a large trash bag “sealed” as tightly as possible at the top, with steam entering from the bottom of the bag ie from a portable electric teapot. I always had a hard time imagining the specific activity, and the method may have been part of the reason as to why published patterns for such items quickly disappeared.
Simply using a yarn with memory in the rows composing the larger folds always seemed a more viable option to me.
Ribber needle setups may be used to produce a rounded appearance in the resulting folds
rolled single pleats double rolled pleats mirror needle groupsdouble rolled

curve1accordion rolled OOW needles are spaced evenly on both beds accordion rolledsunray roundA large variety of pleats may be knit on the single bed as well, one being shadow pleats. The resulting knits also need to be gathered on one of the 2 edges in items like skirts at waistlines, and the number of knit rows needed for the volume required can be daunting and a large commitment of time if not effort.
Very large swatches in colors that one guesses to be appealing guide decisions based on evidence and personal preference.
Old published patterns often called for specific brands of yarn which decades later are likely to no longer be available. In addition to searching for substitutes that will produce a similar gauge, the behavior of the newly found yarn may simply be different than expected and as described in the instructions.
Inspiration photos found online are often small and do not reveal clear details, so attempts to reproduce the pictured knitting techniques may yield unpredictable results.
Assuming traditional yarns are in use, the larger rolled shapes in the fabric formed by the higher number of rows knit in the thick yarn tend to roll toward the purl side, the familiar effect seen in any single bed stocking stitch.
Part of the inspiration photo that began a renewed forum interest in the fabric The appearance is of a fair isle pattern interrupted by the use of thinner yarn(s) in one or both feeders. Blocking long pieces can alter the aspect ratio of the original design, so in some cases, the width of the repeat or even the length would need to be doubled.
My initial repeat was 20X22 pixels:  In this view, obvious places are highlighted for a possible switch to thinner yarns. If changing yarns manually, it is easier to change those in the sinker plate’s B position. If necessary, the planned motif may be color inverted to make those actions easier. Both yarns used are wool, a yarn that has memory and spring-back.  In the potential fold rows, the red color was replaced with a thin ply with the same fiber content. The first folds were knit in an *8 with thin, 14 with thick, 8 with thin** color sequence. Watching the knit as it progressed showed the thicker fair isle areas folding inward, with the thinner areas folding outward. The remainder of the swatch used a 4 thin, 8 thick sequence.  The knit was steamed and pressed, the folds are soft but permanently present with the lower edge of the piece lying quite flat after a considerable amount of time. Here the red yarn used is acrylic, the black wool. An 8 thick 4 thin sequence was used, but in the thin areas, both colored yarns were replaced with single plies. The pattern is 48X54 pixels and from one of the Brother mylar sheets. The first swatch sports black flowers, the second, red ones. The knit sequences were the same, the change in texture in the areas may be seen here.  The black flowers swatch was ironed, becoming permanently flattened, aka “killed”. The hope is to manage the red flowers swatch in a better way. The thinner yarns are in slightly different shades of the base colors, so a subtle striping occurs in the areas where they are used. Both swatches were knit on the same number of needles and at the same tension. The blocking saga: I do own blocking pins but honestly have only used them in demos, and on rare occasions such as this, or to cut them down when I needed a fast replacement for a ribber cast on comb lost wire.
Whether extremely detailed blocking is ever needed can be a very emotionally charged topic for some, best saved for another day.
With an optimally gathered edge at the waistline secured, the wire is threaded very evenly through the bottom of the “skirt”, and evenly distributed weights are placed across it. The fabric is likely to grow considerably in length, another reason for knitting very large test/gauge swatches to calculate the width/length required.  I downsized a few years ago letting go of most of my professional equipment. My only iron at the moment when and if it generates steam, did not appreciate being held vertically, spitting hot water at my feet, so the amount of steam used to set the pleats was likely short of optimal. That said, with the wire and weights removed, that edge is staying flat, and the pleats appear to be permanent a month later. Knitweaving can be used to produce very interesting patterns, both all over or for edgings, and it may offer a viable alternative for patterning using multiple colors in the more prominent purl side rows of the knit. A 1x1selection is a good place to start. Returning to using wools, my efforts with the first yarns I grabbed failed with knit weaving, but since every other stitch every other row is selected, I was able to knit 8 rows in fair-isle with the thicker yarn in the B feeder, the thinner in A, followed by 4 rows of plain knit. The task is easier to accomplish with 2 knit carriages, one patterning, the other knitting stocking stitch.
The colors were chosen for contrast making it easier to observe stitch formation.
The swatch, just off from the machine after a manual tug after steaming and pressing A bit more tugging and gathering on one edge, pleats are set.  The swatch view on the left illustrates well the pleating roll formed by the thin yarn to the knit side, the inward roll of the fair isle segment to the purl.
Floats formed by the yarns not used traveling up the sides of the knit should be considered the finishing of the final pieces.
Transitions could be made in any one piece between the ratio of the thick/thin number of rows, perhaps for sections ie yoke shaping, or varying the fold sequences from one texture to the other and back.
Most fabric is only limited by materials, tools, and the imagination of its creators.

Other ways to create permanent pleats
single bed
Origami folds inspired pleats 1 6/19
Revisiting pleats on the knitting machine: single bed 5/18
Pleats created with lace transfers 8/17
Pleats: automating “pleating”, single bed 1/1
double bed
Origami-inspired 2: more pleats and fold using ribber 3/21
Knit and purl blocks to create folding fabric_ “pleats”
Pleats: ribbed, folding fabrics 4/15

Binary alphabet knitting patterns

There are moments while surfing the net that trigger memories of long ago popular knitting patterns. One such is the piano scarf, usually knit double bed. For a while, knit QR codes, or even bar codes were “the thing”. Decades ago, long before online converters and easily available information, there were a few articles on converting alphabets to binary codes for knitting. Far more recent versions with different interpretations: using ones and zeros for pattern,  hand-knit  https://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTbinary.html  A collection of machine-knit versions https://knithacker.com/2017/03/sam-meechs-  knitted-binary-scarves/I prefer the more abstract to the literal interpretation using numbers, happen to have a 12 letter first name, and thought I would go for converting it. Because of the number of letters involved, the repeat would of necessity have to be a vertical one. I used 2 converters to double-check the result, noticing that when one of the letters repeats, the code for each of the 2 letters is slightly different. Of the many choices, I used these converters https://www.prepostseo.com/tool/text-to-binary-converter,  and https://www.convertbinary.com/text-to-binary/
Each letter is converted to 8 digits, making results easily adaptable for punchcard use. 01000001 01101100 01100101 01110011 01110011 01100001 01101110 01100100 01110010 01101001 01101110 01100001. My spreadsheet in Numbers refused to allow me to enter the 0s at the start of each sequence, so the 0 has its own column, and in the larger chart, it is illustrated as a blank vertical row The problem if such repeats are used for fair isle knitting is that the results are likely to separate along those long vertical lines and to curl to the purl side even if blocked flat to start with. Converting the pattern for use on the double bed with any DBJ technique and backing is the better solution. My results, with letters from the bottom up Programming the width of the number of needles to be used for the “scarf”, allows for the addition of a border stitch (or more) on either side. Start the base with and use the dark color for your first knit row from right to left in most of the automatic 2 color separations.  Here is a tentative 72+1 stitch version If numbers are your preference, with a bit of playing around digits may be adjusted in width and height going a bit bolder, the 8 individual letters as numbers could repeat horizontally across each design row. A repeat for the letter AX2 planned for the first segment of an 82 stitch wide scarf, with the number of knit rows between each letter group started at 5. An attempt to visualize the final look using only the letter A.
G carriages may be used to knit the same patterns in knit and purl stitch combinations. 

Fair isle variations

A review of links with associated hints and info:
Measuring gauge swatches, general information 
Matching patterns across sweater bodies and sleeves
Float control 
Scarf experiments
Design inspiration: binary alphabets
Adding hand techniques/ cables/ punchcard repeats
FI meets transfer lace on Brother machines 
Adding the ribber, FI on main bed Tubular machine knit fabrics: fair isle, Brother/Passap
Altered patterning using bleach discharge on knits

These are random FI samples from my collection, most from my teaching days. None of them were ever intended for use in the finished product. They were knit to illustrate some of the possibilities for the different techniques using each of the cam button combinations. Some were knit during class demos. The colors made them easily identifiable as mine, knit using a personal yarn stash. The contrast helped identify how stitches were formed.
In this swatch, marking for measuring stitches per inch is done by leaving a needle out of work. The width between the resulting ladders should be checked at various points after the swatch is treated in the way you plan to treat (block) the finished fabric. Adding a third color per row would require altering the pattern to a color-separated slip stitch one, or one may add that color with duplicate stitching. The spots in this test are colored in with a permanent fabric marker. At the height of the art to wear movement one artist, in particular, was producing limited edition knitwear by knitting the same design in black and white, and in turn over-dyeing the white for different effects in each piece in the series. Eyelets at the bottom of the swatch are tension markings for the piece. The vertical line created by end needle selection (normally used in FI to avoid separation of colors et vertical edges) is interrupted in rows that are knit in only one color. Recommended maximum width for floats is usually 5 stitches.  How much the floats droop and cause potential “problems” on the purl side depend on fiber content. Sometimes such floats are intentionally created and worn on the outside of the garment as planned design features. The longer blue floats are seen below in the areas of the ladders where only the yellow is knitting, creating a wider span of the alternate color. These repeats are very simple. They are commonly associated with card #1 and card #2 in basic factory packs supplied with knitting machines purchases. Card #2 is reproducible by using card #1 elongated X2. A reminder: if using either repeat in pieces of garments ie baby leggings, etc. take note of which yarn feeder each color is in. Even if the repeat is correct and placed properly, the surface of the knit will appear different to the eye if the color placement is reversed in alternate pieces. The repeats may be used as backgrounds for a variety of other more complex fabrics in DIY designing. Here stainless 32 gauge wire is used as the second “color”, making the piece moldable and shape-retaining.   Color may be added or “taken away” as seen in the post on bleach discharge on knits Another factory-supplied punchcard is used. Thinner yarns in lighter colors may have noticeable bleed-through of darker colors traveling behind them, as seen on the left, not an issue with the thicker wool on the right. Forgetting to set the card to advance can result in vertical lines, which may alternately be planned as a design feature. The longer floats seem manageable in these yarns, there is a bit of hooking up on the bottom right. The yarn traveling up the swatch on the right is an alternative way to mark for gauge measurements. A previous post provides some information on float control.  Varying the colors, fiber content, and considering complementary borders is worth exploring thoroughly at the swatch level, before committing to a larger piece. Truly contrasting yarn used at the bottom and top of the area to be measured for row gauge makes the process easier. As attractive and quick as single bed FI can be, keep in mind that long pieces knit in yarns with “memory” such as wool, will tend to roll to the purl side vertically even after blocking, and certainly with wearing of pieces such as scarves or shawls.  Tone on tone chenille and all rayon, with “color reverse” by switching yarn positions in feeder less effective with a flat yarn as the alternative to the chenille Using the same card:  every needle, 4.5 mm electronic machine.  Transferring stitches to every other needle, odd needles in work on one side, even-numbered needles on other using worsted weight (2 needles in the center in work side by side.   The motif is now used twice as wide with every other needle in use across the fabric width It is possible to vary designs by using the 3 functions of the card reader: locked, normal rotation, and elongation. Designs with long vertical features tend to separate at the edges where the 2 colors meet. Lining the fabric with a fusible makes the knit lose stretch, but it may be an option for stabilization, float control, and offers an opportunity for mock quilting by inserting some stuffing under floats before it is ironed on. High contrast colors are best for sorting out how stitches are formed. Embroidery alters the “step ladder” effect outlining the shapes. Hooked-up floats are not just for float control; note puckering on the knit side where they have been hung up in groups.  These swatches were worked from the bottom up, starting with positive/ negative comparison, sorting out the possible placement of the ladder with the intent of adding ladder lace details. Cancel end needle selection because of needles out of work, but bring needles into D or E position to avoid separation of colors and/ or dropped stitches at side edges.  From the bottom up, transitioning from a ladder resulting from a single NOOW (needle out of work) to 2 NOOW, hooking up floats on opposite sides, ending in “lace” pattern alone  Combined with transfer lace  Hand techniques (in this case cables) can be combined with FI. In Brother, it helps to be familiar with the pattern, as needle selection may have to be manually restored after the technique is performed to stay in the correct pattern.
With cables: some punchcard repeats
With using a sewing machine: there is a vertical, single stitch line due to end needle selection in the contrast color formed on either side of any needle(s) out of work which provides a visual guide for altering the fabric. This swatch was knit with wide NOOW spaces, then sewing machine stitching joined the contrasting vertical lines to form a 2 color “fringe” on the knit side (left) and purl side (right)Variations with fibers for exploring surface textures: wool with raffia on the bottom, fishing line on top The same swatch continued on, using 3M elastic as the second color  The same repeat in a rayon chainette and wool, followed by some felting. The rayon “bubbles” more visibly when the wool creates the wider floats  reversing color positions
The punchcard is limited to varying the vertical repeat automatically in 3 ways: locking the card, normal rotation, and double length. Repeat width is fixed. Felting can produce interesting surfaces if one yarn is capable of being felted (green), and the other not (blue). The stitches knit with the latter will create puckers/ blisters. Since the knit will shrink in both width and height, the repeats here were used at double length. Note the added drooping of the blue floats on the purl side.  A punchcard can be further manipulated by masking areas with tape. It is not a good solution for production knitting, but adequate for testing out ideas before committing to punching a full, new card. The surface blisters here are much more dramatic. The green floats do not felt as much as in the previous swatch, and are considerably wider. On the right, far side you can see some of them were latched up, creating yet another design detail.
The reverse of both swatches shows the resulting difference in relative width.  The contrast using a factory-supplied punchcard pattern with short floats, also felted. The fringe is created by ending on one side (in this case on the right) with a group of needles out of work and the outermost 2 needles in work, essentially producing a large “ladder”.  Decreases and increases on needles close to the edge of the knit were brought in and out of work to create the “zig-zag”. The two edge stitches of the ladder may be trimmed before felting. The knit side is shown on the left, the purl side on the right, no clearly visible, separate floats, its surface is fairly flat.

Cables in color

Fair isle, like any slip stitch fabric, is “shorter and skinnier” than any produced using the same yarn colors in plain knitting, single bed. Cables also narrow the fabric considerably. Begin with tension set at least 1-2 numbers looser than usual, and make tension swatches large enough to include all cable variations. After the cable crossings, be sure to return the needles to correct pattern selection before knitting the next row. Do not pull the whole group out to holding (E), as the whole group will then knit the color in the B feeder, and you will have a striped “mistake” on the next row knit. Leaving any needles OOW in the knit will select the needle on each side of the ladder to come forward, knitting the color in the B feeder. This may not work for you in terms of how the motif is affected by the vertical line created. If ladders are required, the vertical line in the B color may be eliminated by canceling end needle selection (KC II), or by dropping those stitches before you cable (which will give you a bit extra yarn for those crossed stitches). Ladders may be also latched up if you like, but watch where those floats are going in the fabric.

Making your own cards: try to control the length of the floats. Pre-punched cards with lots of punched holes can produce areas to be cabled by selectively masking areas with tape (both sides of cards). Conversely, you may punch diamonds, squares, etc. in the center of other shapes that would normally have floats too long for FI, to produce a B feeder color area for cabling.

Like color, most often, needs to land on like color, so stitches need to move further than they would in a one-color knit. Reversible ribbed cables share the principle of like needing to land on like (knit on knit, purl on purl). Starting out with a single row punched card, mylar, or program repeat, with the card locked, provides a quick test for tension, keeping track of patterns, etc. There are many, so at least initially, cabling on a constant number of rows apart may help avoid errors.

beginning to visualize the crosses

FI cables2

another of my “quick reference – some to try” handouts

color_cables

Ruching 2: more working with stitch groups

Going straight up: color blocks in the chart below illustrate needle groups that get picked up and transferred onto the next colored row on the machine, with no specific references to needle tape or any other markings. When repeating the operation in the same needle locations, having NOOW, thus creating ladders, makes it easier to keep track of groups. The yellow lines represent needles taken completely OOW at the start of knitting.  Any of these fabrics may be made in a single color or varied color sequences. Sometimes changing the color in swatches, and using sharply contrasting ones in tests helps one understand the structure of the resulting fabric a bit more easily an illustration of what part of the stitches to pick up playing with spacings and rows, no ladders playing with ladder spacing using the FI setting in addition.  Some tips on ruched FI knitting: the fabric will shrink considerably in length, so most motifs will need to be elongated to accommodate that. Having a pattern that may be tracked easily by watching the floats on its reverse is helpful as may working in bands where the colors swap spaces (changing yarn feeder positions). Because of the fabric bubbles, knitting rows in only one color at intervals may track hook-up row, while not visibly disrupting the pattern on its knit side. If small groups of stitches are to be picked up and rehung, markers with segments of nylon thread or yarn may be placed on the corresponding needles and be temporarily knit in. In addition, the needle tape or needle bed may be marked with a water-soluble pen to indicate locations for rehanging. Depending on the pattern, the number of stitches involved, and personal preference in terms of floats, needle selection in brother machines may have to be restored “by hand” to keep the design uninterrupted.
A few more: playing with striping and segment sizes the red squares indicate a row of additional ruching in the center of solid striping going all one color in the middle all on one edge hooking up smaller numbers of stitches going partway, gathering one side, using thick and thin yarns as design bands going mini

My recent knits

More of the extended twill FI, chenille  and rayon or wool combinations

In addition to all the usual suspects, I have been playing with DBJ once again, keeping my Passap battery charged, crossing my fingers that my ancient Dell laptop will keep working, playing with colors, using super thin yarns and plying them as needed

using built in patterns

my own pattern inspired from weaving drafts, borders mirrored to match direction when scarf is worn

A bit of fair isle

Fair isle accessories, scarves in particular, can be problematic. I tend to make most of my scarves in the 64-72 inch length after blocking, lining them would result in a very heavy scarf. Knit has a tendency to curl to the purl side in length, and toward the knit top and bottom. Rayon chenille is a customer favorite, knitting it double bed in any DBJ variant is nearly impossible on my E 6000 because of shedding and electronic eye reading errors (I would consider ladder DBJ), and I was left with finding a short float pattern that might look acceptable on its reverse, and lie flat. Weaving draft charts can be a great source for repeats for geometric FI knitting. The pattern used below is an adaptation of one. The first swatch (1) looked fine. The long one followed it. When I ironed it, however, I noticed not only a missing black square or 2 in my mylar repeat (hidden by the fuzz of the chenille in the first swatch) but how lovely for it to have a totally curved, far longer edge (if only that was what I wanted)! On analyzing the possible cause I noticed the repeat had many more stitches knit in the chenille than the wool along that edge. Back to the drawing board: the repeat was sorted out using high contrast, smooth yarns (3 and 4), and the pattern was adjusted to a different location on the needle bed. 

Then, I thought I might introduce a border. The chenille is thicker than the wool, so any hem or stocking stitch edge was too wide. I would have preferred to chain behind the knit to help flatten the bottom and top edges and ran into yarn breakage galore. The final piece was made using 1X1 FI in the chenille “solid” color stripe to keep a balanced width and fabric thickness, and cast on and bound off edges were rehung and “bound off” again, to help cut down on their rolling toward the knit. The finished scarf measures 8″X69″, both knit and purl sides are shown below, side edge lengths now match.Assuming one uses a crochet cast on and binds off around gate pegs at the top, a chain is created at both ends, akin to that created in crochet, and one can identify a front loop, a back loop, and the whole chain. Any of the 3 may be “rehung” onto the KM, and the options are to knit a row and bind off again, or simply bind off again, for different looks that start to emulate single crochet a bit and can help stabilize edges or decorate them. It is helpful to keep notes as to the sequence used and which side is facing with each re-hanging.  Audrey Palmer at one point authored the Empisal book of linked edgings ISBN 0969485905. Intended for use with the Empisal (later = Studio) linker, there are lots of interesting uses for combinations of essentially find off techniques, and some resurfaced when she published her books on knit weaving.

The same pattern knit on Passap, using tech 129 and 138; there is a noticeable difference in width and openness of fabric with yarn weight change, and at the top with tucking for twice as many rows. 
A scarf knit in pattern, using tech 138, double bed on Passap KM; lightweight and drape allow it to be wrapped and worn in multiple ways; knit in 16/2 cotton, measures 11 X 76 inches partially blocked

Fair Isle single bed 1: float control

Fair isle is the name given to a pattern knitted with 2 colors in each row.  The motifs are easily identified by looking at the holes in the punchcard, or squares on mylar, pixels in programs. While I will be referring to punch card knitting, the same principles apply. Your knit swatch will look like the card, but the design will be squashed, and these designs are generally knit at least one whole tension number looser than when using the same yarns for stocking stitch.  The length of floats created in knitting these fabrics is sometimes an issue, and following are some of the methods that help with “float control”.

Altering the pattern: random holes may be punched in addition to those in the motif and shorten the very long floats, providing this does not distort the pattern too much. Iris Bishop is a designer with an extensive library of such designs.

Hooking up floats: this method works best when the 2 colors used are similar. If they are strongly contrasting there is a possibility of show through where the float is knitted on the same needle as a contrasting stitch. Use the single transfer tool to hook up the float into a needle hook above while leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected. If it is a very long float, it may require “hooking up” several times. Show through can be reduced on machines that preselect the needles, if you can place the float on a needle about to knit in the same color as the float (the needle will be selected to upper working position).

Binding with fine yarn: using a fine yarn, even sewing thread, matching the main color of the design, break off a length for every place that will bind the float down, trying to keep unanchored floats to no more than 5 stitches if possible. Make a slip knot at one end, take it under the first float, and place it onto the needle above, leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected . Knit the next row, and lay the fine yarn into the needle hook, fastening down the next float by carrying each length horizontally up your fabric and hooking it over your needles as required. Add more pieces of yarn or change colors as needed.

While this method illustrates managing edges of single motif, it also illustrates managing additional threads.

When knitting only a small area in fair isle (single motif), the contrast yarn will pull away from the edge of the patterning. This may result in holes or ladders to either side of the design. The illustration above and the one below from the Brother 940 manual illustrate securing the edges with spare lengths of the main color yarn. The lines of the yarn are in black and pink respectively for the purposes of illustration. Program the machine for single motif, attach each length of spare yarn to a needle adjacent to those pre selected for single motif, in upper working position. Knit one row in pattern to opposite side. Take the extra yarn length between the knitting and the carriage and place it on the adjacent needle in B position (in background color), knit one row to opposite side, repeat wrapping on carriage side throughout the shape.

Latching: Using the latch tool, pick up a short float below the first long float. Slip it behind the latch, catch the next long float in the hook, and pull it through the first. Continue in this way, latching up all the long floats, and then place the last float pulled through into the hook of the closest needle above that is knit in the same color latched up. As the next row is knit, the float will be caught. The disadvantage to this method is that the hooked floats will pull across the fabric, making it pucker. This technique may be done off the machine as well, with the last float sewn in by hand.

Sewing: sew floats in by hand after completion of knitting by catch stitching the longer floats in on the reverse of the knit. As an alternative a sewing machine and “stitch in the ditch” with matching thread while placing the knitting on the machine and carefully stitching down the valleys between the rows of stitches at desired vertical spacing.

Knit linings: these may be in the form of hems or pieces of knit fabric that you attach as you knit, which could be in finer yarn, large stitches, and not necessarily on every needle. Color matching once again matters.

Bonding with fusibles: suitable for yarns that can take a hot, damp ironing. It also stiffens the fabric. Some bonding materials are knit, with stretch in one way and not the other, woven ones have no stretch.

Fringing: long floats may be cut and made into fringes. In this instance the punchcard may be intentionally masked to cover holes and create intended long floats, which may be later cut. The purl side will now become the “public one”.

Mock weaving: use the reverse side of the fabric for knit woven effect, one example. The pattern on the knit side may become distorted in a way that could be considered an added design feature.

Decorative floats: use the long floats and twist them, or bind, pick up, tuck behind stitches to make decorative fabrics highlighting the purl side.

Ruching in pattern: hooking up stitches as in hems to enclose part or all of the long floats. For this technique, if a lot of ruching is to occur, it may be best to elongate the original pattern to at least X2.

“Stitching in the ditch”: after the piece is finished floats may be anchored by using a straight, medium sized stitch on the sewing machine. Use thread that matches the main color as much as possible. Place knitting on the machine knit side up. Stitch carefully and slowly in the valleys between rows of knitting in areas with longer spaces between ground and contrast. The same method is sometimes used at standard intervals to secure FI floats when using yarn such as chenille to help avoid “worming” (yarn slipping out in loops) along motif edges as time passes.

Please note: try any of these techniques on swatches first. There may be changes in the surface of the knit on the knit side such as puckering or bleed through that may require changes. If combining techniques in a garment, each should be tested. If combining FI and “plain knit” one possible solution is to knit the latter in a simple FI pattern using the same color in both feeders, keeping similar texture and weight in both areas. If using several color changes, the card may be marked to help track them.  If self-drawn, repeats lining up in width and height should be knit tested as well.

Combining patterned stripes in stocking stitch: the latter will be single density and different weight than FI. In FI two yarns knit simultaneously, producing a double thickness fabric. Test on swatches whether doubling the yarn for single color rows works for you. Another option is to knit “plain” bands  in 1X1 fair isle pattern, using the same color yarn in both feeders.

Hound’s tooth FI variations

It appears hound’s teeth are turning up on runways everywhere, along with plaids. There are many variants of the pattern, and excel and other software programs make playing with motifs, literal and not so much, easy and quick studies. History of the particular platter may be found @ http://www.tess-elation.co.uk/houndstooth/history, analysis of the math involved: https://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2012/bridges2012-299.pdf

the Studio punchcard version the Brother version a more block-like one, similar to some found on woven fabrics a petite cousin  playing with the negative space (no longer suitable for punchcard)some repeats lined up some “doodles” of mine  from an online search adding simple shapes a weaving draft more weaving drafts, scaled for knitting, repeat isolated, and tiled for preview

color reversals

vertical pattern combo with other design, repeat is 8 rows by 47stsfrom a punchcard pattern book 

going large,28X2848 X 48going a little “crazy”, a 134 X134 pixel image, followed by tiling of it from a 3 color weaving draft inspiration