Unconventional uses for punchcards 2: thread lace cards for “filet” mesh


Mock filet crochet machine knit lace has surfaced in a Ravelry blog of late. The sample in question was made by Tanya Cunningham, using a hacked knitting machine and software to download the repeat. Sometimes punchcard machines or early electronic users feel left out of creating particular fabrics. If one can settle for working with simpler and far smaller repeats, however, one can achieve interesting results on that scale.  Several years ago I wrote a series of posts on lace meshes and lace patterns inspired by filet crochet. They are interspersed in the mesh category. There also has been a thread lace Ravelry “thread”, and today’s avoidance of housework led me to think about pre-drawn thread lace patterns to create a filet-like mesh.

What to look for a first experiment (Brother machines only): large unpunched areas creating motifs, with no side-by-side punched holes, and no more than 2 consecutive punched rows. Some samples are provided in-stock cards that come with machine purchases. One suchThe lace carriage (LC) selects on the first pass, transfers on the second. It advances the card with each pass of the carriage if it is operated consistently from the same side. If 2 knit carriages (KC) set to select needles for any technique are in use in punchcard machines, as one is put to rest and the other one begins to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance on the first pass, so selection for the previous row is repeated one more time. If all lace transfers are made in the same direction the resulting fabric will bias. For balanced lace fabrics, the direction of the transfers needs to be reversed, whether in alternating series of rows or with every other set of transfers. In a situation such as this, the LC makes one set of transfers operating from the left, with the next set of transfers operating from the right. For the correct setup, the first-row selection with the card is made on the row just below the one marked #1 (in this instance that would be row #40), then the card is set to advance as usual. If the first selection row is made with the card set to below the #1 line, the card needs to be already joined with snaps into a drum or the card reader will be selecting the all punched row which is normally part of the overlap that sits over the last 2 rows of the pattern repeat.
I began with my LC on the left for transfers to the left and alternately placed it on the right after knit row(s) for transfers to the right. A “simple” lace is produced with only one row knit between transfers, a more complex lace if 2 rows are knit between them. The LC moves left to right, transfers back to left. If the knit carriage is used for one pass only, it stays on left. The LC is now taken off the machine and moved to the right, used for 2 rows, and will be removed from the bed to ready it for its return to the left side. The KC follows with one pass from left to right. The LC is returned to left and operated for 2 rows, starting the sequence over again. The LC is always moving toward the KC to select, and away from it to transfer.
Brother knitters are used to knitting 2 rows after lace transfers. It can be done with this card as well. The problem here is that when knitting for 2 rows, the knit carriage consistently returns to the same side so that when transfers need to be made from its starting side with the LC, the KC needs to come off the machine until after transfers are made. There is a lot more juggling of carriages and keeping track of what needs to be where. The elongation that occurs with 2 rows knit after each set of transfers, and the differences in the appearance in the yarn forming the eyelets (single/magenta arrow vs crossed/glow green arrow strands) for the respective methods are shown below.Three more candidates for experimenting with the technique Working the fabric on an electronic, the repeat used: The single knit row between repeats is fairly easy and rhythmic to produce. The first preselection row is made with the lace carriage, beginning on the left, the design is used as given in the punchcard.
LCOL preselects for transfers to the left as it moves to the right
LCOR transfers preselected needles to the left, preselects the same needles, now empty, a good time to check for any dropped stitches or split yarn. Remove LC from the bed in order to place it on the right prior to transfers in the reverse direction
KCOR knit one row to the left, leave it there
LCOR preselects for transfer to the right as it moves to the left, transfers on its return to the right, preselects the same needles, now empty of any yarn. Again, remove it from the bed in order to place it on the left prior to transfers in the reverse direction
KCOL knit one row to the right, leave it in that position
LCOL begin the sequence again
preselection with the LC is always toward the knit carriage, transfers always away from it If working the same repeat as transfer lace, the knit carriage moves to and from the right with every 2 rows knit, so in order to make transfers with the LC to the right, the knit carriage needs to be moved off the needle bed for the LC to be able to operate from that side. The process is a tad fiddly, if the technique is to be used for an all-over design, converting the design to the traditional transfer lace format would be worth the effort. Barring that, some sort of note-taking to serve as a reminder of which side the LC carriage should operate from is also be helpful. The BMP for the full repeat including blank rows at the top Returning to another Brother punch card, more possibilities in ways to experiment
The above shows long vertical lines of transfers are possible in design motifs (punched holes). Adding shapes to all over mesh may require some editing along edges where the shapes meet the mesh. Varying size swatches are recommended before committing to any large piece. As always punched errors may be taped over. Red squares in the image below reflect holes missing in the card if the goal is to achieve a smoother circular shape. When this technique is used, selection, transfers, and knitting occur in each single, completed row of the design. note the differences in circle sides a wider, amended repeat The slight bias zig zag at the top of the swatch results from a missing reverse direction transfer before continuing with plain knitting and binding off. Ultimately whether the final fabric is worth the effort in making it is a personal choice. Sometimes small swatches work like a dream, and when large pieces are produced, problems multiply or the result is disappointing. In the past, I have also tried to use thread lace-inspired patterns for drop stitch lace (ribber fabric), but have found the result far more subtle than expected. As always yarn and color choice make a significant difference. The yarn used in these samples is a 2/15 wool blend, knit at tension 6.

BTW: Studio pattern books have multiple sections of published 24 stitch thread lace patterns. Not all Brother machines have the capacity for knitting this type of fabric, so not all of their publications include “suitable patterns”. If one understands what punched holes vs unpunched do, some of the Brother weaving and “pick rib” (perhaps another post’s topic) can be used as-is or adapted.
electronic http://machineknittingetc.com/knit-in-punch-lace-silver-m…
punchcard http://machineknittingetc.com/pattern-library-for-punchca…

previous blog notes on thread lace 2016/11/03/thread-lace-on-brother-km/

 

Large eyelet lace, hand transferred (or not)

This is a lace sample created on a dubied industrial knitting machine

I became curious as to how to duplicate it, decided to use needle selection to help track the transfers rather than counting needles by hand. The repeat is a small one, suitable for both electronics and punchcards. Below is its configuration on my 910, punchcard knitters may want to flip the repeat to match directions for knitting as written.

the sample’s knit side

its purl side

yarn: 2/8wool

end needle selection (KCII here) must be used any time there are needles out of work in the pattern

transfers are always made toward the carriage

single empty needled are put OOW after transfers across row

pairs of empty needles after they are created are returned to work before the next row of knitting to create side by side loops

in  my case, odd rows transfers were —>, even <—

single rows are knit after each set of transfers

1.KCII <—, transfer selected needles <—, move empty needles OOW

2.select row 2 as carriage knits —>, transfer selected needles —>, there will be 2 empty needles, side by side; bring all needles in work across the row

3.knit <—here there will be 2 loops side by side on adjoining emptied needles; check that no loops have dropped off, rehang and adjust tension if needed; transfer selected needles toward the carriage _ move single now emptied needles OOW

as this row and the next row are knit and transferred, side by side loops will become stitches, and another 2 loop set will be created

4. knit —>, transfer selected needles —> onto adjoining loop, there will be 2 empty needles side by side, bring all/pairs needles in work across the row

repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remainder of the fabric

my previous posts on large eyelet lace created using the lace carriage
large eyelets, and diagonal large eyelets

a cousin of sorts may be achieved by using the following punchcard lace repeat; the lace carriage selects and transfers for 4 passes, the knit carriage follows with 2 rows of knitting throughout; stitches are transferred, doubled up, and transferred again, so yarn choice, weight, and tension may need a lot of editing.

the resulting fabric

There is an added post on automating such large meshes published in July 2020 

To mesh or not to mesh 4

The following illustrate some of the processes involved in planning out fabric akin to the one in the previous post. Black borders outline blocks of 6 stitches/rows, reflect markings on blank Brother cards. In option A: the motif is planned and drawn. In this instance, it is colored in green (1), the area it covers will ultimately remain unpunched on the card or blank on mylar. Graph paper may be used to work this out, knit design software, or as in this case, an excel spreadsheet. A grid is created with every other square blacked out or colored in (2). The motif is superimposed on grid (3). Repeat is expanded adding 2 blank rows above each design row (4). Rust squares represent punched holes in the card or black squares in mylar.

Option A

Option B: the same motif is lengthened X3 (5). The lace mesh base is drawn out (6). The elongated motif is then superimposed on mesh (7). Electronic patterning on 910 allows for minimal drawing using all black squares, in turn making it necessary to color reverse for lace. Two separate motifs are used, the method for programming such repeats is in 910 manual. However, there are considerations for needle position and pattern selector placement for this “shortcut” to work properly, the steps are described by Kathleen Kinder and others. I prefer to work with what I “see” in terms of punched holes or squares, this is the method used to develop my previous flower motif swatch. The short supply of mylars may also be a consideration in using them or not for such large, and perhaps limited use design repeats. If interface cables and software are available, other options abound.

Option B

To mesh or not to mesh 3

Many articles were written in the 1980s in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain, some finding their way to newsletters published in the USA at the time investigating this subject. With the advent of electronics the process became “easier”. Kathleen Kinder author of several books on Machine Knitting covering myriad topics (one whole text on lace), also authored Electonic Knitting: an Introduction for Brother and Knitmaster Knitters (?1989) that investigated the move from punchcard to electronics, including lace techniques that in the instance of “filet look alikes” introduced superimposing designs as a quicker method to achieve such fabrics. The common motifs used were often that of a heart or a rose.

One of the many confusing things in lace, is that the punched holes or mylar squares do not represent actual holes in the final fabric. Alternate rows of holes represent first transfers to left, then transfer to right. Brother and Studio punchcard sets included with purchase of machines both include pre-punched cards suitable for this type of mesh. Numbers sometimes varied with machine model year. Studio No. L-6, Brother No 17J (also 20G etc.) are 2 such samples and are vertical mirrored images of each other. Superimposed motifs constitute blank areas of card. Depending on preference some readjustments may be required after a test swatch to alter placement of some of the mesh holes. My fabric below was knit using the basic faggot lace Brother mesh, the corresponding “card” close to 180 rows in length to achieve the brick repeat.

a portion of the card

sideways view of resulting fabric, knit side facing

To mesh or not to mesh 2

The amended “square mesh card”; grey areas indicate more tape use on the reverse. In basic analysis knit “squares” consist of blocks of blanks on card 12 squares tall by 3 wide, essentially removing 6 lace transfers (holes in all over card) in those locations; this could be done with software and planned ahead of punching any holes. Electronics capable of programming 2 different motifs increase ease in drawing out patterns as well as the possibilities in planning larger repeats and repeat sequences

the corresponding swatch viewed on purl side after a quick steaming

flipped 90 degrees

To mesh or not to mesh 1

A good online grouping of mesh repeats is one place to start exploring this topic. Most proprietary large pattern books from machine knitting companies include at least a few suitable cards/mylar samples. They can be used for “all over” fabrics, borders, striping in mixed bands of varying styles, etc. I am presently interested in pursuing filet crochet-like structure by superimposing knit areas onto lace mesh using “low tech” punchcards or mylar sheets. Filet crochet is often built on a system of solid squares on the more open “ground”. Emulating this type, to begin with, here is a punchcard for use on Brother KM resulting in a “square mesh”

a lazy way to explore how adding solid areas to any pattern card is to mask a portion of the card using tape ie. in this case painter’s tape on the reverse side; this is not the best long term solution, but OK for “testing the waters” and sorting out the final repeats. Here is the resulting card reverse side

the card was extended for a full, alternating blocks repeat: the first run at a swatch result showed that oops! I am not quite there with alternating blocks of 4: no worries, more tape is on hand. Below is my preferred, sideways view of the present fabric. There is a difference in ridges/ lines as viewed horizontally, every other is thicker because of the location of transferred stitches. Knitting sequence is 4 rows of transfers with lace carriage, followed by 2 rows knit with KH throughout. A good starting point.