Look Ma, missing holes! A saga begins…

Transferring any single stitch to the adjacent needle will create a loop in that empty needle on the next pass of the knit carriage, and form that loop into a completed stitch on the second KH pass as it travels back to its original position. There are some constants in knit fabrics. For example, in lace, if all transfers are made in one direction, particularly in meshes, the fabric biases. Great if you want a bias fabric, not so if the original plan was to produce a balanced one. The cure: to alternate the direction of transfers sequentially, or in series. If done in series the result is a vertical zigzag with movement in the edges of the fabric to echo the bias direction in the knit.
If two adjacent needles (or more) are left empty, the first KH pass will create loops on those same needles. Without the knitter’s intervention and manipulation of at least some of those loops the space rather than creating holes, will be producing “ladders”. Ladder fabrics whether in combination with lace holes or not can be interesting, often involve hand techniques to make them more so, but the topic of the moment is transferred lace.
For knit stitches to form in/with the single second pass of the knit carriage, at least every other needle must have a loop or stitch on it. If two adjacent needles are empty one of several ways to achieve a larger round hole is to knit the first row, drop off one of the 2 “loops” created, continue knitting; this technique will create a secondary smaller hole in the fabric, it is a matter of preference as to whether this effect is acceptable.
To avoid a secondary “hole”, the method I prefer is to insert a one-eyed transfer tool back to front through the dropped off yarn, twist 180 degrees either direction, forming an “e”, and rehang the twisted stitch on the empty needle, thus “casting” that stitch on. This technique is sometimes used for buttonholes (not the best for that purpose). It is one way to bring the familiar e wrap used at the beginning of some knits into the body of a swatch/ garment. As the second knit row is completed the larger, “round” hole is now achieved.
In “automatic” slip small slits/holes appear where sequential rows of knitting occur, creating secondary patterns (seen in doilies).
It is up to the knitter to decide which trade-offs are acceptable ones. “Automating” functions add to design time and sorting out modifications to repeats but can speed up the final knitting process and facilitate accuracy when one transits from swatch to garment construction.
Lace cards can be planned to incorporate some larger holes, adding hand techniques to the mix.
And then there is the purposeful loss of holes, ie. in fine lace where the yarn is not transferred to but rather shared with the adjacent needle, creating a textured look rather than a hole filled one unless very thin yarn is in use.

Lace: from electronic repeat to punchcard

At about the time I began my recent lace obsession, and pre my trying to actually use excel instead of simply knowing it lived in my computer, a friend was trying to work on a lace repeat that was found online as part of Staceyjoy’s knitting stitch portfolio, now part of the site. As a result, the downloadable pdf below bears the name it does, includes my how/to suggestions for the journey from electronic single repeat to punchcard, and the resulting swatch. One additional tip: when working with copies it is good to mark tops and bottoms clearly, especially if combining pieces of patterns so as to avoid marking/punching and vertical mirroring mistakes.

redlipstick PDF

So many machines…lace punchcard knitting

There are several brand KMs still around and in use, most are no longer being manufactured. Questions often come up on using one KM brand pattern card on another. Card readers inside the machine are below eye level, so exterior number/other markings on cards or mylars reflect that, providing the knitter with a visual cue as to where they “are” in the repeat. If machines pre select, the needle selection may not bear any relationship to actual design row on the punched card or mylar as opposed to what one “sees”. In addition to this variable in lace one often has 2 carriages in use. It is possible to develop cards etc. from lace hand knitting graphs, but there is enough “going on” so a good place where to start experimenting is with pre-drawn ones. Lace preselection on any single row may have no obvious relationship to where the lace hole will ultimately end up.

Here are some random facts gathered from both sources and experience, they are applicable only if the knit carriage is set for plain knitting and no other function ie. slip or tuck is involved; plain knit rows do not advance the card reading mechanisms. In mixed structure fabrics, the rules change.

the Brother and Toyota lace cards can be used on studio punchcard machines as long as they are patterns which have 2 blank rows after each transfer sequence

Brother and Toyota have u shaped arrows to identify when to knit with the knit carriage, both brands read cards 7 rows down

the first row on Brother is transferred from right to left, while on Toyota it is transferred from left to right; Brother and Toyota cards are interchangeable provided the card is mirrored vertically (or a simple cheat: use carriages on opposite sides of usual)

for Studio knitting find the row number of the U shaped arrow and circle the 2nd and 3d row below that row that number to identify rows in which carriage is changed/set to knit

Brother ends with 2 blank rows

Studio starts with 2 blank rows

on Studio begin brother card by locking card 4 rows before row 1, on row 3

Brother/Knitking lace carriage does not carry yarn, does not knit or trip the row counter; the stitches get transferred in the direction that the lace carriage is being pushed

Studio/Singer has a lace carriage available that transfers as it knits; on more complex laces one is sometimes instructed to set the carriage not to knit for a specified number of rows, the yarn may be removed, other adjustments are often required

though Studio and Brother lace cards are not directly interchangeable; aside from the numbering issue the transfer method is different, so a studio lace card “working” on Brother or vice versa is a happy accident and likely to result in a “different” fabric

Brother information is applicable to its “new” clone, Taitexma

A few references :

Machine Knitting: the Technique of Lace by  Kathleen Kinder
Knitting Lace and A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics by Susanna Lewis
Machine Knitting: the Technique of Pattern Card Design by Denise Musk
John Allen’s Treasury of Machine Knitting Stitches
The Harmony Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches (their Colorful Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches does not include lace)
322 Machine Knitting Stitches (Sterling Publishing,1988)
Both Brother and Studio published punchcard volumes, now out of print.

Doilies: Lace meets hold and goes round

This post was written originally in 2011, in one of my lace “phases”, with test swatches knit on a 910 using a mylar sheet or on my 892E Andare Brother punchcard machine. Early on many of the posts were used to record what I had made, sometimes providing the repeats, but not usually step by step instructions. The shares were intended for anyone with previous experience who might want to create their own version of such fabrics. Now in 2020, my swatches are usually knit with download cables img2track on a 930 or less frequently on a 910 using ayab, via an iMac. In revisiting those early posts I sometimes find myself wondering about the content and how their fabrics were achieved. At the time, as now, I tried to respect copyrights. Since then many machine knitting publications are now downloadable for free online and I began to include information from them, and when possible, links to the source.

There is an excellent online resource for the Bond Machine. Techniques are applicable to other KM models for those who enjoy hand techniques. The round lace tablecloth series provides a number of “doily” charts.
The slip setting in both directions is used on the KH for automatic shaping, end needle selection is canceled. It is critical that carriages be off the machine and on the lace extension rails while the alternate carriage is in use as they both engage the timing belt. The latter can be broken if pulled in opposing directions at the same time.
Comparing a pattern on 2 machines: one of the critical differences when using 2 carriages to select patterns, is that on electronic machines such as the 910 or later models, with each carriage pass the design repeat advances one row. With Brother punchcards, the first pass of the second carriage does not advance the card as it makes its first “trip” from the opposite side, the previous preselection and function are repeated.
When operating the lace carriage on a punchcard machine, one of the critical differences is that the preselection row from left to right made with the lace carriage is performed with the punchcard not locked as usual, but rather, set to advance normally. From:  Any circular knit that is shaped with sideways holding segments will need to be seamed when completed. Taking that into account, at least one row is knit with “doily” yarn from left to right after several rows are knit in waste-yarn before the transfers to create open stitches are begun. It is a personal choice and preference whether upon completion of the required number of segments to join by rehanging open stitches and binding off on the machine or grafting (the method I prefer) with the work off the machine after several rows of waste yarn and dropping the work off the KM.
When 2 carriages are selecting needles from opposite sides, the “rule” as provided in the manual is broken, the card starts in the locked position on one side, is released when it reaches the opposite one, as is standard in knitting other stitch types. In this chart, patterning begins with the locked reader and the LC used for the initial preselection row Beginmomg with the LC on the left, the end needle selection is canceled. The two positions in LCs for both punchcard and electronic KMsBack in 2002 exchanges with a fellow member of an Australian Yahoo Group, OzMKers, led to her final edit of this half punchcard repeat for the test doily. All transfers are in the same direction, to the right
A 24 stitch sample, knit in cotton yarn. The center of the circle needs to be managed as opposed to simply gathering it in order to keep the finished shape flat. It is possible for the lace carriage to transfer while at the same time preselecting every needle to be knit by the next pass of the knit carriage from the opposite side. An expanded view of part of the repeat:  In order to get the repeat working properly, I found I needed to edit out one of the punched holes at the start of each repeat, revised card  The original and the amended start of each segment are shown below, I skipped the extra knit rows numbered 21-23 on the original punchcard with the intention of eliminating extra knit rows at the very center, making the circumference at the closure of the doily smaller. I prefer to start with knit rows, in which case the first preselection row would take place from the right. Note that lace transfer marks are directly on top of the solid lines representing knit stitches     If drawing on the back of mylar for use on the 910, either image may be drawn as is, with the number 1 pattern case “A” selector reverse lever to up position.
Repeat design principles are shared in creating edgings, ruffles, and more.
The amended 24 stitch repeat with all transfers to the right knit on the 930 after a few rows misstart. The download is automatically mirrored. The end needle cancellation setting on the 910 LC for the pattern to work properly with the carriage in use. In turn, this repeat as given was used in 2020 for a pattern test on my 930 for all transfers to the left. Note: here the knit stitch black pixels are followed by a blank row, and the transfer marks occur on design row 3, directly below the next series of all black pixels Depending on the machine model, the .png for the repeat may, in turn, need to be mirrored horizontally.
The preselection row for my test swatch is from right to left, using the knit carriage (KC). All black pixels will preselect needles. When the left side is reached, the KC is set to slip in both directions and will knit all preselected needles on its way back to the right. Subsequently, the slip setting will be performing the function of bringing stitches in and out of hold opposite the carriage. Each carriage pass advances the repeat one row. The lace carriage preselects for transfers from left to right, transfers to left, and preselects for the next knit row as it returns to the left and onto its rail. A 40 stitch adaptation from the Bond site to try A 60 stitch repeat also inspired by the Bond post knit on the 910 using a mylar. Gauge still matters, more than the recommended 16 sections to form a full circle would be required using this particular yarn  In the post on lace edgings automated with slip stitch on Brother machines written in 2020, I shared a modified version of a punchcard published by Susanna Lewis in “A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics” (1981), the ultimate resource for punchcard knitting for knitters with any amount of experience. The chart on p 223 was modified by me since I like to start my lace edgings on the widest number of stitches in the pattern. The punchcard repeat on the left below is shown after being reorganized to start with a knit row on the full 24 stitch width. On the right, rows of black pixels are added, for a version of the full repeat to be used on electronic machines. The slip stitches are substitutes for manual holding techniques, used to knit rows that are in turn form increases and decreases to alter the outside edge of the trim. The lace pattern resulting from the transfers changes along with their direction as the outside edge does. This image is for the desired effect on the purl side of the fabric. Again, depending on the electronic model or the download program, it may in turn need to be mirrored. Subsequent posts on knit edgings:
Lace edgings on Brother machines- automated with slip stitch
Lace edgings on Brother machines- automated with slip stitch 2
From automated lace edging pattern to doilies and ruffles 

A limited production item

This shawl has a rhythmic, simplified lace repeat allowing for consideration in making it as a limited edition production item. It begins and ends on live stitches, which in turn are joined in seam as you knit fashion as the border is created. The transfers in the border regularly switch directions creating a reverse bias that in turn may be blocked into pointed edges.

A “figlet” moment

When I taught, I felt the need to come up with a “clean’ expletive for moments that simply required one, mine was “figlet”. With nearly 60 inches of shawl knit, this “magically” happened.

I now have about 120 + rows of carriage transfers and knitting to undo to get back to a place I can hopefully repair/continue from. Am trying to convince myself it will be a meditative undertaking. Happiness is not doing this type of knitting for a day job: double figlet!

Lace crankiness: some tips

The lace pattern used in the last shawl is now re worked to eliminate hand transfers required every other pair of knit rows. A second shawl using the new version is in progress.
Some random tips after the journey so far come to mind.
KM: Brother 910 with mylar sheets:
For marking the mylar the Mirado Black Warrior HB2 pencil used on its reverse side produces good results for reader scanning.
It is helpful to have oiled, clean carriages: Hoppe’s elite gun oil (no silicone) rather than sewing machine or brother oils is safe for plastics, for use on Passap beds, and is the only thing I now use on my machines.
Dropped stitches can abound, checking gate pegs, needle latches and their condition can help prevent some of them. Familiarizing oneself with yarn and visually checking after each transfer row may actually save time in the long run.
I have had moments where I felt like Penelope udoing her work 24/7. If rows of stitching need to be unravelled it is easier to undo transfers before the unravelling, and repeats sometimes are corrected more easily if taken back to the beginning of transfer sequence.
The lace carriage must be taken beyond needle selection marks at either end of the machine prior to any “correction” to prevent selection errors.
If more than one lace pattern is on the mylar sheet the lace column or an alternate can be marked with colored pencils with different color assigned to each pattern repeat.

On the blocking board.

After hand washing the piece, blocking wires and pins were used to help it retain desired shape while drying. Its final measurements in inches are 20W by 68L, its weight 3.25 oz . Steaming alone helped stabilize stitches for corrections and is often enough for many pieces in terms of blocking, but flattened the surface excessively in this case. Texture returned and became more apparent with use of the former method. In the image below the center, pivoting point of the mirrored pattern is evident.