Lace knitting tips, to mesh or not to mesh 7

Early versions of the Brother Lace Carriage (LC) for machines such as the 830 did not have the capacity to control end needle selection. If any needles were selected for transfer to an end needle not in use in the piece, the LC still will attempt to move that stitch, and if no needle hook is there to accept it, the stitch will drop. Where an and needle has been selected on either or both edges, the option that remains for folks with no automatic way to cancel end needle selection is to push those needles back to B position by hand. Since selection is likely to not happen every row, it may be an easy thing to forget as the length of the piece grows.
Later LC models include mechanisms like those seen in punchcard knit carriages that override the selection made by the patterning device on the end needles.

There were also point cams, that help to change the spacing between vertical lengths of design repeats. For images of the Lace carriage and use of point cams please see posts 2017/10/05/lace-point-cams-…brother-machines ..
Electronic carriages are equipped with a magnet, and must always travel past the center needle 0 position center mark on the needle tape. Markings on factory punchcards give clues as to which carriage to use and for how many passes. They also may vary depending on the year the punchcards or mylars were issued. To review, here are some of the markings commonly found The graphic from the KH 860 punchcard model manual Illustration modified and adapted from multiple decades-old  Japanese magazines of fine lace
single complete transfers   Multiple transfers may be made either as a hand technique or expanded for use in electronics. Because single stitches are moved with each carriage pass, pattern repeats can become quite long, with few punched holes or black pixels Generally, it is best to use a yarn that is smooth, has some stretch, and does not break easily. Because the yarn will be transferred to and from or in addition also be shared between needles, some extra yarn may be needed for proper stitch formation. In overall meshes, it is best to start testing using a tension at least one whole number higher than when using the same yarn for stocking stitch.  Too loose a tension can result in dropped stitches or loops getting hung up on gate pegs, too tight and the stitches will not knit off properly or drop, or the yarn may even break. When eyelets are few in number, adjustments in tension may not be needed.

Begin with waste yarn and ravel cord, then followed by casting on and knitting at least 2 rows before beginning to use the LC. The cast on will need to stretch to accommodate the growth in width which increases with increasing numbers of eyelets. The same applies to the bind off. One option for matching both is seen in this “answer lady”  video.

In most punchcard repeats, if when the row of transfers is completed there are two or more empty needles side by side, troubleshooting is required to solve the problem unless are intentionally planned in the design, with deliberate adjustments to components of the overall pattern repeat.

The needles need to be in good condition, with latches that open and close smoothly and easily. Also, check for any bent gate pegs, and use a tool to even out the spacing between them if needed.

Error corrections need to be made matching the proper stitch formation. As in any other knit, if tuck stitches occur in the same location and are not part of the planned fabric, it is likely the needle is damaged and needs to be replaced. If a loop is sitting on top of a needle with a closed latch prior to knitting the following row, that stitch will drop. If it is noticed prior to knitting the row, the loop can be knit through the stitch manually while being mindful of what action that same stitch should take in the progression of the pattern. The appearance of tuck loops, red row To form eyelets a loop is created on the needles emptied by the transfers on the first pass with the knit carriage to the left (red), the stitch on that needle is completed as the knit carriage returns to the right (cyan) If when trying to correct the direction of a transfer or a dropped stitch the transfer is not formed properly and the stitch in that location is knit manually the eyelet will be absent 

The traditional placement is for the LC on the left, the KC (knit carriage) on the right, but there are patterns that can work with their placement reversed or even swapped at regular intervals as knitting progresses.

Bringing needles out to E before the all knit row may help avoid additional dropped stitches when there are multiple stitches on any needles. Though knitting may proceed smoothly, checking the work frequently visually will make rescues of problem areas possible as opposed to having to restart the project. It test swatches are hard to knit, it is likely the problems will multiply when a larger group of needles is in use and the project should be put aside.

Because there are so few markings in lace, the lace card does not necessarily resemble the finished stitch appearance. Needle pre-selection does not make as much sense as in other types of patterns. Where knit stitches occur in vertical stripes may also not be immediately evident. Some shifting on the needle bed rather than centering may be required to have a cleaner edge, which also matters in seaming.

There are a definite top and bottom direction to lace, so in knitting scarves or sleeves that is a consideration. One solution is to knit 2 pieces in mirrored directions with many possibilities for methods to join them. No top-down on sleeves if you wish to match the body and it has been knit from its bottom-up.

It is possible to use short rows combined with lace patterns, but any shapes created are likely to change visually, so planning is required unless those changes are deemed suitable. Traditional holding by changing the knit carriage setting may not be used. Needles to be put in hold need to be knit back to A position and brought back into work as needed. Ravel cord or any tightly twisted cotton may be used. If needles have a tendency to slide forward when holding large sections or at the hold starting side as the piece progresses, some tape may need to be placed in front of the needle butts on the metal bed to hold those needles in place. These illustrations of the process are from an early Brother machine manual As with any knitting, there are times where nothing seems to work for no good reason after intervals of smooth knitting and no other changes, and a break is best for both operator and machine.

The greater the number of eyelets in the pattern, the wider the finished knitting. Blocking in some form will usually be required to set the stitches, and may be required if the piece grows in length and narrows as it is worn or hung when stored.

Out of habit I usually leave weaving and tuck brushes in use for all my knitting, but particularly when creating textured stitches and lace.
Gauge swatches should be larger than usual, all in the pattern, and treated as the final piece will be in terms of pressing, blocking, washing, and allowed to rest prior to obtaining measurements for garment calculations.

When stitch symbols first appeared in Japanese publications they were represented as the stitch formation occurred on the knit side of the fabric, which could cause confusion since in machine knitting we are looking at the purl side. Eventually, Nihon publications made the transition and other pubs followed. A comparison of hand to machine stitch symbols with illustrations and more information: 2013/07/21/hand-to-machine-symbols-5-lace/
For cross-brand use: 2019/02/23/revisiting-use-of-lace-patterns-studio-vs-brother-machines/

I have been blogging for years and sometimes return to topics after long absences. In terms of more information on lace design and some tips on translating hand knitting instructions for machine knitting please see: 2013/07/23/from-hand-knit-lace-chart-to-punchcard-1/
2013/07/24/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-2/
2013/07/26/from-lace-chart-…3-adding-stripes/
2013/07/27/frome-lace-chart…-4-a-border-tale/
2013/07/29/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-5-to-electronic/
2013/08/29/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-6-to-electronic/

A punchcard tale: after the chevron post, single color sideways chevrons appealed to me. Two variations from a Brother Punchcard VolumeA= the full 24 stitches wide repeat, half the required height for the punchcard user. B= the single electronic repeat. C= the single electronic repeat tiled X3, checking to see that pixels actually line up properly.
Punchcard markings of note: A= design row 1, B= mark for first row visible on the exterior of the machine, the card reader is actually reading 7 rows down, C= typical markings for the direction of the LC movement on that row, and for knit rowsThe two rows at the bottom of the card reflect the overlap when punchcard snaps are in use to keep the pattern continuous. Looking at it in more detail Column identification at the bottom of the chart: A= direction of the lace carriage, pixels or punched holes preselect on that carriage pass
B= direction of transfers; note there are extra blank rows where their direction is reversed indicated also by the change in the color of the arrows. Multiple rows in one direction only, happening here in series of 5, will result in bias knitting. As bias is reversed, the zigzag shape begins to be created.
C= markings for 2 rows worked with the  knit carriage, the pattern does not advance on those rows on any machine
D= markings on factory punchcard
E= design rows
When working with electronics, the actions need to match those indicated on the factory design beginning with row one punchcard marking on the right.
The width of the planned swatch or piece may be programmed for use with the single motif setting in img2track or the required default in Ayab. Adding a blank square at each end ensures the end needle will knit on every row, no pushing back needles by hand will be required. Changing fibers opens up a brand new world: this swatch (unblocked) is knit in a tightly twisted rayon, edges also begin to create clearer shapes than that achieved by knitting the same design using wool. Spacing out the zigzags, another 24X30 repeat. This is the minimum repeat for electronic KMs as well, knit stitch spacing (white squares) can be planned to suit 

Once again, one must be aware of whether the lace repeat needs to be mirrored on the specific model machine. I initially forgot to do this on my 930, which results in an erroneous repeat if the lace carriage is operated from the left. Planning the placement on the needle bed controls the number of knit stitches on either side of the resulting mesh shape.  Today the rayon was having no part of knitting properly, this swatch is once again in wool. 

At one point I shared ideas for automating mesh patterns in lace edgings using the LC and the KC (knit carriage) set for slip stitch

Changing the above repeat for a zigzag border: in my first experiment, I tried keeping the number of eyelets in the zigzags across rows constant, did not like the visual “extra” line away from the edge, was happier with my second try. This fabric would do better with a yarn that can be blocked to shape, the wool used here is a tad too thin. There will be some tendency on the part of the eyelets on the very edge to appear smaller as the edge stitches are stretched into shape. It appears I also have a needle that needs to be changed The transfers of the stitches by the LC while using the knit carriage set to slip in both directions to create the knit rows, will automatically create increases and decreases along the left edge. Due to this fact, there will be one less eyelet in each transferred row than the number of pixels/punched holes in its corresponding pattern row. The knit carriage in this instance preselects rows for the lace carriage, the lace carriage preselects all needles required on its way back to the left for the knit carriage to knit on its next pass. This chart attempts to show movements of the carriages and location of stitches after they have been moved along with eyelet symbols in their locations after the transfers The pattern repeat on the left below is as I drew it and intended it, on the right, it is mirrored for use to knit it on my 930The first preselection row is from right to left, the knit is centered with 10 stitches on each side of 0. I canceled end needle selection on both carriages. The first row is knit, when the KC reaches the left side, set it to slip in both directions. As it returns to the right it will knit a second row on all needles in work, and preselect for the first LC pass. Extension rails must be used as both carriages will lock onto the belt for pattern selection. At the start of the piece, as the LC moves from left to right it will transfer preselected needles to the right. On its return to the left, it preselects needles that will knit as the KC returns to action from the right. Each carriage in this design makes alternating pairs of passes.
When the top half of the pattern repeat is reached, the LC makes its pass to the right on a blank design row. As it does it preselects for the next row of transfers, which are made to the left as the LC returns to its home there (A). Though the Brother LC does not knit and transfer on the same row as the Studio one can, it is able to transfer and preselect for the next row of knitting (B). The above fact allows for planning transfers in both directions while still keeping the routine at 2 passes for each carriage to and from their original home. Based on that, here is another trim with eyelets in alternating directions along the side opposite the zigzag shape. The repeat is now adjusted to 22 stitches X 48 rows to accommodate the reversing eyelets arrangement. It is shown here mirrored for download to my 930. There is a blank square at the top right corner, the corresponding stitch will be cast on by the knit carriage on its move to the left, and transferred automatically when there is a return to transfers at the bottom of the design repeat. The yarn used or the swatch is a 2/18 wool-silk. There will be 2 stitches on each needle (A) at the very edge where stitches are transferred for decreases and look different than where the edge stitch is simply moved one needle to its left (B), leaving behind an empty needle. A parallel, similar difference is also noted at the inner edge of the zigzag shape. The sample is pictured turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise, its bottom edge appears on the right

To mesh or not to mesh 6: chevrons

While creating the test swatches for a version of single bed 3D scales using the lace carriage I was intrigued by the chevron effect that became more obvious with color changes The fabric was capable of changing considerably in look and width that could be encouraged to remain more permanent with blocking. There is a visible asymmetry, with one side of the chevron actually containing an extra eyelet. Still trying to retain the 24 stitches in width design constraint, I began to work with simply counting eyelet transfers matching in number, guessing rather than planning. Tiling the repeats can help get a sense of how things line up horizontally and vertically. Electronic repeats can be minimal unless one is programming the pattern as a single motif that includes edge knit stitches etc when downloading via cable to an electronic or using Ayab interface.A and B continue to produce uneven numbers of eyelets on each half of the resulting “V” shapes. The greater the number row repeats of eyelets in a single direction, the more the resulting bias. If asymmetry is the goal, then this may meet the need. I knit most of the swatches on 48 stitches, with more needles added on the right if needed to ensure the edge stitch will be a knit one. Larger shapes require wider tests. The photo is rotated to reduce its length on the page This effort produced uneven sides of the Vs, and the eyelets along one of the vertical center column were not properly formed, resulting in an added knit stitch The added eyelets in pattern C produce an interesting change from a sort of V shape to more of a W, but the fabric is still unbalanced Back to the drawing board: a different mesh, with eyelets in alternating numbers, resulting in a  more balanced fabric. Here the charted repeat is shown X2, side by side.Different day, same yarns, both were having none of it. When knitting progresses in this manner, it’s a good time for the machine and its operator to practice social distancing.  The quality of the lines produced by the mesh was different and heavier than the one I was seeking, though the number of eyelets remained constant on both sides of the center stitches, alternating on the alternate pairs of design rows. Back to charting things out in Numbers: though the LC, usually (but not always) starts located on the left, preselects on its first pass to the right, and begins to transfer to the left on its second pass back to the left, in order to visualize the direction,  the repeat is mirrored. Cyan cells indicate transfers to the left, magenta transfers to the right. This 24 stitch repeat shows where 2 transfers wind up on a single needle while an extra knit stitch is also formed in the blank vertical column, seen in swatch above. In programming an electronic KM the black pixels alone with 2 blank rows above the second set of transfers is enough. I like to program repeats that are a bit larger, and usually will tile them as well, looking for any errors my eye might notice before any actual knitting Using electronics one may expand or reduce the number of stitches in the repeat to reach an estimated equal number of eyelets With any mesh, the number of knit rows may be varied between each pair of transfers. My swatch was knit using a 26 stitch repeat widthThe cast on used is a temporary one. In final pieces, the quality of any bind off and cast on should be tested as well to accommodate the changes in width lace fabrics may have, increasing exponentially on the number of total eyelets. The knitting this time went smoothly. The eyelet count was as planned. That said, I was 6 stitches away from completing the bind off when the yarn simply ran away from me and chose not to make any effort at rehanging the piece. In the top blue stripe, the number of knit rows between transfers was increased from 2 to 4, while in the top white stripe I alternated between 4 and 2 rows of knitting. Playing with such intervals between transfer rows of transfers can produce interesting differences and perhaps a more static quality in the fabric after blocking the completed item. The knit carriage is set to N, so it has no effect on the advancement of the programmed lace pattern.
As often can happen in machine knitting, another day, same yarns, same tension, same operator and stitches drop, get hung up on gatepegs, and perform other unwanted actions. My next test aimed for that “W” shape. I downloaded an image that accounted for all needles in use for my swatch, so in the 930 using the isolation button on by default with img2track was OK. Your machine may vary as to which side of center the extra stitch will be placed when the total number of stitches in width is an odd one. If uncertain, plan the repeat for the next even number, in this case, 52, divide it evenly on each side, and either air knit to sort out selections before casting on or simply transfer that extra knit stitch over one as you begin to knit. In a final piece, good notes will provide reminders for such small details The blue yarn refused to knit off properly, so the added colors were tried to see if I fared any better using them. My first swath was discarded, the second one is shown. The repeat is sound, the visible “errors” are the result of stitch formation issues. The swatch stretched in length that could be set with blocking has a very different look when lightly touched with my now fiber burning iron Different day, all other things being equal, same needle locations resulted in easy success. I programmed for a 60 X 24 repeat, planning for different size Vs.During knitting, these fabrics will appear to be producing straight color stripesIt takes a while for the change to begin to be noticeable This was the result as the work came off the machine, relaxed, with no treatment of any sort the ribber is in place there are avid beliefs expressed by folks in terms of whether or not to bring the knitting to the front of the ribber, I am a between the beds’ advocate. Also, even with the ribber off my machines have always been set up with ribber table clamps in place since having them flat simply never worked as well for me in any of my knitting.A one-color zig-zag from a Brother punchcard pattern book with a different approach, that could serve as trim or form an accessory. There are limitations in producible width. The stretch of the cast on and bind off and the fact they need to match as closely as possible while allowing the mesh to stretch sideways in blocking must be taken into consideration, as is the fact that every end needle selection will occur regularly and those selected end needles must be pushed back consistently. There is no way to avoid that on a punchcard machine, in electronics one could again program the width and add blank pixel column on each side. Here the cast on was using waste yarn and continuing in the pattern, the manual end needle canceling of selection was inconsistent at the sides, and LTBO (latch tool bind off) around single gate pegs was simply not stretchy enough. Here the cast on and bind off match very closely. I used the looser cast-on method described by the “answer lady” in the video, but I bound off around 2 gate pegs instead rather than wrapping the needles as shown, a method often used on the PassapMore information: a hand transfer striped lace variant 2014/03/27/striping-in-lace-fabrics-1/, and another using a stock punchcard 2013/07/26/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-3-adding-stripes/

Single bed scales made with stitch transfers

In the past, I have explored several ways to knit scale-like fabrics aka dragon teeth/scales and a multitude of other names. My test swatches were created using racking, pattern repeats were provided for both punchcard and electronic machines. Some of the archived material:
2018/07/19/more scales and chevrons racked fabrics 4
2016/02/22/ hand knit dragon scales
2016/02/02/ vertical racking 3: automating half fisherman in pattern-2
2016/01/13/ racking 2: vertical chevrons and herringbone

With summer here and a long absence from lace knitting, I was curious about producing scaly fabrics single bed. Lace transfers may be used to create folding fabrics with permanent pleats, so what about 3D shapes? I began with a repeat suitable for a punchcard machine and its limitations, adjusting it in 3 different ways A variation of Card C, with 2 rows blank after each pair of transfers throughout was used in borders in some of my lace shawls including these, made in 2011.  All 3 card designs share the fact that the lace carriage (LC) makes 4 passes followed by 2 rows using the knit carriage set for normal knit to complete the eyelets with exceptions. The exceptions are in areas where there are extra blank rows, there the lace carriage will make 6 passes in order to reverse the direction of transfers. Brother lace cards usually start with punched holes on the very first row, have 2 blank rows between LC passes that complete one sequence (here each sequence is 2 rows in height), and 2 blank rows at the top of the card.  Lace markings are few and far between, errors are easy to make when punching long cards and working in designings with pixels in particular. In this case, I did not notice until I began composing the post, and after I had completed the first test swatches that the repeat on the left has an extra 4-row segment in the top half, making it 24 stitches X 54 rows as opposed to the other two at 24 X 50.
In any lace patterning if a zig-zag is wanted in parts of the design, having 3 blank rows in planned locations will reverse the direction of the transfers from those below them. Blank squares in rows containing no punched holes (or pixels) will have no transfers, so in their absence stitches in those areas will be knit, producing extra stocking stitch rows. The spacing for such knit areas on the card may be adjusted to suit. This segment of the above designs identifies the areas in both rows and columns with no punched holes (or pixels)The knit side of the fabric is the most interesting. The swatches were at first photographed as they were immediately after their removal from the knitting machine. I also tried to photograph them at an angle to show the protrusions from the surface. Pattern A: A short test version using cards B, and C When using card A, the shapes alternate vertically between all mesh ones with all knit rows at the outer edge of the folds. Using Card B, all protrusions have a fixed number of knit stitch rows at the outer fold. Card C produces an all mesh fabric that made me think of ocean waves somehow. Turned sideways, and pressed to set the folds, the resulting fabric could provide a springboard for a host of other, different ideas: A larger swatch started on waste yarn, with 2 rows of knitting at the bottom and at the top before binding off. The design is card B, with 4 rows added to each half of the design. I am still working with the constraints of a punchcard machine, and for the moment, of retaining symmetry in the width of the “scales”. The working chart, turned counterclockwise to save space Planning for 3 repeats based on 24 stitch widths the above arrangement will, in turn, need to be mirrored for the lace pattern.My sample was knit using 2/15 wool at tension 7, using needles 36 left to 35 right The actions reviewed once more
The knitting in progressI cast on loosely enough, but the bind off was too tight at the top, which should always be tested on swatches before committing to a project. The resulting fabric was photographed immediately as it was removed from the machine. I tried to touch the edges only with an iron, and mine is now overheating and doing a good job of burning my wool, thus the color changes in spots With an attempt at some steaming and pressing, the folds are retained Often the question of what fine lace is and how it is made comes up. Fine lace is a fabric against which I have a personal bias. It seems to involve a lot of work for the result unless one is using a light-colored yarn with a smooth surface to show the subtle and at times hard to observe surface changes. It fares better visually when mixed with eyelets. The yarn is shared between the needle that would normally be left empty and the one with the formed stitch already on it to its right or left depending on the direction of the transfer. If the shared yarn is dropped instead of staying in the hook of the transfer needle, as the next 2 rows are knit there will be eyelets on the ground lacking them anywhere else. Card C, knit using only the fine lace setting on the LC, looking very different from the previous fabrics, both knit and purl sides are shown, with a couple of spots where the yarn was not shared by 2 adjacent needles, forming eyeletsNow evaluating the possibility of mimicking my hand-knit version:Planning out a repeat in chart form:Knitting began with working in a 2/15 wool, tension 6, using a 7 prong tool with all prongs engaged to transfer groups of stitches onto their new positions on the needle bed. The first two images review picking up from the row below to fill in needles emptied by transfers. It is one of the machine-knit equivalents for the M1 direction in hand-knitting patterns. As a result, the number of stitches being knit remains constant throughout the pieceThe stitch structure so far appeared too loose to me, so I then switched to a 2/8 wool, at tension 7 with the intent to test knitting as tightly as possible while still facilitating the multiple moves of stitch groups on each row. The resulting fabric was stiff and wanted to curl strongly to the purl side, needed pins to help it lie flatter. The shapes refused to stay poked out to the knit side.
I seldom wash my swatches, viewing them simply as proof of concept of technique concepts, not usually as springboards for finished pieces. Generally, I stop at steaming or ironing if needed.
When I made garments for sale in wool I usually tested the swatches and washed the finished garments as well. The “hand” and the behavior of the finished piece can change considerably. The hand-washed sample in the second illustration below lies flat, has a soft, drapey feel absent in the unwashed, retains the flatter shape with no encouragement needed. In its 2/15 portion, the “scales” became more flattened as well.
Washing wool removes any sizing and excess dye. Open spaces in the knitting become reduced in fulling, as opposed to closing tightly in felting. Using a constant temperature in both the wash and rinse and avoiding excessive friction, in turn, avoids excess shrinkage. On electronic machines, one does not have the limitations in terms of the width of the repeat maxing out at 24. For example, the number of eyelets on either side of the block components of the repeats may differ, the greater the number of eyelets, the wider the spacing between the 3D shapes. Gradations may be planned in height and width of repeat blocks across the full needle bed, limited only by patience in designing, the capacity to download, and the tolerance for both the yarn and the operator to complete wide, long pieces using the technique.

Experimentation can yield quick results, sometimes with unexpected but pleasant surprises. One of my best selling felted items for a couple of decades was an accessory that was planned deliberately to mimic a test piece that had almost been tossed in the trash. It’s good to return to things after a break for another look, and then it is really helpful if notes were kept. Another variation of the A-C cards in single repeat was tested at the bottom of the swatch belowand in a staggered one, tested at the top of the swatchThe “scales” were more like twisty bumps, with subtle variations vertically in some of the stitch groups. That said the results were dramatically different when color changes were added to the pattern knitting in the shorter repeat. Blocking may make an even more marked difference depending on whether the mesh (lightly steamed) or the tighter knit (vertically pulled, should be washed) produces the preferred effect. The looser stitches at the top outside edge ie at the top left corner are the result of a stitch that got away from me. The cast on was a bit too loose, I knit 4 rows at the bottom after the cast on and 4 rows at the top of the repeat before binding off.The differences in the width in the same fabric are dramatic. Any overall mesh/ lace fabric blocked for openness such as on the left will grow in length over time, is best stored flat, and will benefit from episodic pressing/ steaming to reset the width. Then I began counting eyelets, which were equal in number in the schematic for the repeat, but not equal in number on either side of the center pivot for the bend in the herringbone shape when the piece was finished. Any extra eyelet rows in the same direction will result in increased biasing in those sections. Time to test more mesh variations, a topic for another day.

Long stitches meet transfer lace

Eons ago, when I was exploring long stitches I shared directions for a tuck stitch combination fabric At about that time I came across this image on Pinterest.
It combines transfer lace and long stitches, has characteristics that make some lace patterns unable to be reproduced on home knitting machines. Upon inspection, one will see that the number of stitches varies in different parts of the repeat. Aside from creating eyelets, the smaller triangular shapes increase in width, the fan shapes are decreased by half on their top row. Long stitches are created across all needles in work, then they are reconfigured so the center single stitch of the triangle and the center 2 stitches of the fan shape realign in the same position. The number of stitches at the start of the pattern and after the long stitches are created remains constant. Trying variations on inspiration sources can lead to success, failure, somewhere in between, but also increase learning and skill that will carry over into other knitting techniques, even if the results are never used for a finished piece.

The Brother ribber is used to produce the long stitches. A bit of review: the bracket lever has 3 positions:

Dropping the ribber down 2 mm on each side gives enough clearance for thicker yarns.  At a seminar, I saw Susanna use the position to create transfer lace in ribbed fabrics, something I have been threatening to try for decades, but have not yet. Here the lace carriage is shown in position, clearing the ribber’s gate pegs. My preference is to create a chart in order to visualize and plan an “attack” prior to any knitting. White squares represent needles emptied by transferring their stitches to the right and to the left respectively. One must remember to keep empty needles in the work position to form eyelets. I found making the transfers easier an the process more visible if I dropped one side of the ribber to the second, 17 mm. position

The ribber remains set to slip <– –> on all transfer rows, and any all knit rows on main bed only. The ribber is set to N <– –> for three rows. On the first pass, all its needles will pick up the yarn, creating loops on every needle
With the ribber carriage alone,  still set to N/N, free it, and make two passes to and from its starting side. The first pass releases the loops, the second returns it for coupling with the knit carriage. Below the long loops can be seen. My needle tape is “somewhere”, has not yet been returned to the ribber after my racking handle adventures were completed. Return the ribber settings to slip in both directions, and repeat the process. Dropping the ribber to the lowest position at any point can verify goings-onHere one row has been knit on the main bed only, anchoring the loops, returning carriages to the opposite side prior to starting transfers once moreA word of caution: if loops are picked up on any single row that in theory was set to slip and was to be worked on only single bed, check to make certain the tuck lever has not been accidentally brought up to the tuck position. Although tuck <– –> can serve for a free pass on the main bed, having this setting on the ribber will create loops on all needles in work My test swatch had a couple of different# of transfer trials in horizontal segments and a few operator errors. It was knit in wool for the “spring” of the fiber, and unpressed formed pleats of sorts, while with a hard press it flattened out considerably, with not as much of a wave as I might like. My later effort led to a fabric that was different from the inspiration one, but far more interesting to me than the one above. I began with a schematic, originally planning only 4 eyelets, then adjusted for 5 (yellow line marks the change) I cast on 55 stitches 27 left, 28 right. A ribber comb and weights are required.
Having a chart with any numbering that makes sense to you is helpful.
I used a water-soluble pen to mark the center needle location for the start of transfers on either side, in this case, 18 left, 1 and 19 right. The 55 stitches include 2 full repeats of 18 plus a half (9) on each side edge.
Brother has 2 #1 positions, one on the left and the other on the right of center, separated above by the red line. The fact is something to be kept in mind with stitch counts for hand techniques where needle selection is not automated across the needle bed but is reliant on accurate counts by the knitter
A 3 prong tool was used to make transfers, the pattern could be translated for use with lace carriage if one desired to do so.
At the bottom of the swatch I stopped after 4 transfers before creating the long stitches, and then switched to 5 guessing I would like the transition better, also a clearer stopping place occurred when a single stitch was left with doubled-up ones on either side of it.
I did not find it necessary to drop the ribber at all to check on the progress of transfers. Below the swatch is shown on both sides, both relaxed (to my eye the more interesting) and after light pressing

It appears to me to be the sort of fabric that is worth revisiting after a break.  😉

Revisiting use of lace patterns Studio vs Brother machines

2011: There are several brand KMs still around and in use, most are no longer being manufactured. Questions often come up on how to use 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 the 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 knitting 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 a Brother or vice versa is a happy accident and likely to result in 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)

2013 In this instance I am exploring the use of punchcards that are designed for transferring and knitting at the same time as seen in Studio simple lace in machines such as Brother, where the operation is the result of using 2 different carriages.

the Studio card used the resulting fabric The method: both carriages are used to select needles, use lace extension rails on both sides of the machine. Cancel end needle selection on knit carriage underside if possible, or push end needles back manually if needed to avoid their corresponding stitches being transferred throughout the piece. Set up for knitting the pattern as usual, punchcard row 3 (marked in pencil) becomes row 1 of the design when the above card is used in the Brother machine. The arrows always indicate the direction the lace carriage will move across the knit to make transfers in the direction of that same arrow.

  1. begin pattern knitting with COR, card locked, change knob on KC, no cam buttons in use. This will result in needle selection, but the fabric produced is in stocking stitch. The lace carriage is engaged o the opposite side, moves toward the knit carriage to make the transfers, as it travels across the bed the now empty needles will once again be in the B position.
    2. (lace carriage) travels back to right and is released off the machine (same needle selection appears, but those needles are now emptied of yarn)
    3. COL: KC moves left to right, knitting the single row, all needle hooks now are now full, new needle selection occurs
    4. LCOL: makes transfers toward the knit carriage, and then makes a second pass to return to the opposite side and is released.
    These 4 steps are repeated throughout the knitting, with the knit carriage knitting and selecting, the lace carriage following its selection to make the required transfers. Not every transfer row will match the direction of the arrows as marked on the studio punchcard.
    If there is no pattern needle selection with the KC pass on any row(s), continue to knit until there is needle selection, and begin the process using lace carriage to transfer toward the knit carriage from the opposite side and once again releasing it after its second pass.
    A caution: hesitation and reversal in movement of carriages in Brother machines advances the card in the reader, and results in mistakes in patterning; if errors are to be corrected or such movements need be made for any reason, it is worth locking the card, checking row numbers, remembering to release the card before continuing, and visually checking pattern after the next knit row.

2013: While working out yet another HK to MK lace pattern, I sorted out the following method for using Studio simple lace on the electronic KM. It is a method that does not work on the Brother punchcard to produce the same fabric, however; on punchcard machines as either carriage is moved to select from the opposite side of the bed, the card will not advance on the first pass, interrupting selection. I tried a swatch and got a very different lace design; depending on the starting pattern the results may be interesting (do not use elongation), but not the ones intended to match any original.
The knitting samples shown below were knit on a Brother 910. On electronic machines, as seen in previous posts on knitting with 2 carriages, the mylar (or otherwise programmed) repeat advances a row with each pass of the carriage, no matter on which side of the bed the pass originates. Dropped stitches are harder to repair in these fabrics than in patterns for multiple transfer lace (there knitting can be unraveled to the start of a sequence where 2 or more knit rows usually occur), so checking transfers, gate pegs, and adjusting stitch size and weights matter even more. There is no need to mirror the image horizontally; draw repeat as is on punchcard onto mylar, all variation buttons down
start knitting with KC (knit carriage) on left, Lace Carriage (LC) on Right program pattern double length
on the first row the LC selects, the next row it will transfer; LC always makes 2 passes first toward the KC, then away from it, even if those 2 rows in repeat have no needle selection. It is then removed from the bed to be returned to the bed on the opposite side after the knit row with KC that follows. In summary:
KC knits a single row to the opposite side
*LC is placed back onto machine opposite the KC to make 2 passes, is removed.
KC follows with a single knit row to the opposite side*.  * to* steps are repeated
3 total carriage passes complete one row of knitting. The chart below shows actions and placement of carriages  This sample was knit beginning with lace carriage on left, as can be seen in marked areas, the alternating repeats have a different quality in the sets of transfers marked red vs green 
The successful swatch knit beginning with KC on left, LC on right in the method described above

April 2019 I attempted the same repeat on the 930 with img2track. I flipped the repeat horizontally and elongated it X 2 prior to knitting it. The arrows in the chart indicate the movement of the lace carriage, beginning with the first preselection row from the left I had issues with the proper needles being selected (proofed also in fair isle), but with random stitches not being transferred. A switch in lace carriages, needle retainer bar, yarn, did not eliminate the problem. I finally had to perform some of the transfers by hand. This swatch also shows the joy of missed dropped stitches in lace knitting, the yarn used is a thin acrylicDecember 7 2018: an interesting method using 2  electronic lace carriages found on youtube. The repeat used in the video is a variation of the one used in my sample above, programmed using img2track. The repeat is mirrored prior to knitting, there are extra knit rows to allow LCs to continue the pattern from alternate sides. The machine being used appears to be a 930. The requirement for mirroring of any pattern may depend on the model of electronic KM used to knit the lace and whether the download appears as drawn on the purl or the knit side of the piece  A comparison of my repeat using a single LC and the Knitlabo pattern expansion  including memo options for use with 2 lace carriages

2011: Studio transfer lace on Brother bulky and standard machines 

Studio multi transfer lace punchcard use on Brother punchcard machines

112

Studio multiple transfer lace with single rows knit between repeats on 910
This image shows the published inspiration used in the post (bottom), and a studio punchcard book version found at a later date for the same repeat. At this point in time, my image editing has evolved. Both repeats below were obtained by processing and scaling the original image in Gimp, for process please see posts 1, and 2  on 930 with img2track use # 1 variation key with the pattern repeat as shown, or flip horizontally prior to download. Ayab knitters pre latest software release: mirror repeat, tile repeat width across the number of stitches to match the number of needles to be used in your final piece. There will be no needle selection at the end of each sequence, signaling the need to release the LC, knit one row, and continue with LC brought to the opposite side. This is a very fussy knit. At several points, it is loops formed on previously empty needles that get transferred rather than full stitches. They love to get hung up on gate pegs. It took a significant amount of time to produce a proof of concept swatch. It is a lovely lace. Knitting it on a punchcard would give one the luxury of frequent pauses and markings to make for additional clues
LCOL  9 passes, release
KCOR knit one row to left
LCOR 7 passes, release
KCOL knit one row to the right
LCOL 5 passes, release
KCOR one row to left
LCOR 3 passes. release
KCOL knit one row to the right
Mesh experiments using thread lace punchcards. This image also illustrates the yarn lines created in the eyelet spaces: a single thread for when single rows are knit between repeats, twisted double threads when 2 rows knit between transfers.

A complex published transfer lace to electronic repeat for download/ GIMP editing


Lace on the machine can render beautiful fabrics that closely resemble hand knitting, but programming very long repeats is a challenge both in placing every hole in the correct square in a punchcard and in programming individual pixels on a mylar or as pixels for download correctly. I found the “leaf lace” repeat below shared frequently on Pinterest and thought I would test the approach discussed in the post on using numbers and gimp to create images for electronic downloads. Because it is 16 stitches wide, it is not suitable for punchcard knitting, which requires a factor of (4, 6, 8, 12) and up to a 24 stitch maximum width.

The published pattern on the left is shown as shared on Pinterest. In turn, in was captured, opened in Gimp, and magnified. After a threshold adjustment, it was converted to a BW indexed, scaled to its 16X96 original stitch and row count, and then saved in 100% magnification result for the possible electronic download.

On the far left below is the first BW processed single repeat isolated from its source. To its right, it has been adjusted so the first row is a preselection row for the lace pattern, and the full repeat ends with blank rows (Brother KM characteristic). The latter in turn was saved as an image for download. Since the leaves change direction in the way they lean, the spacing between each pattern swing in the repeat is actually 3 all blank rows, not the “standard” 2, including at the top. The bottom half begins with the first row resulting in transfers to the left, while after the first 3 knit rows the transfers will begin to the right.  The plan was for me to use Ayab for knitting a proof of concept swatch.  In order to achieve that, the full repeat is first flipped horizontally (ayab will auto mirror it,  so starting with it this way it will be in the correct orientation when knitting). The mirrored repeat may be used in unaltered machines as is with LC operating from the right, KC operating from the left (not possible in ayab without adjustments). The full repeat consists of 16+14+18+16+14+18= 96 passes of the lace carriage, for every 12 rows knit. My sample was programmed horizontally for 3 full repeats, the width of my planned swatch. I added one additional needle in work on each side, with the LC end needle selection canceled, allowing for the full pattern as programmed with a single stitch all knit border on either side A tightly twisted cotton yarn did best in terms of handling the multiple transfers and not resulting in split stitches or breaking. I had occasional selection errors, seen in the center panel at the top of each repeat (my common experience with the interface), but the repeat itself appears to be sound. Lace repeats that have even numbers of rows for both and LC transfer and knit ones are easy to follow. Punchcards are also easily annotated and if knitting is interrupted needle selection is easy to return to or restore if necessary. In electronics, there may not be any memo to indicate row #  location for each carriage pass in the pattern, or when to switch carriages. Because in this instance there are so many transfers (some of multiple stitches) between knit rows and dropped stitches are best corrected as noticed during knitting if possible, I created a “cheat sheet” of sorts to help keep track of actions. Each block outlined in red here represents one full repeat, read from their bottom-up, with blue borders at the center and red at the end of each half sequence. A visual check at the end of each segment’s # of rows in the series is well worth it to prevent unnoticed runaway dropped stitches and large holes. A check-in box next to # could indicate the completion of transfers. and a number added manually in that same row for that sequence, record the row on which knitting was interrupted ie. stopping on row 8 out of 16 to fix dropped stitches would be a reminder 8 more LC passes are required before the next visual check. 

9/23/18 In now have been experimenting on a 930, where each pass of the LC is actually tracked, akin to following numbers on a punchcard.  Built-in patterns also offer a memo window, which will alert the knitter as to when knit rows are due In testing the pattern with img2track I found the LC passes are still counted, but the memo window is absent upon download. I generated a chart in Mac Numbers, reads from the top-down, expanding on the one above. It illustrates the number of LC passes (left column) required to produce any significant length of fabric.  Patterns such as these are not for the faint of heart and require a friendly yarn. 2168 passes of the LC (33 full repeats, outlined in green; red line separates half repeats) are accompanied by 396 rows of “actual” knitting. In actual knitting, the pattern advances from row 1 to 96, and back to 1 again. A check-off list can be much simpler if one is desired. The numbers on left appear in the LC window in a 930, when reached 2 rows are knit with the KC. The numbers at the top reflect completed repeats. Boxes can be checked moving to the right as those rows are completed Another option is to download the pattern in img2track, and then enter memo information prior to knitting it. Two youtube videos that show how to enter memos in machine models that allow it, 930 included  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0tXNT76v10    and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR8MheT5Bao. The number 2 may be entered after numbers on left appear in the LC passes count window, and provide an easy guideline to follow. And this is what testing lace patterns can look like. In this instance, a tighter stitch tension, a bit of change in weight, and visually checking after each row of transfers brought me some success. This is not a stitch pattern that lends itself to easy “repairs”. 

 

Lace edgings on Brother machines- automated with slip stitch

August 2020: I wrote this post (unaltered) in March 2018. I returned to the topic of automated lace edgings on Brother machines in July 2020. As often happens after some distance, details may be freshly observed or seen in a different light, and approaches may then in turn vary. Some of these edgings have been reworked, and new ones will be added. My blog posts have evolved into “works in progress”, with my adding information as I have time. The latest swatches are knit on a 930 using img2track, but the same repeats should work in the 910 with ayab, after mirroring them.

A reminder: although I make an effort to include punchcard knitters in my writings, the full repeats as given and used for my test swatches, knit on an electronic, are not suitable for use on punchcard machines as they are. They would need to be adjusted in height to allow for the fact that when 2 carriages engage the belt selecting needles as the carriage from the opposite side first comes into use, the punchcard does not advance, selecting the same design row once more. The full repeat would need to be shortened accordingly. Many early published trim repeats were intended for use with hand transfers combined with plain knit rows. Such designs are easily translated for use on electronic models with this method.

The initial goal here is to produce a knit fabric using lace transfers in a familiar way, but the knit carriage will now be set to slip <–>, selecting needles with each pass. In routine lace patterning, the KC is set for plain knit, does not preselect needles, advances the mylar, punchcard, or another electronic patterning.
This image, where all blue squares represent knit stitches and white squares unworked ones, is provided with the intent of its being produced as a piece of knitting on the machine. The initial hand technique approach might be to use a single prong tool to move the edge of the blue in one stitch to the right for a decrease and out one needle to the left for an increase. When the decrease is made on the bottom curve, the needle from which the stitch was taken is put back out of work. When an increase is made, a stitch is moved to work on left, and the last stitch on that side is transferred onto it. As knitting continues, that now empty needle location will create an eyelet.

I decided to “wing it” for the first swatches. This illustrates the same knit shape. Blue rows represent all knit rows and stitches, the empty pairs of rows leave areas to insert lace eyelets in a pattern.

Arrows indicate the movement of the lace carriage on left, knit carriage on right. Red squares now represent transfers to right, green ones transfer to left

A second transfer to the right is included in the pattern close to the left edge of the trim to create eyelets next to the decreases, matching those eyelets created by stitches moving out in the increase segment of the chart

A theoretical series of right and left transfers is then inserted, creating a shape in the center of the trim’s width

Now reducing it all to black and white squares or pixels for first preselection from right-hand side using an electronic. This repeat is not suitable for use in a punchcard machine even though it is 24 stitches wide. Electronics advance a design row with each pass of the carriage when cam buttons are pushed in and with both carriages set to needle select. Punchcard machines in those circumstances do not advance when the alternate carriage is brought into work from the opposite side. This charted repeat is usable as is on an unaltered 910, with the first preselection row from right to left. LC operates from the left, KC from the right.

For use with Ayab software two other things need consideration. Ayab mirrors lace repeats, so either mirror the repeat of the original design or choose action mirror in the software prior to knitting. This is a screengrab of the repeat used for my initial swatch test. I later changed the section where the diamonds cross in at the center of the eyelet repeats In addition: those first 2 rows need to be all knit, so the top row of the design was moved down to row 1 position.
KC preselects left to right, knits black squares to left, preselects the same needle selection again to knit those same stitches traveling back to its home on the right, creating the two knit rows that in “normal lace” would be worked with the KC simply set to knit.  As the KC now knits the second row, it preselects needles for the first row of transfers, rests on the right
LC transfers to the right as it travels to the left preselects the next row of transfers. As it moves back to left it transfers to left, preselects for first of 2 all knit rows, rests on left
The sequence is repeated until the piece reaches the required length.
End needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row but was not happy with the elongated stitches on alternate rows edge stitches on the increase side. These would be the carriage actions To review: end needle selection is off on both carriages. As LC travels to left, because of no end needle selection, the first needle on the right is not selected. An option is to manually pull that needle out to insure it knits. I decided I actually preferred the chain created by those single stitches knitting only every other row. I had a serious yarn tangle on the right about halfway up the swatch, with some of the evidence visible in the approximate center of the swatch photo 

changing that crossing of the diamond outlines, still winging it

My fiber is now crisp cotton, unmarked weight, tension 8, and it is much easier to observe areas that may still be a problem for me as the designer. Ideally, I would prefer the lines created by the transfers marked in cyan to match the quality of those immediately below or to the ascending part of the diamond on their opposite side, which would require changes in the transfer sequences and space between knit rows. The LC nonselected stitches on the straight creating every other row slipped stitch is still something I like.  The difference on the edge stitches in the ascending angle is happening because with each transfer out, there is a single thickness of yarn on the new edge stitch, and moving the stitch over a needles space elongates it. Longer loops btw are also created when single increases are made by bringing needles into work on the carriage side prior to knitting a row across all needles. In the trim’s decrease edges, the transfers in each new edge stitch have double the yarn thickness contributing to a different appearance, highlighted with magenta arrows. There are 2 rows that have no edge transfers programmed intentionally in the center before reversing direction, so that area has no resulting edge eyelet.  The last shot at adjusting the repeat, with improvement in those cyan, marked areas. Plain knit rows may be added between each repeat, the edge of the knit will be different than in the remaining trim on each side

Going back to the wheel that has already been invented, how can pre-drawn published MK lace repeats be used instead of “winging it” endlessly or not having the confidence to perform the necessary assigning symbols and proceeding with the required separation? Still trying to work with a pattern that knits for 2 rows, transfers for 2, a chart from Stitch World:marking the 2 all knit rows that will be plain knit by programming black squares The pattern is actually for an all over lace. All the transfers in the central diamond actually are happening in the same direction. If the repeat was programmed in the usual manner, beginning with LC on the left, those transfers on the first design row and in the whole of the center diamond shape would all be to the left. I can live with them all being to the right, and would be interested in more eyelets at the edge of the trim. Here is a new repeat, with the increased eyelets at the curved edge Remember if using ayab to mirror the above repeat (seen on right) prior to preparing to knit it There is a disruption for 2 rows in the very center of the diamond, where no increases or decreases occur on the shaped edge prior to reversing the shaping. It was there in the earlier sample marked with arrows as well, but not as noticeable where the edge was created with the addition of single eyelets on increase and decrease rows.

Not finding any other candidates to alter for this purpose in stitch world at the moment I am left with the option of going back to the Brother punchcard book collections, and reviewing what needs to be changed for those same patterns that work so well with the KC set to plain knit but are now to be knit with the KC set to slip <—–>……

3/7/18

a lace punchcard repeat with transfers in opposite directions Assigning colors to transfers: red to left, blue to right. In theory the same repeat could be used flipped horizontally for operating the lace carriage from the right. Yellow lines highlight the 2 blank rows in card that will be replaced by black squares/ pixels (remember rules are different for slip and lace in punchcard knitting)Since the goal is a trim, things are rearranged for knitting to begin on the full 24 stitches There are 2 ways to get the above repeat to work, one is by adding extra blank rows. I chose to reverse positions for transfers, moving left transfers upon row, and red down one row. With lace carriage operating from the left this is my new repeat, with edge shaping added for trim edgeKC is set to slip after the first preselection row, first set of transfers is selected on its second pass to the right. The first transfers with the LC are made to the right, the second set to the left. If knitting the repeat using Ayab remember the above is mirrored by the software, so choose action mirror prior to configuring

I knit a swatch using the thinner yarn again. The difference in increasing angle can be seen here as well, the pattern is short, so the outer curve of the trim reflects that 

This would be my test repeat for knitting the same trim in ayab with the LC operating from the right. The software would mirror it, no action needed. The last row is shifted to the bottom to allow for the knit carriage to find a home on the left. The first row knit would preselect 2 needles only, with KC then set to slip in both directions, the next two rows should knit, preselecting the first row of transfers to be made by the LC operating from the right.

I am unable to test the repeat. I have had intermittent problems with patterning in the software from the time I installed the kit. In multiple efforts and restarts, I am now getting no selection at all or wrong selection with LC operating from the right, while rows advance in the software and beeps continue. I have knit lace with the LC on the right before, but not with the KC selecting needles as well. Possible solutions and causes to be determined. 3/8/18 I have been told upon testing by others the same issues have been encountered that I did when using the KC to select from left and the LC from the right and the problem appears to be the result of a bug in the software to be addressed in future updates.

3/10/18: an adaptation of Susanna’s automatically shaped trim for Brother KM, p. 223 of “A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics”. This chart shows the first rows of the published punchcard. Please note: using my own lace carriage, when I tested canceling end needle selection, the problem was not solved. Brother setting recommendations made for a similar transfer pattern in an edging published by them, are given and repeat is pictured at the end of my post.


Row 1: LC moves to the right, no needles selected
Row 2: LC moves to left, preselects next row of transfers
Row 3: LC moves to the right, transfers preselected needles to right (red dots), selects needles (if any) for next pass to left
Row 4: LC travels to and transfers to left (green dots), preselects for the first row to be knit by KC In this particular pattern the direction of the arrows match the direction of the transfers with movements of LC operating from left
Row 5: KC from right, set to slip <–  –> knits all needles in D position, repeats the same selection as it travels to left (yellow marks)
Row 6: KC travels back to right, in the second shaped knit row, preselects for the next transfers to be made by the LC
Row 7: LC travels to and transfers to right, preselects for next row of transfers
Row 8: LC travels to left, transferring to left if any needles have been preselected on the previous pass, and the process continues

The numbers on the punchcard chart do not reflect actual row numbers in knitting because when row 4, 10, etc is reached, on the next pass (a blank row in the card), the card does not advance and the previous selection is repeated. For each carriage to make an even number of passes to travel to and from its original position, the total length of the repeat must be an even number of rows.

Here are the 24 stitch repeats adjusted for knitting on the electronic. A for an unaltered 910, B indicating the direction of transfers (red to right, green to left). Arrows mark the problem row, and my solution to it C on the far right, along with the repeat adjusted for use with Ayab.the ayab screen image for working the edging  Both KC and LC are set not to select first and last needles in my directions. When the decreases start to happen on the left of the chart because the end needle selection for transfer to the right again does not happen in areas marked with magenta arrows,  there is an extra stitch that remains on the left that does not get transferred (orange dot) so it is not knit off and simply get held as subsequent rows of knitting take place. Restoring needle selection in the LC is not a solution for the problem, so the final repeat has been amended by me to get that edge transfer. The pattern starts on cast on 20, not the full 24 stitches. Ayab knitters: use the LC to begin selection from left. The first pass will select for a knit row, push those needles back to B, and the LC will select for transfers to right on the next row as it moves to the left. When knitting is to take place there is a clear distinction in the number of selected needles (black squares). The KC will be set to slip <–  –>. Make certain to remember to return the remaining 4 of the 24 total stitches back to B so the full repeat is in work on the needle bed before continuing in the pattern, otherwise there will be needles there to accept stitches moved over for increases to left.

The two extra passes of the LC in this method result in a 2 stitch border on the increasing and decreasing angles of the piece, creating a much nicer edge than that in the samples at the top of the post. The eyelet so close to the right edge stitch which also winds up being slipped every other row made for very messy loose stitches in the thicker cotton that I could not control. The sample did better when I pulled the non selected needles on knit rows out to hold prior to moving across them with KC. 

When working on electronics the 24 stitch limit in width for the repeat is no longer there, extra knit stitches may be easily added to the right of the pairs of eyelets along the non-shaped edge. Having those extra stitches knit on the right side of the repeat made it possible for me to use my cotton again, giving me a controllable edge on that side without having to pull stitches out to make them knit. To my eye, I find the extra passes with the LC and those extra knit stitches on the right are well worth the effort and planning in the finished piece

the ayab repeat  

Something to try: I found instructions ascribed to Brother
for another version of edging using a pattern that has the same eyelet sequences along the shaped edgings. Their recommendation for a 950i is to remove the non-selection mechanism on the lace carriage, and mention was made of the “rubber wheels on the carriage” being uppermost, allowing the end needles to be selected. My lace carriage has fixed, old fashioned brushes, not rubber wheels, and my eliminating end needle selection did not solve the problem with that single stitch in the center of the repeat. And if there is not enough to keep track of, this also combines fine lace and traditional transfer lace, would work fine as just lace.

3/15/18 after more testing I have come to the conclusion that end needle selection cancellation on my 910 LC is working properly, but is not operative when I am working with my Ayab interface.

Lace punchcards meet Ayab

1/8/18 It appears I now have acquired preselection from left to right on the first pass with my Ayab software, which I have been told is its “normal”. I am revising the information I have offered since I began working with Ayab if needed because of this, beginning with lace. This punchcard design is worked with each carriage operating for 2 rows, and all transfers in the same direction. The LC (lace carriage) on left, the KC (knit carriage) on right. An added note: sometimes punchcard designs may be used as provided, not altering the repeat in any way. Accidentally marking squares or pixels in the wrong spot, or deliberately starting with the LC on the wrong side, may still produce interesting fabrics. As always keeping good notes is more than well worth it. punchcard actions: transfers are all to the left (seen leaning to right on the knit side)With the first preselection row using Ayab beginning with the LC on the left, the same transfer sequences occur as in the punchcard machine or a single repeat on a mylar

swatch knit with the LC operating on the left, the KC on right throughout

For use with the color changer, the same repeat may be used. Transfers, however, now need to occur with the LC operating on the right giving the knit carriage the opportunity to travel to and from the color changer in 2 (or more, even #) row sequences. Using a punchcard, one would turn a punchcard over before inserting it into the card reader to work with the LC beginning on and continuing from the right. To achieve the same fabric using Ayab, shift the top row to the bottom of the repeat, and either mirror your image prior to importing it into Ayab, or use its mirror action in the pull-down menu. The chart shows the repeat prior to mirroring, with desired actions described to its right. It is not possible to read the first row from beyond the right set line using Ayab, so the LC begins on the left, travels to the right on the first blank row, selects on the second pass to the left, transfers stitches as it travels to the right again and stays there, operating from that side for the remainder of the knit. All transfers are now reversed and made to the right, and seen leaning to left on the knit side of the fabric. After the first 3 LC passes, each carriage operates for 2 rows at a time, all transfers are to the right, lean to the left on the knit side of the fabric.

Possible striping choices:  the differences between areas marked A or B is in the location of the color change. In A areas the color is changed immediately after the single transfer at the top of the “triangle”, in B areas the last eyelet is completed in the same color used up to that point, and the color change is made after the first row of 4 transfers at the base of the “triangle”. More complex lace repeats create much more interesting variations in the direction and movement of the stripes.
 verification on a different day, LC on Left, repeat not mirrored 
The punchcard for fabric from 1/25/18 post. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones. 

operating with LC on the left operating with the LC on the right: the repeat is mirrored  

the original repeat (re-worked on 24 sts)Ayab for operating with the LC on the left, repeat is mirrored  Ayab for knitting with LC on the right, original repeat, rows split

The bottom of the swatch was knit with the LC operating from Left, the top with the LC operating from right after its third pass illustrated in the “triangle” lace description above repeated testing, bottom LC operating from left, top LC operating from right For a discussion of the same punchcard worked in a variety of ways see Lace meets weaving on Brother machines
for full details. The punchcard was originally designed for operating both the knit and the LC carriages from the right. If KC I is used resulting in end needle selection on only the first and last needles in use, prior to passes of the LC push those needles back to B. If there are 3 empty needles on the edge on either side on rows preselected for weaving, bring the outside needle to work/ E prior to laying in the weaving yarn.  The image tiled for the width of my knit, in this case, 32 stitches, a multiple of 8I actually cast on an extra stitch on each side at the beginning of the piece with the intent they not be in pattern and create a single knit stitch border in areas of transfers. Here are the results, barring a couple of spots the weaving yarn did not get caught properly. The pattern as drawn produces a fabric that is interesting, but different than the intended With the pattern flipped horizontally / mirrored, we now have the same results as in using the 589 punchcard

So to mirror or not to mirror? that is the question… I tested  643 and 650 from Pattern book #5, found mirroring was indeed required for transfer accuracy. I  verified that the “triangles” do not need to be mirrored to match the punchcard swatch. The notable difference in the latter is that all transfers are in the same direction and that each carriage operates for only 2 rows.

Two more to try, directions are not ayab specific: a large diagonal eyelet lace combining lace and tuck 

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

For more lace samples and symbols and suggestions from punchcard books on knitting the fabric, please see punch-card-book-symbols-and-samples

A Fair isle sample with deliberately mirrored lettering proved the program knits what it sees, so my letters were still reversed, as drawn.

On 12/25/17 I shared my first try at lace using Ayab and the workaround for the first pre-selection row occurring from left to right. The LC is the one to select for transfers, the KC knits to complete the formation of stitches. Brother punchcards for lace usually begin with selection rows, end with 2 blank rows at their top. Because Ayab requires a first pass from left to right for the next row to be selected, to get the pattern to work one needs to split the 2 rows at the top, bringing one of them down to the start of the repeat. If knitting continues with the LC pattern as originally drawn, the transfers will occur in the opposite direction of that intended. To work around that, the image may be mirrored in the paint program before download, or use action/mirror in the Ayab menu before knitting. One nice added feature is that blank rows may be left at both sides, creating a knit stitch border, and eliminating the problem of paying attention as to whether end needles are selected or not, and what measures to take. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones. These repeats do not hold with first-pass preselection from the left.

the original repeat the repeat mirrored the resulting fabric, knit and purl sides

no mirroring, software patterning errors in one of the test swatches 
operating from the right, using the color changer

Lace point cams and lace isolation on Brother machines

This is a quick reference in response to a Ravelry question. L cams clip onto the needle bed (like single motif cams on some punchcard machines). Where there is a cam the needles won’t select for lace. They come in 4 or 8 stitch size. They can also be used across the bed if you want to block part of the punchcard for plain panels. You can even put several next to each other to block 12 or 16 sts. On some lace carriages, the cams may be a bit high but you can shave a tiny bit off the top so they fit. They can be moved along mitered edges to highlight the miter.

The pages below are from Brother machine manuals. I don’t believe there ever was a separate manual for the LCs themselves, though they were often sold as a separate accessory.

for electronic 910

from Punchcard Pattern Book vol #4 LC Variations using the point cams 

control for end needle selection on carriages that have the ability works the same way as on knit carriages with same option

over the years color varied, but function remains the same When using extension rails for lace or whenever using 2 carriages, beware not all rails are the same and that may make a difference with some KM model years

A lace mesh series: GIMP, superimposing, Brother 910

I like placing motifs, grounds, and borders myself whenever possible, in any knitting technique, rather than relying on adding or combining them via the built-in KM software.  It is simply my strong personal preference in designing and gives me additional controls over patterning. However, the ability to superimpose is a convenient feature, available on multiple machines and worth mentioning. I have used it more frequently in operating my Passap, than my Brother 910. That said, it would appear to be an easy feature to use for programming shapes onto mesh grounds. For illustration purposes, I am using a 24 stitch repeat. Electronics width and height potential depend on the use of mylar or PC download. The “rose” is not a workable, resolved repeat. When electronics were first introduced, at one point Kathleen Kinder wrote a book on electronic knitting (? 1984), exploring the full potential of managing designs by combining settings and flipping buttons for both the Brother 910 and the Studio 560.

A bit of review on machine buttons and functions for the Brother pattern case for those unfamiliar with it.  M= Memory: each of the tiny red spots on the garment representations lights up, as specs on motif are entered or reviewed. CE= cancel entry: corrects programmed numbers or cancels the red error light when it flashes. CR= cancel row: press in a number, say 2 on the panel, and the card moves back 2 rows. If you press the button and no number is entered, the error light flashes and the card stops advancing. This is the same as locking the punchcard to repeat a pattern row. RR= row return brings the card back to the set line. This is routinely done before shutting off the machine when knitting is complete or to remove the mylar for editing.  CF= card forward. The mylar returns to programmed design row 1.  Numbers pressed in using CR or CF do not change those programmed using the M button.

When the pattern selector button on the 910 is down, the pattern is centered on green #1. A reminder: Brother has 2 needle #1 positions, one on each side of 0. When the pattern has an even number of stitches, it will be centered with half that number of stitches divided evenly on each side of 0. For 24 stitches, the pattern’s limits are yellow 12 and green 12. If the repeat is an odd number of units wide, the center stitch then will be placed on green #1 (right of 0). If the repeat is 25 stitches wide, then the pattern limits are yellow 12 and green 13. If using a 24 stitch repeat, the machine automatically knows that the first needle position (FNP) for the pattern is yellow 12. When the pattern selector is in the upper position (motif A) and the middle position (motifs A & B) we can choose the FNP and with A & B the number of stitches separating them. One way to produce filet lace is to program A & B motifs. The lace mesh is the A motif, the “rose” the stocking stitch motif. The A motif can be on the left or right of the mylar, but it is always the taller of the 2. In most cases, it is the dominant pattern. The starting row for the combined motif is shared.

In lace knitting transfers and resulting eyelets are programmed as black squares. Superimposed solid patterns in stocking stitch occur in unmarked areas of the mylar or downloaded image, so they need to be “white squares”. In order to get the 2 to meet, the mesh repeat in the height required (column A in the illustration), and a single width is drawn or programmed in reverse (column B), with the result being read as (column C) when it is programmed as the base for a complete overlap. The basic mesh becomes the A motif in programming the 910, the stocking stitch “shape” is the B motif.  If end needles are selected during knitting, they need to be pushed back to B manually or use the orange L cams. It is possible in addition to mark the “L window” on mylar, but the mesh repeat is so regular you may not find that necessary.The “rose’ would also need to be drawn in black, and positioned or programmed, with first placement resulting in the image seen below right. The color reverse is then used converting white squares to black, and lace knitting could proceed based on the black markings resulting in eyelets.  As is already noted, there is no guarantee the image placement on the mesh the will yield a precise shape or the best possible results for motif edges, its definition, and its segments’ outline In terms of placement: if the all-over mesh is programmed centered on G1, and the motif is positioned with FNP other than G1, any simple, extra rows of mesh prior to starting the all-over pattern (below green line), will need to be programmed separately with adjustments also in FNP to match the superimposed segment. The programmed repeat for the mesh “rose” below would begin immediately above the blue line, and the extra mesh rows at the top would provide the transition to the start of the rose once again. The height of the pattern seen in the B column in the first illustration may be adjusted accordingly. 

Color reverse (button #6) will provide “black squares” for the creation of transfers to create eyelets. The mesh and superimposed design need to share the same starting row. The image above reversed shows extra white at the bottom of the chart that needs to be eliminated. Brother lace starts on a selection row (black squares), ends with 2 blank rows at the top of the pattern (white squares). This is reversed in Studio knitting.

What happens when starting row placement is the same for both motifs, and the color reverse is used: the first-row lace carriage selection is good to go. The height of the mesh above the rose may be adjusted to suit. Trying to place multiple roses in different locations on the finished piece using this method is more than my brain wants to even consider. Punchcard knitters are not completely out of the superimpose loop. If you are so inclined, areas on mesh punchcard ground may be taped over to test the repeat. Again, this works best for simple shapes. Tape may be shifted or trimmed as needed. If intended for extended use, trace holes over a blank card, punch the final version, and proceed. Images on punchcard machines are reversed on the stockinette side. If direction matters, flip the card over horizontally, mark and punch, or if the card is already punched, work with lace carriage on right, knit carriage on left. No worries about multiple programs or a mix of starting points, etc. Know the rules for where to begin and end for lace knitting.

Sharp single stitch points are not attainable. In the illustration below, the yellow indicates the “desired point”, red squares indicate the additional stitches knit, adding to the intended shape as the alternating directions transfers are completed. The one stitch start is actually converted to 3 stitches, 3 to 5, etc.Later model electronics included “stitch world” pattern books.  A usable mesh is # 103. Do not use 104, since it leaves 2 adjacent needles empty. If aspect ratio matters in the superimposed image, knit test swatches to determine gauge. Cell/ grid size may be set to knit proportions rather than square to make visualization of finished shape easier. The mesh created using 103 uses 6 pattern rows for each 4 knitted, so you must add those rows “ to the height of the overlay design. Similar adjustments are needed if other mesh repeats are used. Simply scaling the image may require some clean up as well before the motif can be placed on the ground design.