Visualizing maze or mosaic potential from tuck or slip stitch repeats

I have written extensively on mosaics and mazes, color separations required for drawing their motifs, and visualizing the resulting patterns while planning slip stitch or tuck repeats. A recent exchange with a knitting friend, Tanya Cunningham, brought up her idea of using Gimp to investigate the potential of self-drawn tuck patterns becoming pleasing mazes or mosaic designs in color. Tanya has worked extensively with img2track, can be found in the FB group and Ravelry. It had not occurred to me to reverse engineer designs for this purpose. Tanya uses Gimp in a different way than I do, I am hoping she will share her process for this purpose when documented.
I have grown comfortable and fast with the combined use of Numbers and Gimp to achieve what I desire in terms of color separations. At the moment, on the assumption that estimating the overall shape is the goal, a black and white processed rendering may be a sufficient representation of the result.

Punchcard books are a great source of “safe” tuck designs. The best are those that have columns one stitch wide by 2 rows high. They are also more interesting if there are areas of solid black. Patterns from publications intended for use on electronics are often color reversed to start with in order to minimize drawing pixels or to make the design easier to read and will have lots of blank areas. Punchcard users would need to punch the ground as opposed to the design, electronic users can achieve the goal by the flick of a switch or a quick software command. For my first series of steps and methods, I am using the repeat that appeared as a knit using different settings in the post on mazes and mosaics from universal patterns.
Presented on the left, the repeat would be suitable only for thread lace or FI with very long floats. Color reverse allows one to use it for tuck and slip stitch, whether in one color or with color changes every 2 rows. The color separation to approximate the result with color changes begins with the same process as that used for designing mosaics. Once the image is rendered as a correct B/W png with no apparent errors, it is copied and pasted on a larger canvas, the mode converted back to RGB. The red cells make it easier to keep track of rows that need to be color inverted. Using the shift key and rectangle tool, multiple pairs of rows can be selected sequentially and color inverted. Beginning the selection with the very edge of the black squares on the left does not interfere with changing the color of the extra columns on the left side of the design. If pixels are added accidentally drawn in any of the 4 extra columns on the left, they can easily be removed when the completed conversion is cropped to selection for the final repeat. The completed color separation can then be bucket filled to match imagined colorsTiling the repeats to imagine the final knit presents the problem that results from working on a square grid and comparing the results to a knit, which usually produces a rectangular one. The representation for the linear patterns produced on the knit side of the piece cannot factor in some of the added distortions created by the stitch type used. I process my images in Pages or Numbers, depending on which document contains my most recent work and happens to be open. It is also possible to perform the final rescale in Gimp. Most knits approach a 4:3 ratio, with gauge variants in highly textured fabrics.  To preserve a clean design, tile and save the original, screengrab the resulting image, load it in Gimp, and rescale.   Repeat the motif for the same number in both height and width when tiling it. The colored versions before and after scaling, compared with the slip stitch swatch. It is possible to produce a rectangular grid to start with on which to draw in Gimp, but the larger canvas size occupies a significantly larger space on the screen, complicating the process. For small designs, however, that may be an option to give one the sense of aspect ratio for the design in the final knit ie in representational FI. To resize the grid in uneven proportions, the chain-link below the spacing values needs to be broken This repeat is designed for an electronic, requires color-reverse. Since it is 24 stitches wide and it may also be modified and used on a card. In this instance, the original marks for rows and stitches are single height. The image is processed, matching the original, rendered double-height, color reversed, and then alternate pairs of rows were color inverted to render the repeat used in the test swatch Once again, the possible change in scale is estimated. The repeat though only 24 stitches wide, is 92 rows high. On the left the repeat is shown as it appears on a square grid, to its right is the scaled 4:3 version, in a pixel count approximating the size of the swatch. It takes a bit of squinting to see the pattern more recognizable in the longer repeat in the larger tile The swatch was pressed, becoming wider than when first off the machine. It was knit using the slip stitch setting, could also be executed in tuck stitch, which would both widen and shorten the fabric and make the purl side more interesting.  The software can provide a preview of the result far more quickly than knitting samples, but again, the previews are only approximations of the scale, and cannot show distortions to lines as one adds more texture.
Repeating the process starting with a diamond shape that as given is only suitable for thread lace or FI with problematic floats,  and with a check tuck pattern that may change in aspect ratio considerably when knitted The proof of concept swatch, knit in tuck stitch, begins to show the distortion by the stitch formations, textures vs plain knit, easily seen at the top edge. The bind-off is around 2 gate pegs in order to allow enough stretch.  Anyone familiar with either or both programs may find this a very quick way to visualize the scaling and moving of motifs within DIY designs and their possible outcomes prior to test knitting

Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP 3

If working in Numbers, the solution to doubling the height of the final repeat for mazes or mosaics may be achieved by simply doubling the height of each cell prior to screen grabbing the table and processing the resulting image in Gimp. Here the cells for a single repeat in the table on the left are copied, pasted, and altered from 20X20 pixels to 20X40Working in 1800 magnification, using rectangle select, every other pair of rows is chosen and then color inverted. B: the process continues for the height of the repeat. Until each new pair of rows is selected fully, the last color inverted pair is bordered in a dotted outline C, useful in tracking the last worked location. As the subsequent pair of rows is selected fully, the dotted border will disappear. The processed repeat  Its tiled visual check  Proof of concept: the bottom half is knit using the slip stitch setting, the top half in the tuck setting. The added texture on the tuck stitch purl side makes the fabric a more interesting, reversible one, and wider than its companion.  The mazes that are often seen in game-playing, puzzles, historical sources ie in Chinese design references, may not work out for knitting with this method, the result can be quite muddied.  I recently found a new to me online maze generator http://www.ludiculus.com/maker/mazes.html.  Changing the pixel width by default also doubles the image in height, making smaller designs for knitting problematic  This was a quickly drawn maze using it, shown with its cropped repeat on the right, then tiled. Numbers processing to ready the repeat for final gimp editing: The repeat when tiled predicts muddied results which are noticeable in the knit swatch. Because of the side-by-side areas with multiple white cells, the slip setting is used, not tuck. The single slipped lengthened stitches do not produce an easily recognized secondary design on the knit side Getting back to clearer pattern results: when using electronics, it is possible to create far wider and taller repeats for download. The technique to achieve them uses the same process. A new working repeat: its tiled appearance  My starting table in numbers with hidden rows, beginning to isolate a smaller repeat the isolated repeat, double-length the color separation in progress
When knit, that white cell pair of rows break up the overall shapes and shifts the pattern in the top and bottom half When I tiled my next draft, I decided I preferred a cleaner join at the center The final adjusted repeat knit using the tuck stitch setting in both directions, KCI, first row left to right, leading with the dark color and here with the lighter color In progress, on the km the relaxed, 3D-ish view on the reverse why projects can take longer than planned The finished, relaxed scarf with pressed edges only, retaining the conical striped forms

Mosaic and maze inspiration from additional sources

Reviewing properties of both: maze patterns have long vertical and horizontal lines broken by regular gaps and the pattern lines change course from the vertical to horizontal, and vice versa. Maze cards can be identified by completely punched row segments, some alternating with every other square marked for two rows, usually geometrically shaped. Areas of stocking stitch produce horizontal colored stripes, and alternating pattern stitches that slip or tuck cause the vertical stripes, which are sometimes pulled nearly diagonal by the influence of tuck or slip. The fabric will be unbalanced because the number of needles slipping or tucking will not be the same on every row. Odd rows usually form 2 color horizontal stripes, even rows vertical stripes, with color changes occurring every 2 rows.
Mosaics have a brick arrangement (tessellae), with clear perimeters and cores, and stepped diagonals (frets) that are partially formed bricks, their positive and negative spaces are created by the use of contrasting colors. The stripe sequence is not as obvious. The punchcard does not resemble the original design.
In single bed work, the reverse of the fabric will show the original design in the texture of its slip or tuck stitches. There usually will be no floats longer than one or two stitches.
The knit side may look like a fair isle but the back lacks any long floats, hence the name “float-less fair isle”
The row gauge is compressed. Tuck fabrics are short and wide, slip ones tend to be short and thin. Some patterns elongate in washing. The tension used is usually one number higher or more than that used for stocking stitch for slip patterns to reduce their narrowing. Tuck knitting may need adjustments to lower tensions. Smooth yarns in contrasting colors are the easiest to establish an easily recognized test pattern, the choices that follow may then be far more personal.

After a while repeat units begin to become familiar. Pondering possibilities: Here the design knit as a fair-isle pattern would produce long floats, going through the steps of converting it for “floatless fair isle” proves of no benefit.

I previously wrote about the use of weaving
drafts as inspiration for other textile techniques, ie. knitting.
Endless published drafts may be found online or in books that might be interpreted for use with mosaic/maze single bed knitting. Having electronic machines available lifts restrictions in pattern width, while repeats too large for narrow items such as scarves may become useful for shawls or blankets. One such repeat,  with .pngs shown for both single and double-height:

This repeat is 36X36 before being lenthened X2 

A different sort of challenge was posed by this 18X18 image with a row shift in areas with a large number of both filled-in or blank squares. As one moves up its magnified version in Gimp it becomes apparent that a row will have a very long float in one of the two colors. One option is to skip that row, resulting in the green gridded repeats for the converted motif both shown both for single and double length. The result in the knitting test swatch produces an unplanned color shift which could be declared to be a design feature, or one can continue with editing the inspiration source. Repeating the separation process with a new graph produces a workable cousin to the original Generally when creating these patterns on Brother machines, patterning selection varies for each pairs of rows. I got distracted while making the above swatch by a phone call, got to the point where there is a very obvious solid black all knit row in the repeat, but “forgot” its presence. I assumed I was having a selection or a carriage issue and scrapped the knitting off. Note to self: “remember to always check the programmed design before you do that again in the future”.

 

 

Mosaics, mazes, and DBJ charting meet Numbers, GIMP 2

I shared some working methods to achieve these color separations in 2019/06/29/mosaics-and-maze…numbers-and-gimp/. Mosaics and Mazes came on my radar once more recently, Numbers and Gimp have both been updated, and a few more ideas have occurred to me for managing the necessary color separations. The process as described here assumes that there already is some understanding of Gimp’s and a spreadsheet’s basic functions. These are 2 more samples from Barbara Walker’s book on mosaics, offering the repeats in both a 16 stitch wide and a 24 stitch versions. It is always a good idea after isolating the repeat to tile it in order to get a sense of how multiples line upI was lazy about doing that with the first version of the colored repeat in Numbers and got the result in this swatch  due to a missing black cellThe second try
Beginning with the long method to create the design repeat in the color separation suitable for elongated dbj: the built-in color separation in most Japanese machines for DBJ (179 and color reverse in Passap) will knit each color in each design row only once, as happens on the single bed in knitting fair isle, which in turn is far quicker to knit in that setting than by using slip stitch with color changes every 2 rows. The first preselection row is from the left to the right, the first color knits once before colors are changed every 2 rows.
The dbj color separation that knits in each color for each design row twice begins with preselection from the right and continues with color-changing every 2 rows. The produced image will be twice as long as the original design, not desirable for keeping the aspect ratio as close to the original as possible, but a necessity in creating some alternative types of fabrics.
To start, create a table, making certain that cells are square, equal in size in height, and width. I prefer 20 X20 or more when working with small repeats. The zoom factor can be adjusted, increased for more visibility, and reduced prior to screen grabs that are planned to be further processed in Gimp. At less than 75% while creating charts, adding numbers or text, and sometimes changing the qualities of individual cells is harder to achieve. Large-size images may be scrolled through during the formatting process The working design repeat is 16X16. Create a new table that is 16 cells wide, twice its height, 32.  While holding down the command key, select all the odd-numbered rows planned for the final chart repeat, any errors can be corrected by clicking again on the same spot, still holding the key down. The process may be done in steps, releasing the key in between selecting groups  Choose the hide rows option, hiding 16 rows, Fill in cells the chosen 2 colors Add a column to the table. It will be colored, select the column and choose the no color fill option for it, then resize far wider by clicking and dragging the symbol 
at the upper table right to allow for copying and pasting the full repeat more than once.
Select the chosen repeat in 2 colors, copy and paste it to its right. The rows are re-numbered in the new “chart” thus providing a new set of even/odd-numbered rows. On the new odd-numbered rows, select by holding the command key, choose black squares on each now odd-numbered row, and used no color cell fill option to render them white. Release the key at any point to work on gradually selected groups of cells.  If there is an error, while still holding the command key click on the individual cell or cell group again to erase the action, continue the process. Again, holding the command key selectively, on even-numbered rows add colored cells immediately above any empty cells in the row below.  It could be done all in black, but for me, that becomes difficult to keep accurate when separating large repeats. With some familiarity with spreadsheet creation, this can be fairly quick work. Copy and paste the table content once more. In the new table holding down the command key, on even-numbered rows change colored squares to black resulting in the repeat on the far right. The latter in turn will need to be doubled in height once more prior to knitting the final fabric, whether in the software or by the machine in the downloaded design To produce the .bmp file: copy and paste only the BW portion of the above table once more. Using the cell format option, remove all interior borders,  and if you prefer an outside guide, add an exterior border try zoom at 75% zoom, screengrab the table content, with an added blank border surrounding it, import the result into Gimp. Choose crop to content, that will eliminate the extra white space around the image The final image needs to be double-height, so using the scale option choose image scale to 16 by 64 using the broken chain link prior to entering your numbers. These were my steps in scaling, I always check one more time for image size prior to saving. That is reflected in the last pair of numbers, with the now intact chain link symbol

When I first used Gimp I devised and explained this method for mosaic color separations in prior posts.  The expectation in working with such repeats is that on any rows there will be no more than 2 white squares marked side by side. On odd-numbered rows in the separation, the contrasting color squares slip, while on even-numbered rows the black squares slip. On odd-numbered rows, the main color (black squares) knits, on even-numbered rows the contrast color knits.
I think of row one/ odd rows as needing to knit black squares, row 2, and even rows having to knit white squares rather than marking in the traditional manner for slipped stitches on each row. I now have found a far quicker alternative to color separate for mosaic knitting using only GimpWorking on the black and white indexed repeat, use a magnification of at least 1800X. Using the rectangle select tool choose every other row beginning with the second one in the chart. That row will be highlighted by a white dotted line. Choosing will swap black and white cells in that row. Continue the process on every other row. It is not necessary to select the tool each time, as you advance and select the next row, the one just left remains briefly outlined in white dashes, making it easier to advance correctly in the design.
Import the black and white table, process as described, scaling for my final image to 16X32: This repeat posed by a quandary. The file may be used as-is and doubled in length after download. For doubling the height in Numbers, prior to importing the final screengrab into gimp, please see post:  2021/01/27/mosaics-and-mazes-charting-meet-numbers-gimp-3/
Because of my personal preference for not using elongation when knitting pieces in these techniques, I tested doubling height in Gimp with no success at all. However, I was successful in doing so using 2 paint programs, both available for free download for Mac. The first has an amazing range of features, including the illustrated resizing options https://www.arahne.si/products/arahpaint/

and https://paintbrush.sourceforge.io/downloads/, which allows for scaling by percentages or pixels Comparing the results for the elongated repeat, errors in the first are obvious, there should be no white squares anywhere repeating for more than 2 rows Proof of concept A review of a design from 2012/10/15/mosaics-and-mazes-from-design-to-pattern/, separated this new way the repeat charted in Numbers tiled for repeat alignment check, revealed errors that will result in missing colored squares in the final fabric, which may not be noticed until after eyeballs have had a rest. The amended repeat was color separated working in indexed black and white and shown compared with the punchcard  Here the final .bmp  repeat is also compared with the color image in the previous post. It will need to be doubled in length for use with the color changer, the first preselection row is from right to left. End needle selection will ensure that each color knits the first and last needle on each side of the piece. Another very quickly separated repeat copied from 2015/10/03/working-with-generated-mazes-charting-1/

adapted for maze knitting, eliminating long floats, to be lengthened to double-height drawn double-height via a paint program Because there are no more than 2 white squares on top of each other, and no two side by side, I tested the pattern in tuck stitch, which produced some added texture. I had a major aargh moment with yarn where dropped stitches are seen at the top of the swatch Using the maze generator by Laura Kogler, the larger BMP newly created with the program was imported into Gimp, explored in two renditions, eliminating double lines in the one on the right The proof of concept swatch for the version on the right, knit in tuck stitch the double-length BMP ready for knitting,  14X68

Designing your own motifs in expanded graphs: start with a template for either of the 2 grids shown below,  and fill cells in or remove them. Remember these charts, unless knitted as machine or software separated dbj, will require a careful color separation.  Beginning ideas for motifs, borders, and alphabets

A collection of previous posts on this topic in reverse chronological order
2019/06/29/mosaics-and-maze…numbers-and-gimp/
2015/10/21/working-with-gen…-gimp-charting-2/
2015/10/03/working-with-gen…mazes-charting-1/
2012/10/15/mosaics-and-maze…design-to-pattern/
2013/05/06/mosaics-and-mazes-drawing-motifs/
2012/10/15/mosaics-and-maze…design-to-pattern/
2012/09/22/mosaic-and-maze-…-on-the-machines/

Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP, and DBJ

A category search for machine knitting/mosaics and mazes design will lead to my previous blog posts on the topic.
Previous posts on working with Mc Numbers include: knit charting using Numbers 2  which covers basics, keyboard shortcuts, and more,
Numbers to GIMP for creating images for electronic download, charting knits color separations 2, charting knits, color separations 1, lace mesh motif charting, charting knit repeats using numbers 1, visualizing knit cables, knit graph paper 

Rules for and appearance of designsMosaics and mazes: machine knits_ from design to pattern

To knit these fabrics use one light color and one dark for major contrast is recommended. Matching the dark yarn to dark squares and reversing their positions may produce interesting optical variations. The resulting knit has reduced floats and is not as bulky as traditional Fair Isle. Many patterns published in punchcard machine pattern books will produce such patterns when knitting on the single bed, changing color every 2 rows. White squares need to be 2 rows high, no more than one square wide. A page from one such reference: What appears as a maze designs in the swatch photos below would actually be unsuitable for use in the mosaic separation discussed in this post. The cards are designed for tuck (or slip) with color changes every 2 rows. The approach for planning and charting out such fabrics would be a very different one

There are a few rules in designing your own: in mosaics, the odd grid rows should contain single or dark-colored squares plus any cells used to create horizontal lines. The even grid rows usually have single or adjacent light squares but only single dark squares. As with any other fabric access to electronics allows for use of small repeats that can be color reversed or lengthened X2, whereas punchcard knitters need to meet the usual constraints in motif size in width and height. Tile features in software can often give clues to errors such as skipped cells or edges at top and sides of repeat that do not line up, avoiding having to actually test the repeat in knitting to evaluate the same.

Pre-drawn motifs that require color separation are available in a variety of sources. Kathleen Kinder published 2 books with repeats one for 24, the other for 20 and 40 stitch punchcards, including isolated electronic repeats as well.

The original “swatch” inspiration for this post and its repeat were pictured in Mosaic Knitting page 110the numbering system reflects every other row worked alternating sides of the work it is shown here with a superimposed table grid with its cells outlined in a thick border and positioned in front of a scaled screen grab of the original motif (arrange/ aspect ratio turned off)use command key to select a series of cells to be filled in with color, I chose to use black the cell borders can be edited as wished. Here borders were removed by selecting none, then, in turn, the outer border was highlighted in an easy to identify a thicker red line

Below are more variations on borders and numbering for the start of the machine knitting repeat. Adding digits to the Numbers original repeat serves as a guide to appropriate size scaling in GIMP. One way to obtain the repeat size is to type digits in at least 2 cells at the desired location in any row or column. Select both cells, click on the yellow dot, and drag it to the last cell in the series here I went into autopilot: the repeat is isolated. The lengthen X 2 requirement can be achieved later in GIMP or as here via the table/ arrange/ size option in Numbers (wrong step for mosaic/ mazes)
I change the outer border to one point dotted to have a guide for a screengrab The captured image may then be imported into GIMP, image mode is changed to color indexed, B/W bitmap, and it is scaled to the appropriate size. The view grid, snap to grid options are in use.
I worked in 1800 magnification, created a new canvas 2 pixels wider than the original on the left, copied and pasted that image onto the new canvas. In the center illustration, RGB mode is once again in use. The added green pixels serve as guides for using rectangle select to capture each of the rows containing them in turn and then using invert value from the colors menu to reverse background and foreground within each of those rows.  The completed color separation is shown on the far right, with those 2 extra rows on its left side the last image needs to be once again converted to BW mode. The 2 extra rows of pixels on left are cropped off, the image is scaled to twice as long for use with the color changer, and the original 12X14 repeat is now 12X56
the actual BMPthis is the charted and tiled original repeat. There are classic differences from what is typically thought of as “floatless fair isle” in it. The very last row ie is in one color only.  When those 2 passes are made with the “no knit” color with the change knob set to KC I, the first and last needle will be selected. Push them back to B position prior to knitting the next row to avoid side to side floats.  Because of the maze component floats of as many as 7 stitches are created on the purl side in one of the 2 colors. A quick proof of concept swatch: this is a slip stitch fabric, note the difference in width between the patterned area vs the plain knit. If one has a ribber and the appeal lies simply in the lines created by both mazes and mosaics, those features can be retained with DBJ, and the fabric will lie flat. There will be limitations as to the thickness of the yarn used. a “pretend” longer repeat
The question has come up in forums as to whether the DBJ separation can be used for mosaics and mazes. The “Japanese” one, which prevents elongation by knitting each color for each row only once does not since these shapes rely on knitting the same needle selection twice in each color. The default separation in the Passap or the designer self-drawn one that will knit each identical spot in the motif separation twice. The design is elongated. Susanna wrote a technique for use on the E6000 for having the console perform the color conversion for true mosaic knitting. The repeat shown earlier in this post separated for DBJis compared here with the earlier wrong separation for “mosaic knitting” and found to appear identical. The process was a quicker way than that of dealing with different colors for ground and design
different pairs of colors, same results Back to the drawing board: row height is as in the original repeat being extra careful, not necessary, the process can be inverted once more to check the repeat color separation the actual knitting repeat, double-length before downloading to machine the corresponding proof of concept swatch,  with shorter floats than when the DBJ separation is used single bed tiling of the original repeat and its color reversed image illustrate the optical difference between switching dark and light color starts This repeat is from Kathleen Kinder’s (24-stitch) Floatless Fair-Isle book, p.86the repeat of the design separation on the right is intended for use in electronics with color reverse and double length chart separated using GIMP for mosaic knitting matches her repeat Recently on Facebook mazes turned up as a topic in machine knitting once more. Most maze generators online that I have found are designed for printing out game solving images ie here is one from http://hereandabove.com/maze/mazeorig.form.htmlfor knitting purposes unikatissima and Laura Kogler offer alternatives. Years have gone by since I first wrote on mazes and mosaics. The repeat worked with below was used in my post. 

Here I am revisiting the same image. To begin with, a repeat is isolated and processed in numbers (top row), and then in turn in Gimp. Always tile repeat to check for any errors and to see if the final image represents what was planned.
The repeat (8X16) is then doubled in length for knitting after that single all-white row was edited out (middle images). The repeat is now 8 rows wide by 32 rows in height
One of the yarns is chenille, the other a wool. The chenille is slightly thicker and fuzzy, so some of the yellow rows are almost hidden but the pattern is definitely there. Here the design is knit using both slip (bottom) and tuck (top) settings. Again, there is a noticeable difference in width produced by each stitch type. Observations: make certain that after the image is isolated in Numbers cell size is converted to square/ equal measurements in width and height before importing and scaling its screen grab in GIMP if not already so. It will likely load in RGB mode, convert to Indexed before scaling. Added colored squares are only possible if you return to RGB mode. After rows with colored squares are cut, return the image to indexed before saving as BMP for knitting. If any pairs of rows do not have 2 consecutive rows of cells in either color check your pattern. In DBJ the final repeat should be 4 times in numbers of rows in height to the original one, and thus divisible by four.  The separation first doubles height for each row for 2 colors. Then height is doubled once more to allow for color changes every 2 rows. In Mosaics and Mazes, the color reversal happens on every other row in the original design. When that is completed, the height will be doubled for actual knitting to allow for color changes every 2 rows, with the final row count double that of the original motif. Rules for tuck knitting apply here as in any other technique. If white squares in the final chart have black ones on either side of them, the appearance is that tuck would be possible. Examining needle preselection is an easy way to assess that possibility.  Reversing the colors used in actual knitting may yield interesting changes in the appearance of the fabric. 

Julie Haveland Beer shared a file on how to Convert Mosaic Knitting Chart to KM Skip Stitch Diagram (shared with her permission), as mentioned in my post on numbers-to-gimp-to-create-images-for-electronic-download/

Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages vs color changer, Brother punchcard KMs 2

After my recent attempt to resurrect my single bed color changer and frustration with my 910 behaving “flaky” when reading mylar sheets drawn using template marking pencils (perhaps, because over time of some of the marks flaking off the surface of the mylar, with changes their density as a result), I went back to the idea of using my punchcard machine. I pulled out an old friend, illustrated in my post 2012/10/15/mosaics-and-mazes-from-design-to-pattern/ , had forgotten about my other post 2016/08/25/knitting-in-pattern-with-2-carriages-brother-punchcard-kms/ and actually came up with a second alternative for starting to knit with 2 carriages. Here is a bit more description: I began with a card punched with repeats that are single rows in height, and would normally have to be elongated for use with a color changer. Since 2 carriages are used, the starting side does not necessarily matter. With COR, color 1, carriage set to KC, card set on row 1 but not locked, but rather, set to advance normally. The first carriage then is moved to the opposite side of the bed (in this case the left). The second carriage is now placed on the extension rail on the right, cam settings set for the choice stitch to be worked (in this first case tuck or slip). It is threaded with the second color, is used to knit 2 rows of col 2, returns to right. The carriage on the left now comes off the rail on that side and onto the needle bed, with cam buttons set for appropriate stitch type, it travels to the right,  and then back to its starting point. Yarn weight alters the appearance of any fabric considerably. As always, slip is short and thin, tuck short and wide.

The same method may be used with any punchcard requiring color changes every X even number of rows. FI can be knit with 2 separate sets of colors in each carriage, or with one carriage set to select but with no cam buttons engaged for solid color stripes between motif repeats (it will plain knit, with color in A feeder, the card keeps advancing). Cam settings may be combined for different or opposing textures or stitch types without any manual changes to cam buttons. Of course, also helps if your punchcard is punched correctly to start with ;-). Problems in the slip stitch red and white segment were due to tension adjustments being needed for stitches to knit off properly. 

Lastly, there has never been a single bed 2 color changer for the 260 bulky. Extension rails for the bulky machine were manufactured at one point. If a second carriage for the bulky is available as well as the rails, working this way opens up a range of complex fabrics for execution more easily.

And then, buyer beware! I am still experimenting with a patterned ruffle. So I tried the card first with 2 carriages, but the design was different than one of my aged swatches using the same card.

I went back to the color changer, assuming this yarn pair might work in it, and it did, but here is the resulting fabric, so it would appear the above is technically twice as long. Frankly, when the color changer works, when only one carriage cam setting is used or very few changes are needed, and if you don’t do things like pushing the wrong button, have your yarns happily mating or causing loops in all your brushes as they travel from the yarn changer side, it may even be quicker than using 2 carriages. What is possible may not produce what you originally intended, but sometimes the surprise can be a very pleasant one. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board to accommodate the techniques and yarns involved. Pictured below is part of the working repeat, whited out areas are not punched for these swatches, they are covered with cellophane. Denise Musk’s book on the technique of slipstitch provided the source/ inspiration for the experiments. For the second swatch, the card was flipped over vertically. 

Areas of the knit placement on THE needle bed may be changed to suit. I like working within the 24 stitch marking on the needle tape for this sort of work. Flipping the card vertically when using the color changer in this instance will allow that, and begins each row with knit stitches (every hole punched on right in the image above), and patterned knitting and needle selection stops shy of the “slipped” stitches (unpunched areas on left). In using the slipstitch setting this may not make a significant difference since the yarn threads stay in front of the gate pegs. This repeat is also suitable for the tuck setting. The yarn gets laid in hooks as the non punched area of the repeat is cleared. While not knitting or necessarily affecting the pattern, this can cause added issues with loops and yarn tangles on that side (one may be noted in photo of purl side of swatch below). Seam-as-you-knit can also now occur on the opposite side, away from yarn ends and color changer.

Purl side showing loop at non-knitting (or punched) side and edge curl on the left may actually be used as a “design feature”. The density of the tuck stitch helps keep it in place.

the knit side 

an “oldie” of mine, using the technique in a single color 

4/6/17 I am getting along better with the color changer by making different yarn choices, so I now have a WIP, and am going about a shawl design backward: ruffle first, body later. Reasoning: seam-as-you-knit should be easier if not taking place during ruffle knitting. If the latter is not bound off it may be continued with body knitting taken off on scrap yarn if needed to facilitate doing so. BTW, as with all knitting that uses patterning on only part of the knitting on the machine, end needle selection must be canceled on the knitting undercarriage. Any reverse movement of the carriage will advance the card for a pattern row, so that is an added possibility for errors as the knit grows in length. The pattern has 18-row segments, 36 for the full repeat. For 36 passes of the carriage, only 8 full rows of knitting take place. Every individual has their own design process. I tend not to sketch, but rather to make decisions as each piece grows. As for some math? 800 rows would actually take 3600 passes of the carriage, the shawl requirements TBD. (3276 on completion).

A previous post with notes on color changers: https://alessandrina.com/2014/01/26/some-notes-on-machine-knitting-color-changers/

Older model machines had no provision for a second yarn mast, and an accessory was available for mounting on their left side. Having the yarn in that position brings it closer to the changer and seems to help with undesired looping and sliding within the changer’s wheels. This shows the carriage traveling toward the extension rail, with the auxiliary mast in place

If the ribber setting plate needs to be moved forward in order to balance your ribber when in use, setting it as close to the needle bed as possible or even removing it may be needed if it starts to catch and hold the yarn

 the “finished” ruffle; HK markers every 20 repeats to help track rows knit and being joined on with “seam as you knit” technique
the finished shawl after a successful truce with  my color changer 

going green the series grows 

Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages, Brother punchcard KMs 1

I touched on knitting with 2 carriages in some previous posts:
https://alessandrina.com/2011/03/30/knitting-with-2-carriages/
https://alessandrina.com/2011/03/29/lace-meets-hold-and-goes-round/
https://alessandrina.com/2015/03/31/combining-tuck-stitches-with-lace-2-automating-them/

If 2 carriages are in use for patterning extension rails are a must. For this discussion we are excluding the lace carriage as the #2, the intent is to use 2 knit carriages with each set to desired cam functions. As one carriage is put to rest and the other one is set to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance, so the last row selected is repeated one more time. In one of those lightbulb moments today (any excuse not to do laundry) it occurred to me that starting out with an odd number repeat pre-punched card, coming from the opposite direction at the end of each odd row repeat, an even-numbered repeat would actually be knit. The card below is a Brother issue with all standard knitting machines. Card number (2 in this instance) may vary, depending on the year of purchase. Color changes here as well would have to be planned for every even number of rows, so respective carriages can travel to and from each side.

punchcard

The swatch below begins with locked selection row on punchcard row marked #1 (standard location); tuck setting is used in first 2 segments, FI on third; pattern produced is “OK”, but not actually tucking for 4 consecutive rows; note how much narrower FI is than tuck. Tuck tends to be short and fat, slip and fair isle short and skinny when compared to plain knit in same yarns 500_326

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Since Brother preselects for the next row of knitting, setting the first selection row one locked below the usual spot on in this case #48 got me what I wanted, each color now tucking for 4 rows

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Then something a bit more exciting occurred to me; one is an odd number, so any card where single rows are punched could be executed in theory, changing color every 2 rows (remembering to start with first selection row one row below # 1-row mark on the card). This sample was knit with 2 carriages, using a maze card, illustrated in a previous post, in which each row had been punched only one time, requiring for the repeat to be elongated X2 500_319500_320

the image from the previous postgrey_slip

Using 2 carriages allows for combining yarns using different tensions, cam settings, fiber content, or sometimes using materials that the single bed color changer is not “friendly” with. Also, there is no pushing the wrong button, causing errors in sequence, or dropped knitting if no yarn is picked up.

A punchcard carriage may be used on electronic machines. I work on a KH892, and a 910. The 910 is from a much earlier model year than the punchcard machine. The back rail for the KH to travel on, is a different shape, with slits as opposed to smooth, and a bit more raised. The electronic carriage set on KC locks on the belt and advances the card appropriately, but the fit is quite snug, making it hard to push, while the 892 behaved well on the 910. If borrowing carriages and sinker plates from different model years or type of machine to use on another, proceed with caution and listen to your machine. Sometimes the span of time between model issues is irrelevant, even if model years are only a year apart, and the swap is not the best for successful knitting, may “work” in one direction, but not as well in the other.

sample back rails: 910 910892rail2

 Dec 7, 2018 Knitting studio simple lace with 2 lace carriages transferring stitches 

 

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 2

My previous posts on using gimp to generate charts and images suitable for knitting: 1, 2, 3, 4. I am working in Mac OS 10.10 now, so there may be some variations in results from earlier OS or for Windows versions users.

the edited repeat from the previous postcropped

It is possible to knit this design in DBJ with the same separation as for knitting it as a maze, both are 2 color slip stitch patterns, the maze separation is less laborious. To process for use in DBJ, the image needs initially to be doubled in length. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a new gimp document, several times the size of the repeat, select and copy the corrected repeat, in turn pasting it in the new, larger canvas. I used 40 by 60; color 1 is red, color 2, white, most of my charting is done at 1,000 times magnification

copy and paste

drawing a vertical line in nonpertinent color to border areas having several rows with no second color present, as seen below, may help define end or start of selections when attempting to invert colors. Color invert may be achieved in RGB mode, not indexed. Below the inversion occurs on “even-numbered” every other row. The program in my OS now showed the previously red squares in blue, the alternate squares in black.

screenshot_16
After using color invert, nonpertinent color (blue) may be erased (using the pencil tool, each square on the grid is a single-pixel) as well as those yellow “border” squares. In the image below the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in the card. One drawback of this program, because of the scale using single pixels, is that no text to include row numbers etc. is possible. The final repeat is 10S X 44 R.
screenshot_24_DBJ

If one wants to avoid using double length in the automated machine settings, the image of holes to be punched may be doubled in length. To do so color mode needs to be changed to indexed (4 colors) to retain image clarity.screenshot_19

screenshot_20X2

 fabric knit in DBJ, long stitch on left, bird’s eye backing on right 500_2355

Maze and mosaic knitting, my previous posts: drawing motifs, from design to pattern (Excel), from pre-punched cards,  and references and pubs. The repeat worked out for slip stitch and edited down to 2 colors. Again, the black squares on the left represent all holes that will be punched out in the card.

screenshot_21-mazeTo further mark the repeats in blocks, making charts easier to follow in absence of numbers, the subject of drawing straight lines comes up. Most of the online tutorials for using gimp are for its Windows version. The pencil tool may be used. Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not (Mac), you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options, which opens the option window of the selected tool. In theory “Ctrl: this key changes the pencil to a Color PickerShift: This key places the pencil tool into straight line mode. Holding Shift while clicking Button 1 will generate a straight line. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line.” On my Mac, I worked out this method: first select color and pencil tool. Place a pencil dot where you want the line to start. If you press the shift key, a crosshair will appear, press the command key in turn as well for straight-line mode, click where you want the line to end. Consecutive clicks will continue drawing straight lines that originate from the end of the last line. Pressing both the shift and the command one at once after the initial pencil mark will call up the color picker and require a color selection and an OK.

windows: dockable itemswindows_dockable dialogues

gimp lines

separation for maze knitting 10S X 22R, elongate X2
maze_needsX2 borderknit as a single bed slip stitch, changing colors every 2 rows screenshot_01as dbj 500_2361

The dropped stitches were a problem when using the ribber on one of my two 910s, that adventure can be the topic for another post.

Working with generated mazes: GIMP charting 1

Laura Kroegler shares an online generator for “mosaics”unikatissima offers them for mazes and cellular automata. Representations of such patterns have cropped up in relation to hacked knitting machines and electronic downloads such as those seen in the Claire Williams blog, and in published information by Fabienne, who of late also has a Kickstarter project. Such patterns may be charted for hand knitting or for use on punchcard machines once the size of the repeat is taken into consideration. Mirroring either vertically or horizontally can make the image far more interesting, but that has to be a consideration in planning if the stitch repeat has a constraint of 24 stitch limit. A beginning unit 6 stitches wide will allow for the horizontal mirror to be repeated twice on the punchcard. The minimum punchcard length is 36 rows. The maximum scroll down to height in the Kroegler generator is 20, so for the least punching, an 18-row max would “fit”. The caveat here is that if the generated pattern is to be knit as DBJ or as a single bed slip stitch, those 18 rows need to be color separated accordingly. For the design to be charted out easily, it may be saved, and then in turn gridded in Photoshop or Gimp with the grid matching stitch size in the generated pattern preview (ie below note X and Y values are 5 X 5, so grid used would be 5 X 5 pixels as well).
After reviewing the tiled generated pattern, the image may be carefully captured from the screen and saved. I worked with an 8 stitch repeat for my tests. Below are screen grabs of the resulting patterns after some of the various options offered were tried. Mirroring this repeat horizontally makes it too wide for a punchcard (16 X 2=32).

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using a 5X5 grid after capturing a portion of another generated image, using a simple 8X8 repeat, outlining single repeats, thinking punchcard machinescreenshot_34

checking the result tiled to predict possible knit “look”screenshot_28

If working with a 6 stitch repeat, horizontal mirroring becomes possible for punchcard machines, perhaps making things more interesting; the program can generate a single repeat as a png, and punching holes is a drag so maybe length remains on the short side in anticipation of the punching holes and color separating for knitting the motif as either DBJ or single bed slip stitch, so here goes: having the generated image produced so each stitch and row is represented by a single pixel allows one to work within any program preset to superimpose a 1X1 grid:screenshot_07

screenshot_08my saved png, supposedly for an 8X12 repeat newgridded in gimp, revealed as  11W X 23 Hscreenshot_09

testing tiling: oops!screenshot_10

the trimmed repeat, eliminating double lines, 10 St W X 22 Rows Hcropped

tiled, looking closer to original, cropped_tiledand then there is the knitting of it if one chooses to do so as single bed  “floatless fair isle” as opposed to double bed dbj

For the latest version of gimp for Mac OS, version history may be found at the gimp website, for Mac Yosemite and Mavericks’ latest information on version 2.8.14.

2020: latest Gimp update for Mac, my Mac OS: Mojave 10.14.6, now swatch testing on a 930 with image2track cable and software, which allows for easy use of larger repeats. Newer thoughts and observations: the maze can be generated using only black and white. If all boxes for options are checked as seen below, there will be shifts in the overall design. A small, working BMP may be saved for download, but only part of the overall repeat will be selected by the generator. Quitting the generator, and opening it once more entering the same options will generate a new image, so saving and naming each is a good habit to form the BMP in Gimp, explored in two renditions, eliminating double lines The proof of concept swatch for the version on the right and knit in tuck stitch the double-length BMP ready for knitting,  14X68

One more, using different option selections the BMP in Gimp, explored in two renditions, eliminating double lines My latest process for the required color separation

 

Mosaics and mazes: drawing motifs

Knitting any fabric on the machine becomes easier if one thinks of black squares as knit stitches (selected needles on Brother), white squares as in this instance as either slipped or at times tucked stitches (non selected needles). Each number on the grids below represents 2 consecutive rows of knitting. The design may be elongated in the drawing of the final repeat itself prior to punching holes, marking mylar or pixels, or elongated in the built-in setting for the KM used, whether electronic or punchcard. Color changes are required every 2 rows.

The grids:

The patterns may be created by drawing shapes on the dotted grids, or “erasing” squares on the lined grids if more extended lines are desired. Some of the “rules” for mosaics were discussed in my previous post on the subject last October. A few more to consider in drawing your own:

color 1 is represented in row 1 and all odd-numbered rows

color 2 is represented by row 2 and all even-numbered rows

long horizontal lines in mazes usually occur on odd-numbered rows

even-numbered rows usually have no more than 2 black squares marked side by side

on odd-numbered rows, white squares slip

on even-numbered rows black squares slip

odd-numbered rows are knitted in the main color (black squares)

even rows are knitted in contrast color (white squares)

I think of row one/ odd rows as needing to knit black squares, row 2 and even rows having to knit white squares rather than marking in the traditional manner for slipped stitches on each row

a quickly drawn motif

checking out the motif in repeat marking the knit stitches in odd rows marking the knit stitches in even rows markings for all knit stitches

the red squares show the alternative markings for electronic KMs with color reverseShared in an earlier post:  using point grids, the pattern may be drawn over them;  staggered units may require some cleanup and “erasing”, as represented by pink squares when the shape is what one desires, a color separation follows as for the design at beginning of the post

In knitting the pattern, the selection row is made in a non-patterning row toward the color changer. Unless each row is marked twice, the motif as above must be elongated X2

Test swatches for the resulting fabric, knit and purl side are shown respectively; note the lack of visibility of pattern where there is low contrast between the 2 colors used and the short floats on the reverse. Slip setting is used, though in row 11 the 2 side by side non-knitting squares may not pose a problem in knitting using tuck setting.

There is an online generator for patterns in this family by Laura Kogler. The image below shows one such generated pattern, in turn, saved and gridded in photoshop

Below are images processing the above design “by the rules”, based on red squares in the generated design. Figure 1 is the isolated repeat, figure 2 shows the stitches to be knit in color 1, figure 3 the stitches to be knit in color 2, in figure 4 the black dots represent punched holes, the red squares the areas that may be marked if the KM is capable of color reverse, the length must be doubled here as well, with the color changed every 2 rows, selection row toward the color changer. The resulting fabric using slip setting, rows 4 and 5 make motif problematic for tuck setting Working with the white squares in the generated design, now knitting the white on odd rows, the red on even: the grid on left shows the isolated repeat. In the grid on the right, the black dots equal the punched holes in the card, the white squares the mylar markings for use with color reverse. This motif would work in tuck <-> as wellThe 2 fabrics side by side, showing in this instance a slight difference in the overall repeat in the last swatch; in the left sample green is color one, in the right one white is color l the same motif knit in the tuck setting is wider, both sides are shown below If the yarn used is capable of being blocked fairly flat, because of the short floats, finished items in these fabrics may not need to be folded over or lined as traditional FI items often do.