Vertical racking 3: automating half fisherman in pattern (2)

Working with the half fisherman racking discussed in the last post, here is an approach to interpreting the fabric seen below for knitting on a Brother model knitting machine.  500_557For the sample chart, I chose a 12 stitch repeat, making it executable on any knitting machine. The ribber is set to half-pitch. An often-overlooked clue as to what is happening or is about to be found in the arrows just below the racking position indicator. With the latter at 5, the red triangle appears pointing to L. As the bed is racked to position 4, the red arrow now points to the letter R. This is a simple racking pattern involving only the 2 positions, either to R or L

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Once on position 4, the red arrow indicates the direction in which the bed was racked on the last move (R), the “empty” arrow the direction for the next move (L), bringing the position back to 5. More complex patterns require a bit more planning and tracking to avoid errors.

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Racking patterns in books often recommend beginning the fabric with the setting on 5, or the center position for the machine in question.  Doing so allows for balanced edges in patterns that swing by multiple positions in both directions. In this instance, for the sake of avoiding mistakes in as many ways as possible, I would start the pattern on racking position 10. Racking cannot go any further to the right, so no chance for example of racking to 6 rather than 4 in the knitting because of inattention. Having a “cheat sheet” with row numbers where no racking occurs, and the position of the carriage to R or L at their start and or after the knitting is also helpful. I had to lower the tension on both beds considerably to avoid forming loops that in turn got hung up on gate pegs. Especially at the start make certain that the comb and weights drop properly. Using KCI will ensure that the first and last stitch on the main bed always knit. In the patterning used on the Passap back bed (previous post), the groups of needles in each half of the repeat will change to the alternate position with each pass of the lock. On the rows where the back lock is changed to N, selection continues in pattern, but no tucking occurs. In this chart, the pattern is maintained continuously throughout, while blank “remaining” squares are filled in on rows where no tucking or racking occurs = N, every needle knits. In Brother machines, both tuck buttons are pushed in. Selected needles knit, non selected tuck across the row. new program 2symbols

I tested the pattern approach on my 910, with a 38 row, 20 stitch repeat in a random acrylic. I had some issue with some needles not selecting properly, for whatever reason. The repeat was not planned so a full 10 stitches were at each side of the knit, resulting in the difference on the right side of the swatch photo from its left.

larger repeat

half the repeat with color change on a single plain knit row (use of color changer only possible with even row change sequences), the top stripe of the swatch in plain rib

half repeatN1

1rowN1_584

back to scales and knitting them

Overall,  wider repeats and thicker yarns gave me harder to knit fabric, with less noticeable pockets and lack of stretch and “bounce”;  ultimately I went back to a 6X6, 12 stitch 2-row sequences illustrated in the chart above. The thinner yarn needs to be with a bit of stretch, and enough strength not to break when ribbed and racked at the tightest possible tension. This is a fabric that requires concentration, having as many clues as possible to help stay on track is useful. If errors are made close enough to the all knit row, it is possible to unravel carefully to that point and continue on. Mylars or punchcards may be marked to reflect racking position. Here the mark on the right = 10, the one on the left = 9. Marks take into consideration that the card reader’ design row and knitter’s eye level row views are not the same.

mylar_marks

A row cheat sheet can help track carriage location for all knit rows. Pictured below is part of mine. Wording for clues or description of sequences should make sense to the person knitting, not necessarily follow a specific formula.

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some of what “did not work”, including a very long swatch with a confusing pattern due to creative operator error

500_591a finished piece with yarn ends not yet woven in500_590

The fabric is tugged lengthwise, left unblocked, and pockets may pop on either side of it, with the majority on one side of the knit as opposed to the other

the start of a series in varied colors and fibers500_604

Racking 2: vertical chevrons/ herringbone +

Here again, half fisherman or full fisherman rib is be used. The zig-zag happens at the top and bottom of the fabric. In half fisherman, the setup is once again for full needle rib. If knitting in one color the sequence is: knit one row, rack a space, knit one row, rack back again (X and Y below represent the 2 racking positions involved screenshot_39

for 2 color fisherman, the sequence is knit 2 rows with col 1, rack one space, knit 2 rows with color 2, rack one space back again

screenshot_41 this fabric is produced in conjunction with a pattern repeat using the principle that black squares knit (pushers up, needles preselected), white squares tuck (pushers down, needles not selected), the repeat is 12 stitches wide, 2 rows high; it is possible to have 6 stitches tucking side by side because this is an every needle rib, and there will be a knit stitch on the opposite bed anchoring down each tuck loop

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one color half fisherman side one   500_528one color half fisherman side 2500_5292 color setting, color changes every 2 rows, side 1, thinner yarn
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side 2

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2 color version, changing color every 20 rows; racking interrupted with plain knit rows at top and bottom creating horizontal pockets20rows_plain

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when single or multiple odd # of rows with no racking are introduced at intervals the zigzags once again happen at sides rather than top or bottom, with the knitting after the no racking row(s) reversing direction. The yarn used in these swatches is a random acrylic, presses flat, not the best if aiming for any 3D textures; the color difference is due to photos being taken at different times of day

side one 500_530side two500_541

what happens when multiple odd numbers of rows are knit changing back lock set to N (all knit), no tuck stitches. The fabric still swings in opposite directions, and in addition, the all knit rows produce areas that “poke out”, beginning to create scales of sorts

side one 50537side two 500_538back to vertical: full fisherman with color changes every 2 rows, side one 500_539side 2, with a few stitches knit off issues  500_540

it is a matter of personal preference whether the extra effort with full fisherman rib is worth any difference in appearance or result in the final fabrics. Changes in tension, yarn fiber content, and machines used add to the variables. Good notes in trials help one determine predictable results and to choose whether the effort may be worth it or not. Using laborious techniques for borders rather than whole items is always an option.

1/22/2016: half fisherman racked rib knit in thinner yarn, wider # of stitches and more rows in pattern group before single N/N row, no blocking

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500_558same fabric with color change every 2 rows 500_561

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Ribber pitch, a bit on racking 1: chevrons/ horizontal herringbone

A “how might this be done challenge” of late re this fabric brought to mind racked patterns for chevrons, both vertical and horizontal, and the possibility of producing them on home knitting machines. racked_scarf_mediumTo review some of the principles in racking in both Brother and Passap knitting machines: the pitch is the distance between each needle groove along the needle bed is sometimes also referred to as gauge. The size varies between machine brands and types of machines. For example, the Brother bulky has a 9 mm pitch, the Passap a 5 mm one; the larger the pitch number, the thicker the yarn that may be used.

Full pitch lines up needles and gate pegs (or channels) on both beds directly opposite each other. To knit patterns in full pitch, the rule is that for every needle in the working position on the main bed, the corresponding needle on the opposite bed must be out of work, and vice versa. This setting is never used when groups of all needles are in work on both beds. Stitch patterns using this setting are designed to have opposite needles in work on either bed at any one time, but not both at once. The number of maximum needles in use for ribs on both beds will usually total 200 (4.5 mm machines), and the setting accommodates yarns thicker than when every needle is in use.

In half-pitch both bed needles are now offset by half a position, centering them between each other. The full complement of needles for possible use now is potentially 400 (4.5 mm machines); the setting accommodates thinner yarns than one might use on the single bed.

The half pitch lever on Brother may be moved from P to H to change alignments. In Passap the racking handle may be used in an up or down position to do so. The racking or swing lever allows the ribber bed to be swung one full pitch to the right or to the left in a series of stepped moves. The racking handle on Brother machines is located on the left-hand side of the ribber bed. Racking swing indicator positions are numbered 0-10. When the racking indicator has been moved over to the next number, this means the ribber has moved by one full pitch. With the swing indicator at 5, both beds will be centered opposite each other, the usual position. Starting points may vary when racking is used in patterns. Beds cannot be racked with needles in holding, as needles will then crash into each other. It is always a good idea to check ribber alignment before tackling more complex, double bed fabrics. In Passap the racking indicator is situated above the racking handle, and arrows indicate the direction of the last movement. The scale at the top of the front bed shows the possible racking movements from a center point of 0 to 3 to either to right or left of center. I chose to place numbers below the factory ones on the machine from 0 to 7, finding that method easier to follow, since I do not rely on built-in patterns and racking prompts from the console. For the purposes of these swatches, I am reverting to the factory indicators.

In the Passap system, the racking handle has 2 main positions: up, and down. When the racking handle is up needles are directly opposite each other (P pitch in Brother), when it is down the needles are between each other on opposing beds (H on Brother). There are some racking handle positions at different parts of the “clock” that are recommended when using some of the Passap accessories.

Regardless of machine brand needles have 3 basic functions: knit, slip (do not knit), tuck (gather loops). Passap pushers have 3 positions: work, rest, and out of work. When a pusher is in the up position the corresponding needle will knit no matter what the setting on the pattern dial. This is the equivalent of having needle pre-selection on Brother, but forgetting to change cam buttons from the normal knit setting. When a pusher is at rest it will slip or tuck depending on lock setting to AX, DX, or FX (in Brother these would be needles not selected, in B position). If locks are set to C, E, or G, the pushers have no effect on the needles. Pusher positions may be changed manually, automatically by arrow keys (back lock Passap, lili buttons, and lever Brother ribber), automatically by readers whether electronic or punchcard on both brands in the Brother main bed or front bed Passap are in use.  NO pushers are used in N (double or single bed plain knit), CX (tubular), EX (double bed, tuck).

I personally find racking easier in terms of the numbering in Brother brand machines. For these samples, however, I chose to work on my E 6000. Adding tuck to the mix creates more textured surfaces, and a half or full fisherman’s rib where every needle tucks, then knits as the carriage reverses direction on either single or both beds, is a place to start. I have written previously on tracking brother racking sequences using a punchcard numbering system. If no other pattern is used on the main or front beds, needle and pusher selection might be used to track the racking position there as well. These fabrics require concentration. In terms of chevrons, both horizontal and vertical may be produced. Some published sources include a youtube video by Diana Sullivan, knit on a Japanese machine, and a baby blanket in full fisherman rib knit on the Duo 80. The version below is my half fisherman adaptation of the latter. The photos illustrate both sides of the fabric. The racking is done by moving a single of each of only 2 positions to the right or to the left. Single (or multiple, odd-numbered) rows at the end of each sequence place the carriage at its start on the opposite side, rather than altering the numbered sequences as in the Diana video. I began my fabric on Passap racking position 2, to the right of 0, locks set at KX, N, first and last needle in work on the front bed. The back bed tucks every needle right to left, knits them left to right. There is a slight difference in texture between the 2 sides of the fabric.

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activate row counter after CX rows in the cast on, with locks on left, so knitting the racked pattern begins with locks on Right, RC on 1. Below is my working “cheat sheet”

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cheat sheetsettings

For scales and chevrons on Brother machines please see 2018/07/19/more-scales-and-chevrons-in-ribbed-racked-4-fabrics/

Racked ribber cast on and rib configuration tips

This cast on (on any ribber) is capable of giving a softer, looser start and is good for fabrics that stretch. When experimenting, check the alignment of needles physically before proceeding for knitting rib on all needles. In Brother machines, the racking grip handle is used in creating “racking patterns”. By turning the grip handle the ribber bed is moved to the right or to the left. The racking position is indicated on the racking indicator. Usually casting on is begun with the indicator in the center position, #5. As indicator numbers rise the ribber moves to left, as they decrease the ribber moves to the right. The two cursors can be moved and set to use as an index of the racking range. I prefer to track racking positions in other ways ie. with punchcard markings when possible. The arrows L and R indicate the racking movement and will change position after each handle turn reversing direction is completed. The pitch is set to accommodate rib configurations. In P position needles on each bed “plain and purl” are directly opposite each other and in a collision course. If EON (every other needle) on each bed is in use, then this position is used to center needles on opposite beds between each other. In position H the ribber needles are centered between two main bed needles. For the every needle rib cast on in my sample I began with racking indicator on 6, COR, knit zigzag row to Left. Note: at the start of the process, on the left side,  the first needle is in work on the top bed.The ribber is then racked to position 7. The first needle on the left is now in work on the ribberA row is knit from left to rightThe ribber is then racked back to its original position (6). The first needle on the left will once again be on the top bed, the first needle on the ribber to its right Continue in planned rib.
Often manuals give suggestions as to the “needle rule” for each type of rib. The sequence below is knit on a Passap. It, in theory, would produce a 2X1 “industrial rib that could transition to every needle or main bed knitting without any holes at the transition point. Note here there is a needle in work between each pair of needles on the opposing bed.

IMG_2390“zigzag” row, normal needle position: work slowly, make certain all needles have picked up yarn
1hang comb: the first needle is in work on the back bed on far left 2rack one full turn to the right: the first needle in work on the front bed is now on far left

IMG_2382knit one row 4rack back to the original position, continue plain rib  5There are sources online including videos that recommend circular rows at this point, they are actually unnecessary. The other recommendation made by many after any ribber cast on is for 3 circular rows. There is no need for the third circular row. It will actually create a visible line across one side of the rib, that is noticeable, and may not be wanted if it is on the “public” side of the finished garment. To fill in potential holes produced when empty needles are brought back into work, bring all empty needles into work, tuck one row across both beds, making certain loops are formed on each needle IMG_2391knit 2 rows circular slowly, some needles hold 3 loops of yarn, switch to ENR rib
the result at rest
rib1rib stretchedfirst rib stretchGoing for a rib with more of a 2X2 look: set up needles for rib pattern, there are still 2 needles in work, one not, on each bed. The empty needle space is now at the center of each pair of needles on the opposite bed

IMG_2392rack one full turn to the right, knit one row IMG_2393hang comb and weights IMG_2396rack back again to “needle rule” position Knit one row at final setting, proceed for ribIMG_2397at the top of the rib knit 2 rows circular, proceed on EN ribIMG_2399

tension adjustments may make a big difference, my samples have been knit at the same tension throughout, and single-ply throughout

the first rib at rest rib2stretched second rib stretchboth instances produce a reversible rib
Some experimenting is required to achieve cast on rows in the rib that are not too loose or too tight. In this instance there has to be enough slack in the loops so that there is room for racking one full turn, too much will leave loops. Loops created by cast-ons with deliberately large stitch sizes may, in turn, be chained off with a latch tool. The stretch factor and weight of the resulting rib also need to be in balance with the remaining knit fabric. If “improvising” it is always advisable to keep good notes. Most publications and how-tos are really guidelines, starting points for investigating what may be the best method to use in any one piece.

Unconventional uses for punchcards 1: tracking racking positions in ribbed fabric

In a long-ago post I shared the punchcard image below. The card is used double length throughout. Cast on in your favorite method.  “Memorize” the first row of pattern, set card to advance EOR, set KC to tuck in both directions, set RC (ribber carriage) for normal knitting throughout. This is a racked pattern. The numbers to the right of the card are for the racking position on each visible row (takes into consideration your eyes can view card 7 rows above card reader teeth). There are only 2 positions in this card as written, 4 and 5, so the results are vertical columns in a textured rib

checkerboardthe corresponding swatch, both sides are shown 

The tracking for the racking sequencing may be created for any punchcard, whether punched holes are required in the card for patterning or not. The image below is taken from the Brother Ribber Techniques Book. If KC is used, no holes are punched, and the carriage is set to plain knit, though the card advances, all needles knit. End needle selection is not a factor. page 17

the racking handle movement repeat isolatedworking repeat

In the card, for use on Brother, the first row of the repeat with the machine on racking position 10 would be placed on row one pre-marked position found on stock brother blank cards. Always check markings for your machine. I have a roll purchased for Brother kms specifically that actually are stamped for Studio, with # 1 two rows below where it should be on right.  No holes need to be punched in this instance. Needles are brought into work and filled as illustrated on the ribber book page. Knit one row across stitches with the card set to advance normally. In this instance marking row numbers in preferred colors will indicate when the racking sequence changes direction. Green rows rack to left, orange to right. The racking handle position repeat is 20 rows high (shown on left), a minimum of 36 rows for the card to roll properly) is met by repeating it twice, and the “motif” is broken up to accommodate the fact that the reader is working on 7 rows below the row number visible on the machine exterior. Rows 34 and 35 would become the 2 every square punched rows always placed at the top of pattern cards. The blue numbers on right reflect the racking handle position for that row before the next row is knit. They can be marked on any blank square if the card is blank, or alongside existing row numbers as seen in the punchcard for the checkered swatch. It is helpful to have consistent habits if one needs to stop for any length of time ie. always knit row, rack to position or stop after knitting, rack upon return.whole card

The machine can be set for double length for racking after every 2 rows knit.

Using the method for cables and crossed stitches  (3 posts)

Lace cards on 260 bulky PDF