Brother shadow lace, rib transfer carriage

I have probably owned this accessory since the early 90s. After making a faint-hearted attempt at using it at the time and failing, it has been stored in the original box in the interim and just came out of retirement. The multiple languages operating manual for its use may be downloaded from http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-ka7100-ka8300-transfer-carriage-user-guide.html. There several video tutorials available on Youtube as well, generally illustrating simple transfers across an entire row in structures such as ribs used for bands and cuffs.
The tool is designed for the standard gauge, transfers only from the ribber up to the main bed. It is best to use yarn that has some stretch. The recommendation in the manual and in youtube videos is to perform the transfers with the pitch set to H. My own ribber is balanced, I found I had problems with transfers in that position, several carriage jams, and to get things to work properly in half-pitch I had to use the racking handle to move the ribber needles slightly more to the left for the transfers. The needles containing stitches to be moved, need to be slightly to the right of the needles with which they will share yarn, that spot may turn out to also be just wide enough to allow for the pattern to be worked without changing the ribber pitch.  The yarn used is a 2/18 Merino, knit at tensions 3/5. In terms of positioning the carriage, a wire that is akin to that found on Passap strippers is on its underneath. In positioning the carriage on the beds, check visually that it is indeed lying between the gate pegs of both beds prior to attempting to travel with it to the opposite side If any carriage jam occurs, it takes cautious wriggling to release the wire and carriage. Upon completion of the transfers, simply lift up to remove it from the beds.
Generally, the ribber tension used needs to be set on 4 at the minimum. The last row just prior to transfers will likely need to be knit at a looser tension than the remaining rib. If the stitches are too small they will not be picked up for the transfer. Folks familiar with lace knitting are aware that just the right amount of weight can make a difference in forming proper transfers. With these fabrics, too little weight may result in loops forming on gate pegs, too much weight, and stitches may remain over closed latches on the ribber needles and not share their yarn for transfers.  Again, the transfer carriage operates only from right to left.
Studio instructions for their version of the accessory actually offer some different and more specific recommendations. When knitting full needle rib all the needles or pattern segments the machine generally will be in Half Pitch. Though there are needles in work on both beds, the ribber should be set to full pitch, aka P position, “point to point” prior to transfers, bringing them in close alignment in order to facilitate the process. Passap machines accomplish the same by changing the angle of the racking handle to other than the full, up placement in order to achieve the necessary alignment.
The Brother accessory and its parts, has clear imprinted illustrations for use

The change lever has only 2 positions, up and down respectively Its position is determined by the number of needles on the ribber one wishes to transfer.
The carriage manual recommends its use after knitting a last ribbed row to the left, but it is possible to use it with both knitting carriages on either side, as long as there is generous space to clear all stitches when the accessory is placed on the bed, moved to the opposite side, and removed. An extension rail may be needed to achieve that amount of clearance.
Operating slowly, one can watch the process of transfers while moving from right to left. Though skeptical, I found the transfers happened easily, with occasional skips. I worked with hand-selection of needles on the ribber to create a pattern, first with hand-selection, then with racking the ribber position to change the relationship of needles on one bed to the other, initially transferred after every 2 rows knit. The knit carriage was set to knit both ways, the ribber to knit in one direction, creating loops on the selected needles, and securing them in the other, allowing for the loops on the ribber needles to be transferred up to the main bed, before working 2 more rows. The “errors” in patterning were operator errors in needle selection as stitches were dropped, and not all the required needles were then returned to work position. Not a technique I would use for all-over fabric, but good practice. When the transfer occurs properly, the ribber needles will have yarn placed over closed latches, ready to be dropped, the yarn is shared and looped over stitches on the main bed, akin to tuck loops, outlined in the photo with the black oval. The first image is from the manual for the accessory, while in the photo, one improperly transferred stitch is outlined in red. To prevent dropped stitches from happening, any such locations will require a hand transfer to the opposite bed before dropping the remaining ribber bed shared stitches For my test I used EON needles on the ribber, planned alternating selection for each new transfer. This could be done by selecting dashes and blank spots on needle tape ie. dash in the above photo, blank spaces below  It was faster to achieve the effect by changing the ribber relationship to the main bed using racking by one position ie 10, 9, 10, 9, etc. prior to picking up the subsequent set of loops. The errors in the test swatch were from failing to bring all the needles back up to work after dropping their stitches. Using a tool ie. a ribber comb placed over the out-of-work needles prior to dropping stitches made the racking process far less error-prone,  will keep the appropriate needles from being accidentally taken out of work. My first attempt at creating shapes includes a band at the bottom where the EON transfers as above were made, but every row. Simply bringing needles into work on the opposite bed creates an eyelet. They can be eliminated by sharing stitch “bumps” on the opposite bed, but for the moment they are a design feature. The texture created appears in the areas involved on both sides of the knit It is possible to transfer single needles at sides of shapes ie or whole rows, but the change lever needs to be set to position accordingly.

Many knitters have one of these tools in their stash,  they are sometimes referred to as “jaws”,  intended to facilitate transferring between both beds, and patterning was intended for Studio punchcard machines. The enclosed punchcards: Studio machines select and knit in single pass rows. Brother preselects for the next row of knitting while knitting any one row in pattern as well, so transferring in pattern from the top bed down with such a tool would be problematic to maintain proper pattern needle selection. However, that brings to mind the possibility of having patterning on the top bed to help track patterning on the ribber in some way. This was my start, with the first draft of electronic repeats. I stopped when I began to have some tension issues, loops on gate pegs, and a distracted brain.
Transfers of stitch groups, whether by hand or using the accessories are made on rows where no needle preselection occurs on the main bed This series is a proof of concept for my approach to developing electronic cuesThe original repeats were modified to include 2 blank rows between segments that allow for transfers between beds not hampered by needle preselection on the top bed. The motifs are color reversed, but not the blank rows between themThe knit carriage is set to select needles KC I or II, end needle selection does not matter. All needles on the top bed knit every stitch, every row, whether or not those design rows contain black pixels. No cam buttons are pushed in. Blank areas between black ones indicate the number of needles that actually need to pick up loops on the ribber to create shapes, filling in spaces between selected needles until an all-blank row is reached for making transfers. The chart on the far right illustrates a shape where the easiest method becomes one where stitches on the ribber are manually transferred to the top bed in order to reverse the shape and maintain every row preselection. The selected needle corresponding to the black square marked with the top of the red arrows is pushed back, the ribber stitch below is transferred onto it, the needle with the couples stitches is brought to E position, moving across the bed in proper locations prior to knitting the next row.  In this repeat, the side vertical panels of ribbed stitches are added. The knit stitches on each side of them roll nicely to the purl side, creating what in some fabrics can actually be planned as an edging. My takeaway is to test the accessory with some patience, sort out the sweet spot for the ribber needles in relation to main bed ones in terms of handling transfers and yarn thickness, use colors that allow for easy recognition of proper stitch formation, keep good notes, and “go for it”.

Pretend multi color ribs

WORK IN PROGRESS

A recent Ravelry post brought this topic to light. Using slip stitch settings makes the final fabric narrow and not stretchable. That said, there may be times when vertical columns of color would benefit the remaining design. This first experiment is on a Brother machine. The repeat used is for a simple 2X2 block It is programmed for 2 color knitting, set up for use with the ribber and color changer. The first KC row is from the right to the left, with color changes following every 2 rows. When the carriage is first on the left, the knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. In the tests the ribber is set to knit in both directions for the sample on the left, to slip to the left for the sample on the right. When the ribber is set to slip, the main bed only will knit in the corresponding direction, and floats will be created between selected needles on the main bed. The number of rows completed on the ribber are cut in half, the resulting knit fabric is more compressed, less elongated, and narrower A closer look

Img2track_multiple colors per row dbj, each color knitting only once

I have recently shared a post on using the heartofPluto separation in Ayab to knit a DBJ 3 color sample where each color was not represented in each row, with each color knitting a single height.  Img2 track at this time does not offer a built-in similar option. There is a FB thread going on at the moment on this topic that can be followed there, Tanya Cunningham has shared a document on this topic. I am using the same repeat as in my Ayab tests,  with  my color changer in this threading sequence throughout
 The import into img2track shown here for the traditional 3 colors per row setup,
where normally each color in each design row knits twice. Because selection occurs for pairs of rows, the first preselection row is from right to left. To decrease the backing rows, the ribber is set for birdseye. I prefer to have an end needle on each end on the ribber, keeping in mind that the total number of needles in use there needs to be even. The machine provides reminders as to which color should be knitting. My samples are knit using KCI on the top bed. Because the preselection happens twice, it is easy enough to knit in pattern from left to right,  when the carriages have reached the right side, simply use a ribber comb to push all needles back to B. The next color to be used is preselected as the carriages travel back to the left, change color when on left, and repeat.
It is easy enough to develop a rhythm. I used to tell students some things are made easier if one develops a tune to play in one’s head as series of actions. Here I found myself thinking “knit to right, erase (selection), knit to left”. I had tension yarn issues on the right which explain some of the issues on the side edges and changed color 1 to blue for increased contrast. The proof of concept: Speeding things up with color separation, beginning with the method that will have each color, each design row knitting twice. The repeat is 10 rows high, so it is expanded X6 to 10 by 60 rows. In the final result, the second row for each color in the separation is in turn erased. The red was added to make all 3 colors visible while working the separation, avoiding confusion with the white ground. The knittable result as usual is in a black and white png The img2track settings are for now for 2 color knitting, the prompts for the color changes are lost.

The color-changing sequence used was still 1, 2, 3. The design with a birdseye backing The ribber can also be set to knit every row, resulting in elongation on the knit side, while creating an interesting striper backingComparing this version to the birdseye backed one for repeat height Comparisons: HoP, pushing back needles to B, and color separation results. In the latter, the design is likely elongated in part due to a change in the distribution of thinner yarns to larger design areas with no tension adjustments 

Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 2

From Chris Burdge, a video tutorial on using HOP following program prompts and default color placement. The pattern used, available for download from the author, is quite different from my tests in that it is completely surrounded by a white border, the default first color choice in the separation The ABC color changer markings in letters reflecting yarn positions and color-changing sequences were used in the Studio brand, as opposed to numbers, in the reverse sequence, used in Brother. The Ayab lettering as opposed to numbers move from right to left. The manual states that the color separation order is: white C, grey B, black A with their sequence = C (3), B (2), A(1). If the prompts for changing colors as given are followed it provides a very valuable in tracking them,  but if out of habit one knits in the usual 1,2,3 sequence, the color placement occurs in an unexpected order and may result in errors. The on-screen letter prompt corresponding to the anticipated color change sometimes occurs with the knit carriage on the right, sometimes as it approaches the changer, and the size of the font was hard for me to see since the screen was not close enough for easy visibility.

It has been nearly a year since my last post, Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 1. I previously also shared information on using HOP for drop stitch lace.
Last week I tried a 3 color HOP pattern, which failed because my mid-tone grey was not within the proper palette range. I work on a Mac and found that with the latest Gimp update several details have changed, and formerly saved palettes were lost. Regrouping, working with colors, and intending color change selection sequences in the familiar right to left, 1, 2, 3 methods, this png includes the grey shade that worked for me If the png is copied from the post it is likely to appear in RGB mode and it will require conversion to 3 color bitmapped. Its grey color map entry is seen below The small file makes for a quick test of proper color selection for each of the three colors used It is not necessary to have images in greyscale to load them into Ayab for separation, but having the repeat shown that way can help with placement of the yarns in the changer.
I like to have as many factors predictable as possible prior to importing into download programs. Importing color images depends on the placement of individual colors in the palettes. An explanation found online is that Ayab needs a pattern image which is 8-bit greyscale. Each color is coded in a range of the 8-bit values. For 4 colors, it would be 0-63 color A; 64-127 color B; 128-195 color C; 196-255 color D. It seems to be OK to give the image some color, so long as the gray component of the colors divides up as given. I began to explore a pattern using 3 colors,  with one of the three colors absent in some rows Having some idea of stitch counts for each color in the design in the first few rows can help identify proper, planned color placement errors To achieve this an easy count of the blue and red can happen watching preselection on for the first couple of rows ie blue knits 4 stitches, while red has counts of 7 except at the sides My first swatch using the heart of Pluto separation and a greyscale motif  I like to work out color placement as well as repeat scaling adjustments if needed. This png in, indexed to 3 colors, was opened in Gimp, my primary design tool, and imported and saved as a palette A different color placement, using the saved pattern colors. With no white in the first couple of design rows, the lighter color is selected first. The actual 11 X 10 motif, can be opened in Ayab. Action R can repeat the image in height if desired, but a must is to repeat it in width that is equal to or greater than the number of needles in work on the needle bed, here it is repeated 3 times in both height and width
My tested color change sequence is #1, #2, #3 colors throughout, I disregarded the prompts for color changes at the bottom of the Ayab screen. Some things to ponder: in pieces that require color changes, starting with waste knitting in the same colors can help assess the best tension, whether each color will be picked up properly, and if the colors work well together. Looking at these 3 small tests, it appears that a choice should be made when casting on about using color 1 or 2 for the preselection and cast on rows.  If the setting to slip is forgotten for the first move to the left, the color in the feeder will knit every stitch rather than a pattern selection. Always check settings when on the right, making certain lili buttons are set as well. This pattern does not contain 3 colors on every row. In addition to that, when working  DBJ with other color separations one is likely used to seeing knit bed needle selections on every row. That is not true here, is a function of the technique, not a patterning error. On rows that have colors missing, when that color is in use, the main bed slips, the ribber works every other needle, first in one direction, then the other, adding to the row count on the purl side of the knit. In a test with marked color placement, the arrow marks the spot where 2 color threads were picked up together so that the white was carried across the row along with the green repeating the color placement test following 1/light, 2/medium, 3/darkThe mess at the bottom was due to the green yarn getting caught on the needle bed and not knitting the necessary stitches on the ribber, so dropped stitches were formed The assumption is that if the C, B, A rotation and prompts are to be followed, the middle color 2 can stay in place, and the placement of 1 and 3 can be exchanged.

The difference between the same design knit with a color separation where each color in each design row knits twice elongating the shapes, and its  HOP version, both with birdseye backing  

Pile_carpet stitch knitting on Passap and Brother KMs 3

Studio and Toyota machines had the ability to produce this type of stitch easily. Many efforts have been made over the years to produce the same fabric on Passap and Brother

I was asked via a blog comment in my previous posts #1 on this topic about creating a single color all over pile on the Passap machine and added these instructions
1. cast on so that all stitches are on the back bed
2. knit a few rows in stocking stitch sorting the tightest tension at which your yarn will knit, also experiment with the front lock tension in order to produce as large a loop as possible that will also drop off properly, begin your test with locks on the right side: 
3. bring back bed pushers to the up position, set the back lock to EX with the left arrow key. All needles will tuck moving to the left, and knit on their return to the right
3. front lock set to CX, it will knit on all needles to the left creating loops on the front bed, while back lock does the same, slips all needles moving to the right.
When the locks reach the left side there will be loops on every needle on both beds. As they move from left to right, the needles on the back bed will knit, securing the loops there and anchoring the ones on the front bed while the front bed is slipped
4. with locks again on the right side, use stitch ditcher or another tool to drop off loops on the front bed, returning needles to proper work position, follow with a pass using a single eye tool to push loops between the beds, checking that none are left in the needle hooks
*make 2 more passes with locks from and returning to the right, drop off loops**, and continue from * to **
The difference in the size of the long stitches between loop rows in the photo was eliminated by tightening the tension on the back lock,  it is evident that even are anchored even in those segments. As with any fabric, the larger the intended piece, the more likely some further adjustments may have to be made. For a similar effect on Brother machines, begin with all stitches in work on the ribber, with the settings: opposite tuck buttons, the main bed knits to left, ribber knits to right anchoring loops formed on the previous row the loops, formed on every needle on both beds with the move to the left anchored in place on the ribber needles as the only the ribber knits as it returns to the right while the carriage is on the right, drop all stitches on the main bed,   making certain no loops are stuck on gate pegs on the main bed, repeat the process throughout the piece. Occasionally skipped needles and their missing loops may not be noticeable, any loops hung up on gate pegs will be visibly longer. Tension needs to be “just right”. My first efforts, shown sideways Knitting was smoother with a change in yarn. An extra needle on each side of the knit on the ribber is brought out to hold manually to ensure their stitches knit with every pass of the ribber carriage. I prefer the all-over pile with its loops formed on the top bed. There were nearly no incidences of loops catching on gate pegs on the main bed. One of the drawbacks, the main bed needles need to be dropped and brought back to the B position manually, bald spots will result where any needles are not returned to proper work position, so they would not pick up loops. 

The traditional hack for other than Studio or Toyota kms involved this process:
to knit, bring up the first and last needle to the hold position on the ribber to ensure they knit when both carriages are on the right and the ribber will tuck on every needle as the carriages move to the left. The carriage settings: Loops are formed on the main bed as it knits from the right to the left, slips on its return to the right. The ribber tucks on every needle moving to the left and knits on every needle returning to the right, anchoring the main bed loops. After the carriages reach the right side, loops on the main bed are dropped, and the process is repeated.
The results are dramatically different. If considering patterning on the main bed with the addition of a second color or creating isolated motifs whether on a single color or striped background, anchoring loops by tucking on every needle is no longer possible, making reverting to EON needle selection on ribber a necessity. Loops formed where no stitches are knit on the main bed would only sit in the hooks on the ribber and create a mess. Hence the “hack” where lili buttons and tuck stitch in both directions so that loops are knit off on the next pass, and with 4 rows knit before dropping stitches so that the maximum pressure is put on those loops to hold them in place. This requires the tightest possible tension on the ribber, and by default, the EON tuck will want to spread the fabric further apart. I have found this version a failure in producing a stable fabric with a satisfying pile formation. Returning to the pursuit of pile loops in patten on Brother: my first effort with a simple, linear shape produced separation aside the loops akin to that seen in isolated FI motifs, both when using the ribber or the main bed to create the loops. Here a simple checkerboard was hand-selected, there was separation along the vertical edge like that seen in isolation motifs and this is likely my last try at the single pile in a pattern using every other needle tuck on the ribber with the release of stitches every 4 rows. I actually like the elongated stitches in the ground but found the stitches planned for loops simply did not release easily or at all,  using thinner, smooth yarn resulted in breakage, while adding elastic obliterated loops, and wooly nylon simply broke regularly. It would appear if pile knitting on Japanese machines is the goal, by all means, add a studio KM to your stash ;-).

Unconventional uses for punchcards 3: lace in rib

The question periodically comes up with regards to the possibility of using the lace carriage when knitting every needle rib fabric. The lace carriage does not operate with the ribber bed in use in the standard up position, there is not enough clearance between the beds for it to travel from one side to the other across the needle bed. It is possible to drop the ribber down one click, opening up the space between the beds, supposedly to allow for the use of thicker yarns.

My machine is old enough for the ribber to be bowed in the center, increasing the space between the beds there. Trying to use that position for every needle rib in my desired yarn I got yarn breakage in the center of the bed, some skipped stitches, and the sides of the needle bed were still up too high for the LC to have a clear passage. The problem appeared to be due to its brushes hitting the gate pegs. With the brushes removed, but with some grinding against those same gate pegs the LC was able to move along the top bed. At least on my machine, I am giving up on the idea of using it, even if only to preselect needles, let alone make transfers.
This page is from the Ribber techniques book. The fact that transfers are broken up with blocks where there are no transfers, including some with stitches transferred to the opposite bed, makes it easier to track transfers than if using all over designs. Standard pronged tools are sufficient to move the single stitches or groups of three. 

It is possible to transfer larger groups of needles on the main bed to create lace patterns, done of necessity in two-color brioche, but here I am seeking to modify lace punchcards so that the fabric based on them may be created successfully with as few errors and dropped stitches as possible.
My first attempt was made using a second knit carriage set to slip in both directions to preselect needles for transfers,  using a small lace repeat to test the idea. The advantage of this method is that the original lace repeat does not need to be altered in any way. The disadvantage, aside from requiring a second carriage to use, is that the width of the piece on the machine is limited.  The ribber carriage is in use and needs to remain at least in part on the machine bed on the far right, limiting the number of needles for possible use on the right side of 0 to about 20. The same work could be done using only one knit carriage as well, but that would require changing the cam buttons from slip in both directions to knit and back to slip at the appropriate points, one of the methods that make it possible to knit lace on the 260 bulky machines

The repeat used is for this swatch is from StitchWorld, and is knit using the second knit carriage for needle preselection.  Because each block contains lace transfers in only one direction, the fabric, even though it is a rib, reflects that in the biasing first in one direction, then in the opposite.

It helps to be clear as to whether one is producing lace repeat for use in a punchcard or an electronic model which in turn will require mirroring, such as when using Ayab or when using slip stitch selection with the knit carriage in combination with lace carriage selections to create shaped lace edgings. Testing on a small swatch will help determine whether mirroring is required for any specific design. Electronic machines usually produce the design as seen on the knit side, punchcard machines as they would be seen on the purl, thus making mirroring a requirement depending on the source for the design.
I usually begin by modifying my chosen repeat in a spreadsheet. On the left, the pairs of blank rows in the original repeat are temporarily colored in grey. It helps to be consistent. One repeat begins with a full motif, the other with half, which can be confusing when first starting out. The plan is to begin by producing a trim or edging, an all-over pattern for significant lengths appears daunting. Dropped stitches in single bed lace are no fun, in rib they may not even be noticed until the knitting is off the machine. The difference between the two repeats: the 2 grey rows on the left are replaced by black pixels or punched holes, with a blank row placed above and below each of the black row pairs. The design is now expanded from a 40-row height to a 50-row one suitable for use in a punchcard machine This explains some of the desired knitting actions Using the method described in other posts, this was the screengrab imported into Gimp. The grey line is a reference point. Cropping the image to content will allow the last blank row to be preserved by having the grey one there. After the crop, it can be bucket filled with white, or when the image is, in turn, bitmapped to B/W, you may find it disappears. Image scale is then used to reduce the repeat for knitting. This is the repeat used to knit the swatch in my 930. If working from it, punchcard knitters need to mirror designs from an electronic source such as this and will find it easier to do so by turning the card over, marking the holes that require punching on that side, doing so, and then inserting the card in the reader in its usual orientation.  The 930 .png: Prior to knitting the pattern using the ribber, it pays to test the repeat single bed to get a sense of where the knit rows occur and to make certain the transfers are happening in the correct direction and in what place on the needle bed. There should be no side by side empty needles, and in this design, the first pairs of transfers result in 3 stitches on one needle in the center of each shape, not side by side holes as seen here in the false start prior to mirroring the image Making things work: both carriages will be operating to and from the left-hand side. The process is facilitated by the use of an extension rail and a color changer. The knit carriage alone will operate to preselect the needles that will need to be hand transferred to create the lace pattern. With the following modification of the repeat, all transfers are made moving away from the knit carriage. So if the KC is on the right, transfer to the left, if it is on the left, transfer to the right. The paired carriages will create the two all-knit rows between lace segments. The blank rows above and below the two all punched or black pixel rows are there to return the carriages to the proper, left side to begin preselection for the next row of transfers. If any end needles are preselected on the knit bed, push them back to B.
It is best to knit 2 rows of full needle rib before beginning transfer, that will ensure that stitches on both beds are formed properly. I did not, had a spot on the cast-on where the loops were not properly placed on the comb, and that is reflected in the area that looks like a stitch was dropped. Begin with a zig-zag row from left to right, knit 2 circular rows, carriages will be on the right. Knit a sealing row to the left, followed by 2 all knit rows, ending with carriages once more on the left side.
COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, hold it in color changer by pushing the adjacent feeder number
separate the 2 carriages
cancel end needle selection
KC is set to slip in both directions, it will remain there for the duration of knitting the pattern, make certain all main bed needles are in the B position
KC operates alone to the right and preselects the first row of transfers
COR transfer preselected needles to the left, away from the carriage. Make certain all needles are in the B position before the next carriage pass. KC will preselect for transfers to the right as it returns to the left side.  Repeat the process until all needles are preselected for an all knit row as you knit back to the left
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles
Repeat: *COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, separate the 2 carriages, operate KC alone making transfers away from the carriage until all needles are preselected as you knit to the left. 
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles** until ready to continue in every needle rib.

This method is slow, I found it oddly meditative. It offers an opportunity to review stitch formation, thus avoiding dropped stitches. Hand transferring lace preselection on the single bed as well can sometimes make a fabric achievable that is otherwise cursed by dropped stitches and fiber issues.

A quick review of plaiting on Brother machines

Over time plying yarns and the resulting color distribution comes into question, and often that leads to discussions on plaiting. One of my ancient swatches shows some variations in using 2 different colored fibers in three ways. It was tagged for display with myriad other assorted swatches on corkboards in my classroom, which were usually covered with a variety of illustrations of stitches and techniques covered in weekly classes and in response to recent trends. As always, effects vary dramatically depending on the choice of color and yarn fiber, and thickness. Here the 2 yarns were fed through separate tension masts, and knit together plaiting with yarns swapped in feeders for reversible striped effect yarns wound together with yarn twister and used as a “single strand”A mock plaiting effect may also be obtained without a special feeder by locking the pattern on any all blank row, the standard yarn feeder with A and B yarn placement, and the fair isle setting. Results are not as consistent in color distribution.
True plaiting usually requires a special feeder unless the specific model km has a built-in option. Two yarns are used in the plaiting feeder. They pass by the needles in sequence. One yarn always passes first, the other follows. The standard feeder that normally carries the 2 colors when knitting fair isle is replaced, so this technique may be used in fabrics using cam button combinations other than fair isle and thread lace. Looking into the plaiting feeder from above you will see a central hole that traditionally carries the “main yarn”, and a crescent-shaped opening that carries the second yarn, which will trail behind as the carriage moves across the knitting bed. The second yarn appears on the purl side of the fabric.
In days when lurex combination scratchy yarns, and in any situation where the fiber used is unpleasant if touching the skin, a softer yarn may be used and brought to the interior side of the piece for comfort. I made a chenille sweater at one point with traditional cap sleeves that absolutely refused to knit to gauge. Adding matching wooly nylon and knitting it with the chenille solved the problem permanently and stabilized the knit. The contrasting color can provide a pleasant effect when fold-over collars, cuffs, etc. are part of the garment, and so on.
Brother plaiting feeders: Be aware if considering purchasing one that other parts appear on e-bay and other sale sites under this name, but are not the specific accessory. The following illustrations and directions for use are from Brother pubs easily found for download. For use on the main bed: Canceling end needle selection applies in any situation is used in a tuck or slip stitch settings if there are needles out of work on the main bed for any reason to maintain proper patterning in needles in work. Electronic knitters have the KCII option in the change knob.
For use on the ribber:
More random, ancient swatches: stocking stitch using equal weight yarns in a single bed tuck stitch double bed every needle rib tuck stitch using the same pattern repeat a racked sample When working on large pieces especially, the yarn in the front feeder especially may have a tendency to slip out. This is one option for helping to prevent that when the ribber is in use At one point I produce several circular sweaters using equal weight yarns to obtain the reversible 2 color look. I had more than one feeder, so I actually used a dab of glue in the slit below the yellow arrow The drawback to doing that is that the yarn cannot then be easily slid in and out of its position, but rather has to be dropped through the remaining hole using a double eye needle.

These illustrations are from a Brother manual for the 860 punchcard machine, an idea for working intarsia. I have not tested the method myself, am sharing it as a possibility for working the fabric without an accessory carriage

Ribber fabrics with stitch transfers between beds 1

These images provide partial views of garments shown in a recent Facebook MK group post,  followed by the “how-to” question A quick analysis leads to a list of assumptions that both are double bed fabrics, with stitches subtracted or added to create moving shapes on a striped ground. A color changer will be in use, so each color must be carried for 2 passes. The color used in the traveling shapes (red in my swatches) knits on both beds, the second color creating the alternate stripe on the background knits on only one bed. The second row of the red stitches is slipped while the white knits, so they become elongated, something that is reflected on the striping on the reverse, as well as on the knit side.
Though the ribber is in use, this is not a standard dbj fabric, so if automation is the goal, the color separation for the knit needs to be hand-drawn.
It is possible to move stitches to and from needle beds when knitting true DBJ with striper backing. This is one of my ancient swatches, every needle is in work on both beds except for areas where stitches have been transferred down to and up from the ribber.  The main bed is set to slip in both directions, the ribber set to knit. The suitable dbj separation is the one where each color in each row knits for 2 rows, whether performed by hand, using the 3 colors per row separation in img2track or the default separation in Passap. The Ayab HOP separation is awesome, works for any 3 color design with as little elongation as possible, but is not suited for this purpose. How-tos for DIY separations and their automated versions by programs for knitting more than 2 colors per row have been discussed in other posts.
The process may be reversed between beds. Stitches can be picked from the opposing bed to fill in needles emptied by transfers or brought into work empty for increases. The resulting eyelets may be left as a design element or filled in by picking up from adjacent stitches or ones on the ribber bed.
In the first swatch, all stitches will be in work on the knitting bed, while patterning stitches will be in selected groups on the ribber. When testing a concept it is best to start with a simple shape, contrasting colors,  on a limited number of stitches. To begin with, I went the easy route and tested the concept with a small racked pattern using only 5 ribber needles. The ribber slips for the 2 rows knit in the contrasting color in the ground, knits the pattern for 2 rows, requiring cams to be switched every 2 rows The goal is to be able to see and understand stitch formation. Production got cut short when I was faced with dropping individual stitches followed by the whole piece falling to the floor. In one of those drat it moments I realized that for the first time ever, with the knit carriage properly set to N, I had not, however, engaged it beneath the metal bar on the back of the bed, leaving it with its rear floating freely. A similar process on the Passap allows for playing easily with both racked colors because of the possible arrow and pusher settings on the back bed, but on Brother, this would require hand selection on the ribber on every row or a specific color separation for needle selection on the top bedSeeking automation, keeping things simple, here is a basic zigzag pattern in a repeat also executable on punchcard machines. The ribber is now set to knit throughout (N/N), the main bed to slip in both directions. End needle selection must be canceled when using the slip setting selectively or when working patterning with  needles completely out of work 

The color separation: the desired design needs to be expanded, with 2 blank rows between each pair of design rows The pattern on my 930 is knit as it appears in the chart, on the purl side. Punchcard knitters or users of other programs may need to mirror it to match my output  The process using 3 colors: the patterning color will be knit on needles preselected on the top bed. As shaping is about to begin, in this pattern, one needle preselected out indicates the location for an “increase”, one preselected back to B position a decrease  To perform the decrease, using a double eye tool to transfer the B position stitch down onto the ribber needle adjacent to the first needle in D position on the top bed As the carriages move to the opposite side a loop will form on the preselected empty needle, creating the increase on that side, keeping the width of the patterning stitches constant  In order for the patterning to remain correct, all needles on the top bed must be maintained in B position while not in use, or preselection may be incorrect, and increase loops will not be created, so, not this  A sideways view (for space consideration) of the knit still on the KM begins to show the distortion in the knit created by the movement of the stitches. The red yarn creates a single line where stitches are skipped on the reverse, a double one when it knits for 2 rows The repeat and the knit shown on both sides: Comparing the 2 color and 3 color versions: aside from the obvious increase in length, note that the slipped segments in red on the 3 color swatch are now composed of longer stitches since they are held for 2 additional rows, and the overall fabric is more puckered than the 2 color version. The curling at the sides is the nature of edge stitches, especially if the yarn used is wool. At times that may be used intentionally, as a decorative edge.

Repeats where the design charts require expansion to accommodate techniques quickly grow in length. The simple zig-zag doubled in length from 32 to 64 rows. I work things out in a spreadsheet, open a screengrab of the final choice in GIMP, index mode the result, scale it, and save the PNG for download to the 930. Long color separations are harder to achieve cleanly in GIMP alone but are also possible.

Returning to the 2 color pattern in the inspiration image and limiting the width to the 24 stitch punchcard restriction: a way to begin is to design a 2 color shape to approximate the repeat in the desired fabric and as in any other designs, check for repeat alignment by tiling prior to knitting to find any easily visible errors. The first single (ultimately 24X32) repeat, suitable for standard DBJ, has not been cropped properly in the top illustration. It is followed by the correct one  Using the same color separation as for the simple zig-zag shape, the design is expanded to include knit bed rows that will be skipped completely, resulting in the ribber alone knitting in the second color for those rows. It is now twice as long as the original, 24X64The planned proof of concept added a 4 stitch border on the right for a 28 stitch swatch centered with 14 stitches either side of 0. Tiling the repeat X2 again in height made it easier for me to plan how to manage transfers to expose the varying stripes in the ground.  Visual comparison to the movement in the inspiration knit:  As the number of needles in work on either of the 2 beds is increased, it is likely tension or yarn changes may be required. The first preselection row is from the right, toward the color changer. The stitches on the non selected needles are transferred to the bottom bed with the color change, only preselected needles will knit on both the top and bottom beds moving to the right and will do so again on the return to the left while preselecting an all blank row on the next pass to the right only the ribber knits in the ground color;     on the following pass to the left the second ground color row is knit on the ribber, with preselection happening at the same time for the next row in the pattern color The red, 3 strand cash-wool was giving me grief, so I switched it out for the blue. Both yarns are on the thin side but OK for testing the concept. The initial partial striped lozenge shape is finished with straightforward knitting The solid ground stitches in the inspiration fabric, however, have a sideways movement as the next striped lozenge gets shaped. In any standard knit such movements are achieved manually by using multiple stitch transfer tools. Planning ahead in a spreadsheet helps. My first test of the full repeat approaches the desired result, but the transitions beginning at design row 30 for the decreasing angle in the white yarn is a bit clumsy and requires a redo to make it easier and with clearer instructions Back to the drawing board in order to reduce the number of hand manipulations involved, with a shift in the center transition, the repeat in my spreadsheet is now 24 stitches wide, plus an additional 4 stitch border, and gets marked up with colors. I prefer to program the width of my knitting as opposed to a single repeat for all over patterning The resulting final 24 stitch repeat with the added 4 stitch border, now 68 rows highThe choice can be made based upon the preference of moving stitch groups to the right or to the left with the horizontal direction of the repeat adjusted for your KM model or software used.  I planned the transfers in this swatch toward the color changer after picking up the proper color, white, and before knitting the next row using it. The 930 png: The preselection row is from right to the left, toward the color changer. End needle selection is canceled. All stitches not selected on the main bed are moved down onto ribber needles beneath them. Needle selection takes care of the increasing angle in the surface yarn (white), as less of the striped ground becomes exposed. At this point, row 34 on the 930 counter, the single elongated slipped stitch is moved down onto the ribber. The next preselection will require the first transfer on the top bed, row 38. In my case, the movement was to the left. After the transfer is made, be certain to leave any empty needles in B position, and to bring all transferred stitch needles out to hold so they will knit in the slip setting as the carriage moves across the bed to the other side. The preselection will insure all necessary stitches will knit on the way back to the left When the top of the repeat is reached, row 68, the only needles selected will be those of the 4 stitch vertical columns and the design repeat will return to its start
My proof of concept swatch is  3.75 inches wide The inspiration sweater was knit using a wider repeat and significantly thicker yarn, reflected here in the small number of repeats composing the sweater body front Amending the 24 stitch repeat is possible, its length will grow in proportion to the increase in its width. The ratio of rows/ stitches to maintaining shaping by single stitch increases or decreases as in the original remains at 2.8. The lozenge is likely to remain elongated. Since at any point, the ribber will be knitting a large number of stitches single bed, the tension on its carriage needs to accommodate that. When the majority of needles are selected on the top bed, the fabric is knitting in every needle rib, which requires a tighter tension than when using the same yarns single bed. As a result tension adjustment to reduce the height of the knit repeat may be very limited.
The last test is now 84 rows high, with 5 stitch vertical bands. An added 6 stitch border on one side changes the programmed width up to 36 stitches so I don’t have to think about positioning the pattern on the needle bed. The extra stitch was eliminated at the start of the piece:   The off white yarn used here was the same thickness but not fiber content as in the previous swatch, 2/18 wool-silk vs Australian wool in the former. It is not as smoothly spun. The result shows an interesting similarity in length, though there are 16 additional rows in the pattern repeat. This time I programmed my repeat for stitch transfers on the knit bed to move away from the color changer. Eliminating the border on one side, a double repeat (30 stitches) measure 4 inches in width. To put the difference in scale to the sweater in perspective, an oversize garment with 40 inches in chest diameter would require 20 inches in width for the front piece. Ten single repeats, as opposed to the inspiration’s sweater 4, bring the total required the number of stitches to 150. With the added border of 5 stitches for matching side edges, the fabric is in the realm of possibility for producing a garment on the home knitting machine. My tension was set at 3/3 for all the swatches, with some teasing required on occasion to encourage stitches on the main bed to knit off properly. Ribber height adjustment can also have an effect on those numbers. I tend to do all my knitting with the slide lever in the center position. The double 30X84 repeat with no added border

A return to Ayab knitting

1/2021 For a variety of reasons it has been nearly a year since I attempted any swatch tests in significant lengths using Ayab. I am interested in exploring long repeats created with small stitch units, and the possible illusion of color variations if any created by the fabric movement. My first design was a dbj heart of Pluto fail because of a problem between the monitor and the chair, the middle value was too close to one of the 2 other colors in the palette, so it did not get knit on the top bed, I did not pay attention, kept on going,  the patterning for only 2 colors appeared correct over more than 200 rows. The second test was of a different repeat in 2 colors. It was knit in single bed FI for the first run and here I am again with the issue I have had in the past with patterning errors in longer knit pieces. The fabric begins to do what I intended, the effect may be more marked if knit at a tighter tension. This is the working repeat, 34 X140 pixels, check if downloaded that the mode does not get switched back to RBC,  here repeated X2 in width, with a 2 stitch border in black on either side (72 X 140), suitable width for a scarf in DBJ. DBJ is a better choice for long pieces since fair isle has a tendency to not stay flat, rolling toward the purl side. The side border is a personal preference of mine. Now that Ayab allows for repeating the patterns both in width and height, such border additions, whether for a single color vertical line or to produce all knit stitches aside tuck or slip center areas are still not possible additions within the program itself There have previous posts on automated lace edging on Brother machines, ie 1, and 2. For anyone wishing to try them, this shows the proper Ayab orientation for the repeat, along with selection errors on my 910 The first preselection row is as always from left to right, the knit carriage, set to slip in both directions when on the right knits 2 rows, preselects for the first row of transfers as it moves from left to right, and lace patterning and selection begins from the opposite side. Extension rails are a must on both sides since both carriages are now selecting needles and each needs to be off the belt while the opposite carriage is in use

After absences from topics, I find it necessary to review them and their categories. This list, for now, catalogs my previous shares on Ayab use specifically, all are subject to future editing
Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ  1/20
Ayab: short rows automated with slipstitch  5/18
Revisiting knitting with 2 carriages single bed, 910 vs Ayab so far  4/18
A Brother 910/ Ayab diary/ EMS kit 3/18
Quilting using Ayab software  2/18
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software  1/18
Lace punchcards meet Ayab 1/18

Although my swatches this past year were often knit using another interface I have added mentions of ayab repeats which will turn up in searches. Other times I have added them to earlier posts such as this one combining KC patterning with racking 2017/12/20

 

Knitting with “unusual” fibers/ elastic 2

WORK IN PROGRESS 

My first DBJ tests from a previous post on knitting with elastic. used an axometric shape, with the tentative repeat worked out and in turn, elongated X2 and tiled to check alignment. Until doubled in height the original repeat is composed of an odd number of rows in height. Usually, double bed knitting relying on color changes or automatic DBJ KRC separations require an even number of rows in the motif. The first sample was knit using single-ply cotton and elastic yarns respectively, fed through separate upper tension disks but knit together as a single color. The swatch is 72 stitches in width but measures only 14.5 mm (5.7 inches) in width, producing a gauge of nearly 13 stitches for inch, not achievable when knitting with standard fibers on a standard 4.5 mm machine. The pattern is subtle, more visible on the knit side, hard to tell there are pockets in the knit. The cotton is space-dyed, and as true when using such yarns, that causes some confusion in immediately identifying a clear pattern. The ruffled effect is simply from a plain knit start and color-changing stripes to test tension and knittability on the planned needle width. Machine settings: opposite part buttons,  no liliHere the same pattern was executed on the same number of stitches with the white wool used above, but the elastic was plied with a 2/24 acrylic yarn and knit as DBJ with the blue, stretchy combination creating the solid color backing. A comparison in scale The same pattern repeat knit with striper backing is far less interesting 

The solid color backing in DBJ can be produced by changing ribber settings with each color change from N/N fo slip <– –> and back. I have sometimes knit DBJ with 4 carriages or with a third, knit-only carriage working the rows normally slipped by the ribber. The sinker plate for one knit carriage is altered as described in the post. The knitting requires that the ribber stops be removed, and that carriage(s) be off the bed on extension rails while the other(s) are in use so as not to damage the belt. The maximum width of the fabric is limited by the necessity of having the knit cleared on both sides with all carriage passes.
My mongrel set up includes a 930 bed, an 892 punchcard carriage with a magnet attached coupled with the 850 ribber carriage, and a 910 carriage with the modified sinker plate. As a bit of possible disaster prevention, the knit/ribber combo has an elastic to ensure the ribber stays on its own bed as well, while I grabbed extras to help support the rail on the other side just in case the 910 carriage went too far. Because when using the KRC separation the white squares knit first, I planned the repeat for 64 stitches color reversing the repeat used the FI and thread lace samples in the previous post.to this, I used a 2/18 wool at tensions 3/3 for the backing fabric and two strands of the elastic with no added changes to its yarn mast tension, at tension 7 in the single knit carriage.
Using this method of DBJ, which is the same as that used in 2 color quilting, when the ribber and knit carriage both knit, the fabric is sealed where there are needles selected on the main bed. When the ribber is set to slip in both directions, or the method here is used, the main bed only knits selected needles and skips the non selected ones, creating floats and pockets in the fabric in those areas. The appearance of the fabric when stretched and weighted, still between the beds and off Going the far more traditional route of traditional dbj with use of the color changer, striper backing with the ribber set to N/N yields a wider, flatter fabric with an interesting purl side while my very brief effort at attempting to knit with one side of the ribber set to knit, the other to slip, met with immediate dropped stitches by the elastic. The birdseye version had more of a bent on the surfaces of both colors. I stopped knitting when a few of the elastic stitches on the left purl side dropped off. It would appear at this point that the most interesting effects in the simplest to execute DBJ setting are ones with balanced positive and negative spaces in the design.

Previously I used the repeat on the top left, also shown tiled. The subsequent swatch was knit using the bottom 66X22 tiled repeat, planning to start KRC preselection from the left on a white square, the ribber set to N/NI found the fabric attractive on the purl side, but I was having issues with dropped stitches I could not explain that would need sorting out if producing larger swatches. Adding a third ply of elastic was disastrous at any tension. Better results occurred simply by increasing the ribber tension by 2 whole numbers, the knit tension by 1, and reverting to the previous yarn usage. There is a single dropped stitch in the elastic, and the result has much more of a 3D effect.