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.

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

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.

Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 2/ HOP

At the start of 2018, I wrote a long post on creating drop stitch lace using ayab software and some of the techniques required to produce the fabric. Since then the software has been updated including several new features and among them the heart of pluto HoP color separation for executing multiple colors per row dbj, and revisited the topic providing links to all the previous related posts.  It occurred to me I might be able to use it to make drop stitch lace without having to manually perform the color separation and then entering it as a single bed pattern. This was my first proof of concept effort, dropping each of the 2 colors in turn. Making things work: my first desired repeat was what I expected would produce a circular shape, it measured 33 stitches by 23 rows. Increments in height need to happen at sequences of 2 rows each, so the design was then doubled in height, resulting in a scaled image now 33 stitches by 46 rows in height, with a planned horizontal repeat X2 = 66. Note: the sidebar offers start and end needles are given for pattern placement on the needle bed. Sampling may occur on fewer stitches than that. Since the number of repeats programmed to add up to an even number and center alignment is chosen, the number of needles is even on each side of 0. In my second series of swatches, I decided to try for a smaller “circular” shape, with the repeat now measuring 15 wide by 20 high, and a planned horizontal repeat X3 = 45. If centered, the software places the odd number of needles on the right-hand side of 0. As with any pattern using Ayab, the starting side is with COL. The critical difference is that all needles are in work on the ribber, all needles on the main bed start in work but empty. White squares select first. The main bed is set to slip both ways throughout, the ribber for this fabric is set to knit every needle, every row. The choice then needs to be made as to whether both colors or only one is to be dropped. The software does the work involved in the separation, but the knitter needs to manually cancel needle preselection on the main bed on a regular basis as well as drop stitches formed there. This is best achieved by using a ribber cast on comb or a similar tool. A modified stitch dropping tool does not work unless all needles in work are in B position, so if they are pushed back it will work here as well but I found the cast on comb made the process faster. I will refer to colors as black and white, as they would appear in the design in black and white pixels. Begin with base rows in white. Whether dropping one or both colors, the first preselected row is disregarded on the main bed in both fabrics.
Begin COL: main bed set to slip <– –> (remains there throughout). As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white pixels is preselected, the ribber only knits.
COR: for both fabrics, use the chosen tool to push preselected needles back to the B position. As you move to the left side and the color changer, the needles for the first row of stitches to be dropped in the next color (black pixels) will be preselected
For dropping both colors 
*COL: pick up the color to be used for black squares, loops will be formed on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward so stitches on the main bed move behind the latches, I tend to do so all the way to E. As needles are returned to the B position the loops formed on the previous pass will drop, creating long stitches on the ribber bed. As you return to the left nothing happens on the main bed (needles in B position are not worked in slip stitch), but the next row of white pixels will preselect
COL: pick up the color to be used for white squares, loops will be picked up on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward to drop stitches on the main be, push all needles back to B, knit one row to the left side, as you do so next row of black pixels will preselect**
COL: repeat * to**
I knit until the green yarn broke for some unknown reason For dropping only one color of the two, I chose color 2, “black squares” after preselection starting row
COL: main bed set to slip <– –>. As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white pixels is preselected, the ribber only knits.
COR: use the chosen tool to push preselected needles back to the B position. As you move to the left side and the color changer, the needles for the first row of stitches to be dropped in the next color (black pixels) will be preselected
*COL: pick up the color to be used for black pixels, loops will be picked up on the main bed as you knit one row to the right
COR: push all needles forward to drop stitches on the main bed, and then push all needles back to B. Knit one row to the left side, as you do so next row of black pixels will preselect
COL: now working with “white”. No loops are wanted on the main bed, so the last preselected row of needles needs to be pushed back to B before returning to the right, knit one row
COR: cancel needle selection again,
as you return to left the next row of black squares will preselect**
COL: change colors, repeating * to **End with some rows on the ribber in “white” to match the number used at the start of the piece.
Casting on and binding off both need to be loose since the fabric stretches considerably when off the machine.  I like to start in waste yarn, make certain my colors change properly, pull down a long yarn end, and begin the final piece on open stitches. At the top, I bind off on the main bed, either transferring stitches up to the main bed from the ribber or taking them off on waste and rehanging them there. A latch tool bind off may then be done around two gate pegs or even more to provide stretch at the top. The bottom of the piece can then be rehung and the same bind off can be executed so the top and bottom edges will match in stretch and width.

Sometimes things are not necessarily worth doing because you can. I was curious as to whether an all one color drop stitch could also be executed using this separation. It is but involves pushing needles back to B multiple times in each sequence. I started with a shape, scaled it twice as long, erased every other row, tiled it X3 horizontally, The wider horizontal band of all knit stitches was due to operator error, happened when I pushed back preselection an extra time, resulting in the ribber only knitting extra rows. For the sake of added clarity, I have added color to the chart below, assigning yellow and grey to all-white design areas in the pattern. The black squares are what I choose to drop. For illustration purposes, this is only a segment of the repeat. The process: begin with COL: main bed set to slip <– –>. As the carriage moves to the right, the first row of white squares/ pixels (yellow) is preselected, the ribber only knits.
*COR: cancel any needle preselection for white (yellow) squares, all needles are pushed back to Bas the carriages move to the left, the black squares will preselect COL: knit to the right in order to form loops on the main bed,  they will be dropped to form long stitches
COR: loops have been formed drop the loops, return needles to B position. At this point, since all needles are in B a modified stitch ditcher may be used for 2 passes, dropping the loops on the first pass and returning the whole series back to B on the second. As you move back to the left, all the needles will be preselected for the all-white row (grey squares), COL: push all preselected needles back to B, as you knit back to the right the next group of white squares (yellow) in the next design row will be preselected*COR: push selected needles back to B as you move toward the left the next row of black squares will be preselected selectedCOL: knit to the right in order to form loops on the main bed, continue for the desired number of repeats and end as suggested for the two-color version.

Previously knit, not using this method, a sample with the ground behind the shape dropping stitches and one in 2-color with shapeshifts For a while, Camino bubbles were a popular topic and created with dropped stitches, for the series on the topic search 

 

 

Knitting with “unusual” fibers/ elastic 1

Decades ago UKI used to offer 92 colors in a 3M elastic, and for some time lots of folks were experimenting with using it as the second color in fair isle. A company now defunct called Impresario used to even sell pattern books for garments using the technique, with the no stretch ground yarns creating ruffled details in cuffs and sleeves. One of my students during that time made a whole collection where the elastic was used in shaping segments of pieces and even in a whole dress. Since pleating, folds, blisters, bubbles have been intermittent themes in my blog posts the elastic and “unusual” fiber use seems to be a natural follow up in my swatch knitting experiments.
Early published designs can be found using elastic in patterning. Thread lace was an early feature in Silver Reed machines, so if that is a fabric that is attractive, downloading Studio specific punchcard books or those for their electronic designs is well worth it and provides a wealth of inspiration for the related knits. The knitting technique is often referred to as punch lace in early pubsIf a clear color contrast is desired, FI is the better option. One such source: The above patterns are decoded for use on Brother electronics in a subsequent post

In an earlier post on “pretend cables” I shared a demo swatch from my teaching days (shown sideways) that became the springboard for the mentioned student collection
and its accompanying punchcard repeat:UKI is no longer available. I recently acquired some Yeoman elastomeric nylon-lycra yarn. The latter is supplied on 1450 yards per pound cones in 23 colors.
There were several things to be sorted out for the elastic to feed smoothly. The first was to separate it into more than one cone with the intent of using at least 2 strands since one did not seem to work predictably. After trying a variety of trial methods including bypassing the tension dial in the yarn mast, ultimately the best results were obtained by threading the elastic as any other yarn but taping the metal disks spaced apart in the assembly thus reducing the pressure and upper tension on the elastic as it advanced through the mast for knitting.
The normal threading

Here the white yarn shows position beneath the pin and scotch tape in place to adjust the amount of pressure exerted on the elastic. As a matter of routine, even if the goal is to knit the fibers double bed, it is always best to make certain one gets familiar with yarn feeding, tensions, changes when larger widths of knitting are attempted, etc. on the single bed. The first tests were knit using the fair isle and thread lace settings single bed. Though I am using  img2track to download to a 930, I do not have a 930 carriage (910 ones do not have a thread lace option), so I worked the swatches using a punchcard model carriage. The repeats used were planned to include borders on each side to ensure those stitches would knit in the second, B feeder color in fair isle (black squares, punched holes), or together in white squares (unpunched holes) in thread lace. Fair Isle produces a double set of floats on the purl side. Thread lace produces a single set of floats (in this case the elastic), the white border is not visible in the repeat below, it is the same as the above fabric, with colors reversed. I prefer the single float backing. In addition, for these fabrics the elastic is placed in the A feeder, the yarn in BI found the standard sinker plate kept having issues with the thread lace option, getting needles caught up in it as it attempted to move across the bed. The sinker plate that was provided with the punchcard machine was actually different, and when I switched to using it I had no further problems. Arrows point to differences, I have long since replaced all brushes with wheels on all my sinker plates. Be aware when purchasing any of them that the bulky KM ones are slightly larger. A second thread lace variation:
The multiple folds and creases, as opposed to smooth blister in all the above, are very interesting to me.
There are many scientific papers being written on 3D knitting that explore pleating achieved by using knit and purl combinations which to some degree could be emulated on home knitting machines equipped with a G carriage. Other work explores properties achieved by using elastics in the mix, they can be found by searching for “axometric knits”.

Many interesting pleating effects may be achieved by using knit and purl combinations. Unless one has a mechanical aid such as a Gcarriage transferring between beds can be tedious and hard to do correctly for lengthy pieces of knitting. I illustrated one sample in the post I decided to now test a similar block structure using the thread lace setting, first with a large check and then a far smaller oneThe spots, where the elastic and yarn knit together, are compressed, so the results are quite different than what might be expected from studying the chart A quick, imperfect sample using a fine cotton and a single strand of the elastic, each with its own upper tension disk adjustments.a close-up of the elastic and cotton, though they are knitting stocking stitch together, the cotton does not have the same stretch factor, so the loop formation as viewed on the purl side is different  What of knitting on a double bed? An axometric shape, a tentative repeat worked out and in turn elongated X2 and tiled to check alignment. 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 executed 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 My future intent is to try for some of the 3D shapes obtained with racking, but prior to that, I tested the yarn and tensions on some simple every needle rib racked patterns. Because of the movement required across the metal bed for racking to occur, I chose to continue using the same wool as above, rather than thin cotton likely to break from the stress of those movements. A plating feeder would do a better job of distributing the colors, which here become muddied as seen any time 2 contrasting colors are knit together and are used as “one strand”. Racking every 2 rows (swatch bottom) will stress the yarn less than every one row (swatch top). The knitting was fairly easy at tension 4 and 3 respectively. Both carriages were set to knit in both directions. The weighted rib on the machine measured 16 inches, 10 when off it and relaxed. The width nearly doubles when fully stretched. I was curious to try a pattern previously tested in an all woolThe stitches were quite compressed, the color mixing makes the shapes harder to trace, the fabric measures nearly double in width when fully stretched in width, the needle arrangement is more visible at that point.The needle arrangement was changed. The finished swatch measured 24 inches when weighted and on the machine, approximately 18 inches when off and relaxed. The maximum width was expanded from 4 to 12 inches The “pleating” arrangement is noticeable in this view Working with a similar arrangement I decided to try having patterning on the top bed, with the aim to tuck on the single needles in work in the repeat (bottom line of black squares). Not all ideas are an immediate success. Wanting to see the effect on the single-ply wool I began with that at the tension that appeared to be required for knitting it along with the elastic and stitches were far too loose.I had more success and a bit better definition of the fabric by knitting with both strands together from the bottom up. In an effort to attempt to have better color distribution I used the plating feeder and had some issues with stitches not knitting off properly. The result was not significantly different than that obtained by simply feeding both yarns together. When using plating feeders both on the single and the double beds one of the yarns may have a tendency to jump out, to prevent that from happening here is one “hack”.The tuck stitches do help with the definition of the shapes, as do the dropped stitches, a fact worth keeping in mind with a return to pleats and their formation, but likely in another post. Likely the last test in this series, I attempted a version of dragon scales at first using a yarn I knew would be too thin for the effect alone, then added the elastic. The combined yarns did not tolerate tuck and racking combined, so I then used slip stitch <– –>. The yarn alone sample was too loose and thus nearly flat and when the elastic was added the resulting knit became compressed and lost any semblance of 3DThe same yarn as above, also knit in tuck setting, showing the difference in size and dimension between slip setting on left, tuck on right As with any knitting, keeping an eye on what your yarn is doing still matters. Such as this will lead to a series of circumstances that may bring your project to a far earlier end than planned ;-(
A very last effort at attempting the scales with elastic and wool knit at a far looser tension that in previous tests, ended when elastic broke as a result of above, IMO an unremarkable fabric For more swatches and information see post on knitting with elastic 2 

Blistered stitches dbj

Some of my previous posts on double bed fabrics with designs creating pockets in both one and two colors:
quilting-on-the-knitting-machine-1/
quilting-on-the-brother-km-2-solid-color-back-dbj/
revisiting machine knit quilting 
quilting using ayab software
https://alessandrina.com/2019/12/15/references-for-double-bed-single-color-references-for-double-bed-single-color-fabrics-with-pockets/

A review of some of the terms used in describing fabrics with raised designs in various patterns:
blistered fabrics: two rows of the main color are knit the same as in standard dbj, but more rows are added and knit with the blister color on only one of the two beds used to create textured pockets. Technically they can be executed in a single color as well as in two colors per row. The extra rows result in the blisters being raised or lifted up from the fabric surface, they are often also referred to as pintucks. These fabrics do not have the width and stretch of many other 2 color dbj fabrics.
When exploring this family of knits, use plain, fairly smooth and thin yarns. This is a fabric where pressing should be avoided so the texture is not lost or altered. For setting the pockets created sometimes slipping a wire or tool through the bubbles will do the trick as for any hems. Simple, bold patterns work the best. Spreading the texture evenly throughout the design will decrease distortions in width. Leaving needles out of work combined with racking can alter the basic technique considerably.
In the two-color version, a double thickness fabric with a crumpled face side and a single color backing is created. The blistered areas are knit in one bed only, the rest is full needle rib with floats from each blister enclosed in the fabric.
Begin with a repeat that is elongated X2, the jacquard separated pattern needs to be double marked. Needles are arranged as for DBJ. For 2 colors the main bed is set to slip <— —> throughout, but the ribber settings need to be changed and set to knit and slip alternately for 2 rows to produce the single color backing.  Good needle condition is a must if occasional stitches are dropped on the ribber they can be repaired when the work is off the machine.
Ripples are created by setting one bed to slip and the other to knit for several rows, then setting both beds to knit simultaneously to join the tucks in repeats. They are selective pintucks, on every needle rib. The main bed is set to slip <—  —> throughout, the ribber carriage is set to slip for 4 or more even numbers of rows, and then to knit for 2 rows (this number may also be varied depending on the specific pattern). This is a fabric that likes to be weighted evenly. Tight ribber tension will help increase the definition of ripples. As in any multicolor fabric, each set of ripple stitches may be knit using a different color yarn.  Some designs tolerate having the main bed set to tuck rather than knit.
Brother machines often are limited to 4 rows knitting on the bed creating the ripple before closing the rib.
Transferring blister stitches to main bed, with a shadow lace tool or a transfer carriage is referred to as “shadow lace”. Adding blank rows in your design makes it easier to have a transfer point to the opposite bed. Using a plaiting feeder will add color contrast.
“Nopps” which are essentially small bumps on tightly textured tuck stitch grounds require careful tension adjustments.

An image was shared in a machine knitting group on Facebook. It cropped up in Pinterest, could be traced back to some Russian knitting forums and a how-to knit query was made
There is an Italian language youtube channel with a throve of machine knitting videos, one on jacquard groffato , executed on punchcard machines, with a companion video on punching the card. Groffato means embossed.
Points to remember: the more needles on either bed knit alone to create the pockets, the more the tension used needs to approach the one for single bed knitting there with the same yarn. Large shapes are best used, represented by white squares /unpunched areas. Punchcards such as ones published with large unpunched areas for thread lace designs or tuck stitches with large punched areas color reversed can work once the principle is sorted out.
The setting used in the video is for tubular/ circular knitting.
The all punched rows in the video actually match rows that would be knit anyway because the main carriage is set to knit in one of the two directions, not slip. Two yarn ends are used, which could result in a fairly dense fabric with limited drape. Switching to a single yarn end can alter both considerably.
In designing your own patterns for testing it is best at the start to keep shapes simple and not worry about repeat variations.  I am working on a 930 using img2track, but my repeat is 24 stitches wide and usable on a punchcard model, its source is another pin. To make the design twice as long, when planning an electronic download, the image can be stretched in the design software or by altering the stretch factor to 2 in img2track. Tiling the design prior to download can help one imagine the potential results in using it for an all-over pattern or what its appearance might be if the repeat is shifted into a brick configuration.
Use a familiar, smooth yarn in an easy to see color. Tension changes alone can change the dimension in the textured surface, so having a “normal” baseline for tensions and “feel” while knitting from previous uses of the yarn double bed gives one a good starting point.
The “flower” image used in my tests is shown here in the original, and then is color reversed so its shape will blister, not the ground. Below it, on the left, the image was stretched within img2track, on the right within my design program which happens to be Gimp. In both instances, the original 24X24 design becomes 24X48 in actual knitting

The tiled image for both a standard repeat and a brick configuration shifting by 12 stitches to the right are not thrilling me, but the goal is to explore the knit technique, modifications in the original or even abandoning it can happen later My starting samples were knit on 32 stitches, not enough to get a sense of or a good view of the horizontal repeat of 24 stitches. At first, I used the design version with no horizontal black lines in the download. The difference between the every needle rib at the bottom of the pieces and the slip stitch blister fabric is easily seen. Slip stitches are short and thin whether single or double bed. On the left, I used the tensions of 4/4, as for the particular yarn in past experiments. On the right, the switch was made to 4/2. The tighter ribber tension made the blisters more pronounced. The non selected needles on the main bed create the pockets. Because functions repeat for pairs of rows in this design, the first preselection row can happen from either side and cam buttons may be reversed with similar results as seen in top vs bottom below. Opposite part buttons are used as in option A or B.As I have explained in the past, I tend to leave the slide lever permanently in the center position. It becomes one less variable, forgetting to reset it can result in errors in gauge and more mishaps when knitting multiple pieces where gauge matters significantly or in reproducing previous work. The “striped” repeat produces essentially the same fabric. The knit carriage may be set to slip in both directions when using it since the row of all punched holes or black pixels will knit every stitch on every needle selected while in the previous samples the cam button set to knit in one direction performed that function regardless of any markings on the design repeat.  The ribber is set to knit in one direction, slip in the other. Reversing sides for cam button settings produces the same fabric  

To my mind, the best shapes for this sort of surface design are clearly geometric ones. My eye sees them as more easily identified on the surface of the resulting knit. Sticking with the original “flower” however, here it is after a bit of editing of just a few pixels followed by a larger swatchThe Stitchworld Pattern Book is another good source for predesigned repeats, many in units suitable for punchcards as well. I was attracted to the possible geometry in this particular patternThe repeat I chose is designated as suitable for the Garter Carriage. It is 24 stitches wide by 48 rows high, shown below as provided, charted in Gimp as .png for download, and tiled to help visualize how continuous repeats might line up. The image .png was downloaded with img2track to my 930, with a stretch factor of 1.0, retaining the original repeat sizeThe resulting knit is interesting on both its knit and the purl sides, clearly shows how the “image” is shortened in slip stitch techniques, elongation would be required to create more of the diamond shape Final decisions are often best made after a period of rest for both the knit and for our eyes. It is only in the actual knitting that the shapes can be finally evaluated, worked on further, or abandoned. One of my own best selling felted items for more than a decade was born from an accidental effect on a large swatch that nearly landed in the trashcan after it became something different than what I had planned or expected.

DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 2

I am taking a break from this topic for a bit. At some point will add at least one more swatch and perform another edit. My eyeballs and brain need to be looking at some single color knitting and no more than 2 color squares for a while 🙂

My first attempt to use a 3 color automatic separation was with img2track. There are 2 oddities for me using the program. One is that the default selector setting is for a single motif, perhaps on the assumption that the main use would primarily be for large scale, nonrepetitive images. The other is that even if working with 2-row color changes with each color in each design row knitting for 2 rows, the first preselection row must be made from the color changer side. This is a necessity in Japanese color separations for 2 color work where the first color knits for only one row on moving from the right side to the left, but if 2 colors with the same selection are required at the start, one row of the 2 appears to be technically eliminated as a result. I had expected to use 3 shades of grey, a pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than grays. The test was using the 11 stitch repeat A pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than greys image. Using Gimp, images worked in RGB can be reduced to indexed 3 colors for this purpose. If there are rows where there is no color represented, then as explained later in the post, the indexing should be to 4 colors, not 3 for the planned for import to work properly.The design is automatically flipped vertically, so it will appear as intended on the knit side of the fabric. Yarn colors may be placed in the color changer matching the order in the assigned color numbers to match the placements in the original image. The program automatically adjusts for the vertical stretch, which changes the aspect ratio of the shapes. On my 930 I received prompts on which color to change to prior to doing so, eliminating any confusion. With no such prompts generally one can tell which color was knit last because it will appear on top of the previously used one on the left of the knit. With a stretch factor of 1 selected in img2track, the image height was reduced by half.To achieve a look closer to the intended shape,  the repeat needs to be rendered twice as long. The stretch factor can be adjusted in the program itself to 2.0

In the past, I have preferred to elongate the design prior to importing with plans for download rather than to rely on memory for changing settings either in the download program or in the machine itself in future uses of the same design.The same yarns, tension, total number of carriage passes and settings were used showing the difference in aspect ratio between single color per row knitting and the img2track built-in color separation. The width of both swatches is essentially identical.

Images may be loaded into the program without the cable being connected to the machine. Error messages do appear with download attempts if the cable is not properly in place. The machine also needs to be powered on before the program is launched if a download is planned. I am working in Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6, have no present desire to upgrade to Catalina.
Executing fabrics that will knit each color in each row only once for every 2 passes on the main bed: back to that original repeat Here it is used as drawn, note vertical stretch set at 2, will be cut in half by the software, getting the image back to the original height l0 X 3 = 30 rows required for all colors to knit in turn; there will be 60 carriage passes to complete one single repeat.The 930 will provide prompts for the next color to be selected by pushing the matching number button on the color changer, avoiding any confusion in terms of what should be picked up next. img2track will also flip the design horizontally automatically so the image will appear as originally drawn on the knit side. Images are loaded as single motifs, so the change in the selector needs to be made manually for an all-over pattern.

In order to have each color in each row knit only once: cast on with preferred method and color. Set up the machine so that the yarn colors are placed in the color shown in the image presented by the program to match your design. End with the machine on the left-hand side for the first preselection row.
COL: set both carriages to slip in both directions and all its needles in B position, set lili buttons if not already in use, pick up color 1
knit one row to the right
COR: knit to left, color 1 will knit for a single row
**COL: change color, STOP! Push back any needles on the top bed back to B position, as you knit to the right the ribber only will be knitting, knit one row to the right
COR: preselected needles will knit in the color last picked up on the way back to the color changer, knitting only one row in that color on the main bed as you return to the left**
repeat the last ** 2 steps throughout. One can get into a rhythm. A cast on comb, part of a garter bar, or any tool of adequate width can make it a quick process of pushing needles back to B when needed to
trust the software, not the selection expected by your eyes.
My swatch seemed to be growing in length at a faster rate than I remembered in the last exercise, here the results are shown side by side with the fabric executed previouslyObviously a success in terms of the single row for each color reducing elongation of the design shape.  While knitting occurs using the same yarns, at the same tensions, there is a clear difference in the length of each stitch on the main bed and their appearance. The reverse. Checking the ribber carriage I noticed on the left side it was set to knit only, not to slip: OOPS!N is king, so the ribber set as shown is knitting every other needle when moving to the right, but even with lili buttons in use it knits on every needle when moving back to the left. Every other needle on the ribber will then be knitting for 2 rows as a result. The more knitting on the ribber for each pair of rows, the longer the stitches on the opposite bed. The backing is an interesting variation (half) birdseye. The elongated stitches on the main bed show more of the backing in between their shapes, it is referred to as bleedthrough. In some instances, the result can make the knit surface resemble weaving and its appearance far less familiar in a surprising, pleasant way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Remember always to double-check all settings at the start of any process in case something was missed or magically moved, and keep notes.

I was asked on Facebook whether the technique shown here is the same as the 3 color slip (skip) stitch patterns in the Stitchworld pattern book, my response: some of the stitch world patters for 3 color slip are designed for or may be used on the double bed (often single bed as well). For instance, patterns 392 and 394. The original designs are rendered color separated. Numbers on the left suggest the order for color changes to achieve a look similar to that in the swatch photos. Assuming the pattern is not easily accessible because of its being built in your machine’s memory, it would have to be entered into a paint program manually to make it available for import and in turn for download. Note that the color-changing sequence may change over the course of knitting the image, so prompts or notes of some sort would be needed to keep it correct. Each color in each row knits twice after each color change. My goals in my blog posts so far have been to keep a constant color changing sequence with each color in each row of any personal design knitting only once. I did it first with my own color separation, then, in turn, used the 3 color separation feature in img2track to achieve my desired result. Here are 2 images from the Stitchworld section in question The images could be replicated as given in a paint program, using only one color for the squares, but “should be reduced to black and white”. Attempting to import an indexed 2 color image drawn in a color other than BW may result in strange results. That said, if glitched knits are the goal, the above could work just fine. Curiously, here is the same process, using a different color, and a successful import. Checking again, I had forgotten to save the image after indexing it from RGB mode to 2 colors. and a test with another color 
Drop stitch lace periodically comes up, I have written several posts on the technique, now considered the possibility of producing it in 3 colors. The resulting fabric tends to be long, thin, and in need of blocking. There is no way to avoid the striped ground. Passap knitters often refer to this type of knitting as summer fair isle. I adjusted the repeat widthNote to self: if you are determined to use a punchcard carriage on your electronic machine remember there is no KCII to cancel end needle selection!
In order to knit this fabric stitches must be cast on in whatever method you prefer, but prior to any patterning all stitches must be transferred down to the ribber, and the main bed needles are placed in working position but are empty. Because of the single row knit for the first 2 design rows of color one, the start is a bit finicky. Alternative start follows lower in post
COL: KC II, main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber stays on N throughout, no lili buttons. Knit one row with color 1 (ribber only)
COR: as you knit to return to the left, the color 1 preselected needles will knit, while the ones corresponding to color 2 will preselect
COL: carefully drop any stitches on needles with color 1 on them without disturbing the new needle selection for color 2
**COL: change color, knit to right
COR: drop the stitches knit in the new color, make certain all needles are empty and in B position, knit back to left and needles will be preselected for the next color**
Repeat the ** to**
Again resulting fabric is narrow and long, it may take a bit of squinting to recognize the design. A single repeat results in about 3.5 by 9 inches of knitting, a far cry from what might have resulted in a single row per color design row dbj virtually shown here in a tiled format

The question then comes up re dropping only one of the 3 colors. Using the manual selection described above, the knitting on the top bed would need to be canceled on every color, every row except for the single row in the chosen drop stitch color. To my mind, that is too much to keep track of for any length of time. It would be easier achieved with specific self-drawn color separations.
There is a lot of testing that can go into developing any fabric in unfamiliar techniques that may or may not meet our expectations or our “like”, it all contributes to learning regardless of whether the tests evolve into projects.

My last post on drop stitch lace in from single color to two: revisiting the techniques on brother machines

Reviewing what happens within the program one more time, highlighting significant items to verify before beginning to knit Getting that first row to knit twice instead of a single time if that matters in your technique or is your preference:
advance design row to last one in the sequence, in this case, 30
in the 930 when the pattern is loaded, using the down arrow key gets to the last row in the downloaded pattern more quickly

COL: set machine to preselect pattern, the next 2 passes would need to not knit, so both carriages are set to slip in both directions
knit one row to the right
COR: number 30 design row flashes
knit one more free pass to left, row 1 of color 1 will preselect as you knit
COL: number 1
design row flashes
check all settings,
main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber set to slip <– –> with lili buttons, and with an even number of needles in work for standard dbjpick up color 1 in yarn changer
the resulting knit design will be elongated
COL
: knit one row to the right.
As you knit the first row of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 2 of color one design row 1 will preselect
COR: knit back to the left
as you knit back to left row 2 of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 1 of color 2 design row 1 will preselect
COL: pick up color 2,
continue in pattern changing colors every 2 rows

In designing your own, small repeats can easily be rendered even in a simple paint program. Larger, more complex ones, may best be worked using layers and masking in a variety of programs ie. Photoshop or Gimp. It is possible to combine 2 color dbj and 3 color dbj in the same piece simply by using different color separations for each segment, but the look of the fabric in terms of the length of each stitch on the knit side may be quite different when moving from one segment to the next. Of course, the backing will change as well. Though the aspect ratio of the design changes in terms of height when one knits 2 rows for each color in each design row, it remains the easiest separation method. Adding the hand selection as described above so that the main bed knits in one direction only helps reduce some of the extra height, making the original image more recognizable. There is no option within img2track to perform the action automatically in terms of adding the necessary blank rows to replace some of the colored ones in the separation.

Passap knitters are not left out of this idea. Passap preselects pushers. On the E 6000 Tech 179 emulates the built-in KRC option in Japanese model machines. My guess was that technique 180 for 2 colors, perhaps 197 with both arrow keys on the back may work for 3 colors. TBD in my next spurt of knitting activity on it. That said, the console built-in designs may be used cross-brand. It is possible in Passap to layer repeats in order to add the third color to the mix. Here is one sample reworked for use on Brother and downloaded into img2track. If black and white repeats are already in your library, one may easily recycle them adding a third color. Here I did so with a repeat intended for a very different topic future post. The image was altered and tiled in Gimp for a repeat alignment test and is also shown imported into img2track for possible knittingWhat of images that are published in punchcard machine references? It is probably best to start with smaller repeats. That said, this is from a Deco pattern book.  Deco punchcards were 40 stitches wide, could be joined together in length as can those for the Japanese models The image of the separation on the above right has not been proofed for accuracy. If it were, the next step would be to elongate it X 2 for color changes every 2 rows. One method is to elongate the original in a paint or photo processing program. The width is fixed (40), the height is scaled X 2. The resulting BW indexed image may be imported, using a 1.0 stretch factor, it remains unchanged. When I tried to elongate the unstretched image in img2track by 2.0 my first try failed. It turned out the reason was I had saved the import without first indexing it to 2 colors. With that corrected, the result matched the one from scaling X 2 in height in the paint program
For years now I have been doing color separations which at first could be extremely slow, one pixel at a time. With increasing familiarity with Gimp and Mac Numbers over time, I have been able to decrease the speed to achieve them immensely. So here, with img2track I now have a program that can work with and separate multiple colors at a time (up to 6 in its pull-down menu option). Here I returned to my first separation in 3 colors for the now-familiar repeat A, elongated it in the paint program B and imported A into img2track choosing 2.0 stretch and 3 colors C. I can totally live with the fact the colors are not the same. The color changer can be set up with my chosen colors in any order I choose

In my first tests with charting a repeat missing any color in some rows, I had scaled the original image taken from a spreadsheet to the wrong size in Gimp, so operator error resulted in crazy results in img2track.Here the image is scaled properly for each color represented for a single row in height, and also scaled again for double-height for possible knitting in Gimp. The Gimp scaling failed to be accurate for me (second image from left) until I indexed the original to 4 colors as well instead of 3. The no color rows as we view them actually serve as a fourth color in the separations. Importing the proper size png into img2track for separation of 4 colors per row now gives results that make sense: note the daunting estimate for the total number of carriage passes for a single repeat height
If the ribber has knit on every needle by its return to the color changer and the machine is set to slip both ways with no needle selection on the main bed, the “no color” can be executed as an empty yarn holder in the color changer combined with no yarn in the feeder.  The rows involved should simply not knit on the top bed, with no dropping of any of its stitches since no needles will have been selected thus coming forward with the yarn in the hooks and traveling behind the latches and in turn, slipping off the needles as a carriage with no yarn pushes the needles with now empty hooks back to B position.

In testing concepts, I prefer to work initially with small repeats. Punchcard books can be an excellent source, but the Stitchworld books have the advantage of actually showing a single repeat for each design, so an 8 stitch repeat, for example, would be shown as such and it would not be up to the person using it shown in a 24 stitch card one to isolate it. I randomly chose pattern 394. I realize that if used from a built-in library of patterns in any machine model the prompts may be provided by the machine, but here I am looking at simply duplicating the pattern for import into img2track.

After duplicating the repeat and associated numbering using Numbers, these were some of my results. A pleasing surprise was that colors in the 2 color import need not be only black and white. That said, the pale green failed, the red did not, and the results from importing both the red/white and the black/white were identical. Another future time saver for me to keep in mind. 

If colors were assigned to each pair rows representing each color used, the white squares were read as an added color on import, and the only way to have those few blocks for the 4th color to show up in the visual representation in an imported repeat was to assign a 5 color separation, resulting in a scrambled pattern. Removing the few squares in color 4, will produce inaccurate separations for actual knitting of the given pattern whether imported to be rendered for 3 colors or 4. The black and white on the right is the “correct” match, leaving any prompts for use of shifting color changers to be tracked somehow by the knitter.Punchcard knitters may have the easiest time to knit variable color sequences since cards may be visually marked up with colored pencils matching needed change locations and taking into account your eyes are a number of rows above the row being read by the card reader. This number depends on the machine brand and model.

Some spreadsheets that may help with tracking row color changes or other regular actions on paper: 2018/04/tracking-rows-1.pdf

I have been asked about the position of the slide lever being fixed in my dbj illustrations. I have found the alternate positions can be wild cards, would rather make adjustments in carriage settings if needed rather than let the factory settings do some of the work for me. If the settings are accidentally in the wrong place as multiple pieces are knit, or in knitting ribber bands for garment pieces, the gauge is changed if the alternate setting is not adjusted and kept constant, and that may not be noticed until the piece of knitting in question is completed, needing a restart. With 15-20 machines active in each studio class and lab session, out of habit, I tried to reduce as many variables as possible.

A video resource on using img2knit for 3 colors per row knitting with blank color rows in the design by Tanya Cunningham, and a Ravelry thread on the topic

 

DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 1

I began to machine knit in the glory days of using the tool and developing techniques. There were internationally attended seminars, hosts of wonderful teachers, and a community of potential peers brought together physically in pre-internet and online forum days. Punchcard machines were the standard. As more electronic models became available it was not uncommon to find the rep for DAK at one end of the market spaces at seminars, and Cochenille at the opposite end, promoting early interface and design programs. My choice at that point was the Cochenille products. I attended design school beginning 1989, the computer lab at the time was all Amiga, and I never really became interested in DAK or for that matter, Garment Styler. I was up and running soon with Bitknitter for the Passap, had the option of the Forma on the Passap or the Knit leader on Brother for less traditional shapes, and the magic formula worked for any of the math I needed in days of using graph paper or that other paper that has lots of lines in it for keeping notes. The calcuknit and styler at the time worked on established default curves, the same that could be achieved by charting math or even simply connecting lines between dots on graph paper, drawing lines in between the dots, and following the drawn lines guesstimating increases and decreases along the edge of the drawing. I have never had any experience with DAK, was never really interested in owning it.  😉
A bit of early low tech: when aspect ratio mattered pages of acetate sheets with vertical lines spaced at different intervals could be lined up atop of each other and placed on a design to approximate knit gauge, and the result could then be charted out and planned for a punchcard repeat or intarsia. Some acetates were sold gridded to approximate stitch and row default proportions, there were also published paper charting aids for both standard and bulky gauges. Some examples:

Laying acetate or even plastic wrap on the computer screen itself and outlining designs and processing them with overlays, was a version of “poor man’s digitizing”. The technological advancement of black and white security cameras used in combination with RGB filters made the first digitizing of non-repetitive images possible.
I had never really planned on teaching. As it turned out I interviewed a few weeks before completing a textile program, had several finished pieces with me from my undergrad work, and was amazingly hired instantly as the machine knitting instructor for apparel and textiles. I found myself faced with a Brother punchcard lab and a summer of crash learning on the specific models followed. In order to teach effectively, I learned to analyze and break down stitch types and techniques in order to help others understand them. Summers would often include studying trends and knitting lots of swatches. Many of those are still in a couple of bins I held onto when I downsized a few years ago, giving up my studio space. It is that analysis that keeps me interested still in working out how-tos. Although I use electronics, I still like to break things down when I can so punchcard knitters are not left out.
Getting to the topic of multiple colors and nonrepetitive images in the “early days”: punching holes in cards is time-consuming and without the aid of electronics or specific software, color separations for dbj and assorted double bed fabrics need to be worked out manually before punching, and accuracy is important. Consequently, some knitters found compromises to achieve the look of multiple colors per row. Julie Schafler Dale’s Julie-Artisans Gallery on Madison Avenue became the central plug-in point for the wearable art movement, eventually representing artists, some of whom are no longer knitting, and some may still be found presently online
Susanna Lewis, Norma MinkowitzJean Williams Cacicedo, Linda Mendelson,
Nicky Hitz Edson, and not caring about floats, often working single bed with some linings and over-dyeing additional colors  Janet Lipkin .
The non-repetitive image was worked out in length by dividing the image lengthwise into panels often 40 stitches wide for use with early Passaps and continuing on to the desired height.  Widthwise, the design was split into the maximum width of 40 stitches with added seaming allowance and consecutive panels were joined to compose the large image. The kimono was the most common shape because of its simplicity in components. As for getting the look of more colors per row: multiple thin strands in color families were used in each yarn feeder. For example, one can knit with  4 strands of red shades, 4 yellow sequentially lined up, used in pairs in the same feeder. Keeping the red constant, for the second strand, the work may begin with either the lightest or darkest yellow, knit X rows, switch yellow to the second shade for X rows, switch to each of the next hues, and in theory, the final set of rows should look like a different color than the one used in that feeder at the start of the process. the ratio of red could be played with as well, expanding the range. Knitting pieces in black and white particularly allows for limited edition knitting. The third color may be applied on portions of the white, providing a look-alike for 3 colors per row. With the range of space-dyed yarns or custom dyeing blanks and then unraveling them for larger pieces to control pooling one can also get the look of more colors per row. Not to be forgotten are hand embroidery and fabric applique.

The question remains as to how to knit more than 2 colors per row on home knitting machines, and color separations to make the fabrics possible. The more colors per row, the more passes to complete any design motif. The final result may be thick and unyielding unless thin yarns are used. More rows are often knit in the back than on the front of the fabric, resulting in further elongation of the shapes involved. The easiest default separation is to knit 2 rows of each color for 2 rows sequentially, allowing paired passes to and from the color changer. This results in an elongated design, even with playing with standard backing variations to reduce vertical stretch such as in birdseye. In a post years ago I began to look at 3 colors per row and some potential issues with separations for dbj using it the initial method:

Each row will have to knit twice to get 2 and from the color changer for color changes every 2 rows, for less punching, each row can be represented once, but the result will need to be elongated X 2

The graph below shows the motif in repeat, the next column the color separation, with expanded rows, and in the third, the black indicates the knit stitches (black squares on mylar, punched holes in card) prior to elongation. 

The repeat was not workable when using the standard method used to avoid elongation, where each color for each design row knits only once. There are segments where the new color would not align properly on stitches knit on the previous row, and to get the design to work I had to amend it.
Fast forward 5 years. I now have access to both ayab and img2track, no longer use Photoshop and Excel, still use GIMP and Numbers as my way to color separate and produce charts for my blog. There are active forums both on Ravelry and Facebook with general machine knitting information, or specific to both interface options and methods for using them.

Sarah Spencer @ heartofpluto developed code that reduces the number of rows knit making the common impossibles possible. The code is freeware, has been implemented in Ayab and available there as a menu option. Adrienne Hunter’s posts on Ravelry explore the concept involved.
To begin, I was interested in using part of the concept on my own while keeping the color sequence constant ie 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3 and so on throughout the piece and always begin tests with simple shapes that allow me to note what is happening to stitches, changes in scale as the result of the techniques used and started with designs where each color is represented at least once in each row. The color separation used: The ribber was set for birdseye at the start of the swatch pictured. At its top, N in one direction and slip in the other were used, with the ribber set for knitting every needle when the main bed slips them all on blank punchcard or pixel rows. The tension remained constant throughout. The KC preselection row can happen from either side with this particular color separation depending on whether one starts the design with a blank row or one containing pixels. Since 2 rows knit in each “color”, I prefer to start the first preselection row on the right. Both birdseye and N settings on the ribber produce a single row stripe on the back of the piece for every 2 passes of the carriages and completed  2-row color change sequence. The N setting contributes to elongated stitches on both faces, leading me to prefer the lili birdseye one. 

In theory, because of the way the birdseye rows set up a base for the next row of knitting,  that makes the stitches in any color workable in pattern colors. I created a new repeat for that motif working in numbers following that up, I planned for the 60 rows needed to complete the repeat, hid 30 rows,  using this menu

copied and pasted the black and white repeat on the above right, then unhid the 30 hidden rows (see previous posts using command key selections), having a new color separation repeat, created the final 2 color BMP in Gimp (whew!)Since my separation is planned on 2-row sequences, I began with COR and my preselection row was from right to left. I initially had issues with the lili buttons behaving erratically, once the ribber carriage was oiled again that seemed to solve the problem for me. I did not arrange colors in the yarn changer to match the illustration in any way, but that could certainly be done to match a chart. With COL pick up the first color in the sequences, there will be no needles selected on the top bed (no black squares on the first row of repeat). Remember to have both carriages set to slip in both directions and the rule for even the number of needles in work on the ribber. As the carriages move to the right, every other needle will knit on the ribber, the first row with black squares will preselect. With COR on the pass back to the left, the pattern squares will knit, a blank row will be preselected, and the ribber will complete a single row of the background color by knitting on the alternate needles from its previous pass. As a result, one row of backing and one design row for each color (including no color in some instances) are completed with every 2 passes of the carriages.
I had a better edge and needle selection on the ribber with an extra needle in work on its left as compared to the main bed, adjusting after the cast-on row, maintaining the ribber needles in pairs, and evaluating the swatches after the fact would probably set up an extra needle on the right side as well.

This swatch and the ones following it use yarns in 3 different weights and different fiber contents. The blue is acrylic and the thinnest of the three. Some bleed-through of the colors traveling behind the blue shapes, in particular, can be seen behind it. The magenta is cotton, the yellow wool. Better choices of both the fiber content and colors of the yarns used would improve the overall look. If one plans color changes to match chart, a  paint program can help visualize some of the possible results

What of shapes with fewer than 3 colors in some rows?Again, there is some bleed-through, and even with this technique there is some elongation of each of the shapes, but less so than with other techniques. The backing of all these fabrics produces single lines in each color used Even fairly small repeats can take time to color separate in this manner. The technique, however, is the only method available to punchcard knitters. Electronic machines with download cables and varying software open a very different world in terms of ease and range in repeat size possibilities.
Here the repeat is adjusted from 11 stitches in width to 12, making it suitable for punchcard machines, and widening the center shape by one stitch may also reduce lengthwise stretch and help it appear rounder after knitting

References for double bed single color fabrics with pockets

Another facebook thread has begun a sort of “trip down the rabbit hole”. Until I have time to swatch my theories on the specific fabric in question, I thought I would list some ways offered in publications available for download online and in my previous blog posts that touch on this area.  To start with, some fabrics are commonly referred to as pintucks, though tuck stitch is a completely different category of stitches, and they are usually shown in a single color. Understanding the repeat, however, one could plan for the shapes to occur within horizontal stripes of varied colors. 

from the Brother Ribber techniques book

Other terms: ripple ribs are a type of selective pintuck pattern in which more rows are regularly worked on the main bed than on the ribber. The main bed carriage is set to slip in both directions throughout, the ribber carriage is set to slip for four rows, and knit for 2. The width of the work needs even weight, and most likely the edge stitches will as well. The tensions used approximate that used in every needle rib for the same yarn.  To exaggerate the ripple effect, the ribber setting may be set up to three whole tensions tighter than the MB if possible or desired. Two-color versions are possible. From the Brother Ribber techniques book, note they use the term synonymously with pintucks In blister jacquard more rows are also worked on the main bed than on the ribber, creating a fabric with at times high textured. It may be executed in 2 colors as well. A “normal” DBJ card can be used, but the ribber carriage settings need to be changed with each color change. Things become far easier if the fabric is color separated for the technique and the original design is modified. Color variations merit their own posts

Some of my previous posts on double bed “quilting” including some 2 color variations within the same horizontal rows as well
2018/02/23/quilting-using-ayab-software/
2018/02/15/revisiting-machine-knit-quilting/
2013/05/30/quilting-on-the-brother-km-2-solid-color-back-dbj/
2013/05/16/quilting-on-the-knitting-machine-1/