Machine knit leaves using slip stitch with holding

In 2012 I had a sort of leaf obsession, which led to my exploring a range of shapes created in both hand and machine knitting, including a series of shawls that were machine knit, using the lace carriage, intended for both gifts and sale.
Online resources were not as abundant back then, searches are more productive now via browser searches, pinboards, and Ravelry.
I have always been interested in holding techniques and automating them on both punchcard and electronic machines. In recently revisiting shell shapes I was reminded of leaves once more and thought I would return to working with them.
An early abandoned effort in trying to construct leaf shapes automating their shaping using holding in combination with slip stitch followed other earlier posts is shown below. In all honesty, I have been blogging long enough so I often do not recall previous writings on a recent spark of interest and execute a personal version of reinventing the wheel, starting from scratch, or executed poor note-keeping which in turn requires it.
A variety of lozenge and “leaf”-shaped forms may be found in previous posts on holding intarsia, some are strictly hand-selected, others are automated. There is a series of 5:
2016/06/21/a-bit-of-holding-1/
2016/06/29/a-bit-of-holding-2-moving-shapes-around/
2016/07/12/a-bit-of-holding-3-shape-variations-and-more/
2016/07/24/a-bit-of-holding-4-intarsia-and-more/
/2016/08/13/a-bit-of-holding-5-intarsia-and-more-2/

Checking the repeat for a single shapeAdding a second color and reversing directions of shapes brings lots of yarn ends and its “price to pay”Some handknit large scale inspiration to begin my revisit to MKing them: Garnstudio 1 and Garnstudio 2, which introduces lace transfer stripes between leaf formsA free hand knitting pattern, “Papagena“, that takes similar shapes to a triangular layout for shawl shaping Stitch Maps is an online source for hand knitters with interesting graphics that include some for held shapes, such as this The chart is actually rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, could serve as inspiration for an electronic pattern.

Returning to a possible far smaller repeat that may be executable on a  punchcard machine as well. The central vein in the forms is created by having held stitches with no wraps along and up to its center in height, creating 2 continuous shapes that mirror horizontally and repeatAutomated holding sequences may be planned for single or multiple stitches in width, as well as for single and multiple rows in height. For the new initial test, which proved to need editing, this was my repeatA tiny test in too thin a yarnI am knitting on a 930, the image needs to be mirrored in order for it to appear in the direction I intend on the knit side. The above repeat did not work properly when knitting a whole row of shapes. With some patience, a final, edited, and mirrored repeat was developed that enabled a completed a full row of shapes using the slip setting and holding, and starting with working it from right to left. Sometimes differences are subtle, especially in designing using single-pixel units. The new repeat proved to also work for rows of shapes in the reverse direction after horizontal mirroring and restarting the pattern or design row 1. When working from right to left, the initial preselection row is from left to right, while when working from left to right, the first preselection row is from right to left. After a full row of repeats is completed, the pattern is rolled back to row 1 and mirrored. Punchcard knitters could turn the card over and start again on the proper row. I used contrast color knit rows initially in between rows of shapes to help me note transitions more clearly. The “leaf” is not pointy enough for me, but at times what was not planned may lead to a pleasing result of a different sort.
The amended, corrected repeat is shown on the right To knit: cast on with a multiple of 12 stitches on each side of the center 24 on the needle bed
Cancel end needle selection
COL: first preselection row from left to right
COR: set machine for both slip <– –> and hold
all needles will have been preselected, knitting every stitch, knit 2 rows, return to the right, as the row is knit, patterned preselection occurs
COR: bring all needles to the left of the first 12 on the right into hold position, knit until all needles in the group of 12 are preselected again, the carriage will be on the right
*COR: bring a group of 6 needles to the left of the 12 stitch group just completed into work, knit one row to left
COL: bring 6 stitches from the completed shape on the right to hold, continue in the pattern on the new  12 stitch group until all 12 stitches are once again preselected, stopping with COR***
repeat * to *** end working the full last group of 12 stitches on the left, including the last 12 stitch preselection

At the completion of a row of shapes COL: make a decision about the transition, whether any extra rows knit are a problem or not, and whether added rows in contrasting colors are wanted. To proceed with no changes in cam settings and 4 rows of knitting between the rows of shapes remembering that the first preselection row needs to be made from right to left.
COL: manually return all needles to upper work position (D). They will knit row 1 of the stripe
COR: manually push all needles to D again, return program to design row one, check settings, as the first design row pattern is preselected an all knit row 2 will be added. As patterning resumes from the left another 2 all knit rows will be produced before selective patterning occurs.
If any extra all knit rows are wanted cancel patterning on the knit carriage, set it to N, knit the extra rows, remember to end on the proper side for the first preselection row, and what options may be necessary to complete that row correctly.
To reverse patterns without extra knit rows:
COL: store yarn.  The carriage can be removed and brought to the opposite side, or stitches need to be manually be placed in the B position for a free pass to the right. This involves placing the cam selector button on N, returning the cams set to slip in both directions.
COR, all needles also need to be in work in B position, no yarn, in order to make a free pass to preselect from right to left, ending COL
COL: pick up yarn and continue in pattern. These textures require a lot of carriage passes, which tend to fuzz up the yarn on the purl side of the knit a bit. The shape I created was not very leafy to my mind, but still interesting, especially on the purl side. The yarn used in a 2/15 wool, knit on Tension 5Moving on to a wider version, using 24 stitches in width to allow for using the pattern on a punchcard: this repeats works both as-is and mirrored, the groups of stitches moved in and out of work is now half of the new design repeat = 12. Making the repeat work in any number for this shape involves lining up the needle selection in each group of needles and constant counts for holding sequences. Punchard knitters would need 2 separate cards. The lovely mess in the swatch happened when I stopped paying attention to everything but what was happening on the needle bed and missed the tangle of yarns in my yarn mast. There is enough knitting however,  to note that the repeat is sound and that the edges on both sides are formed by the narrowest part of the shapes in each direction. One way to solve that is by casting on and binding off along tops and bottoms of shapes as seen in the yellow and green swatch at the top of the post.Planning things out to release those edges as seen at the top of the post

Working on outlining the shapes with contrast color:Problems to solve: maintaining an even number of rows in-between shapes and a straight edge along both sides. The latter could happen with triangles prior to knitting full shapes at either or both ends, the first sample failed on the left side due to both triangles being knit in the same sequence;   that may be solved by beginning shaping on 2 stitches on the left rather than the full 12, mirrored. The proper sequence for actual knit stitches for the first, bottom set, and mirrored for the second, top set still only partway there I am presently knitting with my left hand in a splint that has exposed velcro teeth, which has caused some interesting issues with actual knitting and with yarn snags. To end this latest effort, in yet another knitting aaargh! moment, it appears my iron is now overheating and burned the wool! From observing the above swatch on the purl side it looks as though each row of shapes needs to have a triangular shape at each end. Also, the contrasting color line thickness is not constant. The purpose of automation should be to make things easier, not confounding. After yet another trial, I decided to give up on attempting to use the automated repeat to produce an effect that was consistent and made me happy.

Setup for a leaf in each color is far less fiddly and simpler to execute. A tentative layout and knitting sequence:
Begin on waste yarn, decide on the color of the cast on, and any additional knit rows prior to beginning in the pattern. Each of the side triangles is shaped using manual holding techniques over 12 stitches. If starting on the right, the first preselection row needs to be made moving from left to right as above on the first 24 stitches. With knit carriage set to both slip in both directions and holding with COL make certain the first 24 stitches on the right in B position make a free pass to the right.
COR: cut yarn, change color, knit the first shape repeat, end COR
COR: when all needles in the group are preselected, push first 12 needles on the carriage side out to holding position, push 12 stitches on their left back into upper work position as you would in any holding pattern, they will knit in the slip setting as well. Cut the yarn, change color, repeat across the row of shapes
COR: when the last group of 12 needles on the left is preselected with all needles out to hold or removing the carriage and positioning it on the other side, begin knitting COL.
COL: manually knit triangle at top of the previous row of shapes
If a contrasting color stripe or any other pattern is intended between a full row of shapes, execute them and end COL
COL: shape the second triangle for the start of the reversed row of shapes, get the carriage to the right side by a pass over all needles in holding position or removing the carriage and bringing it to the opposite side
COR: the second pattern is programmed. Punchcard knitters use the second card, electronics mirror the shape. With the first 24 stitches on the left in B position and the knit carriage set for holding and to slip in both directions, make a preselection pass to left.
COL: change color, knit shape and continue on as described above reversing shaping
As with intarsia, there will be lots of yarn ends to weave in and clean up those eyelets at the start of each color change. The swatch after a quick pressing

The possibilities could be endless.  Electronic machines do not have the limitation of working within the 24 stitch maximum design width. Shapes can be fully automated using only slip stitch setting, no holding, but repeats become exponentially wide and long. The technique merits its own post.

 

 

 

 

Revisiting automated shell shapes

My original posts on exploring automating shell shapes were written in my 910 electronic days using mylar sheets in early 2013: 1, 2. The repeat produced a visually successful fabric. I received a question on FB about executing the shells on a punchcard machine, and another on how I “come up with these things”, so here I am going to attempt to share some of my present thought processes.
Since the time I wrote my original posts my approach to my explanations has changed. I have become increasingly familiar with the software I acquired since then, and now have cable connections that allow for download to 2 different model Brother electronic machines. iPhone cameras make it far easier to “shoot and share”. Initially, I used to often start at step 10 of any technique, now I explore the basics and logic in more detail.
My original mylar repeat entered as separate programs in days when each mylar sheet was precious. The 910 in my default setting produced the “image’ as drawn on the knit side of the resulting fabric. The post was written prior to my tiling the repeats as a matter of routine to check their alignments. Doing so would have shown a couple of missing pixels, and pointed to any other errors in filling in mylar squares.All transfers were made in the same direction, which now leads me to wonder whether biasing might result in a long piece of knitting. My leaf lace post illustrates modules created manually by holding with the direction of knitting reversed after the completion of each row of leaves. The start of the same concept being applied to the shell shapes with errors later observed and resolved: As always, ideas need error-proofing and refining, easier done in a chart if possible prior to any actual knitting. This type of design would be required to achieve a continuous, uninterrupted repeat on the electronic, whether all in a single direction or reversing every other row of shapes. It is applicable to joining several punchcards, but only on single 24 stitch widths.
There are a number of changes to make if it is necessary to get the pattern to reverse direction in alternate rows of completed shapes. My first tests were planned with knitting moving only from left to right. To execute such a pattern on a punchcard KM, the repeat needs to be altered from 14X2 to 12X2 in width. This is the start of sorting that out:Attempts to visualize holding can happen in spreadsheets, documents, image processing canvases, or even simply on graph paper, moving/ “drawing” back and forth across the cells mimicking carriage movements and marking them accordingly. Large staggered repeats can be programmed in electronics. All shapes are limited in terms of the width of the repeat occurring across the number of available needles on any machine. Some previous posts on electronic knitting such repeats: 2014/02/24/holdingshort-rows-hand-tech-to-chart-to-automating-with-slip-stitch-1/, 2018/05/20/ayab-short-rows-automated-with-slipstitch/, 2019/08/03/a-return-to-short-row-shapings-bumps-and-slits/

As mentioned, my long-ago swatches were knit on a 910, which by default produced the knit image as programmed on the knit side. On the punchcard machines, the image-as-drawn effect is achieved on the purl side. Lettering is likely the most familiar instance where mirroring is required for punchcard machines to produce it correctly, a consideration here as well. For the moment I will work drawing the shapes in the direction I wish to have them appear on the knit side. The beginning goal was to establish a continuous 24 stitch repeat, with the same technique applicable to electronics thus avoiding programming 2 different repeats. This proved to be a fail.If the color changer were to be used for changes every 2 rows the complete number of rows would need to be a multiple of 4 in height for each segment. With larger gaps between changes, the yarn may be changed every X rows manually, making an easy fix to breaking that rule. The next step is working out 12 stitch repeats with patterning needles to be brought in and out of holding position as well. The options on a punchcard would include 8, 12, and 24 stitch motif widths. The machines will be set to slip in both directions throughout, end needle selection must be canceled. This method is not executable easily on km models that do not offer that option, electronics use KC II. Note that machines sold in Europe in some models may have different names for the same functions, ie. SM in some instances is the equivalent of KC II, whereas ours is for a single motif. Punchcard settings: I do not have any blank punchcards to test a repeat on at the moment. I do have a 930 that essentially behaves the same way by producing the entered pattern on the purl side, so I planned on that fact. Adding arrows to my tentative chart reflect the direction of the next movement of the knit carriage the starting 24 stitch brick repeat,reduced to black pixels/punched holes and mirrored horizontally to have the result planned above on the knit side The bottom, curved edge fo each of the shapes is created first. That said, the above used as a continuous repeat is not executable to achieve 2 rows of different consecutive shapes.

Other shapes have previously been explored using slip stitch, and later, slip stitch combined with holding. A brief return to previous turns at holding and slip stitch used to create alternating color shapes: in 2013/02/12/an-entrelac-pretender/, a continuous slip stitch only card was used. The result on the knit side,while on the reverse floats between alternating shapes are the norm Results with no floats are found in the swatches in the posts: 2013/02/21/entrelac-pretender-2/and a larger motif: 2013/04/11/entrelac-pretender-3/Both were knit using pairs of punchcards for each.
Returning to the goal of the moment: to knit the shells in a floatless way, using a technique executable on a punchcard machine as well. The repeat in question so far is 28 rows high. If the punchcard or the electronic advance every row with each pass of the carriage, the alternating shifting blocks of the repeat will be selected in full with every 28 passes. In this instance, one returns to the start of the same repeat every 28 rows. Identical shell full shapes are created across the knitting rather than the shifting shapes desired in alternating full row repeats.
Separating the 28-row repeat into 2-14 row ones. The 12 stitch repeat is tiled X2 horizontally. If programming two separate repeats were the only solution, the bottom shapes, 14 rows high, would need to be punched X 4 in one card. In electronics half of each repeat would be adequate to program only once and entered as an all-over, repeating pattern.Here the repeat for all full-size shells is planned,  the black squares would also need to be punched X 4 on a second punchcard, to be programmed separately.Marking up the needle bed with water-soluble markers or pencils helps track placements of repeats across the desired number of needles in work: dark lines indicate placement beginning with the mark for half a repeat to maintain straight side edges on the finished piece. Red lines mark the placement of the stitches when they are moved to the left in order to knit the full shells across the bed. On a 930, the image will be knit in the direction of the pattern as drawn on the knit side, as it would be on a punchcard machine. I intend to begin knitting the shells with COR. Since the pattern is fixed on the needle bed, one option is to move the work in one direction or the other on the needle bed using a garter bar, so that the knitting is in the proper place for the desired anticipated needle selection. This was easier in my own mind than reprogramming the pattern repeat for each full row of shells whether by entering a new download or altering placement using the position option at the start of each row. One of my first working repeats amended later in several steps is shown here mirrored in black and whiteVisualizing the process on the needle bedScaling the image to render it a bit more legible:The machine will be set for both slip stitch in both directions and holding. End needle selection is canceled.
The first preselection row is from left to right. Every needle will be preselected and will knit every stitch for the first 2 rows in the desired shell color.
Color changes are made manually.
At the completion of a row of shells, its corresponding color ends on the left side, a free pass is made, returning to the right. Knitting with the new color for the alternate groups of shells begins again on the right side.
After the first 2 all knit rows, as the carriage works its way back to the right on the following pass, preselecting will occur for a decreasing number of stitches. This is the first-row holding selection when using the above repeat:
Beginning piece with half a shell on each side: all but the first 6 stitches are brought out to hold. When more than the single needle is selected at the top of the first half-shell (6 sts to start, 1 at the end), COR: bring the next group of 12 stitches to the left into work, knit to left.
COL: bring original 6 needles out to hold. Bring into work any needles not selected in the group of 12 into work as well.
Continue knitting, repeating the process across the bed.
On design row 14 of the last half-shell remove work on a garter bar.
To execute full shells across the next row of shapes: move the work 6 stitches to the left.
Return emptied needles to A position (out of work, OOW).
With all remaining needles in B preselect the next row (1) from left to right. Cam settings need not be changed.
Change color if desired, knitting 2 rows across all the stitches.
Bring all needles out to hold except for the first group of 12 sts between red marks, and repeat the process previously described across the bed.
When the last shell is completed, design row 14, remove the work on the garter bar again, shift it 6 stitches to the right.
Push back the now emptied needles back to A (OOW).
With all stitches in the B position, make a free pass to the right, row 1 of the half shell row will be preselected, change color, continue across the pattern row as described. This yarn is far too thin but makes stitch formation easy to identify.The last tweak eliminating having to bring any needles into work by hand when working at the start of each shape is reached. Punchcard knitters will need to punch the black squares, repeating the 24 stitch pattern 4 times in height, to a total of 56 rows. I used two repeats side by side on the electronic as well to eliminate having to consider and choose the position option on the 930 needle bed, resulting in having the pattern centered in each 24 stitch fixed segment of needle selection. I am in the habit of using a needle tape for punchcard machines on my electronic models since I so often transition usings designs for the former in the latter. It is possible to add all knit rows or even patterned ones between shell rows. On an electronic KM with 2 carriages available, adding a FI band would be simpler than trying to manage to change cam buttons in addition to the other number of steps already involved with the slip stitch and holding combination along with moving the knit on the needle bed. Contrasting color row stripes can be programmed by adding 2 or more/ even number rows of all black squares (or punched holes) at the top of each 14-row segment of the final repeat. Reverse shaping of shells appears to not be necessary to avoid biasing on my limited tests. The proof of concept swatch:I was too aggressive with clipping yarn ends on the left side, especially while in the process of changing colors, not ever a good idea. Automating the pattern fully on electronic models using only slip stitch patterning is possible. The length of such patterns grows exponentially in proportion to the size of the repeats. Reviewing errors in the beginning concept An attempt to visualize the placement of the shape variations in the finished piece using the shell motifs beginning with the shapes created in order to create a straight side edge

Redrawing the pattern for a 36 stitch test. On the left is the drawn image of the pattern, on the right the mirrored image for downloading to my machine to produce it in the desired direction. Much of the time is invested in developing and testing the final and correct image for download, the knitting that follows that is fairly quick.  My repeat is 36 stitches wide, 98 rows highCOR: knit a base row in color one from right to left
COL: KCII (no end needle selection) to right, the only needles preselected will be those corresponding to the programmed black squares, the remaining will be in B position. Knit to the right.
COR: set the machine to slip in both directions. Knit slowly and evenly. All needles in work on the bed must be cleared with each pass of the carriage.
Continue in pattern across the bed, checking that all stitches are knitting off properly.
When all needles are preselected, change colors for the next set of shells. These rows create the base for the next group of shapes. If a stripe or other pattern is wanted regularly, those rows are best added to the programmed pattern itself.
The automated test swatch: Preserving the 3D texture relies on using yarns with “memory”, ie wool and avoiding aggressive blocking. Using thinner yarns makes the stitch formation more evident. Hard pressing, in this case, knit using acrylic yarns, flattens the fabric considerably, and often, permanently. Both the hold/slip (top) and fully automated swatches (bottom) are shown.Isolating like modules and looking for any differences in each to prepare for a larger number of repeats in each row of shapes across the needle bed
There are several methods for securing yarn ends both during and after knitting in the final pieces using these techniques. Testing such methods on swatches is the best way to determine what works for yarn and colors used as well as our own personal preference. The pattern width may be adjusted to create considerably larger shells if desired. Punchcard knitters are limited to 8, 12, and 24 stitch repeats. For them, this would be the maximum size, including an added number of rows for contrasting color stripes, in this instance 4. A return to the original 14 stitch repeat, illustrating a way to begin editing for an extra row in width at the bottom of the shape and ending on 2 stitches rather than a single stitch at the topImagining adding increases and or decreases for shaping at sides, which in turn could lead to an evaluation of switching to entrelac approaches when creating large shell shapes for similar effects. The 3D qualities and distortions are obviously missing from these illustrations.A Prada sweater using similar shapes If you are interested in any large size clamshells, and intarsia appeals to you whether in hand or machine knitting, Cheryl Brunette has thorough directions for many such shapes, including 2 videos on shell shapes Part 1, and Part 2
More online inspiration using large shapes:
from a Russian blog

a hand-knit blanket from Garnstudio the common illustration for shaping triangular shawls using such motifs Similar pattern repeats are at times also referred to as scallops, fans, or scales. A “scallop” design a “fan”

 

 

A return to short row shapings: bumps and slits meet entrelac

My recent revisiting of holding techniques led to my coming across handouts and notes from the late 1980s and early 90s, including the working notes below for an entrelac fabric. I sometimes read instructions I assembled long ago, and they seem to be in a foreign language at first. Entrelac was referred to as basketweave as well. On the knitting machine, it is usually executed removing part of shapes onto waste yarn. In these shared instructions it is knit completely on the machine. Blocks can be any size, knitting is started on a multiple of the stitches planned for each shape repeat. The number of colors used is limited by imagination and patience for weaving in yarn ends and dealing with issues at the start of each new shape, familiar to anyone who has tried intarsia. Weaving in those yarn ends may be performed during the knitting of larger “diamonds”.  It is helpful to understand the basics of short rowing prior to attempting this technique.

In a post in 2011, I shared a link to excellent directions found at howtoknitasweater.com , written by Cheryl Brunette. Here are 2 of my teaching samples, executed on 4.5 mm machine. In my teaching days, my demo yarns were in distinct colors, easily spotted, and not often preferred or even liked by students. They could be instantly recognized, so no one ever tried to use them in their class assignments, and colors were out of range for the comfort level of attendees at my workshops, so swatches tended to remain mine for the duration of those sessions and far beyond.

a rearview with ends woven in

It is best to start with a few rows of waste yarn, and the choice can then be made as to whether to cast on and go immediately into pattern, or ribs, stocking stitch, or other beginnings and endings may be chosen.
The blocks will appear square to rectangular depending on yarn choice and gauge, some writers refer to them as “diamonds”, they are joined together as you knit. My test swatches are all executed on Brother machines. My own working notes: Visualization: here pattern rows II and III are shown in repeat, along with the direction of the carriage movement, and the lean in the shapes created with the purl side facing This attempts to identify the shapes by assigning numbers, in their order of knitting. As mentioned, the fabric may also end with added rows of knitting on top of the last row of shapes as they are formed

These photos do not document each step, are meant as an aid in parts that may be a bit tricky when starting to experiment with the technique

The set up for starting triangles:  note the similarity to some of the surfaces created in the last post. When using short rows, part of the stitches in work will knit many more rows than others on the machine. Accessories such as the cast on comb will tend to ride up on one side and drop off When the end of the first row that row is reached, as contrast color is added, stitches need to be cast on on the far left in order to keep the work on the bed a constant number of stitches. The usual method suggested is e wrapping, this is picking up from the row below. I found either method produced looser, longer stitches on the far edge continuing across the row:reaching the far right: 

binding off across the row by transferring stitches when moving from right to left

The colors were chosen for contrast, the yarns are slightly different thicknesses, the white is a 2/24. The latter is usually used double-stranded when knitting on the single bed unless intended as a “thin”. Bleedthrough at joins and some of the other features ie eyelets at corners might be reduced simply by making a better yarn choice. As for those “wisteria” eyelets, they could become part of an intentional pattern between bands of basket weave. Once the principle is understood many other variations become possible.

Many details in any technique wind up relying on personal preference for use of or added editing. Studying results on swatches can help one determine whether larger pieces are worth the effort, and what habits and their results may need to be changed. Contrasting colors help with evaluating edges in patterns such as these. This method relies on transferring groups of stitches by hand on the needle bed. The process could get far slower and impractical if the “diamonds” increase significantly in size. At the intersection of the shapes, there will appear an eyelet (1), also seen in hand knits, which disappears if the fabric is not stretched or pressed. How stitches are rehung in any part of the process can change the look of what is happening there as well. Picked up finished edges if tight will draw in the shape on that side (2), holding happens in 2-row sequences, and small eyelets happen there as well (3). Consistency matters. Though the shapes lean diagonally in the finished piece, they are picked up along straight edges, forming a square to a rectangular piece of knitting, with the usual grain, allowing for the addition of other techniques within the blocks

Trying to imagine where stitches may need transferring to waste yarn or “off label” tool? Alternative shapings at sides: what needs to be cast on or bound off?

Troubleshooting ideas: a small weight might be enough to elongate those shorter closed edges to make them easier to rehang and to be a bit longer. Claw weights usually available with machines may be far too heavy, then DIY ones come into play. A common suggestion  at MK seminars used to be that of purchasing fishing weights, which commonly come in a variety of sizes often with openings or wire eyelets at their top, and using bent wire or even paper clips so one hooked end can be inserted into the hole on the weight, the other is used to hang it in turn onto the knitting. This is an exampleSuch weights are made of lead. That is a concern, there are products on the market that may be used to coat them. This one is easily found in home improvement stores and online

This round sample in the absence of the paint was covered in heavy-duty duct tape. It weighs 2 ounces, just half of one of my factory-supplied claw weightsIt does a good job of weighing down those straight edges along the bumps, making the stitches easier to pick up. When rehanging those stitches, uniformly hanging the loops, not the knots along the edges involved will give a smoother join.  Here a paper clip is used as the “hanger”It is easy to get into a rhythm and think you “have it”. A reminder: the shapes at each side are triangles, not the full shape. Row II starts on the right, begins with decreases followed by rehanging, row III starts on the left, involves increases and working stitches in hold to its right.  Losing track will produce the start of an extra shape, which may perhaps be a “design feature”,  but not a good thing if the goal is a straight edge on both sides. Unraveling is easy if the problem is noticed soon, but is problematic if more rows of shapes have been completed. Lastly, a swatch ending in all knit rows. The only remaining issue is the fact that those side triangles are formed by stitches that are looser than across the rest of the piece. This yarn is thin and a poor choice, but fine for getting the technique down and beginning to understand what happens to stitches, how one needs to move from one side to the other, and what happens along the edges of each individual shape In switching to a thicker, space-dyed yarn, the effect is lost to a degree because of the length between color changes. This sample begins to address keeping some slits, but the repeat needs further sorting out Following the same idea in visible colors: the yellow wool is another too thin wool (2/20), which makes the edge that will need picking up slow and tedious to deal with because of very small stitches. If I were to make a piece, I would work on the partial shapes in the magenta to make for a smoother color transition start. I used the foundation triangles and row II, with 2 rows of knitting when they were completed to help close the spaces at the top of the eyelets in the magenta. Some striping between repeats at the end of row II is worth considering in alternate colors, for more rows, or even in a thicker yarn. 

It is possible to develop shapes,to consider the number of stitches required and whether the fact that other than garter stitch knit stitches are not square,Then there is the world of making each section /shape as large or as small as desired, shaping them by increasing or decreasing stitches adding and subtracting them as needed by casting on and binding off, partially joining them, knitting and joining them when completed with seam as you knit techniques, changing color within each shape or at the end of every row/section of adjoining ones, working the piece in one color only or using a space dyed yarn for random color patterning. Quilting diagrams can be a boon for inspiration for seam as you knit.

I found this on Pinterest, it strikes me as masterful use of related techniques

Lots of hand-knit inspiration and free patterns: https://intheloopknitting.com/entrelac-knitting-patterns/#freepatterns

This book explores the technique to the maxSome of its swatch images are shared in this review of it , there is also a sequel

Three slip stitch entrelac pretenders using slip stitch patterning and holding

A return to short row shapings: bumps and slits

One is limited to imagination, skill, and patience when working short rowed fabrics. The techniques may be used in borders, on isolated areas, symmetrically or not, and the yarn, in turn, may be able to be pressed, stiffened, felted (which minimizes any slits), or otherwise processed to achieve desired effects. The scale of the shapes affects both the final look and purpose. Development for large sculptural pieces is very different from that used if one is aiming toward a comfortable, perhaps even flattering variable in a garment, but both can blend for interesting one-offs or even collections.

The usual conventions apply: stitches are brought to hold opposite carriage side, or floats will be created, indicated by yellow curved linesThat is a rule that may be broken when planned angles require decreases every row, and a decision is made that such floats and their respective width are acceptable.

There are many more variations of the patterns I have previously referred to as “wisteria”. This is one, using different (2) width repeats in a systemic manner across a piece. I find myself going to a spreadsheet prior to any actual knitting nowadays. Low tech can achieve the same, and be as basic as colored pencils on graph paper. Representing actual rows knit would make for a very long chart. This is a compressed version with red representing rows knit on that portion of the needles in work, the other colors for each of the 7 and 9 stitch repeats respectively some sense of how repeats would line up, again not to proper scale To knit: cast on and knit at least 4 rows on the desired width for the planned piece. I prefer to end COR, but directions could easily be reversed for a start from the opposite side.
The row counter may be set to 0 and used for each segment, or the tripper for it can be turned off as preferred. With labor-intensive fabrics, I sometimes calculate based on a minimum number of repeats rather than row counts. The gauge can be even more difficult to calculate even if rows are tracked somehow. In addition, the choice of yarn, its weight, whether each segment is weighted down or not, the tension in masts and carriages all can make the result uneven or harder to predict. The use of claw weights is a personal preference. I prefer to avoid them whenever possible. They can help control the length of the slits at their side(s), but sometimes distort the length of the knit stitch on either side of them. COR: set the carriage to hold, bring all the needles to the left of the first group of 9 needles to hold, knit 12 rows (even number), returning to the right.
COR: push back to knit groups B (7stitches ) and C (9 stitches) to the left of A into work
Knit one row to left
COL: bring A (9 stitches) and B (7 stitches)  to the right of C out to hold, knit 11 (odd #) of rows on C, ending with COR once more (one row had already been knit on those stitches, so the total remains constant).
Repeat in groups of 3 as described in the last 2 steps across the row ending COL
Knit a few rows, ending COR
Bring the first group of 9 stitches on left out to hold, knit one row to left
Bring all stitches to the right of the first group of 7 stitches out to hold, knit 12 rows, ending COL
Bring the next two groups of 9 and 7 needles out to work, knit one row to the right
Bring the remaining stitches to the left of the new group of 7 out to hold, knit 11 rows (odd #), ending COL. Continue across row. At the end knit a few rows, ending once more on the right.
I found at least 3-4 rows were needed between sections of segments to achieve shapes that did not meet to create extended slits with threads across them and to achieve a look I preferred. The interim all knit rows could serve as the opportunity to add other stitch types or techniques including purl ridges on the knit side, which could be achieved easily enough with a G carriage, but may prove perilous with a garter bar.
The needle bed or the needle tape may be marked with a water-soluble pen between needle groups to help make tracking easier.

Proof of concept purl side knit sideslightly scrunched upwith a touch of steam and light pressing

Planning your own pattern in scaled-down numbers of stitches and rows is good practice, may also lead to pleasant surprises. As with any tests, keeping notes while in progress is well worth it. What may be obvious while knitting may escape recall after the fact.  Then there are “little things” that factor in as well. For decades I knit on a 910 or a punchcard machine. On the 910 settings stay as preferred unless changed manually. In my electronic default, the repeat direction was set to be as seen on the knit side, on the punchcard, it is fixed as seen on the purl. At one point I received an orphaned, frozen 930 that I was able to get moving following online video advice. I have often forgotten to set the number one variation button or to change the default isolation to an all-over one in knits where that mattered critically. If programming a repeat, the starting side for a preselection row matters, and it will change based on which side of the finished fabric reflects your planned motif.
The start of an idea with points to be considered,  some observations and questionsWorking it out on a spreadsheet: arrows indicate the direction in which the carriage needs to be moving, I prefer to start COR, the image can be flipped horizontally for starting with COL. The repeat is outlined with a thick border, is too wide for automating for punchcard, but as hand technique variations can be endless. To produce longer slits and raised shapes, add even number of rows to the red colored blocks, for more distance between raised motifs, add even number of rows to the side to side all green areas, maintaining the directional arrows. This is the isolated repeat for converting the pattern to a file suitable for downloadand its mirrored version for knitting from the opposite sideMy test swatch was knit on the 930, using img2track. Because not every needle on the bed is in work throughout the knit, end needle selection must be canceled (KC II). The knit carriage after the preselection row is set to slip in both directions. Because only a few rows are knit on the red blocks in the chart, the result is subtle. The white yarn used in many of my tests happens to be a 2/24 acrylic, so on the too thin side, and likely to be well flattened if pressed.
Often, the edge stitches on the carriage side will tend to be a bit tighter than those formed away from it. The same repeat may be used to create very different fabrics. Eliminating the all knit columns on either side of the center produces a piece with “ruffles” on either side of the center as the outer edge of each shape is no longer anchored down. The principle was used in knitting “potato chip” scarves popular in both hand and machine knitting for a while. Having a repeat on one side of an all knit vertical strip creates a ruffled edging. Note the effect of the added all knit rows on the “wave” of the piece on the right.

Many patterns are published for hand knit variants as well, Lion Brand Yarns offers the opportunity for learning both knit and crochet stitches. Some patterns are free with login (website info access is also free). Here are 2 such designs with slits and bumps to the maxThe shapes for the “bumps” may be changed, moving away from rectangular formats. Small repeats are used for the purposes of illustration here, but they, in turn, may be scaled up, rendered asymmetrical, vary in placement, and more. My design steps began with this idea

Following the goal to achieve bilateral placement along a central vertical knit strip, with vertical knit strip borders at either side, here shapes point in the same direction
Aiming for shapes pointing in opposite directions, following those arrows for “pretend knitting”,  a repeat is highlighted with a dark border on the left, while to its right placement for extra rows of knitting is suggested (must be even numbers). The repeat is then isolated and “grabbed” for use in GIMP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In gimp the bucket fill was used to fill all colors to black, the image was converted to bitmap BW, scaled and then knit. This is the final repeat usedI ran into an interesting problem for the first time. I had entered the row and stitch counts on my chart, used those counts to scale the image used for my repeat down to size for knitting, kept getting floats where there should not have been any, could not understand what the error in the repeat might be. What was happening is that because of the wrong row number used in scaling, there was an extra pixel row in the first test swatches resulting in knitting errors. The final repeat is 29 stitches wide, 38 rows high. This is the resulting swatchOnce more, the repeat could be reduced down to eliminate side knit strips, or limit shapes to one side only for a one-sided ruffle. What about repeating the same slit horizontally across a row? Repeats become very long, arrows are once again guides in knitting direction.  An even number of rows (green) at the end of the outlined repeat will return the carriage to begin knitting it from the right side once more. An odd number of rows added at its top will prepare for knitting the motifs beginning on the left.Again, motifs may be brought closer together, laid out directly above each other, brick fashion, mirrored, or as otherwise desired. Adding rows at the center of the shape will make the “smaller” eyelets at the corner larger as well as the ones created by its outer edge. Possibilities are endless. If automated slip stitch is used, it is the selected needles that knit. This is my final test repeat, flipped because I insist on forgetting to turn on the #1 variation button on my 930, and I like to begin sequences from the right.BringingBPushing unwanted needle groups back to D position will make them knit rather than being held, is another way to vary the texture distribution across any single rowIt is possible to add color changes between or within pattern repeats as well as needles out of work. A free pass may be made to the opposite side by bringing all needles out to hold, and once there, returning the next group of stitches to be knit into work. If electronics are in use for automated patterning, the carriage may be removed from the needle bed and brought to the other side before continuing.  If a punchcard is in use, an odd number of rows will need to be programmed for one of the colors in order to maintain proper needle selection. Repeats in charts below are for illustration purposes, not fully worked out repeats. Adding color stripes, with or without ladders Needles out of work with lateral transfers alternated with needles returned to work will add eyelets to the piece and allow for every needle stripes of colors (or plain knit). If a lot of eyelets created from needle transfers are in play, it may be necessary to change the direction of those transfers.It is also possible to combine patterning and holding. As needle groups are brought in to and out of hold, the needle selection must be maintained in order to keep correct patterning. There also seems to be a sweet spot in most machines for how far back a needle needs to be pushed for it not to “bounce” to an undesired position, thus picking up and knitting in the wrong color or dropping stitches off. Some variations also found in as to how far the active knitting needs to be cleared with each carriage pass on each side. One row in my test swatch has obvious extra stitches in white, my feeder B color. I am not certain as to cause. The introduction of patterning adds yet another layer of complexity to track. Once again I am using 2/24 yarns.

“Wisteria” meets hems

I have previously posted on a series of fabrics related to this swatch, including suggestions for possibly automating some of their variations. The earliest blog post includes some of the history for this fabric, is repeated here. In the 80s there used to be a yearly machine knitting seminar in my area that was fairly well attended. There were droves of machine knitting publications for sale, demonstrators, and device creators with their wares. Susan Lazear, the founder of Cochenille, was just beginning to develop her knit design software ideas on Amiga Computers, DAK was getting off the ground as a competitor, and a fellow Californian, who happened to be Japanese (Yo Furuta), used to travel here with the Pandora box of foreign language knit magazines. At the time translating knits from one language to another amounted to guesswork and some leaflets. Subsequently, there were fliers, then articles, and even books on translating from Japanese to English and more than one on multiple language instructions for knits and crochet.
One year there was a “guess how this was done and you get a prize contest” for a technique appearing on a sweater with only Japanese instructions. The design was dubbed wisteria by some, has been reincarnated as a trim, insertion, bandings on sleeves and cardigans and is reappears in magazines and on the runway with some regularity. For more information see horizontal cable  (2012)wisteria cousin revisited: holding vs slip stitch,  wisteria 2, and fern leaf  A foreign language video tutorial with wider ladder spaces executed on a Silver Reed knitting machine

Recently I have been giving more thought to 3D knitting folds, and in an online search I came across the hand-knit designs by “Olgajazzy“. I became curious about developing a machine knit relative of the texture shown in her Kune Kune shawl and began my own search for a way to add hems to the above fabric.  I am sharing photos of the test swatches in progress and some of my observations, not intending them as a full tutorial. Before adding variations to any technique it is always helpful to have practiced the simpler version. Having needles out of work can help make certain the correct width groups are brought into hold each time. Ladders do change the look of the final fabric and soon the choice becomes as to whether they are unnecessary or used as a purposeful design feature.
As with any eyelet fabric, if all openings are created in the same direction the fabric will bias. To avoid that, the direction of transfers is altered in direction at the completion of each row of repeats. With transfer lace that is achieved by transferring in turn to the right and then to left, here stitches in hold are worked from right to left and then in turn from left to right to achieve a more balanced fabric. Cast-on and bind-off must be loose enough not to draw the top and bottom of the fabric in too tightly, and it is possible to make them decorative. Test swatches began and ended in a waste yarn of sharply different contrast color, making it easier to observe what is happening to the stitches creating the fabric. In this sideways view, missing a row of hemmed segments at its top, the difference in height on one side as opposite the other is quite noticeable. The reverse side shows the same issue. Areas can be identified where the held stitches have been hung up to create hems. Note that as the knit grows in length, at the completion of each row of repeats there is one segment with no hem on alternating sides. A longer test swatch follows
I created my hems on the carriage side, immediately prior to bringing the following group of stitches into work opposite it, and knitting a single row across that new group of 3 segments. The highlighted area indicates the stitches to be hung to create the hem.  The eyelet on the top, right,  will be smaller than the one at the opposite side of the stitches to be hung upStart with waste yarn and ravel cord if preferred. Work the first segment,  hang the first hem. First segments are generally knit for an even number of rows. The second hem is not hung until the third group of stitches has been knit. The process is repeated across the width of the knit Reversing the direction of segmentsWhat about a related edging? One to try: cast on with waste yarn and ravel cord (if desired). End with COL. Knit one row with the main color to right. COR bring all but group 1 stitches out to the hold position. Knit an even number of rows. COR: hang hem, bring the second group of stitches into work, knit one row to left. COL: bring the first group of stitches out to hold, work the second group for the preferred number of rows, end COR. COR: hang hem on stitches worked on the carriage side, bring next group on needles to their left into work. Knit one row to left, bring the now sealed hem on the group of stitches on the right to hold, and continue across the needle bed, working a hem on the last group as well. Reverse direction as illustrated above.
The same edging could be used and followed by other stitch types. The cast-off at the top might look better if done using a different technique but is not capable of matching the bottom edge because of the direction of the knit stitches composing the folds. These fabrics are time-consuming, requiring skill and concentration, especially when knitting large pieces. There is always the option of using such techniques in an isolated area of the final piece or in edgings and borders, keeping in mind the possible changes to gauge when combining stitch types.

Passap knitters are not left out of related explorations. Slip setting (BX) and pusher selection are used. The lock change to N overrides the pusher set up to achieve a row (or many more) of plain knit across all needles in work. It is the equivalent of canceling cam buttons in Brother while maintaining pattern needle selection. N tends to be king no matter on what bed or KM brand. Since both beds in Passap are fixed, the back bed (equivalent to Japanese ribbers) is set to slip (GX). An interesting variation is found in Passap #60 p. 24 (1995). Directions are given for both the Duo and the E 6000. The technique relies upon hand selection and changes in cam settings in both. Early magazines and manuals translated from other languages at times require additional interpretation. Shapes in many are “out of date”, but in terms of knitting techniques, they provide a boundless source of inspiration. This is one of my early graphics trying to imagine what is happening in chart form, which also references the repeat in the Passap garment, followed by plain knitting 

The sides of the piece bow in and out respectively, so when the sweater is seamed the curved areas will meet to create a fairly flat side seam. Choosing a yarn that will “lose memory” when pressed helps create a flat finish. Yarns such as wool will tend to roll toward the purl side, and this is likely to occur on the edges of the eyelets as well. Both can work depending on your goal for the finished piece of knitting. Ladders created by leaving needles out of work make for a more open, very different look. They also can be easily counted to check on how many rows have been knit.

This is a sweater by Patty Boutik, for sale on Amazon, introducing eyelet striping and selective use of the repeatFor use of the stitch family in a variety of scale see the work of Mary Callan

If one is a fan of straight edges or lines, they are not left out either, and slits can be placed at one’s discretion. This fabric is worked out differently, in groups of 2. After the first segment is completed, COR if the starting group 1 worked is on the right, bring group 2 into work, knit one row to left, immediately bring group one into hold, and continue across row. That “float” is created as the yarn traveling between the last stitch on the right now coming into hold and the first stitch to its left knits for many more rows gets pulled on as the piece grows.  If hems are added to the piece it can be done in many ways including in contrasting color, across individual pieces as in the edging shown earlier in the post after knitting one or more rows, and sizes of eyelets and any added hems can be varied as well. If the”float” is hung up at the same time as the hem it will be less noticeable. From Stoll Trend Collection Europe Spring/Summer 2012 a sample fabric utilizing the floats between repeat segments as a design feature

In a world of glitch knitting and asymmetry in design and fashion, random “ruching” may be applied here as well Hems in knitting can be created on any number of stitches, anywhere on a garment, by definition join segments of the knit together permanently. Folds are freer. Here is an attempt at a different wisteria cousin with organized repeats. More on creating it will follow in a subsequent post now that holding techniques are back on my radar

Ribber trims 3: one trim, four variations

I found this on a random sheet tucked away with references from some seminar or other eons ago, its origin is not known to me
I like to chart out my repeats and plans for executing fabrics, along with ideas for possibly varying them in ways other than suggested, this was my  beginningThe sequence in photos, beginning with the cast on, 2/24 acrylic yarn,  zigzag  row with inserted ribber comb,  halfpitch 1 row is knit across all stitches to complete cast onknit one more row to return to the opposite sidethe setting is changed to full pitch, stitches are transferred between beds to match  diagramsthe center needle in each group of 3 is brought out to hold for one row, knit one row to return to the other side center needles are pushed back to D position in order to be knit on return pass to the opposite side this tool makes that needle selection faster and easier when the 20 rows had been knit in pattern drop stitches on each side of center stitch transfer ribber stitches up to main bed I knit 3 rows rather than 2, to return to right side  for bind off here is the swatch, still on comb for “setting stitches”

I found the above results upon completion disappointingly wimpy, then tried the same steps in tightly twisted and slightly thicker cotton, achieved better results, but was still not happy. That set me thinking about an alternative way to produce a similar fabric with changes in needle arrangements. The full series of swatches is seen below. The yellow is knit in a 2/8 wool, the beige in the same weight cotton as the white on the right. All swatches were knit on the same tension, for the same number of rows.

The adjustments on the original pattern are as follows. At half pitch begin as above with zig zag to left, 2 circular rows, knit back to right. Set pitch to P, transfer between beds

knit back to the opposite side, transfer each of the side stitches on the top bed onto the center needle in each group,

bring those needles out to hold for easier knitting on the next pass knit one row back to the right,  making sure stitches  have  knit off  properly. When you have returned to the right side, set the carriage to tuck from right to left only (left tuck button), RC000loops will be formed on the center needles as they would have been formed over the needles as if holding was in use

when the 20 rows are completed the carriages will once again be on the right,  all stitches will have been knit on the previous rowtransfer all ribber stitches to top bed, knit 2 rows, bind off. None of my swatches were blocked other than by some tugging, particularly along the bottom edge. The spacing between stitches is narrower because ladders created by single needles left out of work are formed by yarn lengths that are shorter than those that happen when stitches are knit and then in turn dropped. The height of the swatch is also affected, and the half fisherman texture in the wool swatch, in particular, is more evident.

More variations to try in a multiple of 3+1: using either method or a DIY cast on, dropping (yellow) stitches marked with a * at the end, or transferring them to right or left and setting the main bed to tuck in one direction only.When the work is removed from the machine, stretch cast on outwards, then give each “scallop” a really good pull downwards. Steam lightly over the scallops to set them. Variations of the double bed trims may be worked on the single bed as well.

Ayab: short rows automated with slipstitch

I have recently been reviewing some of my ideas for using slip stitch to achieve fabrics normally created by hand pulling needles for short rows. The samples for most charts below are found in previous posts on the topic. My hacked machine is presently being put to bed for a while as I work on some production pieces on KMs that allow me to produce predictable lengths of knitting. I will not be providing proof of concept swatches for every chart.

A bit on defining short rows https://alessandrina.com/2013/12/18/holding-stitches-short-rows/

https://alessandrina.com/2014/02/20/wisteria-cousin-revisited-holding-using-slip-stitch/

The carriage movements are partially illustrated below, beginning with the first-row pre-selection from left to right (red line/ arrow), which happens to be the only option when using ayab. Ayab also mirrors automatically, so either mirroring the rendered repeat or using the action mirror in software is required for the holding sequence to be correct. The lines indicate the direction of the carriage movement on each design row. Blocks need to be even numbers in height and may be adjusted in width. The full swing of the fabric in each direction needs to be programmed.

https://alessandrina.com/2013/12/28/short-rows_-balls-tams-3d-rounds/
here the holding sequence works toward the center