Miters and spirals: visualizing, charting (and more) 2

Visualizing the shapes (using charts in Mac Numbers)A spiral gore is the first or second half of a miter gore, conversely, a miter gore has 2 consecutive spiral gores, knit in a mirror image. GOING ROUND: numbers 1-12 represent knitting sequence for wedges, thicker lines at segment edges = rows across knit width at end of each sequence, 2 rows or many more depending on planned design shape

Previous posts on related topics:

Miters and spirals: visualizing, charting (and more) 1

Getting my thoughts together on this topic I searched for any of my previous posts that may be related, here is a list

Even in my earliest days as a hand knitter, I liked charting out my sweater shapes ie sleeves, necklines, etc on graph paper and tracking my place by marking the appropriate row or every other row on the charted image. Many of the formulas for charting math in garment shaping may be emulated by drawing a line on the chart where each square represents a stitch and a row, connecting points, and filling in squares. Averaging out grid shifts is also the guideline to increasing and decreasing for shaping on pixel charts. Though this may be a bit of egg before the chicken, I got sidetracked playing with software yet again.


Working premise: using holding to shape a wedge over 36 rows. Stitch multiples  are brought into hold opposite the carriage (floats will be created if they are brought into hold on the carriage side), in the instances below each graph row represents 2 rows knit, my fabric width at the start is 100 sts

Set image size _ pixels equal stitches and rows required

Magnify X 1000 (this is what I prefer for viewing and editing, less magnification may be used)

Activate 1 stitch grid/ show grid/ snap to grid

Make certain the whole image is within your window view

Using line shape: click on the upper left corner, press shift key_a drawing line will appear with a + symbol at its bottom right_click on the first square on the bottom right, a line will appear where black squares represent  # of stitches to be held each row

bucket fill in  the appropriate side of the wedge to represent knit stitches

create a new, larger canvas that will accommodate desired multiple stacked repeats and possible knit rows in between shapes in a new window; copy image from the first window, paste  into the new window, move it, and place in the desired location on your  screen

return to the first window, flip the image vertically (image menu/ select transform and direction)

again copy, paste, move into the desired location, and insert knit or (patterned) rows (green) when and if desired. On electronic machines, the final image would have to be doubled in length, so those “knit row” pixels/squares would have to be adjusted accordingly to half the desired number

Row by row charting for double-height to represent each row of actual knitting: the process

starting with a repeat 6X6

convert image to bitmapped (repeat at upper right below is a different one, should match the one being resized)

scale image: click on the locked symbol/ chain link, in turn, to alter the aspect ratio, change both pertinent numbers

the repeat twice as long, 6 X 12

going 3D, possible spiral

eliminating squares

shifting things around in order to add “automatic wraps”, begin knit with COL

in further progress


stacked repeat

stacked repeat

save in image in format for downloading to machines via cable and knitting using slip stitch setting, or export or screen grab for printing and knitting from chart visually as hand technique. If printing images colored cues may be added for carriage/lock setting or color changes, etc. The question: what about numbers and excel?


Using the line tool (shapes) will get the line in place, shaping is “eyeballed”

knit squares are filled in

so you want to double the height only? Apple for some reason when they  “upgraded” to the latest version of the program (3.2) has eliminated the split table feature, so the only way I can see is through using the table: add rows above or below in the chart, a new row will be a copy of the selected row


the insert row option will add rows only below selected ones, I have not found a tool equal to the line shape in Numbers

Wisteria cousin 2, also called fern leaf, hand technique

In seminar days this was referred to as a “fern leaf” pattern. Holding groups in these sequences givea a bit more swing to the side of the finished piece. Directions for this fabric may be found in  the post 

The difference between the fabrics below and the ones that look like this swatch is that when the row of held sequences is completed from one side to the other, at least 2 rows are knit across all stitches before reversing the holding direction and moving toward the starting side to complete the repeat.
In addition, there is often a tension change between the groups that pull the fabric inward and enhance the texture. In my sample, the held segments were knit at tension 6, and the tight rows at tension 3.
The pattern in this swatch is executed on a multiple of 8 stitches 
To knit: cast on the required number of stitches, the first four rows are tight, so waste yarn and ravel cord followed by the cast-on and tight rows are recommended.
At T3 knit 4 rows, COR. Set the machine to hold stitches.
T6: bring all but the first 8 needles closest to the carriage into hold.
Knit 12 rows.
COR: on the side opposite to the carriage but closest to the needles in the working position, bring a group of 4 more needles into work. Knit one row.
COL: on the side opposite the carriage bring 4 needles into hold.
You will now again be working on a group of 8 needles. * Knit 11 rows.
COR: on the side opposite carriage bring 4 needles into work, knit one row.
COL: on the side opposite carriage bring 4 needles back into hold.*
Repeat *to* until the last set of 8 needles are in work on the left-hand side, knit 12 rows, ending COL.
T3 knit 4 rows.
Reverse the process, moving in the opposite direction, beginning with knitting 12 rows on the first group of 8 stitches on the left.

If the goal is to retain the texture, a yarn with “memory” ie wool is recommended; if a yarn such as acrylic, which has the capacity of being “killed” when pressed (sometimes the desired effect) is used,  the result may be seen below

lacing up a sample with knit i-cord

I had previously shared other images of this type of fabric, they may be found in my previous post, described as “horizontal cables“. The sequences there illustrate the use of other results from varying the number of stitches and rows in each held group, as to the biasing that results when all rows of groups move in a single direction. A bit on the possibility of automating such fabrics using slip stitch. 

Holding/short rows: hand tech to chart to automating with slip stitch 1

These directions apply to Brother Machines; designs could be used as they are and programmed into Passaps, other brands would require some adjustments. In these samples, the holes resulting from holding for 2-row sequences are considered part of the design. Vertical strips in different colors could be knit and later joined. The final result is a “zig-zag” pattern. Written directions may read: to begin, cast on, and knit 2 rows. **COR: set the machine for holding. Place in hold all except the first 2 needles on the right (carriage side). Knit 2 rows. Return to work the next group of 2 needles on the left to work, knit 2 rows. Repeat until only 2 needles on the far left are in  hold, return them to work, knit one row (color 1 in the chart below). COL: pull the first 2 needles at far right to hold, knit 2 rows, repeat until last 2 are left in hold, knit 2 rows (color 2). COL: bring next 2 needles into work, knit 2 rows, continue until the last 2 stitches are returned to work on the right, knit one row (color 3). COR: pull first 2 needles on left into hold, knit 2 rows; repeat until last 4 stitches at right are put back into work, knit 2 rows**, and repeat from **. Knit 2 rows at end of the desired number of repeats bind off.
The sorting out hand tech sequences to achieve the desired shapes sample: When producing my charts for using slip stitch to automate holding I like to draw what I would actually be knitting for each row, each stitch and row being a filled square, so the colored areas below represent knit stitches/rows on each row, the blank squares the stitches in holding. I test the repeat as a hand technique first, before in my case marking the mylar, then essentially fill in the knit stitches with color, keeping in mind the location of the knit carriage and the direction of the knitting. The colored squares are then programmed as punched holes, black squares, or pixels, and the pattern may be knit using slip stitch <—>. Needle selection needs to be canceled, otherwise, the yarn will be knit on the side of non-selected needles on that last stitch, creating a long float. The selection row needs to be toward the first 2 knit rows sequence. Here they are knit beginning on the right for 2 rows, so the selection row is made from left to right.  Odd rows move, knitting, from right to left, even rows from left to right. At this point, I prefer mac numbers for charting.

the final repeat, working chart the mylarthe swatch

The  above repeat could be considered composed of 2 pairs of stacked, mirrored triangles, here is an instance of playing single “triangles”

the mylar repeat its accompanying swatch

“wisteria” cousin revisited (“holding” using slip stitch)

My previous post on the related topic.

I revisited the above fabrics in another experiment recently. This first sample was produced as a hand technique after casting on with 2 needles in work, 2 out of work. In the bottom half, there were variations from 8 down to 4 rows of knitting before additional groups were introduced, beginning on the right side of the machine, with the first group on right taken out of work after bringing the second on left into work and one row knit on both groups, so sequences are always on single groups of 2 except for the one row where the new pair is brought into work and knit. When proceeding in this manner the single long float will appear between the lines of knit stitches. The top of the swatch was knit in a manner similar to the method described for the second swatch series in the above post. The yarn is acrylic, barely steamed.

Automating these fabrics is limited if only a punchcard or mylar were available. In the repeat below if all “holes at edges” were wanted to match the size of those in the remainder of the row, the single 4 stitch segment areas would need to be redrawn, double their present length. Though the width of the fabric may be limited in terms of a garment or shawl, an inset is possible, or if turned sideways, the fabric may serve as a trim. Having an interface that allows programming the width of the needle bed and “infinite” length, gives one much greater leeway also in terms of segment widths. Here I am basing the repeat on groups of 4. The grey markings are ghosts from a previous test repeat.

The resulting fabric was 32 stitches wide, centered on the machine;  in the bottom segment all needles (in my case 16L to 16R) are in work, KCII (cancel end needle selection) row is from left to right, with knitting beginning from right to left, with the machine in turn set to slip <—>. Adding NOOW creates 2 more variants. In the middle the fourth stitch on the left of each group is transferred to its right, its corresponding needle is taken out of work, so knitting will be on groups of 3 stitches, with a single needle ladder between them; in the top the third needle on left of each remaining group of stitches is transferred to its right, now having groups of 2 empty needles between each pair of stitches, creating a wider ladder. This swatch was lightly pressed, flattening it considerably: a consideration when choosing yarn type.

Simply doubling the length and width of the repeat on the mylar, which in theory should give a larger repeat, does not work for these fabrics: the transition row as each new group is brought into work needs to be a single row event or floats will be created on the second pass of the carriage, so this in one instance of draw exactly what you want to knit unless you wish to manage the floats created by changing those needle selections manually when needed if doubling motif length.

From Stoll Trend Collection Europe Spring/Summer 2012 a sample fabric utilizing the floats between repeat segments as a design feature

a how-to video on the above fabric


Short rows_ balls, tams, 3D rounds

These forms involve bilateral shaping. 3/4/16 Note: the charts below were produced using the program Intwined, which has been unsupported or updated for Mac since June 2013. At that time I encountered major problems using it, and after being restored the program has remained unpredictable, missing functions that influenced my choice to originally purchase it. The first row knit needs to be toward the first 2-row sequence in the design.

16 stitches, 6 rows, 8 repeats

28 stitches, 12 rows, 8 repeats

17 stitches, 8 rows, 12 repeats

28 stitches, 10 rows, 12 repeats

The samples were knit in “waste” yarns, and seamed on the machine;  if turned purl side out the latter is acceptable, or work could be flipped over and joined on the machine, bringing the join to the purl side; of course Kitchener stitch is always the least visible but most time-consuming option.  The green forms in the photo were knit using 8 repeats, the white ones 12)

Back to charting in Excel: knitting tams

tam 1: 6.5 sts and 9 rows per inch, 12-inch diameter, 12 gores, 38L, 30R

adjust for gauge:  mine below on bulky machine tension 3, ap 5 sts , 5.72 rs per inch, 10 gores, 26L, 20R

test swatch, if fewer rows are needed for head circumference formed on rt, first 2 rows may be skipped every third round or as needed, extra red rows on top may be added if additional width is needed to fit head comfortably

my hats in 2 different fibers, sizes M and L

going bulkier for an “urchin”: 2.5 sts, 5 rs per inch, 8 gores

step 1, HK, W = wrapped st

a way to size up, adding rows and sts

gauge may be hard to match even eon on bulky. HK version, flipped so as to knit increasing angle, no wrapping required with any of my yarns in this series, test swatches suggested

looking at it another way

in the above, the black represents knit stitches, arrows indicate the direction of knit/ reading the chart, the yellow the unworked stitches in each row, no wraps; my sample was knit in garter stitch on size 11 needles, brim circumference = 21 inches

Programming for use of repeats on knitting machines (there are limitations based on gauge and machine model): black/colored squares represent knit stitches. When the machine is set to slip, those squares/punched holes will knit, while blank areas/non-selected pattern needles will not, emulating holding techniques. Knit rows need to happen toward 2-row sections of charts so that needles are “brought to hold” opposite the carriage;  KC (II, no end needle selection) row needs to start the carriage on the side opposite to the first such sequence. For example: in the charts, for the balls, the KC row would be from left to right, the first knit row from right to left, with the first set of needles to be “held” opposite the carriage on the second knit row. The principle is considered throughout, and the last row knit across all stitches will get the carriage back to the required position for beginning the sequence for the next segment. When knitting on the machine, if the row counter tripper is turned off, the RC may be advanced manually as each wedge is finished. Tracing on the charts for such stitches, pretending to be knitting, and following with a writing instrument the direction/movement of the carriage to each side helps to clarify the process and find possible errors or more needed rows prior to actual knitting.

If Kitchener stitched together, finished hats will be reversible, may be worn in a variety of ways, and takes on a slightly different shape depending on which side is worn on the outside. An excellent series on Kitchener stitch may be found on the TECHknitting blog
garter grafting video
if blocking of hat forms is required, plates may actually come in handy
if the brim is too loose, work one or 2 rows of crochet or of  knitted rib to gather it in a bit

Holding stitches/ short rows

I am planning a thread on motifs and miters, here is a brief review of holding stitches in preparation: short rows are just that. Instead of going the full width of your stitches across, you knit only a portion of the stitches on the machine, turn, and go back to the beginning, which results in one portion of the fabric knitting more rows than the other side of the fabric. It is also referred to as partial knitting. It is used to create many angles and curves. The machine’s knit carriage needs to be set appropriately; needles pulled to the furthest position (E_Brother_holding lever, D _ Studio _Russell levers, Passap will need pusher adjustments) will not knit. To return stitches to work in increments push stitches back into the upper working position (C or D depending on machine brand). In patterned knitting, stitches must be returned to the proper position for patterning with a transfer tool. In Brother machines needles need to be arranged manually in the proper location for the pattern to knit correctly, Studio machines will do it automatically since they select and knit on the same row. When using holding with the lace carriage held stitches are knit back to A using ravel cord and returned to the needle hooks in work position when they need to be knit. Because knit row sequences are in pairs (or more) there will be slits or “holes” perceived at the edge of the held knitting, these can be considered a design feature or nearly eliminated by “wrapping” the first adjacent held needle before knitting the second row, or knitting one stitch less than the required amount toward the held stitches, and then bringing the remaining needle into work before knitting back. Bringing more than one needle into hold on the carriage side will create “floats, so multiple stitches are usually brought out to hold opposite the carriage. Knits often tend to stretch more in width than in length, so in garments such as pleated skirts, it is likely the piece (knit sideways) will grow in length and tighten in width, with tension and garment weight providing 2 more factors. Large swatches and having them rest in the position in which the knit in the final piece will be worn are a necessity in calculations. Some references:

Settings and images of wrapping to avoid holes: this site is now down, the information may be found in webarchives , will take a little bit of time to load content
Calculating frills and triangles online

Short row one side only
Diagonal corner
Short rowing 2 sides at once

Shaping shoulders and necklines (Studio) Knitting: site no longer exists for PDF download info Machine Geometrics – Susan Guagliumi – Threads magazine, April-May 1987, pp 66-71. The Studio knitting tips series of articles were originally published for dealers only, may now be found in

A Ravelry post on the topic with hints for hand knitting by Rox Knits

TechKnitting on HK topic


Knit topological shapes

It is possible to construct topological shapes via knitting. In HK this may be done on circulars. One out of many tutorials may be found here, and the mathematical knitting is a very good, extensive resource.

A recent forum post on knitting such shapes on the machine led me to dig out an old sample of mine knit with brass wire and holding on the km flatbed; since I never actually determined an end-use, the donut hole inner seam was never joined.
In this view, the piece is about 3 inches in height, and 8 inches across
a side view

Entrelac pretender 3

This larger cousin uses the slip stitch setting combined with short rows to create an “entrelac-like” fabric on punchcard machines.
It helps to be familiar with both techniques before attempting this fabric. I am not providing specific directions for knitting, but the repeats are correct and tested, and are intended as a springboard, not a “how-to”.The related punchcard repeats.
The blue tape is used on both sides of the card to mask off holes resulting from punching errors.  The needle bed markings to help track motif placement (red for the red card, which corresponds to needle tape factory markings for repeats, black marks are halfway in between for the opposing shapes)As each set of repeats for each card is completed the punchcards are exchanged. KC direction is marked on them, with knitting beginning on the opposite side. I found the fabric more manageable when I completed and began each design sequence and color change by beginning and ending with an all-knit row in that color. The bottom of the swatch shows the difference in the side edges if half repeats are not planned for. If this were a production item it would actually be possible to work out the repeat on enough cards so they could be used as a continuous roll rather than having to so frequently reinsert and rejoin them. This sample was knit in Jaggerspun wool, and since wool has memory, the resulting 3D texture remains after steaming, resulting in a noticeable difference from the previously knit acrylic swatches.

This is the purl side with obvious changes in width and some problem yarn feeding and the knit side

There is a large number of rows between repeats, so there will be yarn ends that need to be dealt with, but they are far fewer than in knitting individual motifs, and only at the sides of the piece.

Garter bar/ short row trim

A recent MK forum request for a HK trim look alike led me to the following experiment :

the hand-knit trim

There are multiple ways to achieve knit and purl combinations on the KM. Brother garter carriage will do so “automatically” albeit slowly, ribbers may be used in combination with main beds, ladders may be latched up by hand, or one may use the garter bars to turn work over. When large widths are required the options are to use multiple panels, or to knit the fabric sideways letting the width become the length. Some HK fabrics are impractical if not impossible to duplicate on standard home knitting machines, and compromises are chosen. I tried to create a distant relative of the proposed trim, with a bit of family resemblance.

Below the short section to my garter bar is pictured. I mark every 10 eyelets with nail polish on my GBs to help with tracking stitch counts (do same with centers of ribber combs). The photo shows it in the position in which it needs to be held to take stitches off the machine prior to turning them over. The hollows under the eyelets (1) provide room for the needle hooks to slip under the yarn and catch the stitches when work is flipped over. Hollows under eyelets occur on the side with the convex ridge (2). There are many online sources for using the bars, now available in multiple gauges, including an article by Susan Guagliumi.

my working graph

I worked my edging on multiple of 12 stitches. The purl/knit symbols represent how the knit will appear when viewed on the side where the held shape is convex. Work begins by knitting foundation rows and using waste yarn at the start with open stitches on the first row of knitting if the ruffle is to be seamed/joined at its ends upon completion. The magenta/green rows represent respective whole rows to be turned to the reverse side using the garter bar after each knitting sequence is completed. Testing first is required to establish the optimum stitch size for a gauge that will allow for easy stitch movement in transferring stitches on and off the garter bar:

arrows on the blue ground indicate the position of KC at beginning of sequences

end knitting of first “purl” section COR, turn work over (magenta)

COL: knit one row across all stitches, carriage moves to the right (pink). I find it easier after holding starts to move the carriage to the opposite side by taking it physically off the machine and leaving settings alone, results in fewer yarn tangles and problems for me.

COR: set the machine for hold except for the first 2 stitches on right. I tried one stitch at a time first, but the wedge was too deep, so I began working bringing stitches to hold 2 at a time, carriage side first. Stitches could be held opposite the carriage as well, but that created a set of additional holes when one returns to knitting those stitches in the opposite direction, and a pointy edge  (segment marked with dot #2, more on a later post on miters and spirals). The number of stitches brought to hold can be varied as needed, the goal here is a symmetrical result.

COR: when only 2 needles at left are left in hold opposite carriage, knit an even number of rows (orange area, I chose to knit 4, then 6 rows in my test)

COR: when the last 2 stitches on right have been knit for 2 rows (green) transfer all the stitches to the garter bar

Get carriage to left, COL: return stitches to needles, knit for an odd number of rows (magenta, COR), turn work over

COL: knit one row across all stitches to right (pink)

COR: begin holding sequence again

I began the sample with 5 rows in between the mitered shapes and then tried 11. This is labor-intensive if produced in significant lengths, so a choice can be made depending on personal taste and patience. Though it could be attached as one knits the item it is intended to trim, there is enough going on I would probably estimate the length, take it off on waste yarn, and hang it onto the larger item. If longer, the trim may be unraveled to suit. If an addition is required it may be added on but at least working with the much larger bulk of materials will not be for the duration. Holding lever may be set to knit for single passes prior to turning work over in sections using holding, or stitches may be pushed into work by hand.

dot 1 rests on “killed acrylic”  repeat test, the remaining sample is knit in wool: dot 2 marks the extra holes when the holding sequence is changed   as described above

with five “purl” rows between turning and holding

11 “purl” rows between turning and holding

the reverse side

about half the wool portion of the ruffle was pressed, the knit became smoother, the edges less rolled. Those are properties that can become a design choice/decision

If an all stocking stitch ruffle serves the purpose this could be the start of the working repeat for using slip stitch to knit programmed needles selected to patterning position; here the black dots represent areas that knit, white squares stitches in holding. The repeat must be an even number of rows, using it as drawn, the starting side depends on whether one is using a punchcard machine or electronics

For some hints on how to use the garter bar see later post