Lace edgings on Brother machines- automated with slip stitch 2

WORK IN PROGRESS

Recently I have begun to look at lace edgings in a slightly different manner than in the past. I am returning to my post from 2018, written while using the older version of Ayab software and working on a 910. Another post that includes an edging was also written this month. Of late, most of my proof of concept swatches have been knit on a 930 using img2track for downloads. These repeats would be interchangeable, sharing mirroring of the designs. I am using a punchcard machine knit carriage with an added magnet set to KC. Adding needle selection to one side of the electronic LC eliminated issues I had previously encountered. The arrows indicate the direction of the adjustable slots in the mechanisms.I also happened to be working with a 910 LC missing its magnet (left), gluing on a magnet in the position shown below made it usable again on the electronic.Reworking some of the swatches in no particular order, beginning with this one:The 2018 repeat is charted on the left, the amended 24 stitches wide BW repeat is in the center, and the mirrored image for download to my 930 is on the right. Although I am attempting to have the trims in this post no wider than 24 stitches, the design repeats shown for use on electronic machines are not suitable if punched as they are for use on a punchcard kms. One of the critical differences when using 2 carriages to select patterns, is that with the electronics on machines such as the 910 or 930 each carriage pass advances the design repeat one row. When using punchcard models, the LC begins selection from the left, the knit carriage does not advance on its first pass from the opposite side.
Having the repeat 24 stitch width allows for positioning the knitting other than on the very center of the machine. If this is done in electronics, the design should then be programmed for all over patterning, not for single-motif. Splitting the bottom 2 all black row of pixels/punched holes and moving the one row to the very top of the design is one of the new changes. I prefer to plot out these repeats at the start of the decreasing angle, the first row then sets up the needle bed on the widest stitch count of the pattern. I traced the original repeat using Numbers and scaled it in Gimp to produce a downloadable file. The method as it was worked out in chart form: symbols usedThe resulting, more successful swatch 2018 failed attempt at a continuous patternCharting it out anew: on the right is the amended repeat adding 4 more rows to its top The resulting swatches: A= the LC  switched to fine lace “accidentally” for a few rows. B= on the very edge eyelets are single on decreasing angles, double on increasing ones. Though the very edge has those differences, the number of knit stitches between the inner shape on the left and the outer one on the right is fixed =C. D= the lines created by the transfer sequences to create the diamond shapes are far more successful IMO. This illustrates the above repeat on the left. On the right, edge transfers are reduced to single eyelets on the increasing angle, in turn, would result in a wider area of knitting in the zigzag shape between the curved edge and the diamond shape.“A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics” by Susanna Lewis (1981) is the ultimate resource for punchcard knitting for knitters with any amount of experience. On page 223 she offers a repeat for a lace trim. It is shown on the left below, after being reorganized to start on the full 24 stitch width of the edging. In the center chart, rows of black pixels are added, and on the right, the full electronic repeat is shown mirrored for download to the 930 2818, a 26 stitches wide swatch2020 versionThe curved edge is noticeably different and more uniform than in edgings where the increasing angle is formed by only a single stitch being transferred to the next needle on the left, creating an eyelet immediately to its right. The above design, as well as the Brother one published and shared at the bottom of the 2018 post, add two more passes of the LC for stepped decrease/ increase shaping. Three needle positions are involved in each sequence. The decreasing angle will have a single edge stitch, followed by a right-hand transfer with 2 stitches on that needle, and an eyelet to their right after the four LC passes are completed. The increasing angle will be formed by two single edge stitches with an eyelet to their right as well after those four LC passes are completed. Moving on to the Brother published chart at the bottom of the 2018 post: the original is on the left, readjusted in order to begin with the decreasing curve in the center, and charted for download on the right (mirrored in turn for use on the 930). For clarification, the original was said to be 68 rows high but proved to be 72. It is also 18 stitches at the widest point, not 24.  I did not follow their directions for alternating between fine and normal lace either, simply left the LC to N.The test swatch

Lace knitting tips, to mesh or not to mesh 7

Early versions of the Brother Lace Carriage (LC) for machines such as the 830 did not have the capacity to control end needle selection. If any needles were selected for transfer to an end needle not in use in the piece, the LC still will attempt to move that stitch, and if no needle hook is there to accept it, the stitch will drop. Where an and needle has been selected on either or both edges, the option that remains for folks with no automatic way to cancel end needle selection is to push those needles back to B position by hand. Since selection is likely to not happen every row, it may be an easy thing to forget as the length of the piece grows.
Later LC models include mechanisms like those seen in punchcard knit carriages that override the selection made by the patterning device on the end needles.

There were also point cams, that help to change the spacing between vertical lengths of design repeats. For images of the Lace carriage and use of point cams please see post 2017/10/05/lace-point-cams-…brother-machines

Electronic carriages are equipped with a magnet, and must always travel past the center needle 0 position center mark on the needle tape. Markings on factory punchcards give clues as to which carriage to use and for how many passes. They also may vary depending on the year the punchcards or mylars were issued. To review, here are some of the markings commonly found

Generally, it is best to use a yarn that is smooth, has some stretch, and does not break easily. Because the yarn will be transferred to and from or in addition also be shared between needles, some extra yarn may be needed for proper stitch formation. In overall meshes, it is best to start testing using a tension at least one whole number higher than when using the same yarn for stocking stitch.  Too loose a tension can result in dropped stitches or loops getting hung up on gate pegs, too tight and the stitches will not knit off properly or drop, or the yarn may even break. When eyelets are few in number, adjustments in tension may not be needed.

It is best to start with waste yarn and ravel cord, then casting on and knitting at least 2 rows before beginning to use the LC. The cast on will need to stretch to accommodate the growth in width which increases with increasing numbers of eyelets. The same applies to the bind off. One option for matching both is seen in this “answer lady”  video.

In most punchcard repeats, if when the row of transfers is completed there are two or more empty needles side by side, troubleshooting is required to solve the problem unless are intentionally planned in the design, with deliberate adjustments to components of the overall pattern repeat.

The needles need to be in good condition, with latches that open and close smoothly and easily. Also, check for any bent gate pegs, and use a tool to even out the spacing between them if needed.

The traditional placement is for the LC on the left, the KC (knit carriage) on the right, but there are patterns that can work with their placement reversed or even swapped at regular intervals as knitting progresses.

Bringing needles out to E before the all knit row may help avoid additional dropped stitches when there are multiple stitches on any needles. Though knitting may proceed smoothly, checking the work frequently visually will make rescues of problem areas possible as opposed to having to restart the project. It test swatches are hard to knit, it is likely the problems will multiply when a larger group of needles is in use and the project should be put aside.

Because there are so few markings in lace, the lace card does not necessarily resemble the finished stitch appearance. Needle pre-selection does not make as much sense as in other types of patterns. Where knit stitches occur in vertical stripes may also not be immediately evident. Some shifting on the needle bed rather than centering may be required to have a cleaner edge, which also matters in seaming.

There are a definite top and bottom direction to lace, so in knitting scarves or sleeves that is a consideration. One solution is to knit 2 pieces in mirrored directions with many possibilities for methods to join them. No top-down on sleeves if you wish to match the body and it has been knit from its bottom-up.

It is possible to use short rows combined with lace patterns, but any shapes created are likely to change visually, so planning is required unless those changes are suitable. Traditional holding by changing the knit carriage setting may not be used. Needles to be put in hold need to be knit back to A position and brought back into work as needed. Ravel cord or any tightly twisted cotton may be used. If needles have a tendency to slide forward when holding large sections or at the hold starting side as the piece progresses, some tape may need to be placed in front of the needle butts on the metal bed to hold those needles in place. These illustrations of the process are from an early Brother machine manual As with any knitting, there are times where nothing seems to work for no good reason after intervals of smooth knitting and no other changes, and a break is best for both operator and machine.

The greater the number of eyelets in the pattern, the wider the finished knitting. Blocking in some form will usually be required to set the stitches, and may be required if the piece grows in length and narrows as it is worn or hung when stored.

Out of habit I usually leave weaving and tuck brushes in use for all my knitting, but particularly when creating textured stitches and lace.
Gauge swatches should be larger than usual, all in the pattern, and treated as the final piece will be in terms of pressing, blocking, washing, and allowed to rest prior to obtaining measurements for garment calculations.

When stitch symbols first appeared in Japanese publications they were represented as the stitch formation occurred on the knit side of the fabric, which could cause confusion since in machine knitting we are looking at the purl side. Eventually, Nihon publications made the transition and other pubs followed.

I have been blogging for years and sometimes return to topics after long absences. In terms of more information on lace design and some tips on translating hand knitting instructions for machine knitting please see: 2013/07/23/from-hand-knit-lace-chart-to-punchcard-1/
2013/07/24/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-2/
2013/07/26/from-lace-chart-…3-adding-stripes/
2013/07/27/frome-lace-chart…-4-a-border-tale/
2013/07/29/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-5-to-electronic/
2013/08/29/from-lace-chart-to-punchcard-6-to-electronic/

A punchcard tale: after the chevron post, single color sideways chevrons appealed to me. Two variations from a Brother Punchcard VolumeA= the full 24 stitches wide repeat, half the required height for the punchcard user. B= the single electronic repeat. C= the single electronic repeat tiled X3, checking to see that pixels actually line up properly.
Punchcard markings of note: A= design row 1, B= mark for first row visible on the exterior of the machine, the card reader is actually reading 7 rows down, C= typical markings for the direction of the LC movement on that row, and for knit rowsThe two rows at the bottom of the card reflect the overlap when punchcard snaps are in use to keep the pattern continuous.Looking at it in more detail Column identification at the bottom of the chart: A= direction of the lace carriage, pixels or punched holes preselect on that carriage pass
B= direction of transfers; note there are extra blank rows where their direction is reversed indicated also by the change in the color of the arrows. Multiple rows in one direction only, happening here in series of 5, will result in bias knitting. As bias is reversed, the zigzag shape begins to be created.
C= markings for 2 rows worked with the  knit carriage, the pattern does not advance on those rows on any machine
D= markings on factory punchcard
E= design rows
When working with electronics, the actions need to match those indicated on the factory design beginning with row one punchcard marking on the right.
The width of the planned swatch or piece may be programmed for use with the single motif setting in img2track or the required default in Ayab. Adding a blank square at each end ensures the end needle will knit on every row, no pushing back needles by hand will be required.Changing fibers opens up a brand new world: this swatch (unblocked) is knit in a tightly twisted rayon, edges also begin to create clearer shapes than that achieved by knitting the same design using wool.Spacing out the zigzags, another 24X30 repeat. This is the minimum repeat for electronic KMs as well, knit stitch spacing (white squares) can be planned to suit Once again, one must be aware of whether the lace repeat needs to be mirrored on the specific model machine. I initially forgot to do this on my 930, which results in an erroneous repeat if the lace carriage is operated from the left. Planning the placement on the needle bed controls the number of knit stitches on either side of the resulting mesh shape.  Today the rayon was having no part of knitting properly, this swatch is once again in wool. 

At one point I shared ideas for automating mesh patterns in lace edgings using the LC and the KC (knit carriage) set for slip stitch

Changing the above repeat for a zigzag border: in my first experiment, I tried keeping the number of eyelets in the zigzags across rows constant, did not like the visual “extra” line away from the edge, was happier with my second try. This fabric would do better with a yarn that can be blocked to shape, the wool used here is a tad too thin. There will be some tendency on the part of the eyelets on the very edge to appear smaller as the edge stitches are stretched into shape. It appears I also have a needle that needs to be changedThe transfers of the stitches by the LC while using the knit carriage set to slip in both directions to create the knit rows, will automatically create increases and decreases along the left edge. Due to this fact, there will be one less eyelet in each transferred row than the number of pixels/punched holes in its corresponding pattern row. The knit carriage in this instance preselects rows for the lace carriage, the lace carriage preselects all needles required on its way back to the left for the knit carriage to knit on its next pass. This chart attempts to show movements of the carriages and location of stitches after they have been moved along with eyelet symbols in their locations after the transfers The pattern repeat on the left below is as I drew it and intended it, on the right, it is mirrored for use to knit it on my 930The first preselection row is from right to left, the knit is centered with 10 stitches on each side of 0. I canceled end needle selection on both carriages. The first row is knit, when the KC reaches the left side, set it to slip in both directions. As it returns to the right it will knit a second row on all needles in work, and preselect for the first LC pass. Extension rails must be used as both carriages will lock onto the belt for pattern selection. At the start of the piece, as the LC moves from left to right it will transfer preselected needles to the right. On its return to the left, it preselects needles that will knit as the KC returns to action from the right. Each carriage in this design makes alternating pairs of passes.
When the top half of the pattern repeat is reached, the LC makes its pass to the right on a blank design row. As it does it preselects for the next row of transfers, which are made to the left as the LC returns to its home there (A). Though the Brother LC does not knit and transfer on the same row as the Studio one can, it is able to transfer and preselect for the next row of knitting (B).The above fact allows for planning transfers in both directions while still keeping the routine at 2 passes for each carriage to and from their original home. Based on that, here is another trim with eyelets in alternating directions along the side opposite the zigzag shape. The repeat is now adjusted to 22 stitches X 48 rows to accommodate the reversing eyelets arrangement. It is shown here mirrored for download to my 930. There is a blank square at the top right corner, the corresponding stitch will be cast on by the knit carriage on its move to the left, and transferred automatically when there is a return to transfers at the bottom of the design repeat. The yarn used or the swatch is a 2/18 wool-silk. There will be 2 stitches on each needle (A) at the very edge where stitches are transferred for decreases and look different than where the edge stitch is simply moved one needle to its left (B), leaving behind an empty needle. A parallel, similar difference is also noted at the inner edge of the zigzag shape. The sample is pictured turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise, its bottom edge appears on the right

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.

 

 

 

 

A hand knit consult to machine knit slip stitch

I was contacted via a comment here about the possible methods for reproducing this handknit pattern Observations: there are elongated loops on the knit side of the fabric, likely created with slipped stitches. There appear to be eyelets on the purl side. The total number of stitches remains constant throughout the knit. The row repeat spacing is fairly close, so at least to start with I tried single repeats to achieve the look, was not pleased with any of the initial results. That led me to an online search for what would visually appear to have similar qualities in handknit samples.  Knittingfool.com is an extensive resource and, to my eye, this slip stitch pattern, “little birds”,  shares similarities with the above swatch as do “oats” found in a 1984 handknitting publicationI have a hard time with longhand written instructions for patterns nowadays, have grown so used to creating or working from published charts. As usual, I plan out tentative repeats and ideas, began with this,  toying with where to place slipped stitches and then transitioned to translating any repeats for use in machine knitting, keeping in mind that in hand knitting actions are made as the row is being knit, while in machine knitting they take place prior to returning the carriage to the opposite side thus knitting that row. This was my first repeat after replacing cells with squares representing knit stitches with black and white planned pixels for electronic download.
On the machine, the distance between stitches is fixed, so for any crossings or lots of movement across the needle bed it is best to use yarn with a bit of stretch, and a stitch size large enough to allow for the desired actions. I found slipping for 2 rows only did not create enough loop length, so I changed the slip stitch areas to 3 rows in height.The slip stitch setting is used in both directions throughout. White squares represent areas where needles on the bed are skipped/slipped, not being selected forward and thus knit. This happens for 3 rows, resulting in the required elongated stitches. On the 4th pattern row, the group of 3 not selected needles is where the stitch transfers and crossings occur. Any cabling, eyelet fill in, etc, needs to be performed prior to knitting that row and moving the carriage to the opposite side. The work is always done with purl side facing, so matching the direction of patterning to a hand-knit may also require mirroring of crossings, depending on your knitting machine model. The goal is to have the K3tog with the long loops in front of the single knit stitch in the center position.

To execute the slip stitch crossings in front of the center knit stitch on the knit side of the fabric transfer the center stitch in the group of 3 and hold aside, take the left elongated stitch and move it onto the now empty needle at the center position of the group of 3transfer the elongated stitch on the right onto that same center stitch. This may be done in the reverse order to have loops move in the opposite direction on the knit side of the fabric.Move the stored original center stitch back onto that center position, there will now be 3 stitch loops held on the single needlefill in the empty needles to avoid large eyelets, picking up from the row below repeat the process across the bed, bring all the needles used out to hold position prior to knitting the next row The yarn used was 3/8 wool at loosest tension possible, the result is subtle as any spaces between stitches get pretty well filled in. Moving on to denser patterningThe elongated stitch crossings now happen every 4 rows, but across two needles, not one. I used a tightly twisted rayon for the test swatch thinking they might be more visible, but the openness in the stitch formation because of the fixed spacing on the metal bed confuses the texture a bit. Simply leaving the empty needle out of work and continuing to knit (1) created too large an eyelet to my taste. Trying to pick up the third slipped loop (2) had the same effect. The best result was obtained by picking up from row below on each side of the three stitches that are removed and then returned to the needle bed (3).
When pattern row 4 is reached, the not selected stitches are removed on a 3 prong tool, the elongated stitches are moved onto the center needle of the now resulting group of 5e wrapping the third row of floats can be tested by inserting a single eye tool front to back, twisting either counter or clockwise and rehanging on an empty needle, thus casting on an “extra” stitch going back to picking up from row below this shows the number of skip stitch floats in each test the appearance on the knit side comparison to the handknit.Charting the actions for a hand-knit version: the top images illustrate the moves on the purl side while on the machine, below it those on the knit side when hand knitting the patternPlotting out borders and repeats for a small test including make-1 increases in order to keep the total stitch count constant. I do little hand knitting nowadays, so when doing so I add as much information as possible including some stitch counts until the pattern is established and I can visually follow it more easily.The resulting test swatch Comparison with the original: I knit 3 together through front loops, so my long stitches are crossed in the opposite direction of the original. Knitting through the back of the 3 stitches would reverse it and yield a matching result.This is an  illustration of the method I used to “make one”,  in my swatch I kept the direction constant

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”

 

 

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 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 B position. As you move to 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 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 B position. As you move to 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 formeddrop 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: 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 chartA 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

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