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

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

the final repeat, working chart the mylarthe swatch

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

the mylar repeat its accompanying swatch

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

My previous post on the related topic.

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

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

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

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

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

a how-to video on the above fabric  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBrW5wddgbg


Drop stitch lace, 2 colors per row, japanese machines

This is an attempt to duplicate the results of Passap tech 185 used in knitting multiple colors per row drop stitch “lace” fabrics.
The method may also be used for more colors per row, expanding the repeats accordingly to the number of colors per row X 2 for each motif row. For example, here 2 colors per row are expanded to 4 rows for each color in length, 3 cols per row would need to be expanded to 6 for each design row.
This fabric widens considerably when completed, so at the top and bottom edges, cast ons and bind offs, need special consideration and planning.

In this instance, the design has been separated for the dbj method wherein each color in each design row knits twice. The second row in each pair of rows is then cleared of any pixels which results in no needle selection, providing an opportunity for the loops formed on the main bed to be dropped with the assistance of a stitch ditcher.
The fabric may also be executed using the original separation, but the opportunity to use an accessory to facilitate stitch dropping is lost’
The method for swatching: cast on for every other needle rib, knit 2 circular rows followed by one row of all knit rib, and transfer all main bed stitches to the ribber. For an open stitch cast on directions and photos see later post.
COR Set up needles on both beds for every needle rib with an extra needle in work at each end on the main bed, cancel end needle selection (KC II). With the main bed needles in the B position, set the knit carriage to slip in both directions so as not to pick up loops across the whole row as the first pass toward the color changer is made, needles will be preselected for the first pattern row
COL: the ribber remains set to knit every needle, the main bed to slip in both directions. A piece of tape in front of needle butts of needles in A position aside from the edge needles in work helps keep from accidentally moving extra needles into work when dropping whole rows of stitches
change color, as the carriage moves to the right, selected needles will pick up loops on the main bed that will form the long stitches when dropped, while the next row of pattern is selected, so by the time the carriage has reached the right side of the machine, needles will have flatlined due to the all blank rows in this type of color separation
COR: use any convenient tool to bring all needles involved out to E, and use the same tool to return all stitches back to the B position, dropping the loops on the main bed which will form the long stitches. With this type of color separation, it is also possible to use a modified Studio P slider Directions on altering the studio tool for use on Brother machines to drop stitches from right to left before continuing to knit.
Check that all needles are empty and that loops free and between the beds.
As the carriage moves to the left again toward the color changer, the ribber only will knit all stitches (does so every row), needles will be preselected for the next row of long stitches, selected needles are not knitting.
Colors are changed every 2 rows
The pattern and the “color separations”, were achieved using GimpImages from left to right
1. motif  lengthened X 4
2. every other row erased (non-selection rows)
3. 2nd pattern row (every other row of design now left) color inverted
4. pattern marked in 5X5 blocks for easier tracking when drawing on the 910 mylar sheet
A downloadable PDF of basic info 185_brother
sideway views: knit side purl side The emerging pattern can be seen, and to be noted is the elongation factor involved as in many color separation DBJ fabrics
For a later review of cumulative posts on the topic see: revisiting drop stitch lace 
For the design method for staggered shapes in drop stitch see Ayab software-related post.
In other electronics, a single repeat in both height and width is adequate and machine selections will determine whether the design is knit as a single motif or as all-over patterns.
Ayab’s preselection is always from left to right. In unhacked 910s, the first preselection row can be from right to left, so no accommodations need to be made for shifting the last row to the first of the design repeat.
For machines accepting electronic downloads, program the repeat with the first design row containing black squares in it, and adjust the spacing between repeats as preferred. This particular version is 80 stitches wide In an unaltered 910 with the ability to double the width of the programmed repeat, mylar users are not excluded from exploring a similar fabric. The repeat above may be rescaled to half the width,  drawn that way, and then use the twice as wide built-in feature. In Gimp scaling this design to half-width, note the right side of each repeat contains an odd number of squares, the left side an even one. The repeat may be used as-is or redrawn, adding or eliminating black squares if symmetry in each shape matters. The free program Paintbrush produces the same image, mirrored.
The explanation: further analysis of the original design reveals the fact that some of the pixel numbers in the design black square blocks are uneven in width. In this instance, 3.5 is half of 7, and half pixels cannot be rendered, so the software assigns the split to 4 and 3.
A Passap sample

More “circles from squares”

My latest wraps based on this principle are from a variety of fibers, and  knit on the Passap 6000;  the Passap allows for more tucked rows,  which in turn  provide the wider width for the “ruffle” at the top and bottom of the piece

altering the height of the “bottom ruffle” to about half  changes the angles in the drape in the front

my previous posts on the topic of attempting to achieve circular knits on the machine:






A random slip stitch

During my early morning surfing, I recently came across a pattern knit as fair isle that I thought might work well in slip stitch

the repeat

the first sample knit side

its purl side, showing the typical slip “floats”

The light color is a 2/8 wool, the green a rayon/nylon blend, thinner in weight; the rayon flattened considerably after steaming (something to consider if the maximum texture is the desired aim); the first wide band of green is 32 rows high (full repeat), the narrower stripes occur with changes every 16 rows. Slip stitch striping can vary a pattern greatly, sometimes more successfully than others. My sample was knit on a 910, using color reverse. In the first repeat chart the white squares are intended to be what knits, the dark grey the slipped areas (Passap use same repeat, tech 129, each black square is a slipped stitch with lock set to LX rather than KX). This repeat is too wide as-is for use on a punchcard but was it usable, all but the dark squares would be punched.

The obvious color changes may take place every 32 rows, every 16, every 8, every 4, 2 followed by 6, and more. The pattern may also be knit with the same color rotation, but beginning striping sequences on a different row. The purl side of this particular pattern helps make it easy to track the location of color changes, but with many slip patterns the same may not be so obvious, and good note keeping of sequences and starting rows for the design can be a time saver when one wants to reproduce particular pleasing or successful “random” segments.

more variations

the top section here begins with the first design row KC–>

these are done with beginning the pattern on row 2, KC<–

swatch is not pressed, resulting in a more pronounced texture

Re_editing the repeat can help change/ plan the areas for solid color blocks to occur on the knit side. Slipped stitches become elongated ones on the front, knit side of the fabric, and the color they assume has to do with the last row knit before the needles with that color yarn. If a color changer is in use, the repeats must be an even number of rows in height. The repeat below is a variation of the one above. The slipped stitches are numbered, with the assumption that in this case, the fabric will be all one color, or with changes at the start and end of each repeat (now 16 rows)

Below are some of the options for color changes, with slip stitch areas renumbered as any of the colors create knit stitches on the face of the fabric, the bar at bottom of the chart indicates starting color prior to the first needle selection row toward color changer. Only 2 colors are in use in the actual knitting, the other color blocks in slipped areas are to help visualize what stitches are being slipped and for how many rows, in each color

Personal fabric and surface preferences may vary greatly between individuals. The swatch below shows variations in the above, including some dropped stitches that were “missed”

My personal preference is for the top of the swatch, where the difference in yarn weight also results in an interesting dimensional effect

a couple of the many sources on this particular stitch type

Tuck and slip color striping

There is a very early Brother “how-to” publication, which can now be found available for free online

The diagrams accompanying some of the tuck and slip patterns illustrating how the color changes combined with the stitch type affect the knit presented the information in an interesting manner. With both tuck and slip the unworked needles’ stitches get longer (unpunched holes, white squares), carrying up the last color knit in them until they are knit off again. If the subsequent color change is in the same color as at the start of the sequence, the in-between color (dark in diagrams) travels behind the longer stitches in slip, or is caught in with interim loops in tuck. The swatch photos show the knit side, the charts the purl side in symbols and  color change sequences

slip stitch

tuck stitch

More stitch types and techniques are represented as well in the publication as well.

Back to circles from squares

I actually posted on the topic of circular garments in knitting in June-August 2011. Hard to believe 2 years have gone by since I last played with this idea. Here is a version knit on the Passap, using tuck stitches both single and double bed, awaiting seaming and blocking (alpaca/silk)

a detail shot

and swatching for a variation on edging  with cotton, using rib tuck and slip throughout

side 1

side 2

viewed on a dress form

the other on a hanger prior to washing and blocking

in process of blocking, 40 inches diameter in this orientation

the blue cousin, 38 inches in diameter


Fair Isle single bed 1: float control

Fair isle is the name given to a pattern knitted with 2 colors in each row.  The motifs are easily identified by looking at the holes in the punchcard, or squares on mylar, pixels in programs. While I will be referring to punch card knitting, the same principles apply. Your knit swatch will look like the card, but the design will be squashed, and these designs are generally knit at least one whole tension number looser than when using the same yarns for stocking stitch.  The length of floats created in knitting these fabrics is sometimes an issue, and following are some of the methods that help with “float control”.

Altering the pattern: random holes may be punched in addition to those in the motif and shorten the very long floats, providing this does not distort the pattern too much. Iris Bishop is a designer with an extensive library of such designs.

Hooking up floats: this method works best when the 2 colors used are similar. If they are strongly contrasting there is a possibility of show through where the float is knitted on the same needle as a contrasting stitch. Use the single transfer tool to hook up the float into a needle hook above while leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected. If it is a very long float, it may require “hooking up” several times. Show through can be reduced on machines that preselect the needles, if you can place the float on a needle about to knit in the same color as the float (the needle will be selected to upper working position).

Binding with fine yarn: using a fine yarn, even sewing thread, matching the main color of the design, break off a length for every place that will bind the float down, trying to keep unanchored floats to no more than 5 stitches if possible. Make a slip knot at one end, take it under the first float, and place it onto the needle above, leaving the  needle in the position to which it has been selected . Knit the next row, and lay the fine yarn into the needle hook, fastening down the next float by carrying each length horizontally up your fabric and hooking it over your needles as required. Add more pieces of yarn or change colors as needed.

While this method illustrates managing edges of single motif, it also illustrates managing additional threads.

When knitting only a small area in fair isle (single motif), the contrast yarn will pull away from the edge of the patterning. This may result in holes or ladders to either side of the design. The illustration above and the one below from the Brother 940 manual illustrate securing the edges with spare lengths of the main color yarn. The lines of the yarn are in black and pink respectively for the purposes of illustration. Program the machine for single motif, attach each length of spare yarn to a needle adjacent to those pre selected for single motif, in upper working position. Knit one row in pattern to opposite side. Take the extra yarn length between the knitting and the carriage and place it on the adjacent needle in B position (in background color), knit one row to opposite side, repeat wrapping on carriage side throughout the shape.

Latching: Using the latch tool, pick up a short float below the first long float. Slip it behind the latch, catch the next long float in the hook, and pull it through the first. Continue in this way, latching up all the long floats, and then place the last float pulled through into the hook of the closest needle above that is knit in the same color latched up. As the next row is knit, the float will be caught. The disadvantage to this method is that the hooked floats will pull across the fabric, making it pucker. This technique may be done off the machine as well, with the last float sewn in by hand.

Sewing: sew floats in by hand after completion of knitting by catch stitching the longer floats in on the reverse of the knit. As an alternative a sewing machine and “stitch in the ditch” with matching thread while placing the knitting on the machine and carefully stitching down the valleys between the rows of stitches at desired vertical spacing.

Knit linings: these may be in the form of hems or pieces of knit fabric that you attach as you knit, which could be in finer yarn, large stitches, and not necessarily on every needle. Color matching once again matters.

Bonding with fusibles: suitable for yarns that can take hot, damp ironing. It also stiffens the fabric. Some bonding materials are knit, with stretch in one way and not the other, woven ones have no stretch.

Fringing: long floats may be cut and made into fringes. In this instance, the punchcard may be intentionally masked to cover holes and create intended long floats, which may be later cut. The purl side will now become the “public one”.

Mock weaving: use the reverse side of the fabric for a knit woven effect, one example. The pattern on the knit side may become distorted in a way that could be considered an added design feature.

Decorative floats: use the long floats and twist them, or bind, pick up, tuck behind stitches to make decorative fabrics highlighting the purl side.

Ruching in pattern: hooking up stitches as in hems to enclose part or all of the long floats. For this technique, if a lot of ruching is to occur, it may be best to elongate the original pattern to at least X2.

“Stitching in the ditch”: after the piece is finished floats may be anchored by using a straight, medium-sized stitch on the sewing machine. Use thread that matches the main color as much as possible. Place knitting on the machine knit side up. Stitch carefully and slowly in the valleys between rows of knitting in areas with longer spaces between ground and contrast. The same method is sometimes used at standard intervals to secure FI floats when using yarn such as chenille to help avoid “worming” (yarn slipping out in loops) along motif edges as time passes.

Fringing: deliberately planning long floats with the intent of cutting them to create fringed effects. The purl side of the fabric would be used as the “right” side. Specific areas of punchcards could be masked with tape to create wide float areas amid smaller designs, and electronic machine users can control the placement of pixels. Both can vary the designs by exchanging yarn positions in the sinker plate feeder and/or adding additional color striping.

Please note: try any of these techniques on swatches first. There may be changes in the surface of the knit on the knit side such as puckering or bleed through that may require changes. If combining techniques in a garment, each should be tested. If combining FI and “plain knit” one possible solution is to knit the latter in a simple FI pattern using the same color in both feeders, keeping similar texture and weight in both areas. If using several color changes, the card may be marked to help track them.  If self-drawn, repeats lining up in width and height should be knit tested as well.

Combining patterned stripes in stocking stitch: the latter will be single density and different weight than FI. In FI two yarns knit simultaneously, producing a double-thickness fabric. Test on swatches whether doubling the yarn for single color rows works for you. Another option is to knit “plain” bands in a 1X1 fair isle pattern, using the same color yarn in both feeders.

Double jacquard separations 4_ making them “work”

Working back to the repeat from post # 3 on this subject, I returned to the drawing board and edited the separations.  Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union. The objective of the game is to manipulate tiles, by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90 degree units, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of ten blocks without gaps. The principle at use for the separated “squares” shapes is to achieve the same result for each of color separation groups (highlighted by dark borders in the charts), by moving them up and down, or changing their positions in the color sequence. The first method (beginning with only one row of ground color) has eluded me in terms of an “error free” result. More than one version consistently in a missing single stitch of color. The latest method shows the problem color “tiles” marked in dark ovals. The column on left is the original separation, A shows the juggled colors, B the pixels, squares, or punched holes for the repeat, and the far column on the right shows markings that may be used to track the color change sequences, which may be transferred to punchcard, mylar, or for any cues in change of sequence your program can provide. The swatch approaches the original intended design far more than any of the previous attempts. It is expected that the background color will be the majority or main color of the design; it gets separated out as first color. By splitting the knitting of most of the needles to the beginning and the end of the sequence (japanese 2 color default) this way, one supposedly eliminates the chance that the needles knitting the second row of each color will knit over, blocking a space yet to be knit in the first row of the design by a color that has not yet been knit. In this small pattern no colors knit more than 3 consecutive stitches at any one time. With some motifs the final alternative is to redesign the motif.

the test swatch (striping was the result of forgetting to set the KM for slip <—>)

Using the alternative method for decreased elongation of motif upon knitting, here are the working charts for beginning with 2 rows of color 1

the swatch: got it!

my mylar sheet markings

A&B show my marks corresponding to color positions in the color changer, the first 3 repeats on left are the ones used to knit  the swatches. Separations are suitable for DBJ, but I chose to knit trials in single bed slip stitch.

Illusion /shadow knitting DIY designs_HK

I have played with excel (and Numbers) before to create charts for various fabrics requiring color separations. My latest efforts relating to this knit group have gone in a different direction; I have also attempted to simplify the technique in terms of following the instructions for knitting them. This sample began with the use of Intwined to create the document and graphs. The first chart is set up with alternate row color striping, color 1=dark, color 2 = light. Blank-colored squares are used as knit symbols, and horizontal dash for the symbol for purl stitches. Beginning on light-colored, even-numbered rows, the design is marked in purl stitches. On odd-numbered rows beginning with row 1, mark all empty squares in the even-numbered light-colored row immediately above it with purl symbols. All unmarked stitches throughout the design are knit, whether, on the “wrong/right” sides, all dashes are purled, patterning occurs on the second row of each color. To visualize the full pattern one may use the add row below feature to expand the graph (the chart below is missing the very first row). Now add the second row of each color and grounding stripe (s) at bottom of the repeat. Most patterns will start the illusion immediately after casting on with dark color, row 1 above. I was interested in my sample having a border of sorts on its top and bottom. The resulting knit swatch shadow sideIntwinded had the capacity for building row by row written instructions for patterns, but there were discrepancies on some rows for these charts, and I opted not to include them.
Note: the program quickly became buggy, unsupported, and unusable on the Mac during the remainder of 2013.

Another program I have just acquired and begun to use is GIMP; it is free, and now also available for use in Mac OS Mountain Lion. Both Gimp and Photoshop make it possible to design using single-pixel pencil and grids to build motifs from scratch as well as gridding of preexisting images. I have a different method for these fabrics using GIMP, which is easier for more complex, overall shapes. The same series of steps may be used for mosaic knitting (the color inversion sequence is different). Below are images generated for a different illusion pattern, I will share my “how-to” for designing the motifs later, referencing mosaics and mazes. To achieve such motifs one is drawing in magnification of multiple hundreds and more, there is no way to number within a one-pixel space, so these charts as generated are lacking numbers for stitches and rows, one drawback. Another is that this color inversion works only in black and white. One advantage: the proper repeat may be cropped and saved with the grid removed in various formats that may be used to import to various machine knitting download programs, and gridded may be used to establish punchcards or mylar repeats.  Screengrabs of magnified charts were saved, and are shown below. Black squares represent purl stitches in the second row of each color. The first row of each color is always knit, not represented in these charts
The red squares are guidelines for no color inversion rows, the yellow ones isolate the repeat the actual repeat color inversion begins on row 1 and follows every other row (if numbered these would be odd rows)  testing the repeat through filter/ map/ tile a working chart that can be printed to suit with dark/light row markings and blank squares for tracking knitting rows in the execution of the pattern A larger version with stitch and row counts marked. The chart represents half the rows in the actual knit. The cast on row counts as knit row 1, color 1, and following the chart beginning with row 2 knit the black squares and purl the white squares. *Change color, knit one row (odd#), on the next row follow the chart, knitting the black squares and purling the white (even#).** Repeat from * to **. the knit swatch: “shadow side” its reverse side for online tutorials, patterns, and inspiration see Woolly Thoughts

Feb 18, 2017, I have recently become curious about creating illusions such as these in crochet, am developing ideas, and returned to this chart. The image below is intended to have symbols and notes superimposed on it. It shows the tiling in a different way, so I thought I would add it to this post as well. Repeats are highlighted with darker borders. The repeat on the right needs to be trimmed if the goal is to achieve matching edges. Row counts on the right would differ in knitting, the plan is to execute this pattern in Tunisian crochet, which handles rows in a very different manner than knitting or standard crochet. Follow up: 2017/03/06/illusion-DIY-patterns-in-crochet/

2/2019 from the first in a series of posts on geometric shapes on ribber fabrics using tuck settings, a mock variation with the ribber set for knitting in both directions throughout, and the main bed set to tuck in both directions:

Multiple downloadable pngs for optical illusion designs may be found in the 2023 post on Developing tiled repeats suitable for multiple stitch types, including tuck