Symbols in knitting charts

Many of the symbols associated with both hand and machine knitting cannot be separated from the history of lace frame knitting. In 1764 an eyelet lace attachment was invented for hand tooling transfers on the existing knitting frames, and nearly 200 years later the first home knitting machine appeared, the Brother 585, in Japan, with an accompanying transfer carriage.
Mary Thomas, a hand knitter, began to explore the need for symbols in the 1930s, these are found in her book of knitting patterns, first published in 1943

Japan’s contributions to lace patterning in particular are readily available in early punchcard books for Toyota, Singer (Juki), Knitmaster (Silver-Seiko), and Brother, expanded over the years to include larger repeats for use in electronic machines.
When Brother first published their list of symbols, they used ones as given for hand knitting, and it took a while for them to catch up to reversing the symbols to represent transfers on the purl side. They are seen here showing illustrations of formed stitches for both knit and purl sides, with the direction of the symbols often matching the knit face, as seen in the Brother Home Study Course. A clue as to surface being represented is that it is a convention that vertical straight lines | represent knit stitches, horizontal ones — knit.
Hand knitting symbols have proliferated, are not always consistent with functions assigned to them. The latter varies depending on the part of the world hard copies of patterns have been published, and there is increased potential for DIY meaning assigned to symbols in an era of self-publishing patterns and software that allows one to create their own.
A cumulative, extensive collection of symbols may be found @ http://www.knittingfool.com/Reference/KF_Symbols.aspx
My first exposure to symbols and textures provided in addition to paint functions on gridded canvases with cells that could be adjusted in size and zoom, along with drawing in repeat, was to Cochenille Stitch Painter back in Commodore Amiga days. My last use of the program Windows gold version was in 2012, I was never interested in the less supported and updated Mac version. These illustrations are from its manual at that time. The knitting and crochet symbols were said to follow Japanese standards. My teaching days were in a Brother punchcard lab with a couple of 910s available for final projects. Punched holes and black squares seemed to be more than enough to meet any machine knitting needs.
Programs like stitch Painter and DAK offer symbols as alternative palettes. Outside either universe, the availability of fonts whether free or for purchase has varied over the years.
As I published posts, I began to create charts that needed symbols to represent stitch movements or actions. My most used font for this purpose has not been available for download for several years. This is its associated keyboard chart, from 2008 Knitter’s symbol fonts by David Xenakis,  were enclosed in frames, though extensive, I did not find them helpful, a sample: DAK at present time
The company has trademarked their ascii based font as “Knitwrite”, info on using the symbols may be found in their stitch design module manual pp. 251-276. The pencil tool is used to draw with them, here the symbols are viewed in color in the associated keyboard  Cables symbols and their use are explained in pp. 284-292, a sample illustration of the potential appearance of a work in progress Programs for purchase at this time: envision knit, is available for MacOS 10.11 through 12 (Monterey) and Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista, offers a free demo, may be purchased for $99, from their online manual: iPad and iPhone users: Knitting Chart is available for use in a few ways, Requires iOS 14.0 or later, the ad free pro version may be purchased for $15.99. Its symbols are familiar but other attractive features include illustrating crochet patterns in the round (done here using Illustrator and a for purchase font ), and row by row written instructions for charts. The latter was a draw for me with Intwined Pattern Studio, which still maintains a website for its purchase, but has not been supported for Mac since it failed there completely in 2013, and supposedly runs in Windows up to version 10 on both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. There is an associated Ravelry group with nothing shared in 3 years, I would caution against buying it. Knit fonts that are still available, but may be problematic or not display properly in the latest OS, for purchase: https://stitchmastery.com/fonts/https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adriprints/stitchin-crochet-pro/
https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adriprints/stitchin-knit/
Sconcho is a GUI for creating knitting charts, it is free, for Mac OS 10.6
Some symbols in hand knitting and foreign symbol charts may be found mixed among Webdings and Wingdings, a printable cheatsheet @https://www.thespreadsheetguru.com/blog/

Commercial machines like ShimaSeiki use a combination of symbols and color-coding to program needles, cable crossings are represented by straight-line color blocks Stoll sample.  Limitations are encountered when using symbols in any self-drawn chart if there are no bridging units between cell units both horizontally for cables, and vertically for stitches and textures worked between both beds.
In machine or hand knitting charts, an alternative is to use color to indicate crossings. I wrote experimental posts in 2015, in reference to knitting them in fair isle 1,
and 2. Long since then, I have no longer had access to Excel, the topic may merit a revisit using Numbers.
An interweave article was published in 2018.

Additional links including pixelated lettering fonts, care labels, alphabets in knit stitches, and foreign symbols may be found in post 

Things get more complicated if it is necessary to represent stitches formed on a grid and the relationship of needles on both beds to each other. One method presents the information in a linear manner such as in this instance,  while Japanese pattern books began to represent both beds with actions in symbols on knit and purl grounds corresponding to each bed DIY charts for double bed knitting are left to invention for the sake of clarity or meet limitations of unclear symbols being automatically scaled to fit in cell sizes.

Cables and software for electronic download to knitting machines

A Ravelry post discussing cable connections to knitting machines for downloading patterns and associated software has led to my accumulating the information below. I am primarily a Brother and a sometimes Passap knitter and can speak to only part of the content below from direct experience.
The information on electronic downloads cannot be separated from a history of hacking, which began with Brother machines when mylar sheets became less available and folks began to have an interest in bypassing them. A review of such efforts was also shared in a previous post:
a hacking history https://www.beautifulseams.com/2014/10/29/tricodeur-writeup/
only the intro is in German: a nearly hour-long presentation by Fabienne<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1CRNjzOuto>
Brother 930: http://learn.adafruit.com/electroknit
Brother 970: http://glitchknit.tumblr.com
930 knitting: http://andrewsalomone.com
910: Claire Williams
Fabienne http://fabienne.us/tag/knittingmachine/
keypad: http://travisgoodspeed.blogspot.com/2010/12/hacking-knitt…
FB100 Emulator software, disc utility program, cable
another approach for Brother models KH”‘930, 940, 950i, and 970: http://daviworks.com/knitting/ and the associated group on Ravelry 
970 how to hack instructable 
for additional cumulative information, software compatibility, and hardware specs see Claire Williams’ website
Superba hacking and open source software https://www.hackerspace-bamberg.de/Singer_Superba
E6000 https://www.hackerspace-bamberg.de/Passap_pfaff_e6000
hack and 3D printed accessories, PassapKnitterstream

Present interfaces available for downloading patterns to Brother knitting machines: so far, both programs do not appear to run natively in the new iMac with M1 chip and Monterey OS.
That said, https://ayab-knitting.com , supported devices: https://ayab-knitting.com/supported-devices/. My experience using it has been with the 910. Pre-assembled kits used to be sold, over time they were offered by 2 different providers and were taken off the market by each of them. In many cases, there appear to be some issues with the program in DIY units as well resulting in mispatterning especially in long pieces of knitting.
Ayab operates as a true knit-from-screen, so the computer needs to be awake through the whole knitting process. In the case of the 910, the hack replaces the reader completely, the left side of the machine is left exposed, and the interface replaces the traditional patterning and power source, with its own cord connecting it to the power supply.
The last update to the program was in 2019. It performs color separations for dbj in multiple colors per row, including the only one of its kind, the Heart of Pluto one that eliminates jacquard color separation patterning errors and knits single passes for each color in each design row on the main bed.
Since the built-in patterning control buttons are rendered inoperable, Actions such as color invert, setting the number of repeats, vertical flip, mirror, rotate left, and rotate right are available within the program. Patterns may load both in color and shades of gray, palette color choices make a difference in achieving successful color separations.
Ribber settings include classic, middle color twice, HOP, and circular for tubular fair isle or other fabrics.
https://xxxclairewilliamsxxx.wordpress.com/hack-ta-machin… is an early post on the hack, showing steps involved. Kits with parts for DIY may be found online including at https://ko-fi.com/redpinkgreen/shop.
The program is free, any incurred expenses depend on how and from where the interface components are purchased.
The related Ravelry group has been quiet for a very long time, for more information on what is being developed and what users are knitting, the FB group has frequent shares. I would urge anyone interested in the program to join the group before making final decisions, to observe issues reported, and the finished projects if any using it https://www.facebook.com/groups/1384431355220966.
A recently added video KH 900+ KH 965 Brother knitting machine – How to install the AYAB Shield/alternative pattern control|
On my blog when I actively used the program, I shared my experiences using it and explored a variety of fabrics using its settings.

img2 track: works with Brother models KH 930, 940, 950i, 965i, and 970. https://daviworks.com/knitting/index.html. The program is also free to use on swatches limited to 60 stitches in width, to use the full width of the needle bed a the purchase of a registration key is required, the cost is around $100. The download cable can be ordered directly from Davi and directions are available for those with the ability to build their own. The program downloads the pattern into machine memory, so the computer does not need to be awake other than during download. The size of the download is limited by the machine model brain, with the 930 being the smallest.
When large files are planned, the program will reduce the pattern into tracks, and each has to be entered as a new program after the previous track is completed. The KH-930 takes just a few seconds to load the track because the memory holds only 2 KB of data (about 13000 stitches). Later models have a much larger memory (32 KB). The KH-940 and KH-950i require 42 seconds to load a track. The KH-965i and KH-970 load only the requested pattern, so the loading time depends on the size of the pattern. With Brother models KH-965i and 970, you can load a pattern from img2track without erasing the previous ones in the KM, as long as they fit in the memory. So you can have 901, 902, etc. loaded and choose between them.
Color separations are available for multiple color dbj, but not as a single pass for each color in each row as in Ayab Heart of Pluto. Images open in shades of grey. Each color in each design row is knit twice. It is possible to knit each design row color only once by adding a hand technique.
Adjustments may be made for vertical stretch, maximum width, and the number of colors used. Any remaining changes can be made by using knitting machine button selections.
Out of habit, I have used both programs to open bmps and pngs saved in indexed mode though both are said to open common file formats ie. jpg, gif, png, bmp, tiff, …Neither program exports files in other formats or allows for editing specific pixels in the designs in any way after they have been opened.
I have found img2track to be completely reliable, errors encountered during knitting or programming have usually been operator ones. I develop my patterns outside either program in paint programs, I prefer to use Gimp or ArahPaint6.
The AYAB GitHub offers a huge library of ready for download images from various sources,  most in png format.

I do not have any direct experience with Studio Electronic machines post-EC1 Studio’s approach to machine brains was to develop an exterior box that could be purchased separately from the knitting beds, EC1 on the left, their PC1 on the right From the manual on its use The following information is gleaned from online searches: Studio or Silver Reed’s efforts to move away from mylar sheets as seen in the EC1, headed in a different direction than seen in Brother knitting. There are two options still available are the SilverKnit and SilverLink systems:
SilverKnit, with more info at https://silverknit.nl/dk/silverknit-en.htm “provides the knitting functionality of the EC1/PE1 for electronic Silver Reed machines. The site lists all pertinent information on system requirements and compatible models. One can knit patterns without the need for additional software, which may be created with a graphics package of your choice.” The pieces involved include a controller unit, a coil cable connector curly cord, and the box, which may be secured on its side to the knitting machine case using velcro strips, usually true for other switch boxes and control units as well. There is a SilverKnit software user interface. For Superba machines, there are the Superbaknit packages available: type A for pressure pad, 624, 9000 models, and type B for light scanner/pegboard models. They allow patterning across the entire bed, accept multiple file formats, and seem to use the same platform as the Silverlink program. 

The Silverlink, now in Series 5 is for use with DAK. Manuals for softbyte cables include information on series 3, 4, and 5. There are distributors in each country listed on the Softbyte site. There are also individual dealers selling related DAK products in other states and locations. Prices are not necessarily fixed, and relationships with local dealers may foster easier-to-reach individual support.
A 2020 review of the Five Pattern Control Methods for a Silver Reed Knitting Machine.

Passap knitters were first introduced to Creation 6 as the proprietary Madag E6000 software, usable with a short dongle on computers available at the time, making it necessary to remove the card reader from the machine in order to get it close enough to the computer for download. The dongle was plugged into where the curly cord connects on top of the console. Cochenille developed a download, knit from screen cable, and my early Passap pieces were made using Suzan Lazear’s BitKnitter on a reader with 8K memory. With true knit-from-screen, console memory is bypassed. The system was also available for Studio machines, both became abandoned.
As is true for the present DAK system, there was also a proprietary Passap file format used, CUT, aka Dr. Halo. Eventually, I  purchased a switch box and download cable from Richard Croucher in England, and up to the present-day that has been my go-to for downloading patterns using and an ancient laptop. Personally, where I go now that I have a new PC available, is TBD. I failed to get the system to work using VMware on my old iMac.
One of the caveats with downloading to the Passap is that the cable connection for both the curly cord and the download cable share a single entry point to the console. This connector was temporarily available and spared some of the wear and tear on the console The addition of a switch box, secured with velcro on the console, allows for the possibility of downloading and knitting patterns without having to make any multiple other connections. Aside from connections to the machine, there was the issue of available software for drawing repeats and downloading in the proper format.
In the heyday of machine knitting aside from textbooks and articles beginning to appear from authors such as Lewis in the US, Kinder in the UK, and Carmen Router in Australia, lots of practical accessories and other info grew out of a very active knitting community in Australia as well. Accessories included a plaiting feeder and a stitch ditcher, and homegrown freeware was shared for printing reader cards. To this day Wincrea is still available for downloading to the E6000 machines. Others have followed ie Journal 6, which is now available as freeware, the repository may be found here. Wincrea remains the easiest to use. Supported formats are CUT/ Dr. Halo, BMP, and WMF (Windows metafile). At the present time, downloads of patterns are only possible in machines that allow PC downloads with later manufacturer chips and larger, 32K memory.
CUT files have a separate palette, the program reads the palette if it is found in the same folder as the CUT file. If the program palette is not the same as when the pattern was saved previously, the colors may not be as expected.
Some scaling may be done within the program. Files may be saved in both CUT and BMP formats.
If one chooses to, saving palettes is done by using specified names in the 256 color PAL (Dr. Halo) format.
When a design is uploaded to Wincrea step one is to have it read the correct number of needles and the number of colors used. If it does not recognize a com port, it will give an error message, and com-ports can be reassigned using the E6000 settings option menu. Once it recognizes the port, then it will come up with the download to E6000 option, and will also give an estimated time for the download to take place. It walks the user through how to prepare the machine for download. Two things are required: the console’s correct buttons need to be pushed to get to a “PC start” programming position, which verifies the machine itself is capable of accepting the download,  and the switch must be in the download position. If things work, a beep follows once the download option is selected and the LED screen on the passap actually shows a progress bar for downloads that take longer than a few seconds.  If the pattern has indeed downloaded successfully, the console beeps again and then follows up with questions on whether you want to alter the design in any way from its built-in additional options, what knitting “technique” you want to use, how many needles you want in work on either side of 0, and if you want to place the design in any particular place on the bed. It is possible to continue programming, either segments or different patterns altogether. At that point, cables are swapped out or if using a switch box, providing the operator remember to flip the switch to the knitting position, things should go smoothly. If one has forgotten to change to the knit position, the machine will beep and give you a totally different error message and beep. The Passap console has a whole series of lovely beeps, for all sorts of prompts and reasons that may be at times downright infuriating to people using the machine.
Passap color changers were available as add ons for automatic sequential color changing for up to 4 colors, are placed on the right rather than on the left as in Japanese machines, so programming downloads and first preselection rows must take that into consideration.
As CUT files proliferated, shared by Madag and individual designers, or as knitters wished to create their own, interest grew in creating, reading, and converting formats. Programs like Dr. Cutter for doing have long since become unavailable. Stitchpainter’s early versions were able to save CUT files, I have not been able to verify online whether the present version still does.
Present-day options for opening and converting CUT files include for purchase Graphic converter. On my new M1 iMac, I had issues with CUT files not opening. The software developer was responsive to questions and troubleshooting, a nod of thanks to Thorsten Lemke. The advice: please download the latest version http://www.lemkesoft.org/beta.html, and make certain that in preferences, the box aside Detect Only clear formats is uncheckedand for solving the same issue in XnviewMP, a nod of thanks to Pierre-e Goulet for the solution:  in Settings, General, make certain that  Show all graphic formats is checkedXn Convert allows for easy batch conversions.  I did not encounter any issues on Mac.
As these programs have grown in complexity, some of the CUT files open in strange colorways, need adjustments and editing, possible within the above programs, for increased or any visibility while some are viewed clearly. Batch conversions to other formats are possible, performed easily and quickly.  A Windows-only image conversion program for exploration: Konvertor
DAK proprietary formats ie STP and PAT to my knowledge are not readable by any program outside the DAK universe.
Softbyte now offers a similar setup with a switch box allowing for download to a console capable of accepting PC downloads, the E6000 Link 2. “This link has a switch that enables the selection of either downloading or Interactive Knitting. It means that the cable can be kept permanently attached to both the E6000 console and bed. This avoids the need for repeated connection and disconnection of the link, and therefore also avoids wear and tear on the E6000’s sockets. The other links do not have the switch and need to be disconnected after downloading, so even if Interactive Knitting is not required, we recommend using the Serial E6000Link 2.”The Softbyte links for Brother machines include versions for downloading and uploading with a Brother PPD or to machines that take a pattern cartridge. The magnet arm for interactive knitting is not included with all, may be purchased separately. “The USB Brother Link 5 enables patterns to be downloaded from DesignaKnit, and any 900 series patterns to be uploaded to DesignaKnit. The 900 series pattern numbers are those loaded from another source into your knitting machine or PPD (e.g. from the PPD, Brother FB100 Disk Drive, or DesignaKnit). This link supports downloading and uploading with the KH930, KH940, KH950i, KH965i, KH970, and with the PPD using Cartridge III in KH900 mode, or with the PPD using the CK35 cartridge. This link is identical to the USB BrotherLink 1 except that it includes a magnet arm that attaches to the carriage and thereby enables Interactive Knitting with any knitting machine, including non-electronic ones.”

The ScreenLinks provide row by row instructions and audible memo alerts for non-electronic machines or anyone using mylars, built-in patterns, or other software for the pattern downloads. They are not able to download patterns. The Universal Link for DesignaKnit allows one to connect any knitting machine, including plastic beds, to the DesignaKnit interactive knitting as opposed to knit from screen function. The USB cable is attached to your personal computer. The other end of the cable is attached to the mainframe of your knitting machine, the magnet to the carriage or lock of your knitting machine. The cable senses the magnet as it moves past it, and as it does DesignaKnit will advance the pattern one row. From the manual: And shown applied to a plastic bed machine @ https://www.allbrands.com/

Garment shapes filled with patterns may be developed in DAK, the cable allows one to use DesignaKnit as a knitleader or knit radar device increasing the capabilities of the knitting machine when shapes are created illustrating pixel-based increases and decreases, akin to what could be drawn on graph paper with each cell representing both a single row and a single stitch, and connecting dots placed on the basis of gauge calculations.
Having a small supply of self-stick velcro tape to put on each of your machines, allows for the cable and magnet to be moved as required.
A second knitlink arm appears to be required for the use of the lace carriage. I would guess it might be attached to a second knit carriage as well if one is choosing to knit with 2 knit carriages selecting needles.DAK cable manuals published by Softbyte. Full Dak software manuals are not available until the program is purchased. There are 5 program modules. Some of the user experiences, answers to questions, and related knits may be found in the FB associated group.

My DAK explorations 1

WORK IN PROGRESS

Resources for users or those curious about the program are offered below. There are 5 help files and 5 manual files. They don’t interact at all and work completely independently from each other, can be opened from DesignaKnit or from a file browser window, are not available until the program is purchased and installed, each may be downloaded as a PDF. DesignaKnit Professional contains 5 modules:
Standard Garment Styling has built-in sweater patterns that may be adjusted to custom measurements and gauges
Original Pattern Drafting: allows for using a pattern designed in garment styling to custom features such as knitting the design sideways or making pieced such as the front and back different lengths
Stitch designer is a paint program. A grid may be created to match the stitch gauge for a sense of aspect ratio of the design in the finished piece. When the type of knitting for the project is selected, warnings as to possible errors in any rows provided
Interactive Knitting: with the proper cable connected to the computer and the knitting machine the design is followed row by row, voice prompts may be activated so as to receive warnings when to change colors as well as counters for the number of rows between shaping ie increases and decreases while knitting sleeves
Graphics Studio: convert graphics to stitch designs, including color separations for DBJ, color reductions, scaling for large non-repetitive designs
When the program is installed and opened the manuals are found listed after using Help 
in a series of tabs, ending with that for section 5. There are 5 help files and 5 manual files. They don’t interact at all and work completely independently from each other, can be opened from DesignaKnit or from a file browser window.
Online references:
a quick summary of version 9 upgrade features
https://softbyte.co.uk/DK9UpgradeForms/DK9_upgrade_features_F.pdf
videos DesignaKnit9 graphic studio
https://softbyte.co.uk/dk9englishvideotutorials.htm
the DAK Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/523785160964950
members of the group have access to teaching material shared by Sheila West https://www.facebook.com/groups/523785160964950/user/1164753159
Youtube tutorials for DesignaKnit 8
https://www.youtube.com/c/Knittitude/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0
a search for DesignaKnit9 tutorial yields mixed results, including many for version 8
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=designaknit+9+tutorials
Graphic design studio search https://www.youtube.com/results search_query=designaknit+graphic+design+studio
offered courses at knititnow, search https://www.knititnow.com/Courses/#
login required as well as fees

Brother magazines for a while published accompanying pat files for DAK, they can be found http://machineknittingetc.com/catalogsearch/result/?order=date&dir=desc&q=DAK+files+Brother
also for Studio http://machineknittingetc.com/catalogsearch/result/?order=date&dir=desc&q=Dak+files+for+silver+reed
and Passap http://machineknittingetc.com/catalogsearch/result/?order=date&dir=desc&q=Dak+files+for+passap

I am a complete novice at the use of this program, tend to start learning new tools by comparing them with what I am familiar with, which in my case are spreadsheets and other paint programs. I have decades of playing with changing file formats depending on end-use. My questions on aspects of the program’s use are not intended as criticism, they are born of curiosity and the attempt to explore a new tool.
I am using Dak on a PC, at the moment my blog posts are created exclusively on my Mac. There is much that is fluid in addition to learning the software.

These are the formats that can be opened, converted to stitch patterns using Graphics Studio Stitch Designer, or opened as a background image in Original Pattern Drafting and used for tracing a garment piece: BMP, GIF, ICO, JPG, PCX, PNG, TGA, TIF, WMF, P?M. There is no export option for saving the repeat images in stitch design file formats for use in other than the native program. Passap CUT files are completely excluded.
I lean towards looking for workarounds to accomplish what I want if the task is not native to the program I am using.
One way to achieve conversion for DAK file formats for use as a png or bmp download with other cables and software is to isolate and select the repeat unit, copy it to clipboard, paste in a paint program, export as png or other desired formats There is a handy option in Dak when thumbnails is chosen from the image menu, one can browse through saved folders containing compatible file-formats including the images in those Brother magazine downloads. The small preview will identify the specific file size. When you left-click on your choice, it will appear enlarged at the bottom left of the view window, it has been moved from its corner in my screengrab, left-click OK on the enlarged image, it will open in the program window. Minimize the size until no further reduction is allowed by using the magnifying glass or the scroll function in the mouse. This is a different operation from scaling the original to a different size. The save-as option for the image offered at that point are:
For choices emulating export in other paint programs, right-click on the image, choose copy, open a paint program (Arahpaint is my favorite at this moment), and from its image it menu choose paste. Using Arah’s color exchange, the image may then be converted to black and white for 2-color work and is saved in a format usable with other software and in other machines. Here the image has been pasted in Gimp using the same process, but if the image needs to then be reduced to BW, Arah is the easier and predictable tool to use.
Activating the working palette, referred to as yarn colors: from the manual It is possible to achieve color exchange easily in Dak as well. Most operations appear to rely on an understanding of its symbols and what might be considered a language one must learn in order to use the program effectively. By activating the view yarn button palette, the items that may be viewed and changed are:
A: represents left mouse click on that color
B: represents a right mouse click on that color
C: click will swap A color to B color
D: needle hook alone represents non selected needle, pusher, or simply color depending on the machine model
E: color worked on patterning needle ie contrast in fair isle, knit stitches in tuck or slip setting It is useful to establish working history using the same design motif. In the first image, left-click on red, the from color, right-click on white, the to color, click on the double arrow to make and apply the change
The process is repeated with left-click on blue, right-click on black, and on double arrow. White squares appear in the final color choice boxes in the bottom image
The print dialogue allows for saving patterns as bmps. One is walked through the following steps with a series of windows. To save the repeat as bmp
choices may then be made about file name and the location for the save, If there are no “short” needles in the image being processed as in the last screengrab above, there will be an error message onscreen, pointing out problems in the numbers of colors present in rows ie more than 2 for FI.  This is fixed by clicking on either the “needles” of one of the two active colors in the yarn palette to make one color the ground, the other the contrast. The results from this process for printable bmp files are shown below, not for a bmp that may be used to knit the pattern on an electronic machine using a different download method. Here the resulting stitch pattern picture is shown in color reverse as well.  Using other print options: for this repeat, the color change page is blank since the fabric is being knit as a 2-color fair isle, without added color changes  Printing pattern text will do exactly that in longhand form, for each stitch and each row of the repeat 

Dak is the only program I know of for home use that allows for visualization of the knit design with approximations of knit stitches, seen here in both the BW and the original color version of the above FI design, shown as knit stitches on the public side. The image needs to be a minimum size for the appearance of the details as is true in most paint programs for grid views.   At this time I am continuing to knit on my machines with punchcards and using Ayab, or img2track on my electronics, have no immediate plans to change that, hence my interest in using DAK software features while keeping in mind the possibility of using the final repeats on other machine models.

The information on using the stitch designer lace module originally written here has been moved to its own post along with new content, updates, and corrections.

Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics

There is a Russian website with a treasure trove of machine knitting patterns, some for 12 stitch models, and extensive collections for 24 stitch models including for fair isle, lace, and single motifs. For a follower up post on this topic see Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics 2. There are pull-down options to show the full repeats charted for Silver Reed (default), Brother, and Toyota brands. The numbering system on the right of the cards will be shifted to the appropriate starting line, but the images themselves do not seem to adjust the placement of the punched holes themselves when that is necessary for correct knitting when switching km brands. The collections begin with the longest repeats. One such repeat  I have never had an interest in owning DAK. That said, their Graphics studio seems to offer an interesting range of design possibilities. The machine knitting groups in FB have recently had questions submitted on how to convert the site’s charts for use to create downloadable .pngs.  In response, a member, post has been sharing videos in Russian explaining some of the pertinent processes (my editor is refusing the Russian characters for her name). Those of us who are Mac and Gimp users need not be left out of the process, the conversions are achievable with the investment of a bit more time and patience. The charts as given cannot be successfully converted to the indexed mode and scaled in Gimp to produce readable patterns. One solution is to combine the use of a spreadsheet table, in my case created in Numbers, combined with Gimp design options. I assume similar steps could be used with Excel tables. Prior knowledge of the basics for both programs is required.
It is easier to test how-tos beginning with a source diagram that has larger, more readable dots representing the punched holes. This was found on Pinterest The units in many such illustrations are not square, and the goal is to end up with a .bmp where each square unit represents one stitch, one row. The cell size I prefer in Numbers tables has come to be 20X20. This particular design is 24 stitches wide, 60 rows high. To make it workable in that cell size, the repeat is opened in Gimp, cropped to its margins, scaled to 240 X 600 pixels, and the new image is exported.
Drag and drop the image onto a new sheet if working on a previously created Numbers document. Click on the image, and then on format/ arrange to resize it to the desired proportions,  A table is then created, 24 cells wide, 60 high Resize the image if needed to match the pt table size, in this case, to 480X1200. Adjusting the size by using the arrows to the right of the size option gives more accurate control than simply dragging on points on the original image. Turning off constrain proportions will allow for tweaking the size as well if needed. On the left is the first table image, to its right, the resized punchcard pattern Select the whole table, by clicking on the circular symbol at the upper left,  Alter the cell borders to a bright, contrasting color. I chose red, 3 points thickness Move the table over the punchcard image or the reverse. The arrange option may be used to place either in front or back of the other as needed Using the command key select individual cells or cell groups, release the key, fill with color The repeat in progress Copy and paste the completed table. Make certain there is a different color cell in any white squares at far corners of the image, in this case, upper right and upper left (yellow), remove cell borders .screen grab a larger area than the repeat on the right, open in Gimp
.choose crop to content, that will eliminate any extra surrounding cells
.fill the contrast color squares with white
.choose image/mode/indexed/BW convert
.proceed to scale the image. In some instances, this needs to happen in 2 steps: the first may be scaling up to make certain both values are divisible by 20, the second to scale down to the desired repeat size of 24X60
.prior to saving the .bmp for download, magnify to at least 800, with the grid in view as the first visual check, also tile to make certain the design lines up properly in repeat, in a way that is found pleasant or at times, to be avoided. One needs to have a basic understanding of punchcard illustration markings, and often the repeat required for use of the design in electronics may only be a very small portion of the total one offered in the publication. The extra rows representing perforations that are not part of the design and may be cropped off in Gimp. This repeat is what began the FB discussion Making the marks more visible is possible by changing number values as well as by moving the slider immediately below the input levels Proceed as for the first image, being mindful of an unnecessary row at the bottom. The saved image can be tweaked in size by turning off constrain proportions and adjusting values for width and height for proper placement under the table grid it soon becomes evident that the card is composed of smaller repeat segments, which in turn can be copied and pasted making for quicker work the isolated repeat tiled The far longer repeats might best be managed broken up into sections. This is part of #6717, shown in the process of trimming unwanted info in Gimp and after adjusting color levels to create a sharper image. The converted, partial punchcard repeat What of the lace punchcard repeats? There seems to be no differentiation between the different types of lace on the website: thread lace, simple lace where stitches are knit and transferred in a single pass (a Silver Reed/Studio special), and lace requiring the use of 2 separate carriages and passes, one to knit, one to transfer are all grouped together. In addition, the pull-down menu if used will change the numbering on the side of the card, but not the design content  The conversion process intended for the final use on the Brother machine: the image on the far right shows a review of the proper placement of pairs of empty rows between lace segment sequences, highlighted in grey In the past I have found lace repeats, in particular, to be particularly cranky when scaled down in Gimp due to the paucity of black cells. After the above steps, I decided to try color invert, resize, and color invert again, which in this instance, produced what appears to be an accurate repeat. Of course, the final .bmp is likely to need mirroring for use in some electronic models The process did not work for me in using Gimp alone to edit test repeats from the website directly. The white dots, in that case, disappear with scaling to the desired size.
Using resize X 2 with color invert and back with a Stitchworld pattern image got me closer to an editable lace repeat using Gimp alone, worth considering in the future. Practice with using both programs in sync can make the progress a very quick one.

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”

 

 

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
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 in both directions 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 on both directions 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 the 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.

Foreign language machine knitting youtube channels

I am sharing some online foreign language video channels that offer, in my opinion, a huge variety of topics in their content with the possibility upon their viewing of being inspired, and learning techniques, and new ways to use tools. Some have subtitles but often there is no need for them because of clarity in the material presented:

English (a foreign language to some): a treasure trove of techniques and repair videos across a huge range of KM brands theanwerladyknits 
Lots of beautifully executed hand techniques and more Knitology 

Italian: Ortenzia Renza Menciotti

Japanese: knitlabo 

Portuguese: Isatrico

Spanish: Knit Studium

Hindi: Kritica creation, Gaura Knitting Classes

Russian: Playlist 

Machine knitting seam as you knit

This technique can be used in many ways including to attach a front band to a sweater, body pieces of a garment such as when knitting a raglan sleeve from the top-down, flat pieces of knitting to make a tube ie in some socks, and for decorative joins adding a strip of knitting between 2 (or more) previously completed pieces. Most often, one is joining the 2 (or 3) pieces with purl side facing.
Looking at the purl side of any knitting you will see a knot and a loop along the side edges of the work. The loop is formed on the carriage side at the start of each pass, the “knot” opposite the starting carriage side as that side of that row is reached and the yarn twists. Work the first piece, A, remove from the machine. Generally, with smaller row gauge it is best to join loops, with thicker yarns,  larger stitches, or if you plan to felt the finished piece, work with the knots. Any single or even double eye tool, Jolie, or another favorite may be used to insert into the individual space at the edge for picking up.
If joining rows to rows: begin the second piece, B. Though the join can happen on either side, in this case, cast on, knit a row, end with the carriage on the right side (COR).  Pick up the first knot (or loop) on A, from its bottom-up, and hang it onto the left end needle (opposite the carriage) of the cast on row for B.
Knit two rows, returning to COR
Go to the next knot (loop) on A. Pick it up and place it on the outside left edge needle of B, opposite the carriage.
Knit 2 rows and continue on, repeating the last 2 steps to the desired length.
Remember to pick up knots (loop) opposite the carriage every other row.

If the pieces to be joined are long, place a yarn marker on the side(s) to be joined at regular intervals simply by adding a short piece of contrasting color yarn laying it in the hook on the end needle(s). It will not become a permanent part of the stitch. The markers will serve as guides in seaming, can be easily removed when they are reached by a quick tug.

Open stitches may also be joined using this method, but they would have to be hooked onto the second piece every row rather than every other, and caution should be taken in terms of skipping any stitch, as any such stitch will unravel at the end of the process unless it has been secured.
If a bound-off edge of a sideways knit is joined to a knit band, then some adjustment in gauge or row count needs to be made. Knit stitches generally around 4 in width to 3 in height so every 4th part of the bound-off chain may need to be skipped Depending on the stitch type and yarn used a simple tension change and observing the loop (knot) rule every other row may work without any additional adjustments. The Brother Knitting Technique Book offers an interesting variation as a way of creating a double-wide repeat using a punchcard motifThis is a long-ago demo swatch. The chevrons are shaped by holding, could be knit on any machine in any width. After the first strip is knit to the desired length, the second is joined to it as it is being knit. I generally prefer the joins with the carriage on the right and  the completed strip hooked onto its left side. If the color changer is to be used, then the strip being created to join to the finished piece should always be knit on the left side of the bed in order to allow for traveling to and from the color changer every 2 rows. The image here is turned sideways, the chevrons could be used either vertically or horizontally depending on design plans.The above method may be used to join fair isle patterns in order to achieve significantly wider final panels. Some artists, when no electronic models were available, would join cards in continued lengths and planned their repeats side by side to achieve large, non-repetitive images. The punchcard width markings on your Brother needle tape can serve as guides. I use punchcard repeats so often I replaced the needle tape in my 910 early on with one for punchcard models. Markings may also be seen on them for every 8 stitches If the second piece is to be joined with the new piece on its right, add a single stitch to the full punchcard repeat (solid line or thin line section on tape, anywhere on the bed) on the right side, hook up the edge loop (or knot) from the first piece onto the new one, which uses the same needle location as that extra needle in the previous piece for the first stitch in work on its left (full line or blank space on tape). The cast on thread as shown in the techniques publication is not necessary. If wishing to join on the opposite side, then add the extra needle to the first piece on the left edge of the full repeat. With care one can plan for smaller stitch repeats as well. The needle tape or even the knit bed may be marked with water-soluble markers to indicate the extra needle position when adding new vertical strips of knitting. In this former demo swatch, I used a space-dyed yarn for ground accounting for the difference in color on each piece. Color pooling in such yarns is another consideration that may require specific planning in any technique. Here a slip stitch ruffle was joined on the left to one of my completed shawl bodies.The above discussion is based on joins occurring on the same needle location on the needle bed. There is no reason why that should be a constant. A strip or shape can be created with two separate, completed knit pieces joined to it as it progresses in length. “Always” hook onto the new piece opposite the carriage, with usually a minimum of 3 stitches on the new center panel.
Here I grabbed 2 random swatches, one is knit side out, the other purl side out, and one is upside down. The magenta yarn is thinner than the wool, the tension initially used was a dot more than one, left that way from some other experiment or poltergeists. It pays to check all settings prior to beginning any project. To start with I cast on with the magenta and knit a row, hooked up the loop from piece one, starting from its planned bottom edge, COLknit one row to other side, hooked up piece 2, CORand continued until I reached the point where I wanted to experiment with increases, keeping the shape symmetrical. I picked up a loop from both added pieces and hooked them onto the first empty needle on each side of the strip, essentially casting on an added stitch on each side each time, following with 2 knit rows.  After working my “desired shape” I tested decreases:COR: after hooking up the next row, knit one row to the left and transfer the stitch just created on the left onto the adjacent needle on its right, creating a simple decrease.  Knit to the right continue with a straight edge on the right side, repeating the decrease on the left every other row, I kept a straight edge on the right after I reached the top of the piece there. Here is the reverse side of the piece. The cleanest joins happen when the edges are straight to start with, above there was movement of the edges happening because of the distortion of the fabric created by the eyelets. A light pressing if possible may also set the edge stitches, help them lie flat, and make them more visible. When working with slanted edges on the first piece this is one way to join it, taking into consideration whether any adjustment in the frequency of hooking up needs to be made.A better edge will be obtained if the decreases to that piece were made using the full-fashioned method, resulting in a neat “chain” for pick up along its finished edge.

There are other options for decorative joins as one knits, one such is shown in a video by Roberta Rose Kelly.

And not to be forgotten, playing with materials or anything else that allows for an edge to be hooked onto a latch holding a knit stitch ;-). Here the add on is polar fleece, it could be crochet, lace, etc.

References for double bed single color fabrics with pockets

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

from the Brother Ribber techniques book

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

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

 

 

Sock knitting resources and ideas for machine knitting

The only sock(s) I have ever knit have been as demos in my classes. I actively dislike wearing them, and it winds up being a sheer necessity in our winters to actually break down and wear them. I have had an ongoing interest in 3D knitted, explored some pleating, have always been fond of holding techniques. This year has not allowed for as much time exploring and producing as I might have wanted, am hoping to increase both activities in the coming one.
Forums of late have buzzed with knit socks, here are some possible online resources: from machineknittingetc.com:
studio-tips-and-techniques-issue-37-charting-socks
singer-sock-book-seamed-and-circularmachine-knit-news-machine-knit-socks-supplementempisal-sock-patterns

From assorted sources: visualizing shaping sequences: aspect ratio was disregarded in order to combine several images into a large one, particularly noticeable in the middle image on the top row 😉Patterns from manufacturers: Superba manual  Passap Duo 80From a Brother pub. The original paper version actually came with knit leader patterns

There are many ways to seam join such shapes. Seam-as-you-knit is another option. Diana Sullivan offers a video on the technique. Considering its limitations: the seaming needs to occur on equally shaped segments, this would eliminate any shaping to allow for widening parts of the leg as one moves up toward the knee, so the height of the sock would need to be shortened, planning for fit. If one desires a true rib at the top of the completed sock, IMO seams at least for the rib are unavoidable, and one must take measures to make certain cast ons and bind offs for ribbed bands match in look and width. The same issue with shaping occurs when knitting socks tubular. For a tube to grow or decrease in diameter retaining its circular form, the only way to achieve the result is to increase or decrease evenly across knitting bed(s) involved, far easier to achieve if one surrenders the seamless idea and allows for a seam in the design. Here A sections would be knit first, B sections would follow with seaming along the dotted lines. The toe is a 3D shape achieved by holding, with no seaming necessary.
If one is fond of holding intarsia techniques and cumulative joins, this book is available  For advice and ideas on knitting the swan socks see https://knitterstoolchest.wordpress.com/category/circular-knitting/
a video link is included, as well as this schematic

machine knit sock and slipper pattern resource
socks, heels, and more 
eliminating short row holes
general instructions 
penny socks 

Sock calculators: http://roued.com/supersockcalculator.php  https://www.goodknitkisses.com/sock-calculator/  https://www.storey.com/crochet-calculator/toe-up-sock.html

From Knitty, an online hand knitting magazine: universal sock article 
A hand knitting resource on choosing your sock heels 
From Drops design, HK, a spiral sock , and a side to side version, both food for thought in terms of adapting for machine knitting.

For folks who prefer videos, a search on youtube will offer lots of choices, and Roberta Rose Kelley offers 2 that provide a wealth of ideas and information, on tubular socks, the other on adding afterthought heels , using decker combs on Passap machinestransferring ribbed band stitches using a garter bar 

Small scale experiments for larger ideas: the spiral sock
Mary Thomas’ book of knitting patterns was first published in 1943, my edition in 1972. This is the usual cover photo on page 38 a repeat and instructions are offered for a spiral tube sock. The latter has no heel shaping, but traditional toe shaping can be added. The knit/purl design can easily be executed single bed by folks who own a G carriage. My mini sock was knit on 30 stitches +1 for sewing. The blocks can be varied in width depending on the required circumference of the finished tube. The extra pattern stitch in the chart is to allow for seaming a half stitch on each edge and maintaining the pattern. *After every 6 rows knit transfer the right-hand needle of every ribber group to the main bed, on the main bed transfer the right needle of every group down to the ribber**,  repeat * to ** for the desired length. There are a number of ways to deal with the toe part of the stocking. I would opt for transferring stitches to the main bed and knitting one row, using holding remove half the width onto waste yarn then bringing half the stitches on the alternate side into work. The toes may then be worked using stocking stitch, scrapping off, and seaming or grafting the stitches held on scrap to each other. My working repeat, with a 12 stitch repeat usable on punchcard machines as well isolated by the added green border testing the tiling, making certain any programming would line up Cast on for a ribbed band at top of the sock in any preferred configuration. Be certain cast on stretches enough to accommodate the finished width of the tube as it stretches to fit the leg. Transfer stitches between beds in the desired knit/purl configuration. When the desired height is reached transfer all stitches to the top bed, drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, knit a row on all stitches, divide for toe shaping. Here one half away from yarn end and carriage is knit with waste yarn and dropped off when shaping is complete, After toe shaping is finished and waste yarn is added, the work is removed from the machine Because all transfers are made in one direction, as in any knit fabric where that happens, the fabric will bias Here the toe shaping is seamed, the twist in the body of the sock begins to show One side of my knitting was looser than the other, something to watch in any “real” piece. Thin yarn knit on tension 4 is probably also not the best suited for any socks in terms of wear. After seaming and worn by a few cotton balls 😉Lastly, it is possible to knit socks sideways (as well as gloves), usually in garter stitch and in hand knitting. This is a crochet illustration that points to the general construction method.

On the machine, the shaping would need to occur with increases and decreases rather than holding to create the heels, and toes could be shaped, probably best by full-fashioned increases and decreases. There would be at least one grafted seam the width of the sock, the cuff could be added with the side straight edge picked up and knit from there. To get shaping to match, in theory,  one option would be to start with waste yarn, knit to half the above shape, scrap off. Rehang starting open stitches, reverse shaping, graft seam. Dotted lines represent open stitches, decreases and increases can be planned so that only the smaller group of stitches on one side are moved with a garter bar