Machine knit leaves using slip stitch with holding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Revisiting knit graph papers, charting, row tracking, and more

DIY proportioned charts may be created using spreadsheet programs. I began to use Excel for charting in 2009 and continued to in nearly all the colored charts in my color separations for knits posts up to my latest computer upgrade. I now no longer have access to Office and work primarily in native Mac OS programs. I reviewed links for working with Excel for this post, and these are still active  http://fibremuse.blogspot.com/2009/02/charting-patterns-with-excel-part-1.htm
http://marniemaclean.com/blog/tutorials.html#.Um_-wpFQY7I
http://www.chemknits.com/2010/01/how-to-make-knitting-chart-in-excel_9394.html
http://fleeglesblog.blogspot.com/search?q=charting+with+excel
http://anniebeeknits.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/charting-in-excel/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9dwuarghqE
https://colornotesyarn.com/create-knitted-design-chart-with-excel-spreadsheet/

one for google sheets:
http://fibercraftmama.blogspot.com/2014/10/making-knitting-charts-in-google-sheets.html

my posts on working with numbers with some edits recently added after review
https://alessandrina.com/2013/10/28/color-separations-using-mac-numbers-for-knitting/
https://alessandrina.com/2013/10/29/charting-knits-in-mac-numbers-program-2/
https://alessandrina.com/2014/09/03/creating-knit-graph-paper-on-mac-using-excel-and-numbers/

Punchcard design planning, new: these are not to scale but can serve as a base for planning repeats on paper, may print to size with some tweaking by splitting on more than one page. The first sheet is marked as a Brother factory blank single card would be, the second has same markings as the roll I purchased as a “Brother one”, that actually has row # 1 markings for Studio kms, so Brother knitters need to begin knitting on row # 3 punchcards.

I have revised the nearly to scale template from a previous post; the first is not for a full card but designed to fit on one sheet. There are 36 rows/ 180 mm high, by 108 mm wide, prints to scale on my printer. It is bordered in blocks of 6, with no row numbers: scale no numbers.  A second document includes an added 6 rows, brother numbers row markings on right and a column for notes such as lace arrow marks, etc, prints to scale on my printer scale card extra2

It is sometimes helpful to have help in tracking information for actions to be taken on specific rows ie for increases or decreases during knitting on specific rows, or for lock/carriage setting changes in more complex double jacquard (DBJ). Going the printed paper route, this PDF  tracks single rows, every 2, every 4, every 6, and every 8 for tracking such instructions on individual pages. They have enough blank area left to write in pattern name, stitch, cam settings, stitch size, yarn, etc. It may be helpful to include short cuttings of fiber used. Each page may be printed separately, with printer adjustments made if required with your software: tracking rows

Some rib setup with room for notes, in both P and H settings

Taking knitting machines apart

Once in a while, beyond deep cleaning, even taking the machine apart may be needed. I tackled my own punchcard machine recently, here are photos of the action in progress
Needles now back in, needle retainer bar restoration left to go. In case you choose to tackle the process on your own, some clear instructions may be found at Knittsings for Brother machines , and on Susan Guagliumi’s blog for Studio brand

For folks that prefer videos Roberta Rose Kelly has a series of maintenance related ones on youtube.

Matching patterns across sweater body and sleeves


There is a resurgence of circular yokes on the runways and market at the moment. My previous post discussed some of the considerations in knitting them. For those not up to working that particular way, there are variation in carrying the patterns around the body in continuous lines.

If raglan shaping is used, angular lines are created where patterns meet. All knit is essentially vertical striping. Raglan shaping should match both front and back of sleeve, the wider the raglan shape, the less sharp the stripe intersection. Striping in a traditional cap sleeve creates designs that move horizontally across combined body and arm at rest.

When designing a sweater with a shaped sleeve cap, knit a sample of your stripe pattern. An online stripe generator can help visualize stripe formulas, color ways, etc. If knitting fair isle use row counts for FI pattern height for stripe placement. It is helpful to have a 1 row, 1 stitch graph to plot repeats out. It does not matter if the grid is square or rectangular, providing that vertical and horizontal numbers are based on your gauge. Draw a line from armhole point to armhole on both pattern and sleeve, and there is your match. Work stripe pattern up from armhole line for your cap,  down from line for sleeve repeats.

In my theoretical sweaters the sleeve’s wrist edge is technically below the armhole to waistline length, so stripes need to be plotted accordingly, from armhole down.  The same method is used if single motifs or other variations in striping are involved. For single motifs, if matching them in body and sleeve cap, begin by designing them so they fit in the cap’s crown. Place motif in body and sleeve on same line, and plan the remainder of the sweater calculating from the armhole as for stripes, basing placement on numbers of rows in each design segment.

A collection of references to visit online:
Ravellings on the knitted sleeve By Jenna Wilson
<http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall04/FEATfall04TBP.html>
<http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter04/FEATwin04TBP.html>
<http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/FEATwin05TBP.html>
math calculators for knitting
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/knit-evenly-calculator/id370449748?mt=8
“magic formula http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603triangle.aspx
http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603mfcalc.aspx#
http://www.getknitting.com/mk_0603frilled.aspx#

 

A bit of holding 4: intarsia and more

Picture knitting/intarsia may at times be achieved using holding techniques. As in any such knitting, supplies include extras such as bobbins, clothespins, or weighted clips, but no separate carriage. If the ribber is in use and one is working on a large piece, ribber covers allow the yarns to hang in front of the ribber bed.

Some of the rules for accomplishing this using short rows: it is helpful to work from a chart. Two-row sequences are required, so having the working chart double-length makes the process easier to visualize. “Follow” knitting direction with any tool to determine that the pattern is executable, with no long floats or slits.

The bottom of any diagonal lines is always knit first.

Needles are brought out to hold on the carriage side, pushed back into work opposite the carriage; one exception to this rule is if “automatic wrapping” is used. In the latter one, less needle is brought into hold than needed opposite the carriage, the row is knit, then with the carriage on the alternate side the first needle in hold next to stitches just knit is brought out to hold, resulting in a “wrap” and correcting the count to the desired number. Any number of needles may be pushed back into work at any time. More than single stitches brought to hold on the carriage side will produce floats.

When knitting shapes the only needles in work are those being worked to create that shape.

Base rows of knitting, whether in waste yarn or as part of the pattern, are needed prior to working in holding position.

Remember that you are working on the purl side, so any image will be flipped horizontally on the knit side. Reverse chart horizontally before working it if direction matters.

Begin with a simple shape. Letters indicate the knitting sequence for short rowed sections. Patterning in these charts begins with COR, bold lines separate areas of plain knitting, letters indicate the order for executing short row segments. The fabric produced lies flat, with no noticeable 3D protrusions.

screenshot_08

screenshot_09

screenshot_07marking sequences with numbers is easier for me to follow; color changes help define segments, do not reflect final colors in design diamond_29

diamond_sequence

a super mini swatch: holes are typical both in intarsia and in short rows if no wrapping occursIMG_2439be prepared to weave in a lot of yarn endsIMG_2901going larger, note “steps” created when larger number of needle groups are used500_717stripes500_716more complex geometry:  line drawing on “graph paper”complex_30the start of color placement screenshot_01sequence for executing segments at completion of designcomplex_number_01in actual knitting the pattern must be elongated X2

I find it helpful to use familiar yarn and to work variations of a familiar shape prior to taking on more complex patterns. Below is a cousin of the first shape illustrated in this post, with pattern worked beginning COL, repeated across the row, increments in the number of stitches worked in short rows but mirrored on both shape sides (shown in first swatch segment).

screenshot_01filling in to produce a flat fabric, with straight sides: the bottom segmentscreenshot_02the top segmentscreenshot_04the amended chartscreenshot_05

Some of the same shapes may be placed on a shaped edge. The repeat will likely need some editing; arrows indicate the direction of knitting for that row. If the background color is used for casting on and binding off, then the isolated shape floats on the ground, and the horizontal line of contrast color is eliminated.

screenshot_18edge 1creating an outline of shape with Color 1screenshot_23edge_21

horizontal rotation to achieve “leaf” shapescreenshot_05melding shapesno wrap_28don’t like wrapping? for smaller holes offset the return to work position upper half of shape by one less needle at the start, added at the end

a first look at  knitting direction leaf_25and at stacking shapes, with bound off stitchesstacking leaves

combo_2934

combo_2935The start of a smooth shaping sequence for those “leaf shapes” on the machine

The yarn used is an acrylic, so pressing helps to make the shapes lie flat. Once again, using wool or any other yarn with “memory” will result in considerable curl at side ant top and bottom of the knit piece, so that is a consideration in putting in the effort. The more striping, the more yarn ends to weave in and row counts to watch. Using space-dyed or sock yarns may produce pleasing though unplanned stripe patterns in any of the shapes. My samples are not resolved final fabrics. There are many inspiring patterns available for purchase or at times free on the internet for hand knitting, usually in garter stitch as well as holding, resulting in a nearly square gauge, flat-lying knit.

Taking it to garments: accessories are easiest, since gauge may not be significant. Shawl shapes in HK are often knit on circular needles, without the constraint of the fixed number of needles on any particular model KM. Sometimes, with adjustments, the same shapes may be rotated sideways on the KM. Segment sizes may differ due to the resulting change in gauge. Sampling techniques and shapes in smaller versions help work out the kinks.

Sources for inspiration: large scale shapes

http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7365&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7543&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7375&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7099&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6729&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6333&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6001&cid=17

more details, varying concentration, and placement: free pattern
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7606&cid=17

for purchase on Ravelry
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/endless-rainbow
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rigoles
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dreambird-kal
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scarf-with-flames
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/phoenix-wing—phoenix-flugel
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spring-plumage
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hundertwasser-neptunia
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/swingtrelac

Cellular automata charts for knitting, etc.

I have written before on the fact that since my knitting is done primarily on a Brother 910 and a Brother punchcard models, I am ever curious re and exploring ways to produce charted images that will allow me to knit patterns via mylars or punchcards, with an occasional wincrea download to my Passap via an ancient laptop. My eternal wish list to date has included the option to download to a hacked Brother model I already own, or to my Passap, directly from my Mac (presently Mavericks OS). Mathematical knits via hacked or commercial knitting machine use have been explored by some, including Claire Williams  and Fabienne. With the help of online generators, even with a lack of understanding of the math involved, one can produce charts for knitting or other textile applications.

Wolfram  site is a resource for both Mac and Windows platform users who are interested in math, computation and its visual results. There is a downloadable CDF player that allows exploration of documents and provides for download, CDF format explained, demonstrations projects, search for cellular automata. Below are some samples obtained through browsing the site. In some instances show mesh option will provide a gridded motif, show scale will indicate “stitch counts”
screenshot_28

screenshot_29

then there is this

screenshot_31an isolated segment
screenshot_30the image  in Photoshop (CS3) photoshop no gridas it appears with program’s self color adjusted grid photoshop gridGIMPGIMP_cellular2creating a colored grid grid for easier countsgimp color grid

see previous blogposts on isolating repeats, drawing additional markings, and other uses for GIMP.

A visual guide to  automata “rules”

QR codes for knitting (2) or other textile techniques: “happy holidays” a few ways

I reviewed, edited, and added information to an earlier blog post on QR codes and knitting earlier today. The results from the same steps in processing the generated images may be applied to any fiber technique which results from using counted, single units.  In light of the coming season I thought I would offer some “happy holidays” variants. In assembling them, I found an additional free online generator that allows for far more control on output code pixel dimensions than others I have previously experimented with.

aztec (smallest unit possible 100 pixels square)QRA100onto the morovia website the “blanket” sizeQR150getting back to knittable, less than punchcard widthscreenshot_45QR21a less than 50 wide repeat for mylar, and surprise!screenshot_53QR49

Holding stitches/ short rows

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

Settings and images of wrapping to avoid holes http://www.getknitting.com/mk_holdposition.aspx.

Calculating frills and triangles online http://www.getknitting.com/mk_0603frilled.aspx http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603triangle.aspx

Short row one side only http://needlesofsteel.blogspot.com/2008/10/short-rowing-part-1-one-side-only.html. Diagonal corner http://needlesofsteel.blogspot.com/2008/10/short-rowing-part-2-knitting-diagonal.html. Short rowing 2 sides at once http://needlesofsteel.blogspot.com/2008/11/short-rowing-part-3-both-sides-at-once.html.

Shaping shoulders and necklines (Studio) Knitting: see http://www.guagliumi.com/free_stuff/downloads.html for PDF download info

Machine Geometrics – Susan Guagliumi – Threads magazine, April-May 1987, pp 66-71.

A ravelry post on topic with hints for hand knitting by Rox Knits http://www.ravelry.com/twir/86/ask-a-knitter-26

TechKnitting on HK topic http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2009/10/basic-short-rows-theory-and-method.html  http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2009/10/short-rows-method.html