Filmed for HiArts as part of the Making Progress makers scheme, this film documents part of the making of the Birdsong exhibition, an exhibition of knitted sound by Jen Cantwell. The corresponding photo-stream may be found here.
The work of Ruth Marshall
A follow up to the previous post on the “horizontal cable“: it has a relative that produces a flat or textured “lacey” fabric depending on the number of rows knit in each segment.
This is an attempt at a graphic representation of the previous “wisteria/cable”
The relative: after some initial rows of knitting (whether waste yarn or edge of actual piece or swatch), beginning with knit carriage on right-hand side, moving right to left, the knit is created by knitting on a multiple of chosen # of stitches plus needles out of work (OOW, A position). In the instance below a multiple of 9 + 8 is cast on, with OOW needle (represented by blue) between repeats. The ladders created where needles are in A also make it easier to visually identify stitch groups that need to be moved in/out of work
an attempt at a graphic representation of the corresponding knitthe swatch knit side, orientation as knitthe swatch purl side, rotated 90 degrees as it would appear in a sideways knit
the knit tends to curl along edges to purl side as seen above, could be embellished with stitching for more contrast and color
first pattern row:
COR knit 8 rows on the first group of stitches on the right (1)
push second group (2) into work and knit 8 rows
push third group (3) into work and knit one row
push group (1) on its right into hold, knit 7 rows across remaining 16 stitches
bring a new group on left into work, knit one row
bring the group to its right out of work, repeat process across row
when second to last 2 groups on left (6 and 7) are reached, knit 8 rows on both, push second to the last group into hold (6)
COL knit 8 rows on the last group on left (7)
second pattern row:
COL, reverse process from left to right for the second pattern row
the row that picks up the adjacent group of stitches helps create a joined fabric, with movement resulting from the direction in which each “pattern row” is knit
varying the ladder space and number of rows knit will change the overall look of the fabric
turning the fabric sideways after varying the size of the holes across the now horizontal rows could also affect overall shaping ie narrowing and widening of segments
going from larger holes on one side to narrower in the opposite will make the knit “ruffle” on the edge with larger holes, etc.
if one knits vertical segments that are 8-16 rows in turn, cutting the yarn at the end of each sequence, then there will be straight slits/ strips that may in turn be left as such when knitting is resumed, twisted in a variety of sequences with alternate groups as one would a cable, rotated on their own axis once for 180 exposing some of the back/opposite surface of the knit single or multiple times as desired
a strip of slits may, in turn, be “latched up” in a chain, stitched, or otherwise be altered after the knitting is completed
a sample with wider ladder spacing and slightly different sequence
Making narrow tubular cords has also been referred to as spool knitting, corking, French knitting, or tomboy knitting. When using a knitting machine the standard for knitting cords is to operate the carriage so that it knits in one direction, slips in the opposite. Using the e wrap method cast on 3or 4 stitches. Push in the part button on the same side the knit carriage is on ie. if it is on right, push in right part button. Stitches will knit from right to left, slip from left to right creating a float. Since the float is added yarn when knitting is pulled to set it, the gauge on the few stitches will be altered, so it is usually recommended that tension be tightened 1-2 numbers lower than garment tension. The float issue becomes problematic if cording is required that is wider than 4 stitches. Switching to tubular knitting using the ribber will produce tubes of any desired width.
In Japanese machines, the ribber knits tighter than the main bed, if gauge matters a starting point is to loosen ribber tension by approximately 2 numbers. Larger cords tend to flatten, so if a round tube is desired stuffing may be required in the form of cording, plastic tubing that may be joined using appropriate caps from hardware or even pet supply stores, and a range of wires if the intent is to create sculptural forms.
One exception to tightening the tension when knitting cords is when/if they are joined to knit edges in the seam as you knit method.
Addressing the float issue in single bed knitting:
with five stitches the floats could be latched up creating a rib stitch. This same operation in tighter or smaller cords may make them swirl.
If a flatter cord will serve the purpose, an alternative is to have the center stitch knitting on the slip rows. One may accomplish this by hand-selecting needles or using a card. This will seal the tube in the center or periodically across the knit. The punchcard may be locked on any single row with the appropriate holes punched, and the position planned on the needle bed for knitting. The carriage will knit all stitches in one direction, slip/skip all but the stitches where needles are selected in the opposite. Floats may become design elements in some instances; if sewing onto another piece or hanging onto the knit as it progresses they serve as guidelines for doing so. If they are to be applied vertically to a garment, create a ladder to mark your sewing line.
If you are a gadget collector “hand Knitting cord machines” may make them up to 6 stitches in width with the ease of cranking a handle and with a bit of planning wire beaded tubes may be produced on them as well. Some examples are from Bond, Prym, Wyr for knitting metal mesh, and eons ago some companies including Passap and Singer offered their own automatic cord knitters as well.
A recently published hand-knitting book has many ideas for applied i_cords that could also be used on the machine. For speed and simplicity, sometimes flat strips of knitting may be substituted for cords in some designs.
Cords or strips may be used to create mock cables, add color interest, applied as trims, or to the bodies of sweaters or sweater edges. They may be braided, twisted, macraméd, etc.
Some published and online resources on the subject:
Erica Patberg article in Knitter’s Magazine #104, Fall 2011. She can be found on Ravelry. Cords and strips may be used as trims. Long ago versions were published by teachers in the seminar circuits, one may be found at 1. Ginger Luters is well known to hand knitters for her books such as her “Module Magic”. Apparently, she also has published a book on trims, now available on DVD online that from cover photo appears to include some suited for this topic.
A page that gives a bit of history and illustrations of spool knitters for crafts/ hand knitting may be found at Hub Pages, and on “circular knitting machines” at How to get what you want.
The Wyr knitter is very hard to find. I have knit 32 gauge wire on other knitters with success, so that particular model is not necessary for wire cords as seen in this piece of mine A curly cord version may be found at Techknitting. More ideas and a knitter at Bond America. And lastly, something to make with those Barbie Knitters.
A DVD stitch compendium salute to Barbara and an interview with her. Most reviews online describe as it being most suitable for beginning knitters. For a treasure of her treasury patterns including some cable stitches, one may visit The Walker Treasury Project. The group’s’ photo stream may be found in Flickr.
Susan Guagliumi has written 3 books on hand techniques on the knitting machine
her first classic
her previously most recent
On her website, some of her articles and Studio KM publications are available for free download. Included are ones discussing a horizontal cable, two-color electronic cable. 11/12/15 Please note: the site now requires subscription and login, links, as posted here as they are, will fail to connect.
In creating large-scale cables in the past tension changes, supplemental threads, and other ways to compensate for moving a larger number of stitches on a metal bed (things start to get hairy when crosses become larger than 4X4) have been discussed. An interesting, clear, possible solution to produce textures or macro cables such as in this piece
may be found in her books and may be viewed in her youtube video. Handknit interpretations that also add lace to the mix may be found in Shirley Paden‘s portfolio photos of garments, she is the author of
Cables seem to be in vogue once again in myriad permutations. They pose some interesting issues when created in machine knitting. Interweave Knits Winter 2011 published an article on “Cables 101” that includes a way to color code and graph cable crossings. “Back in the day” of regular, worldwide machine knitting seminars, several authors provided collections of machine-knit cables including George Le Warre at Passap universities (copyrighted, George presently in England).
Simple crossings are a good place to begin and produce texture. If one is not interested in freeform but rather constant, recurring patterns it is possible to use punchcards to produce visual cues when stitch twists and crossings are to occur. This is not an option in Studio Machines, easy on Brother because of the fact that needles pre-select, and Passap pushers may be used for a similar set of clues with a bit more fiddling.
When color-coding information for referencing as one knits, it is possible to be generous with symbols or edit down to bare elements. For example, one way to approach a schematic follows below, where knit stitches are illustrated as well as cable crossings. Red indicates stitches moved to the front, and the green indicates those traveling to the back in each cable set. In hand knitting, vertical or horizontal bars would represent knit and purl stitches. Since these are identical in this HK graph, they could all be eliminated
B the isolated repeat
The choice then remains whether or not to revert the crossings to match the HK pattern. One way to do that is simply to reverse positions for colors. The mantra becomes “red moves first, green moves second and over red”.
With all machines, if the knit carriage is left set for normal knit, even if the patterning option is engaged (KCI or KCII if there are any needles out of work) needles will be selected, but the fabric produced is stocking stitch. The usual considerations are in order: the number viewed on the card outside the machine corresponds to the design row being read by the reader, but the punchcard holes in view are not necessarily the same as the design row selected. Because one is producing the cables on the purl side of the knit, if hand knitting charts are used the cables themselves will be mirrored. In many instances, this may not matter, but if one is using the twists for representational crosses ie. in trees, owls, diamonds, and other geometric shapes, it is a good idea to scan the repeat, mirror the image vertically, and then begin translating it into machine knit interpretations. Relatively easy with simple scanning and printing software (ie. the flip horizontal function in Preview, a bit harder by hand.
When I can I color code my cards: ie. with lace I draw a line across the card when I reach each knit row sequence with a color pencil. This provides me with an easy to follow visual cue as to when the rows must occur, and also facilitates returning to the previous selection sequence when mistakes in patterning occur.
Some basics: with a punchcard, there is no row length limitation, but repeats are limited to 24 or a factor thereof. In this particular use wherever needles are selected, one has a visual reminder to move those needles in the desired direction.
I used the cards below to illustrate the idea in my intro to knitting classes. When needle selection occurs in the first, remove the selected stitches off the machine with a 3 prong tool in each desired location, then insert a second 3 prong tool back through the front of those same stitches, in turn removing from the initial tool used. Rotate the twice transferred stitches 180 degrees consistently either clockwise or counter-clockwise throughout, and return them to their original position on the needle bed. The result is a consistently textured fabric with no counting stitches or rows between repeats.
a swatch using it
This card begins to address regular cable crossings, mine was punched in repeat the full 60 rows. Color may be assigned to help with opposing twists’ directions ie. to left (pink) or to right (green) when the corresponding color bar appears just above the card reader.
Many of us grey-haired knitters may recall the art to wear movement and some of them became familiar at the height of home machine knitting and seminar circuits. I am beginning a thread that makes an effort to discover them in the present time, will add to this post as I find links. The order is purely random, includes published teachers and some of the knitters/ fiber artists found in the book documenting the birth of the movement pictured below.
Equipment virtual museum.
Some interesting approaches in measuring prior to developing slopers for knits.