Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics 2

WORK IN PROGRESS

There is a Russian online site offering a huge range of punchcard designs. The question on how to convert the site files for use in electronic machines surfaces periodically and did so again recently in FB groups.
My posts with information related to this topic:
Brother KMs: punchcards and their use 
Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics
color exchange Gimp update for Mac 2

A Russian language tutorial on converting the punchcard images using DAK
A recent offering on navigating the site in English, begin viewing on minute 5
The site link http://perfo.12rus.ru/index.php?
The translated site link 
The options in English for working with published cards The help menu available after the card is chosen Designs are presented in pages that list them from longest to shortest row counts for the complete repeats. Punchcard users can reproduce holes as given. There is also an option for entering a new design and it appears, in turn, one may be able to generate a separation for its use in DBJ.
Beginning with a smaller design intended for machines with 12 stitch repeat restrictions simplifies the view and processing of it for newbies. The published patterns are offered Silver Reed ready. The option for converting the cards for use on Brother 260 renumbers it with the appropriate location for the number 1 row marks required by the operation of the different brand’s card reader. Toyota versions are also available. Making the holes larger is a boon to reproducing the drawing correctly regardless of end-use. Splitting the card into segments is helpful when using factory blanks with a 60-row maximum repeat, and often also when processing the image for use on electronic machines, which is affected by screen size views available to the software user. For some reason, I found the commands erratic when working on the translated version of the site, fared much better in the original language publication.
The chosen card image may be dragged onto one’s desktop. I use Numbers to create my tables. The 2 all-punched rows, marked with blue arrows, and any standard vertical rows of holes on each side of the provided designs need to be isolated and eliminated. This is a 12 stitch repeat required for use on some machine models or useful when using a thicker yarn on every other needle to achieve the same design, every other vertical row is blank. A: the table with cells 20X20 sized to match the number of rows and stitches in the original. The card image is arranged in the back of the table with the constrain properties option unchecked in its image-arrange menu. B: cells corresponding to marked holes are filled in with black since the final goal is to create an indexed BMP. Using and holding down the command key during cell selection helps perform the coloring cells in action on groups, clicking on any cell again while still holding the key down will deselect the fill. Release the key, choose the fill-in color, repeat, and continue until the holes in the full design are filled in. C: click and hold command key, select every other blank vertical column marked with letters at the top of the table, the blank vertical rows are selected, release the command key, right-click on any of the same letter selections again, and choose to delete selected columns from the pull-down menu or after marking the rows directly from the table menu at the top of the screen. Eliminate all cell borders. C: the result showing how the pattern will appear when used to program fair isle.  Screengrab the final image surrounded by extra white cells, open it in GIMP. Change the mode to indexed BW, crop the file to content thus excluding any extra white cells, scale to the original design’s 24 by 74 dimensions. Punched holes are now pixels; export the knit-ready BMP.
Using the filter, map, tile option allows one to check on horizontal and vertical repeat alignments for any errors, and begin to imagine how the repeat might appear on a finished piece. Color exchange used on the BW BMPs converted to RGB mode helps visualize the knit using specific colors. On the far left below the final BMP is shown magnified X 800 with a superimposed grid, then filter-map-tiled to 48X148 size. It is followed by a color reversed version of the same. The remaining images illustrate the result of using the color exchange option, beginning with the BW BMP repeat converted to RGB mode.  Getting a preview of how a finished garment might appear, here the tiled version is 192 pixels in width and one may glean some idea as to whether that repeat should ever really be used in a sweater or even a blanket. Further image scaling or cropping can happen based on the knit gauge. A very quick rendering imagining pattern and color placements using a simple sweater outline Collections of every other needle repeats for processing with a similar approach may be found in these volumes, available for free download
Chunky punchcard patterns  12 stitch Patterns of Knitting With Creative Punch Cards Juki 12 StitchBoth volumes include accompanying swatch illustrations.

In machine knitting, the word lace is used in categorizing a large variety of knit fabrics. The terms include:
simple lace, executed with carriages that transfer and knit in a single pass
multiple transfer/ fashion/ fancy/ lace: executed wit carriages that transfer only
lace and fine lace combinations
fine lace
tuck stitch combined with transfer lace
tuck/ pull up lace
transfer lace combined with weaving
punch/thread lace
ladder lace
punch tuck rib
drive/drop stitch lace
If one explores the openwork patterns on the site, the second selection for 24 stitch cards, the 20 pages of repeats do not differentiate between the lace categories, so the onus is on the visitor to determine proper card use. In addition, the option for switching machine brands does not readjust for changes required for the pattern to read correctly in the alternate card reader. As an example, transfer lace cards are shown with blank starting rows, ending with punched holes, a Studio brand feature, and in some cases with a punched row ending with blank rows, a Brother feature. If changes are made in machine brand selection, the only adjustments in the new image appear to be made to the numbering sequence, but not to the punched or unpunched starting and ending rows.

For punchcard users or enlarged views: printing the PDF breaks the repeat into segments required if one is using individual 60-row maximum length factory cards and not a punchcard roll. On the far right, the difference in relative size between a factory punchcard and the PDF image printed without any adjustments.  Filling in the dots with a black marker renders the to be punched holes more visible through the card, making marking prior to punching easier and faster.  For a better, printed match size, after capturing the image from the PDF for a single page outside image edges, opening it in Gimp, cropping it to content, it is then possible to scale the results to measurements of a factory punchcard equal in width and adjusted for the number of rows in the image. My card required print measurements were 14.1cm by 26.1. Scaling executed with aspect ratio is too long.  breaking the chain-link, removing size constraints  the result with printing to match the card stock measurements was extremely close to the desired size, useful, but hard to photograph  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gimp update for Mac 2

WORK IN PROGRESS 

The previous post on the topic: 2019/10/07/gimp-update-for-mac/
I have been spending more time exploring version 10.22 and am becoming more familiar with new features and design options. There are slight variations in behaviors depending on the Mac OS version. Windows updates happen more frequently. According to the software download site for Mac “the currently available package provides GIMP 2.10.22 and has not yet updated to the latest version, GIMP 2.10.24. We’re working on that, please check back later.”
Color exchanges to test designs in different colorways may be made easily and quickly using the program. To test the concept begin with a simple repeat already tested for tiling originally saved in indexed black and white colors This icon shows the default foreground and background colors  The black is the foreground color, the white is the background.
Using such small images I often work in 800X magnification. Open the image, choose sizing, scaling, or magnification if necessary, convert to RGB mode then from the colors menu choose map, color exchange. The color exchange window will appear. Here the white “from color” is left undisturbed. Select the dropper next to the “to color”, then click on the image on the color you wish to change, a palette window will appear. Make your choice, the color exchange window will now have substituted the chosen color for the black, click OK, and white design areas are now changed to the chosen blue globally. The process may then be repeated with the second color if desired.  The color exchange window will show white as the default “from color”. Click on the white bar, choose black from the palette window or use the dropper to select black from the image. The from color will then appear as black. Repeat selection with the dropper from the right of the “to color” bar on any black pixels in the image, choose the color from the palette window to replace it, the color exchange window will display the new “to color”. Click OK, job done. The process may be repeated multiple times on the same design or used on large-scale ones, giving one some idea as to whether or not to really commit to the estimated colors. 

Information summary from the online manual on working with symmetry:
you can access this dialog from the image Menu bar through Windows-Dockable- Dialogs-Symmetry Painting, its icon appears below at the top right A drop-down list offers four options. As soon as you check a type of symmetry, axes appear as dotted green lines in the image window and you can start painting with the brush you have chosen.
The default position for the symmetry axis is the middle of the image window. You can place the axis where you want using the Horizontal axis position and Vertical axis position.
Disable brush transform: when you transform the drawing, the brush itself will end up transformed as well. For instance, in a mirror transform, not only will your drawing on the right of the canvas be mirrored on the left, but the brush itself is obviously “flipped” on the left. If for some reason, you want the drawn lines to be mirrored (or other transformation) but not the brush outline itself, you can check this box.
“Tiling” is a translational symmetry, which can be finite (with a maximum of strokes) or infinite. In the latter case, it is the perfect tool to create patterns or seamless tiles, at painting time. This mode covers the image with strokes.
Interval X Interval Y: these are the intervals on the X and Y axis, in pixels, between stroke centers.
Shift: this is the shift between lines on the X-axis, in pixels.
Max strokes X, Max strokes Y: these are the maximal number of brush strokes on the X and Y-axis. Default is 0, which means no limit, according to the image size.
Using a large image, testing few iterations, helps one understand the process. The pepper brush is provided in the program and is used in the tutorial on the Gimp site. Most such tutorials are intended for working on far larger and higher resolution images, while knitting is binary and at the opposite end of the spectrum in scale and required image size. The original brush is 220 pixels in size, the maximum number of needles per pixels on standard machines programmable at one time is 200. For exploration, any of the built-in brushes may be used, I began by scaling the pepper to 50 pixels, then moved on to a self-drawn, equal size flower motif. When choosing canvas file size, consider a multiple of the brush size. Drawing repeats uses the pencil tool.   Working with potential knit repeats the scale is reduced further. Magnification is useful for the evaluation of repeats. The smallest repeat segments for use on electronic machines may be isolated. The filter map, tile option easily verify how the repeats line up overall. Cropping a 24 stitch width and tiling that also visualizes the suitability of the repeat for use on punchcards with the 24 stitch limitation.  Grid view helps identify any need for “clean up”.
This rose is 24 stitches wide by 25 rows in height Open the chosen file in Gimp. Create a new file in a canvas size considering a multiple of the original.
When the Copy or Cut command is used on an image or a selection of it, a copy appears as a new brush in the upper left corner of the “Brushes” dialog. This brush will persist until you use the Copy command again. It disappears when GIMP is closed.
With the single repeat opened in Gimp, magnified several times, click on the image and use the copy command. The image will appear in the symmetry dialogue. The position may vary depending on whether the program has been closed and relaunched between episodes of testing the process. Create a new file, large enough to accommodate a multiple of the original number of pixels, adding pixels for spacing between or above and below designs, set the magnification to the same number as that of the clipboard image, left-click on the brush icon, choose the image saved in the clipboard and a type of symmetry and accompanying settings, click on pencil tool, the motif will appear as on the above right, paste the image on the new canvas, undo and repeat setting adjustments until satisfied with the distribution of motifs.
Some ways of varying repeat positions working with motifs in networks were illustrated in the post To develop a brick repeat I began with a canvas twice that of the original rose, 48X50 pixels, isolated the smallest repeat, used the filter map tile option to test its all over alignment The 24X50 repeat: To decrease crowding, using the original image, the new canvas is now 40X60, with the shift decreased from 12 to 8 pixels. The result did not tile properly when mapped, using magnification 800X with a viewed grid the final repeat, 29X60 was isolated Being more deliberate with the math leads to a full, successful repeat 

Working on the gridded image, drawing straight lines to isolate color change areas in chosen colors followed by flood filling, one may begin to visualize changing the ground color behind the motif repeats Using that small triangular 8X8 repeat open in Gimp, or draw any small shape if designed by hand, remove the grid. Before using it as a brush, reduce mode to 2 colors, magnify X800. Open a new file. I found the latter needed to be increasingly small as well for the repeats to be placed accurately. After tiling using symmetry, filter, map, tile from the filter menu to check for multiple repeat alignment.   Again, preemptive math will yield images that avoid further processing. It is up to the user to recognize any problems,  the repeat here needs to and can be isolated correctly from the file on the left, it is actually only 16 rows high. Here the adjusted repeat is created on a 24X16 canvas with the same symmetry settings, and filter/mapped/tiled There may be multiple ways to achieve the same result with each motif. Here the same repeat is executed two different ways  The above repeat was cropped and adjusted to 16 stitch width and 8 row height, the file saved, and the process repeated  Using symmetry once more, remember to adjust the pencil size.  For the pinwheel shape I was unable to use color exchange successfully on the above images, but with the saved 2 colors indexed red and white repeat both img2track and ayab appeared to load the repeat successfully. The map color exchange was successful using the steps described at the top of the post when beginning with the repeat drawn in a black and white version.  

A different approach, experimenting with built-in brushes: symmetry preferences remain constant, the brush size is reduced. The results are best if the canvas is created in black and white indexed mode to start with, and shapes reduce with varying degrees of success. The numbers reflect brush sizes in each dot pattern. Different types of symmetry may be applied to the same image

For afghans or wall art, if one is attracted to large shapes, drawing in mandala symmetry on large canvas size is as gratifying and immediate as when using a spirograph, the results happen in seconds, these were drawn using 32 points. Steps may easily be undone along the way as one attempts to make the images more complex. Coming topics: saving brushes and patterns to one’s personal library

 

My first non repetitive DBJ explorations on 930

WORK IN PROGRESS

I created large-scale nonrepetitive image garments very early in my knitting career using Cochenille Bitknitter and Commodore computers linked to a Passap E6000. Over time my focus changed considerably, with any production knitting moving onto accessories as I began to make items for sale in galleries and in shows, most often single bed on a Brother 910. If knitting is a primary source of income, one needs to consider production time management, material costs, and what the local market will bear in terms of pricing.
A post, written in 2018, began to explore two-color-dbj-non-repetitive-images-electronic-kms/. At that time I did not have a machine model capable of using img2track.
An orphaned 930 entered my life, and with rare exceptions, over the past few years, my blog sample swatches have been knit using img2track, which I have found easy, reliable, with any programming errors due to the operator issues including learning the differences from 910 programming and remembering to actually use them.
No matter how long any of us have been knitting, there can be many aaargh moments both in everyday knitting and when exploring new techniques.
I have a supply of lovely 2/48 cash-wool in royal blue, black, and grey. Three strands worked predictably on my punchcard machine in a series of my spiky scarves, shown in progress on the machine. Nearly all my previous dbj pieces have been knit on a Passap E6000. The 930 experience for such repeats is new to me. With some help from Tanya Cunnigham in reviewing steps required when using img2track, I returned to cellular automata repeat saved years ago.
I encountered problems with the triple strands of blue not feeding evenly, here both colors were picked up by the changer accidentally, I realized the issue, trying to unravel the row of knitting produced this That provided an opportunity to decide I preferred the reverse color placement as well as wanting a thicker ply for the white, resulting in twice the fun with 2 colors, and another scrapped sample Switching the white to a single-ply thicker yarn made its stitch formation far more manageable. The blue however seemed to have a single strand of the three with a propensity for catching on gate pegs. I tried tension adjustments, the usual tips in managing static. At about row 1,000 out of 1288 rows, I realized I had an issue with both yarns being caught on gate pegs. In trying to lift the stitches off, the yarn broke but gave with no immediate visible clues, the dropped stitches and a lovely hole, as a result, appeared when knitting had progressed far enough below the current knit rows. On the left, the work is shown still on the machine, while on the right, it is off the machine, and in the process of a patch job with a temporary accessory and stitch holder in place. I was able to achieve a reasonable repair on the knit side, but the birdseye pattern on the reverse is a bit scrambled. For folks that are not familiar with electronics and are curious, the 930 has the smallest memory of the later Brother electronic models. My pattern repeat is 74 stitches wide by 644 rows in height. The user manual explains: 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. img2track indicates progress as the data is sent to the KM. When the pattern has finished loading, the KM should beep, and show the green READY light and a 1 in the display (for row 1). The program automatically chooses Selector 2 for a single image and centers it. You may change this by using the normal pattern selecting process on the knitting machine, choose Selector 1 for all-over patterning, or use Selector 2 and choose a different location on the needle bed to center the pattern. If your pattern was divided into more than one track, you will have to load successive tracks when completing the previous track, specific instructions are given for programming subsequent tracks. My pattern was broken down into 4 tracks.
The cable used for downloads to the machine is used externally, no alterations to the machine’s hardware are required as when using Ayab on the 910. The pattern is stored in the machine, so the computer needs to be awake only during downloads, not constantly as in programs that use knit-from-screen.
Each track for 2 color DBJ using the KRC built-in separation is entered in numerical order as a new pattern with first-row preselection from the left to the right and first row knit from right to left toward the color changer. If the repeat is not planned for the number of needles in use, any position or change to all-over design needs to be re-entered, and the KRC button must also be set again.
Cam button settings are set according to the chosen dbj variations for either or both beds. End needle selection is usually canceled. In some patterns using it can create an interesting beaded edge on either side, which is worth testing on small samples to determine one’s preference.
I like to plan my pieces beginning with the dark color, plan my repeats with the deliberate placement of both colors, and any scaling in the pattern BMP prior to download, using Gimp. I also prefer to have color 1 as the dark, color 2 as the light. The default in the Japanese DBJ separation uses the light color, white squares, as color 1. Out of habit I color reverse my images so my first preselected row from right to left can just knit my black squares rather than the white, and I can continue my motifs as I intended while having machine prompts for each color also match.
Pausing knitting is easy as long as the needle selection is not disturbed. Ending with COR avoids any confusion about which color should be used next. Starting outside the set mark, turn the machine back on, and simply continue in pattern with appropriate color changes.
Tanya Cunningham manages and moderates the membership, settings, and posts for the Img2track – For Machine Knitters group on Facebook.
These were her tips and reminders to me for handling pauses in knitting immediately after the following track in the sequence is first downloaded: let’s say that either some needles got pushed in or repositioned, or for whatever reason, you don’t have certainty that the last row of needle selection is reliable, and you want to “re-select” the last row before you knit it, the last track you knitted should still be in the memory, even though you’ve completed that part of the pattern. 
1. Push all needles back to Pos B. 
2. remove the yarn from the feeder, disconnect the K carriage from the R carriage. 
3. Turn Change/Selector knob from KCII to N (NOTE, this will cause your PART buttons to de-select) 
4. press BOTH PART buttons. 
5. Move K carriage to right. No needles will knit, since all are in POS B, and both PART buttons are depressed, AND no needles will select, since you’ve moved the change/selector knob to N, and the memo will not record any advancement of row. (However, if you’re using your mechanical row counter, it WILL record a row, and one on the way back so plan to either disable the ribber arm or plan to turn the counter back 2 rows)
6. Now you will have to re-select the last row of needles for the track you’ve most recently knitted. First, verify that KRC is activated. Now, you will have to push the up/down arrow buttons to select the very last row of the pattern which will be an even number, and color 1. Depending on whether the carriage was moved in such a way as to activate the sensor enough to cause the memo to advance, you may be able to simply use the row that’s showing, but even beginning the movement of the carriage may advance it. To be sure, what I do is to advance (in this case to Row 1 Color 1), and then back up one row, using the arrow buttons. 
7. Move your Change/Selector knob to KCII, be sure to move outside the turn mark. Verify KRC; memo says last row, color 1; both PART buttons in. Now, move your carriage right-to-left, to select the last row of the previous track. 
8. Load color 1 in the carriage, load next track into the machine, KRC selected.
9. Now, as you knit to the right, you will be knitting the last row of the previous track, and selecting needles for the first row of the next track. Carry on.

In terms of generating cellular automata math-based patterns, the Wolfram website is a great place to explore repeats. A player, temporarily unavailable to Mac users is presently available, allows for the download of interactive demos in .cdf format. In terms of knitting any of the repeats, the most suitable appear to be ones that are generated in black and white to start with. Not all are, and at times changing the mode to bitmapped in programs such as Gimp can produce a glitched effect. Though the latter may be interesting and desirable to some, I prefer clean lines and diagonals along with identifiable shifts in the scale of any triangular components.

I am often amazed at the speed with which time passes, previous related posts: 2015/12/09/cellular-automata-charts-for-knitting-etc/
Previously knit repeats 2017/09/11/my-new-knitting-projects/

Weaving drafts may also serve as inspiration for knitting repeats. Posts with related content: 2015/11/28/weaving-drafts-as-inspiration-for-other-textile-techniques/, and 2018/07/02/numbers-to-gimp-to-create-images-for-electronic-download/. These images are extracted from a draft for an advancing twill. One may explore segment placement and color reversals easily using programs such as Gimp. There is also potential for exchanging colors to get a sense of how the pattern might appear in different colorways My planned test repeat is 76 stitches wide by 556 rows high.

To mesh or not to mesh 8, more Numbers meet Gimp

A recent FB post led the discussion to this repeat from a 910 mylar, which does not have the immediately recognizable format of the Brother lace patterns if viewed in a small screengrab such as this. The repeat is included in Ayab test patterns. The full mylar collection and user manual may be found here http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-kh910-pattern-guide.html.
The segment including the lace pattern Brother was the first to allow programming from multiple areas on a single mylar sheet. Starting and ending stitches and rows needed to be entered, I got used to drawing boxes for each pattern as seen on the upper right, reducing errors in future knitting. The red lines on the copy highlight the repeat’s border. Mylars were read 13 rows down, punchcard machines7. The equivalent of arrow markings on lace punchcards are provided in the column on the left, which extends over the top of the drawing space by the same number of rows, allowing it to remain visible above the card reader even as the top of the mylar patterning area is reached.
The design is actually created from isolated areas of a mesh repeat discussed in a previous post. The lace carriage is used for 2 passes and then for 4 alternately, as indicated on the left side of the punchcard. The 2 passes will result in transfers to the left, the 4 make in transfers to the right. This repeat, usable in nonelectronic models, appears in my pre-punched factory basic packs as both #17 and #20. Depending on the electronic model or the software used to download patterns designed for lace, the final image may need to be flipped horizontally. This is true for use on my 930. Creating a template for mesh using numbers: begin with a table with square cells in numbers larger than you might need, ie 24 by 54. The method for doing so has been explained in previous posts. I happen to prefer cell units that measure 20 points by 20. The smallest repeat unit for use on any machine is isolated, shown bordered in red, is 4 stitches wide by 6 rows high, and drawn onto the template. The group of cells in the repeat are selected. If one hovers over any side or top and bottom borders of it, a yellow dot appears. Clicking and dragging on the yellow dot will repeat the full selection to the right, left, up, or down. Here the move is to the right The whole group is selected, and dragging on the yellow dot once more, the whole template can be filled Beginning at the top or bottom of the table, hide all blank rows. Using the command key during the selection process will allow this to be done on the whole table at once or in groups of rows at one time; 36 of the 54 rows are hidden.   At this point, there are a couple of choices. One is superimposing a solid shape. Using a contrasting color makes it easier to sort out its placement the color may be replaced with white in the spreadsheet,
unhide all rows, and the lace pattern is ready for the final steps before using Gimp The other option is to unhide rows on the colored table, screengrab as usual after removing cell borders. Open in Gimp, crop to content, eliminate the cyan row by filling it with white. It was intended as a place holder for the last row in the pattern, is not part of the final repeat.
In this instance, I used mode, indexed, to the maximum of 3 colors.
Choose the color to alpha option from the colors menu.
Using the dropper tool select the color you wish to be made clear, click OK. Create a new image of the same size.
Copy and paste the color-reduced image onto the new one.  Dotted lines will appear in areas that had the color removed previously. Clicking anywhere in the window outside the image anchors the paste and make those dotted lines disappear. If that does not work, select the rectangle tool before doing so. The file is then ready for final scaling. The last image is in RGB mode once more, converted to BW indexed, scaled to 24 by 54, and exported as BMP or choose any other format ie png, etc. to suit your needs.
Responses to alpha selection can vary depending on the original color palette used when filling cells.
Creating a template for drawing simple shapes using transfer lace, it is easier to start out with the transfer grid in a color, rows are hidden as above, eyelet shapes are drawn in black. The rows are unhidden.    In this instance, the red was selected for converting to alpha with the image still in RGB mode, copied and pasted. The pasted image may be anchored in several ways. Using image menu: select merge visible layers, or flatten image; layer menu: select anchor layer, or simply click on rectangle select tool and click again anywhere in the window. Changing the mode to black and white indexed will yield the repeat for final scaling. Each transfer design segment of the repeat is 6 rows in height and completed with 10 combined carriage passes. The lace carriage, LC, operates first, in series of two passes at first, then followed by four, repeating the double sequence throughout. The mylar, card, or computer image, do not reflect the passes made by the knit carriage KC. The latter is set to knit, does not engage the belt, does not advance the pattern. It helps to look at an expanded repeat to understand that indeed, transfers are made in 2 directions.
Referring to design row numbers, not necessarily those on a row counter:
1.  LC preselects for transfers to the left as it travels to the right
2.  LC makes transfers as it moves to the left, no preselection occurs, remains on the left side
3.  KC, moves to the left, completing the first knit row, creating loops on needles emptied by transfers, the pattern does not advance, remains on the same row
4.  KC, moves to the right, completing the eyelet stitches, the pattern remains on the same row, KC then stays on the right
5.  LC moves to the right, no preselection
6.  LC moves to the left, preselects for transfers to right
7.  LC moves to the right, transfers to right, no preselection
8.  LC returns to the left, no transfers or preselection, stays there
9.  KC moves to the left, the pattern remains on the same row
10.KC moves to the right, the pattern remains on the same row, KC then stays on the right Those familiar with eyelet formation in the more traditional transfer lace will notice the differences here, where the geometric shapes are technically superimposed on a mesh whose structure is revealed depending on where the transfers creating them take place. The fabric is easy and very quick to execute since most of it is in stocking stitch. The proof of concept swatch: The design was not planned as continuous, but is easily amended to be so. Here an alternate version is shown, with 2 linear repeats on the left, and a single expanded repeat to its right As for that mylar repeat, this is an image of the shapes with the chart collapsed, eliminating blank rows between black pixels. The resulting partial test used as drawn In fabrics designed this way, using the image as drawn (left), or mirroring it horizontally, does not visually change the result. This does not hold true in more complex transfer lace.
Several large-scale designs based on this method are found in Brother-electro-knit-lace-patterns-3 This random chart from the publication shows a pattern where the number of transfer rows between knit ones has more variation. Again, knit rows are marked in the column on the far left. Those marks on a mylar would remain visible on the outside of the machine, above the card reader as one progresses through knitting. Memo windows or handwritten charts may be the only option for accurate tracking, depending on the machine model and the row count variations. The repeat may also require it to be flipped horizontally. Simply reaching a row with no needle selection does not always mean the location for the 2 knit rows has also been reached. 

Visualizing maze or mosaic potential from tuck or slip stitch repeats

I have written extensively on mosaics and mazes, color separations required for drawing their motifs, and visualizing the resulting patterns while planning slip stitch or tuck repeats. A recent exchange with a knitting friend, Tanya Cunningham, brought up her idea of using Gimp to investigate the potential of self-drawn tuck patterns becoming pleasing mazes or mosaic designs in color. Tanya has worked extensively with img2track, can be found in the FB group and Ravelry. It had not occurred to me to reverse engineer designs for this purpose. Tanya uses Gimp in a different way than I do, I am hoping she will share her process for this purpose when documented.
I have grown comfortable and fast with the combined use of Numbers and Gimp to achieve what I desire in terms of color separations. At the moment, on the assumption that estimating the overall shape is the goal, a black and white processed rendering may be a sufficient representation of the result.

Punchcard books are a great source of “safe” tuck designs. The best are those that have columns one stitch wide by 2 rows high. They are also more interesting if there are areas of solid black. Patterns from publications intended for use on electronics are often color reversed to start with in order to minimize drawing pixels or to make the design easier to read and will have lots of blank areas. Punchcard users would need to punch the ground as opposed to the design, electronic users can achieve the goal by the flick of a switch or a quick software command. For my first series of steps and methods, I am using the repeat that appeared as a knit using different settings in the post on mazes and mosaics from universal patterns.
Presented on the left, the repeat would be suitable only for thread lace or FI with very long floats. Color reverse allows one to use it for tuck and slip stitch, whether in one color or with color changes every 2 rows. The color separation to approximate the result with color changes begins with the same process as that used for designing mosaics. Once the image is rendered as a correct B/W png with no apparent errors, it is copied and pasted on a larger canvas, the mode converted back to RGB. The red cells make it easier to keep track of rows that need to be color inverted. Using the shift key and rectangle tool, multiple pairs of rows can be selected sequentially and color inverted. Beginning the selection with the very edge of the black squares on the left does not interfere with changing the color of the extra columns on the left side of the design. If pixels are added accidentally drawn in any of the 4 extra columns on the left, they can easily be removed when the completed conversion is cropped to selection for the final repeat. The completed color separation can then be bucket filled to match imagined colorsTiling the repeats to imagine the final knit presents the problem that results from working on a square grid and comparing the results to a knit, which usually produces a rectangular one. The representation for the linear patterns produced on the knit side of the piece cannot factor in some of the added distortions created by the stitch type used. I process my images in Pages or Numbers, depending on which document contains my most recent work and happens to be open. It is also possible to perform the final rescale in Gimp. Most knits approach a 4:3 ratio, with gauge variants in highly textured fabrics.  To preserve a clean design, tile and save the original, screengrab the resulting image, load it in Gimp, and rescale.   Repeat the motif for the same number in both height and width when tiling it. The colored versions before and after scaling, compared with the slip stitch swatch. It is possible to produce a rectangular grid to start with on which to draw in Gimp, but the larger canvas size occupies a significantly larger space on the screen, complicating the process. For small designs, however, that may be an option to give one the sense of aspect ratio for the design in the final knit ie in representational FI. To resize the grid in uneven proportions, the chain-link below the spacing values needs to be broken This repeat is designed for an electronic, requires color-reverse. Since it is 24 stitches wide and it may also be modified and used on a card. In this instance, the original marks for rows and stitches are single height. The image is processed, matching the original, rendered double-height, color reversed, and then alternate pairs of rows were color inverted to render the repeat used in the test swatch Once again, the possible change in scale is estimated. The repeat though only 24 stitches wide, is 92 rows high. On the left the repeat is shown as it appears on a square grid, to its right is the scaled 4:3 version, in a pixel count approximating the size of the swatch. It takes a bit of squinting to see the pattern more recognizable in the longer repeat in the larger tile The swatch was pressed, becoming wider than when first off the machine. It was knit using the slip stitch setting, could also be executed in tuck stitch, which would both widen and shorten the fabric and make the purl side more interesting.  The software can provide a preview of the result far more quickly than knitting samples, but again, the previews are only approximations of the scale, and cannot show distortions to lines as one adds more texture.
Repeating the process starting with a diamond shape that as given is only suitable for thread lace or FI with problematic floats,  and with a check tuck pattern that may change in aspect ratio considerably when knitted The proof of concept swatch, knit in tuck stitch, begins to show the distortion by the stitch formations, textures vs plain knit, easily seen at the top edge. The bind-off is around 2 gate pegs in order to allow enough stretch.  Anyone familiar with either or both programs may find this a very quick way to visualize the scaling and moving of motifs within DIY designs and their possible outcomes prior to test knitting

Brother shadow lace, rib transfer carriage

I have probably owned this accessory since the early 90s. After making a faint-hearted attempt at using it at the time and failing, it has been stored in the original box in the interim and just came out of retirement. The multiple languages operating manual for its use may be downloaded from http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-ka7100-ka8300-transfer-carriage-user-guide.html. There several video tutorials available on Youtube as well, generally illustrating simple transfers across an entire row in structures such as ribs used for bands and cuffs.
The tool is designed for the standard gauge, transfers only from the ribber up to the main bed. It is best to use yarn that has some stretch. The recommendation in the manual and in youtube videos is to perform the transfers with the pitch set to H. My own ribber is balanced, I found I had problems with transfers in that position, several carriage jams, and to get things to work properly in half-pitch I had to use the racking handle to move the ribber needles slightly more to the left for the transfers. The needles containing stitches to be moved, need to be slightly to the right of the needles with which they will share yarn, that spot may turn out to also be just wide enough to allow for the pattern to be worked without changing the ribber pitch.  The yarn used is a 2/18 Merino, knit at tensions 3/5. In terms of positioning the carriage, a wire that is akin to that found on Passap strippers is on its underneath. In positioning the carriage on the beds, check visually that it is indeed lying between the gate pegs of both beds prior to attempting to travel with it to the opposite side If any carriage jam occurs, it takes cautious wriggling to release the wire and carriage. Upon completion of the transfers, simply lift up to remove it from the beds.
Generally, the ribber tension used needs to be set on 4 at the minimum. The last row just prior to transfers will likely need to be knit at a looser tension than the remaining rib. If the stitches are too small they will not be picked up for the transfer. Folks familiar with lace knitting are aware that just the right amount of weight can make a difference in forming proper transfers. With these fabrics, too little weight may result in loops forming on gate pegs, too much weight, and stitches may remain over closed latches on the ribber needles and not share their yarn for transfers.  Again, the transfer carriage operates only from right to left.
Studio instructions for their version of the accessory actually offer some different and more specific recommendations. When knitting full needle rib all the needles or pattern segments the machine generally will be in Half Pitch. Though there are needles in work on both beds, the ribber should be set to full pitch, aka P position, “point to point” prior to transfers, bringing them in close alignment in order to facilitate the process. Passap machines accomplish the same by changing the angle of the racking handle to other than the full, up placement in order to achieve the necessary alignment.
The Brother accessory and its parts, has clear imprinted illustrations for use

The change lever has only 2 positions, up and down respectively Its position is determined by the number of needles on the ribber one wishes to transfer.
The carriage manual recommends its use after knitting a last ribbed row to the left, but it is possible to use it with both knitting carriages on either side, as long as there is generous space to clear all stitches when the accessory is placed on the bed, moved to the opposite side, and removed. An extension rail may be needed to achieve that amount of clearance.
Operating slowly, one can watch the process of transfers while moving from right to left. Though skeptical, I found the transfers happened easily, with occasional skips. I worked with hand-selection of needles on the ribber to create a pattern, first with hand-selection, then with racking the ribber position to change the relationship of needles on one bed to the other, initially transferred after every 2 rows knit. The knit carriage was set to knit both ways, the ribber to knit in one direction, creating loops on the selected needles, and securing them in the other, allowing for the loops on the ribber needles to be transferred up to the main bed, before working 2 more rows. The “errors” in patterning were operator errors in needle selection as stitches were dropped, and not all the required needles were then returned to work position. Not a technique I would use for all-over fabric, but good practice. When the transfer occurs properly, the ribber needles will have yarn placed over closed latches, ready to be dropped, the yarn is shared and looped over stitches on the main bed, akin to tuck loops, outlined in the photo with the black oval. The first image is from the manual for the accessory, while in the photo, one improperly transferred stitch is outlined in red. To prevent dropped stitches from happening, any such locations will require a hand transfer to the opposite bed before dropping the remaining ribber bed shared stitches For my test I used EON needles on the ribber, planned alternating selection for each new transfer. This could be done by selecting dashes and blank spots on needle tape ie. dash in the above photo, blank spaces below  It was faster to achieve the effect by changing the ribber relationship to the main bed using racking by one position ie 10, 9, 10, 9, etc. prior to picking up the subsequent set of loops. The errors in the test swatch were from failing to bring all the needles back up to work after dropping their stitches. Using a tool ie. a ribber comb placed over the out-of-work needles prior to dropping stitches made the racking process far less error-prone,  will keep the appropriate needles from being accidentally taken out of work. My first attempt at creating shapes includes a band at the bottom where the EON transfers as above were made, but every row. Simply bringing needles into work on the opposite bed creates an eyelet. They can be eliminated by sharing stitch “bumps” on the opposite bed, but for the moment they are a design feature. The texture created appears in the areas involved on both sides of the knit It is possible to transfer single needles at sides of shapes ie or whole rows, but the change lever needs to be set to position accordingly.

Many knitters have one of these tools in their stash,  they are sometimes referred to as “jaws”,  intended to facilitate transferring between both beds, and patterning was intended for Studio punchcard machines. The enclosed punchcards: Shadow lace tools are marked side 1 and side 2. Some are blue on one side, cream or white on the other, the blue side is side 1. The process always begins with side 1, or blue. When the stitches have been removed, the jaws are closed, allowing the stitches to slide over to side 2. The jaws are once again opened, and the stitches are transferred to the opposite bed. Studio machines select and knit in single pass rows. Brother preselects for the next row of knitting while knitting any one row in pattern as well, so transferring in pattern from the top bed down with such a tool would be problematic to maintain proper pattern needle selection.
To transfer from the ribber up on any machine, place the teeth of the jaws on the needles on the ribber, holding it with both hands. Pull needles up until all stitches are behind the latches, then push down with another tool or one of your hands until all stitches are on the jaws.
Release the tool from the ribber needles, rotate it away from you, toward the main bed. Close its teeth so the stitches are transferred onto side 2.
Open teeth, place eyelets over main bed needles and stitches are transferred onto the main bed by rotating the tool away from you just a little and tugging down a bit.
On Brother, the possibility of having patterning on the top bed to help track patterning on the ribber in some way comes to mind. This was my start, with the first draft of electronic repeats. I stopped when I began to have some tension issues, loops on gate pegs, and a distracted brain.
Transfers of stitch groups, whether by hand or using the accessories are made on rows where no needle preselection occurs on the main bed This series is a proof of concept for my approach to developing electronic cuesThe original repeats were modified to include 2 blank rows between segments that allow for transfers between beds not hampered by needle preselection on the top bed. The motifs are color reversed, but not the blank rows between themThe knit carriage is set to select needles KC I or II, end needle selection does not matter. All needles on the top bed knit every stitch, every row, whether or not those design rows contain black pixels. No cam buttons are pushed in. Blank areas between black ones indicate the number of needles that actually need to pick up loops on the ribber to create shapes, filling in spaces between selected needles until an all-blank row is reached for making transfers. The chart on the far right illustrates a shape where the easiest method becomes one where stitches on the ribber are manually transferred to the top bed in order to reverse the shape and maintain every row preselection. The selected needle corresponding to the black square marked with the top of the red arrows is pushed back, the ribber stitch below is transferred onto it, the needle with the couples stitches is brought to E position, moving across the bed in proper locations prior to knitting the next row.  In this repeat, the side vertical panels of ribbed stitches are added. The knit stitches on each side of them roll nicely to the purl side, creating what in some fabrics can actually be planned as an edging. My takeaway is to test the accessory with some patience, sort out the sweet spot for the ribber needles in relation to main bed ones in terms of handling transfers and yarn thickness, use colors that allow for easy recognition of proper stitch formation, keep good notes, and “go for it”.

One way to add color to the mix is to use the plating feeder.

In the first sample, equal thickness yarns were used, the colored yarn was a rayon slub with no stretch and slippery nature. The bottom of this test used a wool yarn of equal weight to the light color, which proved hard to knit. The red is a 2/48 cash-wooll A very narrow test for a possible pleated pattern  

It is possible to construct the same type of fabrics on a striped background. It can be achieved low tech with graph paper and pencils if needed, using a simple paint program, Gimp alone, this is my process using Numbers and Gimp:
1. determine the desired shape, its width, and height, checking that it also tiles properly
2. create a table with square cells the same width as the number of stitches in your design, twice its height; use an even cell size ie 20X20 pt
3. hide all odd-numbered rows from the top of the table down, the table will shrink from 20 rows to 10
4. draw your repeat
5. unhide all rows
6. copy and paste the table; double the cell pt height only to 40, making the repeat twice as long
7. mark corners or part of the edges with another color to make it easier for Gimp to identify them, select all and remove borders, grab the image with an added surrounding colorless border
8. open the screengrab in Gimp, use crop to content, fill colored squares with white, change the mode to indexed BW, scale the result to the appropriate size, in this case, 18X40, export png Cast on for EN or EON rib. Transfer all the main bed stitches down to the ribber. Extra stitches can be cast on and transferred in addition to the planned width of the repeats to create a border on either side of the designs. During patterning there will be stitches in work on both beds at intervals, so the pitch needs to be set to H while knitting. When the top of the piece is reached, transfer all ribber stitches to the main bed and bind off.
The first preselection row is knit from right to left in the contrast ground color.
With COR bring all the needles to be worked in the pattern color to B position on the top bed.
The knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. End needle selection is canceled. The ribber remains set to N/N for the duration. Knit to the left and begin changing colors every 2 rows.
The shape increases are created automatically, with eyelets at the edges where each stitch is picked up for the first time on the top bed. COL when the first needle is preselected in this case for the start of the next shape, transfer all previously formed design stitches on the main bed down to the ribber, continue knitting If any stitches are pushed all the way back or in mixed alignment during transfers,  be sure to return them all to B position, not disturbing the needles already preselected for the next pattern row,  repeat as needed. Because one color knits with every carriage pass while the other slips behind it not knitting for those 2 rows, the striped background fabric will become distorted depending on yarn and stitch size used, most likely particularly noticeable at the top and bottom edges of the piece.

Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP 3

If working in Numbers, the solution to doubling the height of the final repeat for mazes or mosaics may be achieved by simply doubling the height of each cell prior to screen grabbing the table and processing the resulting image in Gimp. Here the cells for a single repeat in the table on the left are copied, pasted, and altered from 20X20 pixels to 20X40Working in 1800 magnification, using rectangle select, every other pair of rows is chosen and then color inverted. B: the process continues for the height of the repeat. Until each new pair of rows is selected fully, the last color inverted pair is bordered in a dotted outline C, useful in tracking the last worked location. As the subsequent pair of rows is selected fully, the dotted border will disappear. The processed repeat  Its tiled visual check  Proof of concept: the bottom half is knit using the slip stitch setting, the top half in the tuck setting. The added texture on the tuck stitch purl side makes the fabric a more interesting, reversible one, and wider than its companion.  The mazes that are often seen in game-playing, puzzles, historical sources ie in Chinese design references, may not work out for knitting with this method, the result can be quite muddied.  I recently found a new to me online maze generator http://www.ludiculus.com/maker/mazes.html.  Changing the pixel width by default also doubles the image in height, making smaller designs for knitting problematic  This was a quickly drawn maze using it, shown with its cropped repeat on the right, then tiled. Numbers processing to ready the repeat for final gimp editing: The repeat when tiled predicts muddied results which are noticeable in the knit swatch. Because of the side-by-side areas with multiple white cells, the slip setting is used, not tuck. The single slipped lengthened stitches do not produce an easily recognized secondary design on the knit side Getting back to clearer pattern results: when using electronics, it is possible to create far wider and taller repeats for download. The technique to achieve them uses the same process. A new working repeat: its tiled appearance  My starting table in numbers with hidden rows, beginning to isolate a smaller repeat the isolated repeat, double-length the color separation in progress
When knit, that white cell pair of rows break up the overall shapes and shifts the pattern in the top and bottom half When I tiled my next draft, I decided I preferred a cleaner join at the center The final adjusted repeat knit using the tuck stitch setting in both directions, KCI, first row left to right, leading with the dark color and here with the lighter color In progress, on the km the relaxed, 3D-ish view on the reverse why projects can take longer than planned The finished, relaxed scarf with pressed edges only, retaining the conical striped forms

Img2track_multiple colors per row dbj, each color knitting only once

I have recently shared a post on using the heartofPluto separation in Ayab to knit a DBJ 3 color sample where each color was not represented in each row, with each color knitting a single height.  Img2 track at this time does not offer a built-in similar option. There is a FB thread going on at the moment on this topic that can be followed there, Tanya Cunningham has shared a document on this topic. I am using the same repeat as in my Ayab tests,  with  my color changer in this threading sequence throughout
 The import into img2track shown here for the traditional 3 colors per row setup,
where normally each color in each design row knits twice. Because selection occurs for pairs of rows, the first preselection row is from right to left. To decrease the backing rows, the ribber is set for birdseye. I prefer to have an end needle on each end on the ribber, keeping in mind that the total number of needles in use there needs to be even. The machine provides reminders as to which color should be knitting. My samples are knit using KCI on the top bed. Because the preselection happens twice, it is easy enough to knit in pattern from left to right,  when the carriages have reached the right side, simply use a ribber comb to push all needles back to B. The next color to be used is preselected as the carriages travel back to the left, change color when on left, and repeat.
It is easy enough to develop a rhythm. I used to tell students some things are made easier if one develops a tune to play in one’s head as series of actions. Here I found myself thinking “knit to right, erase (selection), knit to left”. I had tension yarn issues on the right which explain some of the issues on the side edges and changed color 1 to blue for increased contrast. The proof of concept: Speeding things up with color separation, beginning with the method that will have each color, each design row knitting twice. The repeat is 10 rows high, so it is expanded X6 to 10 by 60 rows. In the final result, the second row for each color in the separation is in turn erased. The red was added to make all 3 colors visible while working the separation, avoiding confusion with the white ground. The knittable result as usual is in a black and white png The img2track settings are for now for 2 color knitting, the prompts for the color changes are lost.

The color-changing sequence used was still 1, 2, 3. The design with a birdseye backing The ribber can also be set to knit every row, resulting in elongation on the knit side, while creating an interesting striper backingComparing this version to the birdseye backed one for repeat height Comparisons: HoP, pushing back needles to B, and color separation results. In the latter, the design is likely elongated in part due to a change in the distribution of thinner yarns to larger design areas with no tension adjustments 

Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 2

From Chris Burdge, a video tutorial on using HOP following program prompts and default color placement. The pattern used, available for download from the author, is quite different from my tests in that it is completely surrounded by a white border, the default first color choice in the separation The ABC color changer markings in letters reflecting yarn positions and color-changing sequences were used in the Studio brand, as opposed to numbers, in the reverse sequence, used in Brother. The Ayab lettering as opposed to numbers move from right to left. The manual states that the color separation order is: white C, grey B, black A with their sequence = C (3), B (2), A(1). If the prompts for changing colors as given are followed it provides a very valuable in tracking them,  but if out of habit one knits in the usual 1,2,3 sequence, the color placement occurs in an unexpected order and may result in errors. The on-screen letter prompt corresponding to the anticipated color change sometimes occurs with the knit carriage on the right, sometimes as it approaches the changer, and the size of the font was hard for me to see since the screen was not close enough for easy visibility.

It has been nearly a year since my last post, Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 1. I previously also shared information on using HOP for drop stitch lace.
Last week I tried a 3 color HOP pattern, which failed because my mid-tone grey was not within the proper palette range. I work on a Mac and found that with the latest Gimp update several details have changed, and formerly saved palettes were lost. Regrouping, working with colors, and intending color change selection sequences in the familiar right to left, 1, 2, 3 methods, this png includes the grey shade that worked for me If the png is copied from the post it is likely to appear in RGB mode and it will require conversion to 3 color bitmapped. Its grey color map entry is seen below The small file makes for a quick test of proper color selection for each of the three colors used It is not necessary to have images in greyscale to load them into Ayab for separation, but having the repeat shown that way can help with placement of the yarns in the changer.
I like to have as many factors predictable as possible prior to importing into download programs. Importing color images depends on the placement of individual colors in the palettes. An explanation found online is that Ayab needs a pattern image which is 8-bit greyscale. Each color is coded in a range of the 8-bit values. For 4 colors, it would be 0-63 color A; 64-127 color B; 128-195 color C; 196-255 color D. It seems to be OK to give the image some color, so long as the gray component of the colors divides up as given. I began to explore a pattern using 3 colors,  with one of the three colors absent in some rows Having some idea of stitch counts for each color in the design in the first few rows can help identify proper, planned color placement errors To achieve this an easy count of the blue and red can happen watching preselection on for the first couple of rows ie blue knits 4 stitches, while red has counts of 7 except at the sides My first swatch using the heart of Pluto separation and a greyscale motif  I like to work out color placement as well as repeat scaling adjustments if needed. This png in, indexed to 3 colors, was opened in Gimp, my primary design tool, and imported and saved as a palette A different color placement, using the saved pattern colors. With no white in the first couple of design rows, the lighter color is selected first. The actual 11 X 10 motif, can be opened in Ayab. Action R can repeat the image in height if desired, but a must is to repeat it in width that is equal to or greater than the number of needles in work on the needle bed, here it is repeated 3 times in both height and width
My tested color change sequence is #1, #2, #3 colors throughout, I disregarded the prompts for color changes at the bottom of the Ayab screen. Some things to ponder: in pieces that require color changes, starting with waste knitting in the same colors can help assess the best tension, whether each color will be picked up properly, and if the colors work well together. Looking at these 3 small tests, it appears that a choice should be made when casting on about using color 1 or 2 for the preselection and cast on rows.  If the setting to slip is forgotten for the first move to the left, the color in the feeder will knit every stitch rather than a pattern selection. Always check settings when on the right, making certain lili buttons are set as well. This pattern does not contain 3 colors on every row. In addition to that, when working  DBJ with other color separations one is likely used to seeing knit bed needle selections on every row. That is not true here, is a function of the technique, not a patterning error. On rows that have colors missing, when that color is in use, the main bed slips, the ribber works every other needle, first in one direction, then the other, adding to the row count on the purl side of the knit. In a test with marked color placement, the arrow marks the spot where 2 color threads were picked up together so that the white was carried across the row along with the green repeating the color placement test following 1/light, 2/medium, 3/darkThe mess at the bottom was due to the green yarn getting caught on the needle bed and not knitting the necessary stitches on the ribber, so dropped stitches were formed The assumption is that if the C, B, A rotation and prompts are to be followed, the middle color 2 can stay in place, and the placement of 1 and 3 can be exchanged.

The difference between the same design knit with a color separation where each color in each design row knits twice elongating the shapes, and its  HOP version, both with birdseye backing  

Gimp to create text for knitting

Recently there have been many questions in FB forums about incorporating text in knits. The techniques can vary depending on available tools. The most basic method is entering vowel and consonant shapes dot by dot in paint programs, with each dot becoming a pixel or punched hole in the final image. There are some many free downloadable fonts for personal use that produce images that can fairly easily be translated this way, among them:
https://www.fontspace.com/munro-font-f14903
https://www.1001fonts.com/subway-ticker-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/01-digit-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/loud-noise-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/arcade-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/mobile-font-font.html
Knit stitch shaped units 
https://www.fontspace.com/xmas-sweater-stitch-font-f28134https://www.fontspace.com/christmas-jumper-font-f21275
https://www.fontspace.com/knitfont-font-f6001

Notes on using GIMP update for Mac 2019

I had a quick FB share for a first exploration using Gimp:
“I have not previously put much effort into using text in gimp. A quick start: image 200X200,1800 magnification 
view grid, snap to grid, work in RGB mode, not indexed, 
turn off anti-aliasing, it wants to smooth edges. Caution should be exercised when using antialiasing on images that are not in RGB color space. In this instance, ultimately working in lo-res black and white for downloads, you want to keep the jaggies, not average them out. I believe Passap actually has a built-in command to “smooth edges” in images downloaded into it. I have always preferred manipulating the images myself rather than relying on software to do it for me.
start with font size at 12 in the chosen font, increase the font size if letters are too close together, the result is easily changed to black to make it ready for downloads, obviously not an answer for tiny letters. My capitals are font size 12, the other 3 words size 16 to maintain spacing between the letters”Getting a bit more methodical, info from the Gimp manual
Text management, Text tool
There are good online videos on this topic, but they are intended for use in much larger canvases, often using 150-200 as the font size, whereas in knitting that is likely the limit of our canvas size when planning for programming the full needle bed.
I am working on a Mac. From Windows tutorials found on Youtube, it appears there still are differences in some of the content and optics between the two platforms. Gimp is the only program in which I personally prefer and use dark mode. To change the app’s appearance, the selections for dark, gray, or light themes may be made by choosing system preferences, then clicking on theme, and selecting from options available on the right a partial illustration of changes in the grey and light themesText may be activated by choosing text in the image/ tools menu by clicking on the tool icon A in the toolbox or by using t as the keyboard shortcut, then clicking anywhere on the canvas.
Click on the fonts button Aa to open the font selector
or type in the name of the font you wish to use, choosing from installed fonts. Text editing can happen by selecting buttons here or with direct on canvas editing by making the changes within the semi-transparent floating toolbox on the canvas itself.
If you prefer to work with dockable dialogues go to and choose Windows, Dockable Dialogs, Fonts, and options will appear on the rightAs long as a text box is active, making another selection from the fonts menu will instantly change the box content, creating a preview each time.
As mentioned, Antialiasing is best turned off when not in RGB color mode
Hinting
Uses the index of adjustment of the font to modify characters in order to produce clear letters in small font sizes” is helpful in lo-res text intended for knitting Color default is black, click in the box beside Color selection and a dialogue selection box appears for changing it The choices listed at Gimp.org for text directions include the standard right to left, left to right as in most languages, and the following for vertical text  After the text is entered on the canvas, right-click on the inside of the text box to change text direction It is not necessary to work with the layers menu to start with. It is possible to “wing it” to get a starting sense of the process. Scaling and transformations are available, starting on a canvas size less than 200X200 based on needle counts on a standard km provides an ample field on which to play. If the intent is to change the direction of all the entered text, Image/transform may be used. Entering the same text in the same font size in an altered direction can change the overall pixel counts After the chosen text is placed change its mode from RGB to B/W indexed, then crop the image to your chosen size. Export.bmp, the result loaded into img2track and Ayab For a different way to edit, choose Image/Flatten and individual components may be reconfigured on a new canvas to a very different size. This file is now 68 stitches wide, rather than 144 The usual text alignment rules apply in text boxes as well,  left to right using the return key, double-clicking in the box will highlight each letter  activate view grid should you wish to count pixels in each Text center-aligned
Getting more control of the process: after the text tool is highlighted and clicking anywhere on your canvas two things appear automatically. The four little boxes represent the text box, which is dynamic by default, grows in size to accommodate typed text. Anytime you click on the canvas a new text box is created.
To change the size of the text box and you want the text to fit in a specific area, click and drag on one of the lower, small exterior boxes, and release. The box then becomes fixed, the text will move automatically to the next line and is placed according to alignment settings. If the bottom of the text is cut off, click and drag on that small square on the bottom corner or the bottom line of the text box shape to expand its size to include it in full.
Double click on a line of text to reveal those outlines around each letter or click and drag right or left on full words for editing. Click on a single letter space to delete it. Repeat if needed, type in the new letter(s) for a spelling correction or word change.
If following Windows instructions, it is helpful to know the comparable Mac commands pictured here on the bottom left of the Mac onscreen keyboard Use the option key and click on the canvas, and drag to place the text box on any specific area, or also to move all content in an existing text box, choose the move tool then click on any letter within the text box and drag and place. Random placement in the text box will move the whole layer The spacing between the lines and between the letters may be adjusted as well. Clicking on the arrows to change the values here is one option, negative or positive numbers may be used or what appeared easier to me,  the same may be done here A sample of adjustments in line spacing Very small fonts are likely not to have any room for decreased spacing in the between letters in strings of text.

A reminder before converting to .png for download
flatten image
convert mode to indexed B/W
crop content to the desired size
export as .png

Font: mazeletter
final image loaded into img2track and Ayab