Revisiting GIMP in knit design

2/2020: Please note: the Mac version of GIMP has been updated and features and appearance. I have begun another post, hoping to illustrate some of the new tools and features over time, it includes links for download of the program and to its manual.

If my only goal is to create illustrations for my posts rather than to produce programmable designs for download to any knitting machine, my go-to program in the past was Excel. Depending on my charting needs, now that Excel is no longer available to me, I am using Mac Numbers or Pages.

My computer is an iMac, with OS High Sierra installed (Mojave update 2019). Last December my 910 was altered to work with Ayab, as mentioned in other posts, via a USB connection to the Mac. For generating files for download I like to work primarily in GIMP (Photoshop is no longer available to me as well). It is freeware. The latest stable Mac Version is version 2.8.22.  Windows users have an option to download a later release. Another freeware option is Paintbrush, a smaller, user-friendly program.

I began sharing my GIMP explorations in mid-2013. Some topics included charting 1, 2, 3, color reductions for 2 color portraits, generated mazes 1 and 2, lace mesh, lace mesh and superimposing, 2 color drop stitch lace

I am using one of my drop stitch designs throughout this post to illustrate steps taken for altering the original by using options such as scaling and tiling. It is intended as a partial quick start guide, not a complete tutorial. The program’s manual provides keyboard shortcuts etc. for anyone wanting to explore more options to obtain similar or other results. That said, the manual is not recently updated or Mac-specific, and Mac vs Windows appearance of windows and menus differ.

To alter and set pixel per stitch options double click on pencil tool,  choose square single-pixel highlighted in brush shape menu

to draw in single pixels, choose show grid, snap to

There are limitations as to how low the magnification may be set before the grid is visible or disappears. I often work in 1,000 magnification. The magnification value numbers, seen at the bottom of the charts in progress, may be typed in, or use arrows to scroll up and down in value 

If your document size is larger, it is sometimes quicker to work in larger pixel size blocks. Here one meets limitations

GIMP large square brushes: numbers indicate desired pixel count and if you are using Paintbrush instead, the “square” is lost

To scale images in height or width without color distortion, change color mode

Image, mode, select Indexed
choose Scale Imagehighlight number you wish to keep constant, whether width or height
to break aspect ratio and control one of the 2 values, click on the chain like symbol on right, it will appear “broken” change the alternate value to the desired number

Click on scale image. If the intent is to continue editing by using the pencil tool, the image mode needs to be returned to RGB before proceeding with editing

You can verify finished image size by choosing scale image again, at that point the chain like symbol on the right of the numbers is “whole” again, awaiting further editing choices

double height double width
 scale may be performed again on the last image created 
the appearance if the image mode is set to RBG, and not indexed prior to scaling

scaling down by half for mylars or for machines that can alter motif to double-wide: 

click to the right of the highlighted number, the “chain” symbol on right remains intact replace the width value, click to the right of the height value and the number will automatically change

Click on the scale option; remember to change image mode prior to doing so if needed; on the left is the image scaled in RGB, on the right in the 1-bit palette

If the image has numbers that have odd numbers in stitch width, the software makes the choice, in assigning values, since no half pixels can be rendered.  For design details see previous post 

Tiling is useful to check how repeats line up when applied to all over the surface of a knit, choosing to alter the horizontal repeat in width or vertical in height, adding borders, and other variations. Ayab software, in particular, requires the individual repeat to be programmed for the number of needles you wish to knit in a pattern on the main bed. Depending on the size of the original motif the tiling function may be used on nearly any scale, with or without a visible grid

To keep aspect ratio, the chain-like symbol on the right of width and height values should be kept whole (first image). It will appear “broken” on side of values from screen grab after the image was tiled when by pulling up the scale option again, to verify pixel counts for the newly created repeat (images 2-4)

to color invert a single repeat or a tiled one  

A Facebook Ayab Group share and tip by Claudia Scarpa brought up a discussion on using Gimp to rescale knits with the intent of estimating distortion in the design as a result of stitch gauge. In many knits aspect ratio is forgiving. In representational knits, it can start to matter significantly. I played with numbers from 3 different gauges, getting back to a simple circle square first, then following up with a much larger image. Starting with pixels per inch setting in scale menu:

doing a bit of math: if the gauge is 5 sts, 7 rows, divide 7 by 5 = 1.4,  6 divided by 4 = 1.5; use the quotient (division result) to modify the respective X and Y values

keeping the X value constant, multiply the Y value by 1.4 for 5 X 7 gauge
in the view menu, uncheck dot to dot prior to selecting scale

keeping the Y value constant, multiply the X value by 1.5 for the 6X4 gauge, uncheck dot to dot if it is available in the view menu to get rid of the math, simply switch to pixels /mm and plug in your gauge. The starting image:

change X and Y resolution to match your stitch and row gauge, breaking “chain link” on right to disable aspect ratio. In order to show the altered scaled image, the dot per dot feature in the view menu needs to be unchecked prior to selecting scale

knitting gauge 5 stitches, 7 rows per inch  4 stitches, 6 rows  per inch and going much larger, using Rocco again: the original version scaled for stitch gauge of 33 X 40

a large geometric .bmp edited with the same process

Claudia Scarpa has created a document on “how to edit a picture with GIMP for “Oknitme software” that she has given permission for me to share here: 03-ENG-gimp. The tutorial has clear instructions for anyone wishing to explore photo editing for use in knits with GIMP, and the Oknitme online tool helps punchcard knitters participate in the process.

If freehand drawing suits your needs, you may find it easier to work with the view settings shown below and adjust pencil pixel size to suit

 

 

Drop stitch lace using Ayab software

Some notes on how tubular software color separations such as the one automated in the ayab circular setting may be found in the previous post

In an effort to respond to a request I have had via my blog, I am sharing information on this topic as I have time to explore it. My first attempt when up and running with the Ayab software, was to reproduce an earlier sample I had created as a color separation originally intended for a hand-knit shadow knit experiment.

a chart from that blog posttry_drop_stitchthe resulting hand knit, on purl side
IMG_0823the color separated sample knit pre ayab the sample knit using the Ayab circular setting

Patterns predawn for shadow knitting, appear to be one published source for interesting 2 color drop stitch variations. What about geometric shapes or developing your own designs? Designs created using this technique lengthen considerably when off the machine. Both color sets of stitches become elongated as they are dropped, and that should be a consideration in planning your design. If your goal is a circle, the actual shape programmed may have to be closer to an egg laid horizontally rather than that of a “true” circle. The fabric also widens considerably when blocked and off the machine, making cast on and bind off methods considerations another necessity. Design repeats may be drawn in Paintbrush or GIMP (both freeware), or Photoshop. I have been a long time GIMP user, and prefer to use it in tiling repeats as opposed to the copy and paste features in Paintbrush to accommodate the Ayab requirement of programming the repeats horizontally in the width of your piece.

In my previous, how-to posts on designing your own 2 color drop stitch lace, part of the color separation required elongating the design X 2. The starting side in Ayab for needle selection always needs to be from left to right, and elongation of the motif is not required when using the Ayab circular option.

This was my first working repeat, A = repeat charted out. B = the working bitmap or png, etc. (which would be the only requirement for the mylar). C = the image tiled for the chosen number of stitches (again, Ayab requires the repeat be programmed for the width of your knit piece). D = the image elongated, not usable for this fabric, it results on too much elongation. If you would like a knit border on either side, that can be achieved by having extra stitch(es) in work on the ribbera possible ayab repeat, 56 stitches wide by 36 rows high

The results up to the point in which I had a yarn caught in brushes and stitches dropping on the left of the needle bed:

Drop stitch lace has been referred to over the years in other terms as well, such as release stitch, drive lace, and summer fair isle in Passapese. Passap knitters will recognize the results from this first method are akin to those produced using Technique 185.

Getting started: stitches intended to be dropped may be created on either bed. If the ribber is used to create loops, then the technique is a manual one. Using the main bed in Japanese machines to program dropped stitches increases accuracy and ease.

If you are swatching and testing, a permanent cast on is not necessary. The broken toe cast on is one of the two quickest on the Japanese machines, usable on either bed. It is fondly called that because if ribber cast on comb and weights are in the wrong place so that the wrong loops are dropped, everything falls to the floor, and likely on your toes. There is an online video by Diana Sullivan that shows its use for a tighter cast on row in 1X1 rib, but the use here is for a different purpose.

In producing this fabric you are technically knitting an every needle rib. Cast on a fairly tight zig-zag row. The ribber comb wire needs to be placed so that it holds down the stitches on the bed on which you need to keep them. The principle and results are akin to the first row knit when you use a single bed cast on comb, and the second pass, with the first knit row anchors open loops before you continue to knit. Any loops not secured by the comb will result in dropped stitches. Any fabric, any time, when 2 stitches are empty side by side, stitches are not formed and the yarn is dropped off them creating a float or ladder.  The red line indicates the ribber wire on top of the ribber loops in the zigzag row, placed so released knitting will be left on the ribber. Black lines your zig-zag yarn loops, blue dots the teeth of your ribber cast on comb. You can check placement by dropping just a few loops on the main bed before hanging your weights on the comb. 

zigzag row showing the placement of cast on comb teeth, on each side of main bed needles
with wire in place, anchoring ribber stitches testing out dropping a few stitches all stitches now on the  ribber in preparation for dropping stitches created on main bed 

It is possible to also use a wired cast on comb for an open stitch cast on the top bed only. Remove the wire from the comb. Bring the comb up and between needles to be used, and re-insert wire. Needles and latches will need to travel easily under the wire when the first knit row takes place. 

The knit carriage will not clear the comb properly because of the location of its brushes, etc. For the “cast on” row, exchange the sinker plate on your knit carriage for the one normally used with the ribber. The first photo below shows the approximate location for the comb during the first row knit. Needles are centered between the teeth, the teeth themselves line up with gate pegs. The comb needs to be manually held in place since there is no opposing bed in use to help balance it. Working with the ribber up would ease the process in wider pieces of knitting. The ribber sinker plate has no brushes or wheels to anchor knitting on the knitting bed. Any rows knit single bed using it, will need to have needles brought out to hold position prior to knitting each row for all stitches to be formed properly

the comb in position pass is made slowly with the ribber sinker plate in place the comb is droppedbring all needles out to hold position knit one more row, returning to starting positionchange sinker plate on knit carriage if needed, proceed with knitting

To use the same method with ribber in place: hold the appropriate ribber comb with the bump(s) up facing you, so that the teeth line up with gate pegs as shown above, and so the needles can come through the gaps. Leave the wire in, hold the bump(s) against the ribber, and tilt the comb against the knit bed. Hold the comb high enough to take the carriages across to opposite side. Move carriages to the other side, drop the comb and weigh it. If continuing on the top bed only drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, and continue to knit.

“bumps”: Brother comb 

For other purposes and an edge similar to a weaving cast on executed on Japanese machines use EON for the cast on row, then bring into work and add the rest of the needles prior to knitting the second row.

Use a cast on comb appropriate for your knitting machine’s gauge ie 4.5mm, 5mm, etc., the brand is not relevant, only tooth spacing is. It is possible to cut ribber cast on combs into different widths for use when knitting is planned on fewer stitches than those accommodated by their available commercial widths.

As for dropping those loops that will form the long stitches, one can do so manually with improvised tools. For more automatic dropping of stitches using knit carriage in Brother patterning, one may punch a card or draw a mylar with a method akin to color separation. A pass of the KH carriage across the knit is made with no yarn in the feeder, color 2 is actually no yarn/empty from left to right while establishing the proper needle selection on its return. The ribber would need to be reset to slip, or the ribber carriage separated from the knit one for the 2 passes to and from the color changer. This is the “scariest” option by far, more error-prone. It is not applicable when using the circular Ayab setting in creating the fabric. Without a specific tool, all stitches can be brought to E and back to B with a ruler, piece of garter bar, ribber cast on comb, or other handy ‘toy’. Dropping stitches is done while carriages are on the left, after the return to the color changer side. It is possible to modify the Studio accessory used to drop stitches

full altered_500

For 2 color drop stitch, the main bed is set to slip in both directions. Because not all needles on the main bed are used for patterning on every row, the KC II setting on the change knob is used, eliminating end needle selection on the 910. The ribber is set to knit every row

Ayab: begin  your design repeat on your first row, choose its circular setting in machine type pull-down menu on the right
First design row is preselected left to right
The main bed is set to slip <– –>, change knob on KC II (end needle selection is canceled)
Ribber is set to knit <– –> for the duration
COL: as you go from the left to right, needles are preselected on the top bed, they will knit, picking up loops that you will in turn drop on the subsequent passes of the knit carriage from right to left.
COR, the KC knits on preselected needles as it moves to the left.
Clear the color changer, set up your next color. Drop the stitches knit on that last pass

It may be necessary to push those loops down between the beds before you next pass, remember to pull down on your knitting periodically,  visually check needle alignment on the main bed (all needles in B in work area)

*With the new color move to the right, preselecting the next row of loops
Knit right to left, picking up loops on preselected needles, change colors, drop stitches,** and repeat * to ** steps in 2-row rotations

so I want circles, here is my test pattern more like eggs, the black squares in shape appear as drawn on the purl sideshapes are reversed as drawn on the knit side 

It is possible using the circular setting to drop only one of the 2 colors, whether background or shape. I began by dropping the white ground. I used to encourage students to develop a tune/ repeat in their head when regular actions needed to be taken. For me, in terms of yarn color,  it was “white, knit, drop”,  “brown =  erase (push back to B), go back”. 1: white travels to the right, needles are pre-selected; 2: white travels to left, picking up loops 3: on left, change color, drop stitches. For brown: 1. travel to the right, needles are preselected 2: on the right, before traveling back to left push all selected needles back to B. Only the ribber knits on the way back to left, so brown will have knit 2 rows with no dropped stitches. I ran out of brown yarn, started over with the blue and white, planning on having the shape drop the stitches. There is a difference in the fabric width with the change in the distribution of stitches. I stopped knitting, not due to any mis-patterning, but because I encountered another Ayab behavior that may be well known to punchcard knitters. Due to a yarn mast issue, I moved the knit carriage back to disentangle the yarn, and lo and behold the pattern advanced a row.  Punchcard machines will advance a row with any movement of the carriage outside the edges of the knit. This was never an issue in the unaltered 910. At that point, I stopped knitting. 

Not fond of stripes? prefer one color? the sample below was worked on 40 stitches in width, using the repeat charted for 56 stitches. Here decisions are made at the design phase of your repeat. For single color, drop stitch use an image double length, and single setting in the Ayab software. The process is the same: *preselect stitches left to right, knit on selected needles right to left, drop loops just picked up traveling to left**, repeat from * to **. Settings are the same as for the 2 color drop stitch, but the elongation depending on the number of stitches dropped is not as noticeable. The texture in my swatch is diminished after a quick press, the yarn is an acrylic blend. The charted repeat illustrated is wider, but I worked it on only the center 40 stitches. As always in slip stitch, the black squares knit and they represent the stitches that are dropped. If you wish to create the long stitches on the ground (white squares),  reverse use Ayab Action Invert prior to knitting

the chart as viewed and explained at the top of the post

Sources of inspiration from studio publications vary, patterns designed for pile knitting make for suitable one color drop stitch. A partial punchcard repeat

from an electronic collection

and a punchcard pattern book, where markings emulate eyelets, usable only for single color knitting 

Note that in #2 card directly above, there is a solid row at the very start that is a design row (third all punched). In Ayab again, first-row preselection is left to right, you will be picking up loops on preselected needles going from right to left and then dropping them. That first design row needs to have punched holes or black squares/pixels in it. The color separation is essentially done for you in the source image. Do not use circular in Ayab, but rather, use “single” setting and follow instructions for creating the fabric as described above,  with no color changes. The blank punchcard rows match the no selection rows in self-drawn color separations,

If double bed work is daunting, for a different stitch, worked single bed, that may cause interesting distortions in all knit, single bed fabrics see block stitch post.


The self-drawn design repeats for 2 color drop stitch may be offset as well, resulting in colors being dropped alternately.  The design shape needs to be created in 4-row blocks in order for the yarn to make it back and forth to the color changer with both colors to complete one design row. The second pairs of rows in each 4-row block is erased. In this instance as well, rows marked with black squares will pick up loops on the main bed, which are in turn dropped to create the long stitches. The second design repeat is offset to try to get sections of it to create loops to be dropped as well. The final motif must be a multiple of 8 rows in height if it is to be used as Ayab’s infinite repeat in length.
Color changes are indicated in the vertical strip in the center of the design. This was my starting idea

Elongation to 4 rows per block, erasing the second pair of rows for each color on right. The repeat on the right may be used if only one color is to be dropped; the 2 blank rows in the design field represent stitches that will knit only on the ribber for 2 rows. No stitches are dropped in color(s) used in sequential rows of blank squares in all “white” areas of the chart, including multiple rows above and below the design shape. Color changes every 2 rows continue, creating continuous stripes. shapes staggered, visually checking for placement of alternately dropped stitches 

To accommodate the Ayab preselection for the first row to be knit from left to right, move the last blank row in the design to the first-row position. As the carriages travel from left to right and back to the color changer, the stitches will knit 2 rows only on the ribber. Continue knitting in steps as described earlier in the post, changing colors every 2 rows. On a larger knit ground such shapes may be arranged to suit. This was my working repeat, but I used a third fewer stitches in the swatch than in chart. Note that the images will be reversed on the knit side, so if preferred, use Action Mirror to flip the image horizontally prior to knitting it

The swatch has been quickly pressed, so the texture is flattened out, but I am reminded a few shadow knits when viewing its purl side

In an unaltered 910 with the ability to double the width of the programmed repeat, mylar users are not excluded from exploring a similar fabric. The repeat above may be rescaled to half the width,  drawn that way, and then use the twice as wide built-in feature. Gimp does an “interesting” thing when scaling this design to half-width, note the right side of each repeat is an odd number of squares, the left side an even. The repeat may be used as-is or redrawn, adding or eliminating black squares if symmetry in each shape matters.  Paintbrush produces the same image, mirrored.

The explanation: further analysis of the original design reveals the fact that some of the pixel numbers in the design black square blocks are uneven in width. In this instance, 3.5 is half of 7, and half pixels cannot be rendered, so the software assigns the split to 4 and 3.  

 

Lace punchcards meet Ayab

1/8/18 It appears I now have acquired preselection from left to right on the first pass with my Ayab software, which I have been told is its “normal”. I am revising the information I have offered since I began working with Ayab if needed because of this, beginning with lace. This punchcard design is worked with each carriage operating for 2 rows, and all transfers in the same direction. The LC (lace carriage) on left, the KC (knit carriage) on right. An added note: sometimes punchcard designs may be used as provided, not altering the repeat in any way. Accidentally marking squares or pixels in the wrong spot, or deliberately starting with the LC on the wrong side, may still produce interesting fabrics. As always keeping good notes is more than well worth it. punchcard actions: transfers are all to the left (seen leaning to right on the knit side)With the first preselection row using Ayab beginning with the LC on the left, the same transfer sequences occur as in the punchcard machine or a single repeat on a mylar

swatch knit with the LC operating on the left, the KC on right throughout

For use with the color changer, the same repeat may be used. Transfers, however, now need to occur with the LC operating on the right giving the knit carriage the opportunity to travel to and from the color changer in 2 (or more, even #) row sequences. Using a punchcard, one would turn a punchcard over before inserting it into the card reader to work with the LC beginning on and continuing from the right. To achieve the same fabric using Ayab, shift the top row to the bottom of the repeat, and either mirror your image prior to importing it into Ayab, or use its mirror action in the pull-down menu. The chart shows the repeat prior to mirroring, with desired actions described to its right. It is not possible to read the first row from beyond the right set line using Ayab, so the LC begins on the left, travels to the right on the first blank row, selects on the second pass to the left, transfers stitches as it travels to the right again and stays there, operating from that side for the remainder of the knit. All transfers are now reversed and made to the right, and seen leaning to left on the knit side of the fabric. After the first 3 LC passes, each carriage operates for 2 rows at a time, all transfers are to the right, lean to the left on the knit side of the fabric.

Possible striping choices:  the differences between areas marked A or B is in the location of the color change. In A areas the color is changed immediately after the single transfer at the top of the “triangle”, in B areas the last eyelet is completed in the same color used up to that point, and the color change is made after the first row of 4 transfers at the base of the “triangle”. More complex lace repeats create much more interesting variations in the direction and movement of the stripes.
 verification on a different day, LC on Left, repeat not mirrored 
The punchcard for fabric from 1/25/18 post. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones. 

operating with LC on the left operating with the LC on the right: the repeat is mirrored  

the original repeat (re-worked on 24 sts)Ayab for operating with the LC on the left, repeat is mirrored  Ayab for knitting with LC on the right, original repeat, rows split

The bottom of the swatch was knit with the LC operating from Left, the top with the LC operating from right after its third pass illustrated in the “triangle” lace description above repeated testing, bottom LC operating from left, top LC operating from right For a discussion of the same punchcard worked in a variety of ways see Lace meets weaving on Brother machines
for full details. The punchcard was originally designed for operating both the knit and the LC carriages from the right. If KC I is used resulting in end needle selection on only the first and last needles in use, prior to passes of the LC push those needles back to B. If there are 3 empty needles on the edge on either side on rows preselected for weaving, bring the outside needle to work/ E prior to laying in the weaving yarn.  The image tiled for the width of my knit, in this case, 32 stitches, a multiple of 8I actually cast on an extra stitch on each side at the beginning of the piece with the intent they not be in pattern and create a single knit stitch border in areas of transfers. Here are the results, barring a couple of spots the weaving yarn did not get caught properly. The pattern as drawn produces a fabric that is interesting, but different than the intended With the pattern flipped horizontally / mirrored, we now have the same results as in using the 589 punchcard

So to mirror or not to mirror? that is the question… I tested  643 and 650 from Pattern book #5, found mirroring was indeed required for transfer accuracy. I  verified that the “triangles” do not need to be mirrored to match the punchcard swatch. The notable difference in the latter is that all transfers are in the same direction and that each carriage operates for only 2 rows.

Two more to try, directions are not ayab specific: a large diagonal eyelet lace combining lace and tuck 

12/28/17: tuck lace meets hand technique 

For more lace samples and symbols and suggestions from punchcard books on knitting the fabric, please see punch-card-book-symbols-and-samples

A Fair isle sample with deliberately mirrored lettering proved the program knits what it sees, so my letters were still reversed, as drawn.

On 12/25/17 I shared my first try at lace using Ayab and the workaround for the first pre-selection row occurring from left to right. The LC is the one to select for transfers, the KC knits to complete the formation of stitches. Brother punchcards for lace usually begin with selection rows, end with 2 blank rows at their top. Because Ayab requires a first pass from left to right for the next row to be selected, to get the pattern to work one needs to split the 2 rows at the top, bringing one of them down to the start of the repeat. If knitting continues with the LC pattern as originally drawn, the transfers will occur in the opposite direction of that intended. To work around that, the image may be mirrored in the paint program before download, or use action/mirror in the Ayab menu before knitting. One nice added feature is that blank rows may be left at both sides, creating a knit stitch border, and eliminating the problem of paying attention as to whether end needles are selected or not, and what measures to take. This fabric creates large eyelets, there will be 2 empty needles side by side for the duration. Some of the old pattern books referred to it as one of the “mock crochet” ones. These repeats do not hold with first-pass preselection from the left.

the original repeat the repeat mirrored the resulting fabric, knit and purl sides

no mirroring, software patterning errors in one of the test swatches 
operating from the right, using the color changer

“Crochet” meets machine knitting techniques: tuck lace trims or fabrics 2

There have been several previous posts on “crochet” like stitches and “tuck lace”, this is another variant. The needles need to be arranged as in the diagrams below. After the first preselection row, the carriage is set to tuck

the full punchcard T= areas where tuck loops will occur, K = knit columns, o = NOOW, the red line the 0 mark on the needle tape

Every 5 rows, after the tuck loops are knit together (illustrated in repeats on far left), the formed stitch (single black square) is transferred in turn to the right and then to left; this works out happily so that transfers may always be made toward the knit carriage.
The sole repeat (all that would be required on a mylar) is 4 stitches wide, 5 rows high. The number of needles used needs to be planned so that there is a knit stitch on either end of the piece. This is accomplished by using a repeated multiple of 4 + 1, so one side of the 0 mark has an even number of stitches, the other an odd (4+1=5). Ayab software requires that the repeat is programmed across the width of the fabric, so the final design would be a variant of this, my sample was worked on 20 left, 17 right. Non selected needles form tuck loops until they are knit together every 5th row

If you prefer to work with the top repeat programmed, then transfers will need to be made on each side of the non-selected needles to get the proper configuration. If programmed with the bottom repeat, then and every other needle cast on is fine. I generally stay away from combs and weights if I can, but this is a fabric that benefits by evenly distributed weight, a cast-on comb with weights added to it is a good idea. In the absence of any, start with waste yarn and ravel cord, thread a thin knitting needle or wire through the knit, and hang evenly spaced weights on that. Follow with your preferred cast on, and knitting in pattern. 

The swatch as it appears on the purl side (traditional “public side” for tuck stitch). The bottom 4 repeats show what the fabric looks like before one intervenes with the hand technique

its knit side and a bit closer a few more

in early publications combinations of lace and tuck, creating a large scale mesh were also referred to as mock crochet

Combining knit carriage needle selection with racking

4/23/18:  inspiration source is from a Russian pin, bottom left #198

The first swatch, produced with manual selection, varying the number of rows between racking to establish yarn tolerance

There are single rows knitting on both beds, so the option of using 2 knit carriages is out of the running. My test swatch had the main bed doing all the knitting, the ribber knitting the joining segments with manual changes in its buttons from slip to knit and back when appropriate. The staring needle arrangement, on “graph paper”, and the subsequent racking positions: the top illustration is for racking position 4, the bottom for racking position 0.A tentative plan of attack: the combined knit and ribber carriages are to be used throughout. The main bed KC is set to knit, but change knob is set to KCII. The blank squares will actually knit thanks to the setting, the selected needles will indicate the direction in which racking is due to take place prior to knitting the next row. 

This is the starting ayab repeat, with single repeat segments highlighted (one alone would be adequate for most other electronics). 

You will be working on the purl side of the knit. In what is an increasingly irksome feature to me, Ayab will automatically mirror horizontally any loaded image, so to get the above, you need to actually be either mirroring the image prior to loading it (my preference), or remember to do so through Ayab’s actions after.  Enter this, the ayab screen shows this 

This is what appears on the left side of the Brother ribber. I prefer to rely on other methods to track directions and numbers of positions in racking, but the ribber itself provides some clues. My pitch lever will not move all the way to H, but that is made up for in the ribber adjustments, so it is not a problem. A reminder: turning the racking handle to the left is toward increasing numbers on the indicator, to the right is toward decreasing numbers  The set up for my swatches, and the first row knit on racking position 0.  

The first preselection row in Ayab knits above needles on both beds. With carriage on the right, set the ribber to slip <–  –>, and knit up to the next row where needle pre-selection appears. *Change the ribber button on the side to match the direction in which you will be moving the carriage (left if knitting to left, right if knitting to right) to knit from the slip setting, knit to the opposite side (no more needle selection), change ribber lever back to slip again prior to any more knitting.** Repeat * to **. Position 4:

I began to run into issues with ribber stitches being too tight, this was knit with a tension adjustment, resulting in a less defined texture

Going a different route: another repeat, with each position, repeated once, repeat is pre mirrored  
a swatch with the racking happening only in the center of needles in work

Starting position can be variable. With more stitches cast on, while keeping the same ribber configuration, racking can happen further to the right or to the left. There need to be enough stitches on the main bed so ribber needles do not travel beyond them when racked. The knit bed uses tension close to that used for stocking stitch. The ribber stitch size may need to be adjusted to allow for a wider move toward either side. A looser ribber tension results in a less sculptural surface on the knit side. I have seldom been able to knit more than 6 rows on the main bed with ribber combination stitches on Brother, often maxing out at 4 depending on the yarn. Consistent habits help develop one’s own most meaningful reminders for taking action.

5/12/18 2 more samples. This time racking is done by 3 positions, the ribber set up is with 3 needles out of work, 5 in work. Set up is with racking handle on 3, move to and from positions 0 to 3. Knit 4 rows single bed. Rack to the next position. Use ribber set to knit for 2 rows for sample on left, for a single row for the sample on the right 

A printable “rib setup” to aid in charting  P and H needle configurations, with some space for notes and carriage settings

5/8/18 This is from the dubied knitting machine pattern book

I was not familiar with the machine, found 2 excellent quick start guides to aid in translating to Brother settings
Parsons making Center <http://resources.parsons.edu/labs/dubied-machine-knitting-studio/>
Dubied casting on and binding off, including levers/ cam notations <https://mycourses.aalto.fi/pluginfile.php/573146/mod_resource/content/1/casting%20on%20instructions.pdf
My step by step interpretation, which may be worked as a hand technique on any machine 
1. racking handle on 0, cast on for every needle rib
2. transfer stitches to the main bed to match needle arrangement above, knit 3 rounds
3. set the ribber to slip in both directions, knit 3 rounds
4. rack 4 to the left, set the ribber to knit, knit 3 rounds
5. set the ribber to slip in both directions, knit 3 rounds
6. rack 4 to the right, set the ribber to knit, knit 3 rounds*
repeat steps 3-6
The resulting swatch For a different method of knitting this same fabric, please see later post 12/20/17————————————————————————————————

The Brother Ribber Techniques book provides guidelines for variations on this stitch type,  the following among them. It is available for free download online from various sites and is an excellent resource

These images were shared on Facebook, they are from the Empisal ribber stitch book

I have worked with racking in the past but never attempted to have racked shapes interacting with single bed patterning across the width of the piece on the KM. My 910 is presently connected to a Mac via the EMS Ayab kit. Sampling is quick and easy, replacing the mylar. One critical difference is that the repeat used must match the pattern in width numbering the same as needles in use for the piece, so at least for testing my initial repeats were 30 stitches wide.

I find trying to chart things out before I actually knit helps me plan and understand what actions I need to take. Mac Numbers is my go-to for charts for the moment.  Here a random slip stitch pattern is put on a knit ground that takes into consideration possible racking positions, with the ideal position for reversing the bend at the center of the chevron pattern. With a bit of planning, punchcard markings or even mylar ones may be used to help with tracking racking numbers for accuracy, but that appears lost using Ayab software

When planning for racking within the width of a piece, the racked columns will extend beyond the vertical edges of the knit. Since this is not about having zigzag edges but keeping the design within the body of the knit, the starting point and spacing for your ribbed stitches matter. Brother racking handle is numbered from 0 to 10. The numbering and direction of movement vary between KM brands. If you begin at 0, you are only allowed to move the ribber to the left, if at 10 the ribber only moves to the right. So that said, the racking sequence in the above illustration should be reversed, traveling from 10 to 0, and back. The green squares represent the direction in which the ribber stitches are moving, the numbers in the column on the right represent racking handle positions. 

I found this slip stitch repeat produced too little detail in my swatches, but were it reduced for mylar use, it would remain 7 stitches high. It was taken from a punchcard book, so black squares/punched holes represent knit stitches. To match the fabric, in mylar use, the color reverse would do the job. The Ayab kit bypasses both the mylar reader and the programming capacity of the buttons on the left, so double height, double width, color reverse, etc. including the DBJ setting are planned for in the file import into the software. In some instances, Ayab settings (ribber for DBJ, and “circular”) do the work for you. I am using GIMP to create my BMPs. Paintbrush is a free program, still available for Mac, and functional including in High Sierra. It is the program used by some forum members to create their repeats, provides an easy alternative for people who not be used to working with image editing programs.

the slip stitch repeat in its original state: because slipped stitches create their texture on the purl side of the fabric, images do not need to be mirrored for the direction of the texture to be matched using electronic machines 
If the goal is to have the machine take care of keeping track of knit rows for you, without having to make changes in cam buttons, in the mylar a single repeat with blank squares programmed at the top and/or bottom of the repeat could then be knit using color reverse. Here the situation is similar to that of punchcard users who need to punch a hole for every knit stitch, but considerably faster. If the original pattern is satisfactory,  planning for all knit rows as automatic needle selection can be done by color reversing the pattern in the software and adding all black rows in the image for download.  
some other all over variations to try, individually, or even sequentially for slip stitch all over texture

the first tests, for the various slip stitches, nothing quite “there” yet  
this is getting closer to the goal

The above working repeat and all above swatches were knit with the first preselection row from right to left, not left to right. For these stitches, the starting side does not make a difference. If the pattern, however, was in blocks that were even-numbered in height (2, 4, 6, 8), and the color changer needs to come into play for striping using it, accommodations need to be made so that preselection for row 1 happens from the right side to the left, toward the changer. The programming needs to be set to begin on the very last row, so the repeat returns to row one for preselection from right to left, and knitting rows 1, 2, etc begin with the KC set to appropriate cam buttons, to and from the left side of the KM.

The racking sequence needs to be adjusted to have the points of the zigzag land in the center of both the slip stitch areas and those in plain knit if that is the goal.  I am encountering needle selection issues with my hack, so this fabric is getting put to bed for the moment. In principle, the black squares in the illustration represent knit rows, and their number is easily enough adjusted in height. Punchcard users would need to punch holes for each black square, mylar user can fill in the white squares for a single repeat, add blank rows at top or bottom, and color reverse when programming. In Ayab software, the repeat has to be drawn for the width of the piece but will repeat “infinitely” in length.

This is a possible punchcard template, with a shorter racking sequence. The Numbered column on left indicates the racking position. Pattern rows are preselected, so racking occurs prior to knitting across each row. I am also in need of purchasing more punchcards or another roll, so there is no test swatch at this moment. The top and bottom rows of punched holes on the colored ground are not part of the repeat, they overlap the first and last 2 rows of design in the punchcard, allowing the pattern to repeat in length. Ascending numbers swing to the left, descending to the right. Rows may be added at the level of #7 (7, 8, 9, 8, 7), so that the center of the swing may then occur on #9 positions in the racking handle, lengthen the card accordingly.5/14/20
Electronic machine models make experimenting easy and quick. Here an all-over tuck stitch is programmed for the base fabric, and racking variations are considered with the goal to cross the base fabric at various points in the patterned areas, or within the knit space alone. With increasing racking indicator numbers the ribber moves to the right, the shape its stitches create on the main bed moves to the left. With decreased racking indicator numbers the ribber moves to the left, the shape its stitches create on the main bed moves to the right. The repeat required mirroring for use in my electronic 930. Experimenting with racking intersecting tuck stitch on multiple repeat png, stitches were picked up on the ribber aside from the first tuck stitch on the right, A, on the center, B, and on the left, C, of the knit stitch groups.

 The tuck pattern tested, racking placed in the center position changing ribber needle positions
moving toward positioning the racked pattern further into the knit columns. Making the knit columns wider, placing repeats differently. The intended placement of the racked pattern is shown in yellow. Good notes and documentation of the final needle arrangement will make the technique easily reproducible. The needles involved on the top bed always need to be returned to the patterning position after any shares. At any point in the knitting, it is easy enough to transfer stitches on the ribber up to the main bed, drop the ribber down, and check on the placement of the racked pattern. If the place is satisfactory, the moved stitches can be returned to the ribber and the work is continued. If not, transferred stitches can be left on the main bed, other stitches can be shared with the ribber and patterning can continue with racking in the new location. One such adjustment is seen toward the bottom of this swatch. 

Revisiting drop / release stitch lace 1

Hand knitters may be familiar with drop-stitch patterns where the yarn is wrapped multiple times around the knitting needle, followed by knit stitch(es). On the next row, when the wrap is reached, the extra wraps are dropped off the needle, and the remaining single loop is knit in a regular manner. On the knitting machine this technique is called drive and mesh lace, release stitch or summer fair isle by Passap, and drop stitch lace in some of the pattern books. Drive lace typically has lines of patterning where loops are formed between rows of all knit stitches. The main fabric, stockinette, is knitted and produced by either bed. Selected needles knit pattern stitches on the other bed for one or more rows, then are dropped from those needles, unraveling back to their starting point, creating the larger, open stitches. Sometimes a distinction is made between terms used, in drive lace the bulk of the punchcard is left blank, there are far fewer marks than in drive lace. In mesh lace the balance of holes to punched or blank areas is 50/50 or more punched areas than blanks, often the “holes” or black squares are side by side. Drive lace marks out the shape of the pattern, mesh forms the background. Blank rows across the width of the repeat allow the knitting of plain rows between dropped stitch including ones, separating the series of holes, or stabilizing the fabric.
Both types of mesh may be combined in the same fabric, with dropping planned on the same rows. The diamond on the left represents drive lace, the one on the right a mesh version. On the right, solid “lines” echo the shape. Repeat is suitable for punchcard but may be altered to suit both cards and electronics.revised with fewer single dots, solid lines in the ground The fabric may be created both as a hand technique or using automated patterning. In sources that show loops being formed on the ribber, stitches are released by uncoupling the ribber carriages and moving it across the knitting and then back to its original spot, thus dropping the stitches. In Studio machines the P carriage may be used to drop stitches, see previous posts on modifying one for use on Brother KM.
The tension setting on the patterning bed affects the loop size and its tension is frequently one to three numbers looser than the all knit bed tension. In Brother machines, the ribber knits at a tighter gauge than the main bed, so take that into consideration and adjust it when knitting all knit rows on every needle on the ribber, where the tension may need to be loosened one or more numbers than when knitting same yarn in stocking stitch on the main bed. Matching tension numbers on both beds may provide enough of a difference in stitch size for loop formation. The difference in gauge between the beds also merits calculating adjustments when knitting in circular or U format.
Releasing stitches may happen after every pattern row, after groups of pattern rows (such as bubbles or check patterns), or even at times when knitting is completed. With groups of pattern rows, I have had better results with more frequent stitch releases. Two types of mesh can be created. Stockinette mesh has an equal number of rows on both beds. The result is enlarged stocking stitches along with narrower, single bed ones on any one row. Half Milano mesh has a horizontal ridge on the purl side with 2 rows knit on the all knit fabric bed, to every one row on the patterning bed. One of the rows has the patterning bed slip every needle, with the ribber only knitting, the second row forms the combination size stitches as discussed previously. In patterning in Brother KMs, this would need to have such rows added to the programmed design. The fabric is a bit more “stable”. Passap offers multiple techniques for dropping stitches, often referred to as summer fair isle, and using 2 colors per row. Different looks are achieved by changing the built-in technique number, as well as when using a stitch ditcher on every row knit, as opposed to using empty passes of locks to drop the stitches.

Previous posts on the topic
2012/09/24/working-out-the-kinks-in-my-drop-stitch-lace-saga/
2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-Japanese-machines
2013/10/16/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-passap-km/
2013/10/19/drop-stitch-lace-2-colors-per-row-Japanese-machines/
2015/06/14/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-brother-km/
2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/
2018/01/16/drop-stitch-lace-using-ayab-software

knitting patterns with no blank knit rows between loop formation 2015/06/16/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-2-brother-km/
2015/06/18/geometric-shapes-in-drop-stitch-lace-3-end-release/

stitch dropping tools
2012/09/21/knit-bubbles-and-stitch-ditchers-dumpers/
2015/06/10/brother-kms-pile-knitting-ribbed-stitch-dropping-tools/
from an old Studio KM Japanese publication, using their tool and what appears to be a lace repeat

another related fabric: 2017/10/18/revisiting-knit-bubbles-brother-km/
using ribber cast on comb for an open cast on  either bed
2017/02/14/ribber-cast-on-comb-open-stitch-single-bed-cast-on/

Working with positive and negative space variations: the repeat is suitable for any machine, my sample is executed on Brother KM. Since alternate, all blank rows have no needle selection, before knitting that row (ribber only will knit), dropping stitches knit on the main bed on the previous row will not alter the pattern using any method you prefer, set up knitting so all stitches are on the ribber. If you prefer to set up complete repeats prior to watching, “air knitting” prior to ribber set up or using position option on the main bed if that is available, will help achieve that set knit carriage to KC II (used when patterning does not occur on every needle across the needle bed), both part buttons pushed in for free pass to the opposite side of km, no knitting occurs but the first row of pattern knitting is selected. Ribber is set to N<–> throughout the carriages now move to the opposite side, selected needles on the main bed pick up loops, non selected needles stay empty. Ribber knits every stitch using a ribber cast on comb, stitch “dumper”, or another tool, move needles holding stitches forward to drop loops, and return empty needles to work position (B)as carriages move to the opposite side, needles are selected for next row of knit stitches to be knit on main bed carriages now move to the opposite side, loops are picked up on selected needles all needles are now not selected, above stitches/ loops are dropped, needles are returned to B position before the next carriages’ pass carriages move to the opposite side, selecting pattern needles carriages move to the opposite side, picking up loops before carriages move again, drop stitches formed. Watch loops after they are dropped, if tugging knitting it is not enough to pull them out of the way of needles returning to patterning, take a tool, or something like a credit card. Slide it from one side to the other between the beds, thus keeping loops clear away from the main bed

In summary; assuming one is starting on the right side of the machine COR
step 1. <-carriages select needles that will form loops
step 2. -> carriages knit, picking up loops
step 3. drop loops just formed, returning all empty needles to B position
step 4+ repeat 1-3 for the entire length of the piece
My sample was knit in slightly fuzzy wool. Smooth, thinner yarns result in longer stitches whose patterns get read more easily. Because wool has “memory” the vertical edges tend to roll to the purl side and return to rolling even after heavy pressing and steaming. There are a couple of spots where no long stitch was created due to markings on mylar not being dark enough.
Other things to consider: this fabric widens when blocked, so cast on, bind off, and beginning and ending edges need to accommodate that. This particular design creates a fairly balanced fabric. In many drop stitch fabrics, it is recommended that edges contain stitches dropped in the pattern in order to maintain vertical length at the edges. To achieve that, the first and last needles on both sides should be on the main bed. That said, having an all knit border (stitches knitting only on ribber, no dropped stitches) may work well in your pattern, or pull edges in too tightly when compared to the all-over motif released repeats. Testing on your swatch can be achieved easily by simply taking some needles on the main bed out of work on one side, thus creating the “all knit border”. The latter can happen by accident if not all needles are returned to B position properly after dropping stitches.

It is possible to produce a drop stitch pattern on the bulky machine or depending on the yarn, knitting with heavier yarn on EON on the standard machine. The resulting “patterns” happen with varying the number of rows used to knit in each color, which has not been addressed in previous posts. I prefer to use patterning on the top bed to select needles, but this pattern may also be knit as a hand technique, using the ribber to produce the loops that will be dropped. This page from the ribber techniques book reviews the baseline process and settings

purl side is shown first for each segment, followed by its knit

Changing fiber content affects the scale of resulting patterns and dropped stitches, the yellow is a wool rayon, less than …” in width than the purple cotton variation If using punchcard machines, factory issue punch cards provided with the KM may be usedPlaiting is also possible, but depending on the color choice the pattern may become muddied A slip stitch edge may be planned to keep edges of items such as scarves from rolling consider top and bottom edgings that include the technique (illustrated in the previous postAdding complexity: dropped stitches may be combined with other stitch types, shown here in combination with tuck stitch on the main bed, dropped loops created on ribberAn alternative way to produce this fabric on Brother is to use the knit carriage with no yarn to do the “stitch ditching”. The basic design programmed into any brother machine, electronic or punchcard will need to be altered. The intended design in my sample is a 4 X 4 square, colors represent what would be punched holes, black squares, or pixels. Simple block patterns such as these may be released upon completion of each “square” series, in this case, after 4-row segments. Two rows are added at the top of each “square”, one repeating the motif width, the next completely free of any markings Rows 5 and 6, 11, and 12 are not part of the original repeat. The 5th design row provides needle selection, traveling from right to left. When the carriage passes in turn from left to right with no yarn, those preselected needles will drop while preselecting a blank design row (6) that allows the carriage to return to the left-hand side. As it moves back to left, the carriage will preselect the first row of the design. With COL yarn is picked up in order to knit the next set of dropped stitches. A color change may be made while the carriage is on the left.
Begin with all stitches transferred and in work on the ribber only. Every needle will be in work on both beds for the remaining fabric. Ribber half pitch lever is on H. With COR set change knob to KC, preselecting from right to left for the first row to be knit after pushing in in both part buttons. This allows the KC to travel to the left without forming any loops or stitches, but the preselecting first row of pattern. Change color if using more than one color, knit 4 rows. color 3 (or 2) can be an empty feeder. Change to color empty so yarn(s) in use are held until picked up again and there is no yarn in the ribbers sinker plate yarn feeder. There are 2 options for dropping stitches. One is to disengage the KC from the ribber, it will be picked up again as you move into the color changer to pick up the yarn once more. The other is to keep the carriages paired, set the ribber to slip for 2 rows, then back to knit as you return to the color changer, pick up the yarn again, and continue to knit. If row count is important ie in making a garment, the row counter gets turned off for the 2 rows when stitches are dropped, remember to turn it back on when knitting the next 4 pattern rows. I personally find this fussier and more error-prone than other methods I have described. My swatch is knit in acrylic thin yarns and lightly steamed, so bubbles have flattened out considerably. The fabric is related to that shown in the ribber techniques book page 23, created by picking loops up from the ribber combined with racking.
This is my ayab repeat, this time executed by configuring the knitting to begin on the last pattern row 16 for that first preselection row from left to right instead of altering the repeat itself More to try:
Studio pile knitting patterns such as those found in may be used as published. On rows where there is no preselection, stitches are dropped prior to moving the carriage for preselection of the next row of patterning. The results are easy to test and amend. One such pattern: the original repeat The yarn used here was a softly spun rayon that began eventually to split, get partially caught up on gate pegs, leading to ending the swatch Switching yarns made knitting easier and quicker to produce, planning for a different sort of wave, an amended version of the original design was used Transfer lace patterns: use patterns that have at least 2 rows knit between repeat segments. The results are likely to be subtle. On electronic machines: cast on as preferred, transfer MB stitches to ribber, where all stitches will be knit on every row. The main bed will be knitting the stitches that will be dropped, the lace carriage will not be used. As the carriage moves across the bed selected “lace” pattern needles will knit, the non-selected will be skipped. Program the pattern in the usual manner. Set change knob to KC II canceling end needle selection, the knit carriage to slip in both directions, and continue knitting until all needles are in the B position. At that point disconnect the main bed and ribber carriages, unthread the yarn or have it held for you in the yarn changer. Set the main carriage to knit, move across needles in B, dropping them since no yarn is in use. Bring the disconnected carriage across the knitting again, reconnect to the ribber carriage and rethread. Set KC to slip again, repeating the process. As an alternative for dropping stitches, leave KC set to slip, push all needles out to hold. With no yarn in the feeder, any loops will be dropped. Make the 2 passes with KC only as described, reconnect carriages, rethread, and continue until no needles are selected again.
If on an electronic machine with 2 knit carriages available: the number of rows is usually an even number, so an additional knit carriage with no yarn could be positioned on the opposite side to the one selecting pattern, set to do plain knitting, holding no yarn, and it may be used to drop the stitches on “plain knit rows” on lace card without requiring the other additional steps and cam button changes.
Tuck and drop: use color reverse if appropriate (black squares for knit stitches, white for tuck) set up as for other drop stitch fabrics, choose patterns that are broken up by 2 rows of plain knitting between the tuck rows. KC II is used once again. Since in such cards you one is working with punched holes or black squares, the empty knit carriage alone may be taken across with no yarn, dropping the complete, all knit rows. It is not necessary to change the knit carriage setting from tuck to knit to do so.
Tuck is an alternative option for a free pass as well, realizing that helps avoid errors in patterning by missing resetting the cam buttons between the two functions.

Racking patterns:  a few variations are suggested in Brother punchcard volumes. Sometimes translations are what can be described as interesting. One such pattern Yarn choice as always can make a good deal of difference, here a wool rayon was used. The zig zags would be more visible if worked using a larger number of all knit stitches