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 

 

Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics

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

Ribber fabrics with stitch transfers between beds 1

These images provide partial views of garments shown in a recent Facebook MK group post,  followed by the “how-to” question A quick analysis leads to a list of assumptions that both are double bed fabrics, with stitches subtracted or added to create moving shapes on a striped ground. A color changer will be in use, so each color must be carried for 2 passes. The color used in the traveling shapes (red in my swatches) knits on both beds, the second color creating the alternate stripe on the background knits on only one bed. The second row of the red stitches is slipped while the white knits, so they become elongated, something that is reflected on the striping on the reverse, as well as on the knit side.
Though the ribber is in use, this is not a standard dbj fabric, so if automation is the goal, the color separation for the knit needs to be hand-drawn.
It is possible to move stitches to and from needle beds when knitting true DBJ with striper backing. This is one of my ancient swatches, every needle is in work on both beds except for areas where stitches have been transferred down to and up from the ribber.  The main bed is set to slip in both directions, the ribber set to knit. The suitable dbj separation is the one where each color in each row knits for 2 rows, whether performed by hand, using the 3 colors per row separation in img2track or the default separation in Passap. The Ayab HOP separation is awesome, works for any 3 color design with as little elongation as possible, but is not suited for this purpose. How-tos for DIY separations and their automated versions by programs for knitting more than 2 colors per row have been discussed in other posts.
The process may be reversed between beds. Stitches can be picked from the opposing bed to fill in needles emptied by transfers or brought into work empty for increases. The resulting eyelets may be left as a design element or filled in by picking up from adjacent stitches or ones on the ribber bed.
In the first swatch, all stitches will be in work on the knitting bed, while patterning stitches will be in selected groups on the ribber. When testing a concept it is best to start with a simple shape, contrasting colors,  on a limited number of stitches. To begin with, I went the easy route and tested the concept with a small racked pattern using only 5 ribber needles. The ribber slips for the 2 rows knit in the contrasting color in the ground, knits the pattern for 2 rows, requiring cams to be switched every 2 rows The goal is to be able to see and understand stitch formation. Production got cut short when I was faced with dropping individual stitches followed by the whole piece falling to the floor. In one of those drat it moments I realized that for the first time ever, with the knit carriage properly set to N, I had not, however, engaged it beneath the metal bar on the back of the bed, leaving it with its rear floating freely. A similar process on the Passap allows for playing easily with both racked colors because of the possible arrow and pusher settings on the back bed, but on Brother, this would require hand selection on the ribber on every row or a specific color separation for needle selection on the top bedSeeking automation, keeping things simple, here is a basic zigzag pattern in a repeat also executable on punchcard machines. The ribber is now set to knit throughout (N/N), the main bed to slip in both directions. End needle selection must be canceled when using the slip setting selectively or when working patterning with  needles completely out of work 

The color separation: the desired design needs to be expanded, with 2 blank rows between each pair of design rows The pattern on my 930 is knit as it appears in the chart, on the purl side. Punchcard knitters or users of other programs may need to mirror it to match my output  The process using 3 colors: the patterning color will be knit on needles preselected on the top bed. As shaping is about to begin, in this pattern, one needle preselected out indicates the location for an “increase”, one preselected back to B position a decrease  To perform the decrease, using a double eye tool to transfer the B position stitch down onto the ribber needle adjacent to the first needle in D position on the top bed As the carriages move to the opposite side a loop will form on the preselected empty needle, creating the increase on that side, keeping the width of the patterning stitches constant  In order for the patterning to remain correct, all needles on the top bed must be maintained in B position while not in use, or preselection may be incorrect, and increase loops will not be created, so, not this  A sideways view (for space consideration) of the knit still on the KM begins to show the distortion in the knit created by the movement of the stitches. The red yarn creates a single line where stitches are skipped on the reverse, a double one when it knits for 2 rows The repeat and the knit shown on both sides: Comparing the 2 color and 3 color versions: aside from the obvious increase in length, note that the slipped segments in red on the 3 color swatch are now composed of longer stitches since they are held for 2 additional rows, and the overall fabric is more puckered than the 2 color version. The curling at the sides is the nature of edge stitches, especially if the yarn used is wool. At times that may be used intentionally, as a decorative edge.

Repeats where the design charts require expansion to accommodate techniques quickly grow in length. The simple zig-zag doubled in length from 32 to 64 rows. I work things out in a spreadsheet, open a screengrab of the final choice in GIMP, index mode the result, scale it, and save the PNG for download to the 930. Long color separations are harder to achieve cleanly in GIMP alone but are also possible.

Returning to the 2 color pattern in the inspiration image and limiting the width to the 24 stitch punchcard restriction: a way to begin is to design a 2 color shape to approximate the repeat in the desired fabric and as in any other designs, check for repeat alignment by tiling prior to knitting to find any easily visible errors. The first single (ultimately 24X32) repeat, suitable for standard DBJ, has not been cropped properly in the top illustration. It is followed by the correct one  Using the same color separation as for the simple zig-zag shape, the design is expanded to include knit bed rows that will be skipped completely, resulting in the ribber alone knitting in the second color for those rows. It is now twice as long as the original, 24X64The planned proof of concept added a 4 stitch border on the right for a 28 stitch swatch centered with 14 stitches either side of 0. Tiling the repeat X2 again in height made it easier for me to plan how to manage transfers to expose the varying stripes in the ground.  Visual comparison to the movement in the inspiration knit:  As the number of needles in work on either of the 2 beds is increased, it is likely tension or yarn changes may be required. The first preselection row is from the right, toward the color changer. The stitches on the non selected needles are transferred to the bottom bed with the color change, only preselected needles will knit on both the top and bottom beds moving to the right and will do so again on the return to the left while preselecting an all blank row on the next pass to the right only the ribber knits in the ground color;     on the following pass to the left the second ground color row is knit on the ribber, with preselection happening at the same time for the next row in the pattern color The red, 3 strand cash-wool was giving me grief, so I switched it out for the blue. Both yarns are on the thin side but OK for testing the concept. The initial partial striped lozenge shape is finished with straightforward knitting The solid ground stitches in the inspiration fabric, however, have a sideways movement as the next striped lozenge gets shaped. In any standard knit such movements are achieved manually by using multiple stitch transfer tools. Planning ahead in a spreadsheet helps. My first test of the full repeat approaches the desired result, but the transitions beginning at design row 30 for the decreasing angle in the white yarn is a bit clumsy and requires a redo to make it easier and with clearer instructions Back to the drawing board in order to reduce the number of hand manipulations involved, with a shift in the center transition, the repeat in my spreadsheet is now 24 stitches wide, plus an additional 4 stitch border, and gets marked up with colors. I prefer to program the width of my knitting as opposed to a single repeat for all over patterning The resulting final 24 stitch repeat with the added 4 stitch border, now 68 rows highThe choice can be made based upon the preference of moving stitch groups to the right or to the left with the horizontal direction of the repeat adjusted for your KM model or software used.  I planned the transfers in this swatch toward the color changer after picking up the proper color, white, and before knitting the next row using it. The 930 png: The preselection row is from right to the left, toward the color changer. End needle selection is canceled. All stitches not selected on the main bed are moved down onto ribber needles beneath them. Needle selection takes care of the increasing angle in the surface yarn (white), as less of the striped ground becomes exposed. At this point, row 34 on the 930 counter, the single elongated slipped stitch is moved down onto the ribber. The next preselection will require the first transfer on the top bed, row 38. In my case, the movement was to the left. After the transfer is made, be certain to leave any empty needles in B position, and to bring all transferred stitch needles out to hold so they will knit in the slip setting as the carriage moves across the bed to the other side. The preselection will insure all necessary stitches will knit on the way back to the left When the top of the repeat is reached, row 68, the only needles selected will be those of the 4 stitch vertical columns and the design repeat will return to its start
My proof of concept swatch is  3.75 inches wide The inspiration sweater was knit using a wider repeat and significantly thicker yarn, reflected here in the small number of repeats composing the sweater body front Amending the 24 stitch repeat is possible, its length will grow in proportion to the increase in its width. The ratio of rows/ stitches to maintaining shaping by single stitch increases or decreases as in the original remains at 2.8. The lozenge is likely to remain elongated. Since at any point, the ribber will be knitting a large number of stitches single bed, the tension on its carriage needs to accommodate that. When the majority of needles are selected on the top bed, the fabric is knitting in every needle rib, which requires a tighter tension than when using the same yarns single bed. As a result tension adjustment to reduce the height of the knit repeat may be very limited.
The last test is now 84 rows high, with 5 stitch vertical bands. An added 6 stitch border on one side changes the programmed width up to 36 stitches so I don’t have to think about positioning the pattern on the needle bed. The extra stitch was eliminated at the start of the piece:   The off white yarn used here was the same thickness but not fiber content as in the previous swatch, 2/18 wool-silk vs Australian wool in the former. It is not as smoothly spun. The result shows an interesting similarity in length, though there are 16 additional rows in the pattern repeat. This time I programmed my repeat for stitch transfers on the knit bed to move away from the color changer. Eliminating the border on one side, a double repeat (30 stitches) measure 4 inches in width. To put the difference in scale to the sweater in perspective, an oversize garment with 40 inches in chest diameter would require 20 inches in width for the front piece. Ten single repeats, as opposed to the inspiration’s sweater 4, bring the total required the number of stitches to 150. With the added border of 5 stitches for matching side edges, the fabric is in the realm of possibility for producing a garment on the home knitting machine. My tension was set at 3/3 for all the swatches, with some teasing required on occasion to encourage stitches on the main bed to knit off properly. Ribber height adjustment can also have an effect on those numbers. I tend to do all my knitting with the slide lever in the center position. The double 30X84 repeat with no added border

DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 2

I am taking a break from this topic for a bit. At some point will add at least one more swatch and perform another edit. My eyeballs and brain need to be looking at some single color knitting and no more than 2 color squares for a while 🙂

My first attempt to use a 3 color automatic separation was with img2track. There are 2 oddities for me using the program. One is that the default selector setting is for a single motif, perhaps on the assumption that the main use would primarily be for large scale, nonrepetitive images. The other is that even if working with 2-row color changes with each color in each design row knitting for 2 rows, the first preselection row must be made from the color changer side. This is a necessity in Japanese color separations for 2 color work where the first color knits for only one row on moving from the right side to the left, but if 2 colors with the same selection are required at the start, one row of the 2 appears to be technically eliminated as a result. I had expected to use 3 shades of grey, a pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than grays. The test was using the 11 stitch repeat A pleasant surprise: the program can actually import a 3 color other than greys image. Using Gimp, images worked in RGB can be reduced to indexed 3 colors for this purpose. If there are rows where there is no color represented, then as explained later in the post, the indexing should be to 4 colors, not 3 for the planned for import to work properly.The design is automatically flipped vertically, so it will appear as intended on the knit side of the fabric. Yarn colors may be placed in the color changer matching the order in the assigned color numbers to match the placements in the original image. The program automatically adjusts for the vertical stretch, which changes the aspect ratio of the shapes. On my 930 I received prompts on which color to change to prior to doing so, eliminating any confusion. With no such prompts generally one can tell which color was knit last because it will appear on top of the previously used one on the left of the knit. With a stretch factor of 1 selected in img2track, the image height was reduced by half. To achieve a look closer to the intended shape,  the repeat needs to be rendered twice as long. The stretch factor can be adjusted in the program itself to 2.0

In the past, I have preferred to elongate the design prior to importing with plans for download rather than to rely on memory for changing settings either in the download program or in the machine itself in future uses of the same design. The same yarns, tension, total number of carriage passes, and settings were used showing the difference in aspect ratio between single color per row knitting and the img2track built-in color separation. The width of both swatches is essentially identical.

Images may be loaded into the program without the cable being connected to the machine. Error messages do appear with download attempts if the cable is not properly in place. The machine also needs to be powered on before the program is launched if a download is planned. I am working in Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6, have no present desire to upgrade to Catalina.
Executing fabrics that will knit each color in each row only once for every 2 passes on the main bed: back to that original repeat Here it is used as drawn, note vertical stretch set at 2, will be cut in half by the software, getting the image back to the original height l0 X 3 = 30 rows required for all colors to knit in turn; there will be 60 carriage passes to complete one single repeat.The 930 will provide prompts for the next color to be selected by pushing the matching number button on the color changer, avoiding any confusion in terms of what should be picked up next. img2track will also flip the design horizontally automatically so the image will appear as originally drawn on the knit side. Images are loaded as single motifs, so the change in the selector needs to be made manually for an all-over pattern.

In order to have each color in each row knit only once: cast on with preferred method and color. Set up the machine so that the yarn colors are placed in the color shown in the image presented by the program to match your design. End with the machine on the left-hand side for the first preselection row.
COL: set both carriages to slip in both directions and all its needles in B position, set lili buttons if not already in use, pick up color 1
knit one row to the right
COR: knit to left, color 1 will knit for a single row
**COL: change color, STOP! Push back any needles on the top bed back to B position, as you knit to the right the ribber only will be knitting, knit one row to the right
COR: preselected needles will knit in the color last picked up on the way back to the color changer, knitting only one row in that color on the main bed as you return to the left**
repeat the last ** 2 steps throughout. One can get into a rhythm. A cast on comb, part of a garter bar, or any tool of adequate width can make it a quick process of pushing needles back to B when needed to
trust the software, not the selection expected by your eyes.
My swatch seemed to be growing in length at a faster rate than I remembered in the last exercise, here the results are shown side by side with the fabric executed previouslyObviously a success in terms of the single row for each color reducing elongation of the design shape.  While knitting occurs using the same yarns, at the same tensions, there is a clear difference in the length of each stitch on the main bed and their appearance. The reverse. Checking the ribber carriage I noticed on the left side it was set to knit only, not to slip: OOPS! N is king, so the ribber set as shown is knitting every other needle when moving to the right, but even with lili buttons in use it knits on every needle when moving back to the left. Every other needle on the ribber will then be knitting for 2 rows as a result. The more knitting on the ribber for each pair of rows, the longer the stitches on the opposite bed. The backing is an interesting variation (half) birdseye. The elongated stitches on the main bed show more of the backing in between their shapes, it is referred to as bleedthrough. In some instances, the result can make the knit surface resemble weaving and its appearance far less familiar in a surprising, pleasant way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Remember always to double-check all settings at the start of any process in case something was missed or magically moved, and keep notes.

I was asked on Facebook whether the technique shown here is the same as the 3 color slip (skip) stitch patterns in the Stitchworld pattern book, my response: some of the stitch world patters for 3 color slip are designed for or may be used on the double bed (often single bed as well). For instance, patterns 392 and 394. The original designs are rendered color separated. Numbers on the left suggest the order for color changes to achieve a look similar to that in the swatch photos. Assuming the pattern is not easily accessible because of its being built in your machine’s memory, it would have to be entered into a paint program manually to make it available for import and in turn for download. Note that the color-changing sequence may change over the course of knitting the image, so prompts or notes of some sort would be needed to keep it correct. Each color in each row knits twice after each color change. My goals in my blog posts so far have been to keep a constant color changing sequence with each color in each row of any personal design knitting only once. I did it first with my own color separation, then, in turn, used the 3 color separation feature in img2track to achieve my desired result. Here are 2 images from the Stitchworld section in question The images could be replicated as given in a paint program, using only one color for the squares, but “should be reduced to black and white”. Attempting to import an indexed 2 color image drawn in a color other than BW may result in strange results. That said, if glitched knits are the goal, the above could work just fine. Curiously, here is the same process, using a different color, and a successful import. Checking again, I had forgotten to save the image after indexing it from RGB mode to 2 colors. and a test with another color 
Drop stitch lace periodically comes up, I have written several posts on the technique, now considered the possibility of producing it in 3 colors. The resulting fabric tends to be long, thin, and in need of blocking. There is no way to avoid the striped ground. Passap knitters often refer to this type of knitting as summer fair isle. I adjusted the repeat widthNote to self: if you are determined to use a punchcard carriage on your electronic machine remember there is no KCII to cancel end needle selection!
In order to knit this fabric stitches must be cast on in whatever method you prefer, but prior to any patterning all stitches must be transferred down to the ribber, and the main bed needles are placed in working position but are empty. Because of the single row knit for the first 2 design rows of color one, the start is a bit finicky. Alternative start follows lower in post
COL: KC II, main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber stays on N throughout, no lili buttons. Knit one row with color 1 (ribber only)
COR: as you knit to return to the left, the color 1 preselected needles will knit, while the ones corresponding to color 2 will preselect
COL: carefully drop any stitches on needles with color 1 on them without disturbing the new needle selection for color 2
**COL: change color, knit to right
COR: drop the stitches knit in the new color, make certain all needles are empty and in B position, knit back to left and needles will be preselected for the next color**
Repeat the ** to**
Again resulting fabric is narrow and long, it may take a bit of squinting to recognize the design. A single repeat results in about 3.5 by 9 inches of knitting, a far cry from what might have resulted in a single row per color design row dbj virtually shown here in a tiled format

The question then comes up re dropping only one of the 3 colors. Using the manual selection described above, the knitting on the top bed would need to be canceled on every color, every row except for the single row in the chosen drop stitch color. To my mind, that is too much to keep track of for any length of time. It would be easier achieved with specific self-drawn color separations.
There is a lot of testing that can go into developing any fabric in unfamiliar techniques that may or may not meet our expectations or our “like”, it all contributes to learning regardless of whether the tests evolve into projects.

My last post on drop stitch lace in from single color to two: revisiting the techniques on brother machines

Reviewing what happens within the program one more time, highlighting significant items to verify before beginning to knit Getting that first row to knit twice instead of a single time if that matters in your technique or is your preference:
advance design row to last one in the sequence, in this case, 30
in the 930 when the pattern is loaded, using the down arrow key gets to the last row in the downloaded pattern more quickly

COL: set machine to preselect pattern, the next 2 passes would need to not knit, so both carriages are set to slip in both directions
knit one row to the right
COR: number 30 design row flashes
knit one more free pass to left, row 1 of color 1 will preselect as you knit
COL: number 1
design row flashes
check all settings,
main bed set to slip <– –>, ribber set to slip <– –> with lili buttons, and with an even number of needles in work for standard dbj pick up color 1 in yarn changer
the resulting knit design will be elongated
COL
: knit one row to the right.
As you knit the first row of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 2 of color one design row 1 will preselect
COR: knit back to the left
as you knit back to left row 2 of color 1 design row 1 will knit, row 1 of color 2 design row 1 will preselect
COL: pick up color 2,
continue in pattern changing colors every 2 rows

In designing your own, small repeats can easily be rendered even in a simple paint program. Larger, more complex ones, may best be worked using layers and masking in a variety of programs ie. Photoshop or Gimp. It is possible to combine 2 color dbj and 3 color dbj in the same piece simply by using different color separations for each segment, but the look of the fabric in terms of the length of each stitch on the knit side may be quite different when moving from one segment to the next. Of course, the backing will change as well. Though the aspect ratio of the design changes in terms of height when one knits 2 rows for each color in each design row, it remains the easiest separation method. Adding the hand selection as described above so that the main bed knits in one direction only helps reduce some of the extra height, making the original image more recognizable. There is no option within img2track to perform the action automatically in terms of adding the necessary blank rows to replace some of the colored ones in the separation.

Passap knitters are not left out of this idea. Passap preselects pushers. On the E 6000 Tech 179 emulates the built-in KRC option in Japanese model machines. My guess was that technique 180 for 2 colors, perhaps 197 with both arrow keys on the back may work for 3 colors. TBD in my next spurt of knitting activity on it. That said, the console built-in designs may be used cross-brand. It is possible in Passap to layer repeats in order to add the third color to the mix. Here is one sample reworked for use on Brother and downloaded into img2track. If black and white repeats are already in your library, one may easily recycle them adding a third color. Here I did so with a repeat intended for a very different topic future post. The image was altered and tiled in Gimp for a repeat alignment test and is also shown imported into img2track for possible knittingWhat of images that are published in punchcard machine references? It is probably best to start with smaller repeats. That said, this is from a Deco pattern book.  Deco punchcards were 40 stitches wide, could be joined together in length as can those for the Japanese models The image of the separation on the above right has not been proofed for accuracy. If it were, the next step would be to elongate it X 2 for color changes every 2 rows. One method is to elongate the original in a paint or photo processing program. The width is fixed (40), the height is scaled X 2. The resulting BW indexed image may be imported, using a 1.0 stretch factor, it remains unchanged. When I tried to elongate the unstretched image in img2track by 2.0 my first try failed. It turned out the reason was I had saved the import without first indexing it to 2 colors. With that corrected, the result matched the one from scaling X 2 in height in the paint program
For years now I have been doing color separations which at first could be extremely slow, one pixel at a time. With increasing familiarity with Gimp and Mac Numbers over time, I have been able to decrease the speed to achieve them immensely. So here, with img2track I now have a program that can work with and separate multiple colors at a time (up to 6 in its pull-down menu option). Here I returned to my first separation in 3 colors for the now-familiar repeat A, elongated it in the paint program B and imported A into img2track choosing 2.0 stretch and 3 colors C. I can totally live with the fact the colors are not the same. The color changer can be set up with my chosen colors in any order I choose

In my first tests with charting a repeat missing any color in some rows, I had scaled the original image taken from a spreadsheet to the wrong size in Gimp, so operator error resulted in crazy results in img2track.Here the image is scaled properly for each color represented for a single row in height, and also scaled again for double-height for possible knitting in Gimp. The Gimp scaling failed to be accurate for me (second image from left) until I indexed the original to 4 colors as well instead of 3. The no color rows as we view them actually serve as a fourth color in the separations. Importing the proper size png into img2track for separation of 4 colors per row now gives results that make sense: note the daunting estimate for the total number of carriage passes for a single repeat height
If the ribber has knit on every needle by its return to the color changer and the machine is set to slip both ways with no needle selection on the main bed, the “no color” can be executed as an empty yarn holder in the color changer combined with no yarn in the feeder.  The rows involved should simply not knit on the top bed, with no dropping of any of its stitches since no needles will have been selected thus coming forward with the yarn in the hooks and traveling behind the latches and in turn, slipping off the needles as a carriage with no yarn pushes the needles with now empty hooks back to B position.

In testing concepts, I prefer to work initially with small repeats. Punchcard books can be an excellent source, but the Stitchworld books have the advantage of actually showing a single repeat for each design, so an 8 stitch repeat, for example, would be shown as such and it would not be up to the person using it shown in a 24 stitch card one to isolate it. I randomly chose pattern 394. I realize that if used from a built-in library of patterns in any machine model the prompts may be provided by the machine, but here I am looking at simply duplicating the pattern for import into img2track.

After duplicating the repeat and associated numbering using Numbers, these were some of my results. A pleasing surprise was that colors in the 2 color import need not be only black and white. That said, the pale green failed, the red did not, and the results from importing both the red/white and the black/white were identical. Another future time saver for me to keep in mind. 

If colors were assigned to each pair rows representing each color used, the white squares were read as an added color on import, and the only way to have those few blocks for the 4th color to show up in the visual representation in an imported repeat was to assign a 5 color separation, resulting in a scrambled pattern. Removing the few squares in color 4 will produce inaccurate separations for actual knitting of the given pattern whether imported to be rendered for 3 colors or 4. The black and white on the right is the “correct” match, leaving any prompts for use of shifting color changers to be tracked somehow by the knitter. Punchcard knitters may have the easiest time to knit variable color sequences since cards may be visually marked up with colored pencils matching needed change locations and taking into account your eyes are a number of rows above the row being read by the card reader. This number depends on the machine brand and model.

Some spreadsheets that may help with tracking row color changes or other regular actions on paper: 2018/04/tracking-rows-1.pdf

I have been asked about the position of the slide lever being fixed in my dbj illustrations. I have found the alternate positions can be wild cards, would rather make adjustments in carriage settings if needed rather than let the factory settings do some of the work for me. If the settings are accidentally in the wrong place as multiple pieces are knit, or in knitting ribber bands for garment pieces, the gauge is changed if the alternate setting is not adjusted and kept constant, and that may not be noticed until the piece of knitting in question is completed, needing a restart. With 15-20 machines active in each studio class and lab session, out of habit, I tried to reduce as many variables as possible.

A video resource on using img2knit for 3 colors per row knitting with blank color rows in the design by Tanya Cunningham, and a Ravelry thread on the topic