Unconventional uses for punchcards 3: lace in rib

The question periodically comes up with regards to the possibility of using the lace carriage when knitting every needle rib fabric. The lace carriage does not operate with the ribber bed in use in the standard up position, there is not enough clearance between the beds for it to travel from one side to the other across the needle bed. It is possible to drop the ribber down one click, opening up the space between the beds, supposedly to allow for the use of thicker yarns.

My machine is old enough for the ribber to be bowed in the center, increasing the space between the beds there. Trying to use that position for every needle rib in my desired yarn I got yarn breakage in the center of the bed, some skipped stitches, and the sides of the needle bed were still up too high for the LC to have a clear passage. The problem appeared to be due to its brushes hitting the gate pegs. With the brushes removed, but with some grinding against those same gate pegs the LC was able to move along the top bed. At least on my machine, I am giving up on the idea of using it, even if only to preselect needles, let alone make transfers.
This page is from the Ribber techniques book. The fact that transfers are broken up with blocks where there are no transfers, including some with stitches transferred to the opposite bed, makes it easier to track transfers than if using all over designs. Standard pronged tools are sufficient to move the single stitches or groups of three. 

It is possible to transfer larger groups of needles on the main bed to create lace patterns, done of necessity in two-color brioche, but here I am seeking to modify lace punchcards so that the fabric based on them may be created successfully with as few errors and dropped stitches as possible.
My first attempt was made using a second knit carriage set to slip in both directions to preselect needles for transfers,  using a small lace repeat to test the idea. The advantage of this method is that the original lace repeat does not need to be altered in any way. The disadvantage, aside from requiring a second carriage to use, is that the width of the piece on the machine is limited.  The ribber carriage is in use and needs to remain at least in part on the machine bed on the far right, limiting the number of needles for possible use on the right side of 0 to about 20. The same work could be done using only one knit carriage as well, but that would require changing the cam buttons from slip in both directions to knit and back to slip at the appropriate points, one of the methods that make it possible to knit lace on the 260 bulky machines

The repeat used is for this swatch is from StitchWorld, and is knit using the second knit carriage for needle preselection.  Because each block contains lace transfers in only one direction, the fabric, even though it is a rib, reflects that in the biasing first in one direction, then in the opposite.

It helps to be clear as to whether one is producing lace repeat for use in a punchcard or an electronic model which in turn will require mirroring, such as when using Ayab or when using slip stitch selection with the knit carriage in combination with lace carriage selections to create shaped lace edgings. Testing on a small swatch will help determine whether mirroring is required for any specific design. Electronic machines usually produce the design as seen on the knit side, punchcard machines as they would be seen on the purl, thus making mirroring a requirement depending on the source for the design.
I usually begin by modifying my chosen repeat in a spreadsheet. On the left, the pairs of blank rows in the original repeat are temporarily colored in grey. It helps to be consistent. One repeat begins with a full motif, the other with half, which can be confusing when first starting out. The plan is to begin by producing a trim or edging, an all-over pattern for significant lengths appears daunting. Dropped stitches in single bed lace are no fun, in rib they may not even be noticed until the knitting is off the machine. The difference between the two repeats: the 2 grey rows on the left are replaced by black pixels or punched holes, with a blank row placed above and below each of the black row pairs. The design is now expanded from a 40-row height to a 50-row one suitable for use in a punchcard machine This explains some of the desired knitting actions Using the method described in other posts, this was the screengrab imported into Gimp. The grey line is a reference point. Cropping the image to content will allow the last blank row to be preserved by having the grey one there. After the crop, it can be bucket filled with white, or when the image is, in turn, bitmapped to B/W, you may find it disappears. Image scale is then used to reduce the repeat for knitting. This is the repeat used to knit the swatch in my 930. If working from it, punchcard knitters need to mirror designs from an electronic source such as this and will find it easier to do so by turning the card over, marking the holes that require punching on that side, doing so, and then inserting the card in the reader in its usual orientation.  The 930 .png: Prior to knitting the pattern using the ribber, it pays to test the repeat single bed to get a sense of where the knit rows occur and to make certain the transfers are happening in the correct direction and in what place on the needle bed. There should be no side by side empty needles, and in this design, the first pairs of transfers result in 3 stitches on one needle in the center of each shape, not side by side holes as seen here in the false start prior to mirroring the image Making things work: both carriages will be operating to and from the left-hand side. The process is facilitated by the use of an extension rail and a color changer. The knit carriage alone will operate to preselect the needles that will need to be hand transferred to create the lace pattern. With the following modification of the repeat, all transfers are made moving away from the knit carriage. So if the KC is on the right, transfer to the left, if it is on the left, transfer to the right. The paired carriages will create the two all-knit rows between lace segments. The blank rows above and below the two all punched or black pixel rows are there to return the carriages to the proper, left side to begin preselection for the next row of transfers. If any end needles are preselected on the knit bed, push them back to B.
It is best to knit 2 rows of full needle rib before beginning transfer, that will ensure that stitches on both beds are formed properly. I did not, had a spot on the cast-on where the loops were not properly placed on the comb, and that is reflected in the area that looks like a stitch was dropped. Begin with a zig-zag row from left to right, knit 2 circular rows, carriages will be on the right. Knit a sealing row to the left, followed by 2 all knit rows, ending with carriages once more on the left side.
COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, hold it in color changer by pushing the adjacent feeder number
separate the 2 carriages
cancel end needle selection
KC is set to slip in both directions, it will remain there for the duration of knitting the pattern, make certain all main bed needles are in the B position
KC operates alone to the right and preselects the first row of transfers
COR transfer preselected needles to the left, away from the carriage. Make certain all needles are in the B position before the next carriage pass. KC will preselect for transfers to the right as it returns to the left side.  Repeat the process until all needles are preselected for an all knit row as you knit back to the left
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles
Repeat: *COL: remove the yarn from the Knit carriage, separate the 2 carriages, operate KC alone making transfers away from the carriage until all needles are preselected as you knit to the left. 
COL pick up the yarn, engage the ribber carriage knit 2 rows on all needles** until ready to continue in every needle rib.

This method is slow, I found it oddly meditative. It offers an opportunity to review stitch formation, thus avoiding dropped stitches. Hand transferring lace preselection on the single bed as well can sometimes make a fabric achievable that is otherwise cursed by dropped stitches and fiber issues.

Automated shapes across rows of knitting using slip stitch only


Full automation of “held” shapes using slip stitch alone is possible, involves careful planning of the design repeat, an understanding of necessary sequences in “holding” techniques, and results in large, long repeats for recurring shapes.
The starting side for preselection rows varies depending on the design.
Pattern knitting is worked with both cam buttons set to slip, end needle selection must be canceled.
All stitches on the knitting bed must be cleared with each pass of the carriage from side to side.
As shapes grow, test periodically for any yarn loops accidentally caught on the gate pegs.
The overall downloaded program needs to include repeats planned for the number of stitches in work on the needle bed. This is the standard requirement for Ayab, on my 930 the default img2track programming is for a single motif.
If working on an odd number of needles, whether the needle selection is pushed to the right or left of center varies depending on the brand of machine used and changes if horizontal mirroring of the design is added.
It is helpful  to begin with small, narrow repeats for practice. Assorted samples from previous posts:
a ruffle also using the garter bar a couple of zig-zags only one of many pleat variations that may be enlarged and planned for the width of the bed in knitting items such as sideways skirts repeats planned for texture bumps and slits shell shapes Testing the idea on a limited width with small intended shapes helps one iron out errors in logic or knitting sequences,  I prefer to start with a colored chart, making it easier to follow movements of the yarn, carriages, and color changes The chart was then loaded in Gimp, the Mode changed to bitmapped B/W, and the image then scaled to the final width of 74 X 96. For this exercise, I chose to keep the shapes equal distances apart (marked in green), mirrored the image on my 930 to produce the shapes in the same direction. In this instance, as is often encountered in lace knitting, an odd number of rows between repeat segments will allow for the carriage to start from the opposite side in order to reverse the direction of the shaps. The first preselection row may start from either side depending on whether the downloaded image is mirrored or not, whether by intention or automatically by the machine model’s auto settings. The default isolation in img2track is fine, ayab knitters are required to program the repeat in width to match the number of needles in use, so this would work for both I did run into an operator problem: had managed to save the repeat so rather than being all B/W there was a single row of color at its base, which caused mispatterning only when that #1 design row was knit.
With that amended, the selection problem was eliminated The same shapes always starting on the same edge A will distort that edge. Extra rows of the alternate color can vary shapes of the striping between them. Single shape rows could be floated much farther apart on solid ground, or one to which other colors or techniques are added, and finally, the reversing shapes produce a more balanced height at both sides.

A return to Ayab knitting

I  am hoping to return to using the software more frequently, which requires rearranging my workspace to make the necessary cable connections.

After absences from topics, I find it necessary to review them and their categories. This list, for now, catalogs my previous shares on Ayab use specifically, all are subject to future editing
More on Ayab HoP  2/20
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 2/ HOP  2/20
Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ  1/20
Ayab: short rows automated with slipstitch  5/18
Revisiting knitting with 2 carriages single bed, 910 vs Ayab so far  4/18
A Brother 910/ Ayab diary/ EMS kit 3/18
Quilting using Ayab software  2/18
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software  1/18
Lace punchcards meet Ayab 1/18

Although my swatches this past year were often knit using another interface I have added mentions of ayab repeats which will turn up in searches. Other times I have added them to earlier posts such as this one combining KC patterning with racking 2017/12/20


Beginner’s corner


Copyright can be a touchy, sometimes murky subject. In my teaching days at a design school, each instructor was responsible for accumulating what amounted to a “textbook” with any expected readings and required information for students attending the classes. There was an arrangement with a single copy center that actually paid a fee set by the government in order to be allowed to provide a service. Teachers supplied boxed material on a single-sided copy per page sheets, withdrew it at the end of the term. The copy center would make double-sided copies from each sheet in the original, bind them, making them available for purchase for only the cost of what it may have been to customers using copiers to make their own per sheet. My intro to knitting “book” evolved into 330 pages, costing students as far as I can recall about $30. An overall bibliography and often credit in sections were included. This all was happening pre-internet browser searches and easy downloads.
I have often not included a definition for some of the terms used in my posts. Also, I did not share information from manuals and company publications until they, in turn, became easily available online, long after the companies that published them went out of business.
A list of common abbreviations: Test and gauge swatches

From the Brother Knitting Techniques Book
I personally prefer to measure gauge on the purl side, where to my eye the start and end of the color transitions appear clearer.
The Passap advice was quite different. This is from the Duomatic 80 manual
and it was followed by tables that helped with calculation conversions based on measurements. When using Japanese machines while executing some DBJ or highly textured stitches, a larger swatch should become the go-to when measuring gauge for garments by default. Using 100X100 combined with the use of metric measurements facilitates the maths and use of devices such as the knitleader, where measurements in millimeters are required.

A “long swatch” exploring a card from a “censored” selection from the factory-supplied punchcard packet in as many techniques as possible became a required assignment In KM model manuals a list was sometimes provided suggesting what cam settings might be suitable for each card
Factory supplied cards were usually marked with a number and letter as seen above, but oddly as model numbers changed, sometimes either or both of the latter would change as well. A table of my own after a quick review of my stash:
1S, 2R,3J/S, 3P, 4D, 5J, 6P, 7G, 8S/J, 9G, 10D, 13G, 101, 102, 103, 107, 108, 109


Mystery pattern

At the moment this post is a place holder for images and info that may (hence the mystery) be explained at a future date Online references:




WordPress issues

Last April I encountered unwelcome text and characters within posts. The problem appears to have been resolved by intervention from my web host. There are still occasions of residual extra spaces or shifting of syllables and words within text content, and the omission of some of the accompanying images from the reader’s view. I have been reviewing and editing as I can. If the image problem especially is encountered by you, please alert me via email or post comment, and I will attempt to resolve it. TIA.

Earlier on I wrote posts privately over extended periods of time, and shared when to my mind I had gathered my thoughts on the topic and completed editing for the moment. “work in progress” headings came about to make the information available while in development so anyone interested may follow my thinking and see that it takes time, effort, swatching, and even periods of distance from the topic at hand to complete our goal fabrics or create new, related ones. Sometimes the text is composed outside this platform. I have now learned it best be plain text as opposed to rich to avoid character problems.

On occasion, there is a return to previous topics, with the addition of related new headings and content or simple text and new image addition within the body of previous shares.

New security measures are in place the latest WordPress software update. An excessive number of consecutive visits to the blog is likely to receive a gateway error message. The same measures may at times be limiting the number of edits I can make traveling through my history or successfully at any one time within a single post. Results were found in my latest one, leaving text or images in a place that were intended to be altered, moved or deleted by me until some time expired between my dashboard logins. I will work on sorting out how best to prevent such unintended content in the future and to develop operator habits to prevent its happening in the first place. Yet another opportunity for learning.

Ribber trims 2


This is an illustration of the #3 frill from the Ribber Techniques Book:

1. COR: knit a zigzag row to left, hang comb and weights, no circular rows2. knit second zigzag row to right3. transfer stitches as shown 4. knit to left 5. knit back to the rightrepeat steps 3-5 to the desired height

For another variation, knit 4 rows rather than 2 between transfers. My yarn is still a 2/24 acrylic. The trim would look quite different using a thicker yarn or even simply a tighter tension. I continued in rib. Ribber stitches could also be transferred to the top bed for continuation in stocking stitch In theory,  it is possible to knit lace transfers in Brother by dropping the ribber bed enough for the lace carriage to move across the beds while clearing the gate pegs. This remains on my “try someday” list. To my mind, hand transferring remains the best way to deal with lace/ ribber stitches combined.

Tuck patterns on the main bed (or slip stitch) designs can be used to automate and create patterns where holding is recommended in some sources ie. For a punchcard machine, the repeat must be a factor of 24 in width ie. 6 or 8 or  12 stitches wide. Electronic knitters can draw a single repeat, either the one on the left also using color reverse or the one on the right. Punchcard knitters need to punch the grey squares on the right across the card and repeating in height. An extra all knit row needs to be added at the top of each series of 4 rows tucked for the loops to be knit off automatically by the machine. Step 4 in the techniques book, resetting the main bed to N to knit a row after every 4 rows in a holding pattern is missing in their illustration above. The punchcard repeat: punch each grey square to match the illustration A few to try,  shown in repeat X2, as BW gridded .bmps,  and color reversed for knitting.  All but one are  12 stitches in width, suitable for punchcard machines as well Too much black? want to count those black squares more easily? pick your preferred grid color, it will disappear when the image is saved A screen grab from my iMac shows the original charts and the resulting single repeat .bmps after working in GIMP, ready for download with color reverse option and use on the electronic machines. Ayab knitters, in addition, would need to program the repeat in width to match the number of needles planned for use in the piece

Tuck stitch/ combination fabrics

Work in progress

I am presently attempting to knit my samples using a 910 with an EMS kit Ayab interface. When possible I will provide punchcard, electronic, and Ayab repeats for each.

White squares in the first chart represent tuck stitches, the dark blue row, the pass that knits every stitch, the lighter blue the pass that knits and in turn drops every stitch. The main knitting is happening on the top bed. Loops and dropped stitches are formed on the ribber. This pattern is not suitable for use with color changer since patterning for each of the 2 repeat segments occurs over an odd number of rows (7 each, for a repeat total of 14). Punchcard knitters repeat X 3 in height, electronic knitters use only one of the 2 repeats, outlined in red.
Preselect the first row of the pattern from either side on a punchcard machine or an unaltered 910, from left if using ayab.
*With the KC set to tuck <– –>, the ribber set to slip <–  –> knit 6 rows. The last row will be all knit (darker blue).  Cancel slip on the ribber carriage, setting it to knit  <– –>
knit one row on both beds to the opposite side (lighter blue, preselection will happen for the first tuck row in the next sequence). Disengage the ribber carriage still set to knit from the KC, take it across the ribber bed to release the loops. Reset the ribber carriage to slip <—->
move the carriage back to reconnect with the KC. ** Tuck sequence begins again. Repeat  * to ** ayab repeat for 30 stitch swatch, requires color invert the same repeat, not requiring color invert after loading into softwaretuck fabrics are usually more interesting on their purl sideTuck stitch combined with lace transfers
large scale mesh 

Drat it aka “figlet” moments: knit leader mylar sheets +

Such moments may well have to be a new blog topic. In the hope of actually soon having enough time to return to knitting on a more regular basis, I have been reorganizing my supplies. This can be a good thing. I have “found” missing ribber comb wires, tools I had forgotten about, have drawer units that are helping with organization of all the “stuff”,  and that for a while will be contributing to my having to make regular searches for all sorts of things. Then there were all those mylar sheets for knit leaders with garment shapes on them for pieces I cannot even remember making with lovely multi colored lines all over them. One in particular had very fine lines, I guessed perhaps from ink other than that in my go to water soluble pens, so I thought to give removal a shot with some alcohol. Hence a warning: the lines did not disappear on the “outside”, so I flipped the darn sheet over to give erasing a shot on its reverse side and discovered quickly by the lovely blue on the cloth that the measurement grid was quickly and completely removed in any area touched by the alcohol. Another lesson learned. Perhaps an earlier one of great benefit might have been not to wait decades to erase knit leader mylar sheets, no matter what the marking tool as I now explore ” would I ever make this shape once again, ever?” and “what will take these lines off?” on other sheets.

Previously captured and “found” while exploring text issues in earlier posts, is now fondly remembered and shared

at 60 inch length of a lace shawl

Brother/Passap: traveling between brands


This is the start of a new spreadsheet with between brands vocabulary. I will edit and replace information throughout the post as time allows 

A previous post on yarns info included these guidelines provided for knitting using Jaggerspun yarns. I have no affiliation with the company. I do still continue to use some of their “lines” and have a great appreciation for all their yarns. I obtained permission from the company to share content. The bottom 2 yarns, superfine merino, and zephyr wool silk are both 2/18.

Joella Knitworks was a publication in the 90s on Passap knitting. A ravelry question back in 2014 led me to dig up a copy of an article I wrote for the newsletter in 1998 on using tech 129 for adapting Japanese patterns for use on Passap, shared as a pdf, offered here as images

Brother dbj ribber settings

Two of my former  handouts on Passap lock settings and techniques
There are interesting differences between needle hook sizes that many of us experience or guess at when not obvious. This was shared by a PassapKnits member, “DT”, last October. I am sharing his observations here with his permission. The group has now moved from Yahoo, offers a wealth of information on Passap knitting machines