DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 1

I began to machine knit in the glory days of using the tool and developing techniques. There were internationally attended seminars, hosts of wonderful teachers, and a community of potential peers brought together physically in pre-internet and online forum days. Punchcard machines were the standard. As more electronic models became available it was not uncommon to find the rep for DAK at one end of the market spaces at seminars, and Cochenille at the opposite end, promoting early interface and design programs. My choice at that point was the Cochenille products. I attended design school beginning 1989, the computer lab at the time was all Amiga, and I never really became interested in DAK or for that matter, Garment Styler. I was up and running soon with Bitknitter for the Passap, had the option of the Forma on the Passap or the Knit leader on Brother for less traditional shapes, and the magic formula worked for any of the math I needed in days of using graph paper or that other paper that has lots of lines in it for keeping notes. The calcuknit and styler at the time worked on established default curves, the same that could be achieved by charting math or even simply connecting lines between dots on graph paper, drawing lines in between the dots, and following the drawn lines guesstimating increases and decreases along the edge of the drawing. I have never had any experience with DAK, was never really interested in owning it. ¬†ūüėČ
A bit of early low tech: when aspect ratio mattered pages of acetate sheets with vertical lines spaced at different intervals could be lined up atop of each other and placed on a design to approximate knit gauge, and the result could then be charted out and planned for a punchcard repeat or intarsia. Some acetates were sold gridded to approximate stitch and row default proportions, there were also published paper charting aids for both standard and bulky gauges. Some examples:

Laying acetate or even plastic wrap on the computer screen itself and outlining designs and processing them with overlays, was a version of “poor man’s digitizing”. The technological advancement of black and white security cameras used in combination with RGB filters made the first digitizing of non-repetitive images possible.
I had never really planned on teaching. As it turned out I interviewed a few weeks before completing a textile program, had several finished pieces with me from my undergrad work, and was amazingly hired instantly as the machine knitting instructor for apparel and textiles. I found myself faced with a Brother punchcard lab and a summer of crash learning on the specific models followed. In order to teach effectively, I learned to analyze and break down stitch types and techniques in order to help others understand them. Summers would often include studying trends and knitting lots of swatches. Many of those are still in a couple of bins I held onto when I downsized a few years ago, giving up my studio space. It is that analysis that keeps me interested still in working out how-tos. Although I use electronics, I still like to break things down when I can so punchcard knitters are not left out.
Getting to the topic of multiple colors and nonrepetitive images in the “early days”: punching holes in cards is time-consuming and without the aid of electronics or specific software, color separations for dbj and assorted double bed fabrics need to be worked out manually before punching, and accuracy is important. Consequently, some knitters found compromises to achieve the look of multiple colors per row. Julie Schafler Dale’s¬†Julie-Artisans Gallery on Madison Avenue became the central plug-in point for the wearable art movement, eventually representing artists, some of whom are no longer knitting, and some may still be found presently online
Susanna Lewis, Norma Minkowitz, Jean Williams Cacicedo, Linda Mendelson,
Nicky Hitz Edson, and not caring about floats, often working single bed with some linings and over-dyeing additional colors  Janet Lipkin .
The non-repetitive image was worked out in length by dividing the image lengthwise into panels often 40 stitches wide for use with early Passaps and continuing on to the desired height.  Widthwise, the design was split into the maximum width of 40 stitches with added seaming allowance and consecutive panels were joined to compose the large image. The kimono was the most common shape because of its simplicity in components. As for getting the look of more colors per row: multiple thin strands in color families were used in each yarn feeder. For example, one can knit with  4 strands of red shades, 4 yellow sequentially lined up, used in pairs in the same feeder. Keeping the red constant, for the second strand, the work may begin with either the lightest or darkest yellow, knit X rows, switch yellow to the second shade for X rows, switch to each of the next hues, and in theory, the final set of rows should look like a different color than the one used in that feeder at the start of the process. the ratio of red could be played with as well, expanding the range. Knitting pieces in black and white particularly allows for limited edition knitting. The third color may be applied on portions of the white, providing a look-alike for 3 colors per row. With the range of space-dyed yarns or custom dyeing blanks and then unraveling them for larger pieces to control pooling one can also get the look of more colors per row. Not to be forgotten are hand embroidery and fabric applique.

The question remains as to how to knit more than 2 colors per row on home knitting machines, and color separations to make the fabrics possible. The more colors per row, the more passes to complete any design motif. The final result may be thick and unyielding unless thin yarns are used. More rows are often knit in the back than on the front of the fabric, resulting in further elongation of the shapes involved. The easiest default separation is to knit 2 rows of each color for 2 rows sequentially, allowing paired passes to and from the color changer. This results in an elongated design, even with playing with standard backing variations to reduce vertical stretch such as in birdseye. In a post years ago I began to look at 3 colors per row and some potential issues with separations for dbj using it the initial method:

Each row will have to knit twice to get 2 and from the color changer for color changes every 2 rows, for less punching, each row can be represented once, but the result will need to be elongated X 2

The graph below shows the motif in repeat, the next column the color separation, with expanded rows, and in the third, the black indicates the knit stitches (black squares on mylar, punched holes in card) prior to elongation. 

The repeat was not workable when using the standard method used to avoid elongation, where each color for each design row knits only once. There are segments where the new color would not align properly on stitches knit on the previous row, and to get the design to work I had to amend it.
Fast forward 5 years. I now have access to both ayab and img2track, no longer use Photoshop and Excel, still use GIMP and Numbers as my way to color separate and produce charts for my blog. There are active forums both on Ravelry and Facebook with general machine knitting information, or specific to both interface options and methods for using them.

Sarah Spencer @ heartofpluto¬†developed code that reduces the number of rows knit making the common impossibles possible. The code is freeware, has been implemented in Ayab and available there as a menu option. Adrienne Hunter’s posts on Ravelry¬†explore the concept involved.
To begin, I was interested in using part of the concept on my own while keeping the color sequence constant ie 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3 and so on throughout the piece and always begin tests with simple shapes that allow me to note what is happening to stitches, changes in scale as the result of the techniques used and started with designs where each color is represented at least once in each row. The color separation used: The ribber was set for birdseye at the start of the swatch pictured. At its top, N in one direction and slip in the other were used, with the ribber set for knitting every needle when the main bed slips them all on blank punchcard or pixel rows. The tension remained constant throughout. The KC preselection row can happen from either side with this particular color separation depending on whether one starts the design with a blank row or one containing pixels. Since 2 rows knit in each “color”, I prefer to start the first preselection row on the right. Both birdseye and N settings on the ribber produce a single row stripe on the back of the piece for every 2 passes of the carriages and completed ¬†2-row color change sequence. The N setting contributes to elongated stitches on both faces, leading me to prefer the lili birdseye one.¬†

In theory, because of the way the birdseye rows set up a base for the next row of knitting,  that makes the stitches in any color workable in pattern colors. I created a new repeat for that motif working in numbers following that up, I planned for the 60 rows needed to complete the repeat, hid 30 rows,  using this menu

copied and pasted the black and white repeat on the above right, then unhid the 30 hidden rows (see previous posts using command key selections), having a new color separation repeat, created the final 2 color BMP in Gimp (whew!)Since my separation is planned on 2-row sequences, I began with COR and my preselection row was from right to left. I initially had issues with the lili buttons behaving erratically, once the ribber carriage was oiled again that seemed to solve the problem for me. I did not arrange colors in the yarn changer to match the illustration in any way, but that could certainly be done to match a chart. With COL pick up the first color in the sequences, there will be no needles selected on the top bed (no black squares on the first row of repeat). Remember to have both carriages set to slip in both directions and the rule for even the number of needles in work on the ribber. As the carriages move to the right, every other needle will knit on the ribber, the first row with black squares will preselect. With COR on the pass back to the left, the pattern squares will knit, a blank row will be preselected, and the ribber will complete a single row of the background color by knitting on the alternate needles from its previous pass. As a result, one row of backing and one design row for each color (including no color in some instances) are completed with every 2 passes of the carriages.
I had a better edge and needle selection on the ribber with an extra needle in work on its left as compared to the main bed, adjusting after the cast-on row, maintaining the ribber needles in pairs, and evaluating the swatches after the fact would probably set up an extra needle on the right side as well.

This swatch and the ones following it use yarns in 3 different weights and different fiber contents. The blue is acrylic and the thinnest of the three. Some bleed-through of the colors traveling behind the blue shapes, in particular, can be seen behind it. The magenta is cotton, the yellow wool. Better choices of both the fiber content and colors of the yarns used would improve the overall look. If one plans color changes to match chart, a  paint program can help visualize some of the possible results

What of shapes with fewer than 3 colors in some rows?Again, there is some bleed-through, and even with this technique there is some elongation of each of the shapes, but less so than with other techniques. The backing of all these fabrics produces single lines in each color used Even fairly small repeats can take time to color separate in this manner. The technique, however, is the only method available to punchcard knitters. Electronic machines with download cables and varying software open a very different world in terms of ease and range in repeat size possibilities.
Here the repeat is adjusted from 11 stitches in width to 12, making it suitable for punchcard machines, and widening the center shape by one stitch may also reduce lengthwise stretch and help it appear rounder after knitting

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:
https://heartofpluto.co
https://heartofpluto.co/categories/hacking-a-brother-950i/
https://heartofpluto.co/2017/03/25/hacking-the-brother-km-950i-to-knit-multi-colour-patterns/
https://github.com/chixor/knitting_machine/releases/tag/950i-multi-colour

https://ayab-knitting.com/ayab-software/

https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/search#forum=Machine%20Knitting&query=3%20color%20dbj&sort=recent&view=posts&page=1

 

Machine knitting seam as you knit

This technique can be used in many ways including to attach a front band to a sweater, body pieces of a garment such as when knitting a raglan sleeve from the top-down, flat pieces of knitting to make a tube ie in some socks, and for decorative joins adding a strip of knitting between 2 (or more) previously completed pieces. Most often, one is joining the 2 (or 3) pieces with purl side facing.
Looking at the purl side of any knitting you will see a knot and a loop along the side edges of the work. The loop is formed on the carriage side at the start of each pass, the “knot” opposite the starting carriage side as that side of that row is reached and the yarn twists. Work the first piece, A, remove from the machine. Generally, with smaller row gauge it is best to join loops, with thicker yarns,¬†¬†larger stitches, or if you plan to felt the finished piece, work with the knots. Any single or even double eye tool, Jolie, or another favorite may be used to insert into the individual space at the edge for picking up.
If joining rows to rows: begin the second piece, B. Though the join can happen on either side, in this case, cast on, knit a row, end with the carriage on the right side (COR).  Pick up the first knot (or loop) on A, from its bottom-up, and hang it onto the left end needle (opposite the carriage) of the cast on row for B.
Knit two rows, returning to COR
Go to the next knot (loop) on A. Pick it up and place it on the outside left edge needle of B, opposite the carriage.
Knit 2 rows and continue on, repeating the last 2 steps to the desired length.
Remember to pick up knots (loop) opposite the carriage every other row.

If the pieces to be joined are long, place a yarn marker on the side(s) to be joined at regular intervals simply by adding a short piece of contrasting color yarn laying it in the hook on the end needle(s). It will not become a permanent part of the stitch. The markers will serve as guides in seaming, can be easily removed when they are reached by a quick tug.

Open stitches may also be joined using this method, but they would have to be hooked onto the second piece every row rather than every other, and caution should be taken in terms of skipping any stitch, as any such stitch will unravel at the end of the process unless it has been secured.
If a bound-off edge of a sideways knit is joined to a knit band, then some adjustment in gauge or row count needs to be made. Knit stitches generally around 4 in width to 3 in height so every 4th part of the bound-off chain may need to be skipped¬†Depending on the stitch type and yarn used a simple tension change and observing the loop (knot) rule every other row may work without any additional adjustments. The Brother Knitting Technique Book offers an interesting variation as a way of creating a double-wide repeat using a punchcard motifThis is a long-ago demo swatch. The chevrons are shaped by holding, could be knit on any machine in any width. After the first strip is knit to the desired length, the second is joined to it as it is being knit. I generally prefer the joins with the carriage on the right and ¬†the completed strip hooked onto its left side. If the color changer is to be used, then the strip being created to join to the finished piece should always be knit on the left side of the bed in order to allow for traveling to and from the color changer every 2 rows. The image here is turned sideways, the chevrons could be used either vertically or horizontally depending on design plans.The above method may be used to join fair isle patterns in order to achieve significantly wider final panels. Some artists, when no electronic models were available, would join cards in continued lengths and planned their repeats side by side to achieve large, non-repetitive images. The punchcard width markings on your Brother needle tape can serve as guides. I use punchcard repeats so often I replaced the needle tape in my 910 early on with one for punchcard models. Markings may also be seen on them for every 8 stitches If the second piece is to be joined with the new piece on its right, add a single stitch to the full punchcard repeat (solid line or thin line section on tape, anywhere on the bed) on the right side, hook up the edge loop (or knot) from the first piece onto the new one, which uses the same needle location as that extra needle in the previous piece for the first stitch in work on its left (full line or blank space on tape). The cast on thread as shown in the techniques publication is not necessary. If wishing to join on the opposite side, then add the extra needle to the first piece on the left edge of the full repeat. With care one can plan for smaller stitch repeats as well. The needle tape or even the knit bed may be marked with water-soluble markers to indicate the extra needle position when adding new vertical strips of knitting. In this former demo swatch, I used a space-dyed yarn for ground accounting for the difference in color on each piece. Color pooling in such yarns is another consideration that may require specific planning in any technique. Here a slip stitch ruffle was joined on the left to one of my completed shawl bodies.The above discussion is based on joins occurring on the same needle location on the needle bed. There is no reason why that should be a constant. A strip or shape can be created with two separate, completed knit pieces joined to it as it progresses in length. “Always” hook onto the new piece opposite the carriage, with usually a minimum of 3 stitches on the new center panel.
Here I grabbed 2 random swatches, one is knit side out, the other purl side out, and one is upside down. The magenta yarn is thinner than the wool, the tension initially used was a dot more than one, left that way from some other experiment or poltergeists. It pays to check all settings prior to beginning any project. To start with I cast on with the magenta and knit a row, hooked up the loop from piece one, starting from its planned bottom edge,¬†COLknit one row to other side, hooked up piece 2,¬†CORand continued until I reached the point where I wanted to experiment with increases, keeping the shape symmetrical. I picked up a loop from both added pieces and hooked them onto the first empty needle on each side of the strip, essentially casting on an added stitch on each side each time, following with 2 knit rows. ¬†After working my “desired shape” I tested decreases:COR:¬†after hooking up the next row, knit one row to the left and transfer the stitch just created on the left onto the adjacent needle on its right, creating a simple decrease. ¬†Knit to the right continue with a straight edge on the right side, repeating the decrease on the left every other row, I kept a straight edge on the right after I reached the top of the piece there. Here is the reverse side of the piece.¬†The cleanest joins happen when the edges are straight to start with, above there was movement of the edges happening because of the distortion of the fabric created by the eyelets. A light pressing if possible may also set the edge stitches, help them lie flat, and make them more visible. When working with slanted edges on the first piece this is one way to join it, taking into consideration whether any adjustment in the frequency of hooking up needs to be made.A better edge will be obtained if the decreases to that piece were made using the full-fashioned method, resulting in a neat “chain” for pick up along its finished edge.

There are other options for decorative joins as one knits, one such is shown in a video by Roberta Rose Kelly.

And not to be forgotten, playing with materials or anything else that allows for an edge to be hooked onto a latch holding a knit stitch ;-). Here the add on is polar fleece, it could be crochet, lace, etc.

Ribber cast ons: breaking the “rules”

This is a quick note attempting to illustrate the third circular row as shown in manuals is not needed and in some yarns, at least to my eye, there is an extra “bar/float” making a difference between purl and knit side of the fabric. I find the 2 circular rows also make a bit tidier, tighter edge. My swatches are very small, in fine 2/18 silk wool.
This is the purl side facing, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightthe knit side, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightevery other needle, purl side facing, 2 circs on left, 3 on the right, with markers indicating the “extra float”the knit side, 2 circs on left, 3 on the rightI knit the samples as tightly as possible. When making dbj slip stitch scarves I wanted the bottom to match the top in width. The ribber stitches were transferred to the main bed and tested on a test swatch whether I preferred to knit an added row or not before performing a latch tool bind off around gate pegs. To deal with the cast on width, ¬†I simply planned to knit the zig-zag row on at least garment tension, thus leaving me with what are normally considered ugly loops. There are 2 such loops for each stitch. With a latch tool, begin opposite the yarn end, and consistently choose the next right or left loop, chaining them through each other.

Two circular rows are also used when transitioning from varied configurations to every needle ones, illustrated in the post on  racked-ribber-cast-on-and-rib-configuration-tips

picking up an edge loop, moving it behind the latch proceeding  toward the yarn end, pick up one of the next 2 loops in hook, here I consistently chose the one on the right if the first loop slips in the hook again as well, get it behind the latch once more before proceeding
pull the second loop through the previous onework across the row, secure the yarn end the appearance on the reverse side I can be a little bonkers with my finishing, have even been known when dealing with getting top and bottom edges to match in look and width to rehang every other loop, knit a row, and then perform the latch tool bind off. If tuck double bed fabrics are knit, they require planning for loose cast ons and bind-offs. Slip stitch is short and thin, tuck stitch is short and fat, whether knit single or double bed and then is compared with fabrics where either bed predominantly knits plain.

References for double bed single color fabrics with pockets

Another facebook thread has begun a sort of “trip down the rabbit hole”. Until I have time to swatch my theories on the specific fabric in question, I thought I would list some ways offered in publications available for download online and in my previous blog posts that touch on this area. ¬†To start with, some fabrics are commonly referred to as pintucks, though tuck stitch is a completely different category of stitches, and they are usually shown in a single color. Understanding the repeat, however, one could plan for the shapes to occur within horizontal stripes of varied colors.¬†

from the Brother Ribber techniques book

Other terms: ripple ribs are a type of selective pintuck pattern in which more rows are regularly worked on the main bed than on the ribber. The main bed carriage is set to slip in both directions throughout, the ribber carriage is set to slip for four rows, and knit for 2. The width of the work needs even weight, and most likely the edge stitches will as well. The tensions used approximate that used in every needle rib for the same yarn. ¬†To exaggerate the ripple effect, the ribber setting may be set up to three whole tensions tighter than the MB if possible or desired. Two-color versions are possible. From the Brother Ribber techniques book, note they use the term synonymously with pintucks In blister jacquard more rows are also worked on the main bed than on the ribber, creating a fabric with at times high textured. It may be executed in 2 colors as well. A “normal” DBJ card can be used, but the ribber carriage settings need to be changed with each color change. Things become far easier if the fabric is color separated for the technique and the original design is modified. Color variations merit their own posts

Some of my previous posts on double bed “quilting” including some 2 color variations within the same horizontal rows as well
2018/02/23/quilting-using-ayab-software/
2018/02/15/revisiting-machine-knit-quilting/
2013/05/30/quilting-on-the-brother-km-2-solid-color-back-dbj/
2013/05/16/quilting-on-the-knitting-machine-1/

 

 

Sock knitting resources and ideas for machine knitting

The only sock(s) I have ever knit have been as demos in my classes. I actively dislike wearing them, and it winds up being a sheer necessity in our winters to actually break down and wear them. I have had an ongoing interest in 3D knitted, explored some pleating, have always been fond of holding techniques. This year has not allowed for as much time exploring and producing as I might have wanted, am hoping to increase both activities in the coming one.
Forums of late have buzzed with knit socks, here are some possible online resources: from machineknittingetc.com:
studio-tips-and-techniques-issue-37-charting-socks
singer-sock-book-seamed-and-circularmachine-knit-news-machine-knit-socks-supplementempisal-sock-patterns

From assorted sources: visualizing shaping sequences: aspect ratio was disregarded in order to combine several images into a large one, particularly noticeable in the middle image on the top row ūüėČPatterns from manufacturers: Superba manual ¬†Passap Duo 80From a Brother pub. The original paper version actually came with knit leader patterns

There are many ways to seam join such shapes. Seam-as-you-knit is another option. Diana Sullivan offers a video on the technique. Considering its limitations: the seaming needs to occur on equally shaped segments, this would eliminate any shaping to allow for widening parts of the leg as one moves up toward the knee, so the height of the sock would need to be shortened, planning for fit. If one desires a true rib at the top of the completed sock, IMO seams at least for the rib are unavoidable, and one must take measures to make certain cast ons and bind offs for ribbed bands match in look and width. The same issue with shaping occurs when knitting socks tubular. For a tube to grow or decrease in diameter retaining its circular form, the only way to achieve the result is to increase or decrease evenly across knitting bed(s) involved, far easier to achieve if one surrenders the seamless idea and allows for a seam in the design. Here A sections would be knit first, B sections would follow with seaming along the dotted lines. The toe is a 3D shape achieved by holding, with no seaming necessary.
If one is fond of holding intarsia techniques and cumulative joins, this book is available  For advice and ideas on knitting the swan socks see https://knitterstoolchest.wordpress.com/category/circular-knitting/
a video link is included, as well as this schematic

machine knit sock and slipper pattern resource
socks, heels, and more 
eliminating short row holes
general instructions 
penny socks 

Sock calculators: http://roued.com/supersockcalculator.php  https://www.goodknitkisses.com/sock-calculator/  https://www.storey.com/crochet-calculator/toe-up-sock.html

From Knitty, an online hand knitting magazine: universal sock article 
A hand knitting resource on choosing your sock heels 
From Drops design, HK, a spiral sock , and a side to side version, both food for thought in terms of adapting for machine knitting.

For folks who prefer videos, a search on youtube will offer lots of choices, and Roberta Rose Kelley offers 2 that provide a wealth of ideas and information, on tubular socks, the other on adding afterthought heels , using decker combs on Passap machines, transferring ribbed band stitches using a garter bar 

Small scale experiments for larger ideas: the spiral sock
Mary Thomas’ book of knitting patterns was first published in 1943, my edition in 1972. This is the usual cover photo¬†on page 38 a repeat and instructions are offered for a spiral tube sock. The latter has no heel shaping, but traditional toe shaping can be added. The knit/purl design can easily be executed single bed by folks who own a G carriage. My mini sock was knit on 30 stitches +1 for sewing. The blocks can be varied in width depending on the required circumference of the finished tube. The¬†extra pattern stitch in the chart is to allow for seaming a half stitch on each edge and maintaining the pattern. *After every 6 rows knit transfer the right-hand needle of every ribber group to the main bed, on the main bed transfer the right needle of every group down to the ribber**, ¬†repeat * to ** for the desired length. There are a number of ways to deal with the toe part of the stocking.¬†I would opt for transferring stitches to the main bed and knitting one row,¬†using holding remove half the width onto waste yarn then¬†bringing half the stitches on the alternate side into work. The toes may then be worked using stocking stitch, scrapping off, and seaming or grafting the stitches held on scrap to each other. My working repeat, with a 12 stitch repeat usable on punchcard machines as well isolated by the added green border testing the tiling, making certain any programming would line up Cast on for a ribbed band at top of the sock in any preferred configuration. Be certain cast on stretches enough to accommodate the finished width of the tube as it stretches to fit the leg. Transfer stitches between beds in the desired knit/purl configuration. When the desired height is reached transfer all stitches to the top bed, drop the ribber, switch sinker plates, knit a row on all stitches, divide for toe shaping. Here one half away from yarn end and carriage is knit with waste yarn and dropped off¬†when shaping is complete, After toe shaping is finished and waste yarn is added, the work is removed from the machineBecause all transfers are made in one direction, as in any knit fabric where that happens, the fabric will biasHere the toe shaping is seamed, the twist in the body of the sock begins to showOne side of my knitting was looser than the other, something to watch in any “real” piece. Thin yarn knit on tension 4 is probably also not the best suited for any socks in terms of wear. After seamingand worn by a few cotton balls ūüėČLastly, it is possible to knit socks sideways (as well as gloves), usually in garter stitch and in hand knitting. This is a crochet illustration that points to the general construction method.

On the machine, the shaping would need to occur with increases and decreases rather than holding to create the heels, and toes could be shaped, probably best by full-fashioned increases and decreases. There would be at least one grafted seam the width of the sock, the cuff could be added with the side straight edge picked up and knit from there. To get shaping to match, in theory,  one option would be to start with waste yarn, knit to half the above  shape, scrap off. Rehang starting open stitches, reverse shaping, graft seam. Dotted lines represent open stitches, decreases and increases can be planned so that only the smaller group of stitches on one side are moved with a garter bartest swatch to follow

Twisted headband meet fisherman rib, seaming, variation ideas

The machine knitting forums in both Ravelry and Facebook have recently been buzzing with versions of twisted headbands in varied techniques and yarn weights. Tanya Cunningham sparked the discussions by showing her bulky tubular knotted version. In her blog, one may find clear instructions on fold and assembly.
I chose to knit mine in full fisherman rib, making the fabric reversible, so that facing side at the start did not matter when seaming. I wanted a single thickness and a lightweight but warm fabric that would lie flat, perhaps being worn under jacket hoods on winter walks. My first band was knit with a punchcard carriage with a magnet placed for using it on my electronic. I forgot I had removed its row counter when it was last used for knitting with 2 paired main/ribber carriages in order to clear the end of the bed. As a result, I was unable to use the row counter, as that fact eliminated the tripper for it.
Part of my plan was also to avoid bulk at the twist as much as possible. Increasing the stitch count for such warmers can easily approach more of a hat shape, and a ‚Äútop‚ÄĚ could be added to complete the piece if it is intended to be worn as one.
In terms of inspiration, there are endless sources for twisted bands available, most for hand knitting, but sometimes they can be adapted to machine knitting easily enough, especially if one also owns a G carriage. One such source is Dropsdesign , simply enter headbands, knit, in the search field.
Head sizes and what each of us determines as comfort can vary tremendously. A table of head circumferences may be found at craft yarn council, and for much more detailed charts see
The twist will take up some of the finished lengths.
My first band sailed through on my Brother 930 standard:
Cast on 22 stitches in 2/18 silk wool, tension 5/4, at the same tension as the body of the band, intentionally loose.
Knit to head circumference, checking the length on the machine with weight off periodically after weight hits floor (scientific measurement), and periodically after the weight and comb are moved up.
Transfer stitches to main bed
Knit one row single bed at a looser tension (I used 8 in this version)
Bind off around gate pegs, OK if tighter than the bottom, it will be part of the seam
Twist and fold,  rehang one side of the chain, alternate loops from the loose cast on
Knit a loose row across all layers and bind off,
Turn inside out.
Variations in color are due to the wonderful lighting in my apartment on another gloomy, rainy winter fall day.
Visualizing the necessary folds: make certain not to twist the fabric, fold it in half. Colors are used to represent portions of the finished, continuous  rectangle, dotted lines the approximate center line when it is folded

For my second effort, I switched the yarn to a yummy feeling 2/14 wool that was plagued with random dropped stitches on the Brother, no matter what I tried. That piece wound up lightly felted by hand after intentionally adding more knit length. I eventually gave up and moved over to my Passap, where things went smoothly knitting on 4/4. A reminder: in this fabric, one bed knits every needle while the opposite bed makes loops on every needle. It is helpful if the first stitch on each bed knits as carriages move to the opposite side.
Passap setting EX/ EX beginning on right and moving toward the left will tuck on the back bed (ribber setting), knit on the front (main bed setting) while tucking on front and knitting on the back when moving from left to right. Operating from the same side, the Brother settings to match would actually be the reverse of those illustrated in the ribber manual. Starting sides are in Brother instructions are often based on cast ons with 3 circular rows. I prefer 2 as I have explained in the past, it avoids a float forming between stitches on one side of the fabric. In this instance, it matters in set up only in terms of planning ahead as to which bed will form knit stitches first and having the first needle in work on that bed to ensure that the stitch will knit. In matching patterns between brands, cam settings could matter more. End needle selection brings stitches out to knit in patterning, but if KC is used here, all needles in work will be brought out to knitting position, so that is not a solution for having those stitches knit. Another thing to note in the instructions is one that might be missed upon a quick view. The Brother setting shown is for full pitch. That is because their instructions are for full fisherman knit for when every other needle is in use. If every needle were in use, the setting should be on H, not P There is also the option when one wants to insure end stitches knit in patterns such as tuck to bring end stitches out to hold manually prior to knitting the next row.
A gauge swatch in double bed tuck should be at least 80-100 rows in length. One can sometimes “wing it”. It is important if you do that, that the length is measured between the beds as close to needles as possible, and down from there without weight and after the fabric has relaxed. Do not assume it will stretch to fit, the result may be several inches too small.
A comfortable length for me in the blue wool consisted of 310 rows, knit at T 4/4. Stitches were quite small, so after transfer to the back bed, I knit a row to the opposite side at tension 8 before binding off. I also placed contrasting color yarn markers at the center point of the cast on and bind off to make seaming up evenly easier, and held things together with a double eye tool so as not to accidentally twist the piece.

The number 4 band is my first sample, knit on Brother standard. Number one got pulled on to the planned length based on the “it will stretch” assumption. A metal ruler/yardstick was marked with tape at the desired height, while on the machine the marker was reached, but when off it, the final measurement was a whole 16 inches as the knit relaxed, far too small for most human adults! Number 2 is the brother version felted by hand to hide dropped stitch and edge stitch repairs, knit and shrunk to a measurement longer than head circumference for finished width, taking into consideration the fact that stretch is lost in felting. The fit was tested on my own head during shrinking and before drying. The number 3 band is the “comfy wool” one knit on my Passap. When I taught my course, after weeks of swatching the first “garment” involving a variety of automatic and hand techniques, students were required to knit a “baby hat with earflaps” exactly as given in printed instructions, using any stitch pattern and yarn of their choice. It provided an interesting exercise in gauge and proof of the need for swatching before beginning plans for actual garments. The results varied from so small the hats would only fit a small doll to ones too large for any human head.
Knitters are often resistant to swatching, but making assumptions about results can result in not the best use of both time and materials. If working in tubular stocking stitch the tension used should be the same as for knitting of that yarn in that stitch single bed. Tuck stitch is short and fat. In every needle rib there are stitches being worked on both beds, so double the number on the top bed would be actually worked than when using needles on only one bed. Loosening the tension by several numbers on both beds does not equate to matching width for similar numbers of stitches to the ribbed version. Here is a resulting mini-band, testing the same seaming technique used in the fisherman-rib samples. It was 20 stitches in width, 80 rows in length. I cast on at a loose tension, matching that used in the body of the stocking stitch tube and¬†knit a row to seal before setting for circular knitting.¬†¬†When the top is reached, transfer stitches from the ribber to the top bed, knit at a looser tension tow to the opposite side prior to binding off and seaming (here I used 10). The technique should be usable on bulkier bands as well.The elongated stitches at the top of the “band” are due to an extra needle in use on the ribber. To review, the proper settings from the Ribber Techniques Book:

Long stitches meet transfer lace

Eons ago, when I was exploring long stitches I shared directions for a tuck stitch combination fabric At about that time I came across this image on Pinterest.
It combines transfer lace and long stitches, has characteristics that make some lace patterns unable to be reproduced on home knitting machines. Upon inspection, one will see that the number of stitches varies in different parts of the repeat. Aside from creating eyelets, the smaller triangular shapes increase in width, the fan shapes are decreased by half on their top row. Long stitches are created across all needles in work, then they are reconfigured so the center single stitch of the triangle and the center 2 stitches of the fan shape realign in the same position. The number of stitches at the start of the pattern and after the long stitches are created remains constant. Trying variations on inspiration sources can lead to success, failure, somewhere in between, but also increase learning and skill that will carry over into other knitting techniques, even if the results are never used for a finished piece.

The Brother ribber is used to produce the long stitches. A bit of review: the bracket lever has 3 positions:

Dropping the ribber down 2 mm on each side gives enough clearance for thicker yarns. ¬†At a seminar, I saw Susanna use the position to create transfer lace in ribbed fabrics, something I have been threatening to try for decades, but have not yet. Here the lace carriage is shown in position, clearing the ribber’s gate pegs. My preference is to create a chart in order to visualize and plan an “attack” prior to any knitting. White squares represent needles emptied by transferring their stitches to the right and to the left respectively. One must remember to keep empty needles in the work position to form eyelets. I found making the transfers easier an the process more visible if I dropped one side of the ribber to the second, 17 mm. position

The ribber remains set to slip <– –> on all transfer rows, and any all knit rows on main bed only.¬†The ribber is set to N <– –> for three rows. On the first pass, all its needles will pick up the yarn, creating loops on every needle
With the ribber carriage alone, ¬†still set to N/N, free it and make two passes to and from its starting side. The first pass releases the loops, the second returns it for coupling with the knit carriage. Below the long loops can be seen. My needle tape is “somewhere”, has not yet been returned to the ribber after my racking handle adventures were completed.Return the ribber settings to slip in both directions, and repeat the process. Dropping the ribber to the lowest position at any point can verify goings-onHere one row has been knit on the main bed only, anchoring the loops, returning carriages to the opposite side prior to starting transfers once moreA word of caution: if loops are picked up on any single row¬†that in theory was set to slip and was to be worked on only single bed, check to make certain the tuck lever has not been accidentally brought up to the tuck position. Although tuck <– –> can serve for a free pass on the main bed, having this setting on the ribber will create loops on all needles in work My test swatch had a couple of different# of transfer trials in horizontal segments and a few operator errors. It was knit in wool for the “spring” of the fiber, and unpressed formed pleats of sorts, while with a hard press it flattened out considerably, with not as much of a wave as I might like. My later effort led to a fabric that was different from the inspiration one, but far more interesting to me than the one above. I began with a schematic, originally planning only 4 eyelets, then adjusted for 5 (yellow line marks the change)¬†I cast on 55 stitches 27 left, 28 right. A¬†ribber comb and weights are required.
Having a chart with any numbering that makes sense to you is helpful.
I used a water-soluble pen to mark the center needle location for the start of transfers on either side, in this case, 18 left, 1 and 19 right. The 55 stitches include 2 full repeats of 18 plus a half (9) on each side edge.
Brother has 2 #1 positions, one on the left and the other on the right of center, separated above by the red line. The fact is something to be kept in mind with stitch counts for hand techniques where needle selection is not automated across the needle bed but is reliant on accurate counts by the knitter
A 3 prong tool was used to make transfers, the pattern could be translated for use with lace carriage if one desired to do so.
At the bottom of the swatch I stopped after 4 transfers before creating the long stitches, and then switched to 5 guessing I would like the transition better, also a clearer stopping place occurred when a single stitch was left with doubled-up ones on either side of it.
I did not find it necessary to drop the ribber at all to check on the progress of transfers. Below the swatch is shown on both sides, both relaxed (to my eye the more interesting) and after light pressing

It appears to me to be the sort of fabric that is worth revisiting after a break. ¬†ūüėČ

Racking on EON rib: some considerations

WORK IN PROGRESS 

Manuals can sometimes make my head hurt, and as a result, I often rely on previous experience which in turn can lead to assumptions that may require clarification, even in my own mind.
A question came up on Ravelry about racked ribs on every other needle. My instinctive answer was that racking would need to happen by 2 full numbers at a time for the proper swing to occur. Here is an attempt to explain some of what happens, and why that is not always true.
To start with, manuals usually have the knitter start with the carriages on the right-hand side of the machine, perhaps to prepare them for fabrics that will need to travel to and from the left if the color changer is in use (“Japanese” machines). If the latter is not, there is no reason not to begin knitting from whichever side you prefer. Then we get to 3 circular rows. The third row is not needed, it gives floats on one side of the rib that may or may not be noticeable depending on which side of the knit is the public side. If 2 circular rows or a racked cast on is used, that may set off the start of patterning in the wrong direction from that published.
The usual depiction of the zig-zag row with the cast-on-comb in place on the machine is this The intent when knitting ribbing is not to have needles point to point, smashing into each other as one travels from side to side. On every needle rib, the Pitch lever on P will set just that up, H for half-pitch will place needles so they move smoothly halfway between those on the opposite bed. On every other needle rib, the P position will set up needles in the center of the spot left empty by a needle out of work on the alternate knitting bed. In racking, as the ribber moves, its stitches will align (usually) to the right or left in turn of stitches on the main bed creating a sort of crossed texture. If the needle set up remains as above, and racking is performed one step to right or left followed by another in the opposite direction to the starting position, the stitches on the main bed remain in the same space, there may be movement between the purl columns, but not across them. For a single position racking to occur the needles on the ribber need to be brought closer to the stitches on the opposite bed. One way to achieve that is to set the ribber for half-pitch. That will bring its stitches off-center and more to one side than the other of the space on the opposite bed. The zig-zag will lean slightly to one side The next step is to ensure that as racking begins, you are not moving stitches back into the same empty space on the opposite bed, but rather crossing into an adjacent one If that is understood then one can make the choice of moving left or right and be off and running in the pattern, aside from the starting side or some of the other directions given in patterns or manuals. Cam buttons and patterning may be introduced as well. This is how a row of knitting might appear after racking. The difference between the top and bottom of my test swatch is that the bottom was knit in half-pitch, using 2 single alternating number positions (ie. 5,4,5,4),  the top was knit in P setting, racking by 2 number positions (ie. 5,7,5,7) in each direction. One row was knit between movements. Both carriages were set to simply knit.This page from the Ribber Techniques book shows fabrics knit on EON, adding tuck cam buttons into the mix and slightly different needle arrangements, varying the look of the finished knitting. Most Brother racking patterns are accompanied by diagrams such as the one included above. They are shorthand for what is happening on both beds. If the knit starting side is different than the one recommended, as long the necessary movement direction against the fixed stitches on the main bed is recognized, the starting point can be chosen to be on either side of the main bed needles (ie. starting on row 3 on left, above blue line of the chart as opposed to row 1).If multiple side-by-side stitches are in work on the ribber, the half-pitch setting applies as well. When tucking is added, for increased stretch, it may be necessary to compensate for the width of the resulting fabric by casting on on every needle and then transferring in the desired configuration between the beds. Transferring is easier done in full pitch with a return to half-pitch prior to continuing to knit. The bind off is likely to require considerations for added stretch as well. Slip stitch narrows the fabric. Such adjustments are usually worked out in test swatches.
Using the half-pitch in EON brings the needles on the ribber closer to those on the main bed, which in turn may have an effect on yarn weight use when building up loops in hooks ie in fisherman or half fisherman rib variations. Sequential racking ie. 5, 6, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, etc will not produce crossed stitches with single position shifts on EON. This attempts to imagine where actual crossings would occur, every 2 position shifts in either direction. The starting point for cast on may also require a change in position, based on the number of positions available; for example, Brother has 10, Passap has 6.By the way, the racking position indicators are slightly different in the Brother standard vs. the Brother bulky machines

Machine knit fringes 2/ pretend hairpin lace

WORK IN PROGRESS

Hairpin lace, familiar to many crocheters, is based on a central column with side loops that can be produced in strips, in turn, joined together in different configurations to compose open inserts, shawls, garments, serve as trims and joins.
A double-sided machine knit fringe can serve the same functions. My first swatch is knit using the #1 punchcard. Tension is totally dependent on the yarn used, the fabric may be executed on any machine, but as is often the case I am writing specifically for Brother.
The needle arrangement includes 2 center stitches, an even number of out of work needles to determine the width of the long loops, and one stitch at each end that is knit for the duration, then unraveled to loosen loops for various joining methods or uses.
To start with 2 needles are cast on in the center of the piece, knit one row on them alone. This will produce a small tab that is woven in upon completion of the strip, as are yarn ends, and creates a base so whole loops may be added in equal numbers on each side. Bring the side stitch on the carriage out to work, knit one row to the opposite side, bring outside needle on that side out to E, set machine for preselection row, knit back to the opposite side. Proceed to knit with both tuck buttons pushed in.
A separate cone or ball of yarn will be needed in matching or contrast color to anchor stitches in the central vertical column. Bring the row counter to 000. Multiply the number of loops required X2, since it will take 2 passes of the knit carriage to complete each pair, one on each side of center.
I brought the side stitch on each side prior to knitting the next row out to E, rather than settling for using KCI alone, found that kept the side edges stable and I was not getting dropped loops. If long strips are to be knitted, control over what is happening on each side matters in their assembly. The separate strand of yarn is used to e wrap around the needle that comes forward with each pass of the carriage. Even though the illustrations for the technique show equal loop withs, they can actually be created asymmetrically as well, or the central column may actually be moved on the knitting machine as one advances through the piece. The dots on the metal bed are from another piece

the first selection of a needle forward by punchcard¬†e wrapping with second yarn before moving to left¬†e wrapping with second yarn prior to returning to right, completing a sideways figure 8, end stitches out to E before prior to each carriage passUsing the finished sample as an insert brings up the topic of joining knits. Here there is a single stitch on each edge. The unbound off the stitch at the top on each side can be hooked on and secured with the first pick up. Stitches in the sides of knits form “loops and bumps”. The loops are formed carriage side as the row knits, can be used as possibly the least satisfactory single stitch increase. Opposite the carriage, as that same pass is completed the yarn will twist and create the “knot”, an easy and often acceptable single stitch increase. Which of the two is used to pick up for joining depends on yarn thickness and desired effect. Swatching will serve as a guide. Being consistent gives the best seam/join, without bumps and lags. The single edge stitch side border needs to be stabilized if it is going to serve as the detail at the bottom of the piece.

E wrapping every other needle as shown above with separate strands of yarn for 2 stitches on each side may be used to produce a no-roll edge on the sides of any knit fabric.
Knot vs loop:Using thinner yarn for knitting after the join even if on the same number of stitches, will gather the fabric More on seaming and joining knits 1 and 2. Extensive accumulation of images (crochet) for inspiration and possible technique links may be found on Pinterest 
On the left is a sample using an asymmetrical width, latched join method, while on the right loops are twisted broomstick lace fashion, and there is a crochet stitch joinstrips of different colors usedgathering tightly on one side can be the start of circles and shells

Japanese design books include their own symbols, here is part of a schematic for a shawl. It precludes an understanding of crochet symbols. The latter are simply illustrated and there is more convention for their meaning than that for knit symbols, particularly as more and more designers are adding homegrown ones to self-published patterns¬†The convention for joining strips of machine knitting by crocheting or latching side loops together suggest having a ladder space (white square, one or more may be used) and a side edge stitch on either side in segments of the final piece ie. afghan strips.When binding off at the top of the piece, the first and last stitch on either side is skipped, leaving them open so that they may, in turn, be unraveled. The easiest method if the goal is to join pairs of strips is to line up two of them side by side, unravel side stitches from the top-down, only enough rows to match the number of loops that will be latched through each other, and proceed for the length of the piece. Depending on the yarn, work can be rehung on the machine, followed with a latch tool bind off, a segment at a time if needed, while maintaining a continuous piece of yarn. Steps may be repeated for a crochet pretender edging at both ends if the number of needles on the machine will support that. Another alternative for the horizontal edges when no fringe is planned is to bind off with a crochet hook as follows: knitted edge: slip stitch in each knitted stitch, open section: chain 1, 1 single crochet stitch into first jumbo stitch, chain¬†1, 1 sc into second jumbo stitch, chain1 repeating across the row. If desired, sc again across all stitches. A row of single crochet may be needed to balance cast on edge as well. Then there is the option of “winging it” and making a personal decision about other suitable alternatives.

When strips approach traditional hairpin, if you wish to work bottom-up or arrangements of loops are planned to be varied, whether by crochet sequences or rehanging loops on the knitting machine, unraveling may be done while also threading a length of yarn through the loops akin to a lifeline in other¬†types of knitting, making them more manageable. A hand knitting video by Bernat Yarns¬†illustrates the principle on conventional hairpin laceThe technique is sometimes referred to as a cable join. The video also provides a reminder that if all the latching through is done in a single, same direction, the fabric will bias. To avoid that, start latching on right for one pair of strips, on left for the next pair. Finishing side edges by latching is shown in the Bernat¬†#4 video¬†along with adding a fringe to finish the top and bottom of the piece. ¬†If you enjoy crochet patterns longhand in the “old fashioned” way from out of print sources, here is a reference for inspiration, with hairpin illustrations # 448-456.
A join and side finishing, one side of each strip chaining strands of ¬†loops through each other, the outside edge twisting loops akin to broomstick lace:A partial illustration from Pinterest from an unknown source showing how the loops coming together to make shapes might be charted out: the ovals represent chain stitches, the v slip stitches, the different colors the finish of a complete strip’s edge Tuck lace is a fabric produced with needles out of work in combination with tuck patterning on the main bed. Patterns for it can serve as the starting point for either the center strips in double-sided loop fabrics or they can be worked in repeats with wider ladder spaces between them for a far quicker “pretend” version. This is one of my ancient swatches for the technique from a classroom demo, using the 1X1 punchcard, shown sideways to save space.
The¬†card is used at normal rotation. Any time there are needles out of work, end needle selection is canceled to maintain patterning throughout including on end needles of each vertical strip. Tuck <– –> is used resulting in texture as opposed to simple stocking stitch and ladder fabric (center of the swatch). In the right segment, the ladder threads are twisted, in the one on the left they are not. This is what is happening: for twisted ladders on an even total number of needles have an even number in the selected pattern (4), and an even number out of work (6). This is one fabric that definitely benefits by the use of some evenly distributed weight and a good condition sponge bar.Here the stitches are arranged with an odd number in work (3), an odd number out of work (7)

A way of working out needles out of work vs patterning/ in-work ones for both tests: the first is knit on a multiple of 10+4, the second on a multiple of 10+3These fabrics will narrow considerably when off the machine, here is an image of the above swatch after a period of “rest”