Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 4, stitch release, added racking

Though written in 2017, the post on revisiting drop/release stitch lace 1 has had new swatches and updated design ideas added. It includes information on how to use punchcards intended for other fabrics as possible design ideas and a cumulative list of previous posts on drop stitch lace.
The Brother publications have offered this idea for end release drop stitch in one of their volumes of punchcard patterns.  Many published designs recommend beginning the knitting with the racking handle in the center position, 5 of 1-10 positions in Brother, and 0 of 6, 3-3 in Passap. Often the starting position is relative and when a lot of racking is involved, they may be varied, though not the sequences in terms of the number of movements, to different starting points if that seems to offer an easier way to track position numbers. It is one of the many things that once the method is sorted may be adjusted to personal preference. Some of my swatches below were started with the racking position on 10, some with it on 5.
Many knitters in forums appear to have success with end release drop stitch. My experience has been that episodic release of the stitches even as often as after 2 rows knit yields far more predictable results. It is how I worked my shawls produced in the technique, including these two, knit in days when I did not always photograph all my pieces Giving end release another go, this was my initial needle set up. With the majority of the needles in work on the main bed, the larger stitches in the final fabric will dominate. The stitches after the cast on have been transferred down to the ribber. The work on the machine, with stitches on the main bed released at the end of the swatch. There is a long stitch DBJ single color pattern happening which may prove to be an interesting fabric if no stitches are dropped, to preserve it, all stitches would be transferred to the top bed, and bound off.
Here the racking took place in single positions after every knit row. Dropping stitches on completion of the swatch, particularly along the edges was so fiddly and such a nuisance I simply gave up in spots, some indicated by red dots.  This watch had stitches released at the end of each shape, racking in the top portion occurred after every 2 rows knit Here the same design was knit using different yarns. The first is knit using the same blue wool, the second a tightly spun rayon. So many fabrics can be automated, sometimes the fabric is a vague look-alike cousin of the original, close enough to be a reasonable compromise. Slip stitch patterning across the top bed can offer a quick solution to bypassing a lot of hand manipulation. Assuming that was possible for this fabric, my starting repeat, 10X30 pixels: and the plan would be to knit it in a 40 stitch swatch, placed in a way so that the “mock racking” would move equally from side to side. Working on a larger than needed canvas, the design can be placed on a magnified work area with a visible grid, at the chosen starting point. If the background is left as white in BW images, moving repeat spacing may erase black pixels as copy and paste in place are used. The solution is to make the background transparent using the Layer menu, as explained in other posts on using Gimp. To save the repeat as a BW bmp or png, remove the alpha channel The final repeat is 40 stitches wide, 34 high, with blank rows added to its top to serve as a place to drop stitches and have knitting happening on the ribber only.
Depending on the download program or the knitting machine model number, repeats are automatically mirrored, so if direction matters, mirroring of the repeat may need to be performed once more.
Why the repeat will not work for drop stitch: if the KC is set to slip in both directions, the function will happen on all needles in work on the top bed. On any given row, only black pixels (or punched holes) will knit. The slipped/ skipped stitches keep elongating until a black pixel replaces the white one in that needle location. The degree of elongation is illustrated in the chart in color for part of the repeat, the yellow marks the widest gap between knit stitches. If knit as is the repeat will soon cause serious knitting problems and carriage jams.  Though designing for one type of fabric may fail, this repeat or similar could be used successfully double bed in other ways, using hand transfers on the top bed or down to the ribber. In this case, I chose to transfer down to the ribber, which avoids concerns about restoring correct needle selection, and the repeat was not mirrored for use on my 930, so the resulting knit appears as drawn on the purl side, but is mirrored on the knit side.
The fabric is far removed from the drop stitch idea, but as for drop stitch lace, stitches after the cast on are transferred to the bottom bed.
Newly selected empty needles will create eyelets with the next 2 carriage passes, and texture will appear on both sides at the transfer down locations.
The shapes created do not travel on the knitting bed any longer.
End needle selection needs to be canceled at any time that slip stitch patterning is used and does not occur on every needle on the top bed.
If the pattern is to be interrupted by all knit rows here seen as rows with no preselection in the programmed repeat, then any needles with stitches on them need to be transferred down to the bottom bed before continuing to knit.
As preselection begins again, those needles should be filled by picking up from the stitches below them on the ribber, and then the process may be repeated.

Machine knit fringes 3

The term fringe may be used to describe a decorative border of hanging threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material. Samples in these posts can apply to that definition
A collection of machine-knit fringes 1 9/19
Machine fringes 2: mock hairpin lace  10/19
Some methods for creating the long loops 8/12
Present fashion has fringe as an element in mixed locations in finished pieces. For the traditional fringed appearance, lengths of trim may be knit ahead of time followed by its application where desired. Depending on the location(s) and frequency of the applique, a repeat could be programmed to preselect needles in needle locations for hooking up the pre-knit trim or even simply cut lengths of yarn.
Dropping the ribber to its lowest position and using the ribber gate pegs to create continuous loops may provide the desired effect in a fringe or cover the surface of any knit completely.
In these beginning samples, the number of plies changes, but not the needle selection.
Many variations are possible, experimentation will help determine personal preference.
Images of loop formation in progress: after a row is knit to the opposite side, needles may be brought forward again to ensure they will knit properly, or to add a latch tool bind off in front Latch tooling in back of the cast on to reduce roll to the purl side at the bottom of the knit or add color contrast, may also be added at any point in the knit, as surface interest or to serve as a horizontal line to add elements on the knit side on specific rows after the piece is completed.  Possible applique use for varying lengths of narrow trim Leaving lengths of the yarns used in the project at each end rather than becoming enthusiastic about clipping them provides a good reference as to the number of plies used for the loops and the thickness of the background yarn.
Here 3 strands were used for the loops.
Crochet cast-on on every needle and knit a few rows, they will roll to the purl side. End on the side on which you find it easier to form loops.
COR: create a row of loops, I prefer to do so from left to right, bring all the needles forward, knit a row to the left securing them
COL: knit for a few rows in the ground yarn and bind off.
Turn the work over, with the roll away from you.
Rehang the trim using the hooked on a row with purl side facing as a horizontal guide, and continue to knit.
When the piece is completed, the roll will appear on the knit side and may be used as a decorative element. Method 2: uses two strands of yarn for the loops
COL: crochet cast on with the ground yarn and knit a row to the right.
COR: knit a row to the left.
COL: move the knit forward, crochet cast on behind the stitches on the machine with the loop yarn. Knit a row to the right.
COR: create a row of loops, bring all the needles forward, a
knit a row to the left securing them
COL: knit for a few rows, lift loops off gate pegs, and position them between the beds
Continue knitting in the ground yarn until the piece is finished. There is a single row subtle roll to the purl side of the ground. If the piece being knit is a scarf, the direction of the loops is a factor if the trim is added after turning the piece upside down The solution is to produce the fringe as a separate trim which may be stitched upon completion or hung on the start of the piece and stitched on at the top with the piece off the machine after the bind off, or to knit 2 pieces with loops from the bottom up and graft them together at the center of the length of the accessory.
The method most likely to yield very long horizontal, even lengths of continuous loops or stitches as one knits at the bottom edge of the piece or in horizontal lines or patches as one continues up the piece is to remove the ribber if it is in use and use the cast on comb anchored with equal lengths of wire or something that will not stretch.
Add enough weight to it so it will not shift up as one moves across the row creating the loops, as shown in the 8/12 post. Here the yarn is fuzzy mohair wrapped on every other needle. When wearables are trimmed with fringe, there can be a concern as to how the fringe will wear over time or how the yarn ends would behave if the piece is laundered. Twisting the plies provides an answer. The yarn thickness, number of plies, and the chosen color(s) can be varied to suit the piece.
Bullion fringe is one where there are no cut ends or knots, often seen with the twisted elements equal in length. It is available commercially by the yard, and if fiber content or other features are compatible with the knit piece, the purchased fringe may be hooked on and knit in where desired with consideration as to how to best secure or hide any cut ends of edges on either side.  Even in a commercial sample intended for sewing, note that there are slight differences between the width of the resulting twists and their very bottoms:  It is possible to produce fringe with a similar appearance on the knitting machine.
Playing with the number of plies, spacing of twists, whether the loops are added at the bottom edge or sides of the knit, and seeking a rhythm: Note the long red loop in the background yarn occurred where the empty needle was not pushed back to the B position during working with sideways loops.
The first try at long loops across a horizontal knit: At present my ribber is set up, and since I am planning more double bed fabrics and fringes are a temporary distraction, I tried to form even loops around a quilting plastic ruler for more control of the process. Definitely clumsy and not a good idea for a wide piece. The handling of the loops remains the same.
COL: crochet cast on the width of the planned piece from left to right
COR: knit a row to the left
create a series of long loops on every other needle, done here by wrapping the large ruler The plan was to knit loops through the stitches on the corresponding needles on the top bed, the ruler was removed, there was not enough slack in the loops, and some of the stitches created with the fringe yarn jumped forward COL: to secure the row, knit a row to the right
COR: repeat a crochet cast on in front of all the stitches to the left Twist the loops,  to place them on the base knit, hang the small loop/eyelet formed at the end of the twist on the alternate needles between each of the stitches created by the original loops keep notes as to the number of twists in order to be able to replicate the effect, perhaps even try to twist pairs of loops together continue knitting the body of the knit.
A completed swatch with methodical twists and wraps. The quality of the braid, both in length and in its bottom edges is controlled by the number of twists and the tension applied when releasing the twist. It takes a bit of practice with the specific yarns and loops to keep fringe lengths and their appearance even. In a final piece, the stitch count needs to be considered so loops may need to be formed on each or a single end and hung on the first and/or last needle in use before continuing to knit.
The yarn ends on either side will need to be secured, adding them to the twist on each side will do that, but then the result is considerably thicker than the other bouillion.
The bottom of twists when their count is not adequate can form loose, little donuts.
What of creating those twists? the goal is to use a tool to turn the yarn in one direction, folding the result in half, securing it, and allowing it to twist. The method is different for hooked on pre-cut lengths of yarn.
Tools commonly used by weavers to twist fringes in any length, with cut lengths of yarn where the number of twists needs to remain controllable and even, with hand cranks allow for easy counting and achieving that goal:  When applied cording is required and the number of twists does not necessarily influence the result, hair braiding tools may be used. They come in multiple configurations and the same model may be found in a huge range of prices.
There are 2 selections for twisting secured yarns, the first twists to the right, the second twists both yarns together to the left, resulting in the braid. Hair is attached in place, the twisted ends are secured with elastics often supplied with the twister or purchased separately. Yarn lengths would need to be knit in securely, knotted on the edge of the twisted lengths. Cording using the same tools would need to be secured with knots at both ends and may be used as trim, hooked onto knitting in progress, or stitched in place after completion of the piece. An easy, inexpensive DIY tool created with supplies I had on hand but it is also easily available for purchase.
A small cup hook was screwed and secured into a bobbin winder normally used for cross stitch. The body of the tool becomes a secure handle, the crank makes it easy to count twists and keep their number constant if a fringe with equal length and thickness elements is planned.  For fringe worked sideways, suitable for trims that can be placed anywhere on the body of the knit, the first sample is worked on a 3 stitch vertical base strip of knitting.
Crochet cast on from left to right and knit one row back to the left. Make a slip knot on the fringe yarn, knit it through the first stitch on the right COL: knit to the right, thus securing the thicker knit stitchCOR: wrap an empty needle further to the right to determine the length of the loop to be created. Its location can remain fixed throughout or varied if the intent is to experiment with different lengths of bullion.
Wrap the yarn plies around the empty needle, apply a light tension twist and lift the end of the loop onto the first knit stitch on the needle on the left, knit it through the stitch immediately above the wrap release the loop from the empty needle on the right, push it out of work so as not to pick up yarn a long loop of the ground yarn as the carriage knits a row to the left COL: twist cording and hang on the first needle on the right maintaining light tension on the twisted length, knit a row to the left, or knit the loop at the bottom of the twist through the stitch immediately above it before knitting to the right  COL: knit to the right, repeat the process.
A closer look: insert the tool, and removed the loop onto it. Be sure to push the empty needle back to B until it is needed again. Tug the loop lightly forward, and begin to turn the handle to twist the yarn until the twist appears evenly distributed while keeping count, different counts may be tried in the same test swatch. 
insert a single eye tool into the loop on the hook of the twisted cord, lift it onto the last stitch on the right on the top bed, it may be knit through or simply laid in the hook, bring the needle with the multiple stitches forward, tug lightly on the bottom center of the twist, and release.
To complete the bouillion: knit a row to the left side.
Lift the twist away from the body of the trim, bring the plies up and in front of the twisted yarn, and use them to knit through any stitches on that needle.
Begin the process again. With some practice, you may find some different and preferred variations to the suggested sequences.  A variation: the first experiment was formed on a base of 3 stitches, here they are increased to 5
COL: crochet cast on 5 stitches, knit a row to the right
COR: knit a row to the left
COL: knit slip knot through the first stitch on the right as above
knit two rows
COL: wrap empty needle, knit through the first stitch on the left,
twist yarns and hang onto the needle,
bring needle forward,
knit two rows
COL: bring yarn ends in front of twisted yarns,
knit to the right securing the plies,
knit 2 rows,
continuing to form fringe bouillion as described. If significant or even variable fringe length is required, cut lengths of yarn may be applied to the knitting, or make long loops and cut after they have been secured.
The lengths will be twisted two or more at a time, first in one direction, then in the opposite, and released.
This is a video for the tool sold by Lacis, which is very similar to my hair braiding tool. The twists are made clockwise on one setting, then counterclockwise and released. They can be overtwisted and when the twist is reversed and released, the results appear to find a common average for fairly consistent quality.
The knots to secure the yarns may be executed as you go or at the end of the twisting process, keeping the fringe length even or varied as needed.
My initial sample used loops with 2 plies in each
COL: begin with a crochet cast on from left to right
Knit a row to the left
COL: hang cut loops across the row, knitting each through the stitch previously on the needle
use the background yarn to repeat the crochet “cast on” in front of the loops to secure them, move the KC to the right
COR: continue knitting and bind off
For the test, I used loops sized on the same ruler as for the bouillion sample and then cut. Later, below, the comparison is made between the different finished fringe lengths.
The yarns plies got combed and trimmed to even lengths.
Enough yarn needs to be secured in the twister hooks so the ends will not slip out during the process, which is very quick, and it soon becomes evident how long to twist in one direction before reversing the twist setting.
The couple of rough spots evident in my trim happened when the yarn split and was caught in the hooks of the twister, so the release was not clean.
I varied the number of plies, in each hook, beginning with 2 in each, then three, four, and mixing things up a bit more in a couple of the series. The plies in the cut end below the knots remain available for counting to verify the numbers of plies used if notes are lacking.
A crochet hook or latch tool may be a useful aid when pulling the ends through a fringe loop, forming the knots. Comparing the bouillon fringe length to the above: Here the loops are created using a factory 4 ply space-dyed wool. After a chain cast-on and a row knit in the ground yarn, the loops are knit through each stitch on the needle bed, then knitting continued for several rows and the piece was bound off.
The loops were cut open at their bottom, the hair twister was used to create the fringe, with 2 yarn thread lengths in each hook. The results are quick to produce, and worth some further experimentation. There are many other possible variations, including blending fiber content in the fringe lengths.

Knit tubes, i-cords, and simple knit strips that are allowed to twist in on themselves are all options for fringing, but be prepared to weave in lots of yarn ends. One of my slip stitch scarves, with attached i-cords fringe Series of loops, twisted or not, can also be applied in pattern anywhere on the knit, and folks who do not like fringe can create a variety of alternative edgings, some ideas will be shared in a future post.


Pintucks 1 vs shadow pleats

Pintucks are in the family of ripple stitches. The size of both is limited by the number of rows that may be knitted before the stitches on the bed creating the ripples begin to ride up and off the needles. The number of rows possible for the rolls varies with the model knitting machine used and the type of yarn. The Passap strippers make their knitting easier. Generally, extra weight is required.
Basic pintucks are formed across the width of the fabric, no punchcard selection is required. For some basic instructions on forming them in a single color see the blog post on Shadow pleats knitting. Its follow-up, Shadow pleats with added patterning made me curious about the possibility of creating 2 colors, FI patterned pintucks.
For a very brief period of time, some designs were published creating similar effects by hooking up elongated fair isle patterns at regular intervals on the knitting bed.  The preselection for the next row knit in Brother machines poses interesting issues in restoring and maintaining the proper pattern throughout the design.
A lot of changing cam button settings can make many fabrics almost possible but not practical on home knitting machines. Some of the constant switchings of functions may be achieved by knitting with separate pairs of carriages selecting the pattern, which in electronic models advances every row, making this an electronic “special”.
Ribber fabrics produced with 2 knit carriages selecting needles introduced the idea of using a KC with a modified sinker plate to make some fabrics easier and includes a knit sample of patterned ripple fabric.
The goal here is to try to create rolls evocative of the shadow pleated swatches in a double knit.
Because of the rolling on the knit surface, designs should be lengthed at least X2. The initial test used the same pattern as that in the shadow pleated samples with the number 4, double-length key selected on the 930. The carriage setups The width of the fabric is limited. Though the KC on the right may be moved off the machine if needed, the coupled carriages cannot be since the ribber and KC used on the left do not lock together in any way, and with the stops removed the ribber carriage could conceivably slip completely off its bed. The end of the belt still needs to be cleared, but this is about as far as one can safely move, with the KC just clear of the set mark on the left of the top bed. End needle selection is used in both knit carriages.
Extension rails are required.
The coupled carriages although selecting needles will be knitting on both beds to begin and end the fabric and to seal the folds setting the pleats.
To begin, test the tolerance for the number of rows knit on the top bed only. It is possible to coax extra rows by pushing fabric down between the beds by inserting a thin knitting needle between the beds at the start of the pintuck or halfway through and weighing each end. Longer rolls and hems tend to flatten.
The main bed will be knitting on every needle and FI is essentially a slip stitch, so the tension needs to be at least that for the yarns used in single bed knitting. More pronounced rolls may be produced if the tension and stitch size are adjusted accordingly.
Normally the sealing row would be knit in the light FI color. In these samples, the yellow yarn is used to help assess how those knit rows interact with the folds and to what degree they are visible.
The first try:
1. tested a solid color 8-row pintuck a single time, then switched to 6-row sequences and continued. Even though a contrasting color is used to seal the tucks, it is not immediately visible
2. the second carriage is set to FI and begins to operate from the right. Out of habit, I knit with weaving brushed down, a bad idea in this instance
3-4. this fair isle design is used double-length and forms some very long floats repeatedly, not the best choice even for single bed FI, definitely problematic here, time to regroup.
Comparing the surface to the shadow pleat fabric For a different execution of the same design using a different main color on a different knitting day, see the bottom of the post.
Moving on to a simpler, random, smaller, 12X10 repeat planned for knitting on a 33 stitch swatch and rendered double-height planning six-row pintucks, Visualizing the possible design along with placement of sealing rows represented by all-white pixel rows in the diagram. The single 8-row fold advances the remaining pattern by 2 rows, resulting in a subtle change in the design: My swatch used white for the ground as in the above right, the 8-row transition is marked by the red arrow.  Knitting was easy and smooth, the 8-row tuck required a bit of coaxing. The fabric lies flat, does not have the drape of the single bed shadow pleats, it is not suitable for the same end-use.
Plain every needle rib knit is quite a bit wider, a consideration for casting on and binding off or transitioning to another fabric if this technique is used as part of a different fabric. This file was also downloaded and lengthened X2 The pattern is not very pronounced, but the short floats make for easy knitting. Comparing the fabric to the single bed shadow pleat using the same design The pintuck main bed FI yarn could be slightly thicker. Since the 6-row sequence appears to work well, if the fabric is to be pursued, the design could be planned and adjusted accordingly.
Issues encountered in DIY deliberate design planning: beginning in Numbers, a table is set up with enough rows to accommodate more than the height of the planned design. Since the fabric planned would knit 6 rows on the top bed, then followed by 2 rows on both beds not affecting the design, starting at the bottom of the table, use the command key and work on hiding 2 rows following groups of 6 for the height of the table  The theoretical design in beginning stages:
1: the rows marked in green are hidden
2. a design is drawn using 2-row blocks and shaping
3: it is tiled, appears worth pursuing.
The expected carriage actions, color reversing the repeat so that the dark color will knit in feeder A of the FI single bed sinker plate Points to consider while removing the use of the ribber from the equation:
both knit carriages are set for the end needles to select. When knitting fair isle this is necessary to keep the contrast color knitting from separating from the base color along the design edge. If at any point there are single-color stripes, the end needles if selected need to be pushed back to the B position, or the second color will catch the first and last needles in work, forming a float from side to side. If the yarn is removed from the B feeder and end needles are not pushed back to B, stitches on them will drop. My first try The transition to color reverse shown tiled Leaving the contrast color in the B feeder on the all knit black pixel rows created the first mess. Because of preselection, the return to knit dark rows has every needle coming forward as the single bed KC is traveling back to the right, resulting in another mess.
Regrouping so the first pair of rows with no preselection will knit the dark color, the second pair of rows with no preselection will knit using the paired carriages, sealing the fabric, the larger geometric shape has 2 rows with no needle selection nearly at its halfway point.  The broken threads are due to stitches getting hung up on gate pegs, missed until more knitting had been completed. With more attention, knitting went more smoothly, and the planned design is identifiable.    Perhaps as a farewell to the topic or out of sheer stubbornness now that the above had been knit and I have had some practice, I returned to the more straightforward knitting of that double-length flower pattern with far improved results. Some of the floats trapped behind the long stitches created on the ribber can be seen bleeding through on the right. Comparing the scale once again to the shadow pleats This fabric may fall in the category that need not be knit simply because one can. That said it may serve well in bands joined onto larger pieces, or any use for it may only be limited by patience and imagination.


DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 3

Previously published related posts:
Img2track_multiple colors per row dbj, each color knitting only once 1/21
DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 2 12/19
DBJ: more than 2 colors per row 1 12/19 
Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 2 1/20
Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 1 1/20

Reducing the number of rows on the front of DBJ fabrics and the associated elongation of the planned design matters so some designers far more than others, at times only in specific projects.
It may remain something in one’s wheelhouse that is not worth doing because one can.
When I was knitting garments and art-to-wear pieces I found I preferred to work in 2 color dbj, plying thin, sometimes space-dyed yarns and dropping threads, replacing them with the next shade in the chosen color wheel spaces to add more colors per row.
Long before computer interfaces that made downloads or even color separations easy, most knit artists used punchcard machines, often the Passap Duomatic, lining up long individual panels to create large, non-repetitive images, Nicki Hitz Edson among them. That said, the topic has remained   interesting to me.
In the post written on 12/19, an option was presented for having each color in each design row knit only once rather than twice. Tables in a Numbers spreadsheet were used to produce the necessary color separation.
The present goal is to repeat the separation process using other possible DIY methods.
To review: the dbj automated separations for more than 2 colors per row with the exception of the Heart of Pluto one when using the Ayab interface generally result in each color, in each design row knitting twice. This is also true of default console separations in the E6000.
The yarn for this fabric needs to be thinner, colors easily become muddied if not chosen with care, there are 6 carriage passes for each design row of knitting, and charts and downloadable repeats including all knit rows become considerably longer.
When experimenting with colors keep careful notes about your own color placement in each yarn changer location, they may not match those assigned by the download program or in the original chart.
DAK offers the option of printing templates for its DBJ separation methods.  They may be used as guides for using the designs outside the program, whether for download to electronic knitting machines or to be followed in punching cards.
Files may be opened in the DAK Graphic Studio Module with the intent to convert them to stps for use in its universe or to adapt the design for other uses outside it.
My experience with several trials of small images in 3 colors is that the resulting design conversion is faulty.  The file size morphed into a 40X40 repeat as opposed to the original 12X14, leaving no option but to draw the design from scratch in the stitch design module.  
My third attempt finally got my 3 colors represented properly, but still in the 40X40 pixel size, not worth troubleshooting, redrawing the motif is far easier and more straightforward.
Img2 track will perform the separation but does not offer a charted view or template for it. It has the added interesting function of immediately reducing the file by half because upon download the image will be lengthened automatically by a default setting to double length on the Brother machine. The issue may be addressed by doubling the file in length prior to selecting it with img2track or the stretch factor in the program may be changed to 2, also before selecting the file for separation.
I prefer to manipulate files as needed prior to opening them in any program for download, believe it makes patterning errors easier to correct, and avoids forgetting to change settings when returning to knitting the particular repeat again. In the January 2021 post, I suggested manually pushing back to B position all needles in work prior to the carriages returning to the left on every other row as one way to reduce the resulting elongation in the designs. Here the plan is to achieve it by amending the color separation and its needle selections.
One of the advantages of DIY is that the color order in the separation may easily be matched by that in the color changer.
Repeats should contain an even number of rows and may also contain rows where not all colors are in use. The first starting repeat:  The often published convention in performing dbj color separations is to begin ordering the colors based on the number of cells they occupy in the first row, here the yellow would be followed by black and then red. Other programs start with the first pixel color on the left by default.
After drawing the repeat in Stitch Designer, working with Dak choosing color separation C, and exploring print options, one may obtain a template. Its screengrab serves as a guide to tracing pixels, the results match the Gimp separation which follows.
DAK automatically mirrors the motifs horizontally prior to working with them in any way. The mirrored DAK template compared to the in-progress Gimp separation: My goal is to produce the fabric with each color in each design row knitting only once by changing the separation, the function performed automatically by Ayab’s HOP code.
This technique applies to double bed work only, is not suitable for single bed 3 colors per row slip stitch.
The backing used is bird’s eye on the ribber, with slip stitch set in both directions and using both lili buttons. The result is that every other stitch knits on the pass to the right in any color used, the alternate needles knit on the return to the left completing one full row of knitting in that single color on the purl side.
The main bed needles are preselected on the way to the left, create stitches on the way to the right, as they flatline. Since there is no needle selection, as the carriages return to the left, no main bed needles will knit, resulting in only one row in the color being carried knitting on the top bed as well. Needle preselection continues to be made for the next row to be knit after the color change.
This makes for a more balanced fabric unless colors begin being skipped for multiple rows, in which case the ribber stitches may even form small ridges and the main bed stitches will become more elongated until the skipped color is repeated.
Working using Gimp alone
It is possible to color separate using only Gimp. One of the tricks is to use significant magnification, along with the view grid and snap-to-grid options when working with developing or editing designs.
In the latest version of Gimp for Mac, using the fuzzy select tool, selecting pixel color segments allows for color substitutions when converting charts to BW prior to the final png save.
It may be achieved by clicking on a single color, followed by holding the shift key, clicking on more colored pixels for multiple selections regardless of color, and then selecting bucket fill with the replacement color. Using select by color, followed by using the bucket fill tool, changes that particular color globally throughout the repeat.
As selections are made, dotted lines outline selections until after the color change and the image has been fixed.  Colors are fixed by choosing the rectangle tool and clicking in the work window outside the image, those dotted lines will then disappear.
This separation begins with black, the first color pixel on the left.
The original image is scaled X3 in height to 11X30, the file resulting from the separation will be scaled again X2 prior to knitting the repeat after it has been completed.
Copy and paste the scaled X3 results on a larger new file so that color markers for each row may be added, horizontal guides every three rows help define each expanded, now 3-row color sequence.
Following the color rotation markings for each row, erase colors unlike it and not represented in each design row to its right, so where the black marker pixel is on the left yellow and red are erased, where the yellow marker pixel is black and red are, and where the red marker is black and yellow are. That single row with no color red is left blank.
Those extra columns on the left are cropped prior to converting the file to BW. The results on the far right would need to be used double length, whether scaled before the final file save or after download, prior to knitting. Depending on the machine and the program used for download, if the direction of the design matters, the result may need to be mirrored as well.  Developing the test png on the elongated repeat My test png, mirrored for download to the 930.
I had color changer issues with yarns being picked up 2 at a time fairly frequently, which were likely static related and improved following a rare use of yarn spray and a humidifier.
Having end needle selection, KCI on the main bed helped avoid issues with edge stitches not forming properly.
I tend to grab yarns randomly when swatching. The resulting colorways are not planned for use in finished items, they are explorations that help illuminate subsequent choices.
The yarns used in the swatch are of three different weights, so tension needed to be adjusted to accommodate the thickest yarn, resulting in more elongation of some of the stitches on the front of the fabric. The latter might be far less noticeable when knitting with thin, equal weight yarn selections. The design can be easily identified and it is also seen that colors are indeed knitting a single time for each design row. There is an exception on a single row toward the bottom of the swatch, where blue and white have knit together during tension adjustments on both beds.
One drawback to this method is that since it is downloaded as a fair isle, the capacity of the machine to offer prompts and reminders as to which color is in use and which selection should follow in knitting 3 color dbj is lost.
Testing the concept on a design where more rows have less than 3 colors represented. The repeat is slightly modified, from the one used in the second 12/19 post Here it is shown modified, with rows containing fewer than 3 colors marked. Separating the repeat using only Gimp:
the file on the right rendered double length
and in turn with the second of every pair of black pixel rows erased the comparison between the two I left the color changer set up in the same sequence and yarns used in the previous swatch, so colors do not match their placement in the charted design. I stopped knitting when the color changer carried 2 colors across a whole row, and I did not notice the error until I had reached the other side. A repair can be made easily, but I chose to stop since the repeat was previously untested. There is a dropped stitch also missed on the purl side, an easy repair when a piece is finished.
The fabric is narrow as a result of the slip settings, the cast on and beginning and ending rows of knitting need to be adjusted or they will stretch out quite a bit compared to the remaining knit.
The proof of concept with each color in each design row knitting only once: The 12/19  post also compares its repeat knit using the initial double-length file to the one resulting from the amended repeat with each row knitting only once for each color in each design row

Shadow pleats with added patterning

Knit skirts have been present in runway and online publications again. Another Mary Dowse pattern has stirred up interest in a design knit in fair isle shadow pleats.
Shadow pleats knitting began to present some of the techniques involved in creating this type of fabric fold.
The permanence of the folds relies on blocking from careful and almost aggressive to far more casual approaches depending on the fiber content and end-use for the knit.
As mentioned in the older post, for a while, skirts in shadow pleats were very popular. One of the tips for blocking them at the time when acrylics were also new and in trend, was to hang completed pieces with the bottom evenly weighted inside a large trash bag “sealed” as tightly as possible at the top, with steam entering from the bottom of the bag ie from a portable electric teapot. I always had a hard time imagining the specific activity, and the method may have been part of the reason as to why published patterns for such items quickly disappeared.
Simply using a yarn with memory in the rows composing the larger folds always seemed a more viable option to me.
Ribber needle setups may be used to produce a rounded appearance in the resulting folds
rolled single pleats double rolled pleats mirror needle groupsdouble rolled

curve1accordion rolled OOW needles are spaced evenly on both beds accordion rolledsunray roundA large variety of pleats may be knit on the single bed as well, one being shadow pleats. The resulting knits also need to be gathered on one of the 2 edges in items like skirts at waistlines, and the number of knit rows needed for the volume required can be daunting and a large commitment of time if not effort.
Very large swatches in colors that one guesses to be appealing guide decisions based on evidence and personal preference.
Old published patterns often called for specific brands of yarn which decades later are likely to no longer be available. In addition to searching for substitutes that will produce a similar gauge, the behavior of the newly found yarn may simply be different than expected and as described in the instructions.
Inspiration photos found online are often small and do not reveal clear details, so attempts to reproduce the pictured knitting techniques may yield unpredictable results.
Assuming traditional yarns are in use, the larger rolled shapes in the fabric formed by the higher number of rows knit in the thick yarn tend to roll toward the purl side, the familiar effect seen in any single bed stocking stitch.
Part of the inspiration photo that began a renewed forum interest in the fabric The appearance is of a fair isle pattern interrupted by the use of thinner yarn(s) in one or both feeders. Blocking long pieces can alter the aspect ratio of the original design, so in some cases, the width of the repeat or even the length would need to be doubled.
My initial repeat was 20X22 pixels:  In this view, obvious places are highlighted for a possible switch to thinner yarns. If changing yarns manually, it is easier to change those in the sinker plate’s B position. If necessary, the planned motif may be color inverted to make those actions easier. Both yarns used are wool, a yarn that has memory and spring-back.  In the potential fold rows, the red color was replaced with a thin ply with the same fiber content. The first folds were knit in an *8 with thin, 14 with thick, 8 with thin** color sequence. Watching the knit as it progressed showed the thicker fair isle areas folding inward, with the thinner areas folding outward. The remainder of the swatch used a 4 thin, 8 thick sequence.  The knit was steamed and pressed, the folds are soft but permanently present with the lower edge of the piece lying quite flat after a considerable amount of time. Here the red yarn used is acrylic, the black wool. An 8 thick 4 thin sequence was used, but in the thin areas, both colored yarns were replaced with single plies. The pattern is 48X54 pixels and from one of the Brother mylar sheets. The first swatch sports black flowers, the second, red ones. The knit sequences were the same, the change in texture in the areas may be seen here.  The black flowers swatch was ironed, becoming permanently flattened, aka “killed”. The hope is to manage the red flowers swatch in a better way. The thinner yarns are in slightly different shades of the base colors, so a subtle striping occurs in the areas where they are used. Both swatches were knit on the same number of needles and at the same tension. The blocking saga: I do own blocking pins but honestly have only used them in demos, and on rare occasions such as this, or to cut them down when I needed a fast replacement for a ribber cast on comb lost wire.
Whether extremely detailed blocking is ever needed can be a very emotionally charged topic for some, best saved for another day.
With an optimally gathered edge at the waistline secured, the wire is threaded very evenly through the bottom of the “skirt”, and evenly distributed weights are placed across it. The fabric is likely to grow considerably in length, another reason for knitting very large test/gauge swatches to calculate the width/length required.  I downsized a few years ago letting go of most of my professional equipment. My only iron at the moment when and if it generates steam, did not appreciate being held vertically, spitting hot water at my feet, so the amount of steam used to set the pleats was likely short of optimal. That said, with the wire and weights removed, that edge is staying flat, and the pleats appear to be permanent a month later. Knitweaving can be used to produce very interesting patterns, both all over or for edgings, and it may offer a viable alternative for patterning using multiple colors in the more prominent purl side rows of the knit. A 1x1selection is a good place to start. Returning to using wools, my efforts with the first yarns I grabbed failed with knit weaving, but since every other stitch every other row is selected, I was able to knit 8 rows in fair-isle with the thicker yarn in the B feeder, the thinner in A, followed by 4 rows of plain knit. The task is easier to accomplish with 2 knit carriages, one patterning, the other knitting stocking stitch.
The colors were chosen for contrast making it easier to observe stitch formation.
The swatch, just off from the machine after a manual tug after steaming and pressing A bit more tugging and gathering on one edge, pleats are set.  The swatch view on the left illustrates well the pleating roll formed by the thin yarn to the knit side, the inward roll of the fair isle segment to the purl.
Floats formed by the yarns not used traveling up the sides of the knit should be considered the finishing of the final pieces.
Transitions could be made in any one piece between the ratio of the thick/thin number of rows, perhaps for sections ie yoke shaping, or varying the fold sequences from one texture to the other and back.
Most fabric is only limited by materials, tools, and the imagination of its creators.

Other ways to create permanent pleats
single bed
Origami folds inspired pleats 1 6/19
Revisiting pleats on the knitting machine: single bed 5/18
Pleats created with lace transfers 8/17
Pleats: automating “pleating”, single bed 1/1
double bed
Origami-inspired 2: more pleats and fold using ribber 3/21
Knit and purl blocks to create folding fabric_ “pleats”
Pleats: ribbed, folding fabrics 4/15

Making a 2 color drop stitch “work”

I usually try to leave opinions out of my shares, but this post includes some along with “don’t do what I did” tips.
This was a pattern available for sale decades ago, sold directly to customers. At frequent intervals over time questions come up in forums as to possible DIY techniques and methods of design and execution to create the knit, or similar, followed by speculation.
The images from the ads online are small. Trying for a bit more detail, there is a see/peek-through quality. At first, I thought it might be a version of the stitch using 3 colors, but later, looking again, I came to believe it to be a 2 color drop stitch fabric with a dark constant motif color creating the donut-shaped designs with changes to three different colors in the background.
I am planning to execute the fabric as a modified end release, releasing stitches at intervals based on needle selection.
First flub: I was thinking of this as an addition to a prior post, and I got happy cleaning up and deleting stuff. Getting here I realized some of that stuff had to do with the original repeat used and the gimp layer images illustrating the steps used to obtain my repeat.
It is possible when that happens to reverse construct the images. That brought me back to this image, 20X16, drawn as less of a circle since the fabric technique will lengthen the design. It is scaled double length to 20X32 for processing in layersThough the image is far too small to help define the quality of the stripes between the circles, the goal here is to include areas of solid stripes in drop stitch in the alternating colors between the shapes. All white pixel rows will not create long stitches on the top bed, only all knit rows only on the ribber, not the intended fabric.  

The tiled repeat: I wanted to add solid color drop-stitch stripes, the solution being to add all black rows. Every needle will select every row in those areas, colors are changed every two rows, creating the desired effect when the corresponding stitches are dropped.
On any row where every needle is preselected, all needles can be pushed forward to E position dropping the whole row of stitches, and needles are pushed forward to E again after the release so that the second row of loops composing the stripe will be created on the top bed on the next pass to the opposite side.
My final png planned as a single motif test on the 930 is modified to 46 stitches by 72 rows. Imagining the 2 colorwork in repeat, estimating if the pattern and ground fall in the proper place A visual summary with an added color change column and row numbers with rows on which dropping all loops can occur marked with different color numbers. In this case, the ground is in the dark color, the shape in the lighter one. Determining whether the shape or the ground stripes knit the dark color is simply done by beginning the first all knit rows with the dark color or the light.
Getting to the knitting: the yarn I am using, knit at tension 4/5, is significantly thicker than that recommended in the ad for the pattern.
When every needle knits every stitch on either bed, adjustments need to be made in tensions used approaching that used for the yarn when knitting stocking stitch single bed. Brother ribbers also tend to knit tighter than the top bed.
When working every needle rib with sporadic needle selection on the top bed, it takes a bit of testing to find the ideal tension so that stitches are formed and knit off properly on either/both beds.
When lots of needles are being knit on the top bed, the carriages are likely to become harder to push.
A far thinner yarn would change the scale of the overall design even if using the same repeat.
The first swatch encountered aargh moments.
A: the color changer was frequently trying to share 2 colors at once. When I attempted to change the design color, the yarn got caught around a gate peg at the start of the row, and the knitting dropped to the floor.
B: testing reversing the colors. When the dark color was switched to red, C, the contrast and definition of the newly forming “circle” was not enough to my taste. Giving it another go, the theory worked, the details in the fabric underneath the swatch can be seen peeking through,  but I would like to have stripes in the solid lighter colors as opposed to 2, and more space between the shapes. A new, untested draft is now 50X76  but those rows for the solid colors need to be rendered again with black pixels. Here some of the peek-through quality of the fabric is shown again. When any fabric is gathered sideways, it is likely the repeat will appear narrower and longer. Using a 16/2 cotton at nearly the same tension produces a fabric that is even sheerer. And now those solid stripes in 2 rows knit are really bothering me, thinking they should be switched to only one row of loops, making the original repeat without those added black rows the better repeat? Only one of the two colors would pick up loops, with the second knitting 2 rows on the ribber only.  Aaargh! So what of this? Different day, yarns used before, same tensions, a very different result. The colors look different because the sun is finally out and this photo is taken in natural light as opposed to weird artificial lighting. The navy color is slightly thicker than the white, the single dropped row is not immediately visible. Stitches were dropped on any rows after all needles flatlined, and they were returned to B position prior to the next carriage pass.
Lo and behold the joyful experience of having yarn break when the stitches are pulled in order to drop them!  A potential use is for the thinner knit is for it to be used as a layer over a different pattern or the same design as seen here, in the thicker yarn I have never been a fan of this fabric, and for a while.
To my eye, all over geometrics rather than floating forms on solid ground are more attractive, one such sample: seeking a rounder, smaller donut shape: The red is a thicker yarn than the pale yellow, the fabric had an interesting slight curl evocative of shadow pleats. Other possible changes include the elimination of the top and bottom row in the original design. What seems a possible easy fix is not. The above repeat knit creates an elliptical shape rather than a circular one A more stable fabric with areas of stitches dropped for a single row in each of the alternating colors. How to for both are found in the post.
I need a break from long stitches for a while, though this is yodeling. Never say never.  It takes time and effort to develop any fabric to the point where it is considered a satisfactory one, let alone to write and publish accurate patterns using the technique. People who do both deserve to be paid for their time and effort, and are due respect, so no sharing if the pattern is copyrighted or is an original one available for sale presently online is proper.
That said, techniques or merely repeats are not subject to the same “restrictions” and certainly may be adapted for use in different, more personal, or new ways. If an item like a scarf is made using a particular needle arrangement and texture and someone else makes a dress using the same stitch type but shaping pieces, adding details, pattern instructions, the scarf maker, IMO, cannot really claim their work has been copied.
To my mind, credits when sharing anything if available are a matter of courtesy.

Another garment illustrated in the FB comments on the last search query for the Dowse pattern or similar fabric was created with FI shadow pleats. Shadow pleats rely on the contrast between thick and thin yarns to create folds. The double density in the traditional FI segments and the subsequent shift to using thinner yarn for the second color still have floats on the purl side of the knit and are unlikely to produce a sheer knit.

Multiple color drop stitch lace using img2track and more


There are many fabrics where samples may be knit using the proper color separation and released just prior to binding off. Samples and designs may be found in several of my previous posts.
End release is a possibility depending on how the repeat is programmed but does not always produce good results. As can happen in any fabric, what works in swatch size may not when knitting far larger pieces. Fuzzy yarn is problematic in many knitting techniques, it is best avoided in these fabrics. No matter the yarn, after knitting longer pieces, I have found sections that simply refuse to unravel. In addition, if long stitch shapes are distributed on knit striped grounds, the release needs to happen at a minimum when the top of each shape is reached. A sample with drop-stitch interrupted by all knit rows with only one color released. 500_986The repeats for designs may be self-separated to suit.
For more than 2 colors per row the built-in separation in img2track may be used, where any number of colors are selected for each design row and repeated twice. Passap separates for 2 colors with each pixel knitting twice on every row by default, but in Japanese machines, the pattern needs to be separated and programmed using other means.
The knitting method suggested here should work with more than 2 colors per row are separated by the software.
The post on Using Layers in Gimp for color separations illustrated a method for obtaining the necessary file to match those built-in variations when working in only two colors. The repeat is one that was separated and used in a previous post Here the file is separated quickly using Layer menus in Gimp alone Three variations of the final png files are shared The last appeared the most interesting visually to me when tiled This is the appearance when a different design was entered in img2track. The separated file 3 color file in BW is not shared. The method for knitting the pattern: the long stitches are formed by loops that are created on the top bed and dropped on the following row.
This is the method I used in my early dropped stitch samples: to begin with, cast on for every other needle rib, knit 2 circular rows followed by one-row all knit rib, transfer all main bed stitches to the ribber. For an open stitch cast on directions and photos see the post.
The pitch for every other needle Set up needles on both beds for every needle rib with an extra needle in work at each end on the main bed, cancel end needle selection (KC II). With the main bed needles in the B position, set the knit carriage to slip in both directions so as not to pick up loops across the whole row on its way to the left. Change the pitch for when working on every needle on both beds.  Make the first pass toward the color changer, needles will be preselected for the first pattern row
COL: the ribber remains set to knit every needle, the main bed to slip in both directions. A piece of tape in front of needle butts of needles in A position aside the edge of needles with stitches on them on each side helps keep from accidentally moving extra needles into work when dropping whole rows of stitches
COL: change color, as carriage moves to the right, selected needles will pick up loops on the main bed that will form the long stitches when dropped, while the next row of pattern is preselected, so by the time the carriage has reached the right side of the machine, the repeated needles selection is still present
COR: using any convenient tool (I use the edge of a piece of garter bar or ribber cast on comb), bring all needles in work out to E, and use the same tool to return all stitches back to B position. The loops formed on the main bed will be released forming the long stitches: check that all needles are indeed empty and that loops are free and between the beds
As the carriage moves to the left again toward the color changer, the ribber only will knit all stitches, needles on the main bed will be preselected for the next row of long stitches, selected needles do not knit until the next carriage pass from left to right.
COR: colors are changed every 2 rows
Ayab users have a different alternative for knitting this fabric as described in the post, using the circular ribber option. Instructions are given for dropping a single color or both. I cannot imagine manually dropping stitches after every row of loop formation on the top bed for any large piece in this manner. As time passed, I developed a hack for using a second knit carriage with a modified sinker plate.  Anyone with a compatible second knit carriage may use it with the resulting modification to knit a variety of fabrics much more easily, including any that would require the ribber settings changed in both directions, more convenient if the action is required every even number of rows.
Back to drop stitch in 2 colors (or more) using img2track, changing the base design to a small geometric shape. The 8 stitch repeat scaled X 4 in length as separated in the previous post to 8 stitches by 32 rows is used in the following samples.  Rather than relying on manipulating it in width or height and programming each repeat the changes in my swatches were made using variation key selections on my 930.
This type of fabric is best knit using a yarn with no memory, that will allow for retaining the blocked shape. The elongated stitches can have a peek-through quality that will allow for solid knit in a different color, an undergarment, or even bare skin to show through.
Working with a small geometric design to start with helps to develop a sense of the change in its aspect ratio as the original is scaled and knit in different widths and lengths.
Use any separation that allows for knitting each color pixel in each design row twice.
Begin with carriages on the right / COR
After EON cast on and knitting the first full row from left to right, transfer the top bed stitches to the ribber. Place needles in work on the top bed in the B position with first and last outside those in work on the opposite bed. This will allow for edge stitches to be dropped in pattern as well. With the transition planned to every needle rib, the pitch needs to be adjusted accordingly The second carriage, C2 is set to KCII as well. It will be advancing the design with each pass as well and will drop loops on the first pass, preselect for the subsequent pattern row on the next
COR: using the paired carriages set the knit carriage to slip in both directions so as to avoid picking up loops on every needle in work on the top bed, the first row is knit on the ribber only toward the color changer.
Download the repeat.
Program it for the width of the needle bed.
Cancel end needle selection on the top bed, KCII
The separation is technically entered as a fair isle design, variation keys for altering the repeat in the individual machine brand ie double width or double height may still be used.
While moving to the left the first pattern row is preselected.
COL: When the left is reached, change color, the top bed remains set to slip in both directions, the ribber to knit in both throughout.
Before moving to the right for a single time push selected needles back to B so as not to pick up loops on the way back to the opposite side. The second pattern row is preselected during the move to the right, the ribber knits every stitch
COR: knit to left on creating loops, concurrently the next pattern row is preselected, I prefer to change color at this point leaving the carriages to the far left
C2OR: use the second knit carriage with the hacked sinker plate set for plain knitting, make 2 passes with no yarn in its yarn feeder. The first pass drops the stitches. The second pass returns it to the right leaving all needles in the B position. Because no cam buttons are selected in this version, the carriage does not engage the belt as it would if it was also used for advancing patterning.
COL: with the new color no loops are picked up on the way to the right, needles preselect for the next loop row created when moving from left to right
COR: knit back to left creating loops
C2OR: use the second carriage set for plain knitting to drop loops on as it moves to the left, needles are flatlined in B on its return to the right
It is easy to identify the last color used by looking at the ribber. At the completion of each stitch drop, with COL, ribber stitches will clearly be in the last color used.
COL: with the new color no loops are picked on the way to the right, they will be formed on the second pass returning carriages back to the left.
C2OR: use the second carriage for 2 passes
Repeat the last 2 steps until the desired length is reached
Transfer all stitches to the top bed, create a loose bind off tested on the test swatch.
The sampled repeats altered using variation keys in the 930


16X64 The transition in aspect ratio as the original repeat used on the right is changed to double its width Here the comparison is made to the double-wide repeat also doubled in length
The elongated stitches allow objects behind them to peek through Another 2 color variation  Previous posts include samples isolated on striped grounds, using 2 colors.
Adding a third color can make the overall appearance muddy and small designs can appear lost. One sample in the post Here the goal is to use the img2 track separation, maintaining the same color change rotation in each piece.
Reviewing points to consider: in more than 2 colors dbj separations, the double-length variation key is set automatically except in the 950i, where it needs to be set manually.
In knitting drop stitch, the repeat chosen must have each color present in each design row unless the shapes are deliberately altered with solid color stripes in each color. The software is smart enough to recognize any design rows in which a color is not represented.
In conventional dbj, this keeps the design continuous, but in drop stitch, those extra rows will produce an all knit stripe interrupting the overall design.
The software scales the height of the motif to half the original, due to the fact that the double-length variation key is automatically turned on, restoring the original aspect ratio, the png loaded needs to be the original repeat scaled to double its height.
In DIY a small design will likely be less recognizable than larger ones, but working with one can help one understand how stitches can be formed.
The initial design is 6 stitches by 7 rows. It was stretched in width since the fabric elongates the design, and in height because to software will, in turn, reduce that by half to 14X12. The tiled potential appearance as a dbj fabric:In the first sample three carriages are used:
after the basic cast on, transfer and set up needles as described for all variations.
To use the second knit carriage to drop stitches, the first preselection row is made from left to right with the color 1. As the pass is made to the right, no needles on the top bed pick up loops, the ribber knits in that color, preselection for the next row of knitting is made.
As the carriage returns to the left the first row of loops for the long stitches is formed, the ribber knits the second row in that same color.
With both carriages to the far left push the button selection for the next color selection. The number prompts for color changes by the machine will be off by a row during this process.
With the second knit carriage and its altered sinker plate on the right set only to knit make two passes, returning it to the far right. The first pass drops the loops, the second pass returns empty needles to the B position, creating the long stitches.
The paired carriages will knit only on the ribber as they move from the left to the right again, preselecting for the next row of loops. They will place loops in the pattern on the top bed needles as they return to the left, and knit a second row on the ribber.
With carriages to the far left push the button selection for the next color selection.
Use the knit carriage for two passes from right to left, repeating the two steps for the length of the piece.
When the top of the piece is reached, drop any loops on the top bed before knitting a row on the ribber and preparing for transferring stitches to the top bed and binding off.
Only one set of loops is created in each color.
What of end release? because all 3 colors are present in every row, the design is suitable. The first preselection row is from right to left.
I found the combined carriages harder to push, and the knitting wanting to ride up toward the ribber bed needles.
The bottom of the swatch has loops released before a transition to plain knit simply exchanging colors every 2 rows until the end of the test was reached. The top duplicates the effect achieved above by pushing preselected needles back to B position with a tool prior to moving with the new color from left to right. Side by side comparisons: If the end release fabric is preferred but the stitches riding up are a nuisance, the carriages are hard to push, not all stitches release on a larger swatch, or a slightly fuzzy yarn is used the same result is it possible once again using the modified knit carriage to drop stitches making passes from the right?
The problem with that concept: if the knit carriage or any other tool is used
periodically to drop stitches in a long piece when it moves across the row, it drops on the first pass, leaves needles in B position on the second pass when
returning to the right. As knitting resumes with both carriages, no loops are picked up on the first pass to the right, so the pattern with colors dropping for 2 consecutive rows is interrupted, resulting in a patterning error. Selectively dropping stitches while maintaining proper needle preselection is impractical.
Also, if the intent is to use the knit carriage also to select and drop stitches for 2 rows out of every 4, the motif would need to be lengthened several times. I found when programming the far longer repeat the software refused to make the proper needle selection, switching every 2 rows rather than repeating the same multiple times. That aside, the number of passes required becomes daunting.
Changing color selection and order may make the individual shapes more noticeable: Any published or self-drawn separation for 3 colors per row patterning including every color in every row of the original design may be used, programmed as a single bed design, and knit for end release.
This swatch is only 24 stitches wide, it was a start in an attempt to place a better-defined geometric shape on a striped ground, with spaces where not every color is represented in every row between repeats. Its dbj version has some interesting surface texture on the reverse It is only part of the finished piece. The same yarns and tensions as in the previous samples. Two of the problems with end release reared their heads: the color changer side formed too short floats producing a side edge a different length than the other, and several stitches were difficult to drop from the top to the bottom of the knit, with the yarn even breaking in some spots. 

Working with only 2 colors makes the process for me far more predictable and manageable.

Previously published related posts:
Revisiting drop/release stitch lace 1  11/17
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 2/ HOP 2/20
Drop stitch lace using Ayab software 1/18
Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 3, end release  6/15
Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 2, Brother KM  6/15
Geometric shapes in drop stitch lace 1, Brother KM  6/15
Drop stitch lace, 2 colors per row, Passap KM 10/13
Drop stitch lace, 2 colors per row, Japanese machines  10/13
Revisiting knit “bubbles” brother KM 10/17
A bubbles cousin 9/13
More knit bubbles  9/13
Knit bubbles and “stitch ditchers/dumpers”  9/12
Working out the kinks in my drop stitch lace saga  9/12

Using Layers in Gimp for color separations

Over the years I have developed personal methods for creating color separations for many types of knit fabrics, born from lots of experimentation when published resources were absent or extremely limited.
I continued to share methods as they evolved from increasing familiarity with specific programs or as I was introduced to new ones.
Since I began to use paint programs including Gimp I have never been able to wrap my mind around layers and how they might be used in color separations for BW knit repeats.
In my last post on fantasy fair isle ribber fabrics, Claudia Scarpa shared her layers method and subsequently published a Youtube video for obtaining a separation for a very similar fabric to the one I developed beginning with a large design motif that in her instance was also placed specifically on a larger ground.
Her method for separations in 2 color work sparked my interest in using the steps to yield knitting patterns for varied textures and stitch types, beginning with dbj.
will display layer options in my Mac on the bottom right side of the screen A simple geometric shape is scaled in Gimp to twice its height, check that Quality Interpolation is set to None. I have sometimes had issues with scaling in Gimp, particularly when working with small repeats. The cause appears to have been that the Quality, Interpolation, needs to be set to None and may randomly change while working through several steps in processing any image or after a program restart. Arahpaint scaling is still an excellent option for knitters who have it available.
the white ground of the resulting image is rendered transparent by using Color to Alpha and will constitute the first layer for the separation process Select New Layer from the Layers menu (see chart), choosing the background or foreground color so as to have a white screen. It will share properties with the alpha repeat such as pixel count, magnification, and the grid view if used.
Use the pencil tool to draw a repeat that will be used to fill the new layer, followed by using the rectangle tool to select what will become the pattern used to bucket fill the whole layer.
The latter may be the smallest possible selection or even that of complete rows as in my chart. Copy the selection, it will be saved to the clipboard and remain available for filling from pattern unless the program is quit unless it is saved as a pattern for future use.
After using the rectangle select tool, remember to click in the window outside the image to set the layer prior to using the bucket fill tool in the pattern fill setting or the whole layer will simply fill in with a single color. In the layers dialogue, use the mouse to drag and drop the alpha image icon for the triangle layer onto the newly created one. The selected icon will appear surrounded by a border when chosen, a new icon will appear during the step.  Both layers measure the same pixel dimensions, no placement adjustments are necessary. The mode, highlighted here is changed in a later step.  Color invert the new image  Click on the downward pointer to the right of Normal and select Difference. The result is a repeat that may then be saved and used doubled in height to knit DBJ in a variety of settings.
Elongation after download can be avoided by working with the same initial image scaled in height X4 and following the same process, saving and using the repeat on the far right. The same separation was achieved using other methods in the post on fantasy fair isle.
Possible DBJ settings on Brother machines using the elongated final repeat are shown in this grab, part of the postEOR refers to a repeat that would require double length after the download, the same machine settings apply to any image created in a double-length format prior to download. Are punchcard knitters left out? In the post on the color separation used for the KRC equivalent separation for a punchcard two results were presented, the full card and the starting design shown with the color reversed repeat of the above. The process begins with obtaining the double-length separation after saving the last file on the right as png discard any files still open. Open the saved png and process it the same way, changing the ground Save the last file as png. Punchcard knitters would need to tile the fileX4 in width and in height X2 but the final repeat appears different than that in the punchcard post, the proof of success or failure is in the knitting. If the swatch is knit on electronic, the first preselection row is made from left to right, as it would be if using the built-in color separation. The main bed for this fabric after the preselection row is set to slip in both directions, the ribber, using an even number of needles, is also set to slip in both directions with lili buttons. The 8X32 png The result from repeating it twice indicates the separation indeed works. When a color separation is downloaded it is used as one would a fair isle. If the motif is representational and direction on the knit side matters, any repeats may have to be mirrored horizontally if they are automatically reversed by either your software prior to download or your machine model after it.

There has been renewed interest in the MK FB group on drop stitch lace recently. I plan to address using this repeat in a future post on knitting the fabric using img2track. The 16X72 double-length png A quicker matching result:
begin with the motif lengthened X4
open a new layer, bucket fill a striped ground, use transparency to change the white in the result to alpha. The layers are immediately combined into a new image
color invert the resulting file
change layer mode by selecting difference from the menu, save the resulting png
Tiling to visualize alternative repeats, beginning with the 24X72 pixel fileThe file for the image in the center, modified to 24X144 pixelsThe file for the image on right, modified to 48X144 pixelsRemoving the color on every other row for use in specialty fabrics ie drop stitch lace using a modified stitch dropping tool with a now edited 24 stitch repeat, suitable for punchcard models:  The image is processed as for the previous separation, the final png is exported. Open the saved in Gimp.
From the Layer menu choose new.
Create a pattern for bucket-fill in pattern using color, in this case, blue.
A new image immediately appears, export it as a png.
Open the saved 3 color png.
In the tools menu choose the second option for fuzzy select by color, the icon will change. Using the rectangle tool, select a single blue row, after the selection, press and hold down the shift key and repeat selections of multiple rows in the same color. Each selection will be bordered by a dotted line. Release the shift key. Click on the rectangle select tool and then again in the work window outside the image to set it. Dotted lines will disappear. The same action is repeated if working on segments of the full file at a time.
Export the fully altered file as png ready for download, or print a gridded version to follow in punching a card. The 24X72 new png MOSAICS: For proof of concept, I intend to use separations for fabrics accompanied by knit samples in previous posts,  beginning with a mosaic one, achieved in the post. The images are shown for the final repeat as separated there are shown at the top of this new image. Below comparisons are made between the original download file and its companion elongated repeat alongside the same developed using LayersBoth results require scaling X2 prior to knitting, whether by button setting changes in the repeat after download or in Gimp prior to. After reaching the step where the layer mode is changed to Difference (or Exclusion), stop and save the png, using color reverse at this point will revert to previous a previous layers view open the saved png in Gimp, use color reverse, then scale the result doubling its height, save the png for download and knitting without changes in any machine settings. Testing another image separated in a previous post: the original charted image is now rendered in black and white the repeat as png tile check The process in LayersThe very last file on the right is saved as a png. In turn, it is opened again in Gimp, scaled to twice its height The non-elongated repeat actually matches that in the punchcard, which was knit with the machine set to double length Exclusion is the alternative Layer mode which when following the same process yields identical results. A block slip stitch design from the post requires color inversion and doubling the length. A: design motif
B: lengthen X 4
C: color reverse
D: new layer filled with pattern
E: color to alpha immediately results in F
F: save png for download

More shapes on ribber fabrics with tuck patterning, fantasy fair isle

Fantasy fair isle is the term often used to refer to dbj fabrics created using tuck settings on either or both beds. Typically in the required color separation used each design row in the repeat is expanded into 4 rows, with the same selection occurring for each color pair of consecutive rows. A tuck/plain combination is used here, with the backing essentially being a striper one, where each color knitting every stitch on the ribber on every row.
In this illustration, the blue symbols represent knit stitches on either bed, the red, the tucked stitches on the top bed. The chart represents a single design row expanded into 4, the results would, in turn, be rendered double length in knitting the final fabric.  The last post related to this topic: 2021/09/07/geometric-shapes-on-ribber-fabrics-with-tuck-stitches-3/
Recently a friend shared images of a punchcard skull pattern she was using in a hat and followed with a query as to the possibility of using the pattern on a mesh grid. The inspiration for the conversation began with this image, the work of Claudia Scarpa. The possibility of adding images on a true mesh transfer lace or mesh-like thread lace images may be found in 2021/12/14/to-mesh-or-not-to-mesh-9-more-on-mock-filet-design/
My DIY skull image in a potential thread lace pattern, in a 100X92 pixel png.  Concurrently the topic of illusion knits on the machine has also resurfaced in FB with some spectacular panels executed using the Garter carriage and changing colors every 2 rows. Some small geometric shapes begin to have a somewhat “similar” appearance using this technique, but as with beauty, the success in the imitation is in the eye of the beholder.
The techniques involved: my proof of concept was knit using img2track on a 930. Traditionally two-color designs may be opened and then downloaded, using the standard dbj built-in KRC function for the color separation, not suitable for this dbj version, while for designs in 3 or more colors the program will separate the repeat in a way that each color for each design row is knit twice, the separation required here.
At this point, the color separation is executed by filling in pixels observing a variety of rules. DAK produces templates of jacquard separations of varied types that may be printed for use outside its universe. The same file may be screengrabbed, traced, and redrawn pixel by pixel for use in a Brother download using other download software.
Passap by default separates knits for 2 color DBJ with each color for each design row knitting twice mode. Tucking on either or both beds is made easier because of the way stitches are formed on the Passap beds, along with the use of strippers which push down on tuck loops with each pass, ensuring that they will knit off properly. The fabric widens considerably when off the machine, requiring loose cast ons and bind-offs. The dbj variant, dubbed fantasy fair isle, is often used to create lap or quilt blankets.
The Passap built-in reader techniques that are often recommended for large knit pieces ie blankets using the same design are 186 for throw size, 187 for lap blankets, 183 for crib quilts. All three share the fact that the front bed pushers are selected in pattern in the up/knitting position alternating with the down/slip/tuck position alternating every 2 rows, producing the jacquard discussed here.
Slip settings produce narrow, short results, tuck short and wide ones. For non Passap knitters, N is Passapese for plain knit, KX is tuck with patterning on the front/ knit bed, AX for tuck patterning on the back/ribber bed.
Back in 2018, I began another post I meant to return to on traveling between the two brands.
My Passap E6000 manual is filled with scribbled notes from decades ago, expanding on how each technique may be used for a variety of fabrics.  In Fantasy Fairisle knitting using 187 with alternating up and down pushers on the back bed and AX with 2 arrow keys would match Brother ribber knitting with lili buttons used on an even number of needles set to tuck.
Working with the large skull image the setting of knit every row on the ribber and tuck in both directions on the knit bed is used as in technique 186, with a critical difference. Passap knitters may download the original black and white image while for Brother knitting a color separation is required.
The original skull image is 100 pixels wide by 92 high.
Converting the white ground layer behind the skull to alpha produces an image on a clear ground that can be placed exactly where desired on a new file with a white ground using the grid and guides
The alpha double long skull, now 100 by 184 pixels For the 1-pixel grid in Gimp to be visible on an editable image, a magnification of at least 800 is required. The options offered by default
can be changed to suit by simply typing in a new number.
As described in other posts including in Gimp update for Mac2, I chose to mark every other row with a red pixel, making it easier to track color inverting every other row.  This is achieved by selecting the rows with red dots using the rectangle tool one row at a time and choosing Invert from the colors menu. The red dot will also change color, making it easy to locate converted rows in more complex patterns. The dotted blue line is a guide for placement. in progress   the processed image the trimmed 98X182 png doubled in length once more to 98X364 Knitting process on a 930 using img2track:
the 930 has a tiny brain, so the image is broken down by the software into multiple tracks of 96, 134, and 134 respectively. One of the critical differences when using this type of DBJ color separation is that the first preselection row is made from right to left toward the color changer rather than from left to right as in KRC separated 2 colors DBJ.
The first and last needles are in work on the ribber to ensure the edge stitch on that bed will knit every row.
The knit carriage is set to KCII, canceling end needle selection.
Once the first row has been preselected and the planned color is chosen, with COL, set the main bed to tuck in both directions, leave the ribber set to knit, and continue knitting changing color every 2 rows.
In my swatch, the dark contrast color was used for the initial black pixel all-knit rows.
The work on the machine: A reminder: in my experience, the Brother cast on combs are usually chrome-colored, Studio grey, and Passap and I believe Superba ones were traditionally green. The first 2, designed for 4.5 mm machines, the latter for 5mm. The different mm spacing does not make the 5 mm combs suitable for casting on on Brother, but they can be poked through the knit in progress. I like to leave the first comb and weights on, insert the new comb closer to the beds, and then move the weight up and then remove the lower position comb.
There are lots of side-by-side stitches tucking on the main bed, made possible by the fact that each is anchored in place by a knit stitch on the opposite bed.
The tension needs to be set so that the stitches will knit off properly while having tuck loops not so loose as to get hung up on gate pegs. It can take a bit of trial and error to find proper settings and they, in turn, may need to be adjusted again when moving from small swatches into knitting on a far larger number of needles.
The finished piece measures 25 inches in width by 24 in height.
The appearance on the bed set to N, in this case, the ribber: Those white lines on the right are spots where the color changer picked up both color threads, a problem that does not occur in Passap knitting, where each color is picked up in its own yarn holder. In the Brother model, sometimes the yarn is left in the wrong place below eye level rather than its own individual one corresponding to its button, and both yarns are picked up with the next color change. The more textured knit side of the piece,  a close-up of the texture at an angle  Claudia Scarpa developed a skull variation using only layers in Gimp and has been kind enough to create a Youtube video illustrating the process. The separation is easy and quick as opposed to my more prolonged hack, and I will return to attempt to use it for various fabrics in a follow-up post.
This skull is more compact and better defined than mine. With the double long original image superimposed on alternating pairs of black and white rows, the resulting png can not be lengthened again as tucking would then occur for 4 rows, not likely possible in a Brother machine. The variant is a very interesting cousin to mine.

In DAK using the Method C color separation each color row separates into 2 rows of knitting and when using the result rows do not have to be repeated in pairs but the double-length switch will need to be used in Japanese knitting machines if working within the program. For those intending to use the separation outside the DAK universe, the color separation may be printed, traced/redrawn to create a png or bmp, scaled double length, and used as in the skull swatch. The template for the double long triangle in the post and the associated 24 stitches by 32 rows png, followed by the associated drawn png The png doubled in length, 24 stitches by 64 rows. This is a small repeat, suitable for punchcard machines. The test swatch is knit with the main bed tucking both ways and the ribber knitting every row. It is possible to work some repeats on some machines with the ribber also set to tuck both ways with EON needle selection.
In Brother that is achieved by using lili buttons with an even number of needles in work on the ribber. The first and the last needle would be in work on the top bed, the KCI setting is used for end needle selection to ensure that the first and last needles on each side of the piece will knit. I did not find this method workable and soon had to stop because of a loopy mess. When using the Dak stitch design module, the color separation is automated. Choose any design repeat. This happens to be a 20X20 one, chosen from the thumbnail assortment, so not suitable for punchcard models. “Printing” the template using choosing the option of using dots rather than squares to represent knit stitches makes the resulting print screengrab easier to trace. the 20X20 repeat as a BW png The template was overlayed with a grid in numbers, filling in cells over the dotted areas.
A portion of the work in progress using the generated dbj option C template and tracing it transitioning from template to Numbers, to Gimp:  The result is screengrabbed, opened in Gimp, converted to BW mode, and scaled to the 20X40 expanded design size. Unless the double-length function in the machine is also used, it will need scaling again to double length prior to download.
Illustrations for the generated dbj option C template, tracing it in Numbers, processed in Gimp, The final image double length, showing the difference between the separation using the template, and that using layers as in Claudia’s video, which appears different but is actually the same repeat, color reversed.  Using bucket fill for the ground in the second layer, as described in the video, the captured clipboard image can be very small or stripes any width may be captured, even up to that of the full repeat widthRemember to click on the screen outside the area chosen with the rectangle tool before using the bucket fill in pattern tool.
The result is the same using either brush.
Alternately, the initial design may be scaled X4 to 20 X 80 pixels and it is superimposed on a ground flood-filled with 2 black rows alternating with 2 white rows the steps resulting in a match to the previous elongated version the 20X80 png In the related swatch patterning is used on  40 stitches by 100 rows. The relaxed fabric when off the machine measures 7 inches by 7 inches and the knit side view reflects the elongation of the design one might observe when using the same color separation in standard striper-backed DBJ. On the bottom, the swatch is stretched and the stitches are set with some casual steaming and pressing to 10.5 to 6.75 inches, gaining the familiar texture appearance seen in so many Passap blankets.
The color differences are due to lighting, with the photos being taken at different times of day.  
For a loose cast-on row, I used a racked version at the same tension as the body of the knit. For a loose bind off to accommodate the stretch, I used a version of this method, shown in the video for use on the Passap.
To perform the same on Brother machines: knit the piece, ending with the carriages on the right.
Transfer all the stitches up to the top bed, bring the ribber needles up into work between them set the ribber to a looser tension number, here it was increased from 4 to 7. Knit one row from right to left, picking up loops on the empty ribber needles drop the ribber slightly to elongate the main bed stitches, using a latch tool, go through the center of each stitch, chaining them through each other the last stitch in the completed chained row is secured the beds are returned to the up position, and loops and stitches are dropped off the needles.
An attempt at a more detailed look at the bound-off edge

Revisiting fair isle, thread lace, 3D surface potential


Tuck and slip stitch are commonly used to produce very effective textured surfaces often accompanied by color changes. Those color changes require knitting with yarn always in the A position in the sinker plate, and color changes are made by replacing the yarn in that position by hand, or by using the color changer. Fair isle and thread lace operate differently, as they carry and work with two yarns at once. Some of these samples were also presented in the post on fair isle variations
For textured surfaces using wire for one of the two colors makes the fabric moldable, here 32 gauge stainless steel wire is used as color 2, card#2 Using end needle selection when there are needles out of work results in single stitch width vertical columns of color that are planned in this instance as guides for sewing machine stitching lines. The width of the fabric is limited because of the number of needles actually knitting the pattern, but the technique offers the opportunity for a coordinated bicolor fringe with placement on the motif from casual to very deliberate, either side may be chosen as the “public one What may be firing in one piece could provide a tube for insertions on either side of the knit.
The fringing here is created by having needles out of work with one or two needles in work at their outer edge anchoring the deliberate floats on one side, trimmed when the piece is complete, before felting. The triangles are formed with single decreases followed by increases to reverse the shaping keeping the fringe edge needles in a fixed position. There is some rippling along the shaped edge, but the remainder of the fabric is fairly flat. Felting creates a reversible knit, shrinkage, possible stiffness, and potential limitations in the width of the final fabric are considerations when planning wearables. These factors become irrelevant when the goal is sculptural form.  Creating blistered surfaces the easy way,  leaf pattern variations: poly-cotton and raffia on the bottom, fishing line as the second yarn line on top. I have found the line for 6lb or fewer works best. The knit is flat. Felted rayon chainette and wool; when the main color is wool and the rayon renders the floats there is minimal blistering the result from reversing the yarn positions creates more bubbling
Here elastic is used as the second color in the thread lace setting.  Using wool and acrylic non-felting yarn, the original mylar repeat was altered to twice as long and rendered twice as wide as well the difference in finished width The yarn positions in two color single-pass knitting, remain fixed in their relationship to punched holes. In fair isle patterning, the back feeder, usually labeled A, knits the ground on non-selected needles in the B position. The yarn (red) in the forward, B feeder, knits the stitches on needles selected to the D position which correspond to punched holes or black squares in a mylar, black pixels in a computer file for download. In thread lace, the back A position yarn knit both yarns together, while the forward B position yarn, red thread, knits the forward yarn/color, with the other yarn creating the single set of floats behind it.
Not all machines have a thread lace carriage, I use a punchcard model KC on my electronic machines 
Sinker plates in different model years may also differ.
In terms of blistered fabrics in 2 colors using elastic yarn as one of the two fibers, the results in FI and its double sets of floats are shown on the left, the thread lace version with only the elastic creating the single float on the right.  Thread lace patterning may also be used with a thin, non-felting yarn knitting the areas of the pattern intended for the 3D texture in the forward yarn position. The rear position yarn needs to be wool or other fiber that will felt and shrink with processing. In the finished piece, the wool floats may be left in place, trimmed, or the thin shapes may even be trimmed out leaving openings that do not ravel In addition, large thin fabric shapes can be stiffened over enclosures to create permanent effects in sculptural pieces.