Brother shadow lace, rib transfer carriage

I have probably owned this accessory since the early 90s. After making a faint-hearted attempt at using it at the time and failing, it has been stored in the original box in the interim and just came out of retirement. The multiple languages operating manual for its use may be downloaded from http://machineknittingetc.com/brother-ka7100-ka8300-transfer-carriage-user-guide.html. There are several video tutorials available on Youtube. As a group, they generally illustrate simple transfers across an entire row in structures such as ribs used for bands and cuffs. This one is offered by Knitology 1×1, Elena Berenghean, a young knitter publishing very good machine knitting video instruction on a huge range of techniques.
The tool is designed for the standard gauge, transfers only from the ribber up to the main bed. It is best to use yarn that has some stretch. The recommendation in the manual and in youtube videos is to perform the transfers with the pitch set to H. My own ribber is balanced, I found I had problems with transfers in that position, several carriage jams, and to get things to work properly in half-pitch I had to use the racking handle to move the ribber needles slightly more to the left for the transfers. The needles containing stitches to be moved, need to be slightly to the right of the needles with which they will share yarn, that spot may turn out to also be just wide enough to allow for the pattern to be worked without changing the ribber pitch.  The yarn used is a 2/18 Merino, knit at tensions 3/5. In terms of positioning the carriage, a wire that is akin to that found on Passap strippers is on its underneath. In positioning the carriage on the beds, check visually that it is indeed lying between the gate pegs of both beds prior to attempting to travel with it to the opposite side If any carriage jam occurs, it takes cautious wriggling to release the wire and carriage. Upon completion of the transfers, simply lift up to remove it from the beds.
Generally, the ribber tension used needs to be set on 4 at the minimum. The last row just prior to transfers will likely need to be knit at a looser tension than the remaining rib. If the stitches are too small they will not be picked up for the transfer. Folks familiar with lace knitting are aware that just the right amount of weight can make a difference in forming proper transfers. With these fabrics, too little weight may result in loops forming on gate pegs, too much weight, and stitches may remain over closed latches on the ribber needles and not share their yarn for transfers.  Again, the transfer carriage operates only from right to left.
Studio instructions for their version of the accessory actually offer some different and more specific recommendations. When knitting full needle rib all the needles or pattern segments the machine generally will be in Half Pitch. Though there are needles in work on both beds, the ribber should be set to full pitch, aka P position, “point to point” prior to transfers, bringing them in close alignment in order to facilitate the process. Passap machines accomplish the same by changing the angle of the racking handle to other than the full, up placement in order to achieve the necessary alignment.
The Brother accessory and its parts, has clear imprinted illustrations for use

The change lever has only 2 positions, up and down respectively Its position is determined by the number of needles on the ribber one wishes to transfer.
The carriage manual recommends its use after knitting a last ribbed row to the left, but it is possible to use it with both knitting carriages on either side, as long as there is generous space to clear all stitches when the accessory is placed on the bed, moved to the opposite side, and removed. An extension rail may be needed to achieve that amount of clearance.
Operating slowly, one can watch the process of transfers while moving from right to left. Though skeptical, I found the transfers happened easily, with occasional skips. I worked with hand-selection of needles on the ribber to create a pattern, first with hand-selection, then with racking the ribber position to change the relationship of needles on one bed to the other, initially transferred after every 2 rows knit. The knit carriage was set to knit both ways, the ribber to knit in one direction, creating loops on the selected needles, and securing them in the other, allowing for the loops on the ribber needles to be transferred up to the main bed, before working 2 more rows. The “errors” in patterning were operator errors in needle selection as stitches were dropped, and not all the required needles were then returned to work position. Not a technique I would use for all-over fabric, but good practice. When the transfer occurs properly, the ribber needles will have yarn placed over closed latches, ready to be dropped, the yarn is shared and looped over stitches on the main bed, akin to tuck loops, outlined in the photo with the black oval. The first image is from the manual for the accessory, while in the photo, one improperly transferred stitch is outlined in red. To prevent dropped stitches from happening, any such locations will require a hand transfer to the opposite bed before dropping the remaining ribber bed shared stitches For my test I used EON needles on the ribber, planned alternating selection for each new transfer. This could be done by selecting dashes and blank spots on needle tape ie. dash in the above photo, blank spaces below  It was faster to achieve the effect by changing the ribber relationship to the main bed using racking by one position ie 10, 9, 10, 9, etc. prior to picking up the subsequent set of loops. The errors in the test swatch were from failing to bring all the needles back up to work after dropping their stitches. Using a tool ie. a ribber comb placed over the out-of-work needles prior to dropping stitches made the racking process far less error-prone,  will keep the appropriate needles from being accidentally taken out of work. My first attempt at creating shapes includes a band at the bottom where the EON transfers as above were made, but every row. Simply bringing needles into work on the opposite bed creates an eyelet. They can be eliminated by sharing stitch “bumps” on the opposite bed, but for the moment they are a design feature. The texture created appears in the areas involved on both sides of the knit It is possible to transfer single needles at sides of shapes ie or whole rows, but the change lever needs to be set to position accordingly.

Many knitters have one of these tools in their stash,  they are sometimes referred to as “jaws”,  intended to facilitate transferring between both beds, and patterning was intended for Studio punchcard machines. The enclosed punchcards: Shadow lace tools are marked side 1 and side 2. Some are blue on one side, cream or white on the other, the blue side is side 1. The process always begins with side 1, or blue. When the stitches have been removed, the jaws are closed, allowing the stitches to slide over to side 2. The jaws are once again opened, and the stitches are transferred to the opposite bed. Studio machines select and knit in single pass rows. Brother preselects for the next row of knitting while knitting any one row in pattern as well, so transferring in pattern from the top bed down with such a tool would be problematic to maintain proper pattern needle selection.
To transfer from the ribber up on any machine, place the teeth of the jaws on the needles on the ribber, holding it with both hands. Pull needles up until all stitches are behind the latches, then push down with another tool or one of your hands until all stitches are on the jaws.
Release the tool from the ribber needles, rotate it away from you, toward the main bed. Close its teeth so the stitches are transferred onto side 2.
Open teeth, place eyelets over main bed needles and stitches are transferred onto the main bed by rotating the tool away from you just a little and tugging down a bit.
On Brother, the possibility of having patterning on the top bed to help track patterning on the ribber in some way comes to mind. This was my start, with the first draft of electronic repeats. I stopped when I began to have some tension issues, loops on gate pegs, and a distracted brain.
Transfers of stitch groups, whether by hand or using the accessories are made on rows where no needle preselection occurs on the main bed This series is a proof of concept for my approach to developing electronic cuesThe original repeats were modified to include 2 blank rows between segments that allow for transfers between beds not hampered by needle preselection on the top bed. The motifs are color reversed, but not the blank rows between themThe knit carriage is set to select needles KC I or II, end needle selection does not matter. All needles on the top bed knit every stitch, every row, whether or not those design rows contain black pixels. No cam buttons are pushed in. Blank areas between black ones indicate the number of needles that actually need to pick up loops on the ribber to create shapes, filling in spaces between selected needles until an all-blank row is reached for making transfers. The chart on the far right illustrates a shape where the easiest method becomes one where stitches on the ribber are manually transferred to the top bed in order to reverse the shape and maintain every row preselection. The selected needle corresponding to the black square marked with the top of the red arrows is pushed back, the ribber stitch below is transferred onto it, the needle with the couples stitches is brought to E position, moving across the bed in proper locations prior to knitting the next row.  In this repeat, the side vertical panels of ribbed stitches are added. The knit stitches on each side of them roll nicely to the purl side, creating what in some fabrics can actually be planned as an edging. My takeaway is to test the accessory with some patience, sort out the sweet spot for the ribber needles in relation to main bed ones in terms of handling transfers and yarn thickness, use colors that allow for easy recognition of proper stitch formation, keep good notes, and “go for it”.

One way to add color to the mix is to use the plating feeder.

In the first sample, equal thickness yarns were used, the colored yarn was a rayon slub with no stretch and slippery nature. The bottom of this test used a wool yarn of equal weight to the light color, which proved hard to knit. The red is a 2/48 cash-wooll A very narrow test for a possible pleated pattern  

It is possible to construct the same type of fabrics on a striped background. It can be achieved low tech with graph paper and pencils if needed, using a simple paint program, Gimp alone, this is my process using Numbers and Gimp:
1. determine the desired shape, its width, and height, checking that it also tiles properly
2. create a table with square cells the same width as the number of stitches in your design, twice its height; use an even cell size ie 20X20 pt
3. hide all odd-numbered rows from the top of the table down, the table will shrink from 20 rows to 10
4. draw your repeat
5. unhide all rows
6. copy and paste the table; double the cell pt height only to 40, making the repeat twice as long
7. mark corners or part of the edges with another color to make it easier for Gimp to identify them, select all and remove borders, grab the image with an added surrounding colorless border
8. open the screengrab in Gimp, use crop to content, fill colored squares with white, change the mode to indexed BW, scale the result to the appropriate size, in this case, 18X40, export png Cast on for EN or EON rib. Transfer all the main bed stitches down to the ribber. Extra stitches can be cast on and transferred in addition to the planned width of the repeats to create a border on either side of the designs. During patterning there will be stitches in work on both beds at intervals, so the pitch needs to be set to H while knitting. When the top of the piece is reached, transfer all ribber stitches to the main bed and bind off.
The first preselection row is knit from right to left in the contrast ground color.
With COR bring all the needles to be worked in the pattern color to B position on the top bed.
The knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. End needle selection is canceled. The ribber remains set to N/N for the duration. Knit to the left and begin changing colors every 2 rows.
The shape increases are created automatically, with eyelets at the edges where each stitch is picked up for the first time on the top bed. COL when the first needle is preselected in this case for the start of the next shape, transfer all previously formed design stitches on the main bed down to the ribber, continue knitting If any stitches are pushed all the way back or in mixed alignment during transfers,  be sure to return them all to B position, not disturbing the needles already preselected for the next pattern row,  repeat as needed. Because one color knits with every carriage pass while the other slips behind it not knitting for those 2 rows, the striped background fabric will become distorted depending on yarn and stitch size used, most likely particularly noticeable at the top and bottom edges of the piece.

Pretend multi color ribs

WORK IN PROGRESS

A recent Ravelry post brought this topic to light. Using slip stitch settings makes the final fabric narrow and not stretchable. That said, there may be times when vertical columns of color would benefit the remaining design. This first experiment is on a Brother machine. The repeat used is for a simple 2X2 block It is programmed for 2 color knitting, set up for use with the ribber and color changer. The first KC row is from the right to the left, with color changes following every 2 rows. When the carriage is first on the left, the knit carriage is set to slip in both directions. In the tests the ribber is set to knit in both directions for the sample on the left, to slip to the left for the sample on the right. When the ribber is set to slip, the main bed only will knit in the corresponding direction, and floats will be created between selected needles on the main bed. The number of rows completed on the ribber are cut in half, the resulting knit fabric is more compressed, less elongated, and narrower A closer look The same repeat may be used to produce a tucked version. In many punchcard machines, a card is supplied with a 2X2 check. With the main color, in a suitable yarn, cast on for 1X1 rib. Set the knit carriage to tuck and the ribber carriage toknit. Knit 2 rows with the contrast color, followed by 2 rows with the main color, repeating for the desired length of the rib. Knit the last row in the main color with both carriages set to knit. Transfer the ribber stitches to the main bed to continue knitting single bed.

Slip stitch patterns with hand transferred stitches, single bed

This post originally included samples worked using needles on the ribber as well, now in another in progress post: Slip stitch patterns with hand transferred stitches, double bed
An earlier post with a range of single-color experiments: A hand-knit consult to machine knit slip stitch
The inspiration source for the topic here was found on Pinterest Adapting the motif for machine knitting, visualizing the actions needed. The repeat is suitable for punchcard machines as well. The first preselection row is toward the color changer, end needle selection is on. Cable crossings, 1 front, 3 back, are made every 4 rows except where the color reverses at the midpoint, where 4 all knit rows are preselected and occur. The fourth, extra non selected needle, X, is removed on a tool and held in front of the work. The three adjacent stitches are then also removed on a tool, moved to fill in the now empty needle to the left in the bottom segment of the repeat, to the right in the top half. The remaining held stitch is then transferred onto the newly empty needle. All stitches in the transfer group are brought to D, the remaining needles should have been preselected. If any have been disturbed, line them up as well so all the needles will knit with the carriage set to slip. The color is changed, and the row with the completed transfers becomes the first all knit row in the next color pair or rows. 
The repeat as programmed into my 930
Working on a single bed is for me, more user-friendly than double bed. I like to program the width of my repeats when possible, they can then be treated as single motifs, the default in the 930 with downloads using img2track, and I do not have to rely on notes, memory, or position programming to place the work predictably on the needle bed. My full repeatThe knit carriage was set to KC I and to slip in both directions, the same design and execution methods were used as for the first swatch. The yarn is 2/18 wool, the tension was set at 4.., the slipped and crossed stitches pull the fabric in both width and height, the swatch was steamed and pressed to flatten it. Small eyelets occur along the edges where the single stitches were moved to one side or the other across three needle positions. It was not possible to produce a 3X3 crossing at the center of the shapes. Over time I have encountered illustrations of unraveled knit or slipped stitches being brought out to the purl side, creating thread patterns on the knit surface, and changing the color structure on the purl. This illustrates a slip stitch being created via a hand technique Here the dropped stitch is hooked up on the purl side  Using the automated slip stitch setting simplifies the technique. The method often described to deal with moving the elongated slipped stitches is illustrated below. Using a latch tool inserted behind the slip floats, remove a single slipped stitch at a time, passing it under the slip stitch floats, and rehanging it in its original needle position.  In testing techniques, a simple design that is recognizable with the preselection of needles makes it easier to track progress and accuracy. Though these patterns may be executed in a single color, working in contrasting, bright yarn colors is helpful in isolating stitch formations and understanding their structures. More than one stitch may be moved at any one time. I found when using more than 2 rows of slip the ground fabric began to look gathered and distorted, so my tests are knit using 2X2 pixel blocks.
To move the slipped stitches, slide a multiple eye tool under the slip stitch floats that are to be moved to the front of the knit, holding the tool parallel to the knit bed, lift floats up and onto the non selected needles,   pull tool forward, so stitches and floats move behind the latches push tool back toward the needle bed lift the slipped stitches and floats together onto the tool insert a latch tool from behind between the prongs of the multiple eye tool,  lift the floats over the eyes of the tool, placing them behind it and the slipped stitches, being careful not to hook them up onto gatepegs,
now lift the original slipped stitches back onto their previous place on the needle bed, they will be part of the first all knit row in the contrasting color;  bring the needles with the restored stitched out to E, thus making certain they will knit as the carriage makes its next pass The pattern is charted below in development, color changes were planned every 2 rows. The third blank row in each slip stitch location marks the spot for the above manipulations to take place, noted in the chart with grey cells marked with pink dots. After the initial preselection row toward the color changer, only for the first all knit pattern row, push non-selected needles out to hold, E, to ensure all stitches will knit in the ground color. Subsequently, the first design row is part of the continuing repeat. The next color change will begin to form the floats. The sequence at the bottom of the swatch is off because I had a change of heart about which color I wanted to form the solid color shapes To my surprise, the process became oddly meditative, and I moved onto a different motif built with 2X2 pixel blocks. As seen with mazes and mosaics, a design intended for standard fair isle, tuck, or slip, with color changes every 2 rows, will produce an altered final shape,  Combining hand techniques: the starting chart begins to address the movement of stitches. On the left, the placement of crossed colors is shown, but technically the design produced is different. On the rows marked with X and red cells, cable crossings are made. All stitches in that row are then pushed out to E, the color is changed and the result is that row and the preselected next one are going to knit on every stitch, those rows are highlighted with red cells on the right as well. Black cells reflect punched holes or repeat for a 24 stitch brick repeatTwo types of crossings were used in the swatch, one moving the elongated slipped stitches on the knit side of the work, the simpler process,  the other involves moving the slipped stitches to the purl side of the work which the purl side after slipping the slip stitch floats behind them in the first steps, followed by performing all crossings to the purl side, then bringing all the needles out to E, changing the color, and continuing in the pattern. The blank line indicates the crossing row, the numbers the rows actually knit. The resulting knit proof of concept: the fabric has a 3D effect. My red yarn is an acrylic chosen simply for thickness and contrast that flattened with a bit of steam. The white yarn travels in two opposite directions for the crossings, creating eyelets in the center of each pair of moves. The slip stitch floats brought to the knit side in the top half nearly disappear on the knit side. Both surfaces are “bumpy” A design with each color being crossed: the attempted visualization and repeat. The repeat appears to use slip-stitch in a vertical column, not ever possible in standard knitting. The explanation is that on those blank rows, crossings are made prior to knitting the next row. The chart on the left reflects the needle placement of each color after the crossings.  All pattern needles are then brought out to E, maintaining the needle selection. Slipped stitches will have been replaced by knit ones in the alternate color.
When ready for cabling, there will be 3 floats in one color, and a fourth, single one, in the other.
For the first row of knitting, there will be no preselection. Bring all those needles out to E with color 1, then continue as described.
My first test had 2 more rows in each pattern segment, I found the stitches persistently wanting to jump off the needles due to the amount of texture. The charted repeat Transferring the slip stitch floats to the knit side was fiddly, I actually prefer the texture created by moving the elongated loops on the knit side. All cabled fabrics narrow considerably. My swatch is 24 stitches wide, knit at tension 9, 14 transfer repeats measure a whole 2.25 inches in width, 4.25 in length. The white yarn is a 2/8 wool, the red a 2/11.5 acrylic.
The very first preselection row and those blank rows in a card or in pixels will only select the first and last needle if the cam button is set to KC one, signaling action needs to be taken the needle selection is fixed, so it easy to ID and restore after transfers are made. A couple more ways to transfer those slip stitch floats to the front of the fabric: floats can be lifted on top of the needles that formed them and behind the stitches on them, a fine knitting needle or tool can be inserted through the stitches across the row, a few, or a pair at a time, being careful not to twist the stitches. In turn, the stitches can then be dropped off the main bed, held on the needle or tool, and be replaced carefully on the needles in question across the row. Crossings are then made, the proper needle set up is manually chosen for the next carriage pass, and the process starts over again. Folks who like lifelines could thread a ravel cord threaded through a needle and use them to remove the same stitches off the bed instead of the knitting needle.   

Returning to cabling with crossings showing only on the knit side, attempting wider cables: several issues need to be worked out. The more frequently one color is slipped, the more rows the alternate color will knit, which will lead to distortion of the fabric in the striped areas. The greater the number of stitches crossed, the harder the cable is to achieve, so my tests use 2X2 cables. Dark colors are harder to see both when moving stitches, and often in the final fabric. Spacing between the cabled columns and whether or not to place them or all knit rows on the edges is another choice that needs to be made. The charted repeats are for the red cable with the second spacing, illustrating options for cabling on row 7 or row 11, pulling needles out to E after making the transfers before knitting the last row of the design. Pairs of slipped and all knit rows are added to lengthen the distance between cables and to reduce some of the extra lengths in all striped areas This idea may work in a border or a trim as well. I did not test bringing the slipped stitches to the purl side. The chart shows adjustments in the placement of the repeat to make tracking crossings easier The actions takenOne more to try If the goal is to add checks along with solid color cables, the best way to achieve the fabric is to use the fair isle setting. There will be 2 sets of floats formed with each carriage pass. A blank segment may be added at the stitch crossing location as in previous repeats, with those needles brought out to E before the next row is knit, remembering that proper needle preselection needs to be maintained throughout Another approach is to bring elongated stitches created manually up on the purl side. The resulting fabric will be more gathered on the knit side, with no formation of slip stitch floats, it is referred to as ruching, and may serve as a compromise when color changes are made over 2 rows of contrast

 

Mosaics and mazes charting meet Numbers, GIMP 3

If working in Numbers, the solution to doubling the height of the final repeat for mazes or mosaics may be achieved by simply doubling the height of each cell prior to screen grabbing the table and processing the resulting image in Gimp. Here the cells for a single repeat in the table on the left are copied, pasted, and altered from 20X20 pixels to 20X40Working in 1800 magnification, using rectangle select, every other pair of rows is chosen and then color inverted. B: the process continues for the height of the repeat. Until each new pair of rows is selected fully, the last color inverted pair is bordered in a dotted outline C, useful in tracking the last worked location. As the subsequent pair of rows is selected fully, the dotted border will disappear. The processed repeat  Its tiled visual check  Proof of concept: the bottom half is knit using the slip stitch setting, the top half in the tuck setting. The added texture on the tuck stitch purl side makes the fabric a more interesting, reversible one, and wider than its companion.  For a different way of working with two-color initial images using only Gimp, see tips in Gimp update for Mac2.The process used on the beginning repeat, redrawn in 2 colors and then, in turn, elongated X2 or drawn double long to start with, tiled to check alignment. There are 2 options for altering colors in 2-row segments to achieve the separation, the first is color invert, the second is value invert, found in the colors menu. Both require color filling in of cells so as to obtain the final BW image, the value invert option, in this case, would require only filling in the green to white, but in managing larger images I believe having the additional colors make the process easier to track accurately. The color invert option will substitute a third color and white on every other pair of rows. Flood fill the original color 2 on rows containing black pixels with white, then fill color 3 pixels with black on rows containing white pixels: The mazes that are often seen in game-playing, puzzles, historical sources ie in Chinese design references, may not work out for knitting with this method, the result can be quite muddied.  I recently found a new to me online maze generator http://www.ludiculus.com/maker/mazes.html.  Changing the pixel width by default also doubles the image in height, making smaller designs for knitting problematic  This was a quickly drawn maze using it, shown with its cropped repeat on the right, then tiled. Numbers processing to ready the repeat for final gimp editing: The repeat when tiled predicts muddied results which are noticeable in the knit swatch. Because of the side-by-side areas with multiple white cells, the slip setting is used, not tuck. The single slipped lengthened stitches do not produce an easily recognized secondary design on the knit side Getting back to clearer pattern results: when using electronics, it is possible to create far wider and taller repeats for download. The technique to achieve them uses the same process. A new working repeat: its tiled appearance  My starting table in numbers with hidden rows, beginning to isolate a smaller repeat the isolated repeat, double-length the color separation in progress
When knit, that white cell pair of rows break up the overall shapes and shifts the pattern in the top and bottom half When I tiled my next draft, I decided I preferred a cleaner join at the center The final adjusted repeat knit using the tuck stitch setting in both directions, KCI, first row left to right, leading with the dark color and here with the lighter color In progress, on the km  the relaxed, 3D-ish view on the reverse why projects can take longer than planned The finished, relaxed scarf with pressed edges only, retaining the conical striped formsThe repeat knit double length, changing colors every 2 rows, becomes something quite different, with a sharp curl to the purl side

Img2track_multiple colors per row dbj, each color knitting only once

I have recently shared a post on using the heartofPluto separation in Ayab to knit a DBJ 3 color sample where each color was not represented in each row, with each color knitting a single height.  Img2 track at this time does not offer a built-in similar option. There is a FB thread going on at the moment on this topic that can be followed there, Tanya Cunningham has shared a document on this topic. I am using the same repeat as in my Ayab tests,  with  my color changer in this threading sequence throughout
 The import into img2track shown here for the traditional 3 colors per row setup,
where normally each color in each design row knits twice. Because selection occurs for pairs of rows, the first preselection row is from right to left. To decrease the backing rows, the ribber is set for birdseye. I prefer to have an end needle on each end on the ribber, keeping in mind that the total number of needles in use there needs to be even. The machine provides reminders as to which color should be knitting. My samples are knit using KCI on the top bed. Because the preselection happens twice, it is easy enough to knit in pattern from left to right,  when the carriages have reached the right side, simply use a ribber comb to push all needles back to B. The next color to be used is preselected as the carriages travel back to the left, change color when on left, and repeat.
It is easy enough to develop a rhythm. I used to tell students some things are made easier if one develops a tune to play in one’s head as series of actions. Here I found myself thinking “knit to right, erase (selection), knit to left”. I had tension yarn issues on the right which explain some of the issues on the side edges and changed color 1 to blue for increased contrast. The proof of concept: Speeding things up with color separation, beginning with the method that will have each color, each design row knitting twice. The repeat is 10 rows high, so it is expanded X6 to 10 by 60 rows. In the final result, the second row for each color in the separation is in turn erased. The red was added to make all 3 colors visible while working the separation, avoiding confusion with the white ground. The knittable result as usual is in a black and white png The img2track settings are for now for 2 color knitting, the prompts for the color changes are lost.

The color-changing sequence used was still 1, 2, 3. The design with a birdseye backing The ribber can also be set to knit every row, resulting in elongation on the knit side, while creating an interesting striper backingComparing this version to the birdseye backed one for repeat height Comparisons: HoP, pushing back needles to B, and color separation results. In the latter, the design is likely elongated in part due to a change in the distribution of thinner yarns to larger design areas with no tension adjustments 

Revisiting Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 2

From Chris Burdge, a video tutorial on using HOP following program prompts and default color placement. The pattern used, available for download from the author, is quite different from my tests in that it is completely surrounded by a white border, the default first color choice in the separation The ABC color changer markings in letters reflecting yarn positions and color-changing sequences were used in the Studio brand, as opposed to numbers, in the reverse sequence, used in Brother. The Ayab lettering as opposed to numbers move from right to left. The manual states that the color separation order is: white C, grey B, black A with their sequence = C (3), B (2), A(1). If the prompts for changing colors as given are followed it provides a very valuable in tracking them,  but if out of habit one knits in the usual 1,2,3 sequence, the color placement occurs in an unexpected order and may result in errors. The on-screen letter prompt corresponding to the anticipated color change sometimes occurs with the knit carriage on the right, sometimes as it approaches the changer, and the size of the font was hard for me to see since the screen was not close enough for easy visibility.

It has been nearly a year since my last post, Ayab_multiple colors per row DBJ 1. I previously also shared information on using HOP for drop stitch lace.
Last week I tried a 3 color HOP pattern, which failed because my mid-tone grey was not within the proper palette range. I work on a Mac and found that with the latest Gimp update several details have changed, and formerly saved palettes were lost. Regrouping, working with colors, and intending color change selection sequences in the familiar right to left, 1, 2, 3 methods, this png includes the grey shade that worked for me If the png is copied from the post it is likely to appear in RGB mode and it will require conversion to 3 color bitmapped. Its grey color map entry is seen below The small file makes for a quick test of proper color selection for each of the three colors used It is not necessary to have images in greyscale to load them into Ayab for separation, but having the repeat shown that way can help with placement of the yarns in the changer.
I like to have as many factors predictable as possible prior to importing into download programs. Importing color images depends on the placement of individual colors in the palettes. An explanation found online is that Ayab needs a pattern image which is 8-bit greyscale. Each color is coded in a range of the 8-bit values. For 4 colors, it would be 0-63 color A; 64-127 color B; 128-195 color C; 196-255 color D. It seems to be OK to give the image some color, so long as the gray component of the colors divides up as given. I began to explore a pattern using 3 colors,  with one of the three colors absent in some rows Having some idea of stitch counts for each color in the design in the first few rows can help identify proper, planned color placement errors To achieve this an easy count of the blue and red can happen watching preselection on for the first couple of rows ie blue knits 4 stitches, while red has counts of 7 except at the sides My first swatch using the heart of Pluto separation and a greyscale motif  I like to work out color placement as well as repeat scaling adjustments if needed. This png in, indexed to 3 colors, was opened in Gimp, my primary design tool, and imported and saved as a palette A different color placement, using the saved pattern colors. With no white in the first couple of design rows, the lighter color is selected first. The actual 11 X 10 motif, can be opened in Ayab. Action R can repeat the image in height if desired, but a must is to repeat it in width that is equal to or greater than the number of needles in work on the needle bed, here it is repeated 3 times in both height and width
My tested color change sequence is #1, #2, #3 colors throughout, I disregarded the prompts for color changes at the bottom of the Ayab screen. Some things to ponder: in pieces that require color changes, starting with waste knitting in the same colors can help assess the best tension, whether each color will be picked up properly, and if the colors work well together. Looking at these 3 small tests, it appears that a choice should be made when casting on about using color 1 or 2 for the preselection and cast on rows.  If the setting to slip is forgotten for the first move to the left, the color in the feeder will knit every stitch rather than a pattern selection. Always check settings when on the right, making certain lili buttons are set as well. This pattern does not contain 3 colors on every row. In addition to that, when working  DBJ with other color separations one is likely used to seeing knit bed needle selections on every row. That is not true here, is a function of the technique, not a patterning error. On rows that have colors missing, when that color is in use, the main bed slips, the ribber works every other needle, first in one direction, then the other, adding to the row count on the purl side of the knit. In a test with marked color placement, the arrow marks the spot where 2 color threads were picked up together so that the white was carried across the row along with the green repeating the color placement test following 1/light, 2/medium, 3/darkThe mess at the bottom was due to the green yarn getting caught on the needle bed and not knitting the necessary stitches on the ribber, so dropped stitches were formed The assumption is that if the C, B, A rotation and prompts are to be followed, the middle color 2 can stay in place, and the placement of 1 and 3 can be exchanged.

The difference between the same design knit with a color separation where each color in each design row knits twice elongating the shapes, and its  HOP version, both with birdseye backing  

Gimp to create text for knitting

Recently there have been many questions in FB forums about incorporating text in knits. The techniques can vary depending on available tools. The most basic method is entering vowel and consonant shapes dot by dot in paint programs, with each dot becoming a pixel or punched hole in the final image. There are some many free downloadable fonts for personal use that produce images that can fairly easily be translated this way, among them:
https://www.fontspace.com/munro-font-f14903
https://www.1001fonts.com/subway-ticker-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/01-digit-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/loud-noise-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/arcade-font.html
https://www.1001fonts.com/mobile-font-font.html
Knit stitch shaped units 
https://www.fontspace.com/xmas-sweater-stitch-font-f28134https://www.fontspace.com/christmas-jumper-font-f21275
https://www.fontspace.com/knitfont-font-f6001

Notes on using GIMP update for Mac 2019

I had a quick FB share for a first exploration using Gimp:
“I have not previously put much effort into using text in gimp. A quick start: image 200X200,1800 magnification 
view grid, snap to grid, work in RGB mode, not indexed, 
turn off anti-aliasing, it wants to smooth edges. Caution should be exercised when using antialiasing on images that are not in RGB color space. In this instance, ultimately working in lo-res black and white for downloads, you want to keep the jaggies, not average them out. I believe Passap actually has a built-in command to “smooth edges” in images downloaded into it. I have always preferred manipulating the images myself rather than relying on software to do it for me.
start with font size at 12 in the chosen font, increase the font size if letters are too close together, the result is easily changed to black to make it ready for downloads, obviously not an answer for tiny letters. My capitals are font size 12, the other 3 words size 16 to maintain spacing between the letters”Getting a bit more methodical, info from the Gimp manual
Text management, Text tool
There are good online videos on this topic, but they are intended for use in much larger canvases, often using 150-200 as the font size, whereas in knitting that is likely the limit of our canvas size when planning for programming the full needle bed.
I am working on a Mac. From Windows tutorials found on Youtube, it appears there still are differences in some of the content and optics between the two platforms. Gimp is the only program in which I personally prefer and use dark mode. To change the app’s appearance, the selections for dark, gray, or light themes may be made by choosing system preferences, then clicking on theme, and selecting from options available on the right a partial illustration of changes in the grey and light themesText may be activated by choosing text in the image/ tools menu by clicking on the tool icon A in the toolbox or by using t as the keyboard shortcut, then clicking anywhere on the canvas.
Click on the fonts button Aa to open the font selector
or type in the name of the font you wish to use, choosing from installed fonts. Text editing can happen by selecting buttons here or with direct on canvas editing by making the changes within the semi-transparent floating toolbox on the canvas itself.
If you prefer to work with dockable dialogues go to and choose Windows, Dockable Dialogs, Fonts, and options will appear on the rightAs long as a text box is active, making another selection from the fonts menu will instantly change the box content, creating a preview each time.
As mentioned, Antialiasing is best turned off when not in RGB color mode
Hinting
Uses the index of adjustment of the font to modify characters in order to produce clear letters in small font sizes” is helpful in lo-res text intended for knitting Color default is black, click in the box beside Color selection and a dialogue selection box appears for changing it The choices listed at Gimp.org for text directions include the standard right to left, left to right as in most languages, and the following for vertical text  After the text is entered on the canvas, right-click on the inside of the text box to change text direction It is not necessary to work with the layers menu to start with. It is possible to “wing it” to get a starting sense of the process. Scaling and transformations are available, starting on a canvas size less than 200X200 based on needle counts on a standard km provides an ample field on which to play. If the intent is to change the direction of all the entered text, Image/transform may be used. Entering the same text in the same font size in an altered direction can change the overall pixel counts After the chosen text is placed change its mode from RGB to B/W indexed, then crop the image to your chosen size. Export.bmp, the result loaded into img2track and Ayab For a different way to edit, choose Image/Flatten and individual components may be reconfigured on a new canvas to a very different size. This file is now 68 stitches wide, rather than 144 The usual text alignment rules apply in text boxes as well,  left to right using the return key, double-clicking in the box will highlight each letter  activate view grid should you wish to count pixels in each Text center-aligned
Getting more control of the process: after the text tool is highlighted and clicking anywhere on your canvas two things appear automatically. The four little boxes represent the text box, which is dynamic by default, grows in size to accommodate typed text. Anytime you click on the canvas a new text box is created.
To change the size of the text box and you want the text to fit in a specific area, click and drag on one of the lower, small exterior boxes, and release. The box then becomes fixed, the text will move automatically to the next line and is placed according to alignment settings. If the bottom of the text is cut off, click and drag on that small square on the bottom corner or the bottom line of the text box shape to expand its size to include it in full.
Double click on a line of text to reveal those outlines around each letter or click and drag right or left on full words for editing. Click on a single letter space to delete it. Repeat if needed, type in the new letter(s) for a spelling correction or word change.
If following Windows instructions, it is helpful to know the comparable Mac commands pictured here on the bottom left of the Mac onscreen keyboard Use the option key and click on the canvas, and drag to place the text box on any specific area, or also to move all content in an existing text box, choose the move tool then click on any letter within the text box and drag and place. Random placement in the text box will move the whole layer The spacing between the lines and between the letters may be adjusted as well. Clicking on the arrows to change the values here is one option, negative or positive numbers may be used or what appeared easier to me,  the same may be done here A sample of adjustments in line spacing Very small fonts are likely not to have any room for decreased spacing in the between letters in strings of text.

A reminder before converting to .png for download
flatten image
convert mode to indexed B/W
crop content to the desired size
export as .png

Font: mazeletter
final image loaded into img2track and Ayab 

 

Numbers and GIMP: online punchcard patterns to electronics

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

Lace meets FI on Brother machines

Very little has been written on this topic.
The easiest method to produce the eyelet and fair isle combination is to create ladders in spaces between vertical FI motifs. The end needle selection is canceled. The swatches show the transitions in the development of the final design

Susanna in her Machine Knitter’s Guide offers a version knit in combination with the ribber on page 218, and a small amount of information on single bed versions on pp, 220-221.
Before any DIY, I like to start with a published pattern. Toyota, in this volume,    offers 4 punchcards for use with this technique I chose to work with #170. The lace carriage in the Toyota models operates from the right side rather than the left as in Brother. The direction of the arrows marked on the card actually indicates movements for the carriage operating from that side. That fact is taken into consideration planning a possible Brother punchcard repeat. Lace direction arrows are matched based on the punchcard image being mirrored horizontally. The card in its original version is imaged on the left, mirrored on the far right, the proposed Brother punchcard in the center The proposed Brother punchcard repeat is now expanded for use on the electronic machine, ready for converting to .bmp in Gimp. Numbers in the middle of the chart on the left helped keep track of repeat segments. I also used red dots initially to mark segments as I had completed in the expanded the repeat, then erased them
  The Gimp magnified punchcard repeat  in turn in need of mirroring for the .bmp to be used in the 930the resulting fabric Observations and settings:
The knit carriage is set to FI patterning for the knit rows, the typical floats will be created. Commonly, when floats are wider than 5 pixels, anchoring the longer ones may become a preference or even a necessity. This would add time to an already complex fabric. Each FI design row is repeated twice.
The transfers in this design are made on the yarn in the color in the B feeder. I began my swatch using the light color yarn, failed to switch its position to the B with color 2 for the shape in A, accounting for the dark stripe at the swatch bottom
If KCI is used, end needle selection will be made prior to the lace carriage passes. Those preselected needles will have to be pushed back to B position by hand prior to using the LC or they will transfer on one side and drop on the other.
In this pattern, the LC operates for 8 passes, followed by 2 rows of FI throughout the piece. The first preselection row is made with the KC from the left as it moves toward its home on the right.

What of DIY? From working on the repeats for transfer lace combined with weaving, I understand patterns beginning with transfers to the right rather than the familiar to the left, are shortened considerably and carriage changes may be made as often as every 2 rows, saving many carriage passes. In order to understand the choices that need to be made, I began with a lace transfer pattern, thinking I could add contrasting color shapes in FI. I expected something like this however, the swatch had issues. The eyelets were not occurring in the same spot in both directions, the color transition at the repeat intersections was clumsy Regrouping: the easiest place to insert eyelets is in the dominant, background-color The 930 .pngA quick test: rows with no needle pre-selection will knit in only one color, end needle selection must be canceled before knitting to the other side Can the exchange of the color positions in the yarn feeder create colored shapes with eyelets on the white ground? not only does it not do so in a way I liked, but my machine was having none of it as well  Coming up with a better plan resulted in the following repeat. The transfers are made in the wanted direction on the purl side of the fabric, so their location becomes easy to check and identify during knitting. In this exercise, they will be placed in the center or the previously knit fair isle rows. Magenta cells marking the doubled stitch after transfers to the right, the cyan one the doubled stitch after transfers to the left. The two blank rows at the top of the design will knit in the background only. Building the repeat in Numbers: the eyelets within the shapes in the contrast color need to begin and end with a pair of FI rows. They are placed taking into consideration the black cell blocks immediately below them, not the ones directly above It’s good to start with a small repeat.
A: one may begin with a planned repeat, in this case, 20 rows in height
B: create a table at least twice the planned height or start with a long template that in turn will have half its rows hidden. Holding the command key select every other pair of rows beginning with 2 blank ones at the top of the table, and hide them. The location for the options to hide and unhide rows and columns:  C: Once the rows are hidden, the black cells are filled in
D: the repeat is tiled to check its alignment
E: the hidden rows are unhidden,  I like to add colored cells as shown to ensure proper placement of eyelets
F: place black cells for stitches to be transferred where desired
Previous posts describe the steps to isolate the repeat as a screengrab and importing it into GIMP. The grab is cropped to content, image mode to indexed, scale to the proper size, mirror for use on the electronic if needed, save, and use the final image to download to the knitting machine for testing.
The first pair of rows are knit in FI, so the preselection for design row 1 is from left to right.  The KCI setting will bring end needles out to D prior to lace rows, those needles need to be pushed back to B position prior to moving the LC from left to right. Continue with switching carriages every 2 rows. This repeat is 20 rows high. When knitting the last 2 rows, no needles will have been preselected, except for first and last. Push them back to B for those two rows, so only the color in the A feeder knits, and the preselected needles do not drop off the bed. The second color does not need to be removed from its location, but in executing a wide piece of knitting, the extra yarn pulled down from the tension mast as the knit carriage makes its passes may cause issues. If the yarn is removed and held aside, be sure to place it back after the 2 passes with the ground color so as to avoid forgetting to do so prior to resuming patterning using 2 colors per row. Taking it to continuous shapes and checking them in repeat: red cells represent transfers to the right, cyan ones the transfers to the left. The empty cells adjoining each of both colors represent the location of the doubled-up stitch after the transfer is made I like to check tiling for the repats along the whole process
Though the repeat is 24 stitches wide, it is not suitable for use on the punchcard machines in this format, its tiled test and .pngThe one area where the white got picked up with the contrast is not due to programming, but likely to operator error in “correcting” a dropped stitch Adding another contrast color stitch to shapes will make the number of stitches on either side of the eyelets consistent  Adding lace shapes in the ground can follow the same concept The repeat does was not planned as a continuing pattern, but here it is knit and repeated in height X 2 and with the addition of two blank rows at the top of each segment.
The possibilities are endless, with some patience, they can be manipulated to meet personal preferences and taste.

Lace meets tuck on Brother Machines

Some DIY variations in combining both stitch types:
Combining tuck stitches with lace 2 (automating them) 3/15
Combining tuck stitches with lace 1 3/15
Large diagonal eyelet lace, (a similar card and fabric, not tuck setting) 6/12
Large scale mesh, breaking rules 4/11 explains the use of punch card below
Tuck stitch combination fabrics 5/19
To execute this knit fabric, the lace carriage is set for normal lace, the knit carriage selects a pattern (KCI) and both tuck buttons are depressed. Each carriage works in sequences of 4 passes/rows throughout. The self-drawn card does not include familiar arrows on the left-hand side familiar to users of factory published lace cards Working out an electronic repeat: the punchcard repeat is on the bottom, the expanded electronic one on top, yellow cells highlight rows with tuck stitches In electronic machines, the first preselection row may be done with the knit carriage moving from left to right or the lace carriage moving from right to left, with either carriage moving toward its usual starting position. The knit carriage is set to KCI for end needle selection. Before the LC begins to move from the left the first and last needle will have been preselected, push them back to the B position. Continue to do the same if any end needles are selected just prior to a transfer row as you continue to knit. Each carriage makes 4 passes throughout the piece. The bottom row of eyelets shows the “standard” size eyelets that follow single transfers, illustrating the change in size with this technique.  With the proper tension, transferring is not a problem. I sampled on a random number of stitches. For cleaner edges, a border where no transfers occur for 2-3 stitches can be planned in programming the final piece.
Returning to Volume 4, here is a combination of lace and tuck repeat that appealed to me. I am repeating a process akin to that used in programming the woven lace samples. In this card, lace transfers are first to the left, then to the right, that sequence needs to be preserved. Colored pixels need to be used everywhere a punched hole is represented. The lace portion of the card will not tolerate color reversal. The published full repeat is for a brick configuration, I sampled the top half.  The actions of the 2 carriages on the electronic, the repeat prior to mirroring mirrored for use on the 930  The texture is more apparent on the purl side, the top and bottom edges could be coaxed into a wavy shape due to the gathering up of the knit by the tuck diamond shapes The chart for the brick configuration: