A lace “shell” want to be, a few ways

April 9th, 2014

I recently saw a semi circular HK shawl pattern that used graduated lace shell motif bands, and went hunting for a possible such repeat with the intent of subsequently knitting it on the machine. Taking into consideration the chart lenght required if using the lace carriage, I began with a “small” hand knit possible repeat

the text (Intwined)

pictured below is a mylar repeat worked out for use with the lace carriage with 2 programming options: A, B. Notations in this instance were made using a free mac program (for my the first time), Skitch, which allows one to work with screenshots and basic image-editing tools all in one place. The middle column of numbers indicate the number of passes required for the lace carriage for each repeat prior to pairs of rows of plain knitting. The transfers are made all in one direction, so the spacing between each set of transfers and knit rows is different from the traditional 2 rows of blanks. I find it easier to have multiple blank rows before selections for transfers as a place to pause, check my stitches, and have clearer starts if knitting needs to be unravelled; this repeat takes that into consideration

option A was knit with a ladder, NOOW set up:

the resulting swatch in acrylic yarn, steamed, fairly straight edges

option B eliminates the ladders, a ridge is created by the transfers highlighting the “shell shape”. The sample clearly illustrates the issue with lace fabrics where transfers are all in one direction: note the resulting bias, which could be a problem or a design feature, depending on  one’s perspective. It is particularly noticeable in the area of the color change. The top yarn is a rayon, the ridge created by the transfers flattened with pressing but is still in evidence, the occasional noticeable problems are operator errors (and laziness in changing bent needles), not pattern ones.

shortening the repeat: I found this one a bit more confusing to follow, black horizontal marks on right edge of mylar are a visual cue to rows on which knitting needs to occur; note there are no occurrences of 2 consecutive blank rows, only singles

the fabric is identical, with the same problems in terms of biasing

taking out the swing, moving in 2 directions, and back to a hand technique: the black squares indicate groups of stitches that will be moved to create lace holes. In the boottom segment selected needles are transferred to the right, lace holes will move in a curve, transfers double up on the same needle location on the bed. In the top segment, beginning with the doubled up stitch from the last transfer to right, direction of transfers is reversed, moving toward left, and always beginning with the same needle position. Markings on mylar on the far right indicate direction in which the stitches are transferred. This repeat is 7 stitches wide by 12 rows in height, could be adjusted to suit. Adjustable transfer tools make the work progress faster.

the corresponding swatch, without blocking, much more “straight”

4/11

a mylar repeat for use with lace carriage, 910

in the image on left the repeat is hi-lighted by the green border; in the one on the right there are visual cues  for operations. The vertical lines indicate which side of the bed the lace carriage needs to be placed for the next group of transfers, the horizontal lines mark the end of the transfer sequence, when a single row of knit occurs. Respective carriages need to be taken off the bed after most passes to allow use of the opposing carriage and maintain proper direction of moves, a different sort of “hand technique”. Below is a swatch, the red spot is a poorly corrected dropped stitch.

the technique is manageable for experienced knitters, this was my second try at a hurried repeat (weight adjustments and dropped stitches on first) and photo as I get ready to travel to the opposite coast.

Striping in lace fabrics 1

March 27th, 2014

Colored stripes combined with lace patterning can produce interesting fabrics. Many variants may be found in Missoni’s knitwear. At times the lace holes themselves may nearly disappear, while the stripes become distorted by the transfers, the change in gauge, and the creation of the holes, which in combination begin to create a bias direction in parts of the knit. Below is a simple sample illustrating some of the above points:

the working chart (Intwined)

the text for hand knitting created by the program the additional knit rows creating garter stitch in part of the pattern provide added texture in a hand knit, but are impractical in a machine knit

Rather than deal with working out the lace transfers for use with the lace carriage for my swatch, I chose to use a multiple transfer tool, and begin with a 7 stitch transfer as opposed to a larger number one. Below are some of the tools that may be used to hand transfer stitches in larger numbers than with the tools usually provided with KMs, a garter bar may be used as well

The image below  shows the fabric as it appears on its knit side. The bottom illustrates the repeat in one color. The red mark indicates where the transfers were made after knitting the first row of each color, the yellow indicates transfers made before each color change. In the former the “twist”  apparent as the transfer knitting is completed, has one yarn wrapping around the other. In the latter, the “twist is all one color”. The yarns used were a rayon and an acrylic, on standard km. If a color changer and lace carriage were to be used in combination, only the second option would be possible (more on that in a later post).

the purl side

Below is a hand knit sample with a wider repeat, adding garter rows. The yarn used was a worsted weigh wool on size 8 needles. Of note is the difference in undulation in bottom and top edges

knit side (red mark here indicates garter stitch row detail)

purl side

a possible use for this pattern might be a center or recurring panel in a wider knit

From punchcard to hand technique or hand knit

March 23rd, 2014

Emulating the repeat in the previous post here is a tentative chart for reproducing it as a hand knit, genereated in intwined

the accompanying text generated by the program

executing ssp from Knitters Brewing Company

I tried the pattern as a hand knit and had difficulty keeping track of the reversals of twists front and back, so I headed back to my more familiar territory, machine knitting, and to the bulky machine to make the number of transfers a bit more manageable. The repeat is 14 stitches wide, outside the range of an effective repeat for a punchcard, but with transfers every row there is another way to use a card that requires no punching. Observing familiar rules, and text or symbols that are meaningful to us for the particular project (ie also for racking sequences), the card is used for notekeeping rather than needle selection. The carriage is set to KC, set for normal knit, no cam buttons in use. Because no holes are punched, there will be no needle selection. The card is locked on row 1 as usual prior to the first row of any pattern knitting , set to advance normally, and in my scribbly version it reminded me of several things. Each pattern segment is 5 rows, with the dark stripe indicating the beginning of each new segment. The numbers on alternate sides show the number of stitches that need to be transferrd with the aid of tools,  leaving an empty needle that will create the hole, and overlapping stitches on either side of a center point in part of each motif. I worked with 2 repeats. On rows 1-5 as marked on punchcard, stitches were trasferred beginning on the right, toward the right side edge of the knit,  then following the remainder of the partial chart repeat. When the next segment of rows was reached as indicated by numbers appearing on the left of the card, beginning on the right edge again,  the first group of stitches was transferred away from the knit side edge, once again following the chart segment. As the lines of holes begin to show, it is easier to see the direction in which one needs to move as is the resulting pattern. The ridges created as the stitches overlap on either side of the center single knit stitch also can serve as guides in keeping track. I used no weights, just the opposite hand to pull and guide as needed. The number of moves is likely to require a looser tension than usual for any familiar yarn.

the swatch, knit side, using worsted weight, tension 6

its purl side

Studio multiple thansfer lace knit on Brother 910

March 11th, 2014

Eons ago I had “saved” a random copy of a japanese punchcard pattern in the someday I will figure it out pile. I was attracted by its opennes and what appeared to look like ladders as well as holes in the small B/W photograph. I have more experience in knitting and understanding of lace now, and in the process of studio clean up and paper possible recycling I found my “future project” and thought I would “tackle” it

the card

as can be noted in numbered markings, the card is a studio lace card, and between series of transfers there is a single blank row = a single row of knit as opposed to the 2 rows commonly seen in brother’s kms’ lace

my mylar repeat, with notes on R sidebar as to # of LC passes, rows knit

the method: with no repeat adjustments or conversions

I began with lace carriage on left, knit carriage on right. Because a selection row is required for the first transfers row to occur, I added one row to each of the suggested lace pass sequences marked on the punchcard. Because the LC as a result travels an odd number of rows, it will begin to move opposite from and to the KC, and at the end of the sequences it will be on the same side as the KC; at that point it is released from the needle bed, and the KC knits only one row. The LC returns to the bed opposite to the KC, and the sequence is repeated.

I used a waste yarn acrylic for my swatch, which became scratchy, flat and stiff, losing any texture when pressed, and shrinking a bit so as to almost looking felted, yet another reminder  test small swatches fefore committing to larger pieces.  Here is the result

knit side

purl side

a new day, a different fiber, the joy of missing dropped stitches

“unblocked”, rayon yarn

a bit closer, after light pressing

Hand knit lace to KM: combining different meshes, alternative methods

March 7th, 2014

This is a blog post I actually began working on in November 2013, and never quite completed. A ravelry thread on a hand knit lace to machine knit pattern translation made me think of it, so here are my working notes on one approach to charts designed for hand knitting that require transfers every row, with the intent to automate them for possible use with the lace carriage for transfers rather than working from a chart as a straight out hand technique.

The japanese publication hand knitting chart

the hand knitting chart in intwined

the HK instructions generated by program to match chart

the chart flipped horizontally for machine knitting could be achievable using LC on right side of KM, which would require method used in previous post: elongation X2, 2 passes LC toward KC, followed by one row knit  A.

In this chart note the 2 cols representing opposite directions for transfers, not a physical possibility when using the LC

here the chart is amended, keeping like colors together on the same row, starting with LC on right,  LC 4 rows of passes followed by 2 rows knit

repeats can be adjusted so spacing matches more closely between motifs after swatching (B);  if first row of transfers is to the left, lace carriage must make a pass to select from left to right, the second pass will transfer from right to left; in row 1 and 4 there are no transfers, rows 2 and 3 transfer selections from the previous rows; row four lets the LC return to its original position

knitting with the mylar: in transfers observed on the purl side of the fabric, facing the knitter: the lace carriage transfers selected needles in the direction in which it is moving on the needle bed; if first row transfers needs to be transferred to the right, the lace carriage starts out on right for selection row, and will transfer to right on its second pass, from the left to right

moving things around for a possible brick layout

the mylar markings for selection from right to left: A and B, C from left to right

A is technically an incomplete repeat for continuous use, 2 more rows would be needed

that fabric swatches:  C

B

A

the tuck pattern Passap 1030 using the method of elongation X2 as described

the resulting mesh, with some yarn issues

previous related posts

http://alessandrina.com/blog1/2013/09/19/studio-simple-lace-on-brother-electronics/

http://alessandrina.com/blog1/2013/11/30/a-bit-of-seasonal-lace/

http://alessandrina.com/blog1/2013/12/05/lace-mesh-motif-charting_-mac-numbers/

and the previous posts on translating HK patterns for use on punchcard or electronic machines

http://alessandrina.com/blog1/?s=from+lace+chart+to+punchcard

A bit of history on my swatches

March 1st, 2014

I try to test any directions I publish in my posts, those swatches vary in size and fiber content, and I often add other pertaining specifics. I also taught in a design studio for a very long time, where the first 9 of 12 weeks were spent exploring stitch structures and techniques, and at least one wall in the studio was covered with new samples knit by me each week. Textured ones were knit in wool, a yarn with “memory”, and many of the larger swatches pictured are from that stash, some have been in “storage” for well over a decade, and they are photographed “untouched” in terms of steaming, pressing, etc. I am not a “photographer”, the shots are casual ones now taken with an i_phone.  Keeping images in constant size on the blog page sometimes plays with aspect ratio in terms of getting a sense of the actual finished product’s width or length. As for the colors used: because the knit studios were open to anyone enrolled, yarn was stored on shelves unless purchased by individuals for personal use. I got in the habit of using contrasting colors that were easily identified to avoid my demo cones from being used, and also found this helped define edges in design changes, with lighter colors more visibly illustrating how stitches are actually formed in the hooks of the needles. Any use of “my yarn” was immediately recognizable, and as an added plus the colors used also helped reduce disappearance of samples at any workshops outside the school environment. The swatches were intended as sprinboards for ideas, not to be used as they were for any finished garments or to illustrate completely resolved fabrics.

Ruching 2: more working with stitch groups

February 28th, 2014

Going straight up: color blocks in the chart below illustrate needle groups that get picked up and transferred onto the next colored row on the machine, not specific references to needle tape or any other markings. When repeating the operation in the same needle locations, having NOOW, thus creating ladders, makes it easier to keep track of groups. The yellow lines represent needles taken completely OOW at the start of knitting.  Any of these fabrics may be made in a single color, or varied color sequences. Sometimes changing the color in swatches, and using sharply contrasting ones in tests helps one understand the structure of the resulting fabric a bit more easily

an illustration of what part of the stitches to pick up

the result, knit side

its purl side

playing with spacings and rows, no ladders, knit side

purl side

playing with ladder spacing

its reverse

and using the FI setting in addition

its reverse

Some tips on ruched FI knitting: fabric will shrink considerably in length, so most motifs will need to be elongated to accommodate that. Having a pattern that may be tracked easily by watching the floats on its reverse is helpful as may working in bands where the colors swap spaces (changing yarn feeder positons). Because the fabric bubbles, knitting rows in only one color at intervals may track hook up row, while not visibly disrupting the pattern on its knit side. If small groups of stitches are to be picked up and rehung, markers with segments of nylon thread or yarn may be placed on the corresponding needles and be temporarily knit in. In addition the needle tape or needle bed may be marked with water soluble pen to indicate locations for rehanging. Depending on the pattern, number of stitches involved, and personal preference in terms of floats, needle selection in brother machines may have to be restored “by hand” to keep the design uninterrupted.

A few more: playing with striping and segment sizes

its reverse

in this red squares indicate row of additional ruching in center of solid striping

its reverse

going all one color in the middle

its reverse

all on one edge

its reverse

hooking up smaller numbers of stitches

its reverse

going part way, gathering one side, using thick and thin yarns

its reverse

as design bands

its reverse

going mini

its reverse

online samples by Kevin Quale

http://www.kevinquale.com/index.php?/knitting/swatches/

“Ruched” fern “pretender”

February 26th, 2014

Ruched or manual pull up effects can be created by rehanging stitches at regular intervals in a straight, diagonal, or random arrangement on plain knitting or patterned fabric. The pattern below could be considered a “fern pretender”, but is considerably quicker to knit. Again, for any textured fabric a yarn with “memory” is recommended for texture retention over time or after pressing, washing, etc.

Depending on how far over whether in this fabric, cables, etc, or how many stitches are moved on the needle bed, adjustments may have to be made either in tension or in the number of stitches moved. Adding striping and changing its sequences or combining different yarn weights may vary the look of the fabric considerably, and because it is a hand technique, motif repeats may be varied in size, scale, or location of hooked up stitches. The working charts represent the side facing one on the machine, so by default, all stitches are purl. Dark grey represents needles out of work, which will create ladders in the final fabric. All other squares are knit stitches. Green illustrates location of needles where the top purl bar of the stitch will be in turn picked up (in this case with a 2 prong tool), and where the tool will rehang those same stitches to create the desired texture. Red lines outline the repeats.

smaller repeat

the larger

The swatches are pictured below as they came off the machine, no pressing or steaming. The smaller repeat curls considerably, the larger lies much flatter. The longer ladder “floats” bear watching when rehanging the marked stitches to insure free gate pegs and stitches knitting off properly. I prefer to knit nearly all fabrics without any additional weight, using my fingers to pull down on what needs it as I move across the knit. The larger swatch required a tension change of + 2, in addition to the longer span of knit rows.

knit side

the purl side, with notable curling on the smaller repeat sample

In any fabrics requiring needles OOW, unless waste yarn and weights are a necessity, one may simply do a crochet cast on across the required number of needles, then drop off cast on stitches where NOOW are needed, pushing them back to A. In binding off using the latch tool chain bind off, treat empty needles as though they had stitches on them, and top and bottom edges will match in width.

Working with larger stitch groups and color changes:

The pattern stitch is in groups of 5;  knit 9, 10, or 11 rows (depending on yarn and tension). Beginning on the left hand side pick up 5 stitches from the first row, and hang them on the next group of 5 needles to their right on last row knit. Skip the next 5 stitches, pick up the next 5 with a transfer tool, and hang then on the next group of 5 needles to their right, repeating across the row. After the whole row is hooked up, repeat process, reversing the direction of hooking up. Starting side may be based on personal preference, consistency throughout is helpful. This pattern may be worked on an inset, resulting in ruffling on either side, or on a fixed edge as well, with ruffling on one side.

The groups of 5 colored squares indicate each set of stitches and needle placement, the arrows the direction and order in which the stitches are moved.

the swatch, knit side

purl side

same technique, used as a band rather than all over pattern

its reverse

“wisteria” cousin2 aka “fern leaf”, hand tech.

February 25th, 2014

In seminar days this was referred to as  a”fern leaf” pattern. Holding groups in these sequences gives a bit more swing to the side of the finished piece. The difference between these fabrics and the ones that look like this swatch

is that when the row of held sequences is completed from one side to the other, at least 2 rows are knit across all stitches before reversing the holding direction and moving toward the starting side to complete the repeat.

In addition, there is often a tension change between the groups that pulls the fabric inward and enhances the texture. In my sample the held segments were knit at tension 6, the tight rows at tension 3. The pattern is a multiple of 8 stitches +2. To knit: cast on the required number of stitches, the first four rows are tight, so waste yarn and ravel cord followed by cast on and tight rows is recommended. At T3 knit 4 rows, COR. Set the machine to hold stitches. T6: bring all but the first 8 needles closest to carriage into hold. Knit 12 rows. COR: on the side opposite to the carriage but closest to the needles in working position, bring a group of 4 more needles into work. Knit one row. COL: on side opposite the carriage bring 4 needles into hold. You will now again be working on a group of 8 needles. *Knit 11 rows. COR: on side opposite carriage bring 4 needles into work, knit one row. COL: on side opposite carriage bring 4 needles back into hold.* Repeat *to* until the last set of 8 stitches are in work on the left hand side, knit 12 rows, ending COL. T3 knit 4 rows. Reverse process, moving in opposite direction, beginning with knitting 12 rows on the first group of 8 stitches on the left.

the fabric swatch

If the goal is to retain the texture, a yarn with “memory” ie wool is recommended; if a yarn such as acrylic, which has the capacity of being “killed” when pressed (sometimes the desired effect) is used,  the result may be seen below

same swatch, after some light steam pressing

lacing up a sample with knit icord

I had previously shared other images of this type of fabric, they may be found  in my previous post, described as “horizontal cables”http://alessandrina.com/blog1/?p=2838. The sequences there illustrate use of other results from varying the number of stitches and rows in each held group, as well as the biasing that results when all rows of groups move in a single direction.

Holding/short rows: hand tech to chart to automating with slip stitch 1

February 24th, 2014

These directions apply to Brother Machines; designs could be used as they are and programmed into Passaps, other brands would require some adjustments. In these samples the holes resulting from holding for 2 row sequences are considered part of the design. Vertical strips in different colors could be knit and later joined. The final result is a “zig zag” pattern. Written directions may read: to begin, cast on and knit 2 rows. **COR: set machine for holding. Place in hold all except the first 2 needles on the right (carriage side). Knit 2 rows. Return to work  the next group of 2 needles on the left to work, knit 2 rows. Repeat until only 2 needles on the far left are in hold, return them to work, knit one row (color 1 in chart below). COL: pull  first 2 needles at far right to hold, knit 2 rows, repeat until last 2 are left in hold, knit 2 rows (color 2). COL: bring next 2 needles into work, knit 2 rows, continue until the last 2 stitches are returned to work on the right, knit one row (color 3). COR: pull first 2 needles on left into hold, knit 2 rows; repeat until last 4 stitches at right are put back into work, knit 2 rows**, and repeat from **. Knit 2 rows at end of desired number of repeats, bind off.

the sorting out hand tech sequences to achieve shapes sample

When producing my charts for using slip stitch to automate holding I like to draw what I would actually be knitting for each row, each stitch and row being a filled square, so the colored areas below represent knit stitches/rows on each row, the blank squares the stitches in holding. I test the repeat as a hand technique first, before in my case marking the mylar, then essentially fill in the knit stitches with color, keeping in mind the location of the knit carriage and the direction of the knitting. The colored squares are then programmed as punched holes, black squares or pixels, and the pattern may be knit using slip stitch <—>. Needle selection needs to be cancelled, otherwise the yarn will be knit on the side of non selected needles on that last stitch, creating a long float. The selection row needs to be toward the first 2 knit rows sequence. Here they are knit beginning on the right for 2 rows, so selection row is made from left to right.  Odd rows move, knitting, from right to left, even rows from left to right. At this point I prefer mac numbers for charting.

the final repeat, working chart

the mylar

the swatch

the  above repeat could be considered composed of 2 pairs of stacked, mirrored triangles, here is an instance of playing single “triangles”

the mylar

and accompanying swatch