Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Lesson in 2 Color Double Bed Jacquard (DBJ)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

I developed these instructions for 2 color double bed jacquard using a Brother 965i machine, 4 color dbl bed color changer, ribber KR-850 and DK7.  I still need to refer to them every time I do dbj because if the setup isn’t done properly in this order, I can guarantee that I’ll most likely have to start over.  This is how I do it but always refer to your user’s manual if in doubt about any of the steps.  Check out a few tips that I learned along the way at the end of the article.
As always, please leave a comment if you find errors or if I'm not clear enough and I'll promptly fix it. 

1.   Insert fine knitting bar behind gate pegs on main bed.
2.   Attach double bed color changer unit to left hand side of machine.
3.   Carriage on the right.
4.   Thread main color yarn thru the right side of antenna.
5.   Thread contrast color in the antenna to the left of the main color.
6.   Lower ribber.
7.   Secure both yarn ends in the yarn clip on the left hand side of the ribber.  The yarns go between the main bed and the ribber.
8.   Place the contrast color in #2 slot of the color changer. 
9.   Place main color in the #1 yarn slot.   

1.   Download any 2 color fairisle pattern into knitting machine.  
2.   If the method of knitting is changed to 2 color jacquard during the set up process, make sure it’s changed back to fairisle before downloading again.  If downloaded in 2 color jacquard method, the pattern will not knit properly. 

1.  Set the knitter carriage end needle selection off.
2.  Set ribber at H (half-pitch) and rack to 5.
3.  Lift ribber up to connect carriages.  Make sure both carriages are set for plain knitting, no buttons or knobs selected.
4.   Select and pull out desired needles as for full needle rib on both the main bed and ribber bed.  Make sure there are an even number selected on the main bed and the ribber for birdseye backing. I like to CO with left main bed needle and the right ribber bed needle being the outermost.
5.   Pass attached carriages from R to L to align needles.
6.   Set both carriages to T2 (a good starting point for a 3 ply yarn.  Try T0 if using fine yarn or higher for a heavier yarn).
7.   Set ribber slide lever to ‘I’ only if tucking, ‘II’ or ‘lili’ if not tucking.
8.   With carriages to the left and positioned past the Turn Mark and til the color changer clicks, push in #1 yarn slot on the color changer (with the main color).
9.   With the main color in the yarn slot, K1R from L to R to make a zig-zag row.
10. Hang cast on comb, making sure that it is free hanging and not going to get caught up in the end ribber plates.  Do not hang weights yet.
11. Set carriages for circular knitting. (Main Bed: Left part button in.  Ribber: Right part button up.)
12.  Knit 2 rows.  One direction will knit the ribber and one will knit on the main bed.
13.  Release part buttons, on main carriage and ribber.
14.   Increase T dials to 3/3.  K1R from R to L past the click from the color changer.  COL. 
15.   Hang a large weight on each end of the cast on comb, one in the middle and a couple smaller weights across the comb. 

1.   Set up DAK for interactive knitting.  In Options, select the method of knitting to 2 color jacquard only AFTER the fairisle pattern has been downloaded to your machine.  This will ensure that 2 pattern rows are knitted before the pattern advances.  When DAK asks if you want to save the stitch pattern, say ‘Yes’.  BUT don’t forget to go back after finishing your dbj project and change the method of knitting back to Fairisle before you download it into your machine again.
2.   In Interactive Knitting, follow screen prompts and complete setup actions before proceeding. 

1.  Make sure the magnet arm on the carriage is set to read DAK.
2.  Make sure the McRib button on your machine console is on.
3.  At main T and with desired yarn threaded in the carriage, turn KC knob on and with the carriage past the Turn Mark, K from L to R for the preselect row.  

1.  With carriages on the right, set the carriages as follows....

Main Carriage:
KC button on.
Both part buttons engaged.

Ribber Carriage:
Slide lever to ‘lili’ for plain dbj, ‘II’ if a firmer fabric is desired, to ‘I’ only if doing tuck.
Both KR Change Knobs set to ‘lili’ for birdseye backing.
Left and right cam levers set to P-R.
Tuck Button up to P only for tuck birdseye.  (The tuck button will give you a more textured fabric and a wider piece of knitting.  Without it, you will have a flatter, narrower, and more plain piece.  Your choice.  If you use the tuck button the design will be shorter than it will without it engaged.)
2.   Set tensions for main knitting.  (I used Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl at T6 on main bed and T5 on ribber, if tucking.  Use the same tension on both carriages if not tucking.  If not tucking, tension dial may need to be raised atleast 1, if not 2 full numbers higher than normally used.)
3.  Set RC to 000.  Pattern row #1, Memo window on flashing 1.
4.  Click OK in DAK to sync the carriage.  Click the GO light only if the silver bar at the bottom is not showing.  The silver bar must be showing in the bottom tool bar.
5.  RC 000, K 1 row to L.  Make sure that the carriages go far enough to the left to hear a click from the color changer.  The click tells you to change yarn selection. 

1.  Now press the #2 yarn slot to exchange yarns in the yarn feeder of the carriage.
NOTE:  Look at the machine memo window.  # 2 should be showing.  That is telling you that you need to change color of yarn to #2 for the next 2 rows.  Also look at DAK screen; it will tell you which yarn, direction of knitting, carriage side and row counters.  The row counter and pattern row will be different as you knit because dbj only advances the pattern row on every other pass.
2.  Continue knitting, making color changes on the left side only with the carriages properly seated in the color changer.   
3.  When knitting is complete, turn all patterning off, (all tuck and part buttons off  both carriages, KC knob off, 'lili buttons off), K1R over all needles in work on both beds at main tension.  T2/2, K2 circular rows with R part button pushed on main carriage and L part lever pushed up on the ribber carriage.  At T 10/8, part buttons off, K1R.  Break main yarn.  T 8/8, K10 rows in scrap.  Remove from machine and BO as below. 

CAST OFF with latch tool on side opposite the yarn tail:
1.  Pick up the first open st in main yarn from the right hand edge onto the tool.
2.  Pick up the next purl st from the front into the center st, just below the waste yarn.
3.  Alternately pick up the stitches from each bed as they were knit and scrapped off, placing the first st behind the latch, and pulling each new st thru the first st.
4.  At end of the row, pull the yarn end through the last st.
OR use FNR BO with double eyed needle on the machine. 

1.   Highly recommend starting with only a 2 color pattern until you get proficient with dbj.
2.   Look at the memo window on your machine whenever you change yarns.  It will tell you what color to change to.
3.   If you need to leave your work or take a break, always leave your carriages at the right hand side.  Then you will know that when you knit to the left and into the color changer that you will have to change colors.  If you’re unsure if you’ve changed yarns or not, look at the DAK Interactive screen to determine which yarn should be selected.
4.   Color changes are always made at the left thru the color changer, never at the right.
5.   Can do a striper backing by not engaging the KR Change Knobs. 
6.   Yarn tension will be a matter of trial and error.  Find one that works best for your yarn.  Highly suggest doing swatches.  If your carriages are dragging and hard to push, usually the answer is to reduce the tension dials, not increase.
7.   Usually set the ribber tension, one full number lower than the main carriage.
8.   Recommended not to use knobby or textured yarns.
9.   For a full size afghan, knit in panels and join together.
10. Keep moving weights up as you knit.  Don’t let the work become slack, especially on the sides.
11. Steaming is recommended to soften and make a nice drape, but I wouldn’t steam til after laundering, as most yarns soften during washing/drying.
12. Make sure that you start with a Fairisle (-F) pattern.  If your pattern gets saved as dbj (-2), you will need to change method of knitting to Fairisle before downloading to machine.
13.   Use the same weight yarns, but if using 2 different weight yarns, use the heavier for the main (background).
14.   If using the tuck button on the ribber, the design will be wider and shorter than normal, so in order to maintain a better proportional ratio, I rescaled the design to make it a few rows taller to compensate for the tucking distortion. 
15.   While knitting, the memo window, DAK yarn indicator and the color changer must all agree.  If they don’t, you will not pattern properly.  The memo window, DAK and color changer should all correspond before starting to knit the row from L to R. 

Lighter weight yarns work best.  Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl or any fingering weight yarn would work well.  2 strands of 2/24 is even suggested.  Do some experimenting.  In her Prize Winning Afghans book, Joan Swanson is suggesting the following to be knit around T8, however a lot of these yarns have long since been discontinued: 

2 strands of 2/24
Bramwell Fine 4 ply
Mary Lue’s 3/15
Millor Andino, Pupe or Trenzado
Nomis 3/15 Excellence
Phentex Fingering 
Tamm 3 Ply, Trenzi  

She’s recommending T0/0 for the foundation row and up to 4 to 6 for:
1 strand of 2/24
Millor Infanta
Tamm Suavi
Delaine Acridel 

Another book is recommending:
Bramwell Fine 4 ply, Duo Magic, High Bulk, Artistic, Celebration
Millor Infanta, Andino and Pupe
Jaggerspun (all)
Delaine Acridel
Fiber Fantasy, Pure and Simple
2 strands of 2/24
Tamm 3 Ply Astracryl


  1. Wow, you are thorough. Thanks for taking the time to write all this out!!!

  2. You're welcome. I drafted this cheat sheet when I first started doing dbj. Just had to spiffy it up a bit for my blog. I couldn't do dbj without it!

  3. I keep looking for the like button....

  4. Just come across your blog tonight, its fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
    I have the 965i machine to, but really just learning and your patterns are a real help to me.

    So thank you so much.


  5. This is great! I've been looking for anything on DBJ for a 950i, but nothing so far. I don't have a colourchanger, but this is so thorough, I'm really hoping it works for my machine. It really looks promising, so thanks for sharing.

    1. You're very welcome. You should be able to do dbj on your 950 using my tutorial as a guide. (Also, dbj is referred to as 'multi-colored rib' in your user's manual.) You don't absolutely need a color changer to do dbj, but it surely comes in handy. A color changer makes a whole lot less fiddling with yarns and trying to keep straight which color should knit next. I don't know what ribber you have so you may be limited to the types of backing you can do but other than that, dbj procedure should be the same. If you don't have DAK, just use any fairisle pattern from Stitchworld and you should be in for some fun times.

  6. Hello. Great instructions. I had one question. Instructions list that the ribber needle (1st left needle) should be on an even mark.this is where I need some help. I've set this up so that main bed needles on BOTH sides are the end needles and, the left Ribber needle is on the 'even mark'. should the right side ribber needle be the last needle if I'm knitting DBJ bird's eye view? Thanks!

    1. Hi Martha, glad you found this helpful. If you follow my instructions for needle setup, even number on each bed with the left main bed needle and the right ribber bed needle being on the outside, you will get nice edgings. To be honest, I didn't follow the machine manual for the needle setup, just did my own thing. But give it a try both ways and see which edging you like the best. The right side needle selection doesn't look to be critical in dbj as long as you have an even number of needles selected on the main bed. And the needle selection has nothing to do with the type of backing. Activating the lili lever and buttons tell the machine to do the birdseye backing. Without the lili settings, you'll get a striped backing. Ask again if I can be of more help.

  7. Thank a lot for the instructions. They helped me out tremendously.

  8. Thanks again for all your hard work and generosity. Here I am, trying to learn DBJ just in time for the holidays, right? Your instructions are the first ones I have found that actually 1) make sense, and 2) work!!

    My problem now is to learn to understand how to re-orient myself if I get distracted - how to know which color is next by looking at the knitting - it seems the "memo" numbers don't always tell you exactly where you are on my 965i.

    1. Thanks Meg. Whenever I get distracted or interrupted during dbj, I always leave my carriage on the right hand side. This will always be a reminder to me that I need to change colors when I get into the color changer. Never leave the machine with the carriage on the left hand side! Just a tip from experience.

  9. Hi! I'm looking to do a similar thing as your photo with lifting stitches to create that loop so that I can hang a knitted piece with a dowel. Do you have any tips on how to do that in double bed jacquard? I only know how to do it on a single bed. Thank you!

    1. Wish I had a miracle answer for you but I just don't. I've never done lifted stitches but I would assume that all ribber stitches would need to be transferred to the main bed. Past that, I don't have any good words for you. Sorry. :-(