4. Knitting

What is Knitting?

Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.

figure 1 : type of knitting to produce a loop

Type of Knitting Stitches

In textile knitting, there are two types of stitch used by the manufacturer to produce a knitted product ; Warp Knitted and Weft Knitted stitches. Each of them have different properties in terms of advantages & disadvantages, and also the ways of production process.

Weft Knit Stitches

It is the most common types used by the manufacturer in produce textile knitted products such as Shirts and Socks. In terms of colour patterning, weft knit may be knitted with multiple yarns to produce interesting pattern design. There are few types or technique to produce weft knit structure, Single jersey, Purl, and Rib are some of the technique that been used to produce weft knitted structure.

figure 2 : Properties of warp knit fabric and weft knit fabric

Types of Machine Used by Weft Knit

figure 3 ; Type of knitting machine

There are two kind of machines used by the manufacturer to produce weft knit, Flat Knitting Machine and Circular Knitting Machine. Each of these machine can only produce different kind of products specifically. For Flat Knitting Machine, a V-bed type of machine may be use for knitting to produce design by using the facilities of rib loop transfer and needle backing. While for Circular Knitting Machine, the needle will be arranged on circumference of needle bed.

figure 4 : structure fabric in flat bed machine and circular knitting machine

Circular Versus Flat Knitting Machine

  • Production : Circular is much more productive than Flat Knitting Machine
  • Patterning : Circular is less pattern design because of the restricted patterning abilities
  • Fabric take-down : Fabric produce from Circular can’t be driven directly

Warp Knit Stitches 

Warp knitted is produced from a set of warp yarn. It is parallely knitted to each other down the length of the fabric. Since knitted fabric may have hundreds of wales, warp knitted is typically done by machine.[1]

figure 5 : Techniques or types of Warp Knitted Structure 

Properties of Warp Knitted Structure

In production, there will be two types of guide bar may be choose to produce knitted product.

  • Single Guide Bar : Low strength, Lack of stability, Poor of covering power, and loop inclination
  • Double Guide Bar : Good dimensional stability, Reasonal cover, and Better loop and Shape[2]

Warp knitting  are divided by two,that are overlap and underlap

figure 6: meaning of warp knitting and type of warp knitted loop


The popularity of knitting has grown a lot within the recent years owing to the adaptability of various man-made fibers, the increased versality of knitting techniques and the growth in demand for wrinkle-resistant, stretchable, snug-fitting fabrics.

Knitted textiles and apparel represent approximately one third of the global textile market, together with the advances of new technical applications for knitted textiles. Lets we talk about the new advancement of knitting technology in textile world.[3]

      • Wholegarment’ technology – this advance in knitting technology by developing the slide needle.  The slide needle resulted from research into the latch needle and the knitting process.  The needle consists of a hook located centrally between a flexible two-piece slider mechanism.  Stitches are transferred by the sliders during the knitting process.It provide greater comfort than cut and sew clothes.
      • digital injet printing-  Designs can be transferred directly from a computer and printed onto fabric in almost the same way as a word-processed document is printed onto paper.[4]


[1] Lecturer’s note, by Miss Eryna Binti Nasir Knitting

[2] Courtesy: Jimmy K.C. Lam, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

[3] Billie J. Collier, University of Tennessee & Phyllis G. Tortora, Queens College. Understanding Textiles, (Sixth Edition).

[4] http://www.knittingtogether.org.uk