The typical "European" specifications for a needle includes a word, a number (usually a four-digit number) and a final combination of letters and numbers.
For example: Vota 78.60 G.02
The capital letter at the beginning of the word ( "V"), identifies the origin of the needle (obtained from a wire, pressed or die-cut), the type, the number of butts and the type of tail. The other capital letters have a very precise meaning, except for the vowels "e" and "a" which are added to make the word pronounceable, and indicate the shape and the height of the butt, the eventual existence of a groove and its size, the length of the tail and some other features of the needle.
The next group of numbers identifies the needle according to the length and the gauge. The first part (78 in the example) indicates the whole length rounded off to the mm (in our case that makes 78 mm); the second part indicates the gauge of the needle in hundredths of millimetres (in our case the gauge of the needle is equal to 0.60 mm).
The final group of letters and numbers has to be read as follows.
The first capital letter indicates the needle manufacturer
(For example Z for Torrington, E for Exeltor, G for Groz-Beckert).
The next number is used to distinguish a specific needle among all the needles produced by the same manufacturer.
The next letter refers to some particular features of the needle: for some needles an "A" indicates that the latch has been fixed with an angular pressed pin while an "R" means that the latch has been fixed with a straight pressed pin.
For other needles, the latch fixing method is indicated by a "0" before the last number. A "0" indicates that the latch has been fixed with a standard pressed pin; no "0" means that the latch has been fixed with a screw pin.
At the beginning of the process, the needle is positioned on the knock-over plane with the loop thread inside the hook, closed by the latch.
The upstroke motion of the needle makes the thread slip downward touching the latch; this makes the latch rotate anticlockwise and open the hook.
Once the needle has reached its maximum height on the looping plane, the latch opens wide and the stitch moves along the stem.
The needle now begins to move downward. On reaching the tuck-stitching plane, it catches a new loop thread.
In the further downstroke of the needle the stitch already formed touches the latch, making it rotate clockwise. As the needle continues its downward motion, this stitch begins closing the latch on the hook.
The needle reaches the end of its stroke (i.e. its lower point) and the previous stitch, after having closed the hook completely, is knocked over on the new loop forming a new stitch.
Picture 13 - Stitch formation with a latch needle
Stitch Formation with a Spring Beard Needle (picture 14).
The needle moves upward and the loop thread, originally inside the spring beard, moves along the stem.
Once the needle has been fed, the thread is introduced inside the spring beard, by means of an external device; at this point, the presser closes the spring beard.
While the needle is in the non-knitting position, the stitch can move on the hook. Then, when the needle begins to move downward, it slides on the hook and knocks over on the new yarn fed at the end of the stroke.
Stitch Formation with a Compound Needle (picture 15).
The hook is opened by the upward motion of the needle and by the insertion of the slide in the groove on the stem; the stitch moves on the stem, going below the tip of the slide. The needle, now completely open, is fed with new thread and then starts to move downward. The slide moves with a certain delay in relation to the needle and this makes the hook close and the previous stitch to be knocked over on the new thread.
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