Comparison of patterning and fabric structures

Individual element movement (particularly of latch needles) enables weft knitting machines to produce designs and structures based upon needle selection for loop intermeshing and transfer. This also facilitates the production of garment parts shaped on the knitting machine. Weft knitted loops tend to distort easily under tension and yarn can freely flow from one loop to another that is under greater tension, a characteristic which aids form-fitting and elastic recovery properties (Figures 6.6, 6.7 and 6.8). Change of yarn by horizontal striping is another major weft knitting patterning technique.

Weft knitted structures can generally be unroved, a course at a time, from the end of the fabric knitted last and this, together with a tendency for loop breakdown to cause laddering, can create problems.

Most patterning on warp knitting machines is based on selective control over guide bar lapping movements (i.e. the direction and extent of the overlap and under-lap movements) and on the threading of the individual guides of each guide bar (i.e. with or without warp threads or with different types or colours of yarn). Yarn change by striping is not available on warp threads.

Warp knitted threads tend to have an approximately vertical path through the

Fig. 6.6 Loop extension and recovery.
Fig. 6.7 Yarn flow in knitted structure.

structure, which makes the warp threads less likely to fray or unrove and, in the absence of weft threads allows almost any width up to the full knitting width to be achieved. Effects in open work and colour can be obtained without the use of special mechanisms, and lapping movements can be arranged to produce fabrics ranging from dimensionally stable to highly elastic without necessarily changing the type of yarn.

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