Gauge

On hosiery machines the gauge is usually expressed as diameter and total number of needles:

A 4 inch x 400 needle single-cylinder ladies' seamless hosiery machine will have 400 needles to knit plain. (NB: the number of needles may be slightly more or less than 400 in order to fit a particular mesh structural repeat exactly around the leg).

A 4 inch x 200 needle cylinder and dial machine will have 200 cylinder needles and 100 dial needles. Every second cylinder needle is gated in line with a dial needle and can only knit as 200 cylinder needles in plain structures. For 1 x 1 rib, the 100 dial needles knit in co-operation with the alternate 100 cylinder needles.

A 4 inch x 200 needle double-cylinder machine will have a total of 200 needles to knit plain stitches in the bottom cylinder, or, when arranged for 1 x 1 rib, will have 100 needles knitting plain in the bottom cylinder and 100 needles knitting rib in the top cylinder.

As well as the machine gauge, the needle gauge, i.e. thickness and size of needle hook, is also a consideration.

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