Imparting shape during knitting

In addition to facilities for garment-length sequence knitting, weft knitting provides unique opportunities for width-wise shaping during knitting, with the sequence being initiated and co-ordinated from the same central control mechanism. The three methods of width shaping are:

1 varying the number of needles in action in the knitting width,

2 changing the knitting construction, and

3 altering the stitch length.

16.4.1 Wale fashioning

Wale fashioning is the normal manner of shaping (symmetrically or asymmetrically) on straight bar frames (Figures 16.7 and 16.8). It involves the transfer of loops from one needle to another within the same needle bed, either transferring onto selvedge needles that are to start knitting (widening) or transferring from needles that are to cease knitting (narrowing).

The fashioning technique has, in the past, been generally restricted to plain fabric structures although there were a few rib straight bar frames. There is now an increasing number of automatic V-bed flat machines with additional beds of fashioning points or rib loop transfer needles. Each transfer bed operates onto a specific needle bed (Fig. 16.9).

Fashioning can also be achieved by needle-to-needle rib loop transfer, racking

Needle Rib
Fig. 16.7 Wale fashioning (narrowing).

Needle loop of previous course and sinker loop of fashion course

Needle loop of previous course and sinker loop of fashion course

Needle Bed
Fig. 16.8 Wale fashioning (widening).

one bed, and transferring back to the original needle bed, but this technique requires receiving needles to be empty of loops.

The firm, fashioned selvedge edges can be point- or cup-seamed together, without the need for cutting and seaming to shape involving loss of expensive fabric. The shaping angle is varied by changing the fashioning frequency (i.e. the number of plain courses between each fashioning course), aided by the possibility of four-needle or two-needle as well as single-needle narrowing. A block of loops is transferred at a time, so that the transferred loop effect (fashion mark) is clearly visible in the garment, away from the selvedge, as this is a hall-mark of classic fully-fashioned garments.

Widening involves transferring the loops of a group of needles outwards by one needle, thus leaving a needle without a loop that would produce a hole if it was not covered by the action of filling-in.

Figure 16.8 shows the effect of using a single filling-in point that is set slightly in advance of the innermost fashioning point. It has an independent vertical movement and takes a stitch from the previous course, placing it onto the empty needle. Another technique in order to cover the hole is to use two half-points to transfer the half limbs of two adjacent needle loops sideways.

A similar technique as been developed for automatic V-bed machines, when it is termed a split stitch (Fig. 16.10).

16.4.2 The calculation of fashioning frequencies

Using the details shown in Fig. 16.11 as an example, the following sequence is necessary in order to calculate the required fashioning frequencies from the dimensions of a garment part:

1 Convert the length dimensions in each section to total number of courses by multiplying the length measurement by the cpi. Thus, 7 x 20 = 140; 4 x 20 = 80; 5 x 20 = 100 courses.

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