Knitted articles are often produced separately on single-cylinder machines, Cottons Patent machines and some flat machines. Others are knitted in continuous string formation on many flat and circular rib and purl machines because fabric tension-ing is dependent on a continuous length of fabric between the needles and the takedown rollers. Also, there would be a danger of latches not being open at the start of a new garment sequence.

If the string of garments is separated by cutting, there is a danger of either the welt being damaged or of unwanted yarn not being removed. For these reasons, some form of separation course is usually provided, normally in the form of a draw thread course, preceding the first course of the new garment.

The draw thread is usually a smooth strong yarn that may be knitted as a slack, plain tubular course to facilitate easy removal. The tubular draw thread course does not unrove accidentally during wet processing.

A second method is the press-off draw thread construction, which, although more expensive in time and yarn, tends to be more popular. The course preceding the start of the new garment is knitted in 1 x 1 rib and then one set of needles pressesoff its loops, leaving a single plain course of extra long drawthread loops that can be quickly and easily removed. Prior to the press-off course, locking courses are produced by knitting three or more additional courses, only on the set of needles that are to press-off. These help to reduce tension in the structure after pressing-off and thus reduce the possibility of laddering back.

A popular alternative to a draw-thread, employed on half-hose and sock machines, is to knit a number of courses in a soluble yarn such as alginate. The socks are separated by cutting, and the remaining courses of yarn are dissolved away during finishing to leave a neat edge to the welt.

Most garment-length machines using two needle beds have a butt arrangement of two long, one short for each bed, enabling 2 x 2 rib knitting after pressing off the loops of a 1 x 1 rib set-out and recommencment of knitting on only long butts on each bed in turn.

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