A drop stitch fault will result if a needle releases its old loop without receiving a new one. Sometimes this technique is used to achieve a press-off on all needles at the end of a garment-length sequence. A drop stitch or press-off stitch is used very occasionally in flat knitting to cause certain loops in a plain structure to be much larger than the rest. Knitting takes place on only one bed of needles and selected needles in the other bed pick up loops that are immediately pressed-off by not receiving yarn at the next feed.
The yarn from the pressed-off loops flows into the adjacent loops in the other bed, making them larger and giving the impression of a much coarser gauge. Drop stitch wales are sometimes used to provide a guide for the cutting operation. Generally, a secure structure is only produced when a needle retains its old loop if it does not receive a new loop.
Open-work 'crochet' type designs (also termed drop-stitch, press-off, or latch-opener fabrics) can be produced in single jersey by carefully pressing-off the loops of selected groups of needles, then recommencing knitting on the empty needles. Off-set yarn feeding is employed, the yarn feeders being collectively repositioned to feed the yarn from outside the needle-line across the front of the ascending needle hooks. The yarn itself brushes open the closed latches and does not damage the needles, unlike conventional steel point latch-openers.
An example produced on a E 28 Monarch machine has 4 feeds knitting plain with 1/30's cotton. Feeder 5 is knitted with a minimum stitch length and two ends of yarn to lock-in the following course. Feeder 6 is a slack course, knitted at half the normal tension and half the normal yarn count. It is jacquard-selected to produce a course of open-work pattern by pressing-off on these needles. The pick-up course is then knitted at high tension to avoid drop stitches and ladders at the edges of the pressed-off areas.
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