The float stitch

A float stitch or welt stitch (Fig. 9.1) is composed of a held loop, one or more float loops and knitted loops. It is produced when a needle (M) holding its old loop fails to receive the new yarn that passes, as a float loop, to the back of the needle and to the reverse side of the resultant stitch, joining together the two nearest needle loops knitted from it.

In Fig. 9.2, the float stitch shows the missed yarn floating freely on the reverse side of the held loop. (This is the technical back of single-jersey structures but is the inside of rib and interlock structures.) The float extends from the base of one knitted or tucked loop to the next, and is notated either as an empty square or as a bypassed point. It is assumed that the held loop extends into the courses above until a knitted loop is indicated in that wale.

A single float stitch has the appearance of a U-shape on the reverse of the stitch. Structures incorporating float stitches tend to exhibit faint horizontal lines. Float

Float Stitch Pattern
Fig. 9.2 Technical face of float stitch.

stitch fabrics are narrower than equivalent all-knit fabrics because the wales are drawn closer together by the floats, thus reducing width-wise elasticity and improving fabric stability.

Under normal take-down tension and with normal yarn extensibility, the maximum number of successive floats on one needle is four. Six adjacent needles are usually the maximum number for a continuous float because of reduced elasticity and problems of snagged threads, especially in continuous-filament yarns and with coarse machine gauges.

A floating thread is useful for hiding an unwanted coloured yarn behind the face loop of a selected colour when producing jacquard design in face loop stitches of different colours (adjacent needle floating in shown in Fig. 9.8, successive floating on the same needle in Fig. 9.7). The miss stitch can occur accidentally as a fault due to incorrectly set yarn feeders.

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