A held loop (Fig. 9.1) is an old loop that the needle has retained. It is not released and knocked-over until the next, or a later, yarn feed. A held loop can only be retained by a needle for a limited number of knitting cycles before it is cast-off. A new loop is then drawn through it, otherwise the tension on the yarn in the held loop becomes excessive even though there is a tendency to rob yarn from adjacent loops in the same course.
The limbs of the held loop are often elongated. They extend from its base, intermeshing in one course, to where its head is finally intermeshed a number of courses higher in the structure. Alongside it, in adjacent wales, there may be normally-knitted loops at each course.
A held loop may be incorporated into a held stitch without the production of tuck or miss stitches in either single- or double-faced structures.
In single-faced structures, it can only be produced on machines whose feeds or needles have a reciprocating action so that the yarn only passes across needles that are knitting, otherwise a float stitch would be produced. Held stitches of this type are used for producing three-dimensional shaping such as heel and toe pouches for footwear, held-loop shaping on flat machines, and designs in solid colour intarsia. Held stitches are produced in double-faced structures by holding loops on one bed whilst continuing to knit on the other, thus producing horizontal welt and cord effects.
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