The knitting action of the latch needle

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Figure 3.4 shows the position of a latch needle as it passes through the cam system, completing one knitting cycle or course as it moves up and in its trick or slot.

1 The rest position. The head of the needle hook is level with the top of the verge of the trick. The loop formed at the previous feeder is in the closed hook. It is prevented from rising as the needle rises, by holding-down sinkers or web holders that move forward between the needles to hold down the sinker loops.

2 Latch opening. As the needle butt passes up the incline of the clearing cam, the old loop, which is held down by the sinker, slides inside the hook and contacts the latch, turning and opening it.

3 Clearing height. When the needle reaches the top of the cam, the old loop is cleared from the hook and latch spoon on to the stem. At this point the feeder guide plate acts as a guard to prevent the latch from closing the empty hook.

4 Yarn feeding and latch closing. The needle starts to descend the stitch cam so that its latch is below the verge, with the old loop moving under it. At this point the new yarn is fed through a hole in the feeder guide to the descending needle hook, as there is no danger of the yarn being fed below the latch. The old loop contacts the underside of the latch, causing it to close on to the hook.

5 Knocking-over and loop length formation. As the head of the needle descends below the top of the trick, the old loop slides off the needle and the new loop is drawn through it. The continued descent of the needle draws the loop length, which is approximately twice the distance the head of the needle descends, below the surface of the sinker or trick-plate supporting the sinker loop. The distance is determined by the depth setting of the stitch cam, which can be adjusted.

The rest position actually occurs between positions 1 and 2, when the open needle hook just protrudes above the needle trick verge. In this position, a feeder would be passed without the needle receiving a new loop and the old loop would not be cast off, so that a float stitch would be produced. The tucking in the hook position occurs between positions 2 and 3, when the needle can receive the new yarn but the old loop has not been cleared from the open latch.

The latch needle used on the Stoll CMS V-bed flat machine has a spring-loaded latch so that it fully opens and fully closes. Also, the latch spoon does not project beyond the needle head. Loops thus slide easily over the hook and latch, the yarn is less likely to be split, and there is greater security for the knitted loops.

NB: Although the above knitting action is described assuming the needle to be moving through the knitted loops, the movement is relative and the same effect can be achieved by moving the loops over a stationary needle. Similarly, the knock-over

Knitting Cycle Latch
Fig. 3.4 Knitting action of the latch needle.

surface can be moved in opposition to the needle movement. (see Relanit, Chapter 13; and Shima contra sinkers, Chapter 19).

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