Warp is normally prepared as an accumulation of ends wound parallel to each other on a beam. The warp must possess the correct number of ends, all of the same length and all wound at the same tension. The ends must be parallel to one another and evenly distributed throughout the width of the beam. The spacing must be suitable for the gauge, and the width of the warp often equals the width of the needle bar in use, although it may be composed of a number of sectional beams.

Generally, warping is carried out directly from the yarn packages placed on a creel to the driven knitting beam because this is the fastest method. For fancy warps and sampling purposes, the indirect method of building a warp in sections onto a mill and then off beaming the completed warp onto the knitters beam is generally preferred, as this involves less yarn packages.

The warping of synthetic yarns involves the need for static eliminators, whilst the warping of staple fibre yarns may require the use of lint-removal arrangements and possibly the application of a lubricant to the warp. Special warping machines with reciprocating guides are employed to warp the pattern beams of multi-guide bar machines where only a few warp ends are required.

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