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Knit Fabric Structure: Types and Methods

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What is a Knit Fabric Structure?

Fabrics which are formed by the interlocking of yarn loops are called Knit Fabrics. The fabrics are generally knitted by hand or on specialized machines with special needles that make the yarn loops.

Parts of Knit Fabric Structure

The following article discusses the various parts of the knit fabric structure which form the fundamentals of knitting.

Stitches

The basic fundamental unit of a knit fabric is called a stitch. A stitch is formed when a knitted loop is pulled through the previously made loop.

Wale

The lengthwise direction of the knit fabric where the loops are formed one under the other. The continuous column of loops is made by the same needle.

Course

The crosswise direction of the knit fabric where the loops are formed one after the other. The continuous row of loops is made by different needles.

Course and Wale

Course and Wale

Count

The number of wales and the number of courses in an inch of the knitted fabric is called the count of the fabric.

Count of the Fabric

Count of the Fabric

Gauge

Gauge tells us the fineness of the knitted fabric. It is calculated by counting the number of stitches in an inch of the fabric. In a knitting machine, it is the number of needles in an inch, which in turn relates to the number of stitches produced in one square inch of the fabric.

Stitches Used to Produce Knit Fabrics

There are various types of stitches that are used to create knit fabrics which are as follows:

Knit Stitch

A stitch in which the neck of the loop is shown on the face of the fabric and the head of the loop is shown on the back of the fabric is referred to as a knit stitch. The resultant fabric has a smooth surface on the face side. There is a definite face and reverse side of the fabric, which means that the face of the fabric and the back of the fabric are easily identifiable.

Missed Stitch

During the process of knitting, when the yarn is skipped to create a design, it is called a missed stitch. It is also called a no stitch as the yarn floats un-looped in the fabric.

Missed Stitch Fabric Structure

Missed Stitch Fabric Structure

Purl Stitch

Also called a reverse knit stitch, a purl stitch is the opposite of a knit stitch. The interlocking of loops in the opposite direction produces a fabric with rounder stitches. There is no definite face and reverse side of the fabric, which means that the face of the fabric and the back of the fabric are identical.

Purl Stitch Fabric Structure

Purl Stitch Fabric Structure

Tuck Stitch

During knitting, when more than one loop is interlocked in a stitch, it is called a tuck stitch. This stitch is widely used to create unique designs in the fabric.

Tuck Stitch Fabric Structure

Tuck Stitch Fabric Structure

Types of Machine-Knit Fabric

Weft Knit Fabrics

Weft knit fabrics are those fabrics formed by the interlocking of in a crosswise direction. The loops are made in horizontal direction and each course is made on top of each other to produce the fabric.

Weft Knit Fabric Structure

Weft Knit Fabric Structure

Double Knit

A type of weft knit fabric structure in which two sets of needles are used on either a circular or a flat-bed machine to produce fine rib structures on both sides of the fabric. The fabric produced is a double layered in nature and since the face and the reverse sides are identical, the fabric is reversible.

Interlock Stitch Knit

A variation of the double knit fabric, an interlock stitch knit fabric is made when different rib fabrics are interlocked to form one fabric piece. Two rib courses are interknitted to form one interlock course and the resultant fabric is reversible.

Jersey Knit

Also called a plain stitch, jersey knit fabric is made by interlocking of loops in one way horizontal direction. It is a plain flat fabric with a distinct face and the reverse side.

Purl Knit

A type of weft knit fabric structure in which alternate rows of knit and purl stitches are interlocked to create a reversible double face fabric.

Rib Knit

A type of weft knit fabric structure in which two sets of needles produce alternate plain and purl stitches which interlock in opposite directions vertically. The resultant fabric is a double-faced fabric.

Warp Knit Fabrics

Warp knit fabrics are those fabrics formed by the interlocking of in a lengthwise direction. The fabric is produced when parallel yarns are interlocked with each other to produce a course in the lengthwise direction.

Warp Knit Fabric Structure

Warp Knit Fabric Structure

Milanese Knit

A type of warp knit fabric structure in which the stitches are made by two loops (one from different warp yarns). The yarn of the loops run diagonally, alternating from one stitch to another in each course. This process creates a fine rib stitch on the face and diamond effect on the reverse side of the resultant fabric. The machines used for the construction of milanese knit fabric are either straight bed or circular knitting machines.

Raschel Knit

A type of warp knit fabric structure in which different types of stitches are used to create a variety of designs in the fabric. The fabric is made by using variations in the type of yarn (differences in fibers; yarn textures) used, and various interlocking styles.

Tricot Knit

A type of warp knit fabric structure in which the fabric can be identified by rib structure running lengthwise on the face side and a rib structure running crosswise on the reverse side of the fabric. Generally made from filament yarns, tricot knit fabrics are thing textured flat fabrics.

Weft-insertion Warp Knit

A type of warp knit fabric structure in which a weft yarn is inserted across the width of the course during the construction of the warp structure.

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