fabrics can be hand knitted or knitted on a variety of knitting machines. They are broadly divided into weft (also known as fillingfilling
knits) and warpwarp
- Weft knits are produced by interlooping the yarn in the horizontal (weft or filling) direction. Hand knitting needles, circular knitting machines, and flat machines are used to produce weft knits. Note: All hand knitted fabrics are weft knit fabrics. Weft knits are used extensively for apparel such as T-shirts, sweaters, activewear, and hosiery.
- Warp knits are produced by interlooping the yarns in the vertical (warp) direction. They are
manufactured on knitting machines with a warp beam, similar to that used for
weaving. Warp knits are used extensively for lingerie, netting, and raschel lacelace curtains.
Weft knits generally stretch more than warp knits. Weft knits can unravel,
whereas warp knits do not unravel. Textile knitting mills typically produce either knitted yard goods or knitted end products.
- Knitted yard goods (fabrics) are produced in both narrow and wide
widths. Flat and circular weft knitting machines as well as warp knitting
machines are used to manufacture knitted yard goods.
- Knitted yard goods are used extensively for the manufacture of apparel
such as activewear, T-shirts, underwear, lingerie, and sleepwear. They are
also used to manufacture household textiles such as window treatments.
- Consumers purchase knitted yard goods, sold on bolts, for making apparel
and household items.
- Knitted end products are manufactured by companies with vertical
operations. Such companies typically purchase the yarn, knit the items, then
dye, finish, cut, sew, and package the final product.
- Knitting machines used for manufacturing certain end products are
different from those used for producing knitted yard goods. For example,
special circular knitting machines are used to manufacture socks, gloves, and
- Knitted end products include hosiery, caps, gloves, undergarments, and sweaters/cardigans.
- All full-fashioned items are knitted end products. Full-fashioned is "a term applied to fabrics produced on flat knitting
machine, such as hosiery, sweaters, and underwear, that have been shaped by
adding or reducing stitches" (Source – Dictionary of Fiber and Textile
Technology). Full-fashioned products can be identified by the "marks" they display as a result of adding or reducing stitches to shape the garment.
Common terminology used to describe knitted fabrics is given below:
Wale is "a column of loops lying lengthwise in the fabric. The number of wales per inch is a measure of the fineness of the fabric" (Source- Dictionary of Fibers and Textile Technology). Note: WaleWale is also a term for woven fabric.
Course is "the row of loops or stitches running across a knit fabric, corresponding to the filling in woven fabrics" (Source- Dictionary of Fibers and Textile Technology).
Fabric Count for knits is the number of wales by number of courses per inch. For example, a fabric with 18 wales and 21 courses per inch is written as 18 x 21 and read as 18 by 21. The fabric count of knit fabrics is often lower than that of woven fabrics.
Gauge (Gage) is "the number of needles per given distance in a knitting machine" (Source- Dictionary of Fibers and Textile Technology). Note: The higher the gauge, the finer the knit.