Knit Manufacture

The Earliest forms of Knitting have been found dating back to the 3rd– 5th Centuries. This was a pair of socks created by intricate patterns of knots, and can often be mistaken for modern day knitting or Crocheting. The Earliest known examples of Knitting as we know it in its modern day form were found in Egypt and date back to between the 11thand 14th Centuries. It is thought this was one of the first examples of knitting using yarn and two sticks as preliminary ‘needles.’

Up until the mid 16th Century all the knitting produced was made purely of the Stockinette stitch. It was around this time that the Purl stitch was invented and the pieces began to look more like we would associate as Knit fabrics. Cotton and Silk were the most popular materials to use for knitting at this time as they were the easiest to come by. The use of Wool didn’t really become popular until knitting arrived in Europe as Wool was more readily available here. With the introduction of the knitting machine in 1589 and the Industrial revolution, Hand knitting became almost obsolete. It was primarily a hobby for most people as only one-off garments could be produced.

There are both pros and cons to Machine Knitting and Hand knitting. Hand knitting gained in popularity again around the time of World War II. The Make do and Mend campaign urged housewives to unravel old woollen garments that they had and re use the wool to knit the troops socks and other garments. Nowadays, the majority of the mass produced woollen garments are made using a knitting machine, although hand knitting is still a hobby for many people. Machine knitting creates finer gauge garments, that are more delicate, quicker to produce and have less mistakes than hand knitting.

Types of Knitting include:

– Jersey

– Double Knit

– Circular Knitting

– Warp Knitting

– Weft Knitting

– Plain Knit

– Purl Knit

– Cable Knit

– Hand Knitting

– Machine Knitting

Properties of Knit

  • Good Elasticity
  • Warm to wear
  • Does not fray like woven garments
  • Curls up at the edges
  • Versatile
  • Many different yarns can be used to produce different effects
  • Right Side and Wrong Side
  • Can be dense or very delicate and gauze like
  • Available in many different colours
  • Absorbent
  • Lightweight
  • Figure Hugging
  • Retains Shape well
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Good Insulator
  • Crease Resistant
  • Shrinks badly
  • Ladders easily

End Uses of Knit

  • Underwear
  • Lingerie
  • Scarves
  • Knitwear eg. Jumpers
  • Hosiery
  • T-shirts
  • Gloves and Socks

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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