A knitting machine consists of a bed of 200 hook-ended needles. During casting-on, the yarn is looped around each needle. A flat bar called a knit carriage is run over the needles to make the first row of stitches. When it reaches the other side, the knit carriage moves over the needles in the opposite direction to create a tight, uniform stockinette stitch.
Plating is a knitting technique that uses two different colors of yarn; a main color yarn and an alternate color yarn. The two yarns are knitted in a stockinette stitch. The alternate color yarn is knitted behind the main color yarn. The process of knitting together two yarns in a stockinette stitch creates a fabric that is lined. The alternate color of yarn may be seen through from the other side of the main color yarn, which causes a variation in the color of the fabric. Plating with two yarns is often done with a rough-textured main color and a softer alternate yarn to create a lining in the fabric that is not scratchy to the touch.
The stockinette stitch creates a fine-textured fabric. When plating with a knitting machine, the main color yarn appears on the knit side of the fabric and the alternate yarn is placed on the purl side, or back side, of the fabric. The knit side of the fabric creates rows of chevrons or "V" shapes. The purl side of the fabric has rows of "U" shapes or bumps.
A garter carriage is used with standard gauge knitting machines to create plaiting. It consists of a flat piece of metal or plastic with two needles on it that are facing opposite directions. The needle that faces the opposite direction moves the stitch over into a purl before it is knitted and returned to the needle on the knitting machine.
Knitting Machine Stitches
A knitting machine creates stitches for plaiting or other types of techniques by looping yarn on a row of needles. The yarn loops are simultaneously lifted as the knit carriage is woven through the machine to create a single row of stitches at a time. This allows knitters to create large pieces of fabric with even-spaced stitches. Knitting machines utilize pattern attachments to create different types of knitting stitches, such as ribbing. The buttons allow for a change in design while the fabric is being made.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images