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VASANT R KOTHARI has done Masters in Textiles Technology from DKTEs Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji (Shivaji

University, Kolhapur), Maharashtra. He has also done Diploma in Export Management (Apparel Export) from the Indian Institute of Export Management, and Garment Export and Merchandising Management from NIFT, Bangalore. Presently, hes working as an Assistant Professor in Department of Fashion Technology, NIFT, Bangalore. (This is his thirteenth input from the series of articles in Knitting Views)


nother interesting segment of the knitting industry is the warp knitting. Warp knitting is defined as a loop forming process in which the yarn is fed into knitting zone, parallel to the fabric selvedge. Warp knitted fabrics are a product of a technology process carried out on warp knitting machines. The history of warp knitting is closely associated with two names, William Lee and Karl Mayer. In 1589 William Lee applied for patent of his first machine for making knitted articles, in that way he laid the foundations for mechanical manufacturing and making the technical base to develop warp knitting technology. In 1947, the insightful entrepreneur and mechanic, Karl Mayer showed off first warp knitting loom. The machine was compiled two guide bars, and with bearded needles, attained a speed of 200 rpm. It marked the starting of technical era in pioneering leaps in the field of warp knitting.

from weft-knit and their machinery. In warp knitting, each needle loops have its own thread, means there is one warp for one wale, and it also differs in the way in which the yarn is fed to the needles. Further, the source of yarn on a warp-knitting machine is a warp beam containing a very large number of parallel yarns, similar to a warp beam on a loom. Sometimes, more than one warp is needed, depending upon the fabric design.

stitches on the face of the fabric appear vertically, but at a slight angle; and the stitches on the back appear horizontally as floats at a slight angle. These floats called laps, or under laps, is a distinguishing identification of warp knits. Warp knitting may be flat or tubular and can be produced in many varieties of patterns. It can yield cloth with a dimensional stability almost equal to that of woven fabric. Yet, a modern 28-gauge machine can produce a cloth 168 inches wide at a rate of 1,000 courses per minute that is 4,700,000 stitches per minute.

13.2: Basic weft knit (a) and warp knit (b) loop

13.4: Warp knit fabric (face)

The subsequent loops formed from one thread are placed in the same course

The subsequent loops formed from one thread are placed in the subsequent courses

13.3: Weft and warp knitted structure 13.5: Warp knit fabric (back)

Fig 13.1: Warp knitted fabric

In weft knitting, a single yarn end may be fed to all the needles and knitting progresses around, or across the machine to produce the weft knitted fabrics for any number of courses and wales. In warp knitting, however, each needle is supplied with a yarn (or yarns) and all the needles knit at the same time producing a complete course at once so the total number of individual yarns is equal to the total stitches in a row. The needles produce parallel rows of loops simultaneously that are interlocked in a zigzag pattern, as shown in fig 13.5. In this way, the warp knitted fabric is formed by knitting the warp yarns on the adjacent needles course by course and intermesh the loops with the neighbouring yarns to form fabric. The

Advantages of warp knit fabric

Dimensional stability In general, warp knitted fabric are more stable than weft knitted fabric. By modifying its structure (by weft insertion), the warp knitted can be as good as woven fabric Fabric tightness The warp knitted fabrics are thinner than double knitted fabrics and the loops are smaller than double knitted fabric Fabric appearance Most regular warp knitted fabrics give a nice, clean and balanced loop on surface. Normally the technical face and back for warp knitted are different

Warp and weft knitting are similar fabric manufacturing processes as both utilise needles to form and intermesh loops. As the name implies, the loop formation is warp wise, i.e., vertically upward. Unlike, weft knitting, most of the warp knitting machine is open width/flat knitting. Generally, warp knitting is done by machine, whereas weft knitting is done by both hand and machine.

Formation of warp knit fabrics

Warp-knit fabrics and the machinery used to produce them are substantially different