What is Knitting Needle | Basic Knitting Action of a Needle

Last Updated on 16/08/2022

What is Knitting Needle?
Knitting needles have been the heart of the knitting process. The fundamental element of construction of knitted fabrics is the knitting needle. Knitting needles come in a stunning assortment of materials, styles, and sizes. During yarn feeding, the hook is opened to release the retained old loop and to receive the new loop which is then enclosed in the hook. The new loop is then drawn by the hook through the old loop which slides over the outside of the closed hook.

There are three main types of needles in industrial knitting:

  1. Spring bearded needle,
  2. Latch needle,
  3. Compound needle
Knitting Needles
Figure 1: Knitting Needles

1. Bearded Needle: The spring bearded needle is the oldest type. To open and close the hook during loop production, the beard needle needs an auxiliary attachment, a presser. The attachment restricts the production speed and limits the use of this needle type in modern knitting machine.

2. Latch Needle: This is the most popular needle used in knitting. The latch of the needle is pivoted and can swivel to open and close the hook.

3. Compound Needle: This is commonly used in warp knitting and is seldom found in weft knitting. The hook of the compound needle is opened and closed by a closing element sliding within a grove in the main part of the needle.

Basic Knitting Action of a Needle:
The knitting action of all three types of needles is similar except the closing of the hook with the loop formed. The arrows indicate the relative movement of the loops along the needles. Whether the needle moves through the loops or the loops are moved over the needle by some other elements depends upon the machine design. A latch comes into action for closing the hook on a latch needle, a presser on the knitting machine, for closing the hook on spring bearded needle and the tongue to close the compound needle hook. The basic action of a needle are shown in below.

Knitting Action of a Needle
Figure 2: Knitting action of a needle

The basic knitting action is summarized as follows:

  1. The needle is in the (so-called) rest position, with the previously formed loop (a) held on its stem and covered by the hook.
  2. The loop is cleared from the needle hook to a lower position on the needle stem.
  3. The new yarn (b) is fed to the needle hook at a higher position on the needle stem than the position of the previous (‘old’) loop.
  4. The yarn is formed into a ‘new’ loop.
  5. The hook is closed, enclosing the new loop and excluding and landing the old loop onto the outside of the closed hook.
  6. The new loop (b) is drawn through the head of the old loop (a). Simultaneously the old loop slides off the closed hook of the needle and is cast-off or knocked-over.
  7. The old loop now hangs from the feet of the fully formed new loop and the knitting cycle starts again.

You may also like:

  1. Knitting Action of Spring Bearded Needle
  2. Comparison between Latch Needle and Spring Bearded Needle

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