A Knitting Machine will include; knitting frame, hand knitting machine and knitting loom. Their use is simply knitting fabrics. They are either manual meaning operated by hand or motor. To select the pattern stitches mechanical punch cards, push buttons and computers are used.
History has it that Lee invented the first knitting machine with ideas formed after watching his wife knitting. In fact his painting, popularly known as ‘The Invention of the Stocking Loom’ is displayed in Stocking Framer’s Guildhall in London. A mechanism ‘divider’ that improved the machine was later added by John Ashton assistant of Lee. This kick started the business and increased the demand for stockings made of cotton. Knitters could hire the machine since it was expensive.
Jedediah Strutt, also made some improvements in the year 1758 by attaching a device called ‘Derby rib’. From here the trade moved towards Nottingham where later on, Richard Arkwright operated the machine by horsepower. Basically two types of models are in the market today i.e. industrial and domestic. They create rectangular and tubular fabric. There are two flat beds facing each other in the double bed machines which create purl and plain rib fabric. single bed machines also have a rib attachment.
In domestic model, 22 latch hook needles are used to hold the stitches. A carriage is then passed across the bed of needle to create the next stitch. A particular needle can be selected with the help of punch card to pass through the carriage. Generally this machine knits ‘fair isle’ pattern, plating and knit weaving patterns. This weft knitting is mostly used in domestic knitting machines. However, the machine is fast but the fabric resembles one knitted by hands.