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School of Design

Stitch Length and Dimensional Stability Common Faults

Movement of the needle after knock-over.

• Movement of the needle after knock-over is controlled by stitch cams.

• The stitch cams are located in slots by studs and they may be raised or lowered to a different setting position by moving the stud along the slot.

• Unless the rate of yarn feed is controlled, the setting of the stitch cam at knock-over will determine the stitch length because it controls the distance the head of the needle descends below the knock-over verge. The stitch cam settings are indicated by pointers on a calibrated scale on the

outside of the cam-plate.

V = verge

• Stitch cam setting affects tension and overall look of the garment

of the cam-plate. V = verge • Stitch cam setting affects tension and overall look of

SL x 2 = stitch length

Interlock cams

17& 5 = Stitch cams

Interlock cams 17& 5 = Stitch cams

Factors affecting loop length

• 1 Movement of the needle after knock- over.

• 2 Input tension on the yarn.

• 3 Tension on the fabric.

• 4 Relaxation of the fabric.

V-bed cams

Stitch cams

V-bed cams Stitch cams

Pattern Wheel cams

Stitch cam adjuster Stitch cam
Stitch cam
adjuster
Stitch cam

Input tension on the yarn

Robbing back

Input tension on the yarn Robbing back As the needles descend the stitch cam, the tension

As the needles descend the stitch cam, the tension required to pull yarn from the package increases rapidly and it becomes easier to rob back yarn in the opposite direction from the already formed loops of needles further back which are now beginning to rise from their lowest (knock-over) position, thereby pulling tight the previously formed stitches. Thus the control of input tension is very important, i.e. yarn feeder tension

Relaxation of the fabric

Weft Knitted Fabric Relaxation and Shrinkage After a knitted fabric comes off the machine there will be relaxation of the knitted fabric which may result in changes in dimension.

• Problematic for maintaining correct specs to make up.

• Hydrophilic (attracted to water) fibres such as cotton and wool are particularly

susceptible to relaxation. This can be affected by climate.

• Synthetic thermoplastic fibres such as nylon and polyester can be more stable-

therefore can be plaited / or pre- twisted into the yarn during knitting

• Adding nylon/ lycra to be plated in with a natural yarn can add stability (this must not

make the yarn too bulky for the gauge)

• In the case, of wool fibres, this effect can be magnified by felting shrinkage. When

untreated wool fibres are subjected to mechanical action in the presence of moisture, the elasticity and unidirectional scale structure of the fibres causes them to migrate and interlock into a progressively closer entanglement. Eventually the density of the felted fabric restricts further fibre movement but long before this point the fabric properties, including appearance, will have been severely impaired. Fortunately, it is now possible to achieve a shrink (felting)-resist finish in wool yarns during spinning so that, as with cotton yarns, little yarn shrinkage will occur during washing and wearing.

Tension on the fabric

Tension on the fabric Increased tension on the fabric will increase the loop length. This occurs

Increased tension on the fabric will increase the loop length.

This occurs because the increase in tension alters the position of the old loop at knock over.

This technique is used by some warp knitting machines to control loop length.

• Knitted fabrics tend to change in width and length when taken from the machine,

even without yarn shrinkage, indicating a change of loop shape rather than of loop

length. During knitting, the loop structure is subjected to tension from sources such as the take-down mechanism Unless the structure is allowed to relax from its strained and distorted state at some time during manufacture, the more favourable conditions for fabric relaxation provided during washing and wearing will result in a change of

dimensions leading

to customer dissatisfaction

• Unfortunately there are a number of states which may be achieved by different

relaxation conditions such as dry relaxation, steaming, static soaking and washing with agitation, centrifuging and tumble drying. These states are difficult to identify, define and reproduce as friction and the mechanical properties of the fibres, yarn, and structure can create high internal restrictive forces and thus inhibit recovery. However, agitation of the knitted structure whilst it is freely immersed in water appears to provide the most suitable condition for relaxation to take place as it tends to overcome the frictional restraints imposed by the intermeshing of the structure.

Problems with relaxing circular knitted fabrics- orange peel/ cockling

• A relaxation technique applied during the finishing of cotton fabric in continuous

length form is the compacting or compressive shrinkage technique. The fabric is passed between two sets of roller nips with the feed rollers turning at a faster rate than the withdrawal rollers so that the courses are pushed towar ds each other and the fabric is positively en­couraged to shrink in length. This technique can create difficulties with interlock fabric which tends to buckle outwards three-dimensionally to produce ripples on the surface known technically as 'orange peel'.