KNITTED FABRIC GLOSSARY
Here are 25 need-to-know knitting terms.
Bow: A term applied when a filling yarn in a cloth does not follow a straight line from selvage to selvage.
Circular Knit: A fabric or garment knitted on a circular knitting machine in tubular form. The knit may be shaped by shrinking, stretching or tightening the stitches where less circumference is needed, or by cutting into pieces that are later sewn together to make the finished article.
Crocking: The rubbing off of a dye from a fabric as a result of insufficient dye penetration, the improper use of dyes or dyeing methods, or insufficient washing or treatment after dyeing.
Double knit: A fabric knitted by interlocking loops with a double stitch (two needles) to form a fine ribbed cloth with a twice-knitted appearance. The fabrics are firmer and heavier than single knits.
Flat knit: A knit fabric made on a flat knitting machine. It is also a term used in the underwear trade for plain stitch fabrics made on a circular knitting machine.
Fleece: A knit fabric with a warm, soft, silky pile. It has a deep surface that may be wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester, nylon or any other man-made fiber. Its major end uses include activewear and outerwear.
Fulling: A treatment of woolen or worsted knitted fabrics to make them resemble woven goods.
Jersey: A broadly applied named for a plain knitted fabric; its principal distinction is that it is not a fabric with a distinct rib. It may be napped, printed or embroidered.
Knit tubing: A circular knitted cloth without seams. Sheath-style dresses, skirts and sleeves may be made in this way.
Knitted velour: A smooth, nap-finished, sheer, knitting fabric similar to velvet or suede.
Knitting yarn: A general term for yarn used for knitting. It’s also a specific term for cotton yarn of relatively low twist that is spun and/or twisted especially for the knitting industry.
Laminated knit: A knit fabric that is bonded to urethane foam by heat or by use of an adhesive.
Mesh: A broad term applied to a great range of knit and woven fabrics, characterized by open spaces between the yarns.
Milanese: A type of warp knit fabric made with two sets of warp that knit continuously in one direction, one set going downward to the left and one set downward to the right.
Novelty knit: Any knit that has texture or embellishments, or is created in a certain way to make it distinctive.
Plain stitch: A knitting stitch producing a series of wales or lengthwise ribs on the face of the fabric and cross-wise loops on the back. Also called a flat stitch.
Plait: To knit two different yarns so that one of the yarns appears only on the face, and the second on the back. Generally used to reinforce the heel, sole and toe of stockings, and, in some underwear and outerwear fabrics.
Raschel: A versatile type of warp knitting; also the machine on which it is made. The fabrics are often used for intimate apparel and are coarser than other warp knit fabrics.
Rib stitch: A knitting stitch characterized by the alternation of wales on the two sides of the fabric. Two rows of needles are employed, one knitting the wales of the face, the other knitting the back wales.
Single knit: A fabric constructed of one system of yarn by interlooping. Weights of the fabrics range from the very sheer to heavy. Typical single-knit applications are stockings, socks, T-shirts, jersey and swimwear.
Stitch: The basic unit of construction in a knitted fabric, consisting of the loops of yarn formed by the knitting needle.
Stretch knit: A fabric made using stretch yarns, primarily from polyester or spandex, that recover from stretching more rapidly than do regular knitted fabrics.
Tricot: The most common type of warp knit, made with two sets of threads — vertical wales on the face and pronounced crosswise ribs on the back.
Wale: In knitted fabrics, a series of loops in successive courses lying lengthwise in the fabric, formed by the action of one needle. The number of wales per inch is a measure of the fineness of the fabric.
Warp knit: A type of knit in which the yarns generally run lengthwise; the yarn is prepared as warp on beams with one or more yarns for each needle. The fabric has a flatter, closer, less elastic knit than weft or jersey knit and is very often run-resistant.
Note: The glossary is based on comments from executives from the textile industry, and on Fairchild Publications’ “Dictionary of Textiles.”