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Hosiery Manufacture

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
There has been in recent years an extraordinary development in the scope and application of the knitted fabric which may be traced to a variety of causes. The chief explanation of this growth is to be found in the structure of the knitted fabric itself, the qualities of which have made it pre-eminently suitable for special departments of textiles. In its most elementary form the knitted texture is composed of a series of loops hung in rows one upon the other and constructed from the curvings of a single thread which runs continuously through the fabric. One set of loops is formed on the preceding row and any particular stitch is dependent for its support on neighbouring stitches above, below, and on either side of it; if the thread becomes severed at any point the loops lose contact all round and a considerable opening is incurred. This is its chief defect, but also its outstanding advantage as a texture; it is a defect to have the structure destroyed with the severance of the single ground thread, but it is the mutual interdependence of loops which accounts for its valuable stretch and elasticity. By virtue of this elasticity it becomes eminently suitable for articles of underclothing which have to be worn in close proximity to the cuticle; the fabric is enabled to yield to the slightest movement of any part and thus prevents the wearer becoming uncomfortably conscious of the garment. An inherent yielding quality of the loops causes the article to stretch and adapt itself to minor irregularities of size and shape; if a garment is not exactly to dimensions, it contracts to a smaller or expands to a larger form. This property of stretch must not be unduly taken advantage of to cover up indifferent systems of manufacturing, but within certain limits the property is of great value for certain discrepancies. The knitted fabric is essentially a weft fabric, the thread being inserted crosswise into the texture after the manner of filling so that the entire structure presents a horizontal appearance which is most evident with ground-coloured stripes when the different colours show themselves crosswise. This proves a serious limitation to the scope of the plain knitted texture, for the clothing trades have small use for horizontal effects as compared with vertical coloured stripes. The knitted structure is quite different in property to woven cloth where one has two series of separate threads, one being termed the warp and running longitudinally in the fabric, whilst the other series is named the weft and is intersected with the warp in the process of weaving.