UTO : Cashmere Library : Facts about Cashmere and Knit
What Is Knitwear?
A sweater is knitwear, and T-shirts and cut and sews are also knitwear. Socks and gloves are knitwear, too. Dress shirts, skirts, pants, and coats usually are not. They are made with woven fabrics.
Knitted fabric is material with interlaced loops. These loops can easily be stretched in different directions, giving knit fabrics much more elasticity than woven fabrics.
Woven fabric, on the other hand, is made by interlacing two or more threads at right angles to one another on a warp and a weft.
Knitting is believed to have originated in the Middle East with Arabian nomads. Shepherd boys may have knitted their sheep’s hair while watching the flock. It sounds like a very peaceful pastoral life. But was knitting done by men? It is said that knitting was a male-only occupation in the past.
Knitting is done primarily by hand. Hand-knitting creates stitches using 2 needles and extends rows horizontally. This process is mechanized in flat knitting machines. Needles are aligned straight and work like hand-knitting needles. Most sweaters are knitted this way.
There are many knitting stitches, but the plain stitch and the rib stitch are the most basic styles. A plain stitch has a front and back side with different patterns. Front side stitches are aligned vertically and have a finer texture. Especially with cashmere’s smaller gauge, aligning the stitches evenly is important. The back side stitches are horizontally aligned and look more casual. Sonia Rykiel favored the back side stitch, and much of her iconic striped knitwear uses the back side of a plain stitch.
The edges of plain-stitched fabric tend to curl. Sweaters have cuffs and hems, so it does not show much, but it is clear that freshly knitted fabric edges laid on a flat surface start to bend from both sides. Un-cuffed sleeves and unhemmed sweaters are those without a rib knit cuff or double knitted hems, and these techniques are often utilized as a unique design.
Rib knitting uses flexible and stretchy stitches for hems and cuffs. Many traditional sweaters are knitted with rib and plain stitches. An “ordinary” sweater usually features this combination. Collars are often knitted with rib stitches. Rib stitches are especially perfect for turtlenecks, giving the sweater’s neck flexibility to allow the head to go through and then contracting back to fit the neck.
There are many patterns for rib knitting. 1x1, 3x3, or any combination of knits and purls is possible, giving a variety of texture and flexibility. The larger the number is, the less flexibility. Full needle ribbing, which uses all the needles on the front and back parts of the machine, is also available. When you look at the stitches of your sweater, you will find bumps and dents (knits and purls). The difference between 1x1 and 3x3 is easy to see, but 2x1 and 2x2 are hard to distinguish from each other. But if you aren’t a knitter yourself, you don’t have to worry too much about it.
Another stitch used for cuffs and hems is the double stitch, or double knitting. Double knitting, as the name suggests, creates two layers of fabric, like a bag. This can be done professionally only with special machines; it cannot be done by hand or with machines at home. It is used in place of rib knitting, and its stitches are fine and aligned evenly, making it look cleaner. Our core products use double knitting for cuffs and hems, so if you wear your sweater under a jacket, it will not be bumpy.
Other stitches include the cardigan rib stitch, cable stitch with twists, and lace knitting. Intarsia and jacquard can express various colors and patterns. An infinite number of presentations are possible by combining different stitches.