Knitting is a process that turns yarn and thread into cloth. To achieve this, loops of stitches are pulled through each other, and the stitches are held on by a needle, and another loop is made to pass through them. According to experts, the process of knitting involves three basic activities. First, the unsecured stitches should be held or fastened in such as way that they don't drop. Second the stitches need to release after they have been secured. Third, new loops of yarn are need passed through the fabric to fully secure them.
Standard Tools for Knitting
Knitting is usually performed through using tools such as knitting needles or knitting machines. Knitting machines are also called rigid frames, and depending on their size, these may be called knitting rings, knitting spools or knitting boards. Different tools are used for preparing the yarn, as well as for measuring and designing the knitted garments, to make the process much easier.
Types of Knitting
There are different types or styles for knitting. The most common types include circular and flat knitting. Circular knitting is used for creating a circular tube, and was formerly done by utilizing sets of four or five double-pointed needles. However when circular needles where invented, circular knitting was more often used for producing tube-shaped items or clothing items like socks, mittens, sleeves and hats. Flat knitting is used to make flat or rectangular-shaped pieces of cloth or fabrics. It uses two straight knitting needles, and the process works in rows, as well as through horizontal lines of stitches. Flat knitting is sued for making items such as blankets, scarves and the front of sweaters.
The Earliest Forms of Knitting
Knitting was already practiced as early as 1 AD, with the discovery of finely-knitted socks in an archeological site in Egypt. Most of the knitting done in medieval Europe was performed by hand. The invention of the knitting machine made the process much faster, and the hand-knitting method was relegated to a useful but non-essential activity; however it continued to remain as a popular social activity.
Knitting Has Undergone a Revival These Days
While hand-knitting may have dipped in popularity in the 60's or 70's. The turn of the 21st Century has seen a revival in interest towards knitting. The number of female knitters today has increased by 150%, according to the American Yarn Council. Most of the new knitters are aged from 25 to 35 years old.
Yarns and Needles
Hand knitting yarns are usually sold today in balls, spools or cones. These yarn balls and spools come with a yarn-band, which indicates the yarn's length, dye lot, fiber content, weight and applicable washing instructions. Professional knitters are known to save the yarn band, for future use, to help them ensure that the yarn to be used comes from a single dye lot, since each yarn skein may have the same color, but are actually different, and may produce different or visible stripes once it's sewn or knitted. Yarns are group or arranged in six different categories. These include super fine, fine, light, medium, bulky and super bulky. Yarn thickness is also measured by the number of wraps per inch, or WPI.
There are 3 main types of knitting needles. The most common type consists of two slim straight sticks, which are tapered to a point at one end, and have a knob at the other end, to stop the stitches from slipping. These needles are generally ten to sixteen inches long, and can be used to knit pieces that are much wider. A yarn's thickness is a major factor in determining how many stitches or rows are needed to cover a certain area or stitch pattern. Thick yarns usually require thick knitting needles, while slim or thin yarns can be knitted using both thick and thin needles.