Knitting is a way of Fabric creation by looping a single yarn. Fabric can be created in many ways. When we use two different sets of yarn to create a fabric it is called weaving. But when we use a single yarn and we loop it, and then pass the yarn again through this loop, we create a knitted fabric. Knitting is different from Crochet in a way that Crochet uses a single hook, and knitting uses two or more needles. An example of knitting –

Figure 1Knitting socks on Double pointed needles

In knitting, basically some loops are cast on to a knitting needle, and then with the help of another knitting needle, and the same yarn (or different if desired), more loops are created through the existing loops, dropping the existing loops from the needle – one by one ; thereby creating the fabric, row after row. There are many other fabric creation techniques that involve loops and are thus confused by many as knitting. Some of these are – Nalbinding, Netting, Sprang and crochet. 1. Nalbinding – In Egypt, some remnants of knitted fabrics have been found these are believed to be made by an ancient technique called Nalbinding or Naalbinding. This technique, was used in Africa and Scandinavia since ancient times and it creates a looped fabric using an eyed needle with a short yarn (like a woollen embroidery needle today). The needle passes through the previous loops and forms loops on it. 2. Netting:


Ch-2 The technique of Knitting by Toolika Gupta

Netting fabric is also a looped fabric but is created by knotting the loops so it does not unravel. There are many ways of creating the netting. 3. Sprang: Sprang fabrics have been made in Denmark since a very long time. It is believed to be a precursor for knitting. These fabrics were probably made all over the world before knitting came into existence. 4. Crochet: Crochet is another way of creating a looped fabric , but it uses a crochet hook instead of two or more needles, and the yarn is looped one by one in a single direction creating a chain of loops, this is further made into a fabric by going back on the chains and looping through them, it is very versatile and many kinds of fabrics can be created.

Figure 2 A crochet hook, forming a chain

Crochet creates a chain to begin with, by looping and then by re looping through these loops a fabric is created. It is very versatile and can create laces, of various shapes.


Ch-2 The technique of Knitting by Toolika Gupta

Figure 3 An example of crochet

Figure 4 Crochet Coasters


Ch-2 The technique of Knitting by Toolika Gupta

Hand knitting again is really versatile as you can create an entire garment while knitting as shaping of the fabric can be done while the fabric is being made, unlike in weaving where you first make the fabric and then cut and sew it. A hand knitted fabric :

Figure 5 Hand knitted Lap-Top Cover

A Woven Fabric :

Figure 6 woven shawl from Shillong, India


Ch-2 The technique of Knitting by Toolika Gupta

Knitted fabrics have a structure somewhat like this :


Wales The rows formed are called Courses, these determine the length of the fabric , that means if the fabric has 45 rows they are called 45 courses, and when you measure them you get the length of the fabric (they can said to correspond to the wefts of the woven fabrics). The columns formed are known as wales, (they can correspond to the warp of the woven fabrics), the number of wales determines the width of the fabric, and these are the number of loops that you begin with. These can be increased or decreased as per the desire of the designer of the knit fabric.

Difference between Woven and Knitted fabrics:
If you look at the pictures that are there in this chapter you come across a picture of a knitted fabric and that of a woven fabric, both are hand crafted. The difference can be summarized as follows: Hand Knitted Knitted fabrics require minimum one yarn Knitted fabrics are created by looping a yarn on itself These require minimum two needles to create fabric. You only need to cast on the number of loops on one needle and start knitting The fabrics that are formed are very stretchy More or less, any shape can be created by increasing or decreasing the loops Hand Woven Woven Fabrics require two sets of yarns. Woven fabrics are created by interlacing yarns (warp and weft) at right angles to each other. These require a small loom, a warp beam where all warps are tied before interlacing the weft. Fabrics are more stiff as compared. Fabrics formed are mostly rectangular in shape.


Ch-2 The technique of Knitting by Toolika Gupta