Warp knitting

Warp knitting is defined as a loop-forming process in which the yarn is fed into the knitting zone, parallel to the fabric selvage. It forms vertical loops in one course and then moves diagonally to knit the next course. Thus the yarns zigzag from side to side along the length of the fabric. Each stitch in a course is made by many different yarns. Each stitch in one wale is made by several different yarns.

Basic pattern of warp knitting. Parallel yarns zigzag lengthwise along the fabric, each loop securing a loop of an adjacent strand from the previous row.


Credit for the invention is usually given to a mechanic called Josiah Crane in 1775. He likely sold his invention to Richard March who patented (No. 1186) a warp frame in 1778. In the intervening three years March likely had discussed the device with Morris who submitted a similar patent (No.1282) for a twisting machine for making Brussels point lace. These early machines were modifications of the stocking frame with an additional warp beam.[1]

In 1795, the machine was successfully used to make lacy fabrics.[2] Warp frames could be used with any thread, and the warps provided a fixed anchor for the transverse threads. In 1786, Flint invented the point bar which kept the threads at a fixed distance. In 1796, Dawson introduced cams to move the bars, and regulate the twist. Brown and Copstake succeeded in imitating Mechlen net. Lindley invented the bobbin in 1799, and Irving and Skelton the regulator spring. In 1802, Robert Brown of New Radford patented the first twist-frame, a knitter that could produce wide net.

Whittaker's frame of 1804 had half its thread mounted on a warp beam and half wound on bobbins mounted on a carriage.[3]

Heathcote's 1808 improvement of Whittaker's frame was essentially a warp knitting frame. The bobbin carrying beam was reduced to the same size as the machine- he called it a bobbinet.[3] Heathcote's second patent, in 1809, was for a bobbinet that could produce wide fabrics; this was the Old Loughborough.[4]

Machine ClassificationEdit

In general, warp knitting machine[5] is to distinguish between tricot and raschel by the type of sinkers with which the machine is equipped and the role they play in loop formation. The sinkers used for tricot knitting machines control the fabric throughout the knitting cycle. The fabric is held in the throats of the sinkers while the needles rise to clear and the new loops are knocked over in-between them. In Raschel knitting, however, the fabric is controlled by a high take-up tension and the sinkers are only used to ensure that the fabric stays down when the needles rise.

Tricot warp knitting machine

Tricot MachineEdit

Tricot is very common in lingerie and underwear. The right side of the fabric has fine lengthwise ribs while the reverse has crosswise ribs.[6] The properties of these fabrics include having a soft and 'drapey' texture with some lengthwise stretch and almost no crosswise stretch.[6] Tricot machines are produced with 2, 3, or 4 guide bars.[7]

Tricot machines have a vast application, such as elastic and non-elastic mesh fabric, velvet fabric, and others.[8]

Milanese knitEdit

Milanese is stronger, more stable, smoother and more expensive than tricot and, hence, is used in better lingerie. These knit fabrics are made from two sets of yarn knitted diagonally, which results in the face fabric having a fine vertical rib and the reverse having a diagonal structure, and results in these fabrics being lightweight, smooth, and run-resistant.[6] Milanese is now virtually obsolete.

Raschel MachineEdit

Drawing of an old Raschel machine

In 1855, Redgate combined the principles of a circular loom with those of warp knit. A German firm used this machine to produce "Raschel" shawls, named after the French actress Élisabeth Félice Rachel. In 1859 Wilhelm Barfuss improved the machine to create the Raschel machines.[9] The Jacquard apparatus was adapted to it in the 1870s. The Raschel machine could work at higher speeds than the Leavers machine and proved the most adaptable to the new synthetic fibres, such as nylon and polyester, in the 1950s. Most contemporary machine-made lace is made on Raschel machines.[10]

Raschel knits do not stretch significantly and are often bulky; consequently, they are often used as an unlined material for coats, jackets, straight skirts and dresses. These fabrics can be made out of conventional or novelty yarns which allows for interesting textures and designs to be created.[6] The qualities of these fabrics range from "dense and compact to open and lofty [and] can be either stable or stretchy, and single-faced or reversible.[6] The largest outlet for the Raschel warp knitting machine is for lace fabric and trimmings. Raschel knitting is also used in outdoors and military fabrics for products such as backpacks. It is used to provide a ventilated mesh next to the user's body (covering padding) or mesh pockets and pouches to facilitate visibility of the contents (MIL-C-8061).

Raschel machines include raschel lace machines, double-needle bar raschel machines,[11] raschel jacquard machines,[12] and high-speed raschel machines.

Stages in creating the loop


Stitch-bonding is a special form of warp knitting[13] and is commonly used for the production of composite materials and technical textiles.

Stitch-bonding machines are used for the sewing processing of nonwoven fabric, to increase its fastness and toughness. The Stitch-bonding warp knitting machine or Non-woven warp knitting machine is for producing technical textiles such as shoe interlining, shopping bag, geotextile dewatering bags, reinforced composite glass fiber textile and other fabrics*[https://www.azentex.com/Stitch-bonding-machines.html].

As a method of production, stitch-bonding is efficient, and is one of the most modern ways to create reinforced textiles and composite materials [14] for industrial use. The advantages of the stitch-bonding process include its high productivity rate and the scope it offers for functional design of textiles, such as fiber-reinforced plastics.[14] Stitch-bonding involves layers of threads and fabric being joined together with a knitting thread, which creates a layered structure called a multi-ply.[15]

This is created through a warp-knitting thread system, which is fixed on the reverse side of the fabric with a sinker loop, and a weft thread layer.[14] A needle with the warp thread passes through the material, which requires the warp and knitting threads to be moving both parallel and perpendicular to the vertical/warp direction of the stitch-bonding machine.[15] Stitch-bonded fabrics are currently being used in such fields as wind energy generation and aviation.[14] Research is currently being conducted into the usage and benefits of stitch-bonded fabrics as a way to reinforce concrete. Fabrics produced with this process offer the potential of using "sensitive fiber materials such as glass and carbon with only little damage, non-crimp fiber orientation and variable distance between threads".[14]

In the extended stitch-bonding process (or the extended warp-knitting process), the compound needle that pierces the piles is shifted laterally according to the yarn guides.[13] This then makes it possible for the layers of the stitch-bonded fabric to be arranged freely and be made symmetrical in one working step.[13] This process is advantageous to the characteristics of the composite as the "residual stresses resulting from asymmetric alignment of the layers are avoided, [while] the tensile strength and the impact strength of the composite are improved."[16]

Needle shiftEdit

Needle shift technique is when both outer warp layers are secured in one procedure by incorporating a shift of the needle bar during stitching, creating endless possibilities for the arrangement and patterns in stitch-bonding.[13]


The pattern creation of warp knitted structures is a complex process, because the structure depends on the motions of several guide bars and where these have yarns. Kyosev demonstrated[17] that for the building of only one loop at one cycle there are 18 geometric configurations of the yarn ends – 3 different directions from which the guide is coming, multiplied by 2 loop types - open or closed, multiplied by 3 different directions in which the yarn/guide is after that going - left, up, or right). For two guide bars the configurations are   combinations and the modern machines have 4 and more guide bars. Kyosev and Renkens[18] created various versions of CAD software for 3D design of warp knitted fabrics[19] and contributed with it in a book with the fundamentals of the patterning,[20] where about 100 samples can be downloaded and viewed as 3D structure.


Producing textiles through the warp knitting process has the following advantages:[21]

  • higher productivity rates than weaving
  • variety of fabric constructions
  • large working widths
  • low stress rate on the yarn that allows for use of fibers such as glass, aramid and carbon
  • the creation of three-dimensional structures that can be knitted on double needle bar raschels


Warp knitted fabrics have several industrial uses, including producing mosquito netting, tulle fabrics, sports wear, shoe fabric, fabrics for printing and advertising, coating substrates and laminating backgrounds.[22]

Research is also being conducted into the use of warp knitted fabrics for industrial applications (for example, to reinforce concrete), and for the production of biotextiles.

Warp knitting and biotextilesEdit

The warp knitting process is also being used to create biotextiles. For example, a warp knitted polyester cardiac support device has been created to attempt to limit the growth of diseased hearts by being installed tightly around the diseased heart. Current research on animals "have confirmed that … the implantation of the device reverses the disease state, which makes this an alternative innovative therapy for patients who have side effects from traditional drug remedies".[23]


  1. ^ Earnshaw 1986, p. 30.
  2. ^ Rosatto 1948, p. 9.
  3. ^ a b Rosatto 1948, p. 10.
  4. ^ Rosatto 1948, p. 11.
  5. ^ "Warp Knitting Machine Manufacture & Supplier - A-ZEN Textile". www.azentex.com. Retrieved 2022-11-15.
  6. ^ a b c d e Veblen, Sarah (19 November 2008). "Samplings of Weft and Warp Knit Fabrics". Threads. No. 97. pp. 59–63. Archived from the original on 2012-01-08.
  7. ^ "Tricot Machine Manufacturer & Supplier - A-ZEN Textile". www.azentex.com. Retrieved 2022-11-15.
  8. ^ "HKS3M Tricot Fabric Application". A-ZEN Textile. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  9. ^ Silva, Marcos (2008). MALHARIA - BASES DE FUNDAMENTAÇÃO. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  10. ^ Farrell 2007.
  11. ^ "Double Needle Bar Raschel Machine Manufacturer & Supplier - A-ZEN Textile". www.azentex.com. Retrieved 2022-11-15.
  12. ^ "Jacquard Raschel Machine Manufacture & Supplier - A-ZEN Textile". www.azentex.com. Retrieved 2022-11-15.
  13. ^ a b c d Hausding J, Cherif C (2012). "Improvements in the warp-knitting process and new patterning techniques for stitch-bonded textiles". Journal of the Textile Institute. 101 (3): 187–196. doi:10.1080/00405000802370354. S2CID 137629735.
  14. ^ a b c d e Hausding J, Lorenz E, Ortlepp R, Lundahl A (2011). "Application of stitch-bonded multi-plies made by using the extended warp knitting process: reinforcements with symmetrical layer arrangement for concrete". Journal of the Textile Institute: 1.
  15. ^ a b Gokarneshan N, Varadarajan B, Sentil kumar CB, Balamurugan K, Rachel A (2011). "Engineering knits for versatile technical applications: Some insights on recent researches". Journal of the Textile Institute: 68.
  16. ^ Hausding J, Widulle C, Paul C, Cherif C (June 2008). "Manufacturing method for symmetric laminates for improves stitch bonded multi-plies". 13th European Conference on Composite Materials.
  17. ^ Kyosev, Yordan (2019), "Topological Modelling of Knitted Structures", Topology-Based Modeling of Textile Structures and Their Joint Assemblies, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 91–129, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-02541-0_5, ISBN 978-3-030-02540-3, retrieved 2023-01-19
  18. ^ Renkens, Wilfried; Kyosev, Yordan (2011). "Geometry modelling of warp knitted fabrics with 3D form". Textile Research Journal. 81 (4): 437–443. doi:10.1177/0040517510385171. ISSN 0040-5175.
  19. ^ "Virtual developmentof knitted and braidiedproducts and braiding machines with Texmind Suite" (PDF). Techtextil Forum 2019. 2019. Retrieved 2023-01-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Kyosev, Yordan (2020). Warp Knitted Fabrics Construction. Boca Raton, FL. ISBN 978-1-4987-8017-9. OCLC 1111501128.
  21. ^ Kiron, M.M.I. "Introduction of Warp Knitting | Principle of Warp Knitting | Properties of Warp Knitted Structures". Textile Learner. Archived from the original on 2015-05-16.
  22. ^ "WarpKnitting4u.com". WarpKnitting4u.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2019-12-02.
  23. ^ Sumanasinghe RD, King MW (2003). "New Trends in Biotextiles-The Challenge of Tissue Engineering" (PDF). The Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management.

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