Basic Knitting Elements

There are 3 Basic Knitting elements. They are:

  • Needle
  • Sinker
  • Cam 


The essential component in creating knitted fabric is the knitting needle. When yarn is being fed, the hook of the needle is opened to release the previously held loop and to receive a new loop, which is then enclosed within the hook. After that, the new loop is then drawn by the hook through the old loop which slides over the outside of the closed hook.

Types of Knitting Needles:

There are three types of knitting needles, those are-

  • Bearded needle,
  • Latch needle,
  • Compound Needle.

Bearded Needles:

The bearded needle was the first to be produced as knitting needle. Also it is the simplest and cheapest type to manufacture. It should be noted here that, bearded needle is made from a single piece of metal.

The spring-bearded needles made of steel wire consist of the following parts:

a. The Stem: The stem around which the needle loop is formed.

b. The Head: Where the stem is turned into a hook to draw the newloop through

the old loop.

c. The Beard: Which is the curved downwards continuation of the hook that is used

to separate the trapped new loop inside from the old loop as it slides off the

needle beard.

d. The Eye or groove: Cut in the stem to receive the pointed tip of the beard when

it is pressed, thus enclosing the new loop.

e. Shank or butt: Which may be bent for individual location in the machine or cast with others in a metal “lead”. The butt serving to attach the needle in the needle bar

Latch needle:

Latch needle is that, which has a right hook and a latch easily around the axis is known as latch needle. In 1806 A.D latch needle is patented. Though it was practically used in 1809.the individual movement and controls of the knitting needle stitch selection to be achieved due to the self-acting or loop controlled of the latch needle.

The latch needle is composed of a curved hook, a latch, or tumbler, that swings on a rivet just below the hook, and the stem, or butt. It is sometimes called the self-acting needle because no presser is needed; the hook is closed by the pressure

The latch needle is the most widely used needle in weft knitting, because it is self- acting or

loop controlled. It is also regarded as more versatile in terms of the range of materials that can be processed on latch needle machines.

The main functions of a latch needle parts are-

a. The Hook: Grasping a new yarn in the process of knitting the hook which draws and retains the new loop.

b. The Latch: Freely rotating around the axle and tightly closing the hook owing to the spoon located at the end of the latch.

The latch blade – which locates the latch in the needle.

The latch spoon – which is an extension of the blade and bridges the gap between the hook and the stem covering the hook when closed as shown in broken lines.

c. The Stem: Which carries the loop in the clearing or rest position.

d. The Rivet: Which may be plain or threaded. This has been dispensed with on most plate metal needles by pinching in the slot walls to retain the latch blade.

e. The Slot or Saw-cut: Which receives the latch-blade. latch blade.

f. The Butt: Which serving to displace the needle along the needle bed slot. The butt which enables the needle to be reciprocated when contacted by cam profiles on either side of it forming a track. Double-ended purl type needles have a hook at each end, whilst one hook knits, the inactive hook is controlled as a butt by a cam reciprocated element called a slider.

h. The Tail: Which is an extension below the butt giving additional support to the needle and keeping the needle in its trick. Sometimes used for the same purpose as the butt.

Types of Latch Needle:

There are mainly two types of latch needle seen in knitting. Those are-

  • Single ended latch needle,
  • Double ended latch needle.

All the above types of latch needle explained in the below:

1. Single ended latch needle:

This type of needle has classified into two types, where one is friction needle and another one is friction less needle.

2. Double-ended latch needle:

In this type of needle, two slides at same direction have hook and latch. Double ended latch needle is used for double cylinder hose knitting machine and purl knitting machine.

According to the butt position latch needles are 4 types:

  • One butt latch needle
  • Two butt latch needle
  • Three butt latch needle
  • Four butt latch needle

Compound needle

Needle used in warp and weft knitting in which the hook is closed by a tongue that moves vertically during those steps in the formation of a knitted stitch where the needle must be closed to hold the yarn loop in place.

The Cams:

Cam is the second primary knitting element. The cams are the mechanical devices that convert the rotary machine drive into a suitable reciprocating action for the needles or other elements.

The two types of cams commonly used are

  • Engineering cams and
  • Knitting cams.

Engineering cams are primarily used in various mechanical and industrial applications outside of knitting. They are designed to control the movement of mechanical components, such as valves or levers, and convert rotational motion into linear or oscillating motion.

On the other hand, knitting cams are specific to the knitting industry. They are specialized cams designed for knitting machines and are responsible for controlling the movement of needles. Knitting cams determine the stitch pattern, stitch density, and overall structure of the knitted fabric.

Types of Knit Cam:

  • Knit Cam: The knit cam is the standard cam used in knitting machines to create knit stitches. It controls the movement of the needles and sinkers to form the basic knit stitches, where the yarn is interlocked and forms loops.
  • Tuck Cam: Tuck cams are used to create tuck stitches in knitting. Tuck stitches are formed when the needle holds onto a loop of yarn instead of interlocking it with the new loop. Tuck cams control the movement of needles and sinkers to create these tuck stitches, which result in a raised and textured appearance on the fabric.
  • Miss Cam: The miss cam, also known as the float cam, is used in knitting machines to intentionally skip or miss a needle during the knitting process. This creates a float or gap in the fabric, resulting in an openwork or lacy effect. Miss cams control the movement of needles and sinkers to skip specific needles and create these intentional gaps in the fabric.


It is the third elements of a knitting machine. Sinker is thin metal plate with a collective action or an individual action operating approximately at right from the hook side between the adjacent needles.

Functions of Sinker:

  • Loop formation
  • Holding- down and
  • Knocking- over.

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