The Art of Sweater Manufacturing: Basics

Welcome to the Sweater Basics course where you will learn about “History and Evolution”, “Knitting Fundamentals”, and “Machinery”.

History and Evolution

Knitting is one of the earliest methods devised to form yarn into fabric or even garments. The true origins of knitting are not known, but evidence of knitting dates back to 1000 BC. Crude hooked needles were first used to knit by hand. It was not until the 15th century that knitting became popular. Over the centuries, knitting has become a precise automated technology. Today’s knit fabrics range from very fine-gauge and lightweight sheer products to coarser-gauge products such as sweaters and other outerwear fabrics.

Knitting Fundamentals

“Knitting” is defined as the intermeshing of yarn into loops to form fabric. The two basic knitting methods in use today are weft and warp knitting. The systems differ in how the yarn is fed to the knitting elements during the knitting cycle.


The primary type of knitting for sweater manufacturing is weft knitting. Machine gauges tend to be coarse (7 to 14 gauge) and in a flat-bed arrangement. Circular machines are also used for a high production rate in cut-and-sew production. Today’s fully electronic V-bed machines can produce whole garments not requiring any cut and sew. With flat-bed machines, needle manipulation allows for transfer stitches, split stitches, and bed racking to shape and enhance sweater panels.