Many articles and a lot of information both online and off talk about both flat knitting and round knitting. Now looking at this offhand, it may seem like no big deal but a closer look reveals that the concepts are vastly different when knitting by hand and when machine knitting. The differences are not by any means subtle or irrelevant so it is a good idea to know and understand the differences before you start working with one, the other or both hand knitting and machine knitting.
This is probably going to be information that many of you already know. However, all too often, people who gain more knowledge in a certain area will forget what it was like when they first started and, even when teaching, tend to skip certain steps for what they now deem to be "the obvious" information. Keeping that in mind, Flat Knitting by hand and by knitting machine will be looked at first.
Flat Knitting Machines
While you may have heard of the "Vee Bed" knitting machines, they are more commonly referred to as Flat Knitting Machines. When doing flat knitting on a knitting machine, there are generally two beds of needles in an inverted V formation. A cartridge then proceeds to move up and down the rows of needles working the yarn as it goes. Flat Knitting machines are among the most popular since this design allows them to be used for a much broader selection of stitches, yarns and patterns.
Flat Knitting by Hand
Flat knitting is generally knitting a "fabric" or a piece of a garment that is relatively flat (as opposed to being a tube) and is knitted from both the front (or the right side) and the back (or the wrong side) of the knitted material. Knitting from the front and the back does present difficulties for some people in the beginning as it requires different types of stitches or knits to be used on the different sides. The most common example of this is with a knit stitch being knitted on the front side and a purl stitch being knitted on the back side.
Most of the round or circular knitting machines work using a series of chambered needles that allow the needles to knit from both the right side and wrong side or the front and the back of the "fabric'. The end results for the round knitting machines are much the same as the results of round knitting by hand but the round knitting machines are generally much faster than the flat knitting machines and a whole lot faster than knitting by hand. However, if you are thinking about getting a knitting machine, be certain to define your needs very carefully before you spend a lot of money as most of the knitting machines are designed with limited purposes in mind.
Originally, tube knitting, round knitting or circular knitting by hand was accomplished with the use of four needles. Now it is much more common for people to use a set of curved needles attached by a cable that allows for the material and knitting yarn to be knitted continuously without having to switch back and forth and knit from both sides or create seams or edges while knitting. This allows the knitter to create a seamless tube that can then be used for many different purposes.
Liz Raad is a small business coach and author of the exciting new E-book "Knitting For Profit - Your Step-by-Step Guide To Making Money From Knitting and Crochet".
If you love machine knitting and have ever wished you could make money from knitting then make sure you visit Liz's popular knitting for profit blog where you will find tonnes of free information, practical advice and ideas about turning your knitting hobby into real cash.