Numerically these are the most important industrial knitting machines.
Individual needle selection. According to the knitting process, needles can be put in and out of action during the knitting operation.
The needles, mounted in beds opposed in an inverted V formation, are operated by cams in a reciprocating carriage.
Three-way technique. Knit, tuck and miss can be easily realized in the same knitting course.
The hand flat machine is still widely used but most modern machines are powered.
Many are employed to produce collars and rib trimmings for garments made on other machines, but because of the almost unlimited patterning scope available with jacquard flat machines considerable numbers are used for the production of patterned fabrics and garment lengths. Automatic narrowing has been common on these machines for some time and models are now being offered with full fashioning capability.
Their main disadvantage is low productivity compared with other type.
Loop length change facility. Each loop size can be chosen according to knitting requirements.
Most have a single knitting head or section but versions with 2 to 6 sections arranged side by side are produced.
Loop transfer facility. Stitch loops can be easily transferred between two needle beds. A machine with four needle beds has been developed to realize double knitted structure with increased facility.
Arrangement of 2 sections back to back allows knitting to take place in one direction using 15 or more carriages that traverse over the front section and return over the back one; the resulting machine is thus a hybrid circular flat machine.
Holding down sinkers and special take down systems. Different take down requirements can be met.
There are machine knitting patterns out there, so you don't have to do it all by yourself. My machine (Silver Reed LK150) is very simple and it can't do the ribbing. You can do the ribbing manually transferring stitches, but it takes more time this way than doing it by hand, at least for me.
You can knit long, trendy scarves, woolly hats and even sweaters. Smaller items only take minutes to do. Knitting sweaters and jumpers takes a few hours. You can knit Afghans, sweaters, wide scarves, Child to Adult Hats, skirts, boleros and many more!
Machine knitting saves a considerable amount of time but does require learning to operate the machines correctly. Most if not all hand knitting patterns can be worked up on a machine, either identically or in a similar design, but some are simpler to by hand, whilst others are easier on a machine.