M1 Plus® is the pattern software for Stoll Machines. The program has many automatic functions as well as the option to manually program. When using the automatic software contained within M1 Plus® [FC1] the desired garment is selected from the variety of basic pre-programmed garment shapes. Garments that require the shape to be programmed manually can be produced using Shape Editor or manually generated then loaded into the Shape Wizard.
The Shape Wizard can be used for Knit and Wear® garments – creating single shapes, which are then combined into a complete shape by adhering to the Shape Wizard rules. The Shape Wizard automatically places the yarn carriers, knitting sequences and directions in the most efficient and reliable settings for each situation. The same knitting sequence used by the shape wizard is necessary even when manually generating a program, Stoll has preset Knit and Wear® arrangements. If the garment programming requires a different arrangement then the existing Stoll module can be modified.
The Shape Sizer component of the software is used as a garment-grading tool. The Shape Sizer was briefly explained in training but is often not used in production. Most customers create shapes manually where by no specifications are added automatically and all adjustments are manually programmed.
Stoll uses modules to create knitting actions in the design software. A module is a preset knitting action with all machine adjustments pre-programmed, these could be anything from a stitch move to a structure such as a cable. There are set Stoll modules for a range of Knit and Wear® techniques in the database that are standard with all Stoll design software packages. There are modules specially designed for Knit and Wear® garments and these modules consider the fact that both front and back are being knitted at the one time. The Knit and Wear® modules automatically perform the transfers associated with the desired structure to avoid confusion when programming. The modules are protected to prevent the user from placing the modules in the wrong place i.e. a module designed for the front of the garment cannot be placed on the back and vice versa. It is important to note that if the sequence is not in the correct order for the design or needs to be changed the modules can be modified.
Using the automatic software to develop basic garments is very time efficient and cost effective but there are many limitations to Knit and Wear®, as there are with any seamless knitting machines. The limitations include the time taken to produce intarsia designs on the machine. The intarsia designs produced on a Knit and Wear® machine diminish any costs saved by eliminating labour processes, due to the cost of the machine time. Jacquards are of a limited variety and welts are not possible because the yarn carriers cannot pass through when the needles are in the holding position. This could be achieved when using the 1 x 1 technique but not for an all-needle design.
Stoll’s M1 Plus is a shape-focused design program, the shape of the garment being the dominant factor of the garment program design, whereas Shima Seiki’s SDS is a structure-focused design program, making the structure used within the garment the key factor of the garment program design. Hence, many different types of connections are required for structurally-based Shima Seiki designs depending on the structure used. Stoll has one universal connection under the arm to connect the sleeve and body independent of the structure used. Stoll Knit and Wear® is engineered to make the sleeve move next to the body, whereas the Shima Seiki Wholegarment® programs the sleeve to overlap the body, therefore the connection and structure need to be compatible.
After knitting in 1 x 1 for Knit and Wear®, various finishing treatments can be performed on the garment such as washing. Washing eliminates the obvious 1 x 1 structure to shrink the stitches. There are also specialised yarns available for seamless garments that achieve a similar look by closing the gaps between the knitted wales. A lot of fabric testing and garment sampling can be necessary to see how the yarn reacts after washing and steaming to ensure the end product is desirable. The twist of the yarn, being an ‘S’ or ‘Z’ twist of the yarn can also have an effect on the final shape.