Here's how to start a small factory that employs knitting machine operators

Image: 123RF/Martin Molcan.

Knitting machine operators process cotton, wool and similar forms of yarn into clothing, scarves and other articles. Their primary function is to attend to a number of industrial knitting machines.

Typical duties include:

  • Threading the machine
  • Setting the machine in motion
  • Lapping the end of the knitted cloth around the take-up roller
  • Observing the knitting process to detect yarn breaks, yarn defects and empty yarn packages
  • Tying broken yarn ends
  • Cutting and baling the knitted cloth.

Circular knitting machines are used in the production of knitted material. A knitting machine operator can operate from two to five of these machines simultaneously depending on the type of yarn used. They are also required to clean and oil the machines every day and must notify the repair technician of any mechanical defects.

In factories where complete knitted garments are manufactured the knitting machine operator also has to: cut garments; machine sew parts together; make buttonholes and sew on buttons; and finish off garments.

Personal requirements

  • Able to perform repetitive tasks
  • Work accurately
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Be observant
  • Have good hand and finger dexterity

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects Grade 8 Certificate

What to study

Clothing factories offer in-service training, which normally lasts for approximately 3 years


  • Clothing factories that manufacture knitted materials and clothing
  • Self-employment, with enough money for your own machine, you can make knitted articles on a contractual basis, with more orders may be able to employ other knitters and start a small factory

Getting started

  • Try to gain experience on a knitting machine
  • Speak to a knitting machine operator about this type of work

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