Knit and go Automated production of custom, ready-to-use flat knitted fabrics



The goal of Adidas’ ambitious Knit-For-You project was the production of customised clothing locally and by everyone, nothing more and nothing less. It combined a store with a miniature factory, allowing customers to have their very own personalised sweater knitted. There was a wide diversity of design possibilities within the set framework, and production took only a few hours. It was done directly in the pop-up store, on STOLL flat knitting machines that produced 3D flat knits in an automated ready-to-wear process.

Adidas investigated the manufacturing potential behind digitalisation as well as customers’ needs for individualisation through its Storefactory activities. It launched at the end of 2016 and ended in March 2017. Ulrike Schlenker from KARL MAYER Corporate Communication wanted to know how the market and production technology for 3D knitted fabrics for immediate use have developed since then, so she asked an expert: Michael Händel, Vice President Sales & Service at KARL MAYER STOLL Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH.

US: What is the current technology like in STOLL knitting machines used for the automated production of 3D flat knitted articles?

Generally speaking, STOLL flat knitting machines can produce any 3D knitted fabric, and every modern STOLL flat knitting machine can be used for process automation. All the latest generation models have interfaces for using automation software through which they can be integrated into the complete workflow, from design creation to the finished product – all developed in-house by STOLL. STOLL offers autocreate® for the simple definition of workflows. Whether different pattern variations, sets of different sizes or customised on-demand articles, STOLL autocreate® allows for the creation of knit patterns in fully automatic sequences without manual intervention. The data required for this is imported via open interfaces from other programs or physical data storage. STOLL has developed CREATE PLUS to convert all design data into a final knitting program for the machine.

CREATE PLUS and autocreate® make every latest-generation STOLL flat knitting machine an indispensable automation module for 3D flat knitting production.

Warp knitting expertise for the USA

Start of warp knitting course at KARL MAYER North America after break due to the pandemic

The KARL MAYER GROUP Academy trains the company’s customers all over the world, and either invites them to its sites in Germany, China and India for this purpose, or travels to see them. Only recently, in the autumn, Academy head Sophia Krinner flew from the company headquarters in Obertshausen to KARL MAYER North America in Greensboro to hold a warp knitting course, the first face-to-face event in the USA since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

The course took place from  September 19 to 23. 2022. The content topics included explanations regarding the different kinds of warp knitting machines and lappings, production calculations and an overview of the basics of textile analysis. The course participants listened to Sophia Krinner’s lectures with great interest. “Although the participants all had different levels of previous knowledge, and some of them had quite a lot to learn, all of them participated enthusiastically,” says Sophia Krinner.

In total, eleven people who work in the areas of production and quality control, as well as the creative departments of textile and clothing manufacturers, attended the course in Greensboro, including self-taught professionals with practical experience, newcomers to the industry and warp knitting experts who were looking to update their skills. All of them benefited from the course and learnt many things that would be useful to them in their jobs. Quite a few gained a better understanding of their company’s products, were afterwards able to finally put things into context, and picked up ideas for improvements or new product solutions.

Sophia Krinner has been extremely busy since her return. The next basic warp knitting course in Obertshausen starts on 14 November.

Anyone interested in attending the course can register for it at

US: The Knit-For-You project focused on 3D knitwear for the fashion sector. Where and how are STOLL machines used today for 3D knitting?

MH: 3D knitted fabrics and STOLL flat knitting machines are used for clothing as well as in the technical textiles sector.