A Glossary of Weaving Terms

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Accidentals – The short weft floats that occur at the junction of two overshot blocks on opposites. 

Advancing the warp – Winding the woven fabric onto the cloth beam by releasing the brake holding the warp beam.

Apron – The cord or canvas attached to the warp beam and cloth beam. It creates a bridge to the harnesses to reduce loom loss.

Back to Front – Warping using a raddle and winding the warp onto the back beam, prior to threading and denting at the front.

Balanced Weave – A woven fabric with the same number of picks (weft) per inch (ppi) as ends (warp) per inch (epi).

Beam, Back – The beam (above the warp beam) that the warp passes over on the way to the harnesses and front of the loom.

Beam, Breast – The beam, at the front of the loom, that the woven cloth passes over before winding onto the cloth beam.

Beam, Cloth – The roller at the front of the loom that stores the woven cloth while weaving. The cloth beam also holds the warp at the correct tension.

Beam, Warp – The beam at the back of the loom that stores the warp with tension, until it’s wound forward for weaving.

Beam, Sectional – A warp beam, divided into rake like sections, for warping very long or wide warps that have been divided into small individual warps. It is also very helpful when warping with many different colours in a small section. The sections are generally 1” or 2” in width.

Beaming – Winding the warp onto the warp beam after it has been spread out to its planned weaving width.

Beater (also batten) – Swinging or sliding frame holding the reed and used to beat the weft in place.

Block – Block refers to several units threaded together to make a bigger patch of a specific weave structure or a block.

Boat Shuttle – A shuttle shaped like a boat that holds a bobbin of weft thread. Bobbin – Spool for a boat shuttle thatth carries the weft yarn.

Bobbin – Spool for a boat shuttle that carries the weft yarn.

Bobbin Winder – An electric or hand tool used to wind bobbins.

Brake – A device that prevents the warp beam from turning.

Bout – A section of secured warp threads which are the whole prepared warp or sections of it.

Bubbling – Allows extra weft to provide the length needed to beat in the weft, without causing draw-in. This technique is commonly used in rug weaving.

Changing the shed – Moving your foot onto a different treadle causes a different shed to be raised.

Counterbalance Looms – have 1 set of lamms. When you tie a lamm to a treadle and then you step on that treadle – the shafts sink. (they don’t just sink, what you tie-up moves down and what isn’t tied-up automatically goes up because the shafts move on counter-balanced rollers). Both parts of the warp move.

The difference between a Counter-Marche, a Jack and a Counterbalance Loom – Counter-Marche looms – have 2 sets of lamms – one set (the upper ones) are like a Counterbalance Loom and they sink. The other set of lamms (the lower ones) are like a Jack Loom and they rise. Both parts of the warp move. For a deeper explanation check the JST Knowledge Base.

Cross (lease sticks) – The manipulation of warp threads at one or both ends of the warp while the warp is being made. This manipulation allows the weaver to access the warp threads in the order they were put on the warping board or mill. The cross is tied on the warping board or mill to secure it so it can be preserved and transferred to the lease sticks.

Draw-in – The narrowing of the woven cloth at the selvedges due to the natural narrowing of the warp as the weft is woven. Excessive draw-in is caused by not allowing enough weft into the shed. (read Jane’s article In Praise of Good Selvedges)

Dents – The narrow spaces in the reed, defined by the number of dents per inch or per 10 millimetres.

Draft – A diagram representing the placement of the threading, tie-up and treadling for a weave structure.

Drawdown – The part of the draft which shows the cloth diagram above or below the threading.

Ends – Individual warp threads.

EPI – Ends per inch – number of warp threads per inch in your warp.

Fell – The spot in your woven cloth where the most recent weft pick has been placed.

Finishing – The final treatments of the woven piece such as washing, fulling or pressing.

Fulling – Gentle washing of wool or shrinkable yarn/woven fabric to help the fabric to slightly felt and bind together.

Gamp – A piece of cloth woven with stripes of different threadings or colours across the warp. The cloth is woven following the structure of the warp or colours of the warp resulting piece of cloth with multiple squares that provides a great deal of information about the structure or the colour interaction.

Guide String – A non-stretchy contrasting coloured cord, measured to the same length as the warp and tied onto the warping mill or board to use as a guide while winding the warp.

Incidentals – Threads that have to be added to Overshot and Crackle to maintain the plain weave ground. They are used to avoid 2 warp threads on the same harness.

Harness (Shaft) – The frame which holds the heddles.

Heading – The first rows on a new warp, woven with waste yarn. The heading spaces the warp to its correct weaving width. That section of warp can also be used should you need a fringe on a scarf, etc.

Heddles – Strips of Texsolv, metal, wire or thread with “eye” holes in the middle which hold each individual warp thread in the harness.

Jack Looms (Rising Shed) – Jack Looms have 1 set of lamms. When you tie a lamm to a treadle, and then step on that treadle, the shafts rise. Only one part of the warp moves.

Lamm (Lam) – Horizontal lever bars which attach the treadles to the shafts.

Lease Sticks – A pair of smooth, flat wooden sticks inserted into the cross in the warp while winding the warp onto the warp beam and used to maintain the correct order of threads while threading

P/D – per dent – the number of ends per dent for the chosen sett.

Pick (shot) – A single pass of weft through the shed.

Plain Weave (Tabby) – A basic weave structure created by interlacing a weft thread over and under every other warp end and doing the reverse on the next pick.

PPI – Picks per inch – or the number of wefts per inch.

Profile Draft – Profile Draft refers to a graphic diagram that provides a quick way to view the number of times a unit is repeated in the threading without having to consider individual warp or weft threads. It also gives us a glance at the graphic division of space that will occur vertically in the warp.

Pirn – A tapered support made out of wood, plastic or paper, used to wind yarn for an end feed shuttle. The yarn is wound to feed off the tapered end.

Quill – A paper or cardboard tube used to hold the weft thread in a shuttle.

Raddle – A long, flat, narrow piece of plastic or wood with divisions created by slots (built into Louet Looms) or nails. The raddle is used to spread the warp to its intended width for accurate beaming.

Ratchet – A device attached to the warp beam and the cloth beam which holds the beams under tension while weaving.

Reed – A metal or bamboo comb-like tool which lives in the beater. The reed controls the density of your cloth, ie 1 warp end in a 10 dent reed makes a web 10 ends per inch. If you put 2 ends in a 10 dent reed your web will be 20 ends per inch and denser.

Rising Shed (Jack Loom) – The treadle raises the harnesses.

Sampler – A piece of cloth woven with one or several threadings in the warp but with multiple treadling and tie-up ideas in the weft.

Selvedge (Selvage) – The outside edge of the cloth created while you weave.

Sett – The number of warp ends per inch/cm threaded through the dents in your reed. Take a look at Jane’s Master Sett Chart.

Shaft (Harness) – The frame which holds the heddles.

Shed – The opening formed in the warp, created by the raising or lowering of the harnesses. It is the space that the shuttle passes through to create the interlacement of the cloth.

Shot (Pick) – One single pass of weft through the shed.

Shuttle Race – A rail that sits on the bottom edge of the beater. It supports the bottom of the warp when the shed is open and allows the shuttle to glide through the supported shed.

Sleying – Threading the warp ends through the dents in the reed using a sley hook.

Sley Hook – A small flat tool with a hook used to pull the warp ends through the dents in the reed. Jane’s favourite sley hook 😉

Straight Draw – Shafts are threaded in numerical/sequential order… 1234-1234… or 12345678-12345678…

Swift – An adjustable device used to hold a skein of yarn.

Tabby (Plain weave) – A basic weave structure created by interlacing a weft thread over and under every other warp end and doing the reverse on the next pick.

Take-up – The shortening of the warp as the weaving progresses due to the fact that the weft actually pushes the warp up and down a tiny beat with each pick making the cloth more 3 dimensional and making the warp shorter.

Threading – The insertion of the individual warp threads through the heddle eyes.

Threading Draft – Graphically represented instructions for threading heddles on a loom.

Threading Hook – A small tool with a thin narrow hook used to pull the warp ends through the heddle eyes.

Thrums – A fringe of warp threads left on the loom after the cloth has been removed.

Tie-up – The specific connection of the harnesses to the treadles to allow the desired weave structure.

Treadles – Foot Pedals used to raise or lower the shafts on a floor loom.

Treadling Draft – Paper or computer diagram for treadling a weave structure.

Tromp as Writ – A term that describes treadling the threading pattern.

Unit – Unit refers to a group of warp threads and weft threads that act together to make one repeat of a weave structure.

Warp – The threads that run the length of the loom, crossed by the weft, to create the woven cloth.

Warping Board or Mill – Simple devices for winding and measuring the warp yarns prior to dressing the loom.

Weft – The horizontal threads that are interlaced through the warp in a woven fabric.

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