Essential weaving sock blank scarves

Weaving Terms

One of the challenges when getting started with weaving is learning a whole new vocabulary for yarn, cloth, and making fabric. Here are some of the most common weaving terms that will help you understand the process.

  • Apron — cloth that is attached to the cloth beam and holds the bar where the warp is tied at the front of the loom.
  • Beater — the part of the loom that holds the reed and pushes the weft into place.
  • Beam — the back beam or warp beam holds the warp threads in place. the cloth beam is where the finished handwoven fabric is wound and stored while weaving.
  • Beaming — to wind the warp threads onto the warp beam.
  • Beat — to move the beater and push the weft pick towards the cloth
  • Block — a pattern sequence in the fabric design that is repeated
  • Bobbin — tool that holds the weft yarn in a shuttle
  • Bobbin Winder — a device to help wind the weft yarn onto the bobbin
  • Brake — part of the loom that applies tension on the warp beam or the cloth beam and maintains the warp under tension. Release the brake to allow the warp to release from the warp beam and cloth to advance onto the cloth beam.
  • Breast Beam — the beam over which the handwoven cloth slides over before being wound onto the cloth beam.
  • Cloth Beam — the cloth beam holds the finished handwoven cloth.
  • Colour and Weave Effect — a visual effect created by grouping coloured warp threads and crossing them with coloured weft threads (i.e. log cabin, houndstooth, stars, pinwheels, shadow weave)
  • Dent — a space in the reed or raddle
  • Draft — a schematic that indicates how the threading, tie-up, and treadling to create a weaving pattern.
  • Dressing the loom — the process of putting the warp onto the loom and preparing the loom for weaving.
  • End — one warp thread
  • Eye — the hole in the heddle through which the warp thread is threaded
  • Float — a warp or weft thread that is not held down by an interlacement.
  • Floor Loom — a loom that is powered by foot treadles
  • Full — to wash or steam the woven fabric to help it shrink, bloom, and thicken
  • Hand Loom — any loom that is operated by hand rather than by foot treadles or power.
  • Harness — the frame which holds the shaft and heddles
  • Heddle — heddles hold the warp threads in a harness, allowing them to be raised or lowered as needed for the design of the cloth.
  • Jack Loom — a loom which has a mechanism to raise the selected warp threads up, leaving the remaining warp threads in the same place. The result is that the lifted warp threads incur additional tension whereas the warp threads remaining in place feel looser (or soggy) relative to the raised warp threads.
  • Lease Sticks — sticks used to hold and preserve the warp cross in place during the warping process.
  • Loom — a tool to hold warp threads under tension during the weaving process.
  • Mercerizing — the chemical and mechanical process of making cotton silky and shiny in appearance.
  • Pick (or shot) — one thread of weft yarn
  • Raddle — a tool with coarsely spaced divisions to help spread the warp threads to the finished width so that it can be wound on evenly to the warp beam during the back-to-front warping process.
  • Reed — tool with evenly spaced slots to hold warp threads at a specific density. For example, a 10-dent reed allows you to space yarns at a sett of 10 warp ends per inch (EPI) when you sley one warp end through each slot.
  • Reel or Swift — tool to help hold a hank or skein of yarn open and under tension so that it can be reformatted into different format (e.g. ball or cone).
  • Rigid Heddle — a combination of a reed and a harness that produces the effect of a 2-shaft loom with two positions for the warp threads. Some warp threads are lifted up above the other warp threads when the rigid heddle is put in the upwards position. The same warp threads are pulled down below the other warp threads when the rigid heddle is put in the downwards position. This creates a shed through which the weft can be passed.
  • Shed — the space that opens between the warp threads when the shaft is lifted or lowered, allowing space for the weft to pass through.
  • Shed stick — a stick that can be used to manually pick up specific warp threads and assist in creating a shed.
  • Shot — the passage of the shuttle through the shed
  • Shuttle — tool for holding the weft yarn and carrying it through the shed
  • Sizing — the application of a thickening, stiffening agent to the warp threads to make them more solid and easier to work with.
  • Skein — yarn that is wound on a swift or a reel into a format that can be used for dyeing.
  • Sleying — passing the warp ends through the slots of the reed.
  • Tabby — weave structure that is also known as plain weave, where every warp and weft thread are interlaced with every other thread.
  • Take up — is the amount of warp length that is deflected around the weft threads
  • Threading — passing the warp ends through the eyes of the heddles
  • Tie-up — the configuration of lamms/shafts connected to the treadles
  • Treadle — a foot pedal used to lift or lower the shafts in order to create a shed through which the shuttle and weft yarn will pass through
  • Treadling — the order in which the treadles are depressed
  • Tying-on — attaching the warp ends to the front apron rod or canvas.
  • Warp — the yarns or threads which have been measured and will be wound onto the loom for weaving into cloth.
  • Warp Beam — the beam that holds the warp threads to be woven
  • Warping — preparing the warp
  • Warping Board — a frame with pegs used to measure and wind a warp
  • Warping Mill or Warping Reel — tool for measuring and winding long warps
  • Weft — yarn that is interlaced perpendicular to the warp threads.

Related Articles

Colour & Weave Gamp

A gamp is a sampler, a weaver’s way of using a single warp to test out multiple ideas. It could be a colour gamp or a weave structure gamp or in this case a gamp that explores colour patterns. Colour and Weave is not a weave structure but rather a pattern, in the sense that it is simply plain weave with the addition of colour effects through alternating light and dark threads.

Breakfast Eggs Towels Pattern

The first warp uses an easy all over houndstooth colour sequence leaving areas of solid yellow and white just like you would have in a fried egg and the second shows you how to use just a bit of striping to create a colour and weave highlight in the corner of your towels with a more muted scrambled egg palette where buttery and deep yellow combine. Mix and match and make them your own.

Wall of Troy Runner Weaving Pattern

In The Intentional Weaver course with Laura Fry, we learned how to beam a warp using a trapeze and this is the project we put on the loom. It’s a 5-yard / 4.6 m long 3/2 cotton warp that we threaded on 8 shafts in a “wall of troy” threading pattern. This pattern can also be threaded on 4 shafts, so both drafts are included here. Changing the treadling will produce new patterns.

M & W Placemats Weaving Pattern

These 4-shaft Ms and Ws twill placemats are quick to weave up in 3/2 cotton. Weave a set of 4 matching placemats or weave one long table runner. By changing up your treadling progressions, you can weave a series of different twill patterns too!