Weaving Terms


Block: A group of 2 or more threads which form a unit in a weave.

Cloth Diagram: A diagram of the woven cloth.

Draft: A diagram representing the threading, tie-up and treadling for a weave.

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

Profile Draft: A short draft where one square represents two or more threads, usually one unit or one block.

Take-up: The amount that the warp shortens in length due to the undulation caused by the weaving.

Threading Draft: Instructions for threading heddles on a loom.

Tie-up: Instructions for tying up treadles on a loom, indicating which shafts rise and which sink.

Treadling Draft: Instructions for treadling a weave structure.

Tromp as Writ (as drawn in): Treadle the weave the same way the threading is written.

Looms and Equipment

Apron: The canvas or cord which is attached to the cloth and warp beams and which is long enough to reach the shafts. The a pron has a wooden bar or metal rod for attaching the warp threads.

Beam, back: Beam at the back of the loom over which the warp passes after leaving the warp beam.

Beam, breast: Beam at the front of the loom over which the cloth passes before it winds onto the cloth beam.

Beam, cloth: Beam in the front of the loom which rotates and holds the woven cloth.

Beam, foot: Beam below the breast beam for resting the feet.

Beam, knee: Beam above the cloth beam over which the cloth passes before it winds onto the cloth beam. It allows space for the weaver’s knees.

Beam, Sectional: A warp beam divided into sections for warping very long warps. Other equipment is necessary to make sectional warps.

Beam, Warp: Beam at the back of the loom which rotates and holds the warp.

Beaming: Winding a prepared warp onto the warp beam.

Beaming Sticks: Sticks which are placed onto the warp beam as the warp is wound on.

Beater (also batten): Swinging frame holding the removable reed, used to beat the weft in place.

Boat Shuttle: A shuttle which looks like a boat and is hollowed out to hold a bobbin or quill of weft thread.

Bobbin: Spool for a boat shuttle, on which weft thread is wound.

Bobbin Winder: A tool for winding bobbins or spools either by hand or electric power.

Brake: A device to hold a warp beam from turning, made of a metal cable or band which winds on a metal drum.

Counterbalance Loom: A loom with a pulley system with horses or dowels to attach the shafts. When a shed is made, some shafts rise and some sink.

Countermarch Loom: A loom with jacks at the top of the loom with cords attaching them to the shafts and two sets of lamms. When a shed is made, some shafts rise and some sink.

Dents: The narrow spaces in the reed, stated by the number of dents per inch or per 10 centimeters.

Drawloom: A two-harness loom. The first harness usually has 4 – 10 shafts and the second creates a pattern by using a set of shafts or individually tied groups of threads.

End: A warp end is one warp thread of the prepared warp.

Eye: The opening in a heddle for threading a warp end.

Fabric Protector: A protective board that is attached to the breast beam.

Fly shuttle: A shuttle used for weaving on wide looms which is supported by a shuttle race and moves across the loom by pulling a cord.

Heddles: Thread, wire, metal or Texsolv polyester loops held by the shaft sticks with eyes for threading warp ends.

Jack Loom: A loom with jacks below the shafts to push the shafts up, or on top of the loom and attached to pull the shafts up. When a shed is made, some shafts rise and the other shafts remain down by their own weight, as they are not tied to anything which would keep them down.

Lamms: Horizontal wooden lever sticks which attach the treadles to the shafts.

Lease Sticks: Flat, thin, smooth, wooden sticks which are inserted into the cross (or lease) in the warp to keep the correct order of threads.

Levers: Wooden or metal handles on table looms used for making a shed.

Pawl: A catch device attached to the loom frame which falls to catch into a ratchet tooth to keep the ratchet from rotating.

Quill: A paper or cardboard tube on which weft threads are wound for use in a boat shuttle.

Raddle: A long, flat, narrow piece of wood with nails or metal pins every 1/4″ or 2”, used to spread the warp evenly for beaming the warp onto the warp beam.

Ratchet: A toothed wheel placed at the end of cloth and warp beams which is held by a pawl to keep the beam from rotating.

Reed: A comb with both sides closed which fits into the beater. It spaces the warp threads evenly and beats the weft into place.

Rising Shed: A description of a shed on a loom where the shafts rise.

Shaft (harness): A frame or two sticks with heddles which moves up and down to form sheds. Called a harness by some.

Shuttle Race: A horizontal beam in front of the reed, attached to the beater on which the fly shuttle glides. Jack looms also have shuttle races to support the shuttle, as the warp tension is looser than on other looms.

Ski Shuttle: A shuttle with upturned ends which is used for rug weaving.

Sleying Hook: A small flat tool with a hook used to pull the warp ends through the reed.

Stick Shuttle (flat shuttle): A smooth flat stick to wind weft for weaving.

Swift: An adjustable frame for holding a skein of yarn.

Temple (stretcher): Adjustable wooden or metal bar with sharp points placed on the woven web to keep the width constant and the sett the same across the web.

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

Treadles: Foot petals used to move the shafts to make a shed.

Warping Board: A frame with wooden pegs for measuring short warps.

Warping Reel (mill): Large adjustable revolving frame for winding warps.


Back to Front: A phrase used to describe the traditional warping method after the recent popularity with a method called front to back warping.

Beaming: Winding the warp, which is spaced out to its weaving width, onto the warp beam.

Bout: One wound group of warp threads, tied together, which contains up to 6″ of warp width.

Choke: Very tight, but temporary ties spaced every two yards along the warp bout to keep the threads secure.

Cross (lease): The crossing of warp threads made by winding between dowels at the end of a bout, to keep them in order for beaming and threading the warp.

Ends: Individual warp threads.

Filling: An industry term for weft.

Guide String: A non-stretchy cord measured to be the same length as the warp and placed on the warping reel or frame to be a guide for winding the warp bouts.

Sectional Warping: A method for winding a warp used for long warps for production weaving. Warp is wound onto spools or cones, one for each end in a section of one or two inches. These warps are wound into the first section through a tension box. The warp is cut and then the next section is wound.

Sett (also epi / ‘ends per inch’): The number of warp threads per inch.

Sleying: Passing the warp ends through the dents in the reed.

Threading (drawing in): Drawing the warp threads through the eyes of the heddles.

Thrums: Unwoven warp left when the last woven piece is cut from the loom. It is called loom waste when planning warps.

Tie-up: The tying or connecting of cords to parts of the loom to hang the shafts, lamms and/or treadles.

Warp: Threads running the length of the loom across which threads are woven.

Weft (filling): Threads which are woven crosswise to the warp to form the web.


Advancing the warp: Releasing the pawl on the ratchet on the warp beam and winding some of the woven cloth onto the cloth beam.

Balanced Weave: A fabric with the same number of wefts per inch as warps per inch.

Bubbling: Allowing some looseness in the weft to provide the extra length needed for the weft to be beaten in without causing draw-in.

Changing the shed: Lifting the foot and placing it on a different treadle to cause a different shed to be formed.

Draw-in: The narrowing of the weaving at the selvages due to the natural shrinking of the web. Excessive draw-in is caused from the weft being too tight.

EPI: Ends per inch, or the number of warps per inch.

Fell: The edge of the weaving where the last weft has been beaten in.

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

Heading: The first weaving of waste thread which will be discarded. In rug weaving, tapestry and some placemats, it is the first few wefts which strengthen the edge.

Inlay: Inlay, also known as laid-in or brocading, is when designs are created on a plain woven fabric by use of a second or supplementary weft. Discontinuous inlay is when the supplemental weft is used in certain areas only, and continuous inlay is when the supplemental weft moves across the cloth from selvage to selvage (pick-up weaves).

One shuttle weave: A weave which is woven with one shuttle, allowing the weaver to develop a rhythm of movement as the shuttle does not have to be set down between shots.

Opposites: A treadling sequence where one weft shot is followed by treadling the opposite shed. The opposite of 2 3 is 1 4.

Pattern Weave: A weave which requires two shuttles, two wefts, and often different colors or threads. The pattern is usually threaded or treadled differently from plain weave.

PPI: Picks per inch, or the number of wefts per inch.

Selvage: The woven edge of a fabric.

Selvage Loops: The extensions of the weft beyond the selvage from the weft tension being too loose.

Shed: The opening created on a loom where the weft passes.

Shot (pick): A single pass of weft through the shed.

Tabby: Plain weave and ground weave for a pattern weave.

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