Glossary of Weaving Terms

The following list provides definitions of some popular terms used in the weaving industry.


Beaming – to roll the warp threads onto the back , yarn storage beam of the loom – the warp beam.

Cross – the figure eight made at one end of the group of warp threads used to keep those threads in order during the threading and sleying process of dressing the loom

Draft - a "map" of your weave structure. A full draft is made up of four parts – the threading plan, the tie-up box, the treadling plan and a draw-down of the weave structure. This is an international language understood by weavers around the world.

Dressing the loom – another way of saying warping or loading the loom.

E.P.I. - short-form for "ends per inch". The number of warp ends in each inch of fabric as you count them side to side.

Fell - the leading edge of the fabric just woven. The fell lies nearest your next weft shot to be woven.

Filler – is the weft fibre used to weave across the warp threads. (Older term was woof) This can be yarn made from animal, vegetable or mineral, or simply a grouping of loose fibres stranded into a roving which can be packed between the warp threads.

Fibre Content – is important to know so that you'll know how your fabric will behave and how to care for it.

Finishing – 1) – This refers to techniques used to turn the woven web into a cohesive fabric – usually involving washing or drycleaning, brushing etc.

Finishing - 2) – Various means of adding details to your completed projects – such as fringes, hemming techniques, knotting etc.

Heddles – devices within the shafts or harnesses of the loom with an "eye" through which warp ends are threaded. They can be made of string, wire, flat steel or polyester.

Lease Sticks – flat sticks which are usually the width of your loom. In some techniques of warping, they can be used for keeping a warp cross secure while proceeding with dressing the loom.

Loom Waste - refers to the portion of the warp length between the back of the heddles to in front of the beater which cannot be woven at the end of a length of weaving, in addition to that portion of the warp required in knots etc for tying onto the front and back beams of the loom. This amount varies with loom brands and sizes.

P.P.I. - picks per inch. This is the number of weft shots in an inch of weaving length – just as epi is the number of warp ends per inch of weaving width.

Pick – refers to a single pass ( or shot) of weft thread.

Ply – when yarn is spun, it is twisted into a single strand. This will be referred to as "singles" or "single ply" yarn even though it was never actually plied. Two strands together are called a 2-ply yarn, 3 singles a 3-ply yarn etc. Plied yarns are generally more "balanced" and easier to handle than singles for warping.

Problems – a word used for an opportunity to invent creative solutions and thus learn more. They happen to everybody who is actively involved in the process of doing something. Just remember – if you can come up with any kind of workable solution – it's "legal .

Selvedge – (selvage, selvege) - the sides of the fabric. Sealed edges that don't ravel, just like on commercial fabrics.

Sett, set – refers to the number of ends per inch. Set is the verb, sett is the noun. The was set at 20 epi. The warp sett was 20 epi.

Shot – one pick, or pass of the weft thread.

Shuttle – a device to assist storing and delivering yarn as weft. They can be a flat stick, ski shape, or boat shuttle.

Sley – to put warp through the reed, often uses a "sley hook" to assist the process.

Take-up - the flexing or curving of warp threads and weft threads as they interlace to form the woven web of fabric, causing a "shortening" effect.

Threading Hook - a long, skinny hook to assist threading warp ends through heddles.

Warp – the lengthwise threads of the fabric – those which are loaded onto the loom, under tension, in preparation for weaving. Each thread is called a warp end.

Web – woven fabric. This word is used more when the fabric is still on the loom.

Weft – the crosswise, or horizontal thread running from selvege to selvege, perpendicular to the warp threads.

Yarn – thread. Perhaps one refers to thinner strands as thread, thicker strands as yarn.