Glossary of terms used on this site

Worshipful Company of Weavers

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Term Main definition
back beam

The beam at the rear and full width of a weaving loom onto which the warp has been wound and from which the warp is subsequently taken to be woven. See beam, breast beam and double beam.

back grey

An absorbent undyed (greige) cloth used to support and carry the fabric being printed.  It protects the blanket from contamination by surplus print paste.  See greige. 

back strap loom

A loom without a frame.  The strap is put round the back of the weaver who maintains the tension of the warp by leaning back while the other end of the warp is attached to a wall or tree.  The length of the fabric produced on a back strap loom is limited in length, as with vertical (frame) and horizontal (frame) looms. The fell of the cloth moves along the loom instead of remaining stationary as with a conventional frame loom.


A term used in handweaving when an incorrect weft thread has been introduced across the warp and then taken out or unwoven.


A treatment using natural or synthetic tanning agents applied to improve wet fastness of dyed or printed silk or polyamide fabrics. See polyamide and Appendix Fibre Chart, polyamide.


A loosely woven woollen cloth, heavily felted and cropped to produce a fine nap on both sides. Traditionally dyed red or green.  From the old French word baie, a cloth dyed a brownish red colour used for clothing, lining cutlery draws and covering tables. The Spanish name for the same cloth is bayetta.

balanced cloth

The term describes a cloth made with the same thickness or diameter of yarn throughout, woven with the same number of ends in the warp as picks in the weft. The actual diameter of a yarn with a specific count can vary according to the compactness of the yarn.

balanced weave

A weave in which the average float is the same in the warp and the weft directions and in which the warp and weft floats are equally distributed between the two sides of the fabric.  See weaves.

ball warping

A method of transferring a prepared warp from the warping mill to the loom.  The leased warp, in the form of a thick rope, is wound into a ball by hand or by machine.  The end of the warp is attached to the back beam then, while under tension, it is gradually wound onto the back beam as it is being unwound from the ball. See lease.


Of the same family as abaca. Fibre is obtained from the leaf sheath of the non-edible banana plant. Used in spinning string, cord, fine cloth suitable for shirts (traditionally used in the Philippines as shirt fabric) or table cloths or coarse cloth suitable for sacking or matting.  Fibre is also obtainable from the edible banana plant but the yield is half of that obtainable from the abaca.  See abaca.

bandage cloth

Usually woven from un-mercerized cottonWarps: from 24s cc to 28s cc set at 40 epi.  Wefts: from 20s cc to 24s cc at 23 ppi.  Bleached and sized before rolling and cutting. Usually measured into 2 metre (80") roll lengths and cut into standard bandage widths of 2cm (1"), 5cm (2") and 10cm (4"). See mercerize.


Also known as bandhanna, bandhani, bandh, bandhnu, bandhara and plangi. A process of resist dyeing. Fine yarn is wound tightly  round small areas of cloth to resist the dye creating a small diamond shaped dot.  Several dots can be arranged into a pattern some of which are sometimes overdyed.  This process was exploited in the 16th century in the manufacture of handkerchiefs in Gujerat, India.  Using the same process pulecat handkerchiefs were made in Pulicat on the coast near Madras in southern India.  See also plangi and tie-dye.


A type of moleskin. See moleskin.


A tweed or suiting named after the Scottish town made famous by the Scottish victory over the English in 1314.  The fabric is made in 2 and 2 twill weave from marled cheviot woollen spun yarn prepared by twisting together two contrasting colours then weaving them together in the warp and weft to produce a mottled effect. See weaves.


A mark in the form of a bar across the full width of a piece of woven cloth which differs in appearance from the rest of the cloth.  Often a mistake in weaving caused by either incorrect picking or wrong weft or yarn tension.  Barry or barriness.