Glossary of terms used on this site

Worshipful Company of Weavers

Obtained from The Worshipful Company of Weavers

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)


Term Main definition

A lightweight Japanese silk fabric. Sometimes referred to as Jap cloth.


Animals which live in cold climates, such as the pashmina goat, usually grow a soft down like wool under a protective hair called guard hair. The hair of the llama, alpaca and camel are spun by hand into coarse yarns and woven into cloth for bags and floor covering. The fine hair of the angora rabbit is so soft that it is mixed with fine wool and spun into knitting yarns. Most different animal hairs, even human hair, can be spun and woven or knitted into a textile. See haircloth and horse hair.


Woven from twisted cotton or linen warp with horse hair, goat hair or camel hair in the weft. Traditionally used for interlining in the tailoring of coats and jackets. See hair and horse hair.


The term used to describe the feel of a fabric. See drape.


A continuous loop of yarn, without a specific measurement or weight the circumference of which can be a yard, metre, 45 inches or 60 inches depending on the type of textile trade. See skein.

harris tweed

One of the most well known woollen tweeds Woven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland on the islands of Harris and Lewis. Traditionally made from a blend of strong Scottish wools, which are scoured, dyed and spun into yarn centrally in local spinning mills. The yarn is distributed to the outlying crofter to be woven in 2 and 2 twill weave on either traditional wooden handlooms or Hattersley domestic treadle looms. Once woven and taken off the loom the tweed, which is approximately 78 metres long, is collected in its greasy state and taken back to the mill for finishing. In 1909 the Harris Tweed Association was formed and the familiar Orb Mark was registered as its trademark and authenticates the tweed as having been handwoven from 100% pure new wool on the isles of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra. The Orb Mark protects Harris Tweed from other weavers attempting to copy it on neighbouring islands or in other countries.

hat Haut, hath, huth or hut

A hindi word meaning hand or forearm. A cubit equal to the measurement from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow. Between 18 and 22 inches (between 45 and 56 centimetres). Also hindi for a market.


Twisted galvanized wire or stamped out narrow, stainless steel, strips with a central hole or eye through which the warp end is passed. Healds have a loop at each end with which to attach it to the shaft frame. See heddle.


Looped cord or varnished string with central loop through which the warp end is passed. Sometimes the heddle has an extra loop at each end which is attached to the shaft. See heald.


A bast fibre from the stem of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L. The hemp plant grows from 1 to 5 metres high in temperate climates. The fibre varies from creamy-white to grey-brown and is lustrous and as strong as flax. As with flax, hemp is either dew retted or water retted. Used as a textile fibre for thousands of years is still widely used in the manufacture of string, cord, rope and can be spun into yarns resembling flax although the cloth from which it is made is much coarser. The word hemp comes from the Anglo-Saxon word henep. See flax.


A coarsely woven, yet open, fabric made from jute yarns in a plain weave. Can be used for embroidery and in the making bags, wallpaper and theatrical scenery. Known in the United States of America as burlap. See burlap, gunny, jute, osnaburg and sacking.


A fabric which is traditionally handwoven from handspun yarns. See khadi.


A tightly woven jute or hemp fabric made with a weave which was to become known as hopsack (see weaves). A 2 and 1 twill weave is now used to weave hop-pocketing and as the term describes, is used in the manufacture of very large bags in which to transport dried hops from the fields to the breweries.


Chinese horse hair, from the tail of the mare only, is used in the manufacture of specialized upholstery fabrics. One kilogramme bundles of horse hair are sold in three main colours, black (84omm long), mixed grey (840mm long) and natural white (685mm long). The natural white is shorter because of noticeable staining and is in short supply because of alternative uses, such as violin bows and specialised wigs. Traditionally woven with a cotton or linen warp although silk is now sometimes used, the horse hair is used only in the weft and can be dyed. The traditional horse hair upholstery cloth is black hair woven on a black cotton warp with sateen weave, although fancy dobby designs in a variety of colours are also produced. See hair and haircloth.


A colour and weave effect produced with a combination of 4 and 4, or 8 and 8, threads of contrasting colours in the warp crossed with similar wefts and woven in a 2 and 2 twill to form a jagged check. See shepherd\'s check.