Glossary of terms used on this site

Worshipful Company of Weavers

Obtained from The Worshipful Company of Weavers

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Kain is the Malay word for cloth.  Kain tenunan is Malay for handwoven cloth and kain ginggang is Malay for gingham.


Traditional kalamkari is hand painted cloth produced in Sikalahasti, India. The design is first hand drawn with a pen or kalam. From the preparation of the gada cloth, the drawing and painting of iron black, pabuku red, karakapuwu yellow and indigo blue, the cloth is mordanted and processed through eighteen stages.


A Japanese process of dyeing yarn is similar to ikat or patola, when thread is wound round the yarn to be dyed to act as a resist when dyeing.  In Japan when kasuri yarn is used for the warp it is called tate-kasuri or when used in the weft, when it is called yoko-kasuri. Itajime-kasuri is a method of clamping the yarn between carved wooden blocks instead of using the thread tying method.  See ikat and patola.


The Malay word for a hand weaving loom


Course animal fibre found in wool from the same fleece. Shorter than other fibres in the fleece, it tapers sharply towards the root end. Often is noticeable in woollen fabric as a white or tinted fibre because the kemp is flatter and therefore does not absorb so much, if any, dye. A yarn or cloth containing kemp can be called kempy.


A woollen cloth which traditionally was a heavily milled fabric with a short lustrous nap obscuring the twill weave from which it was made.  Similar to a melton cloth although kersey is heavier and more lustrous.  Until the end of the 19th century a fine cloth called kerseymere, a corruption of cashmere, was woven from the best quality wool and pashmina in India. The term kersey derives its name from the village of Kersey in Suffolk, England, where it was originally made. See Linsey-Kersey.


The Hindi words khadi and khaddar mean handwoven cloth produced from handspun yarn. In 1947, during the period of independence and in retaliation of mass produced cotton cloth from British and Indian mills, Mahatma Ghadi promoted the idea of one man, one loom.  The Khadi and Village Industries Corporation was then established and is responsible, although not exclusively, for the employment of millions of hand spinners and handloom weavers in India today. 


Used to describe either a colour or often used loosely to describe a fabric of this colour.  The Hindi word khaki, khakee, kharki or kharkee, means dusty or mud coloured.  English army records show that in 1848 Harry Burnett Lumsden equipped his troops, who were fighting in Afganistan at the time, with uniforms dyed an earthy, yellowy colour which he called khaki.  In India, at the time of the Indian Mutiny in 1857-58, some of the soldiers at Lucknow dyed their uniforms a light brown or dust colour with a mixture of black and red office inks.  These looking drab uniforms replaced the red ones which ultimately gave the British soldiers the nickname Lal Coortee Wallahs.

kinky yarn

A snarled, lively yarn.


Knitting is the interlocking loops of yarn.  There are two types of knitting:

  • Warp knitting, when a yarn is looped across the fabric.
  • Weft knitting, when several yarns are looped together the length of the fabric.

The Hindi word kukri originally meant a twisted skein of thread, from kukna meaning to wind and later anything curved, hence the name of the curved weapon which is carried by all Gurkha soldiers.