To prepare for taking my first weaving class, I got several books to learn weaving
terms. I'm so glad that I did! If you can't tell warp from weft, you're
I teach children to remember it this way:
Weft goes right and left.
Warp goes up and down like a harp.
A loom holds the warp tight and straight so that you can weave the weft from hand to hand. A shuttle carries the weft. The space the shuttle passes through is called the shed.
Parts of a Loom
- Apron Rod
- The rod where the warp is tied onto the loom. The one in back is attached to the warp beam. The one in front is attached to the cloth beam.
- Back Beam
- The bar the warp passes over from the warp beam to reach the harnesses straight.
- The heavy weaver's rod used to push the rows of weft threads together.
- A pedal used to release the tension in the warp beam.
- Breast Beam
- The bar the newly woven cloth passes over after being beaten and as it winds down to the cloth beam.
- The central part of a loom where the harnesses are located.
- Slots in the reed, given as a number per inch.
- Cloth Beam
- Next to the weaver where the newly woven fabric is wound. Usually held tight by a ratchet brake.
- Frame carrying the warp threads through heddles to create a pattern. Also known as a shaft. Usually controlled by foot treadles or hand levers.
- A metal or string piece with an eye for the warp. Heddles hang on the harness.
- The piece with slots for separating warp threads.
- See harness.
- Cords connecting the foot treadles to the harnesses. Displayed on the weaving draft.
- Warp Beam
- At the back of the loom where the unused warp is wound. Usually tightened with a crank and held tight by a friction brake.
- Bobbin Winder
- Used to wind bobbins of yarn for shuttles.
- Corrugated Cardboard
- Rolled between the layers of warp around the warp beam.
- A chart that communicates the weaving pattern to the weaver.
- Heddle Hook
- Used to pull yarn through the heddles.
- Lease Sticks
- Used for holding the cross when warping the loom from front to back.
- Used when warping from back to front.
- Sley Hook
- Used for sleying the reed, which means threading the dents.
- A stretcher used to keep the weaving width consistent.
- Toilet Paper
- A filler and spacer for evening out the warp when starting to weave or leaving room for fringe between woven pieces.
- Umbrella Swift
- See the umbrella swift page.
- Warping Board
- A frame with pegs to help you measure out warp lengths quickly.
Other Weaving Terms
- A figure 8 made on the warping board to help keep threads in order for sleying the reed.
- Pulling in at the selvedges to give a different fabric width than the warp width on the loom.
- Ends per inch. A measurement for the number of pieces of warp yarn in a weaving. Also referred to as the warp sett.
- The edge of the fabric just created by the last weft shot.
- Picks per inch. A measurement for the number of pieces of weft yarn in a weaving.
- The sides of the fabric where there are no warp ends.
- Another way of discussing the e.p.i.
- One pass of the weft through the shed, also known as a pick.
- Sleying the Reed
- Threading the dents.
- The length of yarn absorbed by curving into the other threads to create the weave. You have to allow for take-up when calculating weaving size and finished size.
- Warping the Loom
- Attaching the warp by sleying the reed and threading the heddles.
For more weaving terms and vocabulary, take a look at the types of weaving looms, weaving shuttles, and weaving patterns.
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