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Weaving Glossary

Dent - one space in a reed. Each space can hold one or more threads. Most fabrics are evenly spaced, i.e. two threads per dent or double-sleyed, three threads per dent or triple-sleyed.

Dents Per Inch (DPI) - on a reed, the number of spaces in one inch. See Dent.

Ends Per Inch (EPI) - See Sett. The number of warp threads in an inch. Could also be measured as Ends Per Centimetre (EPC).

Float - A thread which is not caught at every intersection. Can be warp floats or weft floats. Long floats tend to catch on things and weaken the fabric.

Harness - a device on a horizontal loom that holds a set of heddles. Doesn't really apply to smaller looms.

Heddle - Anything you put warp threads through to create a shed; rigid heddles are usually made of wood, bone or (modernly) plastic. Heddles on warp weighted looms, inkle looms, tapestry looms, and some horizontal looms are made of string. Some horizontal looms have metal or wire heddles.

Picks Per Inch (PPI) - The number of weft threads in an inch. Could also be measured as Picks Per Centimetre (PPC).

Reed - A comb that goes in the warp and is used to beat the fabric as it is woven. Only applies to horizontal looms. They are usually metal today but were originally made by fixing slats of reeds between two bars at even intervals.

S twist or wale - (See also "Z twist or wale") Diagonals can be characterized by the direction of the slant and whether it matches the slant in the letter S or the letter Z. "S" means the diagonal goes up to the left.

Sett - The spacing of the warp threads. The reed on a horizontal loom determines this.

Shed - The opening created when you pull some warp threads up and some down. Different types of looms create sheds with different methods.

Sley - verb used to describe the process of pulling the warp threads through the reed.

Thread Count  - a sum of the warp threads plus the weft threads in one square inch or centimetre. EPI + PPI = Thread Count Per Inch.

Wale - Parallel lines that appear when a weaving pattern is repeated. For twills, the wale is a set of diagonal lines which are very apparent if the warp and weft are two different colors. For corduroy, the wales are the "bumps" in the fabric. 

Warp - Warp threads are the threads that are held taut by the frame. If they're too tight they can "warp" your weaving frame.

Warp-faced - A fabric that shows more warp threads than weft threads

Weft - Weft threads are the threads you manipulate through the warp to make fabric. They go from right to "weft". Sometimes also called "woof".

Weft-faced - A fabric that shows more weft threads than warp threads

Wraps Per Inch (WPI) - The number of wraps of yarn one can do in one inch around a ruler. It can be varied by whether you pack the yarn in tight or wrap loosely, but gives a rough estimate of how thick the yarn is and how close you will want your sett to be.

Z twist or wale - (See also "S twist or wale") Diagonals can be characterized by the direction of the slant and whether it matches the slant in the letter S or the letter Z. "Z" means the diagonal goes up to the right.

All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created February 4, 2002

Last updated February 18, 2003