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 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.

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. 

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 cotton.  Warps: 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 fabric traditionally woven with a spun silk warp and worsted weft.  Now usually woven with worsted yarns throughout.  Recognized by a combination of twill and hopsack weaves which produce a characteristic pebbled appearance.  The cloth is commonly dyed black or dark blue and used as a suiting.

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.

bark cloth
The inner bark of a tree, such as the paper mulberry Brousonnetia papyrifera or another tree Pipturus albidus, which is soaked and beaten with a mallet into a thin sheet. It can be bleached, dyed or painted. Called tapa in Hawaii and kapa in Fiji.

basic dyes
Dyes which are applied with the assistance of a mordant. Used for dyeing cotton and cellulosic fibres. Not in common use.

basket weave
This term is used to describe a simple weave using two or more warp ends and picks woven parallel to each other as one, in a plain or tabby weave formation.  See weaves.

bast fibres
Also known as stem fibres.  Fibre obtained from between the inner and outer layer of the stems or stalks of many plants such as: allo, flax, hemp, hop, jute, kenef, nettle, ramie, roselle, sunn hemp, urena.  They are strong, long fibres and can be used to make ropes, string, gunny, hessian, sacking and fishing nets.

The word batik is derived from the Javanese word membatik which means drawing or painting on cloth.  It is the general term which describes a form of dye resist by wax on cotton cloth. The craft of batik making is practised in India, parts of Africa and is renowned in Java. Resists of rice flour paste in India or Africa are painted or printed on the cotton cloth. In Java hot wax, prepared from 1 part paraffin wax and 3 parts resin, is applied to the cotton cloth to resist the dye by either a block called a tjap or drawn onto the cloth with a canting sometimes called a tjanting. The wax solidifies and cracks on handling.  The waxed areas resist the dye.  When the wax is washed out of the fabric there remains the characteristic veining effect where the dye liquor has penetrated the cracks. See canting.

The frame containing the reed which is pulled to and pushed from the weaver when beating up the weft into the fell of the cloth. Known also as a sley or beater.  See fell, fly shuttle and reed.

The continuous filament bave is exuded by the silkworm to form its cocoon.  It is composed of two brins which are stuck together with sericin or silk gum.  The two brins are extruded from a pair of silk glands in the silkworm's head.  The length of bave varies with the breed of silkworm, from 300 m to 1500 m. The thickness of the bave varies from 1.8 denier to 3.0 denier.  See also brin.

A cylinder of wood or metal with end bearings for mounting into flanges either at the front or rear of a loom. A double beam refers to two beams which can be fixed to the rear of the loom when two warps are taken up in the weaving under two different tensions.  See back beam, breast beam and double beam.

beam dyeing
The process of dyeing a prepared warp having been wound on a perforated metal back beam and dyed prior to weaving.  The dye is passed through the beam, the perforations and the warp under pressure.

Often referred to as the sley or batten. Used to beat up the weft into the fell of the cloth. See batten, fell and sley.

beating up
Or beat up. See beaten and fell.

bedford cord
Originally known as a cord broadcloth it was woven in Britain by Flemish weavers during the reign of Edward III in the early 14th century.  Later in the 15th century this cloth was adopted by the Duke of Bedford for his troop's uniforms.  Bedford cord can be made with either man-made fibres, cotton, worsted wool or a combination of all three.  The character of this warp directional rib or cord is produced by the weave (see Annex; weaves), similar to corduroy.  Depending on the size of the yarn used and modifications made to the weave, other corded fabrics are also produced, such as the heavier London cord.  In France Bedford cord is called côte de cheval and in South America, diable fuerte. 

A group of 40 warp threads. Also a group of spaces used in reed-counting, eg. the number of 20 dents in 37 inches which traditionally indicates the reed count.

A bundle or sheaf of tied flax or straw.

A mechanical treatment that uses beetlers or fallers (hammers or mallets) to give the surface of a linen or cotton fabric a flattened appearance. The spaces between warp and weft of the fabric are closed in producing a flat lustrous surface.

billiard cloth
Made from the finest merino wool. A compact cloth, usually woven in a 2 and 1 twill with great precision, heavily milled and cropped to produce a perfectly smooth fabric which is soft yet firm, waterproof and capable of resisting the dampest atmosphere.  Traditionally dyed green, as the name describes, is used for covering billiard table tops.  During the 19th century it is said that billiard cloth was exported from the West of England mills to India where the green dye was extracted and re-used to dye yarns for Kashmir shawls. See weaves.

A breed of mulberry silkmoth which produces two generations per year and lays hibernating and non-hibernating eggs.  The monovoltine silkmoth produces one generation per year and multivoltine or polyvoltine up to eight generations per year.  Multivoltine or polyvoltine are tropical varieties which, unlike bivoltine or monovoltine from temperate regions, have no dormant period. See monovoltine, multivoltine and polyvoltine.

The Scottish Blackface sheep produces wool with a staple length of 20 30 cm and of outstanding quality which is most suitable for tweed and carpet manufacture.

From the French word blankete, derived from blanc meaning white.  Blankete was an undyed woollen cloth chiefly used as a warm heavy bed covering.  Traditionally constructed with woollen or shoddy yarn in a 2-and 2 twill weave and then brushed, some blankets are woven with a cellular or honeycomb weave and remain unbrushed.  The term blanket is also used in textile manufacture terminology to describe a sample length of cloth usually with a variety of different patterns and colourings in one piece. See shoddy and mungo.

blazer cloth
From the French word blason, a coat of arms or badge worn as identification.  Traditionally blazer cloth is woven either in solid colours or in stripes using a
5-end satin.  Worsted wool or wool/polyester yarns are usually used in the production of this fabric.  Imitation blazer cloths are sometimes woven in plain weave using wool, cotton or man-made fibres, then raised to produce lightweight jacket cloth. See weaves.

A chemical which whitens yarn or fabrics. Sodium chlorite (chlorine), hydrogen peroxide or reducing agents such as sulphur dioxide or sodium bisulphite are the most common bleaches. Bleaching is used to remove natural and other types of impurities and blemishes from fabrics prior to dyeing and finishing. The removal of colour from dyed or printed textiles is usually called stripping.

Colour which run together from wet, dyed material onto a material next to it.  It has been known that the property of bleeding, sometimes caused through the  use of fugitive dyes or bad dyeing techniques, enhances its acceptability in certain markets. A range of striped and checked cotton cloths woven in India known as Bleeding Madras.

A process of combining  two or more types of staple fibres in one yarn to achieve a blend or mixture of either two types of natural fibre, a natural fibre with man-made fibre or several coloured fibres to achieve a colour mixture. See staple fibres.

block printing
Blocks for printing cloth are be made from wood, linoleum or copper; a seperate block being used for each colour. A design is carved from the flat surface of the block, printing ink or dye applied to the raised surface of the block which is then put down on the cloth and tapped once to transfer the ink or dye to the cloth.

A large area or background area of a design printed in a uniform colour.

blotch printing
Printing a fabric with any dyestuff over the entire surface with an open screen.

A finishing process which opens the fibre and sets the weave of a fabric. Steam is passed through a cloth which has been wound onto a large perforated roller covered in an endless roll of cotton canvas between which the cloth to be blown is sandwiched.

A spool or cylindrical barrel onto which yarn is wound for use either in the shuttle for weaving or for carrying the under thread in a sewing machine. The term is usually qualified to indicate the purpose or process for which it is used: ring bobbin, spinning bobbin, condenser bobbin and weft bobbin. A brass bobbin is used on lace making machines.

boiling off
The process of degumming or the removal of sericin or silk gum from yarn, fabric or silk waste prior to spinning. The process is done by means of a controlled hot mildly alkaline treatment having little or no effect on the underlying fibroin.

See cotton boll.

Synonymous with a piece of cloth. Also a roll of ribbon traditionally 10 yards (approx. 9 metres) long.

bolting cloth 
Plain woven sheer silk fabric used for sifting. From the French word blutage meaning sift (flour).  Also known as miller's gauze.

A white or brownish seed fibre from the malvaceae family of plants found in South America, India and Africa.  Known as Bombax cotton.  Lacking in strength and elasticity is used primarily as a pillow stuffing or wadding.  Mixed with other fibres can be spun into yarn.

bombyx mori
The mulberry silkworm which feeds solely on white mulberry leaves and produces the finest white-yellow silk.  See silk.

The standard term to describe a bundle of sixteen to twenty skeins or hanks of raw silk compactly packed weighing 2 to 2.5kg.

A term applied to merino wool tops, yarns or fabrics. See merino.

A French word meaning curled, used to describe a looped or curly effect in a knitting yarn or in a knitted or woven fabric. See fancy yarn.

The simplest form of fabric which is woven or plaited flat, in the round or as a tubular narrow fabric.  Braiding or plaiting yarn, narrow strips of fabric, flexible wire or metallic threads, to make shoe laces, candle wicks, ropes and cord.

A honeycomb weave.  See cellular fabric and honeycomb.

Two brins are exuded from the head of the silkworm to form the bave or silk filament.

An elaborate and richly figured fabric woven on a Jacquard loom using satin weave.  The warp float give a raised appearance.  Originally woven in silk, but now can be made with man-made fibres, with additional silver or gold threads. Was first produced in China.  Light weight brocade is used for apparel and heavier weights for furnishings.  A brocatine is a brocade with a raised pattern imitating embroidery.  Latin: brocare meaning to figure.

Similar to but heavier than brocade. The pattern, woven with two or more wefts with extra binder warp, in high relief on a Jacquard loom. 

A brocade fabric that is figured with additional weft threads introduced by means of swivel or lappet weaving. French: broché, figured. See lappet.

A stiff fabric made of normally of cotton, linen, hemp or hair. A plain weave, open-sett fabric impregnated with fillers or stiffeners.  Also made by gluing two open-sett sized fabrics together.  Used as lining, bookbinding, sometimes known as Library Buckram, and in millenary.  Also a 16th century English woollen fabric used for church vestments. 

bullion cord
An highly twisted yarn made from continuous filament yarn components which has a coarse central core covered with either a finer yarn.  Used in the manufacture of bullion fringe, often covered with metallic threads and used in furnishing fabric decoration or military braiding.

A tall slim box fixed to the side of the Malaysian hand weaver's loom seat in which the long thin palm tree bark patterning sticks, bilah, are deposited during weaving.

bump yarn
A thick, coarse condenser yarn, usually spun from cotton waste. The count is traditionally expressed in yards per ounce and has normally ranged from 25 to 120 yd/oz (600 to 250 TEX). Woven into bump cloth normally used as absorbent floor cloth and oven gloves. See Appendix: yarn counts.

The expression to bunt, from the old English word meaning to sift, was a process used after grain milling when an open weave woollen cloth was stretched across the bunt or sieve. Coincidently the German word bunt means strong bright colours which are characteristic of bunting.  The German word for coloured fabric is buntgewebe.  Both these terms could be linked as they both describe the present day plain woven, crossbred cloth called bunting which is normally dyed in basic armorial colours of red, blue, yellow, white and black, with additions of green and orange, used for making flags or banners.  Bunting is known as etamine in France.

Removal of loose threads, knots, slubs, burrs, and other extraneous material from fabrics, before finishing without damaging them, by means of a burling iron or tweezers. A burl is a small knot or lump in a thread or fabric.

The North American term for sacking or hessian.

burry wool
Wool containing vegetable matter in the fleece.

A block printed cotton fabric produced in Turkestan used for bedcovers or horse blankets.

Also known as buti. The floral decorative motive sometimes referred to as the paisley pattern originating in Persia and associated with the Mughal period. Derived from the shape of the mango, almond or pine cone. See paisley.

The red flowers from butea frondosa containing an almost colourless dye principle called butin which, when steeped in cold water, converts into the orange dyestuff called butein.