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Weaving Terminology

Within the weaving industry at large, webbing falls under the heading of “Narrow Fabrics.” Included within this group along with webbing are ribbons, tapes and belting. Webbing is actually two separately woven layers which are bound together in various ways. It is the heaviest form of narrow fabrics, ranging from light straps to monster slings used in heavy lifting. Even though we are using the latest in weaving technology, most of the terminology in use today comes from the past.

The following is a partial list of the most commonly used terms in webbing design and production.

Back: Usually refers to the underside as the fabric comes off the loom. In patterned webbing, it also refers to the side opposite the primary pattern.

Binders: Yarn which is woven between the front and back to hold the two together, as in flat webbing.

Catch Cord: A yarn which binds the “knitted” needle edge of webbing woven on a needle loom. The catch cord prevents the fill yarn from unraveling at a cut end.

Cone(of yarn): See Package.

Creel: A frame which holds the packages (cones of yarn) and guides the ends to the loom.

Denier: [abbreviated: d.] In general this refers to the size of a yarn. Specifically it is a measure of weight for multifilament yarns. One denier is equal to 1 gram per 9000 meters, i.e. 900 meters of 1050 d. yarn weighs 105 grams. Thus, an 840 d. yarn is twice as “heavy” as a 420 d. yarn.

Draw: The order in which ends of yarn are fed into the loom. Also, the act of placing packages and pulling the ends to the loom.

End: A single yarn or two or more yarns drawn together as one strand.

Fill (Weft): The yarn which runs from edge to edge in the webbing. It is carried by a needle or shuttle. Some advanced looms can weave patterns with multiple, colored, fill yarns.

Float: Refers to yarn which is not weaving around the fill. In colored patterned webbing, yarn which is not visible on the face is floating in the center. Sometimes floating yarn is used to create patterns on the face.

Front: Usually refers to the top side as the fabric comes off the loom. In patterned webbing it also refers to the side with the primary pattern.

Harness: A frame which is controlled by cams or magnetos and determines how the yarn it controls will weave. All ends in a given harness will weave the same in the webbing.

Hook: The part of a Jacquard loom which moves the yarn up and down during weaving. Unlike a harness, each hook controls only one end.

Jacquard: [after J. M. Jacquard] Refers both to a loom and the fabric produced on such a loom. Jacquard looms are able to control the movement of each yarn independently. Originally controlled by an endless belt of punch cards, today’s modern looms use computer-controlled magnets.

Ladder Pattern: A distinctive pattern produced in webbing when alternate ends are different colors.

Needle Loom: A loom in which the fill yarn is carried back and forth by a “needle” which is usually curved. Because the fill yarn is carried from one edge it must be bound to itself on other edge, called the needle edge. Complex colored patterns are woven on needle looms (see Catch Cord).

Package(of Yarn): Refers to a single cone or spool of yarn. A typical 840 d. yarn in a 2 lb. package will be about 7,000 meters of yarn.

Pick: This term refers to one pass of the needle or shuttle through the webbing. On the face of a webbing each crosswise row or weave is one pick.

Ply: Each woven layer of fabric. Webbing is usually two plys.

Reed: The device on the loom which determines and controls the spacing of yarn and the width of the webbing.

Selvage [or Selvedge]: The non-raveling edges of fabric. In patterned webbing it is the area on each side of the colored pattern area.

Shuttle Loom: A loom on which a spool of fill yarn is carried from edge to edge in a shuttle ( which is similar to a bobbin holder in a sewing machine ). The fill yarn forms a continuous “spiral” along the webbing. Normally only ladder type patterns can be produced.

Warp: The yarns running lengthwise in webbing. Normally these are the yarns which are manipulated to produce a pattern.