Monday, 31 March 2008


The glossary below will be continually updated. Access it any time via the link to the right of the page.

Base knots: two half hitch knots tied onto each warp end before weaving commences (and also at the end when the weaving is finished). Along with the starter weft, this creates a firm base to weave onto. The knots remain as part of the tapestry when it is cut off the frame, and prevent the weft unravelling.

Heading: temporary, thicker weft woven between the warps in order to space the warps evenly before the base knots are applied. It does not form part of the tapestry and is later removed.

Sample: a piece of experimental weaving, not deliberately intended as a finished tapestry

Sett: the number of warp ends per inch (epi)

Shed: the space formed between the front and back warps. There are two sheds - the open shed (created naturally), and the closed shed (created by pulling the back warps forwards between the front warps)

Starter weft: Strong weft, usually warp thread, tied to the frame and woven between the warp threads two or three times, pulled taut and tied off. This secures the warp threads in place before weaving commences and gives a firm foundation, along with a row of base knots. The starter weft is removed after the tapestry cut off the frame.

Warp: the taught vertical threads, usually cotton or linen, made by winding the fibre around the frame. Warp thread is different to string - it is specifically designed to be firm and strong but with some springy-ness to allow the weaver to manipulate the warps during the weaving process. The weaver may wish to experiment by using other sturdy fibres (such as fishing line or wire) as warps.

Weft: the horizonal threads, woven between the warps, and usually packed down to cover the warps completely, although this depends on the intention - the weaver may want to leave the some warp threads exposed. Any fibre element which can be woven between the warps can be used as weft.

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