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Home > Craft Topics > Craft Introductions > Weaving

The Craft of Weaving

The Craft of Weaving Introduction to Weaving

Weaving by hand is an ancient craft which was a necessity before the Industrial Revolution. It is now and enjoyable tactile craft which is also regarded as an art form. Any thread can be woven on a variety of different types of loom to create richly textured fabrics.

Origins of Weaving


People have woven thread into fabric in every culture, in every country of the world, for many centuries. The Egyptians used their native flax to produce sophisticated hand spun linen mummy cloth. Silken Persian rugs, wall hangings from India and the many examples of woven textiles to be seen in museums all over the world reveal the industry of the weaver.

Until the Industrial Revolution everything was woven by hand. Fleece was dyed with natural plant dyes, spun into thread and the threads woven into fabric for bed covers, clothing, floor coverings and decorative objects.

Mechanization meant that the hand worker was gradually replaced by the factory worker and hand weaving, in common with professional skills, continued only in remote and isolated areas. In Britain, for example, the tradition of hand weaving almost died out except in the remote islands and rural areas of Scotland.  


The Craft of Weaving courtesy of www.walkaboutcrafts.comBasic techniques of Weaving


Weaving involves interlacing two sets of threads, usually at right angles, to form a fabric or cloth. The vertical threads (those that run down the length of the fabric) are known as warp threads. The weft threads are interlaced across the width of the fabric. Warp threads are sometimes known as ends; each weft as it is woven is called a pick. A pick is often carried on a shuttle.

During weaving, the warp threads need to be held taught. The device for holding them under tension is called a loom. It can take many forms, ranging from a simple piece of cardboard to a 16 – shaft floor loom.


Tapestry Weaving


This is the method of weaving pictures and abstract images. Traditionally a cartoon was made of the design and laid beneath the warp during weaving. Sometimes it was even painted on the warp threads. The weaving has the usual two sets of threads but the warp threads are totally covered by the weft, forming a firm, weft faced fabric. The picture is created by changing the colour and texture of the weft yarns as they are woven across the warp.  


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