Tapestry Lexicon

Tapestry Lexicon

Compiled by Kathe Todd-Hooker

This lexicon was began in 1978, when I first became a tapestry student. It has been added to through the years with every tapestry class, symposium, student sharers and book that I have read or been involved with on tapestry. Some of those instructors, contributors, speakers and authors may or may not have known that they were becoming part of this lexicon. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this over the years-to mention a few, Ruth Tannenbaum, Sharon Marcus, Jean Scorgie, Pat Spark, Christine Laffer, Mary Lane, Jean Pierre Larochette, Yael Lurie, Marc Adams, Claude Dufor, Marta Roygoska, Archie Brennen, Tove Pedersen, Rikki Almaghren, Cora Wetter, and so many more and every glossary and text book I could lay my hands since 1978. Please fill free to add in the commentary section or send me an e-mail with another term or even the same word in a different language or cultural variation or correction to add to the lexicon. .

Originally Copyrighted 02 and re-copyrighted with the addition of new materials in 2015


abąąh náát’í’:Side twining cords(nav)

Abrash: Bands of colour that are variegated because of inconsistency in dyes and dyeing process. (tk)

AB Loom: A copper loom designed by Archie Brennan for workshop use. The plans were published in the FiberArts Magazine issue Nov.-Dec., 1993.

Ádahsitą´ní : Top cross bar of loom or upper bar or beam(nav)

Adegí sitą´ní : Rod placed in shed to change shed(nav)

Agedyna: A double cushion made for carriages, often tapestry woven (Swedish)

Agujas: Wooden bobbins (sp)

Ağılık: Shed opening(tk)

Åspinne: Spinning (nor)

Åkle: Åkle is a bound woven coverlet, historically used as bedding, sled blankets, horse blankets, coffin covers. It eventually evolved or moved on to the walls for insulation and decoration. (nor)

Alfombra: Woven or pile carpet (sp, Am SW)

Algodón: Cotton (sp)

Añil: Indigo (sp, am sw)

Aniline: Originally coal tar derivatives, but now refers to any dye that is chemically related. The first dye invented was blue; hence the name anil is French for indigo blue. Aniline boya: Aniline dyes arrived in Turkey after 1880 and basically replaced natural dyes because of their ready availability and were inexpensive. (tk)

Åpne spalter: Slits (nor)

Arbeidstegningen: Cartoon (nor)

Argaç, atkı: Regional for weft or the horizontal thread placed between the warp elements. (tk)

Armorial: A tapestry with a coat of arms.

Arras, arras, arrazzi: A weaving center in Burgandy and later France. It is a term often used in old English texts as a synonym for tapestry. The term also refers to a style of weaving where the principal figures are outlined in a dark colour. (fr,sp)

Arrasy flamandzkie: Old decorative wall hangings, tapestries under Flemish influence made in Brussel’s manufactory (like in the Wavel castle, Poland) (pol)

Arrondiment: Sumac or any wrapping around of the warps by the weft. Often used for beginning and ending tapestries and stabilizing oblique angles and curves. (fr)

Art of Crystallized Weaving: Literal translation of a Japanese form of silk tapestry weaving woven at Kawashima Textile Mills. (jap)

Atkı yüzlü dokuma: Weft faced weave (tk)

Aubusson: A French low warp tapestry workshop center, originally located in the region of central France known as La Marche. A term frequently used to indicate tapestries woven on low warp looms with treadles.

Aurum Filatum: Gold or silver spun around a linen core which is/was then woven into a tapestry. (latin)

Aussi: also (fr)

Åveve: Act of weaving (nor)


Background: Refers to the negative spaces between figures in tapestry weaving.

Band: A narrow woven band often used for edging the beginning and endings of tapestries. The band served two purposes; it clearly outlines the tapestry and it receives the rings or hooks by which the tapestry is hung on the wall.

Banderole: A long, flat, ribbon shaped, band with writing. (fr)

Bâtons de croisure: Shed sticks (fr)

Barloom: An archaic loom with warp tension regulated by turning the top roller (hi-warp) or bottom roller (lo-warp) by means of a lever or bar.

Bastidor: frame (sp)

Baş ögüsü The last rows or the first rows of heavily packed weaving or weft wrappings before or after the design. It is meant to prevent the unraveling of the weaving. (tk)

Basse-lisse: A low warp loom. (See haute lisse) (fr)

Bast fibre: A fibre from the inner bark of a tree or the inside of a plant’s stalk, such as linen fibre from flax.

Battage: This term refers to in producing hachures there is always an attracting colour and a defending colour. It is the area where two colours mesh together in bars and then become hachures or hatchings in a solid area of colour. According to Pianazola, it can also be an Aubusson term for unsystematic hatching. (fr)

Batten: The beater on a floor or table loom or wooden frame holding the reed on horizontal looms (and some vertical looms). Navajo weaving it is a flat, smooth, sword-shaped piece of hardwood used both to hold open a shed while the weft is inserted and to beat down the weft.

Bawelna: Cotton (pol)

Bayeta yarn: Yarns that the Navajo unraveled to supplement their handspun yarns used for acquiring different colours for weaving. (sp)

Bayeux Tapestry: Not a tapestry technically, but a long embroidered strip of linen that commemorates the events leading up to the invasion, the Battle of Hastings, and the Fall of England to the Norman’s in roughly 1066 AD. It is accepted that it was it was created sometime before 1082 AD. This textile is constantly confused with woven textiles. (fr, anglo saxon)

Beat: To pack or apply downward pressure to pack weft yarn(s) into a shed with a batten, comb, fork, fingers, or beater. (Preferably a closed shed)

Beater: On a loom, a beater is a swinging beam that holds the reed and beats or places the weft into a shed.

Beater: The word beater can be used to distinguish a tool that is used to beat or press down the weft into place between the warps (See comb, batten, and fork)

Bee’ak’í’dídısí: Twining (nav)

Bee’atł’óhi: Weft (nav)

Bee be’es tłǫnígíí: Ties between twining bar and lacing tension bar (nav)

Bee ní’ tíl ts’ǫí : Lacing cord (nav)

Beedah ní’t’ııl tsǫí : Heddle rods or shedding devices(nav)

Béésh’ áłts’ózí: Bottom ties that tie tapestry rods to the bottom bar of the loom. Béésh is the word for metal or wires that do what you say.(nav)

Berik: A type of kelim(tk)

Beşik: A tapestry or soumac woven bag or cradle. This term is now being used in Oregon(USA) Old Believer communities for the word cradle. (tk)

bik’í’dees dizígííthe: Bar that tapestry is lashed to (nav)

Billedrevs: flat woven pictorial weaving not necessarily a tapestry construct -no slits (Norwegian)

Blister: A raised hillock in the tapestry weaving surface can be caused by trying to pack too much weft in a small area and then weaving tightly over it. It can be a mistake or in the case of a few Navajo blankets a design element.

Block: The process of applying moisture and or warmth, perhaps going as far as to nail the tapestry to a blocking board, moisten and stretch the tapestry into a preferable shape after it is removed from the loom. The process is meant to shape and create a more even tapestry surface.

Bobbin: In floor loom weaving it is a tube or spool designed to fit in a shuttle and release its supply of weft yarns as needed. Bobbins may be plastic, wood, or paper. In tapestry a bobbin is most often a pointed turned wooden tool with space for wrapping the weft around it. It may be made of plastic. (See tapestry bobbin, brioche, and flutes) The pointed tip of the bobbin is used for packing the weft down and to pass the weft thread through the shed.

Bombyx mori: Cultivated silk worm moth species

Bomull: cotton (nor)

Border: A decorative motive in the shape of a band that is integral with the rest of the tapestry, and has the effect of framing it. Ancient tapestries usually have a plain weave border or in Chinese weaving a gon acting as a frame for practicality.

Bowline: A knot used to secure the beginning and end of warp so that during the weaving, knots will not slip under downward fork or beating pressure. The bowline is also useful in repairing a broken warp.

Brocade: A fabric construction in which a decorative yarn or element is added to a plain weave or other simple weave structure. It can be discontinuous or loom controlled.

(la) Broche: Bobbin (high warp) (fr)

Brzeg, Hem (pol)

Bubbling: Introducing an excess of weft yarn into a shed by hand. A row of weft is placed into the top of a previous row at an angle and pulled down, resulting in a series of weft semi circles or bubbles.

Büküm: Refers to the s or z twist of a yarn (tk)

Butterfly: A length of yarn wound around the fingers in a figure 8 and secured with a knot. A butterfly provides a small source of secured yarn and replaces a bobbin for tapestry weaving.

Byssus: An exceedingly fine and much valued cloth woven in ancient times from flax, occasionally, cotton or silk. It has been hypothesized by Cax Wilson that it might have been a fiber secretion of a mollusk.

Byssus: A shade of purple dye produced in the Mediterranean in the ancient world by crushing a mollusk.


Cable: Cords that have been re-plied.

Caracol; A common symbolic pattern called the snail in Zapotec weaving refers to the travel life that begins and ends in nothing (sp or indigenous?)

Calibre: A number indicating the exact thickness of a thread in terms of thousands of metres spun from 1 kilogram of raw material. For example, the number 12, 16, 20, or 24 indicate that 12,000, 16,000, 20,000, or 24,000 metres of the initial thread was spun from 1 kilogram of the wool or cotton. For wool and silk, the calibre number is preceded by another figure indicating the number of strands assembled in the thread. For example 2/20 means that the wool is made up of 2 twisted strands of an original thread of 20,000 metres to the kilogram; 3/18 means three twisted strands of 18,000 metres to the kilogram. For cotton the calibre is indicated by the first figure and the number of strands by the second. For example, 12/18 cotton means an assembly of 18 strands of an original thread of 12,000 metres to the kilogram.(fr)

(le) calque: Tracing(fr)

Canillas de madera: Wooden bobbin (sp)

Cargar extremos: Weaving two or three weft passes on the extremes to keep the weaving even. (sp)

Cartoon: A black and white outline drawn to full-scale to use as a reference by the weaver as the tapestry is woven. Historically, they were marked on linen with charcoal, silverpoint, red chalks, and other pigments. There may be colour, design, and technical notations on the cartoon. The cartoon may be drawn or photographed (as an enlargement of the original) on stout paper or line sheet. The cartoon is the weaver’s guide and is placed behind a high warp loom and sewn to the tapestry as it is woven, or beneath the warps of a lo-warp loom to which is sewn. Its outlines are copied or inked on to the warp in dark ink.

(le) carton: Cartoon(fr)

Çatal: Fork of wood, bone, or horn like tool used for placing wefts. (tk)

Cavendoli knots: A technique of using half hitches to create a cloth.

Çengel(toplu çongel): hook design or a lozenge framed with hooks(tk)

(la) chaîne: Warp(fr)

(le)chapelet: Rosary-weft samples that have been fixed together to create a chain of colour for comparing or deciding which colours are to be used in a tapestry. (fr)

Chamber: A suite of tapestries used designed for a particular room and possibly comprising (for a bedroom) bed canopy, headboard, and covering, wall and door hangings.

Cheh-Cheng: Proto tapestry done on a draw loom using half passes. (ch)

Childrens Tapestries: Usually refers to tapestries woven by children in Harrnia, Egypt under the tutelage of Rames Wissa Wassef.

Chimayó: Rio Grande weaving style-notable for using two stripes and a central design most likely derived from a Saltillo design.

Chine: The mixing of colours together on the same bobbin with dissimilar value and/or hue. (fr)

Chodnik: Runner (pol)

Churro: A particular breed of sheep originating and grown by the Navajo for weaving and food.

Clamps: Metal fasteners placed in loom roller groves to hold warp bars

Classical period: In European tapestry roughly the16th century to early 20th century

Clothbeam: An American term for the loom roller on which finished tapestry is wound.

Cochineal: Insect larvae from which red dye is derived.

Colour code: A system for the identification of colours by encoding each with an alphanumeric code or other means of easy recognition. The code is often written onto the cartoon and refers back to a sample chart.

Colour guide: (See rosary, colour code, chapelet, etc)

Colour Fade: A method of moving from one value or hue to another, which makes use of gradually changing melanges or the more radical chine. This can be achieved by using a series of weft changes on the bobbin or changing the colour you’re using on the bobbin every few passes.

Comb: A fork or shaped hand tool or device used by tapestry weavers to beat or jam rows of weft down to cover the warp threads. In some Asian countries, – like Japan- weavers’ fingernails are cut in a saw-tooth shape for use instead of a comb. (See beater, crystallized weaving)

Comb: Hatching (am)

Coptic: Copt is the abbreviation for the Greek Aigyptios that stands for the pharonic Het-ka-ptah meaning the house of the ka or soul. It is a name given to all of the Christians living along the Nile River. BUT, Tapestry weaving had been produced in this area long before the Copts were labeled Copts. The earliest known Egyptian tapestries were probably woven in this area and continue to be woven even today.(gk)

Cord: Plied yarns that have been replied.

Corde: A unit of measurement. A corde of wool is 4 or 5 skeins of wool with a total weight of about 0.55kg.

(le) coton: Cotton (fr)

Cotton: Gossypium hirssutum

Cotrets: or coterets: Gobelin term for uprights of the loom; an ancient meaning of the word is work mates. (fr)

Countered: Adding plain weave row(s) between non woven techniques-sumac, twining, pile weaves.

Crenulated tapestry: Weaving a line up a wrap and then moving over several warps coming back to the initial point wrapping and repeating the process. It is not necessarily done as a join but for its crenellated look.

Crenille: Aubusson term for groups of threads prepared for setting up the loom.

Creux: Hollow (fr)

Crimp: The waviness, curl, or nap of a fiber.

Croisement:(des fils) cross

Cross: Refers to the crisscrossing of the warp threads at either end of the warp which prevents tangling and holds them in place while warping and while winding them on to a loom. A cross serves to retain the order of the warp as the loom is threaded (See figure 8 warping)

Crossing: Either the method of joining to an adjacent colour areas parallel to the warp during weaving so that ‘relay’ or joins are unnecessary, or the gap between alternate warp

threads through which the bobbin or shuttle pass.

Cross rod: The rod separating the even set of warps (high warp)

Crosswise design: Shape woven in the direction of the weft.

Crapaud: A half-pass over a woven shape to produce a change in the shed or texture of a weaving. (fr)

Criado(a): Indian captive adopted by a Spanish family and treated as a servant. Many were taught to weave. It is hypothesized that escaping criado may have taught the Pueblos and the Navajo to weave tapestry.

Croisement (des fils): Warping cross (fr)

Cushion: A pad some 60cm (3ft) long by 20cm (10-12 inches) diameter placed between the front roller of a lo-warp loom and the weaver’s throat or chest, to help him remain in a particular position.

Cut back lines: Marks made by making two or more interlocking shapes within a single piece of colouring. They can be used when a line would be too strong such as around the eye or merely to give a blank area subtle and secondary interest.

Czółenko: Shuttle (pol)


Dahaastł’ó: Loom (nav)

Dah’iish tł’ǫ´: Loom (nav)

Damask: A reversible patterned fabric created from a combination of satin and sateen weave structures. The designs can be extremely complex and use multiple colours.

Damga: Family, tribal, or kinship mark (tk)

D`ecater: To swift (fr)

Demi duite: Weaving the weft across, ONLY, with no return of the weft to the original starting place. This technique can be used to create dots when alternated with a complete pass of another colour. When combined with a series of two coloured demi duites, the technique will produce vertical lines. By changing the different colours on the bobbin it can produce a fade or colour change up the series of vertical lines created with the pick and pick. (fr)

Desen ipliği: Thread or weft used to produce a design (tk)

Denier: Unit size of a filament yarn which is equal to the weight in grams of 9000 meters of yarn.

Dents: The open spaces between the spacers in a reed through which the warp passes. When used as a noun with a number, it refers to the openings per inch in the reed.

Diamente: Diamond pattern used in Saltillo and Zapotec weaving. (sp)

Dividing rod: The stick, rod, or pole, which creates two alternate parallel rows of warp known as “the shed”.

Diyugi: One of three basic serapes or wearing blankets woven in the classic period in Navajo weaving usually striped with simple tapestry patterns.

(La) duite: One full pass of weft-over and back. (fr)

Dokuma yaygı: Woven rug or covering used on floors and walls and over doorways as opposed to felt coverings. (tk)

Dovetail; A technique for reversing the directions of two adjacent wefts around a common warp, producing a secure join with a toothed or feather like appearance.

Double looped wrapping: A commonly used selvedge technique in the Middle East using two weft elements to produce a stable side selvedge in weaving.

Double passage: Results of two passages of the thread between the warp threads. Superimposed double passages rammed down with the comb constituting the substance of tapestry.

Double texture: A way of increasing the number of weft threads used to correspond to the greater space between warp threads when the warps are woven more than one at a time. This technique produces a contrast in texture with the regular weaving of over and under one warp thread.

Draw-in: A gradual shrinking in, perhaps not so gradual, in the size, or width of the tapestry as it is woven usually indicative of the warp not being tight enough or of not using enough weft, or using to small of a bubble in the weaving process.

Dress Makers thread: Sewing thread that is used by some small format tapestry weavers as weft. Usually a thread spun around a core of some sort-some common brands are-Dual duty, Moleneke, Suisse, Gutterman.

Driadi: A knot involving two warps, which helps to strengthen and fix non-linear design features-possibly or most likely sumac. (fr)

Drop Spindle: A tool consisting of a spindle and whorl used for spinning yarn.

Dropping: The action of not using warp threads by the weaver when working on a progression in an un-patterned area so as to make the superimposed double passages increasingly short; the woven area takes on the appearance of a triangle.

Dikey tezgâh: Vertical loom (tk)

Dual duty craft or upholstery thread: A very tightly spun polyester thread used by some weavers of small format tapestry. It is produced and distributed in North America by Coats and Clarks.

Düğüm: Knot (tk)

Dukagång: A laid in weave where the decorative or design yarn floats across three warps and is tied down by the 4th warp. (Scandinavian)

Düz dokuma yaygı: Non pile, flat woven rug or covering (tk)

Dywan: Rug (pol)


Eccentric: The term used in tapestry when the wearing is not perpendicular to the fell line. i.e., oblique lines.

Ecru: Raw, off-white, unbleached.

Edging: The process of weaving several passages of a bobbin loaded with the same thread as the warp, laid down before a tapestry is started. The edging provides a foundation to hold the warp threads parallel and equal distance from each other (most likely not the same thing as the selvedge).

Edging cord: Plied cords caught or twined into the selvages of a Navajo rug for additional strength. Usually, two ply handspun yarn, used on the edges of weaving in a selvage position. For distinguishing purposes, “edging cord” refers to the binding at the top and bottom, while “selvage cord” pertains to those on the sides.

El: Hand motif (tk)

Elibelinde: Hands on hip design (tk)

Ell: An ancient measure of length not standardized internationally, but related to the cubit. 1 ell (English) =114.3cm (45in); 1 ell= (Scottish) 94.4cm (37.2in); 1 ell (Flemish) =68.6cm (27in); 1 ell (Netherlands) =100cm (39.4inches).

End: (verb) To stop or remove a weft from a tapestry while securing its tail.

Ends: Each individual warp or weft thread.

Endroit: Right side of cloth (fr)

Enlevage: A French term meaning part of a weave that is overlaid with another type of a weave or woven over an existing area (fr)

(Les) ensouples: Warp beams (fr)

Ensuit: Then (fr)

Enter: To begin or start a weft into a tapestry after securing its tail.

Entre-fenetres: Small tapestry strips that hang between windows. (fr)

(l’)entre-toise: Heddle bar separator for warping(fr)

Entre-fentre(s): A narrow tapestry meant to be hung between windows. (fr)

EPI: The sett of the warp or how many ends it has per inch. (Literally, ends per inch.)

Even: To equalize the spaces between the warp threads with the aid of the awl or other tool after the warp threads have first been mounted on the loom, or after one turn of the rollers.

Eye Dazzler: A descriptive term used to describe a certain style of Navajo weaving. Strictly Navajo in concept and are thought to be a reaction to the availability of many coloured aniline dyed yarns. They are very bright and very complex in design structure.

Egyptian knotting: Wrapping around warps in such away that a line is left on the surface of the tapestry-the opposite of sumac which leaves dots.


Fajilla: Initial and finishing weaving you fold to finish the tapestry (sp)

Fell: The last pass of actual weaving also called a fell-line.

Fellitin: Sister City of Aubusson where low warp tapestries are produced.


Fiber: Fiber (nor)

Figure-8: A method of warping around 2 dowels so a cross is formed in the warp threads to separate the two sheds.

Filling; Weft or it can also mean junk yarns to fill or weave in as a spacer in areas that aren’t woven.

(les) fils,(le) fil: Threads(fr)

Fil plein, fil creux: Literally “full threads, hollow threads” or “hills and valleys”(fr)

Fils de croisure: High warp tapestry term for the odd set of warp threads which remain free. (fr)

Fils de lice: High-warp tapestry term for the even set of warp threads which are held by leashes. (fr)

Fırk: Shed (tk)

Finger hank: (See butterfly)

Finger-shedding: Picking a shed or warps with the fingers or raising the alternate warps to facilitate the passage of weft between to sheds.

Fiskgarn: (See seine twine)

Flamsk: Flemish or the Flanders area (nor & sw)

Flamskväv: Slit tapestry (Scandinavian term) implied that is a term used for all Sc. Countries?)

Flat patch: A uniform weave with no relief modeling.

Flatvev: Looms other then tapestry looms (nor)

Flax: Bast fiber from the inner stalk of the linum usitatissmum from which linen is made

Float: A term used to denote what happens when a pass goes over or behind more warps than normally used. It can be a planned for or a mistake. Techniques often used in 16th, 17th, or 18th century tapestry weavers when using precious metals. These techniques were usually formalized in various twill structures or weave structures that would produce a float.

Floating bar: Lines of complete passes that float and don’t connect to a solid space or colour.

Floating Selvedge: Extra warps on the edge of a weaving that do not pass through heddles.

Floss: Low quality silk from the outside of the silk cocoon.

Floss (embroidery): The term refers to a fine cotton thread that is used in embroidery. It is usually in 6 strands and can be bought in small packets of many different colours.

Flottage: To float a weft across the fell line.(fr)

Fluff: Accumulation of short wool fibers appearing on the surface of new tapestries and giving them a velvety aspect. The fluff disappears gradually after a certain amount of brushing and wear.

(La) flute: Bobbin (low warp) (fr)

Frame loom: The simplest of all tapestry looms. It usually does not have tensioning devices or heddles. Its only function is to hold warps in a stretched and parallel position.

Frazada: Blanket (sp)

Free: Cutting off.

Fulling: A cleaning, shrinking, and felting operation used to finish tapestries and other wool products. It gives a tapestry a denser softer hand. The process is used in Turkey and in America by some tapestry weavers.


Gaffel, vevkam,vevskjeer: Beater(nor)

Gamut: Scale of tones from light to dark, or scale of colours.

Garn: Yarn (nor)

Göbek: Large central field motif or groupings of a central design or medallion in a rug. (tk)

Gobelin: French Parisian tapestry workshop established in the late 16th and early 17th century. The original Gobelin family had been dyers. The term has come to refer to high warp flat woven tapestry, but originally was applied to those tapestries done in royal manufactories that were trained or had been originally trained by Gobelin weavers. When the word is applied to a Gobelin style loom, it is a vertical tapestry loom with roller beams and hand manipulated yarn heddles. The word is used internationally to describe high warp tapestry woven in the French style. Many countries have Gobelin style tapestries and their national folk tapestry weaving style. (fr)

Gobelin klasyczny: Gobelin (classical) (pol)

Gobelin współczesny: Gobelin (contemporary) (pol)

Göçebe: A general word for nomad-not an ethnic grouping (tk)

Göl: Rectangular central design (tk)

Gon: Selvedge of surplus yarns woven around a tapestry as an edging for protection. (ch)

Gothic period: In European tapestry roughly 12th to 16th century

Graduation: Gradual transition from a dark tone to a light tone of the same colour, through intermediate values.

Grain: The texture of a tapestry that is determined by the number of warp threads per unit length, which gives the appearance of being either smooth or grossly ribbed.

Greek knotting: A type of reverse soumac.

Grattoir, Gratier: A toothed scraper used in Aubusson weaving (fr)

Guilloche: A design or architectural ornament in the form of intertwined ribbons, bands or threads, or one in which the form of bands twist over each other repeat and repeat the design in a continued series, by the spiraling returning of the bands. (fr)

Gules: Heraldic red. (fr)

Gücü sopasi: Heddle stick for holding heddles for separating warps. (tk)

Gül: Rosette motif (tk)

Gün: Solar motif (tk)


Hachures: Hachures refer to a formal, organized approach to the technique of intermingling colours that travel along the fell line in spike like interpenetrating shapes. They can be used eccentrically. They are usually triangular or diamond shaped-usually with three points or turns. Hachures allow for the subtle or not so subtle horizontal shadings of one hue or colour into the next colour or hue. Where the hachures intermingle they produce a third colour or value. Hachures and hatches are often spoken of in terms of battage or offensive and defensive colour areas. A slang term in the USA during the 50-70’s was flames. (fr)(See hatch or hatching)

Half hitches: Very basic knot for attaching things around the warps or anything else. (See Cavendoli knots)

Half-pass: Demi-duite; weaving the weft over, but not back. Two half passes, over and back comprise a pass.

Half pass: (See demi duite and pass, also pick and pick)

Handspun: The yarns that results from spinning fibers with a spindle and sometimes a wheel.

Hank: A coil or bundle of yarn.

Harness: On a loom, a harness is the frame used to raise or lower certain groups of warp threads.

Hatch: To create woven lines that intermesh in contrasting colours-one point hachures. To create interpenetrating lines of contrasting adjacent weft colours. They have often been described as being comb-like. Lines or passes following along the fell line and are most often stacked one on top of another in a series of hatches.

Hatching: The same as hachure except they are generally one pass, point, or turn, interpenetrating of colours akin to hatching technique used in engraving, or the marks in map making, or drawing. The simplest form of hatching consists of teeth of various sizes, in two different colours or shades which fit into each other following a contour. In theory two different colour hatches create the illusion of a middle tone between the two extremes.

Hatchings: A method of horizontally mingling two adjacent colours. The affect produced is one of horizontal stripes, each of which contains a complete pass of equal width.

Haute-lisse: High-warp loom. (See basse-lisse) (fr)

Heading: The beginning weaving prior to the selvage or hem usually plain weave. It helps to space the warp and is often woven in junk threads and yarn.

Heddle: A device such as a tied heddle or wrapped string by which a warp or warp threads may be separated to form a shed. Usually loops attach the threads to a heddle rod.

Heddle rod: A rod or device for reversing the warp position using heddles of some sort (see batten) A rod or stick is placed horizontally in front of the warps and string is looped from the rods to those warps in back position. When the heddle rod is pulled, these back warps come forward to create the pulled-shed or open shed.

Hem: A turned heading or selvedge intended to be turned under as a finished edge.

Hem stitching; Stitching the edges of a tapestry when cut from a loom.

High warp: Refers to a tapestry loom in which the warps are stretched vertically as opposed to a low warp loom in which the warps are stretched horizontally or parallel to the floor; haute-lisse. (See basse-lisse or haute-lisse)

Hilo: Thread (sp)

Hjulrokk: Spinning wheel (nor)

Hooked-joint: A method of joining two colours by hooking or interlocking around each other that results in no loss of strength but stabilizes slits in the final woven product.


ídah neı loí: The rod that the tapestry is tied to and then laced for tensioning to top beam(nav)

Ikat: Spacing dyeing of warps or wefts

Ilme: Knot (tk)

ıłdeestł’ǫ´: Top of twined tapestry (nav)

ıł nıkı dıı’áhí : Loom upright(nav)

ıłsit ą´ní : Lower beam(Navajo)

Indigo: Common name for a universally used dye stuff that can be harvested from approximately 350 different plants. The most important plant is the indigo tinctoria, a member of the pea family. Indigo was not synthesized until 1880 into aniline dyes.

Interlocking weft: A method of forming designs so as to prevent a slit between colours. Adjoining wefts hook together or turn around each other before entering the next shed. This hook occurs between warps, and the line created is straight (unserrated). No build up occurs where the vertical is maintained, as, in a border.

Inking on: The process of marking the design on the warps with a flat pen and Indian ink or a marker– copying the lines from the cartoon to tensioned warp, which is pressed up behind the warp.

Interlace: Another term for weaving, or creating a structure in which the elements are tangled together in some way.

Inlay tapestry: Weaving a block of tapestry within another weave structure. It can also be used to mean brocading or laying in other threads to form a design.

Interlock (single): A type of join, it is the action of two wefts to clasp to or turn around two wefts between two warps. It is used to secure to colour areas in an area where a slit might be created without the join.

Interlock (Double Weft): A double join or interlock between two colour areas that produces a braided look on the back or the front of the tapestry. It is the strongest of all joins.

Innslag: Weft (nor)

Inversion technique: A way of finishing ornately bordered rugs in their more simplified centers, to ease the tedious end-rug weaving or simply put weaving the center area first.

ıstar: simple vertical loom (tk)


Jacquard loom: A complex or not loom that uses a series of punched cards that produce elaborate pattern weaves that often attempt to replicate tapestries.

Jaspes: Inlay tapestry passes that create small lines between shuttle woven passes (sp)

Jasse: French term for wool fibers which strengthen new tapestry and gradually become visible through wear and brushing. (fr)

Jedwab: Silk (pol)

Jeweled: Spots of intense colour in a tapestry design.

Joins: The many ways of connecting a slit.

Juta: Jute (pol)

Jynne: Square cushion taken to church usually in tapestry to make hard benches softer (Swedish)


Kant: Selvedge(nor)

Kanat: Narrow woven bands that are then assembled into larger rugs, occasionally called şak in some regions. (tk)

Kargı: Shed rod (tk)

Karakul: A fat tailed sheep whose wool is used in tapestry in the middle East.

Karton: Cartoon (pol)

Kat: Ply (tk)

Kaz başı: Hook design (tk)

Keçe: Felt rug (tk)

Kirkiplik: non slit kelim (tk)

Kirkit: Beater or batten (tk)

Kirtme: Soumac (tk)

Kelim, khilim, kilim: A flat woven tapestry; a rug; a weft faced textile- tapestry generally weft faced may include other techniques such as Saha, floats Soumac. They are usually reversible and use slit techniques. The term is of Middle Eastern origin, but like the word Gobelin has migrated up through Eastern Europe.

Kesa: The large blanket like robe worn by Buddhist priest. It is based on the rags or pieced garments that Buddha wore. Often woven in one piece with fillers between squares or rectangular pieces and then pieced or sewn together. Many are woven in tapestry technique. (ch)

Kołowrotek: Spinning-wheel(pol)

Konopia: Hemp (pol)

K’o-ssu: Chinese tapestry technique used for dragon robes and Manchu rank badges-literally meaning cut silk which refers to the slits left when weaving tapestry. It is a term that appears during the Sung Dynasty for tapestry. It is hypothesized that tapestry was probably learned from the Ughriz nomadic tribes. (ch.)

Krosno: Floor Loom (pol)

Krosno gobelinowe: Gobelin loom(pol)

Kufic lettering: Arabic script often woven into Islamic textiles.


Lac: Gobelin term for slip knot made with weft thread and bobbin by high warp weaver to prevent the bobbin from falling. (fr)

Lac: secretions of an insect used for dyeing reds and pinks

(la) laine: Wool(fr)

Lana: Wool (sp)

La nappe de chaîne: Shed (fr)

Lay: To place the cartoon carefully into position on the drawing board underneath the warp threads.

Lay-in: A method of introducing a new yarn into the weft by trailing the tapered end through the shed until it is just inside the new design area.

Laying-in: The process of putting in the weft thread.

Lazy line: A lazy line is created by a diagonal pattern of relays or passes executed by two wefts of the same colour. Weaving technique used to break up large areas of the same colour into smaller weaving areas making them easier to weave. If done correctly as in 2 by 2 rises, they can be are quite invisible.

Lea: A yardage measurement of linen.

Leash: A single loop of string or heddle cord that encircles a single warp thread and is used by the weaver to create a shed. It can be plural as in leashes.

Levent: Loom beam to which warps are attached (tk)

Len: Linen (pol)

L’entre-toise: (f.)Heddle bar separator for warping (fr)

Lice: American and English slang for the small, white, rice shaped areas that show on the front of a tapestry when the weft doesn’t cover the warp-refers to the insect.

Licer: French for weaving tapestries. (fr)

Limn: To create an outline.

Linen: Those goods made from flax.

Lin: Linen (nor)

Lino: Linen (sp)

Liss, lisse: (See heddles) (fr)

(le) lissier: Tapestry weaver

Liure: Interlock (fr)

Loft: Refers to the bounce or resiliency of a yarn when beaten down.

Loom with thorns: Literal translation of the words used for a tapestry loom. (ch)

Low warp: A loom on which the warps are stretched parallel to the floor; basse-lisse. (See haute lisse, high-warp, or basse-lisse)

Lurçat, Jean: 1892-1966 French Tapestry weaver who is often credited with reinvigorating French tapestry weaving during the 20th century. He was influential in reorganizing tapestry technique and design and influenced many of the modern day tapestry weavers.

Luster: The sheen or glossiness of a given yarn.


Macramé: Using knots to create a fabric or a border.

Madder: Dye plant used in production reds and pink

Makata aplikowana: Quilted tapestry (pol)

Makata haftowana: Tapestry embroidery (pol)

Mantas: Shoulder blankets or wrap around dresses woven by the Pueblo Indians and perhaps the Navajo. (Not sure of the origin of the word, could be Hopi, Zuni or Pueblo)

Marco: Frame (sp)

Maquette: A small-scale design of a tapestry, often in colour, used as a guide for the weaver. (fr)

Melange: The mixing of colours together on the same bobbin to create visual interest; threads are of similar value and or hue. (See colour fade and chine) (fr)

Meneuses: Leader (fr)

Menik: Skein of weft threads comprising a weft bundle that is passed through the open sheds (tk)

Mercerized: A chemical finishing process that improves strength, luster, and dye affinity in cotton thread and cotton cloth. The process is used in cotton threads to make them boilfast. Named for John Mercer who investigated the process of using caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Oddly enough his investigations were considered a failure because the cloth and thread shrunk up to 20 % to 25%.

(le) métier: Loom(fr)

(le) métier à tisser: A fabric (floor) loom(fr)

Mihrap: A woven niche design in the center of a prayer rug or the symbolic gate to the mosque (tk)

Mille Fleur: Literally thousand flowers, but in tapestry it refers to tapestries that are woven with many flowers in the back ground of the tapestries. (fr)

Minder: Large filled cushion or bolster (tk)

Model: Scaled down draft often preceding the preparation of the full-scale cartoon. Modeling: The gradation of colour or value to describe illumination, light, volume, or shape.

Modulate: To move gradually, in small successive steps or graduations, between contrasting elements. For instance, one could modulate between extremes of value, hue, or intensity, or area of deep texture, and one which is absolutely flat.


Monochrome: Part of a tapestry in which the motifs are worked in varying shades of the same colour.

Moqui: Wearing blanket woven in Navajo transitional period. Usually striped with a large tapestry design in the center.(Navajo)

Morris, William: 19th century British artist and tapestry weaver credited with reviving tapestry weaving. He was noted for his Art Noueveau style and was part of a group of artist called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He seems to be responsible for changing Gobelin weaving or technique to weaving from the back to the front in British tapestry weaving.

Motivet: design (nor)

Mottle: variegation or spotty-a method of weaving a gradual change from one colour to another. Also, results obtained in weaving by mixing on the same bobbin or shuttle several threads of widely differing colours.


Namazlık: Seccade or prayer rug (tk)

Nanool zhee: Warp (nav)

(la) nappe de chaine: Shed(fr)

Napped: Brushed or fulled

Narzuta: Coverlet (pol). A type of textile which can be woven, knotted, crocheted etc. There is no specific word for woven piece.

Navajo: Native American Indians who settled in Arizona and New Mexico one of the largest reservations in the United States. It is mainly situated in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. They weave tapestry on upright looms. They grow there own sheep. Originally, they wore their weavings in the form of wearing blankets and mantas. They shifted their weaving style to meet the demands of the market and now weave mostly rugs which are sold all over the world.

Navajo rug: A flat-woven, weft faces wool rug; historically, some were meant to be worn. The design of a Navajo rug is usually balanced geometrically, double sided, and woven with a limited colour. It is woven on a continuous warp resulting in four selvedges.

Nazarlık: Talismanic motif woven as a protection against the evil or to counter as a protection against other design elements that might have adverse effects. (tk)

Needleweaving: Weaving tapestry with weft carried with a needle often done on small frame looms. It is all so a technique of adding wefts or reweaving a problem area after the weaving is completed using a needle and weft.

Nettles: China Grass or stingless nettles, Bochmeria Nivea the finished product is ramie.

Occasionally and historically used as warp in Asian-Chinese tapestry.

Nić, nitka: Thread (pol)

Nochezti: Blood of the cactus an Aztec name for a certain species of prickly pear cactus and nopal cactus that is attacked by cochineal insect from which red dye materials are extracted. (aztec)

Norsk rölakan: Norwegian double sided or reversible interlocked tapestry (nor)


Obi: Long sash wrapped around and tied in formal kimono wear sometimes woven in tapestry technique. (jap)

Oblique lines: Passes of eccentric wefts that follow a curve or shape and are not perpendicular to the warp.

Ogee: A wave like form having an inner and outer curve like the letter B, a pointed arch each side of which is formed by a concave and a convex curve.

Ombre: Graded stripes used to shade from one hue or value to another.

Open shed: The fixed open shed created by putting in the dividing rod. Pulling the leashes creates the alternative, a closed shed. A pass is always composed of one open and one closed shed.

Oppstadvev, rammevev: Loom for tapestry weaving (nor)

Osmanlı kilim: Kelim woven in the Ottoman court style (tk)

Osnowa: Warp (pol)

Otoczka: Hem also brzeg (pol)

Otwarcia: Slits (pol)

Overlapping joint: A method of piecing yarn by overlapping the tapered ends.

Ourdir: (v.) To warp (fr)

Ourdissior: Warping board


Paladar: Pick and pick (sp)

Parmaklı: Finger design elements (tk)

Pasada: Selvage (sp)

Pas kontuszowy or pas slupski: Tapestry belt used by noble men (pol)

Pass: The weaving of a weft across and back. (See demi-duite and half pass)

Passage: The journey made by the bobbin when carrying the weft thread between and across the warp threads. A so-called double passage is made when the warp threads have crossed once in each direction. (See pick, pass, half-pass, and duite)

(le) peigne: Comb(fr)

Peine de madera: Wooden comb or beater (sp)

Petit Patrons: Portraitures et patron; The original sketches made by an artist. (fr)

(la) perche a lisse: Heddle bar (fr)

Perle cotton:

Pick: Once across the fell line with the weft–demi duite; half pass; shot; row; a single weft.

Pick and pick stripes: A method of producing vertical stripes the width of a warp thread by alternating two bobbins carrying different hues or colours. One can run a colour fade through the vertical stripes to produce vertical gradations of colour changes.

Pick and pick: The weaving two contrasting colours of weft into separate, alternating sheds, which will result in narrow vertical stripes.

Pienne: Gobelin term for a group of warp threads equivalent to 4 inches of material or 10 cm. warping divisions (fr)

Pinhead design: Weaving that produces a very small two-colour check pattern.

Pique: The weave resulting from the mixing of two contrasting colours on a bobbin

Piquiete: small diamond shaped design element usually an inlay tapestry woven triangle (sp/Chimayo)

Plain weave: Over and under each warp thread. In the next shed, over and under the opposite woven warps; plain weave; tabby; tapestry.

Plaits: The prepared sections of warp thread, which are plaited as they come off the warping frame.

Plein: Full

Ply: 1. To twist several yarns together to create interesting visual, textual, or even colour

effects. 2. The number of fibers or strands spun or wound together to make the yarn or thread, or weft bundle.

Plied yarn: Consists of 20 or more spun elements

Poinçon: Awl (fr)

Portee: 1 portee=12 warp threads. The fineness of a tapestries texture is designated by the number of portees to the section–which is 1 foot 4 inches of warp. For example, a 20 portee tapestry has 20 times 12 threads; i.e., 240 threads over 1 foot 4 inches of warp, which comes to 15 threads per inch. (fr)

Portiere: A tapestry woven to fit over a door. (fr)

Pointillism: Weaving small dots of colour in contrasting colours that are meant to be viewed as a whole area not as single dots. The viewer’s eye then adjusts the dots to create a single shimmery colour effect.

Półaczenia: Interlock (pol)

Portieres: Tapestry strips for hanging over doorways to reduce drafts. (fr)

Portraiteurs et Patron: The original sketches made by an artist. (Also called weavers’ Petits Patron) (fr)

Positioning line: A line that is drawn on a cartoon at right angles and corresponds to another line that has been drawn the length of a warp. The two lines are then consistently matched up during the weaving process. This provides the weaver with a marker that when matched produces a geometrically accurate alignment between the cartoon and the weaving.

Poya(s): Highly religious and symbolic belts worn by the Russian and Turkish Old Believers, which are occasionally woven in tapestry technique. (Rus)

PPI: Picks per inch of weaving.

Pricker: An awl or other pointed tool used for moving and aligning warps in the warping and weaving process.

Projekt: Project (pol)

Progression: an area of tapestry worked in advance of the rest to facilitate design development or the working of other parts, e.g. top of a circle, verges, etc.

Proportion; The relationship of amounts of something one to another in tapestry; it can be colour, texture, etc.

Progressive hachures: Using two or more hachures in a row at a given time. When weaving from the front it allows one to have many hachures side by side allowing you to leave the bobbins hanging without cutting them off.

Projektowanie artystyczne: Artistic design (pol)

Pueblo: Indian tribe near the Navajo reservation in which the men are the weavers.

Pull-shed: 1. On a Navajo loom, the pull shed is created by pulling on a stick tied to every other warp. On a Gobelin style tapestry loom, pulling the heddles creates the pull shed, moving half of the warps from the back to the front of the weaving plane. On many looms the shed is pulled or changed by using treadles. The shed is made by pulling out the heddle rod, and hence the warp threads.

Punto de acabamiento: finishing knot (sp)

Prydnadsryor: Ornamental rya. The pile was placed down or under when displayed and the back became the decorative element. This technique was both Swedish and Finnish. (Swedish)


Quinconce: Staggering (fr)


Raddle: A tool used to keep the warps evenly spaced or distributed during warping or weaving.

Radełko: Beater, also, ubijak (pol)

Raised outline design: A way of using pick and pick in such away that it produces a raised design where it meets another shape. It originated in rugs woven by Desbah Begay in the Coal Mine Mesa Area of the Navajo reservation.

Rake: A rule with a spiked edge used to arrange warp on a loom.

Rammevev: Loom for tapestry weaving (nor)

Range: Series of thread from dark to light.

Râteau: raddle, rake, sometimes comb(fr)

Rayures: They are related technically to the hachure, but the effect is one of diagonal stripes. (fr)

Recio: Tapestry design advancing over two warp threads per round. (Chimayo)

Reed: The removable part of a beater which spaces a warp. It is measured in dents per inch. It is the part of the beater that the warps must pass through.

Relais. Relay (fr)

Relampagos: Lightening design used in Zapotec weaving. (sp)

Relay: The action of the wefts as they reverse directions around adjacent warps. When a weaver has not used interlocking techniques to bind together adjacent edges of a different colour, a slit appears between the two turns.

Remplissage: Filling in (fr)

Renning: warp (nor)

Rentraiture: The contraction or shrinkage of a tapestry when cut from the loom on which it was stretched. (fr)

Rep weave: A plain woven structure that covers the weft. The design is carried in the warp.

Ressaut: Work which looks like embroidery but consists of the warp the weft being brought across the surface of the weaving by a free bobbin. It has been at various times called flying shuttle, soumack, and crappaud. (fr)

Reticular: Having the appearance of net or mesh.

Return: Another way of describing two picks or a pass. Two picks or a pass build up the steps in weaving a shape.

Rib: One covered warp thread

Rib Structure: When weaving tapestry, the warps, when covered, create a rib that can be emphasized or deemphasized by the amount of warp and weft that is used. Light is caught and interflected between the ribs and the hairiness or lack of hairiness of the weft.

Ribbing: A surface irregularity or ribbing caused by weaving a different tension on each of the two sheds as each half pass is woven. The result is alternating warps standing forward and creating vertical ridges along the warp direction.

Rippling: Differential tension in warp threads as a result of faulty or careless weaving may cause puckering or bunching of the tapestry surface. It may also be caused from using too many wefts in several or more passes.

Ro tsuzure: A type or variety of woven tapestry. It is most likely based on floating bars and hatching. (jap.)

Rod: A dowel, one inch or more in diameter separating the even from the uneven warp ends.

Rod shed: Shed created by the rod.

Röllakan sometimes spelled Rölakan: Double interlocking tapestry (sw)

Rosary: A range of thread colour samples that correspond with colours chosen for use according to the cartoon. Samples may be made up in small skeins and strung together in use sequence, like the beads of a rosary. It is usual in tapestry studios to make three rosaries– one for the artist-designer, one for the weaver, and one as a reference standard.


Rya: a coarsely knotted pile fabric with a number of wefts between rows of knots. Warps are usually linen or hemp. Supposedly, the word is related to the English word “rug” and the German word “ruhe”.

Ryijy: rya (fin)


S & Z twist: The direction of the twist when a yarn is spun.

Saçak: Macramé, braids, or weaves of the warps used to finish both ends of a rug after is removed from the loom. (tk)

Saltillo: A city in Mexico known for its beautiful serapes and very distinctive, finely woven designs. (sp)

Sampling: Preceding weaving a large tapestry small weavings used to see if the colour mixes for a given tapestry are accurate.

Sautage: Looping as in progressive hachures or looping up (fr)

Savonnerie manufactory: A workshop in France that created a few tapestries, but is best known for its high quality carpets that it produced.

Scaffolding: A process in which a tapestry is woven on junk yarns so that the tapestry may be shaped in the weaving process or some yarns voided or not woven.

Scallops: (See bubble or bubbling or wedge weave)

Scraper: A metal or wooden flat comb with hooked teeth used in lo-warp weaving. Its function is to push the weft down against the fell line.

Seccade: Prayer rug generally 100 x 160 cm or 120 x 180 cm. Usually they have a niche design of some sort, but size alone is indicative or suggestive of how the rug is used. (tk)

Section: A measure of weaving width for lo-warp looms– 1 section==40.46cm (16inches). The width of a lo-warp loom is expressed in terms of number of workable sections; e.g. a 3-section loom could be used to weave tapestries 121.9cm (4 ft) wide.

Sectional weaving line: A faintly visible line of pinholes that diagonally transverse a plain area–resulting from that area being woven in sections. (See lazy line)

Seda: silk (sp)

Seine twine: A tightly spun cotton cord used for warp in some tapestries. It comes in various sizes. Its most frequent use is for the making of fishnets. (See fishgarn)

Selvedge: The outside edge of a weaving-literally self-edge. The selvedge is often woven a distinctive colour associated with a particular workshop. It often contains the weavers mark and identification. A distinction is made between the warp selvedge, which runs up the edge of the warp, and the weft selvedge, which finishes off the work at the beginning and the end of the project. The weft selvedge in some weaving traditions will contain double the amount of warps or be four-sided such as in Navajo rugs.

Serape: Flat woven garment or blanket with a slit for the head. (sp)

Series: The whole of the even numbered threads, or the whole of the uneven threads, or else all of those threads together.

Series: Many tapestries are woven in groups of related subject matter especially in European weaving traditions.

Sett: The number of warps per inch.

Sewing: Operation of closing up the relay joins or slits of a tapestry after weaving with appropriately coloured threads. The work is sometimes facilitated by mounting the tapestry on a small low frame.

Shade: Darken by adding black.

Shaft: (See harness) Two or more wooden laths on which the heddles are looped.

Shaft: The long dowel-like part of a drop spindle to which the whorl is attached.

Shed: The space created when heddles are pulled or picked-the opening through which the warp must pass.

Shed rods: The dowel rods used when warping to hold the sheds (the warp cross).

Silke: silk (nor)

Shoso-in: An 8th century repository or storehouse of the todai-ji in a monastery in Nara, Japan. It housed everything from weapons to religious items, but most intriguing are objects and textiles-felts, silks and tapestry- that came by way of the Silk routes.

Shot: (See pick)

Shrinkage: Shortening of a tapestry when cut from the loom caused by contraction of the previously stretched warps. Shrinkage across the width may result from the contraction of weft threads if interlocking has been badly done. Shrinkage may also be caused by a radical change in environmental conditions compared with those prevalent in weaving.

Silk Road: The overland trade routes that began in the Middle East and ended in China or Japan creating an exchange of ideas, inventions and trade good dissemination as early as Neolithic period, according to some sources.

Singles: Spun yarn that hasn’t been plied, also called single ply.

Sırma iplik: Gilded thread with a cotton or silk core (tk)

Skånsk rölakan: Interlocked peasant tapestry woven in the Skåne area of Sweden (sw & nor)

Skein: A measured amount of yarn that is wrapped in a circle or coil to keep the yarn from tangling and to minimize thread displacement when stored; a hank.

Skillet: Shed (nor)

Slave blanket: Blanket woven by an Indian captive.

Slits: A naturally occurring consequence in tapestry weaving, slits occur when relays or passes turn next to each other in the same shed. The more passes that share the same warp turns, the larger the vertical slit. They can be use to create the illusion of line, shadow, etc. They may also be pulled tightly to create a larger slit for shading. They can be used to create the smallest visual vertical line available in tapestry weaving. If not wanted or needed, they can be joined or clasped to make them disappear. They are usually sewn when not wanted.

Slyngteknikk: Join or interlock name (nor)

Soumac, Soumack: A wrapping technique around one or more warp threads which will produce lines, or smooth the transition between colour areas. It has been used to create textiles on its own. It is often paired or countered(a row of tabby between rows)to give it more strength. (Egyptian knotting is soumack wrapped in the opposite technique and leaves a line on the surface of the tapestry.) The other technique leaves a broken line or often little dots in multiple rows it has a herringbone effect. It is, also, a Middle Eastern and Asian technique for wrapping wefts around warps to produce a textured, firm-surfaced textile.

Sourmack; (See soumack)

Sumak: Soumak(pol)

Sumak egipski: Egyptian soumak (pol)

Sumak grecki: Greek soumak (pol)

Sumak orientalny: Oriental soumak(pol)

Sumak odwrotny: Reverse-soumac (pol)

Spare: The length of a warp thread left between the end of the tapestry and the reserve roller. (See thrum)

Spelsau: A courser wool fiber used in tapestry weaving.

Step: Literal steps that are formed when weaving and building on the next warp over each time.

Stick-shed: The shed formed by placing the batten in the space made by the shed rod.

Stippling: The process by which gradations of colour are achieved by weaving spots or flecks of one colour on the ground of another

Støttekant: Hem or selvedge (nor)

Strand: Term used to describe the elements making up a thread.

Strings: Alternate name for warps.

Stripes: A method of using a varying number of complete passes of a hue. The technique can be used to produce horizontal stripes. Changing the distance between the horizontal stripes can produce changes of value. Frequently, it is used in a fibronacii series to produce horizontal colour fades. Upward stripes are obtained by means of adjacent passages of each colour (See pick and pick); they are necessarily regular and of the same minimum thickness as one warp thread.

Swedish Bobbin: A bobbin based on the Gobelin style put about half its size.

Szpulka: Bobbin (pol)

Sztuka tkacka: Art of weaving (pol)



Tache: Hook, clasp or fastener. (fr)

Täcke: Bed coverings or blankets made of tapestry or rya; made of two halves and joined in the middle(Swedish)

Take up: The contraction of the warp yarn that is caused by the tension applied to the warps during the weaving process. The tension can be created by the action of the yarns to the warp when woven or by mechanical means of tensioning the loom.

Tapester, -ister: obs. rare, Also 5 tapster. (Corruption of tapeser TAPISSER, prob. by association with trade names in -ster; cf Tapestry)=Tapisser. Also attrib. as tapester-work…earliest mention 1472-3. The most lucrative trade of the 15th century was that of a tapister.) Oxford dictionary

Tapster Sarazinois: One of the original terms for a tapestry weaver. It refers to the origins of tapestry in the Middle East in France.

Tapester: obs. form of tapster

Tapestry: The easiest definition of tapestry is a plain weave structure with more wefts showing than warp. Traditionally tapestry is a plain weave (over and under each warp) with a discontinuous weft that almost always covers the warp. Basically, what this means is that the design is created by pools of coloured weft that do not necessarily continue across the complete width of the fabric being woven. Parts of the design can be built up at different rates. Slits are often left in the weaving where the colours parallel the warp. These slits can be used to produce outlines and shading. The process of weaving tapestry produces a ribbed fabric that was often hung with the warps running horizontally. Generally in European and Coptic tapestry. The warp is/was wool, linen, or cotton. Modern tapestry after 1750 frequently uses a cotton warp. Weft is usually wool with traces of metal yarns (gold and silver). Silk and mohair are often used for highlights. There are also twill tapestries-i.e. Kashmir and paisley shawls.

Tapestry: Oxford Dictionary. Forms: 5 tapstery, 5-6 tapestrye, 5-8 tapistry, 6 tapstry, -ye, tappistre, 6-7 tapes-, tapis-, tapstrie, 6 tapestry. {Corruption of tapesry, tapesserie, tapisry, or other forms of tapissery. The t may have developed phonetically between s and r, or may have been aided by words in -istry: cf. tapester. (In Milton and Dryden a disyllable.)}

  1. A textile fabric decorated with designs of ornaments or pictorial subjects, painted, embroidered, or woven in colours, used for wall hangings, covers for seats, to hang from windows or balconies on festive occasions, etc. especially, such a decorate fabric, in which a weft containing ornamental designs in coloured wool or silk, gold or silver threads, etc., is worked with bobbins or broaches, and pressed close with a comb, on a warp of hemp or flax stretched in a frame. Often loosely applied to imitative textile fabrics…2. Short for tapestry-carpet: see 3. 1879 Cassell’s Technical Education. In the Brussels the coloured wool’s make up the bulk of the carpet, while in the ‘tapestry’ the wool is all on the surface. 3. attrib. and comb., as tapestry-artist, covering, hall, hanging, -maker,-making,-man, room, table cover; tapestry-covered, -like, adjs.: tapestry beetle, a dermestid beetle, ATTAGENUS PICEUS. the larva of which is destructive to tapestry,
  1. Woolens, etc.; tapestry carpet; a carpet resembling Brussels, but in which the warp yarn forming the pile is coloured, so as to produce the pattern when woven; tapestry cloth, a piece of tapestry; specifically a corded linen prepared for tapestry painting (cent.Dic.); tapestry moth a species of clothes moth,…Tapestry painting, a painting on linen in imitation of tapestry; material thus prepared; tapestry stitch, properly=Gobelin stitch; also applied to the cross- and tent-stitch work on fine canvas (tapisserieau petit point) also, tapestry-weaver, one who weaves tapestry; also a species of spider; tapestry weaving, the weaving of tapestry; the method of weaving by bobbin and comb, used in making tapestry, as distinct from weaving in a loom with a shuttle…

Tapestry bobbin: A bobbin is used to hold the yarns to weave tapestry. There are two main types:A Gobelin bobbin or Brioche and an Aubusson type called a flute. Gobelin bobbins have a pointed tip and a special place to wrap the yarn. An Aubusson bobbin is flat on both ends so it won’t roll when placed on the web.
(le) tapis: Rug
Tapissier: French for weaver–now usually applied to the maker of decorative weavings rather then real tapestries. (fr)

(la) tapisserie: Tapestry (fr)

Tasser: (v.) To beat (fr)

Technika gobelinowa: Gobelin technique (pol)

Teinter: (v.): To dye (fr).

Tejido: Weaving (sp)

Telar: Treadle loom (sp)

Telar de cintura: Back strap loom. It is used extensively through out North and South America predates Columbus and treadle looms. (sp)

Temple: An implement used in weaving to keep the web even while weaving and not allowing it to pull

Tension: The degree of tautness put on the warp threads.

Tension: Tension (sp)

Tensioner: A means or element on the loom that is used to tighten and loosen the warp while weaving.

(la) tenture: Wall hanging(fr)

Texture: The surface quality or hand of a tapestry.

Tension: The degree of tautness put on the warp threads.

Tension: Tension (sp)

Tensioner: A means or element on the loom that is used to tighten and loosen the warp while weaving.

Thread: usually refers to a smoothly finished product used in sewing and dressmaking, but often refers to (linen) a fairly fine thread used to sew up joins (#100) in French text on weaving..

Thrown: Several fine threads twisted together in one direction and then united with other like threads by twisting in the reverse direction a process in preparing cotton to be used for warp; also called twist.

Thrum: Loom waste or what’s left after you cut off.

Tiftik: Angora or a fine goat-hair (tk)

Tint: To lighten the value of a colour with the edition of white.

(le) tissage: Weaving(fr)

(le) tisserand: Fabric weaver(fr)

(le) tissu: Fabric(fr)

Tkacka Rama: Frame Loom (pol)

Tkactwo Artystyczne: Tapestry weaving (pol)

Tkactwo współczesne: Contemporary weaving (pol)

Tkanina: Wall hanging (pol)

Tkanie: The process of weaving (pol)

Tkanie ręczne: Hand weaving (pol)

Tkanina aplikowan: A quilted textile (pol)

Tkanina Artystyczna: Tapestry (pol)

Tkanina dekoracyjna, makata: Arras wall hanging (pol)

Tkanina eksperymantalna: Modern experimental wall hanging (pol)

Tkanina haftowana: Tapestry embroidery (pol)

Tkanina miniaturalna: Miniature tapestry (pol)

Tkanina przestrzenna trójwymiarowa: Three dimentional tapestry (pol)

Tkanina unikatowa: Unique tapestry (pol)

Tkanina wspólczesna: Modern wallhanging(pol)

Tkanina żakardowa: Jacard tapestry (pol)

Tussah silk: Silk from cocoons of uncultivated silk worms

Tone: To break the intensity of a pure colour with the edition of grey or the complementary hue.

Tracing: Drawing the design on the warp threads using tracing paper and ink.

Tracing stick: A sharpened stick dipped in ink which the weaver uses to outline the design on the warp threads.

Trådokke: Butterfly (Norwegian tapestry doesn’t use tapestry bobbins) (nor)

(la) trame: Weft(fr)

Trama: Weft (sp)

Trampas-Vallero: A version of the Vallero design that has 4 stars placed in the corners and one central star. (Chimayo)

Transit shade: A compromise between two colours, obtained either by using a third colour or hachures.

Transition period: 1865- 1895 It begins with the events or forced imprisonment of Bosque Redondo and marks the point that Navajo weaving goes from clothing themselves with their weaving to weaving rugs for the off reservation market.

Transparency: A way of superimposing two forms upon one another-reflections, things seen through a mist, underwater, dissolving forms, etc. They can also be done with chines, melanges, battage, and hachures. There is an illusion of transparency or opaqueness that is created by using the proper proportions of overlapping colours to those colours beneath.

Tryian Purple: Phoenician purple dye extracted from shellfish usually the murex purpurea. It was a colour reserved for royalty and Roman senators.

Trykk innslagstråden: Beating (nor)

Troites: Lines

Tufting: The weaving of long goat hair tufts to create a fleece effect into a tapestry.

Turn back/padding; The piece of extra weaving or selvedge at the top and bottom of the tapestry which is turned back when the tapestry is cut off. It often contains the weaver’s initials or workshop logo.

Turned joint: (interlocking wefts) Methods of forming designs so as to prevent a slit between colours. Adjoining wefts turn around the same warp before entering the next shed. On a vertical design edge, this dovetailing produces a serrate effect. Build up occurs when the vertical is maintained as in a border. On a diagonal design edge the result is a smooth, gradual line.

Tuyage: Ribbing (fr)

Thwack or thwacking; Feeling with the fingers the hand or surface of a cloth. The word is used to define a bad practice of feeling a tapestry while on the loom and during the weaving process. (Nova Scotia)

Twill: Unless finger picked it needs three harnesses. Twill needs at least 3 harnesses instead of the simple 2 on which basic tapestry is woven. Twill can be weft faced and discontinuous. A weave that creates a diagonal rib on the surface of the weaving. The simplest twill or form is that the float of each filling thread is offset one warp thread to the right or left, instead of a 90 degree rib structure that goes up and down the textile the ribbing will be at a diagonal to the perpendicular. Twill creates a denser tapestry as it is beaten down. Navajo weavers weave some tapestry twill blankets. The original paisley shawls were twill tapestry.

Twining: 1. A method of twining pairs of wefts around the warps. 2. The twiners can be used to create whole cloth within a tapestry. 3. Sometimes used as a warp spacer on a tapestry loom or a beginning base for weaving. 4. A method of creating a vertical or woven line on the surface of a tapestry.

Twist: The number of turns or twist placed in a thread as it is spun or cabled in the spinning process.

Two-faced: Typically a two sided weaving with a designed front and a stripped back. Made with four sheds, this weave structure is thicker than usual and each side can have entirely different designs and colors.

Tsuzure: Tapestry, sometimes called or Tsuzure nishicki or Tsuzure which loosely translates to “cloth of many colours”. (jap)


Ubija, Radełko: Beater (pol)

Üç ayak: Ground loom with heddles bound to a tripod (tk)

Ukosy: Diagonals (pol)

Ull: wool (nor)

Unbalanced weave: A weave structure in which either the warp yarns or weft yarns are more prominent.

Upward design: Shapes woven in the direction of the warp threads.

Urdimbre: Warp (tk)


Value: The relative lightness or darkness of a colour or hue, usually based on a scale of white to black.

Valeres Blanket: A blanket woven in the Vallero tradition.

Vallero: A town in Mexico with a particular weaving style. The design style can be identified by the use of an 8-pointed star and is related to Saltillo designs.(sp)

(le) vàutoire: raddle(fr)

Verdue: A tapestry with a dominance of greenery, trees or plants. (fr)

Verge: The intervening area of warp between two sections of treadles woven on a low warp loom or high warp loom with treadles. The verge is the area of overlap in the weaving surface where two sets of heddles overlap and the same warps in the overlap are often controlled by two sets of treadles.


Warp: The vertical skeleton or web upon which a tapestry is built or woven. The warp usually does not show or is hidden by the weft in traditional tapestry. There are notable exceptions–Frieda Hansen and Helena Hernmack.

Warp-faced: A type of plain weave where only the warp threads are visible on the woven surface.

Warp turn or warp pair: A phenomenon originating during the warping process when a warp is carried over a dowel and returned back toward the weaver, thus creating a warp turn, or a pair of warps. These two warps are treated as a unit during the edging process, during the binding, and again in the first and final four rows of the weaving.

Wątek: Weft (pol)

Weaving line: The horizontal line across which the weft is traveling. (See fell line)

Weaving space: Those warps that can still be woven on and are not covered with weft between the fell line and the top of the warp structure.

Web: The woven textile.

Weavers knot: A knot used by some weavers that allows the broken warps to be clipped close to the knot.

Wedge weave: Related to eccentric weaving. In Navajo weaving it refers to the intentional scalloped edges produced by manipulating warp and weft on the edges of wedge weave rugs.

Weft: Those threads or thread woven at an angle perpendicular to the warp, and completely covering it in traditional French tapestry technique. The wefts produce the design or pattern in the woven tapestry. Archaically, called woof; wouf.

Weft crossing: Another less specific wording for clasped warps, shared warps, joins, and interlocks.

Weft-faced: A type of structure weave in which only the weft threads are visible on the woven surface.

Weft faced Insert: Weft passes that carry a design that are inserted or woven into a plain woven or tapestry woven area usually as floats.

Weld: Dyers Weed, reseda lueteola, from the Mediterranean region-rich bright yellow.

Winding down; The process by which the tension is slackened off the loom and the weaving rolled around the bottom roller while more warps unwind from the top. This enables tapestries far larger than the height between the two rollers of the loom to be woven.

Wlokno: Fibre, yarn, strand etc.

Wlokiennictwo: textile (pol) Wlokiennic two comes from wlokno word meaning textile, fibre industry, it refers to all kind of textile like in English word textile.

Watek: Weft (pol)

Wełna: Wool (pol)

Węzel: Knot (pol)

Węzel hiszpanski: Spanish knot, pile, sehna knot or ghoirdes knot (pol)

Węzel szwecki: Swedish knot, pile, rya (pol)

Włóczka: Yarn (pol)

Wlókiennictwo: Textile (pol)

Włókno: Fiber (pol)

Włókno naturalne: Natural fiber (pol)

Wlókno sztuczne: synthetic fiber (pol)

Woad: Blue dye plant-lsatis tintoria; the word woad has a Saxon origin.

Worsted yarns:

Współczesna tkanina artystyczna: Contemporary tapestry (pol)

WY: weft yarns.


Yan kenar örtüsü: Selvedge edge or binding (tk)

Yapağı: Spun wool fibers also called yapak(tk)

Yarn: A generic term for fibers that are twisted together and used in textile constructs.

Yatik tezgâh: Low warp portable loom with a continuous warp that is strung over two poles. The heddles are attached to the lower warps and rests on blocks. (tk)

Yer Tezgâhı: low horizontal ground loom (tk)

Yıldız: Star motif (tk)

Yörük: Pastoral nomads who are independent tribal groups associated with the Oghuz. These groups are rapidly settling in towns and village communities because of economic and social pressures. (tk)


Zakładanie osnowy: Dressing the loom (pol)

Zapotec: One of several Indian groups that weave in Oaxaca, Mexico.


Legend for Languages











All other words will be attributed to or derivative of English unless otherwise specified or m to be corrected or just not known by the compiler .


Leave a Comment

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.