Glossary

A glossary of terms

Aquafortis Nitric acid, used in the dyeing process to make the dye-bath acidic and improve the take up of dye by the wool fibres.
Carding Process of disentangling the fibres of the wool using a toothed instrument before spinning. The card would be made with teasels or metal teeth.
Combing Long-staple, or long-fibred, wool is combed with metal combs before spinning to help the fibres line-up in the direction of the yarn. This makes the yarn stronger and is used for worsted cloths.
Fulling The process of cleansing, shrinking and thickening cloth with heat, pressure and moisture.
Long ell An ell is an old measurement of about 45 inches. Long ell refers to a very long cloth of twill weave with a worsted (combed) warp and woollen (carded) weft.
Nap The surface of a cloth where the fibres have been fluffed up from the base of the cloth to give a softer finish that covers the woven structure of the cloth.
Photomicrograph A photograph taken through a microscope at high magnification.
Plain weave The simplest weave where the odd warp yarns operate over one and under one weft yarn throughout the fabric and the even warp yarns operate under one and over one weft yarn throughout the fabric.
Saved list An undyed selvedge in a piece dyed cloth. This is achieved by binding the edge tightly in canvas which is sewn into place before dyeing to stop the dye reaching the yarns in the selvedge.
Selvedge An edging that stops the cloth unravelling along the warp.
Serge A regular twill woven cloth with worsted (combed) warps and woollen (carded) wefts.
Tenter hook A hook on a tenter (rack) used to fasten the cloth to the tenter to be stretched into shape as it dries.
Tenter rack A piece of equipment to stretch cloth into shape as it dries.
Twill weave A weave which repeats on three or more warp and weft yarns and creates a diagonal pattern on the surface of the fabric. Denim is an example of this.
Warp The yarn that is fixed to the loom in the direction of the length of the fabric. The weft yarn is passed between the warps during weaving. The warps have to be strong enough to withstand the tension on the loom.
Weft The yarn that is woven across the warps on the loom during weaving.
Worsted The yarn that is spun from long-stapled (long fibred), combed wool. Fabric that is woven from this yarn.