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A Resource Guide to Knitting and Weaving


A Resource Guide to Knitting and Weaving

Weaving is a craft that involves using two types of yarn, thread, or other fabric-based material to interlock or lace them until they become their own piece of cloth. Weaving enjoys a lengthy history dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic areas. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks practiced weaving and the craft was a staple in Islamic cultures. By the Middle Ages, weaving was a common craft and business throughout Europe. The craft is as celebrated in modern times as it was throughout the ages. From ancient cultures to Native Americans and modern-day workers, weaving has played an important role in cultures worldwide.


Islamic weavers came to prominence in the 700s and their methods for weaving spread to Europe. Spinning wheels were redesigned and the weaving loom was developed. By the 14th century, European weavers sold their wares in cities and town fairs. Christians soon mastered the art of weaving and by the early 17th century, the Huguenot Weavers continued with the craft and developed lace-making techniques. During the early Colonial American period, weaving was a heavily practiced art form used to generate income. The industrial revolution developed looms that made weaving easier. In the early 19th century, the tools were finally developed that would make powered-weaving a possibility.

Equipment Needed

There are several methods used for weaving. Some choose to weave on a powered, loom, while others prefer weaving by hand. Both forms require the use of special equipment in order to ensure a successful, finished product. The main piece of equipment is a loom. Looms are available in a variety of forms including large-standing-floor looms and table looms. Shuttles are used to pass the yarn or thread from one side of the weaving to the other. Bobbins and beaters are essential for those creating Navajo or Native American weavings. Warping boards are other important pieces of equipment used.  Find our complete selection of weaving looms and weaving accessories here.  The yarn or thread used for handweaving is much different than sewing.  Some yarn used for knitting can also be used for weaving purposes.  When choosing yarn for the warp of your loom make sure to choose a knitting yarn that is fairly strong so it doesn't break.  Yarns that are plied have more tensile strength and are ideal for warping.  Nature Spun is a popular brand for warping and weaving with which is a 3-ply yarn from the Brown Sheep Yarn Company.

Types of Weaving

There are several types of weaving and each creates its own pattern and design. Some of the most popular types of weaving include plain weaving, the basket weave, the satin weave, twill weave, and the rib weave. Different types of weaving are suitable for various patterns or templates and materials used. Before creating a weaving project, determine the best type of weaving needed to create the desired piece.


Those new to weaving will find there are several terms used that apply to the craft. Two of the most important words used in weaving include warp and weft. The warp is the thread or yarn that is stretched across the length of the loom. The weft is the thread or yarn that is stretched across the width of the loom. In a plain weave pattern, the weft is woven above and below, or over and under, the warp. Other important terms include loom, shuttle, tension, warping, weaving, and web.

The loom is the device or tool used to secure the warp yarn or thread for the weaving process. The shuttle is a device or tool that is used to carry yarn or thread across the warp. Tension refers to the tightness used when pulling the weft across the warp. Tension is important for determining the correct size of the finished tapestry piece. Warping refers to putting the warp on the loom and weaving is the actual process of passing the weft over and under the warp. When weaving, the portion of the project that is complete and woven is referred to as the web. In order to understand weaving in its full capacity, one must ensure he or she is familiar with all of the terminology associated with the craft. A weaving glossary is a great way to make certain you understand the terminology used. Weaving has been a staple of many cultures for thousands of years. It is just as enjoyable today as it was when practiced by early artisans.