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Weaving 101

Weaving is a way of creating fabric by intertwining two sets of fibers. Fibers used in weaving vary greatly, in fact anything that can by twisted into a yarn or thread can theoretically be used, but common fibers are wool, silk, hemp, and cotton. Fibers that run longitudinally are referred to as the warp and the fibers which run crossways are referred to as the weft. The way the warp and weft combine is called the weave; twill, satin weave, and plain weave are the three fundamental patterns. Weaving is done on looms; there are multitudes of loom types from the very simple backstrap loom to large harness looms that can take up a whole room. All fabrics are woven, from sheets to clothing to sails of ships and most everyday fabric items are produced industrially. Common handmade woven items include tapestries, belts, decorative trims, rugs, blankets, and sometimes clothing, although this is by no means a complete list.

Historically weaving has been done all over the world for thousands of years, usually by women at home. Navajo blankets, Egyptian linen, Indian silk saris, and Grecian tapestries are some stunning examples of such woven items. However with the industrial revolution, weaving moved to factories and looms became mechanized. Today, Jacquard looms in factories are computerized for quicker and more efficient production although some weaving enthusiasts still weave at home as a hobby and art form. There are several weaving guilds throughout the country. In some countries, weaving is still a cottage industry.

Schacht Baby Wolf LoomHistory of Weaving

History of Weaving The history and evolution of weaving, how it was an essential part of life in the past, and how it has become an art form are discussed in this article.

A Picture of Women Weaving in the History, Art, and Literature of Ancient Greece A history of weaving in ancient Greece, descriptions of how it was done, and who did it are described here.

Introduction to Navajo Weaving How the Navajo learned to weave, different looms that they used, and descriptions of their techniques.

History of Textiles Excerpt from an old book that addresses the history of weaving.

Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Weaving, spinning, and dyeing in colonial and revolutionary America are recounted.


Weaving through the Eyes and Hands of a Weaver Pictures of various types of looms, shuttles, and threading hooks are shown on this page. Other pages on the site show different types of fibers and demonstrations on using the looms.

Loom A brief synopsis of different kinds of looms and their components are listed here.

Floor Looms A diagram of a floor loom with parts clearly labeled is shown, and a video introduces weaving on this page.

Some Fibers Used for Weaving Several fibers that can be used in weaving are listed as well as shown on this weaving group's site.

Textiles Different textiles that can be woven into fabric are listed and described.

Basic Steps

Weaving for beginners How to build a loom, set it up, and weave is discussed in great detail in this publication.

Weaving, Basic Weaves, and Standard Fabrics Appropriate textiles to use in weaving are discussed, an overview of how weaving works is given, and some basic weaves are demonstrated.

Handloom Weaving Weaving, materials, dyes, and looms of India as well as a history of weaving in India are given here along with some pictures.

What Is Card Weaving? Simple card weaving can make lovely woven bands for use as belts, bookmarks, and more. This tutorial gives a diagram and pattern to weave the featured pattern.

More Resources

Plain Weave Samples of plain weave and different ornamentation that can be done on woven fabric are shown.

Mills Glossary Several weaving terms are defined here; many of them are still used today.

About My Loom A woman discusses her loom and the basics of weaving, and defines some weaving terms.

Backstrap Loom Weaving in Guatemala Backstrap weaving, an ancient and simple form of weaving is illustrated here in pictures.