Glossary

Multilingual Velvet Weaving Glossary.

aksamit: (Polish) word for velvet.

al-khamliyat: (Arabic) medieval term translated as “fine velvet cloths.”

alluciolato: (Italian) “firefly” effect, imitating scattered points of light against a dark background.

alto e basso: (Italian) equivalent to pile-on-pile velvet, having two or three heights of pile; see also haut-et-bas.

baghmal: (Uzbek) word for velvet; variant form, bakhmal.

baldachin: a type of silk brocade with metallic gold or silver brocading wefts; variant medieval English spelling, bowdkyn.

batavia: a 2/2 twill weave.

belbes: (Korean) word for velvet, pronounced “belbet”; literal borrowing from English.

berubetto: (Japanese) word for velvet; literal borrowing from English.

binding warp: set of warp ends used to bind down wefts, especially an extra warp in addition to the primary cloth warp, used to bind down supplementary brocading or facing wefts in a voided velvet.

birodo: (Japanese) word for velvet.

bloom: the tendency of the fibers of cut pile ends to spread out radially at the top.

bobbin rack: a frame used to hold rows of individually weighted bobbins containing the pile warp ends.

bouclé or weft-looping: a technique in which pile is formed by inserting an extra weft, into a ground shed and pulling it up into surface loops.

bout: a pile end consisting of multiple strands or threads, usually two (doubled) or three (tripled, see terciopelo).

boutonné: (French) a term used in Canada for the weft-looped bouclé technique.

brachia, (pl.) brachiis: (Latin) a unit of measurement used in medieval Italian weaving, especially for the width of a cloth in the reed; although it varied from city to city, it was approximately 23-24 inches wide.

breast beam: the beam at the front of some looms next to the weaver’s stomach that the woven cloth wraps around on its way to the cloth beam.

brocade: (n.) a fabric with patterning created by an extra weft thread, usually with long floats across the surface; the technique of weaving a brocade fabric.

brocaded velvet: voided velvet in which voided areas are overlaid with either continuous or discontinuous brocade floats; may also be known as velvet brocade.

cannelé: (French) a weave with transverse ribs; in terms of velvet, transverse rows of velvet alternate with bands of exposed foundation; or alternatively, rows of velvet (cut or uncut) of differing heights; also seen as quenelé in older documents (older French spelling).

cantre or cantra: (French, Italian) bobbin rack.

canut: (French) word for shuttle; colloquial term for silk weavers, as in those who ply the shuttle.

catasamite: English variant word for cataxamitum.

catasciamito: (Italian) also seen as catrasciamito; see cataxamitum.

cataxamitum: (Latin) a dense fabric related to samite, possibly having a weft pile; several variants exist.

catifa: (Spanish) variant of Arabic qatifa.

çatma: (Turkish) a Turkish type of voided, cut velvet, woven with silk warps, a thick, heavy, cotton foundation weft and (discontinuous) metallic brocading weft; typically used for cushion covers and similar furnishings. Telli çatma was a gilded type of çatma.

cesellato: (Italian) equivalent to ciselé.

chenille yarn: a fuzzy, piled yarn made of fine thread into which tiny wefts have been secured, like a caterpillar.

chiné: (French) velvet that has been dyed, printed, or painted with a design of multiple colors along the length of each pile end; see also ikat. Similarly, chiné à la branche.

çintamani: (Turkish) an archetypal Turkish design based on three dots in a triangular formation.

ciselé: a texture of velvet combining both uncut and cut pile; especially if the cut pile is higher than the uncut pile and was formed with a second velvet rod following the first.

cloth beam: the beam on the loom that stores the woven cloth until weaving is complete.

comber board: perforated board part of a European drawloom mechanism through with cords attached to pattern heddles are threaded in order to be kept separate and in order.

corduroy: a weft-pile fabric, in which the weft is usually cut in lengthwise stripes.

counterchange: polychrome velvet with alternating colors in the pile or ordering of the colors in its threading.

counterbalance loom: a loom whose shafts are mounted over rollers or pulleys in balanced pairs, so that when one shaft is pulled down by a treadle, its pair rises.

counterweight: a weight that balances or pulls in the opposite direction to the dominant pull exerted by a tensioning system; it retracts loose warp ends that have been pulled forward.

crude silk: silk that has not been degummed or cooked; it retains the sericin.

crushed velvet: velvet that has been treated to permanently crush or flatten areas of pile randomly.

dabiqi: a type of ancient cloth, usually made of linen, sometimes described as having pile, made in the Tinnis-Damietta region of the Egyptian Nile Delta.

decoupure: the smallest unit or step in a textile pattern or figuration, expressed in the number of warp ends, weft picks, pile ends or rows, or pile tufts.

degumming: the process of removing the sticky sericin that stiffens silk and adheres the fibers in the cocoon; degummed silk is also known as cooked or boiled silk.

dévoré: velvet that has undergone a finishing treatment in which pile is chemically removed, usually by means of printing, to create voided patterning.

dobby loom: a shaft loom with a rotary mechanism of joined cards in which the weave pattern is pegged (like a music box) that advances when a treadle is pressed to create one shed after the other.

double-harness weave: a weave in which warp ends are passed through two separate harnesses, one of which has long-eyed heddles.

draft: a standardized drawing in which the threading, tie-up of the shafts, treadling or lift-plan, and often a representation of the cloth surface are recorded.

dras de soie: (French) medieval word for silk cloth; also spelled draps.

dras d’or: (French) cloth of gold.

draw device: the added harness that distinguishes a drawloom from other looms; the pattern or figure sheds are formed by pulling cords; a kind of mechanical pick-up device.

drawloom: a loom with two or more harnesses, at least one of which is controlled by the weaver or an assistant pulling cords to raise individual threads or pattern shafts.

embossed velvet: velvet that has been treated to create a pattern by permanently flattening areas of pile.

épinglé: (French) equivalent to frisé.

examiton (Greek): a weave having six threads in its weave unit. Usually interpreted as a weft-faced compound weave bound in a 1 / 2 twill structure; see samite.

façonné: (French) word for figured, used most often to describe velvet whose figuration is just voided.

face-to-face or double-layer velvet: cut velvet woven in two facing layers on a special loom without the need for wires, made by having the pile warp ends interlace alternately between the upper and lower layers, and separated by means of a cutting blade mounted between the two layers.

fast or “w” velvet: velvet pile that has been securely bound into the ground cloth using one of the foundation wefts.

fell: the transverse edge of the woven cloth along the last weft pick, where the beater strikes or presses the weft into place.

felpa (f), felpe (fpl): (Italian) word for plush, a long pile velvet.

ferronerie velvet: (French) a figured, monochrome voided European silk velvet whose pattern resembles the sinuous vine-like ironwork of fences or grills made by metalworkers.

figured velvet: velvet that has any sort of motif, pattern, or color arrangement, usually apart from simple stripes, plaids, bands, or checks. complex checkered patterns may be considered as geometric figuration; variant English spelling, velvet fygury.

fløjl: (Danish) word for velvet.

fluweel: (Dutch) word for velvet.

float: the length of warp or weft between its binding points.

foundation: the fundamental base cloth that supports a variety of textiles with extra warp or weft patterning, surface effects, or figuration.

frisé velvet: velvet with pile formed of uncut loops or raised warp floats on the surface.

gauffrage: (French) the process of embossing or stamping a pile fabric so as to produce a relief pattern by crushing the pile permanently; see embossed velvet. Such velvets known in French as velours gauffré.

gros-de-Tours: an extended tabby weave or basketweave that usually produces transverse, warp-faced ribs, but is used in velvet as a tight, sturdy foundation weave; presumably related to the French city of Tours.

harness: a set of shafts or a set of hanging heddles or mailles that work together to perform the same function or control the same set of warp ends.

haut-et-bas: (French) equivalent to pile-on-pile.

heddle: a string or wire with an eye through which the warp ends are passed to attach them to the controlling shaft or pull cord.

heddled: I use this as an adjective to distinguish the threads entered into a half-heddle rod from those not held by a heddle.

hexamiton : (Greek) variant of examiton.

ikat velvet: velvet whose pile has been resist-dyed to have multiple colors along the length of each pile end, often in a pattern.

ipek: (Turkish) word for silk.

Jacquard loom: a loom fitted with a Jacquard head, which automates and replaces the weaving assistant who pulls the pattern cords on a drawloom.

jaspé: (French) a mottled visual texture resembling the semi-precious stone jasper; this texture is created in cut pile with contrasting colors or tones in the pile warp ends, or by lifting multiple colors of pile ends in polychrome velvets randomly. Alternatively, in very old velvets, it may be the result of chemical reactions or degradation of the dyes over time.

kamkha or kemkha: (Arabic, Persian, Hindi) a medieval generic term for brocaded fabric; some of which may have had velvet pile.

kadife: (Turkish) word for silk velvet supposedly with a silk foundation.

kathivu or katipha: (Hindi) word for velvet or fabric with a carpet-like texture;

katifa, (pl.) kutuf: (Arabic) for velvet; see also qatifa.

kazz: (Arabic) a type of silk, possible raw or a species of silk.

kemhâ: (Turkish) see kamkha.

khazz: (Arabic) a floss silk.

khamal al-manadil: (Arabic) towels with a pile surface.

khmal: (Arabic, Farsi/Persian, Hindi, Urdu) word for pile texture; also seen as khaml.

kilabdan: (Turkish) a metal-foil-wrapped silk thread used as a brocade weft in Turkish çatma weaving.

k’tifah: (Arabic) variant of word for velvet, as spelled in Hebrew characters.

liftplan: a draft depicting the plan of the sequence of lifting sheds for looms or harnesses not using treadles, such as drawlooms and computer-assisted looms; a 1-to-one correspondence is assumed between each threading row and lift column in the draft—bottom threading row to left lift column, etc.

ligatura, (pl.) ligaturis: (Latin) a group of warp ends wound together on the warping mill, usually having a set number of ends which varied from place to place so it could be used as a unit of measure; a medieval Venetian ligature was set at 480 ends.

live tension or live weighting: an arrangement using hanging weights (i.e. gravity) to tension the pile warps individually or collectively.

louisine: (French) extended tabby (basketweave) with floats over two or more threads.

Lyonnaise notation: a weaving draft style depicting the threading and liftplan of a weave, suitable for recording drawloom patterns on multiple harnesses and combining sinking and rising shed styles of information.

maille: a free-hanging weighted heddle used on a drawloom harness.

makabala: (Hindi) word equivalent to Persian makhmal.

makhmal, (pl.) mukhmal: (Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Urdu) word for pile or velvet cloth; has variant spellings, pronunciations, and adjectival forms in Indian languages.

non-fast or “v”: velvet pile that is not secured into the ground cloth, but floats on the reverse behind the foundation. this may be secured or protected by an extra weft behind the pile floats that is tied into the foundation periodically.

organzine: a silk thread that is doubled and plied enough to become suitable for use in a warp.

panno serico velluto: (Latin) panel or length of velvety silk or silk with a velvet pile.

pannum tartaricum pilosum: (Latin) panel or length of Central Asian cloth with pile or hairy texture.

pass: one throw of a weft across the warp.

pattern shed: the shed that is opened for a pattern weft, as in brocading.

pelo: (Italian) word for pile.

pelosi: (Greek) adjective for describing a pile fabric or a furry texture.

péluche: (French) word for plush, a type of velvet or long pile fabric.

personnage velvet: a figured velvet depicting images of people and animals, often linked to specific legends or narratives in Safavid, Persian or Mughal velvets.

Phirangi kathivu: (Hindi) foreign-made velvet.

pick: one row of the weft sequence in the draft or liftplan; usually but not always equivalent one pass or shot of the weft across the warp.

pile: a set of threads or hairs that stick up perpendicularly to the foundation or skin that anchors them.

pile rod: a stiff rod or wire used to hold up loops of warp in velvet.

pile-on-pile velvet: velvet having two or more heights of pile, cut or uncut or both; usually made with two sets of pile rods or wires, one for uncut loops and one for cutting.

pill: (v) to form small balls of fluff on the surface of a textile.

pilosum: (Latin) having pile surface or texture.

plush: a type of long pile velvet or pile cloth.

poil: (French) word for pile; also hairs of skin.

point twill: a twill weave whose diagonals reverse in either or both of the threading and treadling; if in both, it will form diamond shapes; if in either, it will create chevrons.

polychrome velvet: velvet with multiple pile warps, usually of different colors.

power loom: a loom whose shedding and beating mechanisms are operated by mechanical power.

qatifa, (pl.) qutuf: (Arabic) word for velvet.

quenelé: (old French) see cannelé.

reduction: regrouping of the warp ends of the basic tabby sett (number of effective ends/in) of a section of woven cloth, in order to reduce it to a density suitable for weaving tapestry; in French, the general term for the sett in the reed.

reed: the spacer that is mounted in the beater of the loom to distribute the warp ends evenly and beat the weft between them.

rising shed: a shedding mechanism that lifts the warp ends directly.

rabot: (French) the traditional tool with a blade used for cutting velvet pile on the loom.

sabrage: (French) the practice of making velours au sabre.

sabre: (French) the knife or blade used to cut the long satin warp floats in velours au sabre.

sabreuse: (French) an artisan, usually a woman, who cuts velours au sabre.

samite: a weft-faced compound weave with wefts bound in 1 / 2 twill; contemporary term for examiton.

samitieri: (early Italian, Latin) general medieval term for the silk weavers and their guild.

samitiorum: (Latin): adjective used of the silk weavers and their guild in legal statutes.

samitum: (Latin) word for samite.

sammet: (Swedish) word for velvet.

Samt: (German) word for velvet.

satin: a basic weave whose binding points are scattered and separated in an orderly pattern, such that none touch on adjacent threads in either direction.

sciamito: (Italian) word for samite.

sett: the density and ordering of the warp ends in the reed; see sley.

shaft: a frame holding heddles through which warp ends are threaded; as the shaft rises and sinks, so do all the warp ends threaded on it.

shaft loom: a loom equipped with shafts that either rise or sink; includes dobby looms.

shed: the space created between warp ends into which a weft is inserted.

shedding: the act of opening up the shed to pass a weft.

shedding system: the system or mechanism by which sheds are created on the loom.

shed lift: the pattern or order of threads involved in the opening up of a shed.

sinking shed: a shed that operates by sinking when the treadles attached to the shafts are depressed.

siqlatun: (Arabic) a type of silk cloth of uncertain description and origin, possibly Sicilian.

Sīróng: (Chinese) word for velvet.

sley: to enter the warp ends into the reed that spaces them evenly across the width.

sliding rod: a rod or bar that slides back and forth to lift a set of warp ends; used in conjunction with a heddle bar to which warp ends are attached by half-heddles; as a noun, sley refers to the weaving density of the warp, expressed in ends/in.

solid velvet: velvet whose pile is uniformly cut or uncut and covers the surface evenly.

soprarizzo: (Italian) another term for cesellato velvet; see ciselé velvet.

supplementary: extra threads that are not essential to the fundamental structure of the weave; such threads are usually used for patterning.

tabby: the most basic weave structure possible, in which the weft passes alternately over 1 warp end and under the next one (1/1); also known less precisely as plain weave.

tablet weaving: a type of weaving that uses cards or tablets with holes to twist warp ends in small groups, holding each twist with a weft; also known as card weaving.

take-up: the consumption of the warp or weft threads in the process of moving over and under each other in a more or less wavy path, rather than a straight one; the actual length of the consumed thread is therefore longer than the resulting width or length of the final cloth.

taqueté: a weft-faced compound weave with wefts bound by a 1 /1 tabby weave.

terciopelo: (Spanish) word for velvet, especially for velvets whose pile bouts have three strands.

thread count: the count of warp or weft threads per inch (or other unit of measurement) that describes the density of threads, and hence the fineness of a woven cloth.

threading: the act of entering or passing warp ends through a heddle or equivalent shedding mechanism; also refers to the pattern or order of warp ends on the shafts or heddles of a shaft loom or drawloom.

throwster: silk worker who pulls and lightly twists the strands of silk from their cocoons to make the weaving threads.

tie-up: the combinations in which shafts are attached to treadles on a loom.

toile: (French) word for plain, flat, simple cloth or cloth with tabby weave; also refers to the foundation cloth of velvet.

toweling: a type of warp pile fabric used for towels; usually made by a method called “terry” or Turkish toweling in which loosely tensioned warp ends are pushed forward at regular intervals so that they bubble up above and below the surface of the foundation weave; this method does not use pile rods or one of the velvet weaves to create the pile.

trama: (Italian) word for weft.

trame: (French) word for weft.

treadling: the act of depressing the treadles of a loom, or otherwise operating the opening of the sheds; the sequence followed to open the sheds in a particular weave or project; the liftplan governing the passing of the wefts.

tsuzure birodo: (Japanese) term for “tapestry” or pictorial velvet, a type of polychrome velvet, possibly made using pick-up from a 3-color polychrome velvet arrangement.

twill: a basic weave whose binding points step over and up by one thread, producing smooth diagonal ridges.

Utrecht velvet: a type of velvet with a wool pile developed in northern France, Flanders and the Netherlands; known in modern French and English as mocade or moquette.

velour: a term used in English to describe some pile fabrics that are not woven velvets, often with a knit foundation.

velours au sabre: (French) a warp pile textile whose pile is created by cutting the warp ends of a warp-faced satin interlaced over a tabby weave.

velours aux fers: (French) velvet made by means of pile rods or wires, generally refers to handwoven velvet.

velours de laine: (French) a velvet with a wool pile.

velours par trame: (French) a pile fabric whose pile is created by the wefts, rather than by an extra warp; variant, à la trame.

velours par chaîne: (French) a pile fabric whose pile is created by an extra warp, especially a velvet; variant, à la chaîne.

velours: (French) general word for velvet.

velours bombé: (French) a type of velvet in which rods of different sizes or configurations, such as wavy, are used to create bands of rounded cords.

velours chaméléon: (French) a type of polychrome velvet in which the loops of the two piles rows overlap, producing an uneven cut that emphasizes one or the other colour according to the angle of viewing the surface; the general effect is iridescent.

velours chiffon: (French) velvet produced on a crêpe de chine foundation.

velours dévoré: (French) a voided velvet in which some of the pile or other materials have been chemically removed (dissolved) by means of printing or painting with a caustic substance; such velvets usually require a contrast of soluble and insoluble materials, so that the foundation cloth at least is not weakened or destroyed.

velours gandin: (French) a type of voided velvet with a patterned foundation cloth showing.

velours liseré: (French) a type of voided, brocaded velvet in which a figured brocade patterning (using two alternating brocade pattern wefts which are thrown from selvedge to selvedge) occurs in the voided areas.

velours panné: (French) a velvet whose pile has been pressed flat in one direction.

velours Pékin: (French) a velvet with alternating lengthwise stripes of pile and a flat weave, such as satin; unlike voided velvet, there is no pile warp in the flat sections—the pile warp is intermittent across the width of the cloth.

velours sans pareil: (French) a type of figured velvet, often polychrome, in which alternate pile rows of the pattern are cut and uncut.

veloutier (m), veloutière (f): (French) word for velvet weaver.

veludo: (Spanish) word for velvet.

velluderi (pl): (Italian) medieval word for velvet weavers.

vellutati: (Italian) adjectival form of word for velvet, or word for velvety.

vellutiere (m), vellutieri (mpl), vellutiera (f), vellutiere (fpl): word for velvet weaver.

velluto, (pl.) velluti: (Italian) word for velvet.

velluto alluciolato: (Italian) “firefly” velvet, with added metallic weft-looping scattered through areas of its warp pile to enhance or add sparkle to areas of a warp pile.

velluto a riccio d’oro: (Italian) velvet with gold or silver brocaded areas of solid metallic weft-looping (rather than just scattered).

velvet rod: a round, rectangular, or v-shaped grooved rod, or flat bar used to lift and hold the warp pile.

velveteen: an evenly surfaced weft pile fabric with short pile, originally cotton.

void: an area in a velvet design where no pile is raised.

voided velvet: velvet in which flat areas without pile, usually exposed ground cloth, forms part of the design in contrast with the pile.

warp: the set of threads mounted on a loom under tension.

warp beam: the beam at the back of the loom on which the unwoven warp is mounted and stored.

warp count: the count of warp ends per inch in a fabric, expressing the density of the warp ends.

warp-faced: a weave or fabric whose warp ends dominate on the face of the fabric.

waste silk: silk that comes from broken or leftover bits of cocoons or is left over from other processing; that must be spun because it is composed of short or broken fibers.

weave draft: see draft.

weaving sword: a wide, flat stick with one tapered long edge, used for clearing and holding open sheds, and for placing or beating in wefts.

weft: the threads that are passed through spaces in the warp ends.

weft count: the count of weft ends or picks per inch in a fabric, expressing the density of the weft threads.

weft-looping: technique of creating pile by inserting extra weft, often metallic, into a ground shed and pulling it up into surface loops; used to enhance or add sparkle to areas of a warp pile, in velluto alluciolato or “firefly” velvet.

xamiton: (Greek) variant spelling of examiton; see samite.

zarbaft: (Persian) the highest quality silk, used in velvets.

zerbaft: (Persian) word for gold brocaded cloth, sometimes combined with velvet.

zetani: (Italian) word for satin

zetanini vellutati: (Italian) satin with velvety texture; variant form, zetanini aveludadi.

©Wendy Landry 2019

Posted June 7, 2019 by Veloutiere

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