Weaving Basics

Weaving is an ancient textile art and craft that involves placing two sets of threads or yarn called the warp and weft of the loom and turning them into cloth. This cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or it can be woven in decorative or artistic designs, including tapestries.

The majority of commercial fabrics, in the West, are woven on computer-controlled Jacquard looms. In the past, simpler fabrics were woven on other dobby looms and the Jacquard harness adaptation was reserved for more complex patterns. Some believe the efficiency of the Jacquard loom, and the Jacquard weaving process makes it more economical for mills to use them to weave all of their fabrics, regardless of the complexity of the design. However, an industrialist weaving large runs of simple plain weave fabric may need to be convinced of the logic of investing in Jacquard machines, when a much lower cost loom would suffice.

Handweaving, along with hand spinning, is a popular craft. Weavers use wooden looms to create rugs, fabrics, and tapestries.

Fabric in which the warp and/or weft is tie-dyed before weaving is called ikat. Fabric decorated using a wax resist method is called batik.

Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the 3 basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.

The most common uses of fabric are for clothing and containers such as bags and baskets. In the household, they are used in carpeting, upholstered furnishings, window shades, towels, covering for tables, beds, and other flat surfaces, and in art. In the workplace, they are used in industrial and scientific processes such as filtering. Miscellaneous uses include flags,backpack, tents, nets, cleaning devices, such as handkerchiefs; transportation devices such as balloons, kites, sails, and parachutes; strengthening in composite materials such as fibre glass and industrial geotextiles, and smaller cloths are used in washing by "soaping up" the cloth and washing with it rather than using just soap.

Fabrics are used for industrial purposes, and chosen for characteristics other than their appearance, are commonly referred to as technical textiles.
Technical textiles include textile structures for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g. implants), geotextiles (reinforcement of embankments), agrotextiles (textiles for crop protection), protective clothing (e.g. against heat and radiation) for fire fighter clothing, against molten metals for welders, stab protection, and bullet proof vests. In all these applications stringent performance requirements must be met.

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