Weaving Equipment Terms

by Christine Jablonski

People who are new to weaving can often be intimidated by all of the new terminology, but we are here to help! This blog post explains some of the terms you might be unfamiliar with. If you have any questions, you are always welcome to contact us or email hello@gistyarn.com.

BobbinA tube that holds weft yarn in boat shuttles.

Dent: The spaces in a reed (slots and holes in rigid heddle reeds, slots in multi-shaft loom reeds) that yarn passes through to create the warp. 

Dents Per Inch (DPI):  The number of spaces per 1” in a reed. Often corresponds to how many warp ends per inch are specified in a pattern or draft. For example, if a pattern calls for 10 epi (ends per inch), then you would use a 10 dent reed. 

Harness: See Shaft

Heddle: In multi-shaft weaving, heddles are wire strands or Texsolv cords with an eye at the midpoint for threading warp yarn. In rigid heddle weaving, the heddle and reed are contained in the same frame, called a rigid heddle or just “heddle.” 

Heddle Rod: Most often a dowel that supports string heddles. Used when multiple patterns sheds are required in rigid heddle weaving. 

Jack Loom: A multi-shaft loom where the shafts rise to create a shed (also called a rising shed loom).

Pick-Up Stick: A long slender stick used in front of or behind a rigid heddle; warp threads are “picked up” on to the stick and create a pattern shed when the stick is slid forward to the reed or turned on its side at the front or back of the reed. Can also be used in multi-shaft weaving to create patterns in doubleweave. 

Reed: A frame with evenly spaced dents (or slots and holes in rigid heddle reeds) that warp yarn is threaded through. In multi-shaft weaving the reed also serves as the beater to pack the weft yarn against the warp yarn. In rigid heddle weaving, the reed is also called the rigid heddle, or heddle; it also serves as the beater, and when raised and lowered creates the sheds to allow for weaving. 

Rigid Heddle Loom: A loom where both the heddles and reed are contained in one rigid frame, the lifting and lowering of which creates sheds. See also: A Beginner's Guide to Rigid Heddle Weaving.

Shaft (also called Harness): A frame containing heddles that rise or lower in multi-shaft weaving to create sheds. 

Shed: The open space between warp threads created when the reed (in rigid heddle weaving) or shaft (in multi-shaft weaving) is raised up or lowered to allow a shuttle to pass  through. 

Shuttles: A boat shuttle is tool utilizing an inserted bobbin wound with weft yarn to pass through the shed.  A stick shuttle is a tool that weft yarn is wound onto and passed through the shed.

Treadles: Pedals on a floor loom or levers on a table loom that raise or lower the shafts to create sheds.

Looking for a full glossary of weaving terms? See our weaving glossary.

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