A-D position The position of the tablet when the A and D holes are uppermost; this is the tablet starting position for all patterns I write
Advancing the warp Moving the warp around the loom to allow the next part of the warp to be woven
Alternating pack technique The tablets are separated into two groups, often all even numbered tablets and all odd numbered tablets, and only one pack is turned each pick (also called Anglo-Saxon Technique)
Backwards turn A quarter or 90 degree turn of the tablets towards the weaver and away from the unused warp
Balanced fabric A fabric woven in such a way that both the weft and the warp are visible to the same extent
Band A piece of tablet woven fabric

Beater A tool inserted into the shed and used to push the weft into place and tighten the twists of the warp threads
Braid A piece of tablet woven fabric; as braid can also refer to other types of narrow ware, I usually use band to avoid confusion
Brocade A decorative technique where a supplemental weft is floated across the surface of the band in parallel to the main weft
Cards An alternative name for tablets, often used in the USA
Chevron A V shape, or group of Vs joined together in a zigzag line
Choke tie A length of string, cord or smooth yarn tied tightly around a warp, secured with a bow (to make it easy to remove later), to prevent warp threads from slipping past each other
Continuous warping A warping technique where warp threads are drawn through an entire stack of tablets and are wound round fixed points, dropping tablets at set intervals
Counter threading Groups of tablets are threaded alternating S and Z to reduce the tendency of the band to coil when cut off the loom
Deck A collective term sometimes used for the tablets of a band
Direct warping A warping technique where the loom that will be used to weave the band is used as the measuring device to wind the warp
Double-faced A decorative technique in which the pattern appears on the front of the band and as a colour-reversed version on the back of the band, rather like a photographic negative
Draft A threading diagram and turning diagram that can be used to reproduce a band
Drape The way in which a fabric hangs; affected by how stiff the fabric is
Egyptian diagonals See Finnish diagonals Ends An alternative name for warp threads
End treatments Ways in which a band may be finished so that it does not unravel
Even tension All the warp threads are stretched with the same degree of tightness, ready to weave
Fell line The edge of the forming band, where it meets the unused warp
Finnish diagonals A pattern technique using diagonal lines, in which the turning direction of pairs of tablets is reversed to form a pattern
Flip A method of changing the threading direction of the tablets without rethreading them from scratch
Floats A float is caused when a warp thread doesn’t interact with the weft and sits on the surface of the band; this generally happens at turning reversal points, but can be caused by turning errors or failure to clear the shed before throwing the shuttle
Forwards turn A quarter or 90 degree turn of the tablets away from the weaver and towards the unused warp
Ground fabric Either the fabric over which a brocade weft passes or fabric onto which trim is sewn
Hand Literally, how the fabric feels in the hand and how soft and supple it is
Header A section woven at the beginning of a band to check that the tablets are threaded correctly and that the tension is even across the warp
Home position See A-D position Horse-hair Long strands of hair from a horse’s mane or tail, used as a fine, but durable weft, or as a surface decoration
Icelandic vacant-hole technique See Vacant-hole technique Idling tablets Instead of being turned for each pick, some tablets are left idle and the weft is passed through the shed as normal.
Indirect warping The warp is measured separately from the loo, then transferred to it before weaving
Inkle A warp-faced weave in which the weft travels over and under alternating warp threads, a structure also called plain weave
Memory The ability of a yarn or fibre to spring back after being under tension
Migration period (Scandinavian) Term used to describe the widespread movements of Germanic and Slavic tribes between around 300 and 700CE within Europe
Missed-hole technique See Vacant-hole technique Motif A repeating element within a design
Narrow wares Fabrics woven in narrow strips intended for use as trim or belts
On point When the tablets sit on the warp with one of the holes uppermost, as opposed to having one of the sides uppermost and in parallel with the warp
Pack A group of tablets turned together in the same direction
Pattern repeat The number of picks it takes to weave a single repeating unit of the pattern
Pattern tablets The group of tablets that will produce the pattern in the centre of the band, often turning in a different sequence to the selvedge tablets
Pick A single row of weaving, comprised of turning the tablets, passing the shuttle through the shed and beating the previous shot of weft into place
Pick-up When threads are individually selected and lifted by hand rather than being raised and lowered by the turning motion of the tablets
Penelope The wife of Odysseus, who unpicked at night everything that she had woven during the day; often invoked by weavers when putting right mistakes. There are days when I spend a distressing amount of time in her company
Plies The strands that are twisted together to form a yarn
Reading your weaving The ability to relate a woven band to a draft, very useful for picking up mistakes before they become time consuming to fix; something that comes with experience
Reed An instrument used to space out warp threads to regular intervals; not usually used during tabletweaving
Selvedge The edges of the fabric; perpendicular to the weft
Selvedge tablets The tablets on either side of the pattern tablets that will produce the selvedges; often turned continuously in the same direction
Set up picks Picks woven to put the tablets in the correct starting positions for the beginning of a pattern
Shed The gap between the two warp layers produced by the tablets, through which the shuttle is passed
Shot A single passage of the weft through the shed
Shuttle A tool around which weft is wound, it is often also used as a beater
Singles A yarn formed from only one strand or ply
Sizing A yarn treatment used to improve the durability of a fragile yarn and allow it to stand up to the friction involved in weaving
Slub A small lump of fibre in a yarn giving it texture; sometimes used decoratively
Soumak A surface patterning technique using a twined supplemental weft
Superwash A yarn treatment intended to make it possible to wash wool using a modern washing machine
Supplemental weft A second, non-structural weft that is seen on the surface of the fabric and is used as a decorative element in techniques like brocade
Sword A long thin beater, shaped like a blunted sword blade
Tablets Squares (or triangles, hexagons or octagons) punched with holes, used for weaving
Tablet alignment How the tablets appear on the warp when viewed from above
TDD An online tabletweaving draft designer that can be found at

Tension How tightly a warp is stretched 

Threaded in A pattern dictated by the threading of the tablets rather than the turning diagram; some patterns are formed by a combination of the two 

Threading diagram A diagram that shows where to thread the colours of the warp through each hole of the tablets 

Threading direction How the threads of the warp pass through the holes of the tablets

Throw The action of passing the weft through the shed 

Thrums Pieces of warp thread left over after the band has been trimmed; also known as loom waste 

Turn The action of twisting the tablets, either forwards or backwards, by 90 degrees

Turning error One or more of the pattern tablets has been turned in the wrong direction resulting in a deviation from the intended pattern 

Twist The action of turning the tablets, or the twisted cords that may build up behind the tablets (Twist also happens to be my cat- named for the Dickens character Oliver Twist due to his frequent demands for more food) 

TWIST Tablet Weavers’ International Studies & Techniques ( is an online journal that promotes the exploration of tabletweaving and the development of new skills 

Two-Pack Method When some tablets are to be turned backwards, and some forwards, it can speed up weaving to slide the forwards tablets forwards, and the backwards tablets backwards, then turn them in packs Turning reversal point Point in the pattern when the turning direction of the tablets is changed 

Union cloths Textiles made up from more than one type of fibre (eg. linen and wool), either used for decorative effect in stripes or with one fibre as the weft and the other as the warp

Unpick Tablets are turned in the opposite direction to the turning diagram to remove the weft and undo the weaving so that a mistake can be corrected 

Unweave See Unpick

Vacant-hole technique One or more of the holes of a tablet are left intentionally empty to allow the weft to show on the surface of the band, forming a textured pattern 

Warp The threads that pass through the tablets 

Warp faced A textile in which only the warp is seen on the surface eg. tabletweaving 

Warp spreader A comb placed onto the warp behind the tablets, reducing the likelihood of the threads catching on the tablets and helping to maintain an even width of band

Warp-wise In parallel with the selvedge 

Weft The thread that is passed through the shed after each turn of the tablets, perpendicular to the warp 

Weft faced A textile in which only the weft is seen on the surface eg. woven tapestries

Weft-loop technique A technique for producing smooth, straight selvedges 

Weft spots A turning reversal point where a spot of weft is visible on the surface of the band 

Weft-wise Perpendicular to the selvedge

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