Textile Terms

With the colder weather settling in, and the holidays on the horizon, this is usually the time of season that I break out the circular knitting looms and make a new hat to keep my noggin warm.  The portion of looking in the back of the book at the glossary to learn certain terms is not always the fun part of the merit badge... ok, it's never the fun part of the merit badge.  But, having a knowledge of the terms will help you understand the tools and material you are working with.  Especially when the person receiving the gift of your freshly knitted beanie thanks you and asks you if this was made with acrylic or organic fibers or if you used needles or a loom.

Textile Merit Badge

Requirement 4 - Explain the meaning of 10 of the following terms:
  • Warp - In a woven fabric, the yarns that run lengthwise and are interlaced with the weft (filling) yarns.
  • Harness - On a loom, the frame containing heddles through which the warp is drawn and which, in combination with another frame or frames, forms the shed and determines the woven pattern.
  • Heddle - On a loom, the main part of the harness that guides the warp yarns.
  • Shed - On a loom, the openingcreated between raised and lowered warp yarns through which the shuttle or other filling insertion mechanism carries the crosswise filling yarns.
  • Aramid - A kind of synthetic fiber, very strong and resistant to high temperatures. Kevlar and Nomex are examples.
  • Spandex - A highly elastic, synthetic manufactured fiber; it can be repeatedly stretched without breaking and will recover to its original length.
  • Sliver - A loose rope of untwisted or loosely twisted fibers produced in carding and combing.
  • Yarn - A continuous strand of textile fabers created when a mass of individual fibers is twisted together to create fabrics.
  • Spindle - A rod, usually made of wood, used in hand-spinning to twist the fibers drayn from the mass on the distaff, and upon which the yarn is wound as it is spun.
  • Distaff - A staff for holding fibers for spinning by hand.
  • Loom - A hand-operated or power-driven device for weaving fabrics.
  • Cellulose - A natural substance based on glucose (a sugar) found in the cell walls of plants. Cellulose is an important part of plant fibers like cotton and flax, and is the major raw material used for the manufactured fibers of rayon, acetate, and lyocell.
  • Sericulture - Raising silkworms to make silk.
  • Extrusion -  a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is pushed through a die of the desired cross-section. (plastic fibers)
  • Carbon Fibers - Strong, stiff, thin fibers of nearly pure carbon.
  • Spinneret - The body part that a spider or caterpillar uses to spin silk for its web or cocoon; or, a metal plate or nozzle with tiny holes through which a chemical solution is extruded to make continuous filaments.
  • Staple - Short fibers, typically ranging from 1/2 inch up to 18 inches long. Wool, cotton, and flax exist only as staple fibers. Manufactured fibers can be cut to a staple lenght from the continuous filament.
  • Worsted - A tightly woven fabric made by using only long-staple, combed wool or wool-blend yarns. The fabric has a hard, smooth surface and no nap.
  • Nonwoven - Made of fibers matted, tangled, fused, glued, or melted together.
  • Greige Goods - (gray goods) Unfinished fabric; fabrics as it comes from the loom or knitting machine, before it has gone through any finishing processes.