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  • See body-tensioned loom.
  • A device for weaving, containing a means of lifting selected warp yarns above other warp yarns, forming a space called a shed through which the weft is passed. Such devices cannot function unless the warp is under tension, so all looms also contain a means for stretching the warp. The invention of the loom greatly increased the speed at which cloth could be made of spun yarns. There are many different methods of stretching the warp and of forming sheds, ranging from the very simple to the very complex.

  • A type of heddle that consists of loops of string (leashes) that enclose warps.
  • A technique using a single element or yarn in which the free end and full length of the yarn is pulled through previous work at the edge of a fabric to form each new loop. The element crosses over itself in proceeding to make the next loop. Looping is an ancient technique that existed before the domestication of fiber sources and the invention of the loom. The technique is still practiced in areas with less European influence such as the Amazon rainforest and New Guinea. Frequently, long plant fibers are used that can be twisted into yarn as the work proceeds.

  • See Morinda citrifolia.
  • See metallic yarns.
  • Contrary to myth, gold and silver cannot be spun, and they are generally too precious and heavy to be woven. Frequently, the glint of gold or silver that embellishes many traditional textiles is a silk or linen yarn that has been wrapped with thin strips of metal.

  • Yarns, usually silver or gold in color, that appear to be made of metal. They are usually produced by applying gold or silver leaf on a paper substrate that is sliced into thin strips and wound around a core of silk or ramie fiber. Additional variants include pure metal lamellae or wire wound around fiber cores or used directly in a textile.
  • A shiny mineral that cleaves into thin, flat plates. Used for decorating textiles in some areas, a precursor to the use of commercial sequins or glass.
  • Thin pieces of mirror glass, often lead-backed, or slivers of mica, are sewn onto a base fabric using a framework of stitches.

  • A subgrouping with an ethnic group, based on kinship.
  • A chemical substance, which when combined with a dye, causes the colour substance to bind to the fabric. Mordants are essential for most dyes used on cotton and other cellulose fibers (with the notable exception of indigo) since dyes bind poorly to cellulose on their own. This fact can be exploited to make patterns on textiles by painting or printing the mordant onto the surface before dyeing.
  • Many of the Indian cotton textiles traded to Indonesia were decorated by a technique in which mordants, the chemicals that fix the dyes, were applied to the surface of the cloth before dyeing. In this process, the application of chemically different liquid mordants – either with a series of carved wooden blocks or a slim pen-like instrument – resulted in design elements of different colours appearing when combined with the same dye substance. The famous Indian natural alizarine red dyes used in this process were renowned for their colourfastness and brilliant colours. In some examples, block-printed iron oxide mordants created black dyes and potassium oxide led to bright red colour, whilst other substances and combinations resulted in browns and purples.

  • (Mengkudu in Indonesian, Engkudu Iban) an important red dye, used throughout the Indonesian archipelago, producing shades ranging from red-browns to true reds on cotton fibers. Morinda is used in combination with oil-based mordants, and the mordanting and dyeing process must be repeated, often ten to twenty times, to build up dark, rich shades. It is rarely used on silk since it tends to produce an unattractive brown shade on this fiber. Silk is usually dyed with sappanwood or lac to produce shades of red.
  • A system in which warp lifts for patterning are recorded on multiple simple heddles, each heddle recording the warp lifts for one weft insertion (compare complex pattern heddle).
  • A serpent-like water dragon, a mythical animal that appears in various guises throughout Southeast Asia. Representations of the naga vary from detailed and lifelike to stylized and abstracted S, Z and W shapes found on some textiles.
  • Dye in which the coloring agent is extracted from plant, animal, or mineral matter. The most common natural dyes are found in plants, but certain insects produce a red dye and certain shellfish produce a purple dye. Rust is an ancient mineral dye.

  • One of two sheds used for making plain weave fabrics, the other opening being called the counter shed. On simple looms the natural shed is held open with a stick (shed stick or shed rod).
  • Part of a drawloom or a Jacquard loom; a cord that connects a leash to the patterning device.
  • A textile with open spaces for decorative effect. Openwork is not a specific technique a variety of techniques such as knotting and interlacing can be used to produce this effect.