Beginner Weaving Lessons

What does warp mean? Basic Weaving Terminology

Weaving Terminology | The Weaving Loom

If you’re new to weaving, some of the terminology might be confusing at first, so here are some of the important terms:

Frame Loom | The Weaving Loom

Loom: A loom is the structure that you use to give your weave support and tension as you work. Once your weave is complete, you will cut it off the loom and your weave will have it’s own structure. Looms can vary largely in shape and size. From the extremely large floor model looms down to small handheld looms. The looms that I work with are frame looms, which means their structure is a very simple frame shaped like a square or rectangle. There are also circular looms that allow the user to weave in a circle.

Warp & Weft | The Weaving Loom

Warp thread: This is the thread that is strung over the loom vertically, and holds the tension while you weave.

Weft thread: This is the thread that you weave between the warp threads, creating your patterns and structure in the weave.

Warp Shed | The Weaving Loom

Shed: This is the separation of the warp threads that creates upper and lower warp sets that you pass the weft thread through. Creating a shed between your warp threads speeds up your weaving. When using a frame loom, a shed stick can be woven between the warp threads then turned on it’s side to create the shed between the warp threads. Some frame looms come with a rotating heddle to create the shed.

Heddle: This works with the loom to create a shed in the warp threads. To do this each warp thread is passed through the heddle, so that the heddle can be used to separate the warp threads as the weaver works. Heddles can be a rotating stick that has grooves for the warp threads, or wires & strings that pull on the warp threads to separate, or a rigid heddle that is a single piece with slots that either pull the warp threads up or down to create the shed.

Happy Weaving!


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  • Maria
    November 16, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Hi! I’m new to weaving, 🙂 I purchased a rotating heddle bar, but honestly I have no idea how I would insert it between my warp threads.. would I create a shed with the sword and slide it through and just make sure the threads fall to the right gaps?

    Hahaha I am laughing too hard at how funny this all sounds to someone who doesn’t know this terminology! Making a shed with a sword, weaving is so awesome.

    • Kate
      November 17, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Hi Maria, Congratulations that is so exciting!! Unfortunately I haven’t used a rotating heddle bar yet, so I’m not sure exactly how to warp it but I can give you my best guess. It might work to pass the heddle bar through a shed you create with a sword, but when warping your loom you want the warp threads to have a good tight tension, so creating a shed wide enough to slip the heddle bar in might mean your threads aren’t tight enough. If you did try to do it this way, I would recommend re-tightening your warp threads after you got the heddle bar in place.
      Another way, that may or may not be easier, is try laying the loom flat on a surface and warping it with the heddle bar in place. You would pass the warp threads through the heddle bar as you warp the loom. Now I really wish I had one to try warping it. If you have more questions email me at, I would love to try to help more.

  • Juna Kim
    March 31, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you for the simple but really important information for those who new to weaving including me!
    I guess I will have to drop by often! 🙂

    • Kate
      April 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks Juna!