Fabrics

Woven Fabric

Weaving is the oldest method of making yarn into fabric. While modern methods are more complex and much faster, the basic principle of interlacing yarns remains unchanged.

On the loom, vertical yarns (the warp) form the skeleton of the fabric. They usually require a higher degree of twist than the filling yarns (or weft) that are interlaced width-wise.

Traditionally, cloth was woven on plain looms by a wooden shuttle that moved horizontally back and forth across the loom, interlacing the weft yarn with the horizontally, lengthwise warp yarn. Modern mills use high-speed shuttleless weaving machines that perform at incredible rates and produce an endless variety of fabrics. Some carry the filling yarns across the loom at rates in excess of 2,000 meters per minute.

The rapier-type weaving machines have metal arms or rapiers that pick up the filling thread and carry it halfway across the loom where another rapier picks it up and pulls it the rest of the way. Other types employ small projectiles that pick up the filling thread and carry it all the way across the loom. Still other types employ compressed air to insert the filling yarn across the warp. In addition to speed and versatility, another advantage of these modern weaving machines is their relatively quiet operation.

There are three basic weaves with numerous variations, and all of these are used to make different types of canvas.

The plain weave,

in which the filling is alternately passed over one warp yarn and under the next.

The duck weave,

in which two yarns of warp are tightly woven over a single yarn of weft.

The twill weave,

is when the yarns are interlaced to form diagonal ridges across the fabric.

In advanced factories, mending machines with optical scanners continuously monitor fabric after production looking for weaving defects.

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