Alpaca Alpacas are prized for their fine fur, first being treasured by the ancient Incan civilization
that was located on the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South America. There are two types of alpacas - the Huacaya and
the Suri, with adults measuring about 36 inches tall at the shoulder and generally weighing between 100 and 200 pounds.
Alpaca wool is one of the world's finest and most luxurious natural
fibers. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fiber producing
animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends). A male alpaca is a macho, while a female is a hembra.
A young alpaca is a cria.
Angora goat An ancient breed originating from the Angora district in Asia Minor and dating back to
the time of Moses. Famous for producing the coveted mohair fibre.
Angora rabbit A breed of rabbit raised for
its large, fluffy coat. The hair is either clipped or combed out as the animal molts, with the resulting fibre being prized
for its softness.
Balbriggan a knitted cotton fabric used for underwear etc. (named after its Irish location of origin)
Banderole a long narrow flag with a cleft end, flown
at a masthead. Also, an ornamental streamer on a knight's lance. (OED)
barege a silky gauze made from wool or other material (from Baretes in SW France,
where it was orig. made (OED)
Bedford cord a tough woven fabric having prominent
ridges, similar to corduroy; named for Bedford, England(OED)
bedizen to dress excessively in fine clothes and ornaments. The word root being Middle Dutch "disen",
meaning "to dress (a distaff) with flax ready for spinning." This in turn is from Middle Low German "dise" meaning "the
bunch of flax placed on a distaff."
Beaver hat a high-demand, fashion item in the 1550-1850s due to the felted beaver fur being
flexible for styling into a variety of shapes. The European demand for beaver pelts was a driving force in the
settlement of Canada and the US, and lead to the near extinction of the animal. Demand slowed when silk hats became the rage.
Bikini a two-piece bathing suit named after Bikini, Marshall Islands, in the South Pacific, where
a nuclear explosion took place in 1946
Boll a seed pod, especially on the cotton plant
Bombasine a twilled dress material of worsted with or without an admixture of silk or cotton, esp.
black, formerly used for mourning (OED)
Boucle a looped or curled yarn, esp. made of wool
Broadcloth a fine cloth of wool, cotton or silk (OED)
Brocade a rich fabric with a silky finish woven with a raised pattern, and often with a gold
or silver thread. (OED)
Broderie anglaise open embroidery on white linen or cambric, especially floral patterns (OED)
Byssinosis a lung disease caused by prolonged inhalation of textile fibre dust (OED)
Byssus historical term for a fine textile fibre and fibre of flax. (OED)
Calico a cotton fabric, esp. plain or unbleached.
(from Calicut in India)
Cashmere a fine soft wool, especially from a Kashmir
Catalogne A traditional French Canadian blanket. Often woven with horizontal bands of colour seperated by narrower strips
Charm Quilt A pieced quilt created
from charm squares, or pieces of fabric given or donated to the maker. A true charm quilt does not repeat a piece of fabric
more than once.
Chenile A tufty velvety cord or yarn, used in trimming furniture, etc.
Cheongsam A Chinese woman's garment with a high neck and slit skirt.
Chiengora wool spun from dog hair. Originally spun in North America before the introduction
of sheep by the Spaniards. Modern version includes a small amount of sheep wool to add flexibility for ease of use and make
it slightly less warm. Dog hair is eight times as warm as sheep's wool.
Clew A ball of yarn or cord or thread. In Greek mythology, it was the ball of thread Theseus
used to find his way out of the labyrinth when he went to do battle with the Minotaur.
Clotheshorse 1. A clothes drying rack 2. A person with a passion for clothing
Corn Husk Rug A hooked rug made with corn husks for the pile. The hooking technique required
the husks be kept steaming hot while working so they are pliable.
Cria A young alpaca.
Double-knit Mittens Made with two strands of contrasting coloured yarn, forming a pattern on the surface of the mitten.
The result is a mitten with the thickness of two mittens but without the accompanying bulk of wearing two pairs.
duffel a coarse woolen fabric with a thick nap. Named after the Belgian town Duffel, where
it was originally made.
Fox and Geese A traditional two-colour knitting pattern consisting of a grid of approx.
one-inch squares, with the holes filled corner to corner with an X. The horizontal lines are often done in a contrasting colour
while the Xs and vertical lines are in the second colour. The base colour is often a neutral tone, like grey or white. The
lines are meant to represent fences and the Xs are lines of geese flapping their wings, and attempting to escape the fox,
who is seen at the intersection of the boxes.
Frog to rip out stitches -- a play on the frog's call of "ribbit" where stitchers "rip it"
Fuller's earth A clay-like rock rich in smectite (a hydrous aluminum silicate mineral), which
can absorb oil. Historically used to remove the oil from sheep's wool during the fulling or felting process. "Fulling" was
also known by the even older term of "tucking."
Fustian A kind of coarse twilled cotton or cotton and linen stuff, including corduroy, velveteen,
Giclee Digitally printing an image or design on fabric.
Godet A triangular piece of fabric inserted into a dress, glove or other garment to make it
Gregarious Friendly; meeting up with others of like mind. From Latin gregarius, "belonging
to a herd or flock," from grex, greg-, "herd, flock." (OED)
Hembra A female alpaca
Hetchel A comb for separating flax
fibres when they are processed into linen.
Kanzu a long white cotton or linen robe worn by East African men.
Karacul sheep an Asian sheep whose lambs have dark wool.
Kenaf a fibre-producing plant related to cotton and okra.
Koozie a fabric or foam sleeve for a beverage container that keeps the drink cool and
the user's hand warm
Linen A fabric woven from flax. Known for its cooling qualities in clothing and for its becoming
softer with use. Word derived from line, the old Germanic term for flax.
Linsey-woolsey An early fabric popular for household use
such as clothing. It is so named for its linen warp and wool weft.
Macho A male alpaca
Macrame derived from the Turkish word makrama meaning "bedspread", which evolved
from the Arabian word "mikrama". (OED)
Madras a strong cotton fabric with coloured or white stripes, checks, etc. (Madras in India)
Marocain a dress fabric of ribbed crêpe, made of silk or wool or both. (from Morocco)
Milk casein fibre made from milk proteins known for its silky feel. Popular
in 1930s as a replacement for wool fabric that was needed for the war effort.
Needlecord A fine-ribbed corduroy fabric.
Needlewoman A seamstress
Niddy-Noddy A simple tool of about 18 inches long, with a central rod and two equal-sized heads, used to wind spun wool into
a skein. Traditionally made of wood, though recently appearing in plastic and PVC.
Nippers Looks like two stuffed tubes of knitting joined together along one side and
at both ends. Worn by fishermen over their palms to provide comfort and greater grip when hauling on a narrow line. Have
become far less common since the hydraulic trap hauler came into common use.
Ovine Pertaining to sheep.
Penny Rugs A form of wool applique dating to the early to mid 19th century. They earned their name from the large pennies
of the time reputed to be used as templates. These would be attached to various backgrounds with embroidery, often button
stitch. Circles were combined with naturalistic figures such as
simple flowers, fruits and animals. The backings used were varied and included woolen fabric and coarsely woven cotton. The
finished rugs were often used as table rugs instead of floor coverings.
plarn Plastic yarn, often made from strips of plastic grocery bags
prunella a strong silk or worsted fabric used formerly for barristers' gowns
and the uppers of women's shoes. Origin mid 17th cent.: perhaps from French prunelle
‘sloe’ (because of its dark colour). (OED)