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Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi, Pakistan.
A textile is a flexible material comprised of a network of natural or artificial fibers often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw wool fibers, linen, cotton, or other material on a spinning wheel to produce long strands known as yarn.[1] Textiles are formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, or pressing fibers together (felt).


The words fabric and cloth are commonly used in textile assembly trades (such as tailoring and dressmaking) as synonyms for textile. However, there are subtle differences in these terms. Textile refers to any material made of interlacing fibres. Fabric refers to any material made through weaving, knitting, crocheting, or bonding. Cloth refers to a finished piece of fabric that can be used for a purpose such as covering a bed.


Main article: History of textiles
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Late antique textile, Egyptian, now in the Dumbarton Oaks collection.
The production of textiles is an important craft, whose speed and scale of production has been altered almost beyond recognition by industrialization and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. However, for the main types of textiles, plain weave, twill or satin weave there is little difference between the ancient and modern methods.

Incan Indians have been crafting quipus (or khipus) made of fibers either from a protein, such as spun and plied thread like wool or hair from camelids such as alpacas, llamas and camels or from a cellulose like cotton for thousands of years. Khipus are a series of knots along pieces of string. They have been believed to only have acted as a form of accounting, although new evidence conducted by Harvard professor, Gary Urton, indicates there may be more to the khipu than just numbers. Preservation of khipus found in museum and archive collections follow general textile preservation principles and practice.


Textiles have an assortment of uses, the most common of which are for clothing and containers such as bags and baskets. In the household, they are used in carpeting, upholstered furnishings, window shades, towels, covering for tables, beds, and other flat surfaces, and in art. In the workplace, they are used in industrial and scientific processes such as filtering. Miscellaneous uses include flags, tents, nets, cleaning devices, such as handkerchiefs; transportation devices such as balloons, kites, sails, and parachutes; strengthening in composite materials such as fibre glass and industrial geotextiles, and smaller cloths are used in washing by "soaping up" the cloth and washing with it rather than using just soap.

Textiles used for industrial purposes, and chosen for characteristics other than their appearance, are commonly referred to as technical textiles. Technical textiles include textile structures for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g. implants), geotextiles (reinforcement of enbankments), agrotextiles (textiles for crop protection), protective clothing (e.g. against heat and radiation for fire fighter clothing, against molten metals for welders, stab protection, and bullet proof vests. In all these applications stringent performance requirements must be met.

Fashion and textile designs

Fashion designers commonly rely on textile designs to set their fashion collections apart from others. Marisol Deluna, Nicole Miller and the late Gianni Versace can be easily recognized by their signature print driven designs.

Sources and types

Textiles can be made from many materials. These materials come from four main sources: animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic. In the past, all textiles were made from natural fibres, including plant, animal, and mineral sources. In the 20th century, these were supplemented by artificial fibres made from petroleum.

Textiles are made in various strengths and degrees of durability, from the finest gossamer to the sturdiest canvas. The relative thickness of fibres in cloth is measured in deniers. Microfiber refers to fibers made of strands thinner than one denier.

Animal textiles

Animal textiles are commonly made from hair or fur.

Wool refers to the hair of the domestic goat or sheep, which is distinguished from other types of animal hair in that the individual strands are coated with scales and tightly crimped, and the wool as a whole is coated with an oil known as lanolin, which is waterproof and dirtproof. Woollen refers to a bulkier yarn produced from carded, non-parallel fibre, while worsted refers to a finer yarn which is spun from longer fibres which have been combed to be parallel. Wool is commonly used for warm clothing. Cashmere, the hair of the Indian cashmere goat, and mohair, the hair of the North African angora goat, are types of wool known for their softness.

Other animal textiles which are made from hair or fur are alpaca wool, vicuña wool, llama wool, and camel hair, generally used in the production of coats, jackets, ponchos, blankets, and other warm coverings. Angora refers to the long, thick, soft hair of the angora rabbit.

Wadmal is a coarse cloth made of wool, produced in Scandinavia, mostly 1000~1500CE.

Silk is an animal textile made from the fibers of the cocoon of the Chinese silkworm. This is spun into a smooth, shiny fabric prized for its sleek texture.

Plant textiles

Grass, rush, hemp, and sisal are all used in making rope. In the first two, the entire plant is used for this purpose, while in the last two, only fibres from the plant are utilized. Coir (coconut fiber) is used in making twine, and also in floormats, doormats, brushes, mattresses, floor tiles, and sacking.

Straw and bamboo are both used to make hats. Straw, a dried form of grass, is also used for stuffing, as is kapok.

Fibres from pulpwood trees, cotton, rice, hemp, and nettle are used in making paper.

Cotton, flax, jute, hemp and modal are all used in clothing. Piña (pineapple fiber) and ramie are also fibres used in clothing, generally with a blend of other fabrics such as cotton.

Acetate is used to increase the shininess of certain fabrics such as silks, velvets, and taffetas.

Seaweed is used in the production of textiles. A water-soluble fiber known as alginate is produced and is used as a holding fiber; when the cloth is finished, the alginate is dissolved, leaving an open area

Mineral textiles

Asbestos and basalt fiber are used for vinyl tiles, sheeting, and adhesives, "transite" panels and siding, acoustical ceilings, stage curtains, and fire blankets.

Glass Fiber is used in the production of spacesuits, ironing board and mattress covers, ropes and cables, reinforcement fiber for composite materials, insect netting, flame-retardant and protective fabric, soundproof, fireproof, and insulating fibers.

Metal fiber, metal foil, and metal wire have a variety of uses, including the production of cloth-of-gold and jewelry. Hardware cloth is a coarse weave of steel wire, used in construction.

Synthetic textiles

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A variety of contemporary fabrics. From the left: evenweave cotton, velvet, printed cotton, calico, felt, satin, silk, hessian, polycotton.
All synthetic textiles are used primarily in the production of clothing.

Polyester fiber is used in all types of clothing, either alone or blended with fibres such as cotton.

Aramid fiber (e.g. Twaron) is used for flame-retardant clothing, cut-protection, and armor.

Acrylic is a fibre used to imitate wools, including cashmere, and is often used in replacement of them.

Nylon is a fibre used to imitate silk; it is used in the production of pantyhose. Thicker nylon fibers are used in rope and outdoor clothing.

Spandex (trade name Lycra) is a polyurethane fibre that stretches easily and can be made tight-fitting without impeding movement. It is used to make activewear, bras, and swimsuits.

Olefin fiber is a fiber used in activewear, linings, and warm clothing. Olefins are hydrophobic, allowing them to dry quickly. A sintered felt of olefin fibers is sold under the trade name Tyvek.

Ingeo is a polylactide fiber blended with other fibres such as cotton and used in clothing. It is more hydrophilic than most other synthetics, allowing it to wick away perspiration.

Lurex is a metallic fiber used in clothing embellishment.

Production methods

Main article: textile manufacturing
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Brilliantly dyed traditional woven textiles of Guatemala, and woman weaving on a backstrap loom.
Weaving is a textile production method which involves interlacing a set of vertical threads (called the warp) with a set of horizontal threads (called the weft). This is done on a machine known as a loom, of which there are a number of types. Some weaving is still done by hand, but the vast majority is mechanised.

Knitting and crocheting involve interlacing loops of yarn, which are formed either on a knitting needle or on a crochet hook, together in a line. The two processes are different in that knitting has several active loops at one time, on the knitting needle waiting to interlock with another loop, while crocheting never has more than one active loop on the needle.

Braiding or plaiting involves twisting threads together into cloth. Knotting involves tying threads together and is used in making macrame.

Lace is made by interlocking threads together independently, using a backing and any of the methods described above, to create a fine fabric with open holes in the work. Lace can be made by either hand or machine.

Carpets, rugs, velvet, velour, and velveteen, are made by interlacing a secondary yarn through woven cloth, creating a tufted layer known as a nap or pile.

Felting involves pressing a mat of fibers together, and working them together until they become tangled. A liquid, such as soapy water, is usually added to lubricate the fibers, and to open up the microscopic scales on strands of wool.


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Woven tartan of Clan Campbell, Scotland.
Textiles are often dyed, with fabrics available in almost every colour. Coloured designs in textiles can be created by weaving together fibres of different colours (tartan or Uzbek_Ikat), adding coloured stitches to finished fabric (embroidery), creating patterns by resist dyeing methods, tying off areas of cloth and dyeing the rest (tie-dye), or drawing wax designs on cloth and dyeing in between them (batik), or using various printing processes on finished fabric. Woodblock printing, still used in India and elsewhere today, is the oldest of these dating back to at least 220CE in China.

Textiles are also sometimes bleached. In this process, the original colour of the textile is removed by chemicals or exposure to sunlight, turning the textile pale or white.

Textiles are sometimes finished by starching, which makes the fabric stiff and less prone to wrinkles, or by waterproofing, which makes the fabric slick and impervious to water or other liquids. Since the 1990s, finishing agents have been used to strengthen fabrics and make them wrinkle free. [1]

See also


1. ^ An Introduction to Textile Terms (pdf). Retrieved on August 6, 2006.
  • Good, Irene. 2006. "Textiles as a Medium of Exchange in Third Millennium B.C.E. Western Asia." In: Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World. Edited by Victor H. Mair. University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu. Pages 191-214. ISBN 978-0824828844
  • Fisher, Nora (Curator Emirta, Textiles & Costumes), Museum of International Folk Art. "Rio Grande Textiles." Introduction by Teresa Archuleta-Sagel. 196 pages with 125 black and white as well as color plates, Museum of New Mexico Press, Paperbound.
  • David H. Abrahams, "Textile chemistry", McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science -- available in AccessScience@McGraw-Hill, DOI 10.1036/1097-8542.687500, last modified: February 21, 2007.] (Subscription access)

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A fabric is a textile material.

It can also refer to:
  • a production unit (original Latin sense) or similar practical organism, such as an ecclestiastical Fabrica Ecclesiae
  • Fabric (club), a well-known nightclub in London, England

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For other meanings of fiber/fibre please see Fiber (disambiguation).

Fiber or fibre[1] is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.
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Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine.
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Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials.


In spinning, separate fibers are twisted together to bind them into a long, stronger yarn.
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Wool is the fibre derived from the fur of animals of the Caprinae family, principally sheep, but the hair of certain species of other mammals such as goats, llamas and rabbits may also be called wool. This article deals explicitly with the wool produced from domestic sheep.
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Linen is a material made from the fibers of the flax plant.'''

Flax fiber

The term "linen" refers to yarn and fabric made from flax fibers; however, today it is often used as a generic term to describe a class of woven bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles because
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Cotton is a soft fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium sp.), a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, India, and Africa.
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spinning wheel is a device for spinning thread or yarn from natural or man-made fibers, where spinning is the process of twisting fibers together to create yarn.

The first improvement in spinning technology was the spinning wheel, which was invented in India between 500 and
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Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine.
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Weaving is an ancient textile art and craft that involves placing two sets of threads or yarn called the warp and weft of the loom and turning them into cloth. This cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or it can be woven in decorative or artistic designs,
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Knitting is a craft by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth. Similar to crochet, knitting consists of loops called stitches pulled through each other. Knitting differs from crochet in that multiple stitches are 'active', or in use, at the same time, and crochet uses a
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Crochet (IPA: krəʊ'ʃeɪ) is a process of creating fabric from yarn or thread using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the Middle French word croc or croche, meaning hook.
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City of license Prescott, Arizona
Broadcast area Flagstaff-Prescott, Arizona
Branding 1450 KNOT Classic Country
First air date 1957
Frequency 1450 (KHz)
Format Classic Country
ERP 1,000 watts
Class C
Owner Guyann Corporation
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Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers. The fibers form the structure of the fabric. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials.
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tailor is a person whose occupation is to sew menswear style jackets and the skirts or trousers that go with them.

Although the term dates to the thirteenth century, tailor
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: For other uses see Dressmaker (disambiguation)

A dressmaker is a person who makes custom clothing for women, such as dresses, blouses, and evening gowns. Also called a mantua-maker (historically) or a modiste.
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Textiles were invented in the Middle East during the late stone age and have been a major aspect of human societies through present times.[1]

Prehistoric development

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Plain or tabby weave is the most basic of the three fundamental types of textile weaves[1] It is strong and hardwearing, used for fashion and furnishing fabrics.

In plain weave the warp and weft are aligned so that they form a simple criss-cross pattern.
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Twill is a type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.

It is made by passing the weft threads over one warp thread and then under two or more warp threads, over one and under two or more, and so on, with a "step" or offset between rows that creates the
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Satin weave is one of the three important textile weaves, the other two being Plain weave and Twill weave. The satin weave is distinguished by its lustrous appearance; its 'silkiness' or its 'satin' feel.
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Quipu or khipu were recording devices used in the Inca Empire and its predecessor societies in the Andean region. A quipu usually consisted of colored spun and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair or cotton cords with numeric and other values encoded by knots in
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Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League.
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Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies at Harvard University. He was previously Professor of Anthropology at Colgate University from 1978 to 2001. Dr.
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Textile preservation refers to the processes by which textiles are cared for and maintained to be preserved from future damage. The field can fall under the category of art conservation and restoration as well as library preservation, depending on the type of collection.
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original research or unverifiable claims.
* It may contain an of published material that conveys ideas not verifiable with the given sources. Please help add reliable sources about the topic "August 2007."
* It does not cite any references or sources.
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bag (also known as a sack) is a non-rigid container normally made of paper, cloth, thin plastic, or some other flexible material. A bag may have one or two handles, or none at all. A bag may be closable by a zipper, snap fastener, etc., or simply by folding (e.g.
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basket is a container which is traditionally constructed from stiff fibres, often made of willow. [1] . The top is either left open or the basket may be fitted with a lid.
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A carpet is any loom-woven, felted textile or grass floor covering. The term was also used for table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 18th century.
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worldwide view of the subject.
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Furniture is the collective term for the movable objects which may support the human body (seating furniture and beds), provide storage, or hold objects on
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window blind or door blind is a covering for a window or door, usually attached to the interior side of a window. Blinds hide from sight (thus "blinding" a viewer of the window) or to reduce sunlight.
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