Weaving refers to making a cloth or other objects (e.g., willow baskets) by interlacing strands of material such as yarn. Hand weaving used to be much more popular before the invention of the loom (a weaving machine). However, the materials that can be used for weaving are largely the same.
Willow is a tree or shrub that grows well in moderate climates, such as that of England or North America. It can be used for weaving different objects, most notably willow baskets. Interlacing willow spokes is not much different than interlacing threads when making cloths.
Yarn made from sheep wool is one of the most popular materials for weaving clothes. The properties of sheep yarn can vary, depending on the breed of sheep, the climate and the time of year of the shearing. For example, the best wool comes from sheep residing at high elevations and having access to good grazing grounds and water.
Cotton threads are generally less elastic than wool yarn, though they are also more resistant. This allows tighter knots to be tied on cotton warps as opposed to wool ones. Cotton is also cheaper than wool.
Another popular material for weaving fabric is silk. Silk is characterized by high tensile strength, which means it can be twisted very finely. Like cotton, silk threads are quite resistant. The best silk is produced from the first part of the long thread with which the silk worm spins its cocoon (when unrolled, the cocoon thread can stretch up to 25,000 meters).
- purple willow image by ril from Fotolia.com