Textile Glossary - R

RACK: A warp-knitting measure consisting of 480 courses. Tricot fabric quality is judged by the number of inches per rack.

RACKED STITCH: A knitting stitch that produces a herringbone effect with a ribbed back. It is employed in sweaters for decorative purposes or to form the edge of garments. The racked stitch is a variation of the half-cardigan stitch; it is created when one set of needles is displaced in relation to the other set.

RACKING: A term referring to the side-to-side movement of the needles of the needle bed of a knitting machine. Racking results in inclined stitches and reduced elasticity.


RADIO-FREQUENCY DRYING: Use of radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation for drying textiles. The application of RF to wet goods results in the selective heating of the water, which has a partial polarity, because the molecule must do work to align in the RF field causing heat generation within the water droplets. Non-polar materials, i.e., fabrics, are unaffected. RF drying in very uniform and energy efficient when airflow patterns through the dryer are properly designed and controlled.

Textile Glossary - Q

QUADRIPOLYMER: A polymer made from four distinct monomers. 


QUARTZ FIBER: Pure silica that has been melted and drawn into glass-like fibers. Used for heat resistance and high dielectric strength. 

  1. A box filled with water into which fabric is run after singeing to prevent sparks or fires.
  2. See CABINET. (Also see QUENCHING.)

QUENCHING: The cooling of fiber filaments after extrusion by carefully controlled airflow. (See CROSSFLOW QUENCH, INFLOW QUENCH, and OUTFLOW QUENCH.) 

QUENCH SPACER: The “quiet” zone below the spinneret in which there is no quench airflow. Quench spacer distance is important in controlling fiber orientation and birefringence. 

QUETSCH: The nip rollers of a padding machine. 

QUILL: A light, tapered tube of wood, metal, paper, orplastic on which the filling yarn is wound for use in the shuttle during weaving. 

QUILLING: The process of winding filling yarns onto filling bobbins, or quills, in preparation for use in the shuttle for weaving. 

Textile Glossary - P

  1. The complete assembly of filters and spinneret through which polymer flows during extrusion.
  2. A unit of weight for wool, 240 pounds. 

PACKAGE BUILD: A general term that applies to the shape, angles, tension, etc., of a yarn package during winding. Package build affects performance during subsequent processing. 


PACKAGES: A large selection of forms for winding yarn is available to meet the requirements of existing machinery and a variety of package builds is used to ensure suitable unwinding in later stages of manufacturing. Since a package with flanges cannot be unwound easily and quickly by pulling the yarn off overend, most packages are flangeless with self-supporting edges. Some can be unwound at speeds up to 1500 yd/min. The accompanying diagram shows six common types of yarn packages. 

PACK LIFE: The time during which a pack assembly can remain in use and produce good- quality yarn. 

PADDING: The application of a liquor or paste to textiles either by passing the material through a bath and subsequently through squeeze rollers, or by passing it between squeeze rollers, the bottom one of which carries the liquor or paste. 

Textile Glossary - O

OATMEAL: A heavy, soft linen fabric with a pebbled or crepe effect.


  1. A term to describe the difference between the percentage of warp crimp and the percentage of filling crimp.
  2. A term referring to a fabric in which the number of ends and the number of picks per inch are not equal.

OILCLOTH: Any fabric treated with linseed-oil varnish to make it waterproof. It comes in plain colors and printed designs and is most commonly used for table covers or shelf covering. It has now been widely replaced by plastic coated fabrics.

OILPROOF: A term describing fabrics that are impervious to oil.

OIL-REPELLENT: A term applied to fabrics that have been treated with finishes to make them resistant to oil stains.

Textile Glossary - N

NAINSOOK: A fine, lightweight, plain-weave fabric, usually of combed cotton. The fabric is often mercerized to produce luster and is finished soft. Nainsook is chiefly used for infants’ wear, lingerie, and blouses.

NAP: A downy surface given to a cloth when part of the fiber is raised from the basic structure.

NAPHTHALENE: A solid aromatic hydrocarbon (C10H8) derived from coal tar. Naphthalene is used as moth flakes and as the basis of certain dye components.


NAPPING: A finishing process that raises the surface fibers of a fabric by means of passage over rapidly revolving cylinders covered with metal points or teasel burrs. Outing, flannel, and wool broadcloth derive their downy appearance from this finishing process. Napping is also used for certain knit goods, blankets, and other fabrics with a raised surface.

Textile Glossary - M

MACE SNAG TEST: A test for evaluation of snagging performance. A fabric sample is mounted on a revolving drum in contact with a miniature mace that tracks randomly across the sample. The spikes of the mace effect the snagging. The test predicts results in actual wear.

MACHINE DIRECTION: The long direction within the place of the fabric, i.e., the direction in which the fabric is being produced by the machine.

MACHINE TWIST: A hard-twist sewing thread, usually of 3-ply construction spun with S twists and plied with Z twist, especially made for use in sewing machines.

MACROLATTICE: A repeating structure in very small microfibrils of alternating crystalline and amorphous regions. Yarn properties are thought to be governed by morphology at the macrolattice scale.

MADRAS: A lightweight, plain weave fabric with a striped, checked, or plaid pattern. True madras is “guaranteed to bleed.”

Textile Glossary - L

LACE: Ornamental openwork fabric, made in a variety of designs by intricate manipulation of the fiber by machine or by hand.

LACE STITCH: In this knitting stitch structure, loops are transferred from the needles on which they are made to adjacent needles to create a fabric with an open or a raised effect.

LAID-IN FABRIC: A knit fabric in which an effect yarn is tucked in, not knitted into, the fabric structure. The laid-in yarns are held in position by the knitted yarns.


LAMÉ: A fabric woven with flat metal threads, usually silver or gold, that form either the background or the pattern.

LAMINAR FLOW: Streamline flow in a viscous fluid, such as molten polymer, near a solid boundary.

  1. Fabric composed of a high-strength reinforcing scrim or base fabric between two plies of flexible thermoplastic film. Usually open scrims are used to permit the polymer to flow through the interstices and bond during calendering.
  2. See BONDED FABRIC, 1.

LAP: A continuous, considerably compressed sheet of fibers that is rolled under pressure into a cylindrical package, usually weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. The lap is used to supply the card.