What is inkle weaving?

Inquiring minds


Q. What is inkle weaving?


A.  Historically, “inkle” was a kind of narrow, linen tape or ribbon. Inkle weaving uses a special loom to produce narrow flat bands of very strong fabric. Traditional uses of inkle weave included belts and reins; in modern times, inkle weaving can be fashioned into camera and guitar straps, and even shoelaces. This meaning of the word “inkle” has been in the English language since the 16th Century. Shakespeare used “inkle” in this sense in the play “A Winter’s Tale.” “He hath ribbons of all the colors i’ the rainbow ... inkles, caddisses, cambrics, lawns” (Act IV, Scene iv.). And if you’re wondering what “caddisses” are, that may the subject of another column some time.

(Oxford English Dictionary and online resources.)


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