glossary of terms discover our passion through our fabrics, textures and crafts.
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cable knit and aran A stitch that produces the appearance of a heavy cord "cable" or braid; popular in sweaters and sports socks. Two or more groups of adjacent wales pass over and under one another. Aran is a sweater made of undyed, cream-colored sheep’s wool and occasionally from unwashed wool that still contains the sheep’s natural lanolin. Each pattern is two to four inches in width and moves down the sweater in columns from top to bottom. Usually the patterns are symmetrical to a center axis extending down the center of the front and back panel. The patterns usually extend down the sleeves as well.

carnelian (pronounced car-neel-eann) A semiprecious stone that is a form of chalcedony (pronounced kal-sed-nee), a type of quartz. Deposits of carnelian are found throughout the world. The most famous sites are in India, Brazil, Uruguay and Japan. Carnelian is known as a stone of great spirituality. It’s said to possess a capacity for mental and physical healing properties.

cashmere Crafted from the finest, two-ply yarns from Inner Mongolia, the world’s premier source for cashmere. It has a lightweight yet dense feeling, resists pilling and is soft to the touch.

casting Giving shape to a substance such as metal (for example bronze or silver) by pouring it in liquid form into a mold and letting it harden. Organic materials such as twigs and leaves can be used to make casting molds.

chain stitch A delicate embroidery or crochet stitches that form connecting links like a chain. It is much prettier and more refined than the name implies.

charmeuse A lightweight silk or synthetic dress fabric with a supersoft drape and hand. It’s smooth and has a semilustrous satin face and a dull back. Hard twist yarn is used for the warp with a crepe yarn filling.

citrine A naturally occurring gemstone and a form of quartz that has a trigonal crystal structure. It exists in a range of shades from pale and golden yellow to dark and smoky yellow. Citrine resembles topaz in color and transparency. It comes from Brazil, Bolivia and Spain.

cloisonné (pronounced cloy-sun-ay) A process whereby small amounts of colored enamel or powdered glass are painted onto metal and fired in an oven, creating a stained-glass look. Cloisonné is a French word, meaning to be compartmentalized. The term, used in the enameling process, refers to thin strips of metal bent to form the outline of a design and fastened to the surface of a metal object. The resulting cells (cloisons) are then filled with enamel. Cloisons minimize cracking and chipping of the enamel, reduce warping and add strength to the overall shape.

coin pearl A freshwater pearl that is flat and coin-shaped (hence the name), with an irregular surface.

colored denim A fabric created by weaving a colored warp yarn (the threads that run the vertical length of fabric) with a white weft yarn (the threads that run horizontally from right to left on a fabric). This weaving process gives colored denim a more textural and broken-in look than regular solid (piece-dyed) fabrics. Colored denim comes in a variety of weights and is a popular year-round staple.

color-infused jade A faux or synthetic jade that has been enhanced with the striking color green to elevate it to the ranks of the lustrous gem.

coral A semiprecious material harvested from the sea, coral has a naturally dull color. Shaping and polishing brings out its luster. Colors range from light to deep reds through yellows and blues to black.

corduroy A fabric (usually cotton) with distinctive vertical rows (wales) of soft pile that vary in width from pin to wide. Corduroy is made by weaving extra sets of fiber into the base fabric to form vertical ridges called wales. The wales are built so that clear lines can be seen when they are cut into pile.

11-wale corduroy A corduroy with wider wales (11 per square inch).
pigment dyed/printed corduroy The process of coloring or printing fabric with pigment dyes. The dye is applied to the surface of the fabric, then the garment is cut and sewn. When washed in the final phase of the manufacturing process, the pigment dye washes out in an irregular way, creating a vintage look. The color of each garment becomes softer with each washing, and there is a subtle color variation from one to the next. No two are alike.
pincord/pinwale/needlecord Corduroy’s wale count per inch can vary from 1.5 to 21, although the traditional standard falls somewhere between 10 and 12. Pincord is the finest cord around with a count that’s right at the upper end of the spectrum (above 16) and has a feel that’s as soft as velvet and superlight.
tumbled corduroy The J. Jill term for our corduroy with a vintage look and feel. A special weaving process gives it a casual and carefree tumbled look. Repeated washing with enzymes and silicone creates an unbelievably soft and broken-in effect.

cotton Cotton is a natural fiber harvested from the seedpod of the cotton plant. The fibers are dried, cleaned and pressed into bales for spinning. The quality of cotton is determined by the staple length, or length of the fiber. Longer fibers create more lustrous, silky, absorbent and soft cotton.

crinkle cotton Cotton that is given a crinkled, lightly wrinkled or pleated appearance through chemical treatment or mechanical means. The treatment gives added texture to the garment.
Egyptian cotton Regarded as the finest cotton in the world. The extra-long fiber creates a supersoft hand feel, luxurious shine and excellent absorbency.
mercerized cotton Any type of cotton that has gone through a chemical process that permanently swells the fiber. The resulting fabric or yarn has a lovely shine, takes dye well and is very strong.
pima cotton A medium staple-length variety of American-bred Egyptian cotton. It’s known for its high quality and is particularly soft and lustrous.
rustic cotton A cotton fabric that is woven with irregular slubs of yarn. Slubs are thick, untwisted bunches of fiber woven into the fabric at random intervals that give the fabric a textured, unique characteristic and a natural appearance.

cotton gauze A sheer, open, plain-weave fabric, very lightweight and comfortable.

cotton poplin A plain-weave cotton that is lightweight and durable, with a texture similar to sheeting. Also known as cotton broadcloth.

cotton poplin sateen A durable, plain-weave fabric with fine cross ribs produced by warp yarns that have about two or three times as many ends per inch as picks. (Each yarn of the filling or weft is called a pick.) The surface texture is lustrous and shiny.

cotton voile A crisp, lightweight and semi-transparent plain weave created with high-twist yarns in a high yarn-count construction. It has a crisp hand and is similar in appearance to organdy and organza.

couch stitch A method of embroidery where designs are made by various threads or cords laid up on the surface of the material and secured by fine stitches through it and across the cord. It can be raised or flat.

cozy yarn A polyester-and-nylon blend of soft, fluffy yarn. It has a chenille-like texture. The light and airy feel is achieved by knitting the yarns via special sweater machinery. A warm, cozy, washable fiber.

crewel embroidery A predominantly hand-embroidered stitch made with crewel yarn—a fine, loosely twisted two-ply worsted wool—usually on a plain-weave fabric. As common in fashion apparel as it is in home fashions, it’s a pleasant outcome for a rather dubious-sounding name.

crinkle A textured and treated lightweight cotton or silk that maintains its "crinkly" effect by being rolled up in a bag, which accompanies the product and comes with a "how to store" guide. Throw out the iron—it eliminates the effect.

crinkle silk (also known as plissé: pronounced plee-say) A silk that is given a crinkled or pleated effect through chemical application or mechanical means. Its crinkle is maintained by twisting and knotting the garment before storing it in a cool, dry place.

crinkle velvet An irregular crinkled or crushed effect created by high twist yarns, chemical applications or mechanical means on the surface of the fabric. The result is really great texture.

crinkle wool A wavy or crinkled effect that is produced by treatment with sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) under highly controlled conditions.

crochet (pronounced crow-shay) A continuous series of loops of yarn made by a single hooked needle. Derived from the French word for "hook," crochet was practiced in Europe as early as the 16th century. Nuns were the first to utilize the skill as a way to imitate lace. Irish nuns passed it onto Irish women to help supplement their incomes during the potato famine of the 1840s. When these women immigrated to America, they brought the craft with them.

cross-dyed linen The cross-dyed effect is created when two (one colored and one white) strands of linen are "crossed" in opposite directions during the weaving process. The result is two-dimensional color that has both richness and depth.

curly fleece Constructed from jersey-backed polyester microfleece with a jersey back. The face of the fabric is cut in a similar construction to terry towels that give a plush feeling on the surface. The surface loops create added loft, which provides warmth without extra weight or bulk.