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L

lamba
A 7 foot long fringed, brightly coloured shawl, hand woven in Madagascar.  Worn as a ceremonial robe by men and women.  Often used as a burial shroud.

lappet weaving
A method of weaving, on a special loom, small designs or spot effects on the surface of a fabrics. Unlike swivel weaving, the design is stitched into the fabric by needles and has the effect of embroidery. The lappet design is made with one continuous additional weft yarn being carried on the back of the fabric as it is being woven. The floating yarn is cut away later. see swivel weaving.

lawn
A fine linen cloth used for clerical garments woven in Laon, northern France.  This fine sheer cloth is now woven in cotton and although crisper than voile is not as crisp as organdie.  There are many types of lawn including Indian lawn, Victoria lawn, Persian lawn, Egyptian lawn and bishop's lawn.  Liberty of London made famous their Tana lawn which began manufacture in the 1920s.  Tana lawn is named after Lake Tana in Sudan where the raw cotton was grown.

leno
Sometimes referred to as gauze weave. A weaving technology, requiring special heddles or healds and shafts, which allows one warp end to be crossed with its neighbour and securely holding the weft in place. This construction can be used for light, open fabrics and to secure the edges of cut pieces of cloth like scarves.

llama
Cloth made from llama's hair. The hair of the llama is coarser than that of the alpaca and is rarely used in the manufacture of clothing but often in making mats and bags. It's colour varies from black, brown to white.  The llama, a pack animal no more than six feet high, and its close relation the alpaca are both derived from the much larger guanaco.  All three are cameloids, but without humps, and together with the vicuna are found in South America. lama guaicoe. See alpaca and vicuna.

linen
Linen is the fibre obtained from the flax stalk. Traditionally linen is obtained from pulled flax, to preserve the fibre length, and is then retted or rotted in water to seperate the linen fibre from the surrounding soft material. It is considered to be the strongest natural fibre. Evidence shows that linen could be the oldest textile in the world. Can be used in the production of clothing and household fabrics. See flax.

linsey-woolsey
A coarse, loosely woven cloth traditionally woven with a linen warp and woollen weft.  The name derives from the village of Linsey, Suffolk, England.  See tartan.

loom
A mechanism on which to weave cloth.  The simplest loom is a wooden frame onto which warp yarns are stretched and fixed to two opposite sides.  The weft is then passed up and over the warp threads to make a fabric.  There are many types of loom: upright looms, backstrap looms, table looms, pit looms, horizontal looms, counterbalance looms, countermarch looms, inkle looms, tapestry looms, handlooms, treadle looms and power looms.  The powerloom was invented by Edmund Cartwright in 1790.  Handlooms prevail in India and in many developing countries where the local economy depends on handcraft.