A textile is any kind of woven, knitted, knotted (as in macrame) or tufted cloth, or a non-woven fabric (a cloth made of fibers that have been bonded into a fabric, e.g. felt).
Textile also refers to the yarns, threads and wools that can be spun, woven, tufted, tied and otherwise used to manufacture cloth. The production of textiles is an ancient art, whose speed and scale of production has been altered almost beyond recognition by mass-production and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. An ancient Roman weaver would have no problem recognizing a plain weave, twill, or satin.
Many textiles have been in use for millennia, while others use artificial fibers and are recent inventions. The range of fibers has increased in the last 100 years. The first synthetics were made in the 1920s and 1930s.
Textiles can be made from a variety of materials. The following is a partial list of the materials that can be used to make textiles.
Angora rabbit hair
Bark cloth has various uses, and is used in sheets.
Coir: the fiber from coconuts.
Grass, rush and straw
Hemp (mostly used in rope making)
Nettle: processed in a similar manner to flax.
Seaweed: a water soluble fiber (alginate) is produced. This is used as a holding fiber in the production of certain textiles: when the cloth is finished the alginate is dissolved, leaving an open area.
Derived from plant products
Asbestos: now has very limited uses.
Glass fibers can be used in the manufacture of textiles for insulation and other purposes.
Metal fiber, metal wire and metal foil have some uses in textiles, either on their own or with other materials (see, for example, goldwork embroidery).
A vast range of man-made fibers can be used in textile manufacture, including:
Ways of making textiles
Knotting, including macrame: used in making nets.
carpets and some rugs
Weaving the cloth is prepared on a loom, of which there are a number of types. Some weaving is still done by hand, but the vast majority is machine made.
Waterproofing and other finishing.
Uses of textiles
Textiles have been used in almost every possible context where their properties are useful. In cleaning
Bags and other means of carrying objects
Balloons, kites, sails, parachutes and other transport use. Early airplanes used cloth as part of the construction.
Furnishings, including towels and table cloths
Industrial and scientific uses, including filtering
Rugs and carpets