Weaving, in general, is the production of cloth or fabric by interlacing threads, yarns, strings, or other strips of fibrous material. Usually this involves threads laid in a lengthwise direction (warps) being interlaced with threads laced crosswise at right angles (wefts). Weaving may be accomplished purely by hand or with the use of looms. Looms are devices that hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics vary widely, and the operation of a loom may depend entirely on human hands or may involve motors, complex technology, or even computer-based automation.
Many aspects of what may be termed "craft weaving" involve individual craftsmen or -women, working on hand-powered looms and producing woven products under one person's individual direction. This is sometimes termed "handweaving." By contrast, modern textile production on an industrial scale typically requires powered machine-looms, and—since the advent of the Industrial Revolution—the creation of woven textiles has often become a large-scale operation involving many specialized workers, each of whom deals with only a part of the production.
Historically, Kentucky and other Appalachian areas were known mostly for relatively simple (though often beautiful) handwoven products, such as rugs or coverlets produced through the "overshot" technique. These pioneer woven pieces required only the most basic loom technology, and the looms themselves may well have been homemade devices.