In textiles, pile is the raised surface or nap of a fabric, which is made of upright loops or strands of yarn. Examples of pile textiles are carpets, corduroy, velvet, plush, and Turkish towels. The word is derived from Latin pilus for "hair"
The surface and the yarn in these fabrics are also called "pile". In particular "pile length" or "pile depth" refer to the length of the yarn strands (half-length of the loops). Pile length affects and is affected by knot density: "The greater the knot density, the thinner the weft and warp yarns and the more weakly are they twisted; the smaller the density, the coarser are the foundation yarns," and designs and motifs are also affected and affect pile depth: "A carpet design with a high knot density is better adapted to intricate and curvilinear designs, which of necessity must have a shorter pile length to avoid looking blurry. A carpet with a lesser knot density is better adapted to bold, geometric designs and can utilize a long pile for softer, more reflective surface that appeals to the sense of touch."
The types of pile include:
- loop pile
- uncut pile
- cut pile
- knotted pile
- tufted pile
- woven pile
- cord pile
- twist pile
- "Pile." The Oxford English Dictionay. 2nd ed. 1989.
- "pile", Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
- "Pile," Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. retrieved from dictionary.com 10 September 2007.
- Tzareva, Elena (1984). Rugs & carpets from Central Asia: the Russian collections, p.12-3. Penguin. ISBN 9780140063691.
- Denny, Walter B. (2014). How to Read Islamic Carpets, p.43 & 61. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780300208092.