What is "Picking" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 24-Jun-2024 ( ago)
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Picking Apart Textile Production: An Insightful Journey

Diving Deep into the Textile Process: The Intricacies of Picking

The process of creating textiles is a carefully choreographed dance that transforms raw materials into finished fabric. One pivotal step in this process is picking. The term "picking" in the context of textiles refers to the process of inserting the weft yarn into the warp threads on a loom to create cloth. This intricate operation is a fundamental element of weaving, one of humanity's oldest crafts.

A Glimpse into History

The origin of picking harks back to the dawn of civilization. Early looms were rudimentary, with the picking process carried out manually. As civilization advanced, so did the technology of looms, from the invention of the foot-treadle loom in the Middle Ages, to the flying shuttle in the 18th century which mechanized the picking process. Today, modern looms perform picking at rapid rates, significantly increasing textile production efficiency.

Types of Picking

  • Over picking: Predominantly used in traditional power looms, the picker stick directly propels the shuttle carrying the weft yarn across the loom.
  • Under picking: Common in modern automatic looms, the picking mechanism operates below the shuttle, offering better speed and efficiency.
  • Projectile Picking: In this method, small metal projectiles transport the weft yarn, offering high-speed operation.
  • Rapier Picking: One or two narrow bands, or rapiers, carry the weft yarn across the loom in this method. This technology is known for its flexibility with different types of yarn.
  • Jet Picking: This category includes air-jet and water-jet picking, where jets of air or water carry the weft yarn across the loom. These methods are suitable for high-speed, large-scale operations.

Tips for Picking Management

  • Regular maintenance of looms is crucial to ensure smooth picking operations.
  • Appropriate selection of picking method based on the type and properties of the yarn can enhance productivity and fabric quality.
  • Timely replacement of worn-out picking components can prevent fabric defects.
  • Proper training of personnel is essential for the efficient operation and troubleshooting of picking machinery.
  • Picking speed should be optimized to balance production efficiency and fabric quality.

Key Players in the Picking Scene

  • Toyota Industries Corporation: This Japanese company is a world leader in weaving technology, producing a wide range of looms with different picking systems.
  • Picanol: A Belgium-based company, Picanol is one of the leading providers of weaving machines globally, offering air-jet, rapier, and water-jet picking looms.
  • Dornier: This German company has a rich heritage in textile machinery, with a product portfolio featuring rapier and air-jet looms.
  • Itema: An Italian company specializing in textile machinery, Itema produces a variety of looms, including those with rapier and air-jet picking.
  • Tsudakoma: Based in Japan, Tsudakoma is recognized for its high-speed air-jet and water-jet looms.

Applications of Picking in Textiles

  • Clothing: Picking plays a crucial role in the production of woven fabric for clothing. The type of picking can influence the fabric's texture, strength, and appearance.
  • Home Textiles: The variety of fabrics used in home textiles, such as bed linens, curtains, and upholstery, rely on picking for their production.
  • Technical Textiles: These specialized textiles, used in sectors like automotive, healthcare, and construction, often require specific picking methods to achieve desired fabric properties.
  • Artisanal Weaving: Picking is integral to artisanal weaving processes, creating unique, handcrafted textiles.


The textile industry's landscape has been profoundly shaped by the evolution of picking technology. The transformation from manual to mechanized picking has paralleled the broader industrialization journey, reflecting humanity's relentless pursuit of efficiency and progress. Today, picking stands at the intersection of tradition and technology, contributing to the diverse array of fabrics that clothe us, comfort us, and enrich our surroundings.

However, the future beckons with new challenges and opportunities. With increasing emphasis on sustainability, there is a need for picking technologies that are energy-efficient and reduce wastage. Further, as we venture into the era of smart textiles, picking processes may need to adapt to accommodate novel materials and desired functionalities. Thus, while picking may be a process steeply rooted in history, its future promises to be a dynamic voyage of discovery and innovation, shaping the very fabric of our lives.

a) The second of the three basic motions in weaving, in which the weft is passed through the warp shed.

b) The rectification of the face and the back of a carpet after manufacture, including insertion of missing tufts, replacement of incorrect ones and repair of broken yarns in the backing (local mending).

c) A process carried out before the final stage of fabric finishing to remove, by hand, any contamination (such as kemp (see kemp fibres), wrong fibre, coloured hair, etc.) that has not been removed by previous processing.


This process is carried out in particular during the finishing of suitings, face-finished fabrics and cream or off-white fabrics.

The effect of ink being too tacky and lifting fibers out of the paper. Shows up as small white dots on areas of colour.

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