Weaving meshed together threads that run in two different directions, and was done on homemade "hand looms". Without a loom, settlers could not weave cloth for making clothes, sheets or blankets. The weaver threw a shuttle, which carried the crosswise thread (weft) back and forth between the lengthwise threads (warp), then used the beater to push the crosswise thread against the already-woven material to form a flat, smooth piece of cloth. As well as weaving cloth, settlers used their looms to weave rag rugs. Some settlers brought their rags to the weaver, who wove them into rugs for a fee.

Most people today associate weaving with women and believe it has always been that way. It would surprise many to learn that weaving is traditionally a man's job, especially in countries like Germany, where a lot of cotton was grown. It wasn't until the introduction of more mechanized methods of weaving, around 1870, that women really started to enter the workforce. By then, women could be easily taught how to use the machines and places like Lowell, Massachusetts experienced a boom. To this day, men still weave among Native American tribes, such as the Navajo, and some of the best weavers in the world are men.