This is the text of one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in January and February 2017.
Pibiones are small raised bumps of thread found on the most distinctive of Sardinian textiles. The name comes from an ancient word for grapes, as pibiones feel like grapes, and grapes and the harvest play a significant part in Sardinian history.
Creating pibiones requires skill, dexterity, and patience. The pibiones are created by winding fibers around a long needle that sits on top of the weft. Each pibione is counted and wound by hand, one pibione at a time, one row at a time, matched against a pattern drawn on graph paper.
Pibiones add strength as well as design to a weaving. The best pibiones are firm to the touch and remain durable and distinct when the textile is used. To achieve the desired firmness, threads used in the pibiones are often spun a second time before being woven.
PS: The photo at the top of the page is of the wooden shuttle that holds threads the weaver uses to make pibiones. All the posters from the exhibit have background images of various weaving tools.