Warp is the term used to describe threads before they are braided. We use this term when we measure out the threads and prepare them for braiding. Example: “I measured out a warp that was 30″ long and put it on the marudai to make a braid about half that length.”
The term comes from the weaving tradition. Warp and weft are the two basic components in weaving which turn yarns into fabric. The warp is represented by those yarns that are kept stationary and under tension by the loom. In order to have a fabric, only certain warp threads are lifted creating a space for the weft yarn to be placed. Designs and structures are achieved by color placement in the warp as well as the sequence used to lift warp threads.
Because braids are interlaced at an oblique angle the elements are sometimes seen as warp, when another element goes over or under, and other times as weft when the element is moving over or under.