The Handloom Weaving Process
THE HANDLOOM WEAVING PROCESS
Handloom weaving is a complicated and labour-intensive process. However, to explain the process in a simple way, we will skip explaining some of the steps.
The major steps involved in making handloom fabrics are:
Typically the design of the fabric is drawn on a graph paper. This is transferred to the yarn before dyeing during patterning.
Here the warp, or the length-wise threads, are removed from the spools and wound into long bundles.
The vertical pattern of the design is first marked on the warp bundle and rubber strips are wound around the bundle to block the dye.
The warp is dyed in either natural or artificial dyes. The process of warp patterning and dyeing is repeated depending on the design and number of colours. The dyeing is usually done with lightest colours first and darkest colour last.
The weft, or the width-wise threads, are marked with the horizontal pattern and rubber strips are tied.
The weft thread is dyed. Again, depending on the design and number of colours, the weft patterning and dyeing process is repeated.
The dyed weft thread is spooled onto small bobbins called pirns that go inside the weft shuttle of the loom.
The warp threads are loaded onto the loom. Depending on the design, the warp threads are put through the appropriate shafts and heddles. The shafts and heddles lift some warp threads based on the design. The shafts are vertical strings connected to a pattern controller that sits on top of the loom. During weaving the weft thread is passed in between the lifted and unlifted warp threads thereby weaving the fabric according to the design. For double ikat, where both the warp and weft have patterns, the weaver has to manually adjust each weft thread to align the pattern.
The weaving process consists of pulling the shuttle between the raised warp threads. The weft thread is packed into the cloth using a series of vertical strings called the beater.
Unloading the fabric
Depending on the fabric woven, the warp is cut from the loom and the ends either tied into fringes or the ends cut.
You can find more information about handloom weaving from the following