We all have had an early introduction to weaving with our mother’s knitting woolen yarns into beautiful cardigans. How much have we loved those hand-woven dresses and hoarded them as precious gems for years. Of course, they deserve much love!
So is the art of weaving – unimaginable and ever alluring. Well, I apologize! My idea here is not to take you down a memory lane but introduce you to another category of weavers (not mommies) but the weavers of far and distant land of Panipat, India.
Panipat- a city of historical importance also proudly owns the title of ‘The City of Weavers’ and is renowned worldwide for producing carpets and mats. The weavers here have immense skill and enormous patience that SouvNear has humbly recognized and taken pride to unfold and reflect the same to the world – far and wide; in the form of doormats, placemats and shower mats.
Converting cotton yarns into a variety of fabrics with the help of indigenous ‘Handlooms’ is a passion amongst these craftsmen. 100% manually operated, these handlooms are wooden frames consisting of various parts.
Adhering to a number of steps and an exciting procedure, these diligent weavers happily advance towards their goal of weaving which is discussed below.
The process is broadly classified into Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3. These three steps are further divided into sub-steps to make the procedure comprehensive.
Step 1 – Procurement of yarn and assigning places to the yarn
Initial of all the steps is to procure cotton yarn and dye it as per the color requirement. Once the dyed yarn is in the hand of the weaver, the next step is of assigning particular places to the yarn threads. The yarn is transferred to two places – The Loom and The Bobbins
1.a) Placing the yarn on the loom
The yarn threads are laid horizontally between two rollers present in the opposite directions on the loom and these yarn threads are called ‘The Warp’.
1.b) Placing the yarn on the bobbins
This process is also known as ‘The Winding of the Bobbins’.The yarn is transported to the bobbins using another manually operated machine – known as ‘The Charkha’ .The design of these bobbins is of entirely different kind as compared to those we see in our sewing machine.
Step 2 – Inserting bobbins into the loom and adjusting the parts of the loom.
2.a) Inserting Bobbins into the Loom
These bobbins, loaded with yarns, are used in the handloom set-up and are a crucial part of the weaving process. These bobbins are inserted, one at a time, into the shuttle. ‘Shuttle’ is a small boat-shaped attachment in the loom. Every time the yarn from the bobbin finishes, it is replaced by another bobbin (loaded with yarn).
2.b) Adjusting the yarn and parts of the Loom
As we had already discussed, the yarn is adjusted tightly between two rollers present at opposite directions in the loom. These yarn threads placed horizontally on the loom are called the ‘Warp’. Each warp thread passes through the heddles present in the loom. ‘Heddles’ are vertical wires set within wooden frames. The heddles are an important part of the loom as these heddles help divide the yarn, so that the yarn threads criss-cross each other before they come in the way of the shuttle.
These heddles are responsible for creating different kinds of weaving patterns on the mats.
Step 3 – Manually Operating the Loom to Start the Process of Weaving.
Now as the yarn is laid, bobbin is inserted and the heddles are set, the weaver sits right in front of the loom and is ready to start the weaving process. The important parts of the loom that the weaver uses for weaving are:
Adjusted tightly between the two rollers the warp threads are woven with weft. ‘Weft’ is the yarn thread coming out of the bobbin that is placed in the shuttle. The weft is woven across the warp by moving the beater and the shuttle. A ‘Beater’ is a weaving tool (a wooden shaft) in the loom that puts the weft thread in the place. The shuttle is attached to a handle through a rope. The weaver pulls on the handle in order to give movement to the shuttle. The other two heddles that are responsible for the criss-cross of the yarn are moved with feet with the help of treadles. ‘Treadles’ are two planks of wood on which the weaver places his feet (one foot on one treadle). So the weaver sits working simultaneously with both his / her hands and feet in great concentration so as not to miss a single move.
It is an amazing and unique talent of these weavers to use all four limbs in coordination to provide smooth functioning of the loom and thus result is the fabrication of mats.
The movement of heddles, treadles, beater and the shuttle create a typical sound that can be aptly called the ‘The Sound Of Weaving’.
One thing that comes as an utter surprise to SouvNear’s team is the aesthetic sense of these weavers when it comes to fabrication of mats from colorful yarns. With a background of no formal education, these skilled craftsmen weave mats – matching colors and creating patterns without any assistance but with their own knowledge of numerous hues and designs.
Delighted by the art of weaving, SouvNear showcases these elegant handicrafts in the forms of doormats, placemats and shower mats and help these weavers reach out at the global level and gather appreciation for their outstanding work of crafting such art-pieces.