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The making of the Chanderi magic
Let us see how the Chanderi saree gets woven.

• The raw material (silk or cotton yarn) is procured. This raw yarn goes through the process of dyeing by masters in the craft since the colors and their combinations on the saree play an important part in its universal appeal. Dyed in huge vats of boiling water with color dyes mixed in correct proportion, bundles of yarn (roughly 25 Kgs. or more) is stirred for about an hour to get the color on it uniformly. Then it is hung out to dry in shade to avoid de-coloration and fading.

• Dyeing over, the yarn threads are loosened by winding them uniformly on small reels or spools with the help of the Charkha or spinning wheel, for the weft. For winding the warp threads which is a more special process, specialized workers come into the picture. Warp yarns are wound on bobbins arranged across a wooden frame called reels. The yarn from these reels pass through a common reed and wound uniformly onto a circular vertically arranged drum. The yarn from the drum would be for 12 sarees. A good winder or warper could wind upto 4 or 5 warps on a good day.

• The next step is passing the warp through the reed and the healds or heddles (a set of parallel cords or wires in a loom, used to separate and guide the warp threads & make a path for the shuttle). The warp threads are then joined to the old warp threads with a deft twist of the hand of the women folk. This takes roughly 3 – 4 days.

• Before the actual weaving begins, the weaver sets the design of the border and the pallu or pallav or end piece. The respective ends of the design are tied to the vertical harness called ‘Jala’ and the process is known as Jala tying. Again this could take 3-4 days depending upon the complexity of the design. The figured effects are produced with the help of an extra weft and the number of weft yarns will determine the time taken. i.e. higher the number more the time taken and vice versa. But also if the weft yarns are more the probability of fine output reduces to a certain extent. Weaving is a family tradition and one or two men who are good at it generally take up this exercise on a pit loom with throw shuttle.

• There is no post-processing necessary for Chanderi sarees. Hence after the weaving is over, the sarees are ready for packing.