WEAVER'S WORLD / SRINAGAR / TEXTILES -1
Spinning - The Pashmina wool is collected from the goats every spring, and spinning is done by hand. The yarn is finely spun on a spinning wheel locally known as ‘Charkha’ to get a uniform thickness thread. Prior to this spinning, the raw material is treated by stretching and cleaning it to remove any dirt and soaked for a few days in a mixture of rice and water to make it softer. Hand-spinning is an extremely painstaking and a lengthy task. It requires extreme patience and dedication, and is an amazing process to watch. A similar and separate process for spinning is adopted for the fine spun cotton or the pure shiny silk yarn.
Weaving – Weaving the too fragile Pashmina yarn is a risk, for the vibration caused by power looms would cause the threads to break. Pashmina fabrics like the famous shawls, sarees, salwar kameez are therefore done on Hand Looms. The wool is finely spun and then hand woven on the silk or cotton. The weaver has to have a uniform hand, to get a smooth lustrous fine textured fabric. Blends vary as 80:20, 70:30 or 60: 40 for pashmina:silk. Weaving is done with a shuttle. The weaving process is in itself an art, which has been passed over from generations to generations. It takes about 4 days to a week to weave a single Pashmina fabric on a handloom.
Dyeing itself is a process done with care by hand, and each piece individually. Dyers with immense patience and generations of experience are the ones who dye the Pashmina fabric, as even the smallest negligence reflects on the quality of the product. Only metal and azo-free dyes are used, mostly making the weaves completely eco-friendly. The pure water used for dying is pumped up from deep beneath the surface. Dyeing is done at a temperature just below boiling point for nearly an hour. Pashmina wool is exceptionally absorbent, and dyes easily and deeply.
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