Playlist – Producing Cloth
Textiles can be produced in a number of ways, including methods such as weaving, knitting, felting and braiding amongst others. Let’s explore the process of weaving, the most commonly used method to produce cloth.
Weaving is a construction method that involves the interlacing of two or more sets of yarn to produce fabrics. The vertical yarns are known as ‘warps’ and the horizontal yarns are known as ‘wefts’. As we see here, tThe weft moves back and forth between the stretched out warp threads, creating a pattern that interlocks all the threads together. This process typically takes place on a hand operated or mechanical device known as a loom, which aids the weaver in interlacing both sets of threads together. While tThis basic weaving process remains the same, weavers across India work with across different types of hand-operated looms. These includeCommon hand-operated looms in India include:
- Frame Looms — which use a mounted frame to keep the warp stretched out. Notice how the weaver is using foot pedals — this helps her lift the warp so that she can use her hands to pass the weft through the warp.
- Pit Looms – Similar to the frame looms, pit looms are situated closer to the ground, with a pit for the weaver to place their feet in. The pedals in this loom are also placed within the pit.
- Backstrap Looms – Named after the strap attached on the weaver’s back, this portable loom is used to weave narrow strips of cloth.
The characteristics of a woven fabric may differ based on a range of factors. There are a variety of ways in which the warp and weft can intersect with each other, creating unique patterns and textures on fabrics. Similarly, the colour of the yarns may change the appearance of a fabric.