At Umrao Cashmere, the entire product line is either hand-woven or hand knitted. The hand weaving process, an old art form, is still practiced today at our factory with the help of some modern tools. The complicated and intricate hand weaving / finishing process goes through various stages, to become the luxurious product you receive.
Below, we have tried to give you an idea of most the different stages of production with the help of some visuals. We do hope that you will appreciate the hand work that goes into making each piece an heirloom.
The warp is the set of lengthwise threads attached to a loom before weaving begins and through which the weft is woven. Based on the texture and density of the fabric required, the number of threads is decided per square inch and the cones of yarn are setup on racks to be rolled up over a drum for the required length of yarn. The width of the warp is setup based on the output of the fabric required with a margin set aside for the shrinkage during the manufacturing process.
A heddle is an integral part of a loom. Each thread in the warp passes through a heddle, which is used to separate the warp threads for the passage of the weft. The heddles are fitted on frames that ate suspended on the loom.
Each heddle has an eye in the center where the warp is threaded through. As there is one heddle for each thread of the warp, there can be nearly a thousand heddles for fine or wide warps.
A handwoven throw will generally have between 900 to2000 warp threads and a blanket will have 1700 to 3400 warp threads and thus use that many heddles, sometimes 2 -3 warp threads are passed through one heddle depending on the yarn and texture of the fabric.
The warp is threaded through heddles on different frames in order to obtain different weave structures.
This process of setting up the warp threads through the heddles is known as drafting. It is during the drafting process that the weave pattern is setup.
Weaving is a textile craft in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced to form a fabric or cloth. The threads which run length ways are called the warp and the threads which run across from side to side are the weft.
Cloth is usually woven on a loom, while weft threads are woven through them. Weft is an old English word meaning "that which is woven".A fabric band is one which meets this definition of cloth (warp threads with a weft thread winding between).
The way the warp and weft threads interlace with each other is called the weave
After the fabric comes off the loom, it is sent to the checking and finishing department to darn the yarn threads that snapped during the weaving process. Darning normally takes around 3-4 hours but in the case of complicated weaves, designs and larger pieces; it may take up to two days.
Before the piece is set for the dyeing process, it is scoured. Scouring gets rid of any residue of the spinning oilsand foreign matter and also acts as a prewash. Dyeing is done in open vats and only one piece is dyed at a time to ensure that the exact colour is achieved. The colour fixation is done inside the vat after which the piece is hung out to air dry for 12 to 24 hours.
Tassels, which complete and furnish fabrics, are done manually by women as it calls for deft and nimble control and movement of the hands and patience. It takesup to almost an entire day to make the tassels on one throw and two days for a blanket. Each tassel is hand rolled and a temporary knot is put at its end. Tassels may have different styles based on the requirement and order.
Any dead or coarse fibre that is visible is picked out using forceps. Considering the highquality yarns that is used, this process hardly takes a few minutes, as the presence of coarse and dead fibre is limited. But on rare occasions we do find a few that were missed out during the cleaning and carding process before the yarn was spun by the spinner.
If any piece needs to be trimmed with a cashmere trim or silk/ satin trim or suede / leather, then this part is taken over by an experienced master as trims call refinement and delicacy of touch to achieve the finesse. After trimming, the piece is send back to the checking department for the final inspection.