Producing a single Yoga Rug is a very lenghty process that takes several days, hours of work and involves several people. The process starts with organic cotton cultivation and harvesting.
After harvesting the cotton, it is converted into cotton hanks. A hank is a standard measure for a length of cotton yarn that measures 840 yards (768 metres). The process of converting cotton fibres into hanks can be done by either hand spinning or mill spinning. Hand spinning can be quite complex as the strength and fineness of the yarn is dependent on the spinner’s skill. However, nowadays mechanical mill spun yarn is used extensively by handloom weavers across India.
Scouring, which basically means deep cleaning the yarn, is a very important part of the process. The success of the dyeing depends on this process as it assures even colour and good dye penetration. Scouring not only cleans the dirt but it also removes the oils and grease from the fibre.
Dyes extracted from natural materials such as flowers, leaves and minerals are known as natural dyes. Natural dyes provide lasting colour, although some colours are sunlight sensitive. It’s worth noting that the textile industry is the second largest polluter of water in the world. Natural dyes mean that quite often water can be recycled through filtration to be used for irrigation of local fields. The remaining dyestuffs can also be composted to build soil.
Bobbin Winding: In this process yarns in the form of hanks are wound into the form of bobbins with the help of charkhas. This process enables the laying out of yarn lengths for weaving. In the weaver household bobbin winding is normally done by women.
The Handloom: Before weaving begins, the warp needs to be prepared. The warp is a set of threads attached to the loom lengthwise. Warping is the process of creating the base yarn that runs along the length of the fabric through which the weft yarns are filled in to make the fabric.
The weft: Hank yarn for weft is wound into a pirn, which is a small bobbin. The weft yarn is then inserted into a shuttle. The shuttle is a device used in weaving to carry the weft back and forth between the warp threads. In the left picture the warp can be seen in blue, as well as some pirns to the side with different coloured weft inserted in shuttles.
Weaving: The process of weaving is the interlacing of two sets of yarn – the warp and the weft. The equipment that facilitates the interlacement is the loom. A handloom is a loom that is used to weave fabrics without the use of electricity. The manipulation of the foot pedals to lift the warp has to be in sync with the throwing of the shuttle which carries the weft yarn. The perfect weave demands coordination between mind and body. The weaver achieves a harmony of motion and rhythm to create a unique product.