Pochampally Ikkat weaving

Pochampally Ikat weaving process

Before we see the process in detail illustrated with images, the laborious & artistic process is often carried out by entire families, with each member contributing to different stages of the process in their home workshop.

IKAT - is a traditional textile dyeing technique that is used to create intricate designs and patterns on fabrics. The process involves carefully tying and dyeing the yarns before they are woven into the fabric. This is done by wrapping sections of the yarn in a water-repellent material, such as strips of bicycle inner tubes, to create a resist. The wrapped sections are then dyed, and the areas under the ties remain the original color. The yarns are then woven into the fabric using a loom, resulting in a finished fabric with the desired patterns and designs. The precision of the wrapping determines the clarity of the design, and multiple colors can be added through additional wrappings. Ikat fabrics are known for their feathered edges and are produced using great care and attention to detail, with designs often being planned out on graph paper in advance. The technique is used in many traditional textile-producing communities around the world, including in India.

The sun is just beginning to peek over the horizon, casting a soft glow across the small village. The air is still cool and crisp, a welcome respite from the heat of the day. The sound of birds chirping fills the air, as the weaver's home comes to life. The family bustles about, each member taking on their own tasks to prepare for the day ahead. The grandmother sits by the open window, her fingers deftly winding threads into bobbins as she hums a soothing tune. The wife is busy marking out the intricate design on the warp threads, her hands moving expertly as she concentrates on her work. The husband is busy at the pit loom, his hands moving steadily as he weaves the threads into a beautiful tapestry. In the corner, rice is sieved and tamarind is spread out, the sweet aroma filling the air. A child wanders about, curious and full of energy, while a baby is contentedly napping in a hammock. It is a typical day in the weaver's home, a place of love, hard work, and the creation of beautiful, handcrafted textiles.

There are several types of raw materials used in the production of silk and cotton fabrics.

  • For silk fabrics, the main raw material is silkworms and their cocoons. These cocoons are made by silkworms as they spin their silk threads to form a protective cocoon around themselves. The cocoons are then harvested and the silk threads are extracted and spun into yarn.
  • Cotton fabrics are made from the fibers of the cotton plant. The fibers are harvested from the cotton plant's seeds and then cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven or knitted into fabric.
  • There are also other materials that may be used in the production of silk or cotton fabrics, such as dyes, chemicals for processing and finishing, and other additives.
We use Mulberry Silk

Mulberry silk is a type of silk that is produced by silkworms that feed on the leaves of the mulberry tree. These silkworms are the larvae of the silk moth, and they spin cocoons made of a long, continuous strand of silk fiber. When the cocoons are harvested, the silk fiber is extracted and processed to create silk thread, which is then used to make various textile products, including clothing, bedding, and other household items. Mulberry silk is considered to be the highest quality silk because of its softness, strength, and shimmering luster. It is also highly prized for its hypoallergenic properties, making it a popular choice for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

The process of creating Pochampally ikat involves several stages, starting with the procurement of raw materials, including mulberry silk and cotton yarn. These raw materials are then transformed into the finished product through a series of steps

Yarn widing from Hank to Bobbin

Yarn winding from Hank to Bobbin is the process of transferring the silk yarn from a hank, which is a large loop of yarn, to a bobbin, which is a small spindle used to hold yarn in a textile manufacturing process. This is typically done using a winding machine, which is a machine that is used to wind yarn onto a bobbin in a controlled and efficient manner. The hank of silk yarn is placed onto a creel, which is a rack that holds the hanks of yarn in place. The yarn is then fed through a series of guides and onto a bobbin, which is mounted on a spindle. The spindle is rotated by the winding machine, which wraps the yarn around the bobbin in a uniform manner. This process is important in the production of silk fabrics, as it helps to ensure that the yarn is wound onto the bobbin in a way that is consistent and easy to work with during the subsequent stages of the fabric production process.

Preparation of Weft on Tie & Dye frame

In this stage, the weft yarn (the yarn that is woven horizontally through the warp yarn) is prepared for tie-dyeing. This typically involves arranging the weft yarn on a tie-dye frame, which is a device that holds the yarn in place and allows it to be easily manipulated. The weft yarn may be stretched out on the frame and secured with clips or other fasteners, depending on the specific technique being used. Once the weft yarn is securely in place, it is ready to be marked with the desired design and dyed.

Marking of Design on Weft on Tie & Dye Frame with Charcoal/Fountain Pen

The process of marking the design on the weft (horizontal threads) of the fabric on the tie & dye frame involves carefully outlining the desired pattern using either charcoal or a fountain pen. This is done by hand, with the artisan carefully following the pre-determined design to ensure that the finished product will have the desired pattern. The use of charcoal or a fountain pen allows the artisan to clearly see the lines of the design, ensuring that it is accurately transferred onto the fabric. This step is important because it serves as a guide for the next step in the process, dyeing the fabric.

Dyeing with First(lightest) Colour

The first step in the dyeing process is to apply the lightest color to the weft on the tie & dye frame. This is typically done using a dye bath, where the weft is immersed in a solution of water and dye. The dye is absorbed by the fibers of the weft, and the color is then set by heating or treating the fabric with chemicals. The weft is then removed from the dye bath and allowed to dry, after which the process is repeated for each additional color as needed. It is important to carefully control the temperature and timing of the dyeing process to ensure that the colors are applied evenly and consistently across the fabric.

Repeat the (Tie & Dye) process for Third/Fourth Colour as required according to the Colour in the Design

To repeat the tie and dye process for additional colors, the weft threads are marked with the desired design using charcoal or a fountain pen. The weft threads are then wrapped with resist material and dyed in the desired color. This process is repeated for each additional color needed for the final design. Great care must be taken to ensure the accuracy of the design and to prevent any bleeding or blending of colors during the dyeing process. After all of the colors have been applied, the weft threads are unwrapped to reveal the finished design on the fabric.This is a labour intensive and creative craft!

Placing of the Tie & Dye weft on Tie & Dye Frame for Rewiding

Placing of the Tie & Dye weft on the Tie & Dye Frame for Rewiding is a process in which the weft yarn, which has been dyed in the previous steps according to the desired design, is placed on the Tie & Dye Frame ready for rewinding. The Tie & Dye Frame is a specialized device that is used to hold the weft yarn in place while it is being rewound. This process is important because it ensures that the weft yarn is held securely in place during the rewinding process, which helps to maintain the integrity of the design and ensures that the finished fabric will have a high-quality appearance.

The process of Tie & Dye involves applying a resist to certain sections of the fabric using a variety of techniques such as binding, stitching, and wrapping. The resist blocks the dye from penetrating the fabric in those areas, creating a pattern or design when the fabric is dyed. After the resist has been applied, the fabric is soaked in a dye bath and left to soak for a period of time before being removed and rinsed. The resist is then removed, revealing the final design on the fabric. This process can be repeated for multiple colors, with each color requiring its own resist and dye bath. The craftsmanship and attention to detail required for Tie & Dye makes it a highly skilled and artistic process, resulting in unique and beautiful patterns on the finished fabric.

Winding of Tie & Dye Yarn on to Parivattam

The process of winding the tie & dye yarn onto the parivattam involves taking the tie & dye yarn that has been woven and placing it onto a device called a parivattam. This is typically a wooden or metal cylinder with a handle that is used to hold the yarn as it is wound onto the device. The yarn is wound onto the parivattam in a tight and organized manner, making sure that it is evenly distributed and does not become tangled or twisted. This step is important because it helps to ensure that the yarn is ready for the next step in the process, which is pirn winding.

Pirn Winding from parivattam for Weaving

Pirn winding is the process of filling a pirn, which is a small tube or spindle, with yarn that will be used for weaving. This is done by winding the yarn around the pirn using a winding machine or by hand. The pirn is then inserted into the shuttle, which is a device that carries the yarn back and forth through the warp threads during the weaving process. The yarn from the pirn is then woven into the fabric as the shuttle is passed through the warp threads. This step is important because it ensures that the yarn is properly prepared and ready for weaving, which helps to produce a high-quality finished fabric.

The warp in Preparation for Dyeing

The warp in Preparation for Dyeing: In this step, the warp threads (the vertical threads in the loom) are prepared for dyeing. This typically involves separating the individual threads and stretching them out in a straight line so that they can be easily dyed. The threads may be dyed individually or in groups, depending on the design that is being created. Once the threads have been dyed, they are carefully placed back onto the loom so that they can be woven into the fabric. This process is critical in creating the desired design on the finished fabric, as the dye determines the color of the warp threads and therefore the overall pattern of the fabric.

Stretching the Warp and Each Unit is Separated from the next group

The next step in the process is preparing the warp, or the lengthwise yarns, for dyeing. This involves stretching the warp out in a long, straight line, and separating each individual unit or section from the next group. This is typically done by hand, using a comb or a special tool to separate the yarns. This step is important because it ensures that the dye is applied evenly and consistently across the entire length of the warp. It also helps to prevent any tangles or knots from forming in the yarn, which could result in defects or imperfections in the final woven fabric.

Jointing Process

The jointing process is an important step in the production of ikat fabrics. It involves attaching the weft yarn to the handloom, which is a type of loom used to weave fabric. To do this, the yarn is passed through a reed, a comb-like device used to separate and space the warp threads in a loom. The yarn is then tied to the leftover threads in the reed, using a process called knotting. Ash powder is sometimes used to improve the grip of the threads. This process is done by hand and can take one to two days for a single set of weft yarn. Once the jointing process is completed, the reed is fixed in the handloom and the actual weaving process can begin.


a. Artisan engaged in jointing process

The artisan responsible for the jointing process is responsible for attaching the weft yarn to the handloom for weaving. This process involves passing the yarn through a reed and tying it to leftover threads in the reed for the next weaving process. It is done manually and can take anywhere from 1-2 days to complete for one set of weft yarn.

b. The warp threads are joined to the reed threads.

In the jointing process, the weft yarn is attached to the handloom for weaving by passing it through a reed. After the weaving is completed, a small amount of yarn is left in the reed and the woven fabric is cut.

c. Ash power is used for better grip while joining.

The remaining threads in the reed are then tied one by one to the yarn, using ash powder for a better grip.

d. Each single thread is tied carefully

to the remaining threads in the reed.

e. Overview of environment where joining process is practiced.

The jointing process is typically carried out in the artisan's workshop or home. It is a manual process that requires attention to detail and precise hand movements. The artisan may be seated at a workbench or table, surrounded by tools and materials needed for the process. The environment may be relatively quiet, as the artisan focuses on the task at hand. Depending on the location, there may be other artisans working nearby, or the artisan may be working alone. Overall, the jointing process is an important part of the production process for ikat fabrics, and requires skill and attention to detail to ensure the quality of the finished product.

f. Threads are connected and reed is loaded into weaving loom

Once all the threads have been joined, the reed is loaded into the weaving loom and the weaving process can begin.

g. Warp thread are attached to reed

The warp threads are attached to the reed, which is a comb-like tool with teeth that separates the warp threads and helps guide them through the loom during the weaving process. The process of attaching the warp threads to the reed is called "dressing the loom." It is an important step in the weaving process as it sets the foundation for the final fabric and ensures that the threads are evenly spaced and properly tensioned. Artisans skilled in the art of dressing the loom are essential to the success of the weaving process.

h. After tying, the amount threads are tied with cotton thread to avoid breakages

The process can take anywhere from one to two days to complete for one set of weft threads. Once the jointing process is finished, the reed is loaded into the weaving loom and the actual weaving process can begin. To avoid breakages during the weaving process, the threads may also be tied together with cotton thread for added stability.

Warp Attaching to the Reed

The process of attaching the warp to the reed involves threading the warp yarns through the reed's dents, and securing them in place. This is typically done using a warp beam, which holds the warp yarns under tension while they are being attached to the reed. The warp yarns are typically spaced out evenly across the width of the reed, with the end threads (called "waste" threads) left hanging off the sides. Once the warp yarns are in place, they are ready to be woven into fabric.


The process of weaving is the final step in the production of a handwoven fabric. It involves the interlacing of the weft (horizontal) threads with the warp (vertical) threads using a loom. The weaver uses a shuttle to pass the weft threads through the warp threads, creating the fabric.



In artisanal communities, the process of creating handmade products involves the entire community coming together and working collaboratively. Each person in the community plays a unique role in the production process, whether it be preparing the raw materials, dyeing the yarn, or weaving the final product. The close-knit nature of these communities allows for the sharing of skills and knowledge, as well as a strong sense of community and culture. The intricate nature of the work requires a high level of attention to detail and patience, which is passed down from generation to generation. The end result is a beautifully crafted product that not only reflects the artistic skills and traditions of the community, but also serves as a source of livelihood and pride.