Cotton-hand-spun or mill-spun yarns
Wool- hand-spun or mill-spun yarns of wool are used.
Waste-Waste fabric pieces from saree, fabric etc.
Tools & Technology
Taana machine- Thread is unwound from reels and wound around an octagonal drum of the Taana machine.
Loom- Hand operated pit looms or vertical looms are used to weave dhurries.
Charkha- Rolls or bundles of yarn used for 'weft', are made using the 'charkha'.
Punja- It is a metallic claw-like instrument that is used in pushing the weft threads together to create a tough and stable dhurrie. Strength of the dhurrie increases with each beating.
Scissors or clippers- Excess knot and protruding fibers are cut away using scissors or clippers.
Weavers of this craft have achieved a level of mastery in the traditional designs and are well versed in it. Any variations in the traditional designs or addition of new designs are provided by the master weaver in the form of a sketch, and are referred to during the process of weaving.
According to the requirements in the design, the yarn is sent to be dyed by the specialist dyers. Both chemical as well as natural dyes are used. The yarn that is dyed using chemical dyes is more evenly coloured, whereas the yarn dyed with vegetable dyes is mostly in uneven shades. The direct dyes give vibrant colours and are mostly used for fly-shuttle dhurries, though they bleed color on normal washing. The yarn is stocked in the form of loose bundles and is knotted at the center. These are put in a tank that contains boiling water to which the dye of desired color is added. The yarn is kept submerged for about 10 minutes and then taken out and dried. This process is repeated again till a uniform shade is achieved.
The yarns that come from the dyers arrive in bundles and need to be detangled and loosened before it can be used for weaving. A charkha is used for the process, where one end of the thread is tied to a small reel called 'Gitta', which works as a smaller wheel of the charkha. The turning of the 'Gitta' pulls the yarn thread from the larger wheel to the gitta forming a reel with tightly wound, uniform and tangle free yarn.
The taana machine is used for this procedure. According to the colour combination in the design, thread rolls are set on movable vertical frames. The ends of the threads are passed through grid-like frames and wound onto a big octagonal cylinder. Once the desired length of yarn is wound around the cylinder, the log upon which the taana is to be wound is fitted into the blocks between the cylinder and the frame. The weaver then uses this as the warp on the frame of the loom.
1) Traditional pit loom
In this loom, the weaver sits at ground level with the legs inside a pit which contains the pedals. The warp from the log is wound over another log. The threads are guided through metallic reeds till it reaches the 'Hattha' or frame which is used to beat in the weft threads. Screws on the loom beams are used to adjust the tension of the warp. One dhurrie is normally made in a few hours.
2) Panja technique
In a vertical loom, two layers of warp are bound on two beams that pass through the reed while weaving. There is a small bench before the loom, facing the warp, on which one or two weavers sit and work. The number of weavers depends on the width of the dhurries. The design is kept in front while weaving and is used as reference. The warp is marked at regular intervals to remind the weaver about a particular motif or feature. After a row of weft is woven, the weavers beat it using the 'Panja' tool and comb it so that it gets compacted to the warp. Once this is done, the weaver interchanges the layers of the warp using the 'Kamana' (a V shaped wooden frame) and 'Ruchch'( rods which the Kamana is attached to). This locks the weft between the two layers of warp, making the dhurrie strong and durable.
Once the weaving is done, the ends of the dhurrie are knotted and any problems are rectified. If the dhurrie has developed differential width at fringes due to shrinkage, it is kept stretched on a frame for a day or two. In case a stone wash is needed, the dhurries are sent to be washed with water, detergent and potassium permanganate. The finished dhurrie is then sent to a clipper who clips away all the protruding threads to give it a smooth finish.