Fibre : For Mashroo weaving, silk and cotton fibers are taken into account. However, traditional usage of silk in Mashroo has been slowly replaced by a cheaper substitute called Filament Rayon. Inexpensive materials like staple cotton, mercerized cotton and staple rayon are also used in the warp. Rayon yarn is sourced from Surat and cotton yarn from Surat and Ahmedabad.
Colour : Traditionally, natural colors are used in Mashroo weaving. Artificial colors are being preferred as they are cheap and readily available.
Glaze : Rice flour paste has been used as glazing agent since centuries, it is easy to obtain and gives fine results. It is applied on the folds.
Water : It is an integral part of the process. Fiber is washed and dyed; even the fabric after the completion of weaving is put to wash. Hence the artisans rely greatly on local water resources.
There is no waste involved in Mashroo weaving except for a bit of fabric and water. The water is then again used for irrigation purposes after a little treatment and fabric water is sent to be recycled.
Tools & Technology
Shaal: It is a type of pit loom that has been used since ancient times. The whole structure is installed in a pit, the artisan sits on the wall of the pit and operates the treadles with his feet.
Puchado: These are small brushes to keep the warp threads on track and prevent entangling.
Shuttle: This is a streamlined pointed wooden apparatus, to throw the moist weft across the warp spread across the loom width. The shuttle has a reciprocating motion throughout the process.
Yarn winder: Yarn winder is an automated equipment to prepare fiber from yarn.
Charkha : A charkha is used for making the rolls of thread. In case of warp, it is a big motorized one, which prepares big silk rolls. In case of weft, it is the smaller wooden one which prepares thin rolls called bobbins. These are put inside the shuttle to form the weft.
In Gujarat, during marriages in some communities, Mashroo fabric in bride's attire is mandatory. Mashroo is flaunted by Muslim men and women in festivals; the fabric is believed to exude prosperity and wellness.
Mashroo has characteristic satin finish, which is achieved through interplay of silk and cotton, the silk constitutes warp (tana) and the cotton constitutes weft (bana). Mashroo weaving is carried out with skip and pick technique, one cotton weft thread passes over 7-8 silk warp threads.
Role of Taniawalla : The Taniawalla starts preparing warp with an average length of 63 yards. Several spools of silk thread are arranged on the ground, the silk threads from each one of the spools are individually led through the rings fixed on the rods suspended from the ceilings, these threads are then passed through fixed iron heddle shafts and wound on a reel about two meters in diameter.
Role of Rangrez : The warp and weft is handed over to Rangrez for dyeing. Dyeing process is carried out through tie-dye method, in accordance with the design conveyed to Rangrez.
Role of Rajbharra : While warp is being dyed, Rajbharra installs the white threads into the heddle of the loom as per the design; these threads will be connected to the warps threads afterwards.
Role of Weaver : The dyed warp is brought into the loom arrangement by attaching each individual warp thread to a particular white thread, according to the design. The weft comprises of plain cotton thread, which is transferred on bobbins for the shuttle.
The treadles are located in the pits; the warp is stretched horizontally, covering the length of the room. When weft arrangement is pulled, the moistened weft runs out of the one eyed shuttle made of wood, whizzing through the warp in the traditional pit loom. The shaft and treadle arrangement depends upon the nature of the pattern in the design.
To prevent the slacking of the threads, the weaver sprinkles water on the warp; even weft is moistened to prevent the slacking of the fiber. The moistening of fibers also helps in the precise and snugly arrangement of fibers in the fabric.
Role of Sandhniwala : In case the threads are broken or tangled up during the process, they are sent to the Sandhniwalas for rectification.
Role of Kundiwala : Once the fabric is woven, it is washed in cold water and folded. The Kundiwalas take over from here and beat the cotton side of the moistened fabric for about ten minutes. This method is called 'calendaring' and helps the warp threads to appear evenly on the other side of the cloth. A paste of wheat flour or glazing is applied on the folds; the fabric is then beaten and compressed in a hand press. Mashroo is now ready to be passed on to a master weaver who might want to work it according to his design or to a wholesaler.