About Kacchi weaving:
While the men do the weaving, the women are responsible for preparing the warp thread. Since the yarns are too battle when bought, it is first starched in a combination of wheat flour and wild onions which is also an insect deterrent. Once the yarns are starched and dried, it is combed and prepped for the loom. The women swiftly moves her wand or ‘kadani’ over a wooden frame called chaukta. She’s preparing the warp thread, putting together a bundle of exactly 1600 threads of 50 meters each that will be used to create a 39inch width shawl. It will take her six hours of work for about two days to finish the job. Yarn is also prepared into a spindle by some. The yarn comes from Bhujodi, Ludhiana, Rajasthan and Ahmedabad and includes desi and acrylic wool (Marino and local wool), sutar, silk, dori and cotton each used to make an end product catering a different customer. The weft yarn is then prepared by rolling on to small bobbins from the hanks. It is then laid on the loom, where the long thread tana, intersects with bana, the shorter one, hence weaving here is called ‘tana bana‘. In Kutch, two types of shuttle looms are in use, a pit loom, which is on ground level and a shuttle loom that is slightly more structured. The work done in the loom depends on the result one is aiming for. A simple shawl that involves only weaving can take about two days to create and at least 5-6 shawls of the same model will be weaved each time, making a minimum weaving stint last for at least 10 to 12 days. Shawls with intricate designs can take months on end. It was one such magnificently patterned Dhablo or shawl that Vishram Valji, Ramji’s father worked on for an entire year that won him the President’s award in 1974.