Unlike Batik/Bandhani, a regular tie and dye technique where the dying is done on the cloth, Ikkat tie N dye is done on yarns!
So it’s tied and dyed first and then the yarns are mounted on the looms and we have a beautiful woven Ikkat cloth!

In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Weaver has to figure out where on the loose threads the dye should (and shouldn’t) go in order for it to form the proper pattern when it is woven on the loom. It gets more complicated as you add more colors. The ‘hazy’ look of many ikats also comes from the dyes bleeding slightly into the resist areas. Some ikats are made by dyeing the warp threads, some by dyeing the weft threads and some by dyeing both, a technique is known as double ikat.

In warp ikat, the weft yarns are all dyed a solid color and only the warp yarns are ikat (tie n dye) dyed. The pattern is clearly visible when the threads are wound on the loom, and weaving in the weft threads solidifies the color and completes the fabric formation.

In weft ikat, it is the weft threads that are ikat dyed. This type of weaving is more difficult than warp ikat, as the pattern will be formed only as the weaving progresses. This means that the weaver has to constantly center and readjust the yarns to ensure the pattern is formed correctly. The most complicated of the three, double ikat, is where both the warp and weft threads are resist-dyed prior to weaving. This technique requires advanced skill, takes time and hence is the most expensive.

The Pochampally Sari and Puttapaka saris are native to India and feature exquisite double ikat motifs on silk. Pochampally Ikat sarees are woven in Bhoodan Pochampally, Telangana. The intricate geometric design is unique to these weaves and makes them stand apart. It takes a family of four to 10 days to weave one saree. Pochampally Ikat uniqueness lies in the transfer of intricate design and coloring onto warp and weft threads first and then weave them together globally known as double ikat textiles.

Telia Weaving

Telia is “double ikkat” weaving, which is a very intricate and laborious weave. As the name suggests the yarn is treated with oil, sesame oil. The products used for the treatment of the yarn are completely natural. Telia dupatta weavings/designs are geometric. The treated yarn which is used for the warp ( length ) and weft ( width ) is tied and dyed in accordance with a predetermined geometrical design. Each of the warp and weft threads are individually positioned on the loom as per the design prior to weaving hence it’s crucial for the weaver to ensure perfection. Traditionally 3 colors are used – red black and white in geometrical designs. But now we can also have some more colors in these weaves. Weaving a telia rumal needs a great amount of practice and perfection for the warp and weft to be meticulously converted to an artistic design.

September 13, 2022 — Rashmi Patwardhan