Yarn-resist tie-dye textiles, also known as Ikat fabric, have gained a prominent status for their beauty and artistic finesse throughout the world. The word Ikat comes from the Malay-Indonesian word Mengikat, which means to bind, knot, or wind around. In India, Ikat textiles are known as Patola and Mashru in Gujarat, Bandh in Odisha, Pochampally Ikat and Telia Rumal in Andhra Pradesh.
Chirala, in the Prakasam district, is one of the oldest centres to produce the famous cotton Telia Rumals or Chaukas woven in the double-Ikat technique. It is believed that two brothers named Malliah and Venkiah introduced the process and design of Telia Rumal to the weavers.
Rumal translates to "facial wipe" and they were originally square double-Ikat kerchiefs measuring 75 square cm made of fine cotton. They were used by fishermen and cowherds as loincloths, lungis or turbans because the rumals were steeped in oil to prepare the red dye. This thus imparted a strong smell and oily feel to the cloth which helped to keep the head cool and ‘free of dust’. Apart from rumals, sarees and dupattas are also made nowadays.
The distinguishing feature is the Ikat patterns forming squares at the corners. They're composed of a diagonal or square grid in which geometrical or figurative designs are woven in double Ikat. The hauz, or core unit, is formed by combining these two parts and is always framed by a large red or black block. The hauz is adorned with a mosaic-like pattern of motifs.
Telia Rumals have a limited colour palette, consisting of brownish red, dark blue, dark brown, and black. The dyes used are traditionally alizarin red, indigo blue and iron shavings. The border colour is determined by the main colour of the ornamental field. If the field is red, the borders are black and vice versa.
Some of the common motifs seen in a Telia Rumal are flowers, elephants, birds, lions, swastika, wheel and rangoli. These motifs are embossed in squares, which are separated by an inch broad floral or dotted patterns.
The weaving process of Telia Rumal and Pochampally Ikat is the same.
The yarns, usually cotton, are scoured and bleached to remove impurities and render whiteness.
The portion to remain white is tied, while the portion to be dyed is left exposed. The length of the weft yarn should be in accordance with the width of the cloth to be woven.
After the yarns are dyed, they are sized with rice starch. Fly-shuttle frame looms are used in the weaving process.
The warp yarns are fixed on the warp beams in the correct position. The weft yarns are filled in the bobbins in order so that it is correctly positioned in relation to the pattern.
They are dexterously arranged so that after weaving, the preconceived design turns into reality.
At Sundari Silks, we take immense importance on the indigenous weaving techniques and crafts of India and do our best to preserve and promote them. Our repertoire of Ikat weaves extends beyond the quintessential saree to ethnic ensembles for men and kids along with accessories and home décor pieces.