Sunday, December 23, 2012

Weaving at home

Weaving and spinning is an integral part of  almost every household in villages of Assam. In addition to agriculture, the weaving and spinning supports  rural economy of the state. This beautiful art truly reflects creativity and the artistic skills of the people of Assam. As a new bride when I touched Koka's ( Chandan's grandfather/ my mother-in-law's dad) feet, along with the blessings came this request that he would be very happy if I make an effort to learn weaving. I promised him that I would, whenever I have the opportunity and time. Ma ( my mother-in-law) is an expert weaver. She is gifted. The Tatkhal ( the loom frame in the above picture) you see here is about 70 years old. It was her mother-in-law's. It was at our Shillong house all these years. In the beginning of thisyear Chandan and I gifted ma this room so that she can keep her loom here and start weaving that she loves so much. She weaved about 17 Gamosa in a period of two month . A Gamosa is basically a hand woven white rectangular piece of cloth with primarily a red border on three sides and a red woven motif on the fourths. Last time I picture documented the whole process. Last week we again started another project where she will weave boarders (for sarees/mekhela sador). And in this project I am going to be hugely involved  as a learner and help
I removed myself temporarily from social sites so that I can fully concentrate here. I get up an hour earlier so that can complete all my regular chores before my usual time. This way I get about 30-40 minutes in the morning as I leave for my clinic at around 9.00am. This work is so interesting, addictive and makes me feel very happy. In the above picture you can see me helping Bulu, the lady in red shawl. Bulu is my household-helper Mahendra's wife. She is a very clean weaver, her work is flawless. While Mahebdra lives with us ( he is with us for last 18 years) she lives in village along with her son and daughter who study at Govt school.We specially invited her to our home for few days so that she can help us in initial steps.The small girl you see in the picture is Trishna their 12 years old daughter and trust me she really bullies me when I make mistakes. I like my little teacher.

          At first depending on the kind of clothing material one wants to weave, the thread is chosen i.e. either cotton or silk.  The  thread comes in two forms one is called ketcha ( raw, this thread needs washing and starching) and the other is called pokuwa( this can be used straightway). Threads come in various thicknesses. Last time we used cotton thread no 80 which was slightly thicker than the one we are using at present which is cotton thread no 90. The length of our present work is about 25 mts. while our last project was of 15 mts. The above picture is of last Friday's.
After choosing the desired color and type of  thread it is then  wrapped in the bobbins as you see in above picture. Now according to the desired length the thread is stretched. The breadth again depends on the kind of clothing material one wants to weave.
A guide is fixed on the other side/end. This process is called Batikahrah. This is the most tough and time consuming part. It took us about three days to complete this step. Between their office and household work ladies and many  other friends living nearby kept visiting and helping us. It is nice to see my kids taking interest in knowing and learning the art. While my daughter was allowed to help a bit my son was kept away because he had threatened his aaita that he might break some of the threads if he feels like. May be he was kidding but ma was careful not to take any risks.
Last time when I shared some of these pictures on facebook, my multitalented blogger friend Suranga Date wrote a beautiful poetry on one of the  picture  where my nine year old daughter Gauri is holding an umbrella over her grandmother's head. With her kind permission I am sharing that beautiful poem here. Thank you Suranga.

 Brilliant white threads of life
their years
wrapped round and round
the cylinders
standing attentively
next to each other,
looking on
at the new purple ones. 

 So many solid folks in dark wood,
standing and lying down
connected to each other,
magically creating the
warp and weft of life
in the Loom Room.    
And grandma,
who knows them all,
and how to manage them all
without them
getting entangled and knotty,
puts and arm around her little


granddaughter
holding an umbrella for her,
and says,
"Gauri,
for everything ,
there is a science
and there is an art.
We've just done the science;

now come,
I will teach you the art......"

After the threads are stretched to the desired length, it is now smoothed and is carefully checked for broken ends. Smoothing and knotting the broken threads takes a great deal of time. It is done inch by inch.
  The long black stick/rod that you see in the picture is called Raa, this helps in keeping the threads in place. The other plane bamboo sticks are called Seri , they support the thread frame throughout the process. A fine comb is also  used to detangle the threads.
Look at the difference between the smooth and the other rough side. The smooth portion is rolled onto this wheel as you can see in the picture. After the whole stretch is finished being rolled it is ready to be transferred to the loom. Further work can now be carried out indoors.
 The wheel now is transferred to the loom frame and this is how it looks.
A design is selected, calculations are made and the work starts. I am not going to explain more technical details here.
 The real weaving starts now with the help of shuttle and paddle. The one we use is fly shuttle which is called uda maku in local language.
 A look from above. A closer look at the shuttles and the sticks which keep the cloth in proper shape and form .
A closer look at the back side of the design weaved.
Side view. Ma weaved 17 Gamosas last time. We don't do it for business purpose. She gifted 12 gamosas between friends and relatives and we kept 5 for our personal use.
A look at the completed gamosas.
At present we are done with wrapping the threads to the wheel. Tomorrow we will transfer wheel to the loom. Would have done it today but had guests visiting us throughout the day. (In case you are wondering- We used empty gas cylinders to keep the frame in position). This project will take about three to four months to complete because we get very little free time in between work, kitchen and kids. This picture was taken this morning. Bulu and her daughter are back to village and have reached safely. Had a phone-conversation with them few minutes back.
A funny thing happened this morning. This young man came to our house to sell handwoven sarees and mekhela sador but when he saw us busy weaving our own stuff he was not happy. First he told me that I should wear more of sarees and mekhela sador instead of churidar kurtas to promote hand loom. Secondly he went near ma and said that she must stop working at this age and should enjoy watching serials on tv . All of us had a hearty laugh.
Now my son wants me to tell you that this is his kitchen garden which he maintains with the help of Gauri and  Aaita. He also wants to add that mom hardly helps in here. He is very proud of his work. Good thing is that both the kids eat greens and other vegetables without any fuss because the stuff comes from their own kitchen garden.
And this is us Saharias wishing all of you  Happy Holidays And Happy New Year. I will be on vacation till the first week of January. See you all next year.

Blog updated 09.01.12

Ma working on her first boarder (paree) .

Due to some reasons we could not complete our weaving project in time. Family went through a turbulent time and we are still trying bring back ourselves back to normalcy. Here are first few parees that came out from loom last week.

105 comments:

  1. Loved knowing the tricks of weaving. They look so beautiful, Kavita. It is good you have taken the photographs step by step. Your daughter might use them one day.

    It is good that they are involved in gardening. They will follow this when they are grown up too!

    Happy holidays and New year to you and your family, Kavita! God bless you! Be happy like this always!

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  2. You were on my mind Sandhya while I was writing this post. My heartfelt thanks for all your wishes. Thanks for being my friend. I treasure you.

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    1. Awesome stuff... Can't believe it... And you have written it very well by sharing different steps through photographs... Super impressed !

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  3. Such a lovely post Kavita. Loved to read and hope I get to see some weaving at your place when I come to the North_East too :)

    Pls tell G and K that their kitchen garden looks gorgeous :) And LOL at the guy who came selling sarees :P

    Luv the colour on the Gamosa borders :)

    Happy holidays and New Year to u too :)

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    1. I am waiting for that day Swaram:) Thanks :)

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  4. I am happy for your kids; you know where do they get to learn these beautiful techniques now a days? Lucky you chaps are. Happy holidays to you too :)

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    1. We do try to introduce them to these things. They sure are lucky to have very talented grandma.
      Happy Holidays :)

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  5. Wow , wonderful lesson . Thanks for pictorial guide for weaving .

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  6. Wow, incredible! I love the lavender color on the borders of the cloth. Rupa gave me some beautiful Gamosas (the white cloth with red borders) and I would like to know how to use them. Are they for the table or for use as a shawl? Please advise.

    That young man was so funny! He made me laugh! Haha.

    Glad your son and daughter are involved in gardening and that they eat what they grow. Way to go, guys!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MY FAMILY TO YOURS, KAVITA. ALOHA FROM HAWAII.

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    1. The gamosas she gave you are the silk ones. Gigi please click on the Gamosa link to know more. Thanks:)

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  7. this is a comfortable space, all ladies working and enjoying together. A little bit of Assam and the beautiful cloth woven.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Welcome Pattu Raj. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  8. I am just so impressed and amazed with the beautiful art of the weaving that you are all doing together. The poem is so perfect too!

    The garden is really lush and healthy looking. I wish we had your son's and daughter's green thumb.

    I'm so glad your blog is now working more correctly and is functioning better on my sidebar. Thank you for letting me know.

    A very happy holiday and new years to you and your beautiful, talented family, Kavita.

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    1. I knew that you will find this interesting. My mother-in-law too thinks that plants respond well to my kids. I hope that they continue to love gardening. Thanks for so many things Kay :)

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  9. Too good.,.loved the whole process amazing looks so beautiful ..thread after thread making a complete sheet with patterns .. I wish could see all that ..looks so nice..
    reminds me of india ..
    happy holidays and happy new year :)

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed the post. Thanks a lot:)

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  10. What an ambitious woman you are to weave, work and run your household. I have a tapestry loom and enjoyed weaving as a hobby making small scarves-it's quite the art!

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    1. I remember your tapestry loom from your blog posts Lin. Weaving was on my wish list and finally I got the chance to learn. Thanks.

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  11. @Kavita Ba Khub Bhal lagise apunar post tu porhi :)Thanks for sharing, Great description and photographs.
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family and all readers of your blog.

    Best Regards
    Rupam

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    1. Bhal puwa tu bhal palu. Thanks Rupam:)

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  12. What a wonderful post, Kavita!


    Friendly Aloha from Waikiki,
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° >
    > < } } ( ° >
    > < 3 3 3 ( ' >

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  13. Thank you for this lovely post!

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  14. Wow! really enjoyed the whole process that goes into weaving. It feels so good to use your own woven material. Poor Salesman.
    Your green too look so good. To think you make time for everything, it is really good to know.
    Merry Christmas and Happy holidays!

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  15. It takes so much time and effort, and it looks perfect. You have put down the whole process of weaving so well. Lovely pics, and what a lovely poem by your friend! You can tell your son that the kitchen garden looks delightful. Loved this post, Kavitha. A very happy Christmas and New Year to you and your beautiful family. :)

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    1. My son is very happy and feels encouraged. Thanks a lot DC:)

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  16. Envy is not a great quality, but in this case I do , firstly because of the topics you choose to Blog and secondly the fan following, or call it admirers who religiously follow you and comment.Makes you feel awed , I'm sure and encouraged.

    Though I have sen a fair bit of commercial weaving in looms , you gave an insight into the passion that is running this as a household industry or past time.

    The miserable salesman , must be appreciated for his sincere efforts to persuade you folks from weaving. TV serials for oldies are a good distraction ha!.

    The luscious green of the Kitchen garden is sooting .

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    1. Anil, in fact it is me who envies you for the way you write. When you say that you liked my post, i do feel encouraged. Most of you visiting here are my old friends. The love and admiration we feel is mutual:) Thanks a lot :)
      My son is very happy with all the praises he is getting for his garden.

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  17. What a lovely , lovely post ! I hope I get to visit Guwahati and meet you, your wonderful family, and see the actual loom ! And tell your son, his garden looks great, and a big shabash for so happily eating the greens ! Am posting a link to his post on my timeline ...

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    1. Yes, you must visit Guwahati very soon:) Kaustubh is very happy and feels encouraged:) Thanks for sharing this post on your timeline:)

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  18. Very informative piece on weaving. Wish you a happy new year.

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  19. WOW! is the word for everything you shared here! Loved the weaving process. Kids loving greens... a pat on the back of the mommy and the kids for a job superbly done!! :)
    Happy holidays to you too.
    Cheers :)

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  20. Wow!!! What a beautiful beautiful post!!! And an important one! My respect for handloom has gone up several times. I have to show my mom this post so she also knows the stories behind the sarees she wears. And a big shout out to your son for the greens he has grown! Let him know I envy those greens and his green fingers. Things don't grow easily with me:( Amongst Native Americans there are lovely stories around weaving, weaving itself becomes a community healing process--the colours and the patterns they weave an indication of the inner process. I had spiritual healers who kept looms in their homes and weaves extraordinary pieces...in fact one of them changed his name to "Kabir" to honor the medieval weaver. I never documented any, it didnt occur. Now I wish I did. Thank you for writing this very important post. I am going to send this post to my two friends who will be able to appreciate it much better than I can. So much love and wishes for a happy new year to you and yours!

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    1. I am so glad that you liked this post Bhavana:) I hope your mom and your friends like it too:) As now I am into weaving, it feels like a prayer to me. It is very relaxing.
      Thanks a lot Bhavana.

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  21. Oh yes .. In our village well in my Nana's village the ladies still weave , especially the young ladies who are getting ready for mariage they make their own dowry .. so although the art is dieing but some still make a lot of things , bedsheets or Dari's and Phulkari's


    Thank you so much for sharing
    lovely pictures

    Bikram's

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    1. I love Phulkari duppattas. Weaving is still alive in villages but I am not sure for how long. Thank a lot for reading the post Bikram.

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  22. Very interesting and informative ....thanks for sharing

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  23. Very informative post. It is truly important that the new generation learn the skills of this traditional weaving to keep it alive in the future. It's great that you have the opportunity to learn.

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    1. Welcome to my space Zunnur. You are right I am lucky to have this opprtunity. Thankyou for reading the post Zunnur.

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  24. Hi Kavita,

    A typo in my comment. I meant "soothing" you will understand for sure. Not "sooting" , silly I.

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    1. It is always good to see you Anil:) Thanks to the missed 'h':)

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  25. You have given me a great Christmas and New Year gift, Kavitaji! Such positive energy radiates from your words! My Namashkar to your Ma and hugs to Gowri and Kaustubh. I showed the photos and read out the post to Parvati and she was overawed! You are a great gal, Kav! :-)

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    1. That is one huge compliment coming from you Balan. Thank you .

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  26. Happy holidays Kavitha.

    If at i come to Delhi first thing i do is come to your house and see the saree making and of course will take one saree from you....I love this post...

    Hugs to kids and merry Christmas....

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    1. And I am waiting for that day to come Saritha. Much love:)

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  27. It is such a delightful post that opened my eyes to the beauty and joy of the homespun apparel. It must be a heartwarming enterprise. Thanks for the pictorial journey.

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    1. Thanks Umashankar, glad you liked the post.

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  28. ...and wish a Happy New Year to you and your family too!

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  29. A fabulous post Kavita which revived the memories of my visit to Saulkuchi, Silk Weavers village near Gauhati!!Wishing you and family a Very happy New Year!

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    1. I wrote a post on Sualkutchi too! Good to know that you visited the silk village,Thanks.

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  30. What an elaborate wonderful post Kavita! I did one on Kancheevaram weavers sometime back.
    Protect your pics, all so well taken.

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    1. Welcome Indrani! I would love to read the mentioned post of yours. Thanks:)

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  31. Kavita,

    Read 2 posts now. Both are so informative with such pictorial explanations. Kindly give my compliments and love to your son as well as Gauri for taking such keen interest in Kitchen Garden. How I wish more children are like them! And next time you are in Delhi, please do spare some time to meet me also. It will be so good of you.

    Take care

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    1. I thank you on behalf of my kids. I would surely let you know next time I am in Delhi.

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  32. Thanks for writing this. So informative! It was so refreshing just to read it, I can only imagine what joy you must have experienced to have done it first hand!

    Happy New Year!

    Anu

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    1. Welcome Bhargavi! A big thanks for reading and liking the post:)

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  33. In this festive evening sleigh let you bring the best wishes of happiness :
    joy, love and happiness.
    May happiness and blessings to you and forever stop by and follow .
    Happy New Year

    En cette soirée festive traîneau vous permettent de réunir les meilleurs vœux de bonheur :
    joie, d'amour et de bonheur.
    Que le bonheur et la bénédiction pour vous et pour toujours arrêter et suivre.
    Bonne année

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    1. Thank you so much SM and wish you the same.

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  34. what a wonderful post for the new year...loved reading this

    wish you happy new year!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com/

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  35. Those creations are beautiful. I am impressed that you are making effort to learn this art of traditional weaving.
    Wish you happy and prosperous new year.

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  36. Kavita, this is such an amazing post! I loved how you documented each stage of weaving. Gifting that room to your ma-in-law was so thoughtful. And, you are right involving the kids in gardening and growing veggies makes them more responsible. I love how all of you are patiently learning this fine art. And, your ma-in-law looks so adorable. Give her a big hug from me!

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    1. Rachna a big hug from all of us to you. You are awesome. Thanks a lot for reading the post.

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  37. Kavita ba, please invite me to your home on a day the tatkhaal is weaving away gamochas. I would love to see it. My mother used one to weave gamochas during Bihu till the time she got married. The taatkhal is still in use in my maternal grandma's home in Jorhat. It's such a treasured skill and tradition, isn't it? I'd love to revisit the experience of seeing my aita weave beautiful mekhela sadors. I love and highly appreciate the effort you take to introduce to the world our customs, traditions, cuisine and culture in such an endearing way :)

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    1. You are already invited sweetie:)Rest when you are here:)Thanks:)

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  38. I feel rejuvenated reading this.I made many of my folks read this and I myself read many times.

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    1. You are a darling Bhavya, my soul sister:)

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  39. .•°♡♡⊱彡
    Super imagens. Tecer me parece tão complicado!
    BOM FIM DE SEMANA!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.!
    º°✿✿
    °º✿
    º° ✿ ✿彡

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  40. How beautiful and artistic, Kavita! How I would love to lend a hand and learn this too though I also fathom that it is really not easy. Its interesting to see the cloth taking shape in a step by step process through your captures. The veggie garden looks very neat and well maintained too. Here's wishing you and your family a very happy new year ahead :)

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  41. purely artistic........
    lovely post.

    anu

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  42. perfect post...start a course for journalists Dr:) and btw..forget us not..

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  43. Such a nice heartwarming post and documentation. Those Gamosas would be precious gifts, so lovingly handcrafted. Loving your blog :-)

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  44. Wonderful, and you have explained everything in such detail (including the gas cylinder) :-)
    That completed gamosas look so elegant.

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  45. Came here again after seeing the painting you gifted Glenda! Its so beautiful. Have a lovely day Kavita :)

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  46. Thank you so very much for kindly visiting my site! Lovely to know your friendship, Kavita


    Aloha from Honolulu-
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  47. Apologies that it has been such a long time since my last visit. A great post as always, interesting and informative. Lovely to catch up with you again, I hope all is well with you and yours.

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  48. ..and the best blogger, best person award goes to Drrr KS

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  49. Wonderfully explained. The process is really tedious. I have seen the process earlier and enjoyed it.

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  50. Beautiful post Kavita Didi :) You've taken the photos and explained in such great detail, makes weaving so interesting and thoroughly enjoyed the post and the lovely poem as well :)

    Best wishes and big hugs to Gauri and Kaustubh :)

    Take care Didi,
    Sai :)

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  51. Fantastic images of the weaving process and the story behind it all. I have been to Assam briefly but sadly didn't get to see any weaving! The weaving room is so tidy - most unlike mine!
    Thank you.
    Kaz
    curiousweaver.id.au

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  52. Lovely post...pictures are amazing...

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  53. Nice pic and lovely lines!

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  54. Hello Kavita
    Oh my, this is a wonderful post!
    Must be amazing to weave and create such beauty!

    I have been away from blogging for some time and just getting back.
    Here to wish you all the best!

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  55. As always Thank you for sharing this, you are doing a great job !

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  56. What an intricate process! In this fast world, how we are forgetting the pleasures of own weavings and not to forget kitchen gardens so well kept by the kids!

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  57. Kavita madam

    Namaste. Very informative and beautiful post on our weaving tradition with amazing pictures. I am glad to know that your Mother-In-Law is an expert and gifted talent in Weaving.

    While reading the post and photographs of your message i just now remind something about textile tradition of India. Thanks for sharing a very useful information.

    Kavita madam this is my Lamps of India message which i shared in my Heritage of India blog.

    http://indian-heritage-and-culture.blogspot.in/2013/09/lamps-of-india.html

    Kavita madam please look into my Lamps of India message and share your inspirational comments.

    Kavita madam i hope you like my blog and join as a member to my Heritage of India blog.

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  58. Happy New Year, Kavita
    Blessings to you and your family.

    Margie
    xx

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  59. the gamusa designs look beautiful. A wonderful post on weaving ... very informative too :) I love how you schedule all your chores to find time for weaving

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  60. with love maxima
    http://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com

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  61. OMG ! I am so impressed ! I have been so inspired by all the posts about traditional weaves and jewelry. And then i saw this. Salute for keeping the traditions alive !

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