For centuries, pashmina shawls and stoles have been a staple of class and elegance. The warmth, sheen, elegance, colour, design, and durability of Pashmina shawls make them a culmination of the highest sensibility. These handwoven wraps are creative masterpieces in their own right.
In this write-up, we will explore the top 4 weaves used to make exquisite Pashmina shawls and their unique characteristics.
Processing of Pashmina Shawls
Pashmina shawls are not easy to make. Along with the efforts of the artisans and the patience of the customer, this process takes years to complete. The process begins with cleaning the Pashm, which is obtained from the goat. The second step is spinning, during which raw Pashm wool is converted into fine yarn. The yarn is then handwoven into Pashmina shawls.
The Art of Weaving and how it makes a Difference
Purshmina shawls are produced by weaving the even finer undercoat into a yarn, which has amazing insulation properties and is cleaned and spun by hand. It is usually done by women artisans who are extremely skilled because the fibre tends to break easily when hand spun into yarn.
Once the yarn is ready, the next step is to create the warp and then to weave it by hand. Handlooms are used to weave Pashmina yarn into shawls. A special type of natural starch or resin is used to size the yarn before weaving.
In Kashmir, the majority of Pashmina Cashmere fabric is woven by men.
The weaving process consists of the following steps:
- Shedding: The process of shedding involves lifting up some warp threads by the harness or loom to allow the weft to be inserted.
- Picking: Attaching the warp yarn
- Beating up: Moving the weft yarn forward to keep it in line or as close as possible to the weft yarn preceding it.
In weaving, weft yarn is placed horizontally at precise angles to the warp. Weaving is created and differentiated by the alternating movement of warp and weft, even when using the same base fiber.
Artisans add the design components into the shawl during the stage of shedding. In the process of inserting the desired weft under the yarns, they select which yarns should lift up at a precise moment during the weaving process. Tapestry weaving gives shawls like the Pashmina shawl a glistening effect, giving them a glossy look. Tapestry weaving is a fascinating form of weaving!
Types of Weaving
In order to understand how Pashmina shawls and stoles are woven, let's look at the popular weave types:
1. Twill Weave
This weave is one of the most popular weaves in Pashmina, distinguished by its diagonal, parallel ribs. It is also known as plain weave by Kashmiri weavers. Twill weave is also one of the most durable weaves.
2. Diamond Weave
Diamond weave has an aesthetic sheen that is pleasing to the eye, as well as being a beautiful and elegant pattern. Taking the shape of perfect diamonds, this weave is also known as "Chashme Bulbul" in local slang. The process of making diamond weave shawls is intricate, and only experienced artisans can make such a fine product.
In light of this, it would be interesting to add that the world's most expensive shawl, Shahtoosh, is also woven from diamonds.
3. Herringbone Weave
The herringbone weave or broken twill pattern is a distinct V-shaped pattern in Pashmina fabric. Unlike a simple chevron, this weave is broken up in a regular or irregular pattern that makes it look like a broken zigzag or fishbone like a herring. Due to its similarities with the skeleton of a herring fish, the pattern is called "herringbone".
4. Kani Weave
Kani weaving is another exclusive art of creating wonderful Pashmina shawls and stoles. There is no doubt that this is one of the most sophisticated forms of weaving.
A mesmerizing design, hue, and softness has made Kani an indigenous art form since 3000 BC when it received royal patronage. Whenever a Kani shawl is woven, small wooden oblong spool sticks are used to weave each colour.
An initial Kani design pattern is created on graph paper by the pattern drawer or "Naqash" at the beginning of the weaving process. After that, Kani weavers weave shawls using coded scripts.
Types of Pashmina
Pashmina shawls are only available in four assertive types today. The four types are Doshalas, Patkas, Rumals, and Jamawars. A Doshala is a shoulder mantle, a Patka is a long and narrow shawl, a Rumal is a square shawl, and a Jamawar is a heavy-patterned shawl.
Kani shawls are handcrafted Pashmina shawls that come from Kanihama in the Kashmir Valley. These shawls have made their way to the world's most prestigious museums. Several museums, including the MOMA in New York and the Louvre in Paris, still preserve this rare work of art. Jamawar shawls (embroidery designs) and palldar shawls (plain designs) are available.
Handwoven soft cloth has many designs and patterns used by Wovurs (weavers of Pashmina shawls). Among them are buti (flower), buta (multi-floral), khat-rast (stripes), paisley or Kairi, lahariya (zig-zag), shikargah (jungle scenes), zanjeer and hashiya (horizontal and vertical borders), etc. The characteristics of each pattern are unique and require specialized knowledge.
There have been many imitations of Pashmina shawls over the years due to their deep-rooted appeal. In spite of their similarities, none of those shawls can stand the test of time. In terms of aesthetic beauty and quality, Pashmina shawls and stoles always leave a lasting impression thanks to their intricate weaving.
At Hanggul, our shawl styles range from traditional and timeless to fashion-forward and contemporary. We master each assortment in terms of variety, patterns, and elegance. We offer the widest range, certified quality, luxurious packaging and free shipping across India. Visit hanggul.com to book your luxurious piece today.