Ikat is a term that refers to the dyeing technique to create a design on fabric. In this dying technique bundles of yarn are tightly wrapped together and dyed as many times as is required to create desired pattern.
Weaver first draws a graph of the pattern on paper first.(Photo 1,2) After finalizing pattern yarn has been tied and dyed in such a way that after dying color seep into yarn at only a particular position and after untying it when the weaver arrange these yarn on loom it creates exact pattern as drawn on graph paper. (Photo 3,4,5,6) This process is so complicated that the weaver has to precisely dye the threads and place them correctly on loom so that form the correct pattern when woven. How hard this thing is? Well, weaver must dye thread in EXACT same place as before and line it up in loom EXACTLY the same place AND then they have to weave it EXACTLY the same way. After arranging yarns on the loom it has been woven with continuous warp/weft adjustment in such a way that it emerges beautiful patterns and motifs.(Photo 7)
Image 1,2 - Ikkat Pattern graph papers
Image 3,4,5,6 - Ikkat Pattern tie - dye according to graph design
Image 7 - yearn arrangement on loom and weaving
Types of Ikat:
- Warp Ikat – Where warp yarns are ikat dyed and weft yarns are solid dyed. Here when weaver line up yarns in a loom pattern are clearly visible. This type of ikat is sometimes called semi ikat.
- Weft Ikat – Where Weft yarns are ikat dyed and warp yarns are solid dyed. This is more difficult than warp ikat as fabric forms pattern only in weaving process. Weaver has to constantly center and readjust the yarn to ensure the pattern forms correctly.
- Double Ikat – Most complicated of the three is double ikat, where both warp and weft threads are ikat dyed. This technique requires advanced skill to dye and weave, and it takes a tremendous amount of time and hence it is the most expensive.