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Raw Material

Angora RabbitThe raw materials for shawls is easily available in the Valley. If not produced here it is easily imported from the neighboring states and countries. The wool obtainable in Kullu Valley are:

Australian Merino Wool
Natural fair fleece- ends, imported from Australia are cleaned, carded and spun at the spinning mills at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Panipat, Kullu, etc. The fiber is soft and well in worth.

Kullu Shawls Most of the Kullu shawls are prepared in this quality wool tinted in diverse colors. At times hand- spun Merino wool may also be used for the weft in the case of the hand- spun array of shawls.

Usually the count of the yarn used for the body ranges from 2/44's to 2/ 50's. The count of the reed used maybe 36's, 40's or 42's. Most commonly, a 2/ 48's warp is woven using a reed of 42's count- this is considered to be the ideal combination for weaving the ground fabric as well as the patterned border of the shawl.

Local Wool
This is the wool acquired from sheep bred in Himachal Pradesh. Most of them are migratory. In summer, the sheep migrate from the villages in the lower plains to the higher up Himalayan paddocks for grazing with the Gaddies or local shepherds. Through the glacial iciness, the sheep are brought back to their villages in the lower Himalayas. These sheep are sheared twice a year during the autumn and spring seasons i.e. in the months of September and April.

This wool is obtainable in natural white, black, grey and brown. Due to its coarseness, local wool is usually used for floorings and blankets.

Pashmina Wool
This wool is taken from the under belly of the Pashmina goat existing in Tibet. The shawls woven from Pashmina range from a fine to super- fine quality. They are pure and light, yet tremendously warm. Owing to the high cost of labor involved in the sorting of fine Pashmina fiber they are pretty expensive but trendy.

Angora Wool
This is the wool of the Angora rabbit, procured from the local Angora breeding farms. These rabbits are imported from Germany. Since they have a very high birth rate and death rate, they are bred for about two years and then sold off as meat. They are trimmed once in every three months. Angora wool is enormously warm, soft and sleek to feel.

Due to its fine quality, it is manually spun only on the 'takli' (i.e. the spindle). It is originally found in white, brown, grey and black colors and may be dyed in the same colors as sheep wool. Owing to its fibrosity, it is extremely difficult to weave a 100% Angora shawl; they are hence woven using merino for the warp and angora for the weft.

Staple Yarn: Cotton fiber, used as warp.
Acrylic Yarns: Synthetic wool, used in making patterns.

Technical Specifications of Kullu Shawl:
Yarn Used:
Warp- 2/ 44's, to 2/ 64's Woolen Worsted
Weft- 2/ 44's to 2/ 64's Woolen Worsted , Hand Spun- Pashmina, Angora, etc.
Patterning- 2/ 32's Woolen Worsted / Acrylic. 2-3 ply.
Size - 2Mt. x 1Mt.
Weave - 2/2 Twill (base) & Weft rib in patterning.
Weight - If woven in 2/ 48's count the weight of a shawl may vary from 360to 390gms, conditional on the outline & design.

The extra weft woven shawl
Due to limitations in geometrical designs certain modifications have been done in Kullu Shawls by imparting extra weft for patterning.

In this type of shawls many new designs can be woven by imparting extra weft for patterning in place of typical patterning. It is also simplified, less time consuming, cheaper in cost and commercially viable.

Technical Specifications of extra weft woven shawl:
Yarn used:
Warp - 2/ 44's to 2/ 64's Woolen Worsted
Weft - 2/ 44's to 2/ 64's Woolen Worsted, Hand Spun- Pashmina, Angora, etc.
Patterning - 2/ 32's Woolen Worsted / Acrylic 2- 3 ply.
Size - 2Mt. x 1Mt.
Weave - 2/ 2 Twill (base) & Weft rib in patterning.
Weight - if woven in 2/ 48's count the weight of a shawl may vary from 360 to 390gms, depending on the patterning & design.

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