One can easily find a loom in almost every home of the village and witness the process of preparing the silk garments carried out, at its various stages in each of these households.
The colourless silk threads are woven at some homes, though many prefer to buy the readily available coloured ones imported from the southern parts of India especially Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for economic reasons.
As the men folk are involved at twisting the thread in the spools most women folk patiently weave the silk threads on the looms.
The Process of Weaving:
The silk thread that is woven in to the loom is basically classified into two.
The vertically woven silk thread that forms the base of the garment is called the Digh.
And the silk used to weave the horizontal patterns or flowers is called the Bani.
First, the readymade silk thread which is the Digh, is spun around a bamboo instrument called the Sereki.
The Sereki has five small bamboo sticks attached to a longer, common bamboo stick at the centre forming a cylindrical shape. This is done to remove the knots or uneven fibres of the thread.
The thread is again spun into a smaller bamboo frame called the letai in the local language.
Later the spinning of the thread into smaller spools called Bobin, is performed with a help of the spinning wheel called the Jotor.
The Jotor is run single handed by a person who spins the thread into the wheel with one hand while wrapping the thread into the spools with the other hand.
After the thread is woven into a number of such Bobin, these Bobin’s are then placed on a huge frame called Ugha serially.
The thread from each of these Bobin placed on the Ugha is spun around a huge wooden wheel called the Warping Drum.
The spinning enables the weaver to get the exact size and length of the silk garment that is to be woven on the loom.
The thread is then very systematically taken out from the wheel and placed on the long wooden bar of the loom called the Norosh.
Throw shuttle loom and the loin loom constitute a very important part of weaving in Assam.
The digh thread from the warping drum is slowly taken out systematically and slowly encircled around the Norosh. This is done with the aid of a sharp iron tool inserted at the end of the Norosh. Once the thread are placed around the Norosh systematically, the lose threads will be inserted one by one into a threaded frame called the Boa, This step is done with a lot of precision. These threads are then inserted into a comb like frame called the Rash. These threads are then taken by the weaver to weave fine garments.
As the digh thread is placed on the Norosh the bani thread is then placed on small spools inside a small wooden frame called the Mohura.
The Mohura is again placed on a bigger frame called the Maku attached at the side of the loom.
The colourful thread from the Mohura is then woven into fine flowers, patterns and motifs on the Digh thread which now forms the entire base of the garment.
Once the raw silk is prepared, the silk is used for dyeing. In the recent times however, many traders and weavers prefer to buy readymade coloured silk, as the cost of colouring and deriving the right amount of material from uncoloured silk becomes non profitable for them.