We recently went on a textile tour of India. The first stop was Srinagar, Kashmir. We were fortunate to be taken to villages in the area where pashmina fibres (taken from goats in the mountainous Ladakh region) are hand-processed into beautiful shawls.
First the the fibre is removed from the goats by hand combing in spring. It is taken to villages in Kashmir where women gather to clean the fibre (removing seeds and long hairs from the soft wool fibres), align the fibres in preparation for spinning and finally, to spin the fibre. Once spun, it is wound into hanks for weaving.
After the wool has been spun, it is taken to another village for weaving into shawls. The weaving that we saw was done by men.
The fabric may then be taken to another village for dying.
Once the shawls have been completed, they are taken to yet another village for washing.
Finally, they are dried in a nearby park.
The washing and drying photos show several embroidered shawls – the embroidery will be shown in a later post.