Back-Strap Weaving and Bag Making
Back-strap Weaving is one of the traditional professions of rural women of hilly areas of Nepal. They weaved cloths for themselves. Now, that traditional skill of weaving has developed as an alternative means of generating income. With the market intervention the traditional skill of back-strap weaving becomes cottage industries providing opportunities for hundreds of women in Nepal.
The wool and cotton were spun by hand and used for weaving cloths, rugs, carpets and other. The weaving looms, process and the product varies in various ethnic groups. Sherpa from high altitude weave thick cloths, rugs and blanket from wool, where as Limbu, Rai also from hilly area weave “Dhaka Topi”, Nepali cap from cotton.
In past, the cotton yarn was hand spun with locally grown cotton. However, because of change in market and trading systems even in rural areas, people no longer produce cotton yarn by themselves rather they purchase it from local market. Then the yarn is dyed with desired colors. Prepare loom for weaving. The loom is very simple. Just few wooden sticks are used to weave the cloth.
The yarns are rolled on a wooden stick in a right order to have desired color combination. Then warping is done using bamboo sticks fixed on the ground or on wooden polls fixed on a wooden plank or on ground. The warp is rolled on warping beam. After warping, dressing is done. It is the process, where thread from the warp is inserted through the reed made with the wooden stick placed with nylon or cotton cords. They use Two piece of wooden sticks are used as heddles. The heddles help to pick up alternative warp threads to create a shed through which the weft can be passed.
To weave the weft is passed through the warp with the help of reed. They change weaving style, weft and reed to have different pattern and texture of the cloth. Once finish weaving, the fabric is taken out from the loom. Now, the fabric is ready for producing accessories. The fabrics are used to make bags, accessories, clothing and other purposes. Now, this fabric has wider application such as place mat, table runner, bags, and jackets and so on.