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Kothapalli Handloom Cluster
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Kothapalli Handloom Cluster

Under Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (IHDS)
Ministry of Textiles, Government of India,
Door No. 9-8-93 (E-1 Shed), (APCO Premises) Industrial Estate, Padmanagar, Karimnagar,
KARIMNAGAR-505 002, Telangana State, India.
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A Journey into cotton to cloth:


Cotton was traditionally the single largest natural fibre used in clothing. Today India occupies the second position in cotton production in the world. Many varieties of cotton were produced in our country, the majority being the short staple variety which is ideal for hand spinning. We have moved away from growing short staple varieties but still produce good amounts of cotton both for domestic use and for export. Heavy use of pesticide has led to many problems and now there is a shift to organic farming.



Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers. Staple length of cotton determines the thickness of yarn spun and this is referred to as “yarn count”. Standard measure for a length of cotton yarn is termed “hank”. A hank measures 840 yards. Hank yarn is used typically in handloom production as opposed to cone yarn which is used in mill production.


Textiles can be dyed in the yarn form or at the fabric and garment stages. Hank yarn dyeing is a predominant practice in South India unlike in the North where fabric is dyed for developing prints in the craft sector. The dyeing process involves “scouring” to remove natural oils and dirt present in cotton after which natural or chemical dyes are used for colouring. Dyeing for handloom is done in and around weaving villages by local experts.


Natural Dyeing

Dyes extracted from natural materials such as the bark of trees, flowers, leaves and minerals are known as natural dyes. Vegetable dyes are a sub-category of natural dyes, referring to colours that come from plant matter only. Mordants, which are usually minerals, are used to fix dyes on cotton. All natural dyes generally yield lasting colour though some colors are sensitive to sunlight.

Chemical Dyeing

The discovery of the structure of benzene in 1865 in Europe heralded the shift from natural dyes to chemical dyes. Chemical dyes - direct dyes, sulphur dyes, napthol dyes, vat dyes and reactive dyes - that are used today were developed during the period 1878 - 1956. They offered a wide range of colors with an ease of application along with the properties of fastness that suited modern-day usage.

Bobbin Winding

Yarn in the hank form is wound on to bobbins in this process. This is the first step in transforming the yarn from the hank form to a linear form. Dyed hank yarn is wound on to bobbins with the help of charkhas. This process enables the laying out of yarn lengths for weaving. Bobbin winding is done by women in the weaver households.



The warp is a set of threads attached to the loom lengthwise before weaving begins. Warping is the process of creating the base yarn that runs along the length of fabric through which the “weft” yarns are filled in to make the fabric. For a 36-inch to 62-inch wide fabric depending up on the variety to be woven, over 1400 to 4560 individual yarns run along the warp of the fabric in our cluster. Typically, 9,12,000 yards of yarn are aligned by wrapping them around the circular warping beam.

Weft(Pirn) Winding

Hank yarn for weft is wound onto a pirn. The weft yarn is then inserted into a shuttle. Weft preparation is done on the charka, using the finger tips to give the correct tension to the yarn. This operation is normally done by women.

Pirn is a small bobbin. Shuttle is a device used in weaving to carry the weft thread back and forth between the warp threads.



The process of weaving is the interlacing of two sets of yarn – the warp and the weft. The equipment that facilitates this interlacement is the loom. A “handloom” is a loom that is used to weave fabrics without the use of electricity. The manipulation of the foot pedals to lift the warp has to be in sync with the throwing of the shuttle which carries the weft yarn. A perfect weave demands coordination between mind and body. The weaver achieves a harmony of motion and rhythm to create a unique product.

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