India boasts the seventh-largest wool and textile industry in the world. The wool and woollen industry creates fabrics, blankets, knitwear and carpets amongst other things.
Wool is a versatile natural material that is a major player in India's economy and fashion industry. In the year 2014 - 2015 wool exports reaped an estimated $1,869.8 million and accounted for 72% of total woollen exports. The US and EU are key importers of Indian wool and wool-blended products.
There are numerous different types of wool which are used to create different types of fabric, clothes and household items. The natural characteristics of the wool is a big influence on what the particular variety will be used for.
You will be able to find out more about the different variety of wool and their typical uses on our Info page.
The process by which many woollen products are produced is through weaving. Weaving is a method of textile production that involves two forms of thread being interlaced at right angles to form the fabric (similar to knitting). The fabric is often woven on a loom, which holds the threads in place. The way these threads are interlaced is known as the "weave". Woven cloths could consist of just one or two colours with a simple design or could feature something more artistic. The type of fabric created through weaving therefore varies and can be as plain or complex as required.
There are many weavers in India who create fabrics to be exported around the world or to be sold in Indian markets or used by Indian fashion designers. There are many factories where the process has been mechanised, however in large parts of India wool is still woven in small villages in India by weavers who create their own looms out of bamboo according to their own build and needs and sells their creations at local markets.
Different types of looms are used today: Traditional ones which are controlled by hand, or more modern ones which have foot pedals to speed the process up. It can take anywhere between 3 hours to 3 days to create fabric, depending on the complexities and size.
"For me weaving is theraputic. It is a way of life which affords me to stay at home and look after my children and the household, while also doing something that I love."- Rashmi Malik