Warping a Karbi Loin Loom

Loom Design/Warping/Karbi Loom | > Karbi people

 The weaver Samili Ingtipi will show you in this video the way of a horizontal warping method and introduce us to the  components of the Karbi Loom.


Components of the Karbi loom

It's a bit confusing as the weaver in the video uses other english terms, so I hope I got it right, but watch it yourself! Maybe we are just getting confused by the fact she exchanges the functions of some components for the warping process..... Anyway, don't mind the terms, the process is correct! That counts!


Thening/Thining (breast beam plus rolling stick)

The Thening/Thining she calls the shed rod, but that's definitely no shed rod! Two wooden sticks for the shed? The spelling of the words changes anyway from author to author. What she calls Thining are actually the plain breast beam plus an identical rolling stick, to manage tension and fixation of the warp by roll-up a bit of the ready done textile. Both sticks have a deepening on each end of the stick leading the connected rope of the belt (Thehu/Thihu).


U'vek (pattern sticks)

What she calls thin sticks (U'vek) are actually pattern sticks. Not really needed as long you are not into supplementary weaving, for a plain weave you may leave them away! But they are very useful in many cases, i. e. to regulate the tension of some loose threads in the warp! Anyway case to case you may need some extra sticks; three of these thin sticks bundled become another heddle stick!?


Theilang pong/Thelangpong (shed roll)

The Theilang pong/Thelangpong she calls the heddle rod! This must be a confusion of english terms; it's definitely the shed roll! Made by a bamboo cane of 4 cm in diameter! Anyway most of the components seems to be done by bamboo!


Harpi (batten sword)

The Harpi (batten sword) is done by hard wood, due to its needed weight for cotton weaving. For silk work Karbi people use many time just a bamboo batten. Also the breast beam and the rolling stick are made from wood. Funny how the warp beam of the Karbi Loom seems to be made by hard wood, even we may observe many other tribes using a bamboo cane for warp beam. The batten sword in general is used to beat-in the weft while the weaving process. 


While the warping process the Harpi gets a new function; it's used to control the size of the heddles by the height of its blade. 


Hi-e-pong-lang & Hi-i (heddle bar & heddle)

She builds all heddles by just one on-going heddle thread (Hi-i), lined up on one heddle bar (Hi-e-pong-lang). But for the warping process the heddle bar itself isn't needed, it comes in afterwards. While the warping process the Harpi (batten sword) is used instead of the heddle bar in place. The heights of its blade is perfect to control the size (length) of the heddles. Most other loin loom cultures use the shed roll to control the size of heddles while warping. 


Western frame looms need at least two heddle bars for a plain weave. As loin looms work with the shed roll, this makes the natural shed. For each further shed a heddle bar is needed. So that's why you need just one heddle bar for a plain weave. For a 2/1 twill you need at least 3 heddle bars using any loom   without a shed roll, but in case of using a shed roll, you need just two of them. 


Thihun (measuring rope)

A very special thing of the Karbi warping method is the measuring rope (Thihun). It's just used while the warping process! In general the used components for warping get sticked into the ground for vertical warping methods or the support of a warping stem is needed to fixate the components onto its place for warping. For the same reason Karbi people use the measuring rope instead of a heavy stem or board.


Last and least she needs some yarn (hon) for the warp.




Loom components, used for warping:

  1. Therang (warp beam)
  2. U'vek (pattern sticks)
  3. Theilang pong (shed roll)
  4. Hi-i (heddle)
  5. Harpi (batten sword)
  6. Thening (breast beam)
  7. Thehu/Thihu (belt)
  8. Hi-i (heddle thread)
  9. Hon (warp yarn)



Components of the Karbi Loin Loom in general:

  1. Therang (warp beam)
  2. U'vek (pattern sticks)
  3. Theilang pong (shed roll)
  4. Hi-e-pong-lang (heddle bar) with fixated Hi-i (heddle) on
  5. Berlim 
  6. Harpi (batten sword)
  7. Adang (width-holder)
  8. Thening (breast beam)
  9. Thehu/Thihu (belt)
  10. ... (foot-brace)
  11. ... (weft stick)


Compare the components of the Karbi Loom with the regular Components of Loin Looms.


Preparing the warping

The warp beam gets fixated horizontally with two ropes to two poles driven into ground. By the support of two bamboo stilts, standing on the ground, the breast beam gets fixated the same way. The measuring rope come into the play, to help the stilts of the breast beam standing. Next step the needed components one by one come in place horizontally by the help of this measuring rope. First one of the pattern sticks and then the shed roll (keep in mind: for heddle bar!) come in place. After this two further pattern sticks are inserted into the measuring rope. The very first pattern stick is the place, where the weaving starts later. At this place we knot the threads at to change colour or loop them once around for the next round.......


Have a look onto the location and circumstances the weaver sets the warping and read about the Weaving hut of Karbi people.

Another video tutorial of Samili Ingtipi about warping a Karbi Loom. This time just in her language (no english descriptions) and bigger size with some differing.Even you are not able to follow her instructions it's a great creamy topper to deepen your understanding!

This video of Samili Ingtipi shows plenty of Karbi weavers preparing the warp using their horizontal warping method including a reed comb, while others don't. 

Ethnic group: Karbi people (Arleng/Mikir)
Area: Karbi Anglong, Assam, NE-India
  stake loom
  circular warp

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