Warp threads on the patterning frame ready to be marked out for dyeing. © Tim Stanley

Warp threads on the patterning frame ready to be marked out for dyeing. © Tim Stanley

Once the weft threads have been fully prepared - stretched, strengthened and divided into warp lengths - the silk threads are then sent to the ikat binding workshop ('abr-bandi') where they are separated into even groups, called 'livits', and threaded through between 40 and 60 holes pierced into the ends of a large wooden patterning frame. Once the warp is laid out in this way the designer marks out the patterns directly onto the threads using charcoal. He draws the outline and indicates the areas intended for each colour.

Photograph © Tim Stanley