Kendrick Import’s Weblog
another weblog from Kendrick Imports

Kendrick Imports looks at hand weaving

During our recent trip to Swaziland we looked at the possibility of Kendrick Imports importing hand-woven throws, rugs and cushion covers in both mohair and cotton.

In the north-west corner of Swaziland is a very small town called Piggs Peak where there is a family run business called Coral Stephens Handweaving.

The business was founded in 1949 and is based on fairly traded principles. From the photos you will see that all the ladies that work at Coral Stephens have great working conditions and are all fairly paid for their skills.

The Mohair is wool from goats, which is purchased from Lesotho, a country in Southern Africa. When it is woven it produces a very light- weight but incredibly warm fabric.

Coral Stephens produces hand made throws, cushion covers, table runners and mats from silk, mohair, cotton and raffia. Some of their products are a combination of these products giving very unusual textures. Their Angora is hand spun on the premises, dyed by hand to specific “recipes” to maintain consistency and then all of the fabrics are woven by hand.

We were shown the whole process by Murrae Stephens who runs the Company.

The photos show the process.


hand-spinning

hand-spinning

The silk and mohair is hand spun on traditional spinning wheels.


handspun-mohair

handspun-mohair

The Mohair ends up looking like this before it is hand – dyed .


dyeing the yarn

dyeing the yarn

The Mohair is hand –dyed in huge vats that are heated by wood. The whole area is full of wood smoke where the dyes are being heated. Each colour has a specific recipe so that each batch is a consistent colour. After being warmed in the dye, the wool is washed in huge baths of cold water and hung out to dry on washing lines!


the heated dye

the heated dye

This photo shows a close up of the mohair hanging in the vats of dye!! The wood used to heat the dye can be seen in the background!


wool drying

wool drying

The thick yellow wool is used for making rugs and the thinner wool for throws.

weaving

weaving

The weaving room was huge, light and airy with music playing whilst the ladies worked. Each loom is set up by hand and every centimetre of fabric is hand-woven. The ladies work in teams with some-one winding bobbins so that the weavers do not have to stop.

Kendrick Imports hopes to import these wonderful throws in the near future. Watch out for press releases and news at http://www.kendrickimports.com

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