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The Production Process

As natural silk is more difficult to obtain nowadays, synthetic silk called floss is used to weave the fabric. The silk yarns are made into warps in a warping/winding device known locally as a “devere”, by craftspeople called “sökücü”, and made into hanks called “şenk”. The devere has four corners and measures 7.2 m around.   On the flanks of the warping machine there are two rows of holes with pegs in them, however, the pegs are not fixed in place. Each side has 72-76 pegs. In the warp preparation process, 100 filaments of thread are pulled from the bobbins which are over a layer of sand, and passed through combs, the 100 filaments coming together and winding 7 times on each row of the machine. Since the kutnu fabric is generally 450-550 m. long, the warps are made to this length.  Yarn removed from the machine is tied in hanks.


The next step is dying the hanks.  The main colour is yellow, which makes the cloth eye-catchingly bright.  The other colours are dyed one after another: red, purple, green, blue, black, bordeaux, and pink.


After drying, the dyed hanks go to the “Mezekçiler” or sizers.  The sizing process is aimed at preventing the yarns from breaking and entangling with one another during weaving.  The sizers dip the hanks in a mixture of apricot resin and gas oil and then squeeze them.  The resin also makes the cloth shiny.  The sized hanks are wound onto wooden poles called “milef”, making what is called “kavuk” (turbans).  To allow the sizing paste to thoroughly penetrate the yarn, the kavuk are kept damp for one day by wrapping them in plastic bags.


The silk yarn is still not ready to be woven.  Before going on the loom it must be unwound once more and any tangles undone i.e. put in order  “tertip”.  This procedure involves stretching the yarn from the kavuk between two 50 cm long sticks that are fixed to the wall 20 metres apart.  The tautened yarns are combed by hand to remove any tangles and then rewound onto the poles. After this process the new kavuk are called “şak”.  The dried and corrected “şak” are wound onto reels called  “levent” and hung on the loom. Attaching the warps that will form the top to bottom threads of the kutnu to the loom also requires special expertise.


The process of threading the warp yarn onto the heddle and weaver’s reed/comb according to the design to be woven, and mounting it on the loom is known as drawing in. The heddle is a device with small holes the threads pass through, and harness which enables the warps to be raised or lowered according to the type of weave.  The yarns are put through the heddle eyes by experts who, according to the required frame count of the cloth to be woven, know very well which colour and number of threads must be put through which heddle eye for any certain pattern of cloth.  After being threaded through the necessary holes, the yarns are then passed through the weaver’s reed/comb.  According to the pattern and density of the fabric, 4, 5 or 6 threads each are passed through each tooth of the comb according to the predetermined pattern, and the drawing in is complete.  Drawing in is the most difficult step in the preparation for weaving.  Following these tiring processes, the warp yarn is ready to be woven.  The next step is the preparation of the thread that will become the weft.


In kutnu weaving, cotton thread is generally used for the weft.  It may be sized in starch and water to increase the resistance and stiffness of the cloth.  The final stage before weaving begins is the winding of the weft thread onto the spool.  This used to be performed by apprentices using hand pulleys, but is now done on bobbin winders.  The spool is placed on the shuttle and weaving begins.  The warp threads are separated by the heddle and the weft threads between them are beaten or pressed down by the comb.  When the weft on the spool runs out, the loom is stopped and a new one put on.  In this way, the kutnu is woven in an unceasing rhythm.  The technique used is the satin type.

 

The newly-woven kutnu is pressed flat by passing between hot rollers, after which it is finally ready to take its place on the shop shelves.
The varieties of kutnu are named according to the thread count. Fabric with a warp count of 4000 is called kutnu, that with a count of 3000 “alaca”, and that with a warp count of 2000 “meydaniye”. While the warp yarn is always silk for kutnu, cotton is usually used for alaca and meydaniye. The width of the fabric varies from 50-60 cm. depending on the size of the loom. The silk and cotton content of kutnu make it a cool and comfortable material to wear in summer.
There are three basic designs of kutnu: plain, flowered and tied; and about 60 patterns such as: Mecidiye, Sultan, Hindiye, Kemha, Sedefli, Darıca and Zincirli.

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.