Rajasthani Quilts

Rajasthan encompasses the Aravalli Mountain Range and the Thar (Great Indian) Desert. This makes the terrain inhospitable and the climate cold, especially at night. The people need to cover them at night without a lot of bulk or weight to carry with them during the day. Over time, local quiltmakers developed techniques which created a quilt that was lightweight, compact, warm and durable, all at once. The families have been carders for generations. Initially these quilts were made only from the gossamer light, world famous ‘Dhake ki malmal’ but now a days, old, fine textured cotton and georgette saris silk and Shaneel fabrics are used .The cloth of the Jaipuri razais, are traditionally soft quality voile, mainly comes from Bombay. A single quilt takes six meter and a double quilt eleven meters of cloth .The cotton from Ganganager is preferred .The quilts are quite durable and are very comfortable in travelling.

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Process of Making Quilts

Carding of Cotton

The material of choice for a Jaipuri razai is cotton. The cotton fill of a Jaipuri razai is finely carded to remove all the impurities. The worker places a ball of cotton on one carder and combs through it with another carder. Carding separates the cotton fibers, allowing the worker to draw out all of the dross, or waste material. In the process of carding, a dense cotton ball becomes light and fluffy. To make a Jaipuri razai, a worker starts with a kilogram (approximately 2.2 pounds) of cotton. After carding for a full week, approximately 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces) of cotton remain. Makers of this quilt are careful to draw out as much dross, and to separate as many of the cotton fibers, as possible. Light, fluffy cotton fill is what makes these quilts warm

Filling the Shell

Once the cotton is completely carded, the artisans go on to make the quilt. The shell of the comforter can be velvet or silk, but the most common fabric is cotton. Often, the cotton will be decorated in the traditional Indian art of block print before the quilt is put together. Layering the cotton fill on the shell is an important step in making these quilts. The cotton has to be distributed evenly throughout the quilt in order to maintain its comfort and warmth.

Sewing and Quilting

Once the fill is carefully layered on the shell, the quilt is stitched together and quilted. In modern times, the stitching around the sides is usually done by machine in order to increase the durability of the quilt. However, even these days, the quilting on the quilt panels themselves is typically done by a hand-held needle. This stitching on the interior of the quilt surface helps to hold the fill in place and adds to the beauty of the quilt.


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