Weaving through the rice fields

Image 18 of 24
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Two ethnic Karen women prepare threads for theinyat (ikat) dyeing in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. Theinyat (ikat) style clothes have a two-colour pattern in the weave. To achieve this, small sections of unwoven threads are tightly bound together to prevent dye from entering the bound sections. The threads are then dipped in dye and subsequently woven, where the pattern emerges. There are many different theinyat patterns and how many or few threads are tied together depends on the pattern. The process is laborious, threads need to be measured out according to the woven width of the clothes and the pattern needs to be measured out to ensure the undyed sections all match. A minimum of two women are needed to measure out and tie up the threads, and in the few villages that still dye and weave theinyat, women tend to do it together during the winter (dry) season when the rice has been harvested and wet threads can dry in the sun.