Kashmiri Embroidery and its types:
In Kashmir, we experience colourful embroidery work on all kinds of apparel and fabrics - Shawls, Jackets, Sarees, etc. There are many different types of embroideries employed by Kashmiri artisans. These are of the following types:
1. Crewel embroidery: This is done using a pointed crochet (locally called "Aari") and is worked on cotton, wool, silk and other fabrics.
Crewel embroidery uses woollen or art-silk thread for embroidery. It is used for embroidery work on cotton, organza, velvet, linen and jute ground fabrics suitable for making drapes and upholsteries. These fabrics also find use in making pillows, throws and bedding.
Crewel embroidery is of two types:
a) 1-ply Embroidery: It uses 1-ply woolen yarn which is cheaper but less durable than 2-ply wool. 1-ply embroidered fabrics are therefore cheaper than 2-ply embroidered fabrics. 1-ply wool embroidery covers larger surface area per stitch when compared to 2-ply embroidery.
1-ply embroidery and 2-ply embroidery
b) 2-ply Embroidery: Employing 2-ply woolen yarn for embroidery, it costs more than 1-ply and is more durable. The resulting fabric is costlier in comparison to 1-ply embroidered fabrics. Also, 2-ply wool embroidery has a lower surface area per stitch therefore accomodating more colors in a pattern as compared to 1-ply.
A finer form of crewel embroidery using cotton thread instead of wool is worked on apparels like jackets, shawls, sarees, salwar kameez, etc.
2. Needlepoint embroidery (locally called “Sozni”): Done using a needle, “sozni” is worked on Pashmina shawls, woollen shawls, jackets, salwar kameez and sarees. Work done on pashminas is comparatively much finer (lesser distance between stitches) than other fabrics (cotton, silk and wool).
3. Silver and gold embroidery: Locally called “tilla”, this type of embroidery work is found on ladies cloaks (“pheron”), shawls and salwar kameez. It is done in needlepoint using gold and silver thread.