Kashmiri Embroidery Types
In Kashmir, we experience colorful embroidery on many different types of apparel and fabric - Crewel Fabrics, Shawls, Jackets and many more. There are various types of embroidery techniques that Kashmiri craftsmen use. I shall try to give a brief description of some.
1. Crewel embroidery: It is done using a pointed crochet ("Aari") on a cotton, wool, silk or some other suitable fabric.
Crewel embroidery uses woolen or art-silk yarn for embroidery. The background fabric can be cotton, organza, velvet, linen or jute suitable for curtains and upholstery projects (except organza which is a sheer fabric). These fabrics also find good use in making bedspreads, throws and pillows.
Crewel embroidery is by nature a chain stitch and is used greatly in the manufacture of chainstitch rugs, pillow cases and cushion covers. Wool or artsilk yarn is worked in an allover fashion giving the chainstitch rugs a carpet like feel.
Hand vs Machine Embroidery
A second form of crewel embroidery uses cotton thread instead of wool and is much finer than crewel wool embroidey. It is worked on apparel - coats, jackets, shawls, salwar kameez and others.
The embroidery is so fine that it adds very little to the weight of the fabric. An allover design jacket for example may add as little as 100 grams to its weight after embroidery. Woolen crewel embroidery in comparison will add 200 to 300 grams to each yard of fabric.
2. Needlework embroidery (“Sozni”): Done using a needle, “sozni” is worked on Pashmina shawls, woolen shawls, jackets, salwar kameez and sarees. Work done on pashmina is comparatively much finer (picture below) than other fabrics (cotton, silk and wool).
3. Silver and gold embroidery: Locally called “tilla”, this type of embroidery is worked on ladies cloaks (“pheron”), shawls and salwar kameez. It is a type of needlework embroidery and done using imitation gold or silver thread.