is famous for Pashmina, Shahtoosh and woollens. Among other fabrics silk and
tweek are also very famous fabrics of Kashmir. When you are in Kashmir try
to buy some of these to make your travel to Kashmir a success.
Some of the exquisite items produced by Kashmiri people are :
These colourful floor coverings are far less expensive are made from
woollen and cotton fibers which are manually pressed into shape. Prices vary
with the percentage of wool used in weaving - a Namda containing 80% wool
being more expensive than one containing 20% wool. Chain stitch embroidery
in woolen and cotton thread is done on these beautiful rugs.
Chain Stitch and Crewel Furnishings
The high quality of embroidery done on wall hangings and rugs has made the
Kashmiri crewel work very demanding all over the world.
The stitching in done in a different pattern in these embroideries. The
chain stitch, be it in wool, silk or cotton, is done by hook rather than any
needle. The hook is referred to as ari and the hook work covers a much
larger area than needle work in the same amount of time. The whole
embroidery is executed on white cotton fabric, pre-shrunk by the
manufacturers. The intricate work of each piece lies in the size of the
stitches and the yarn or fabric used. Tiny and delicate stitches are used in
this form of stitching. The art of crewel embroidery can result in creative
The craftsmen also works on rugs patterning crewel-embroidery to cover the
entire area. Figures or motifs are worked in striking colors to bring the
striking effect; the background in a single color, made up of a series of
coin sized concentric circles. The background fabric is not be visible
through the stitches.
Crewel is similar to chain stitch, but here the motifs,
mainly stylish flowers, do not cover the entire base and the background is
not embroidered upon. Wool is almost invariably used in Crewel work and
colour ways are not as elaborate as in chain stitch. They make excellent
household furnishings being hand or machine washable.
Sericulture and tweed weaving are one of the major industries in Kashmir,
with departments of the state government. The state government closely
monitors the whole process. Interestingly, just as little or no raw-material
for tweed comes from Kashmir, the same way almost no weaving and printing of
silk is done in the state. However, the cocoon raised in Kashmir is of the
superior quality, producing an extremely fine fiber and any silk woven from
this thread or fiber becomes known. The fineness of the yarn lends itself
particularly well to the weaves known as chinon and crepe
de chine, in addition to the universally recognized silk weave.
On the other hand tweed is woven in Kashmir with pure, never blended, wool.
The resultant fabric, made with imported know-how, compares favourably with
the best in the world. It is available by the length occasionally as ready
to wear garments.
This is costume is somewhere between a coat and a cloak. This is absolutely
fitted to the Kashmiri way of life, being loose enough to allow the
necessary kettle of live coals which is carried around in much the same way
as a hot water bottle. The mens pherans are made of tweed or coarse
wool; while womens pherans are somewhat more stylized, are most
probably made of raffel, which boasts of ari or hook embroidery at the
throat, cuffs and edges.
There are three fibers from which the Kashmiri shawls are made - Pashmina,
wool and shahtoosh. The prices of three are incomparable. The woollen shawls
are within the reach of the most common people, while Shahtoosh is
The embroidery of Kashmir on woollen shawls have made the Kashmiri shawls
very popular because of the embroidery. A fine shahtoosh shawl passes
through a finger ring.
Wool woven in Kashmir is raffel and is 100% pure. Many kinds of embroidery
are worked on shawls sozni or needlework is generally
done in a panel along the sides of the shawl. Motifs, usually abstract
designs or stylized paisleys and flowers are worked in one or two,
occasionally three colors, all subdued.
Another type of needle embroidery is known as Papier Mache work. This is
done either in broad panels or either side of the breadth of a shawl or
covering the entire surface of a stole.
Well-known ari or hook embroidery, on floral motifs are finely worked in
concentric rings of chain stitch.