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Original Crewel Silk Embroidery from Kashmir

What makes crewel embroidery unique?

There is nothing mean about crewel, even when the name suggests otherwise. Crewel embroidery is a traditional surface embroidery going back centuries and being known for its bold and large designs or the material used to make them.

With time, crewel embroidery came to be seen on curtains, tapestries, clothes and even pillows. If different embroidery styles are seen, the elements of crewel that reflect uniqueness compared to others are its motifs or stitches, materials, and yearns. 

The history of crewel

Crewel embroidery dates back to the medieval period, with the oldest known crewelwork being the Bayeux tapestry of nearly one thousand years old made in England. Crewel embroidery revived in the 1970s and continues to offer a wide variety of materials.

While Kashmiri crewel, on the other hand, is handcrafted in a beautiful valley which is in between the glorious Himalayan range and pir panjal, with this style being recovered around the 16th century. Some legends believe that the word “crewel”, which means a curl in a single hair of wool, originated from a word in ancient times that has been lost in the folds of language over time. The craft is done by hand from the starting as there is no machine which can replicate the craft or effect those thread of wool cast over the plain canvas of cloth.

Some Elements of Crewel Embroidery

Needle

Crewel needles reflect a sharp point or a large eye which allows the thickness of the crewel wool or silk to pass through, including working with more than one piece at a time. The sharp point supports not just in working through the fabric but also in piercing through the wool or silk from previous stitches.


Stitches

All types of stitches can be used for crewel embroidery. The wool or silk thread gives the stitches some added thickness and texture.

Designs in crewel often offer dimensional elements due to which padded satin stitches or laid stitches goes excellent with them. 


Patterns

You can find a wide variety of patterns for crewel embroidery. However, designs for standard surface embroidery can be used as well. While selecting a pattern not suited for crewel embroidery, keep in mind that the thickness of the wool stitches will restrict working on the finer details. Patterns with large areas work best for crewel embroidery.


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FAQ’S

What is the name of the famous Kashmiri embroidery?

Aari, or crewel embroidery, is one of the most well-known Kashmiri embroideries. It's a Kashmiri speciality made with fine rings of chain stitch and a long hooked needle called a crewel. It features delicate embroidery and intricate floral motifs, which are popular among royals.

What does crewel embroidery mean?

Crewel refers to a special kind of embroidery done with the help of a hook which is known as crewel used for drapery or tapestry. Rows of chain stitch are done with hooks from solid patterns, which are generally rotating and help create an embossed effect supporting adding richness to the textile.

Crewel embroidery is usually done on thick materials such as furnishing materials reflecting floral or creeper designs. The width of the material is usually 54-55 inches available in running meterage.

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