Kashmiri and Woollen Shawls

Craftsmen : Zahid Ali
The Kashmiri embroidery commonly known with its traditional name Kashida is famous for its sheer beauty. The motifs of flowers, creepers, chinar leaves and mangos often draw inspiration from the beautiful nature around the valley.
Kashmiri embroidery is known for the skilled execution of a single stitch. Sometimes one or two styles of stitches are used on one fabric. These stitches are often called Kashmiri stitch. Chain stitch, satin stitch, the slanted darn stitch, stem, herringbone and sometimes the doori or knot stitches are used but not more than one or two at a time. The designs and motifs employed are Notus, Ghobi, Chinar leaf, birds, Blossoms and Trees.
The base cloth whether wool or cotton, is generally white or creme or other similar shades. Pastel colors are also often used. The craftsmen use the color shades often blending with the background. Thread colors are inspired by nature seen around.
Sozni embroidery or dorukha is often done so skillfully that the motif appears on both sides of the shawl each side having a different color. There is no wrong side. The same design is produced in different colors on both sides.
Another type of needle embroidery is popularly known as 'papier mache' embroidery because flowers and leaves are worked in satin stitch in bright colors drawing inspiration from the beautiful paintings done on papier mache craft, and each motif is then outlined in black. This is done either in broad panels on either side of the breadth of a shawl, or covering the entire surface of a stole.
A third type of embroidery is ari or hook embroidery; motifs here are the well-known flower design finely worked in concentric rings of chain stitch. This is same as colored Zari or ari embroidery.