Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Kutchwork - An Introduction

I have just completed a small Kutchwork sampler in shades of red and pink for my Kutchwork summer class. I have stitched a mirror in the center.

I have not decided whether to use a delicate tatted lace as edging to compliment the bright filled in motifs or a crochet lace worked in pearl cotton.

Update: I decided on a crochet lace because it was quicker.

In India, with her rich and varied culture and traditions – craft flourished thanks to royal patronage. Embroidery in the different regions of India, is as rich, distinctive, varied and colourful as the people inhabiting them.

The embroidery of Kutch and its neighbouring Saurashta is probably the most colourful and eye-catching. It flourished in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It employs simple stitches like the herringbone, buttonhole, chain and open chain stitches. The interlacing stitch (looping around the double herringbone stitch) and the Maltese Cross stitch are predominant. The work is embellished with mirrors and sometimes even shells.

Geometric motifs are built using the Maltese Cross and Interlacing stitch. A truly amazing combination patterns are churned out using just these. Once the basic “overs” and “unders” of the interlacing are mastered, even a beginner can execute a seemingly complicated pattern, with relative ease.

Now, here is the interesting part – The Maltese cross and the Interlacing stitch are also predominantly used in Armenian Embroidery.There are very clear instructions for drawing the motifs and interlacing in their website.

Armenia, is a small pocket north east of Turkey.

Some researchers believe that the interlacing stitch was brought to the Kutch region by Arab traders – that the stitches were characteristic of traditional Sindhi embroidery (Kutchwork) practiced widely by immigrants from Sind and Baluchistan (western Pakistan).

Maybe the stitches originated in the Arab nations of Iraq and Iran, spread upwards to Armenia and downwards to the Sind region and to Kutch region in India.

This is a Sofa-back I embroidered using the interlacing stitch, the Maltese Cross stitch, satin stitch and stem stitch.

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