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Mahyah Binti Idris

Crewel Embroidery is done entirely by hand - no machine can recreate the skill or the impact of the strands of wool on a simple piece of fabric.

Crewelwork is a kind of hand embroidery that has been practised in Kashmir for centuries. A hook (aari) and mainly woollen yarns in single or multicolour colours are used in this technique. A variety of products, including Namda (felt carpet), clothing material, and curtain fabric, are made with the help of crewelwork. The foundation fabric is the same for all of these products, and it is this which decides what the item would be used for and how it would be decorated.

Kashmiri Crewel Embroidery differs from other parts of the world as it is mainly made of woollen yarns compared to other parts of the world where it is made of synthetic or cotton yarns. Crewel Embroidery is done entirely by hand - no machine can recreate the skill or the impact of the strands of wool on a simple piece of fabric.


design of crewelwork Each stage in the embroidery process, from beginning to finish, brings the piece a bit closer to its final flawless appearance.| Mahyah Binti Idris


(Read about the Unique handicrafts of Kashmir)

Each stage in the embroidery process, from beginning to finish, brings the piece a bit closer to its final flawless appearance. The process of stitching starts with a Naqash (designer) and concludes at the washer, and it passes through an intricate procedure along the way.

Choosing a design is the first step in the crewel-making process; designs consisting of trees, maple, and flowers are some of the most popular choices among Kashmiri crewel makers. Personalized designs, whether classic or contemporary, are also available upon request from customers. The designer will start by drawing a preliminary sketch on a transparent piece of paper long enough to accommodate at least one repetition of the pattern. After that, holes are punched in the pattern.

a white cloth with multicoloured design The embroidered stitches are precisely aligned with the imprinted outlines, and each knot in the thread is secured. | Flickr


Once the design is complete, the pattern sheet is put on a previously set out fabric and rubbed all over with an ink-soaked cloth, allowing the ink to seep through the tiny pores in the design sheet, which leaves a beautiful and clean impression on the fabric underneath. Womenfolk now embroider the imprinted fabric with the famous Aari. The embroidered stitches are precisely aligned with the imprinted outlines, and each knot in the thread is secured. After getting stitched, the fabric is washed to remove the ink; it is ironed using a steam roller iron.

Crewel Embroidery is a delicate art form that requires special attention. Within the community, it is claimed that mastering the skill takes 16 years. Your cloth may get filthy with time, necessitating the need for cleaning. The majority of crewel fabrics should be dry cleaned properly to prevent colour leaking from the embroidered yarns.



Keywords: Crewel, embroidery, crewelwork, artform, aari, Kashmir, handicrafts


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