Jun 21

Knitting Stories – Chitrali Crochet and Embroidery

EST. Reading time : 3 minutes

Knitted sweaters or crocheted bags are some of the perfect gifts for our loved ones, and when someone appreciates our taste in gifts, it feels like our hard work has paid off. It is about giving gifts and spreading love and sharing a story and the meaning behind that gift. Handmade items like knitted sweaters or crocheted bags have much deeper meaning and stories behind them.

Crocheting, knitting or embroidery has been in existence since time immemorial. Written sources from archaeological findings have proven that this art existed long before becoming part of the recorded history. However, there is still no consensus as to where and when exactly crocheting started.

The word croc or croche comes from the Middle French word “hook”. According to American crocheting experts, the modern art of crocheting was developed during the 16th century. Certain countries have denoted specific names for crocheting, for instance; in France, it is known as “crochet lace” and in England, it is known as “chain lace”

If we travel to the South, it is theorized that crochet was introduced in Arabia and spread eastward to Tibet, westward to Spain, from where it followed the Arab trade route to other Mediterranean countries. Therefore, it has left its mark in South Asia as well. As already mentioned before, crocheting is known by different names in different regions. Pakistan has also denoted a specific name for crocheting in the Chitrali language, “Khushneel” or “e chumri”.

Crocheting is often practised by women at home during their spare time. Once the demand for crochet started being noticed, these women began selling their crafts to make a livelihood. In Chitral, the land of fairies, Chitrali embroidery work is carried out by skilled female artisans. These females come up with products made for wedding gifts and other household decorative items.

The durable and appealing coarse cloth is made up of sheep wool was also a source of sustenance for a larger number of families until the1970’s. The Chitrali Patti made from wool tread is an identity of the area and is conveniently named after the district itself.

It is common place for Chitrali women to be financially independent which leads to the high density of women in the craft of embroidery.Exposed to limited opportunities, the local women artisans have perfected their crocheting and embroidery skills to create aesthetically pleasing and practical pieces that can make them a decent livelihood.

Though this talent runs rich in Chitral, there is little appreciation and promotion for it, leaving the local craftswomen dejected. If they want to sell their products in cities, they have to face the gruelling challenge of travelling there under unreliable weather conditions. This further creates a hurdle for craftswomen to promote their talents. Being conscious of this pain point, the Concave Craft platform aims to overcome this hurdle by reaching out to these talented artisans in their own villages and share their crafts with the rest of the world, instead of having them travel to cities.

So, the next time you feel like gifting a certain someone special with something precious, choose from our variety of different crocheted and embroidered pieces. Every hand crocheted and knitted product has a story behind it, so appreciate it.