Each region of India has a heritage of different kinds of embroideries peculiar to each region. These embroideries are spontaneous expressions of the local culture.
Kasuti, the needle speciality of the south is the embroidery of Karnataka. Kasida means embroidery in Hindi, while Kasuti is its equivalent in Canarese. This craft stemmed from the regions of Dharwad, Belgaum, Hubballi and Bijapur districts of Karnataka. The geometric embroidery, done by the women in their homes was restricted to saris, cholis and children’s clothes. The nine-yard ilkal was the preferred choice, which was also integral to wedding customs. The brides were presented with a black ilkal sari with a red border called as “Kali Chandrakala”
The culture-rich empires in the South built magnificent shrines embracing art, culture and learning. The women observed the architecture and sculpture and adopted these designs into their saris. The borders and pallu had patterns of gopurams, chariots, flowers, birds and animals.
Four types of stitches known as Gavanti, Murgi, Negi and Menthi are used in Kasuti embroidery.
1. Gavanti - the most commonly used double running stitch, which is worked in horizontal, vertical and diagonal directions. The name Gavanti means a knot in Canarese
2. Murgi - the zigzag running stitch which appears like the steps of a ladder. The stitches are neat and tidy in the front and back of the cloth
3. Negi - is the ordinary stitch which is known as darning or weaving stitch, worked in long and short straight lines. The patterns resemble weaver’s patterns and the word "ney" means to weave in Canarese.
4. Menthi - The ordinary cross-stitch, which means a "forked stitch" or fenugreek seed in Canarese. Usually, it is used for filling in Negi stitch
Picture credit - Voice of Fashion, pinterest