Scarves are a versatile accessory that adds distinctive style to any wardrobe. Hand-woven scarves in natural yarns such as cotton, silk and wool are of superior quality and last for years, while retaining their beauty and elegance.
Hand-woven textiles are distinctive in look and feel. The textures and colors that can be created through hand-weaving simply cannot be reproduced in machine-woven fabrics. This gives hand-woven scarves their unique beauty and elegance, with rich and vibrant colors on soft and luxurious fabrics. Handloom scarves are easy to identify from the machine-woven scarves, as the weave will have slight variations and the ends will be delicately hand-tasseled. Also, finer yarns can be hand-woven, resulting in sheer weaves, and designs with sequins or beads which are woven into the sheer fabric. The art of hand-weaving is highly intricate and requires great skill and knowledge of the craft.
Other examples of handmade scarves include hand block-printing, hand tie-dye, and hand-embroidery. In hand block-printing, elaborately carved wooden blocks are used to stamp the design onto the cotton or silk fabric, resulting in beautiful prints that cannot be duplicated by machines. Hand tie-dye, also known as bandhini, involves tying tiny knots in elaborate designs throughout the fabric. Then the fabric is dyed in multiple shades and the design shows once the knots are untied. Since the knots are very tiny, the fabric has a beautiful textured effect even after washing.
Hand-embroidery is done in a wide variety of styles, and in India, each region has its own unique embroidery techniques. In Western India, small hand-cut mirrors are embroidered onto the fabric, along with the aari embroidery style, which is distinctive to this region. In northern India, such as Kashmir, fine single thread embroidery is done by women using embroidery rings in very delicate and elaborate designs. The embroidery in this region is done on fine wool, such as pashmina and cashmere. In Eastern India, the embroidery known as “kantha” is done by women in villages throughout the region, and they embellish their clothing, quilts and table linens with full stories depicting legends and village life. The kantha embroidery style is often referred to as painting by needle, as the lines are very smooth and fluid, just like a painting. Since the embroidery is very dense and elaborate, a single kantha embroidery stole can take a woman 3 months to make.
You can find a wide range of Indian silk, cotton and wool scarves through online stores. Many online stores offer silk scarves for women and they come in a variety of styles and colors.