Lucknow Chikan work

Over the past few weeks, I've immersed myself neck deep into researching on chikan work - especially a particular stitch. Why this sudden interest in chikan? It is all because of this....

Not satisfied with the view?..Here's one more...see below.

This is the 'pallu' (portion draped on the shoulder ) of a lavender colored pure Lucknow chikanwork sari. Click on the image for a closer view. Some years back I'd bought this and gifted to my mom. Few weeks backs ,she gave it to me for drywash. I've been trying to decode the stitches used on it since then. I'll show you a few more close ups of the design.

This is the bottom most portion of the pallu -the wavy line is couching and the flowers- well, that's what Iam trying to find out.Will talk about my findings(??) towards the end. Just above the wave is a row of rather big paisleys with a fancy leaf alongside.

Here's a close up of the leaf - doesn't it resemble the pulled thread work ? I think this is called 'Jali work'. Jali means mesh or net.

Above the big paisley, comes a row of small paisleys. If you've noticed, all use the same stitch.Some kind of satin with a twist around it.

The little flowers that are placed above the paisleys are also stitched with the same technique.

The topmost portion again has some wavy lines with leaves to the inside and a diamond shaped block inside. On top of these waves,you can see a lotus shaped flower executed in shadow work. The diamond is repeated throughout the body of the sari.
There's still more to the top,but it is a repetition of the images already shown.

After seeing this whole lot, aren't you curious about the stitch used all over repeatedly ? I too was (am). After feeling the embroidery, I've every reason to believe that this is the embossed (raised) style of chikan work. After searching far and wide and getting inputs from some resources and a friend of mine( thanks Mahalakshmi) , I finally tried to stitch a similar flower.

I thought I had succeeded- but when I looked closely - the differences were too obvious and the back of the embroidery in both cases were like heaven and hell :) Anyways, Iam not too disappointed - coz I've learnt a new stitch. This too is part of chikan work and is known by the name Phanda stitch or phanda work. Anyone keen on learning this?

Oops, my post has extended far too much. Will cut short for now.

Love,luck and sunshine,

P.S By the way, Iam no expert on chikan work .All what I've learnt is through the internet.Unfortunately there are no images available for any specific stitch and I've to depend on the written explanations to sort out a method. Iam trying to learn and share whatever I've learnt with you all.If someone disagrees with my interpretation and would like to correct me , please leave a comment or get in touch with me through my mail id on the side bar.


arlee said…
mmmm, love that 4th photo, with that "mesh work"---shall ahve to try that!
As for learning this chikan stitch, yes please!
Heather said…
Deepa... this is absolutely gorgeous ... what a lot of work. Good for you for attempting to decipher it, and your trial sample is just as pretty!
Deepti said…
The efforts you have put up in learning the stich is great.Even i had tried some time ago,and my assumption is the thread used is of much importance.its the thread which gives the texture to the stich.
Deepa said…
yes're right.But I couldn't find this thread. Craft store guys don't even know it.The thread,cloth,stitches..everything matters :)
Ninu said…
Hi deepa.. I too love chikan work..and I appreciate ur effort to try out those stitches...and yes, I am also keen to learn this.
DPaula said…
This stitch is called "Phunda", and it is one of the commonest stitches of Chikankari. The instructions for this stitch can be found in Sheila Paine's book on Chikan Embroidery.
chin said…
the threads that are stitched are cotton threads but ,the process of lucknowi chikan is very intricate,the stictche threads and cloth are startched ,you can see that stitched thread never dispersed into threads .so the stitches are starched .thats why you dont find seperate threads for chikan,they are simple cotton threads that we use.
Deepa said…
Thanks for the info chin!!

This is very lovely embroidery! No wonder you want to figure out how it is done - so do I now I have seen it!
halwits said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shami Immanuel said…
Hi Deepa
I was wondering about this stitch whenever I saw this stitch in some chikan embroidered fabrics.Your post was really meant for me and I have learned this stitch and you can see my trials here:

Thanks a lot Deepa.
kriti pandey said…
Hi Deepa..cud u plz giv us a tutorial video on dis phunda chikankari work..?