Whitework Chikankari tablecloth

Tablecloth in chikankari work - Indian shadow work

Tablecloth in chikankari work – Indian shadow work (on the washing line in winds not much short of a gale)

A brief post on a lovely Indian cloth which I was given as a wedding present by my traveller friend Bruce. How he managed preparing for travel I have no idea but it can’t have been anything like as muddled and last minute as I’m making it – and that’s with daughters Nos 1 & 2 doing pretty much everything for me. Packing is complicated by the fact we first go to Cambodia (to see Angkor Wat) and then Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) both of which are currently v. hot. We then up to Hanoi where daughter No 2 is based where it is pretty cold and scarves and woollen coats won’t go amiss – long thin Vietnam encompasses both tropical and temperate climates which I’d never really thought about before.

Tablecloth in chikankari work - Indian shadow work: detail

Tablecloth in chikankari work – Indian shadow work: detail

In return for daughter No 2’s generosity, I am applying patchwork stars to white linen and adding a bit of simple embroidery so that when in Vietnam I can embroider each with one of the women in daughter No 2’s office. She will then have them framed (not expensive in Vietnam). So far I have completed 6, another 3 have been started and that just leaves another 5 to go. How fortunate that we have a long stop over in Dubai! When completed I aim to post these, one every couple of days – provided that it I take to blogging on my new iPad.

Tablecloth in chikankari work - Indian shadow work: detail of corner

Tablecloth in chikankari work – Indian shadow work: detail of corner

Chikankari is Indian shadow work done on fine muslin. Chikan, from Persian and meaning rendering delicate patterns on fabric, is the only whitework embroidery on the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally done in Lucknow in N. India, it was known to the Romans who referred to it as textii venti – woven winds.  I have used it as a tablecloth for special occasions and I used to have it hanging  from the back rail of a metal four poster we once had – it seems a shame to hide such a lovely thing away. It it, however, large for most conventional display and at the moment is back living in a cupboard which is a shame because it is at its loveliest when the light shines through it.

Tablecloth in chikankari work - Indian shadow work

Tablecloth in chikankari work – Indian shadow work

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s lovely. I hope you find some way to display it again! Isn’t “woven winds” a lovely description!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m ever hopeful. Who’d have thought the Romans would have been so lyrical about a piece of cloth?

  2. Penny Cross
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for introducing me to this ethereal, delicate cloth, Mary, and how lovely to be given it as a wedding gift. I can see it wafting and drifting in gentle breezes, perhaps hanging from a bamboo pole somewhere in your house.

    Enjoy your fascinating trip, and I’m already looking forward to your blogs. Hooray for iPads! Mine is like a very good friend whose company I enjoy immensely: knowledgeable, entertaining and supportive at all times.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Imagination still not up to finding a suitable role for this cloth but I’m always hopeful something will come up.
      I can see the iPad being great for popping in a handbag on trips to London etc. Meant to use it more in Vietnam but our schedule was so busy there was little time for blogging.

  3. marge
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful – I love whitework – seeing it and doing it.
    Our daughter no. 3 is about to fly to her fourth city in China in four weeks, for work, with not much time to play. She’s moving gradually north so getting colder each time, then next week flies to New York and is also playing the guessing game with the weather vs clothing.
    Can’t wait to see and read about your trip, and how lovely to take hand-made gifts.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Great sympathy with your daughter and the range of clothing (and shoes) needed in countries where the climate range is extreme.

  4. Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The cloth is very beautiful. Safe travels, I look forward to reading about your adventures. I have edited a few posts on my ipad, it’s not too difficult, just a bit more fiddly. X

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Posts on the iPad are fine but with every minute filled, I never managed to work out how to transfer photos from camera to iPad. Took some photos on the iPad but really still prefer carrying a camera around – though iPad photos of amazing quality.

  5. Louise
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    How fabulous, you will love Vietnam! Look out for the wonderful Hmong embroidery, old and new.
    Re the Norwegian knitting from last post – isn’t it amazing how Sarah Lund’s jumper is now iconic…I saw a cover of a new book with a blown up section of that jumper on it, immediately recognisable! Impressive when knitting can convey so much meaning.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Vietnam fascinating – handcrafts stunning, dressmaking awe inspiringly quick, daughter’s flat a treasure trove of wonderful things which we packed into silver trunks at a furious pace so that she wouldn’t reach a point of despair where she just decided to give all sorts of lovely things to Vietnamese friends.
      Curious – TV brings fame to a genre of knitted jumpers just as much as to the actress wearing them – but rather wonderful too!

  6. Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    This is so beautiful: light and intricate and possibly far too lovely to use for its intended purpose. I hope your travelling goes smoothly and look forward to reading about your adventures. I do all my blogging on my iPad and some days it is better behaved than others.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 10, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      I often feel handmade things to be too good for anything other than the lightest use – especially cushions – but if people love to use them, what can you say.
      IPad hardly left my bag, except for photographs. Never had a minute to blog, so there’s much to catch up now…

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • January 2016
    M T W T F S S
    « Dec   Feb »
  • Photographs & Media

    Please attribute any re-uploaded images to Addison Embroidery at the Vicarage or Mary Addison and link back to this website. And please do not hot-link images!