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Importance of weaving & knitting in Spiti

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Because of the cold weather, weaving is also a necessary skill that everyone in Spiti tries to learn. Most women learn weaving, spinning, and knitting when they are young, and teach the same to their daughters. People who do not have jobs and lands for agriculture also do weaving and it benefits them a lot. 

The land where I come from is the land of snow and mountains. The weather is mostly cold throughout the year and the evenings can get freezingly cold. Spitians wear thick clothes like handmade woolen sweaters, mufflers, socks, hats, and long scarves. In our homes, we use a woolen blanket and handwoven rugs and carpets called “Bhal-den” to put on the floor for decoration as well as for warmth. The primary occupation of the people is agriculture but for some women, making sweaters and weaving is an important means of livelihood.

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When I was younger, my mother used to knit matching sweaters, socks, and mufflers - she would measure my tiny feet with her hands, measure the muffler length by covering her half-knit yarn over me, and finally after a few days when it’s snowing, I am ready to wear all of it and go out to play in the snow. She also weaves and spins and other aunties in the village help her to get the work done faster.

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This is a beautiful tradition people in our village follow and everyone is very collaborative and kind to each other. Weaving is a good occupation for women who have skill and creativity but they lack opportunities. I personally feel weaving and knitting are important because it helps your family become self-sufficient and hand weaving beautiful carpets is decreasing these days as more people prefer to buy readymade carpets. 

About the Storyteller

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Poornima Rai

Poornima Rai is from Rangrik village in Spiti. She studies at Munselling School and is in class ten. She loves reading, drawing, writing stories, and composing poems and songs. Her favorite subject is social studies and she wants to become an IAS officer when she grows up.

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