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Turkish Tel Kirma Demo Video

Turkish Tel-Kirma Demo Video

Today I want to take a moment to share this lovely video that I found over on YouTube.  I found it fascinating to watch a master embroidery artist working through the Turkish tel kirma stitch. This is demo uses the same single-stitch embroidery technique as Assiut.

Turkish Embroiderers Use Embroidery Hoops

This demo clearly shows us how an embroidery hoop is one of the key tools of the Turkish tel kirma artist.  A wide variety of fabrics are used in Turkish tel kirma work, and the embroidery appears on clothing, embellishing home furnishings, and even integrated into textile arts for hanging on walls. Turkish embroiderers use a hoop to stabilize this wide variety of textiles.

In this video, notice the fineness and transparency of this polyester mesh.  Without this hoop, this fabric with its soft hand would drape and flop, making high-quality embroidery challenging.  Egyptian artists, who primarily use cotton tulle, simply work with the cloth in their hands. Hoops aren’t required to keep the heavier Egyptian cotton under control.

Ottoman Single-Stitch Embroidery

In the 19th century, the tel kirma stitch spread throughout the Ottoman world.  You can find variations on this stitch in countries spanning the entire Ottoman empire. Each area under Ottoman rule developed its own regional style. Egyptian embroidery artists narrowed down to working exclusively with tulle by the 1920s.  The Assiut stitch appeared on lightly woven linen, cotton, or blended fabrics prior to the turn of the 20th century. As the taste for practical and beautiful mesh ground cloth for shawls and robes gained favor, Egyptian artists almost entirely switched.  It’s rare to find al-tally embroidery stitches on woven cloth garments after the first quarter of the 20th century.

Want to Try Tel Kirma?

Tel kirma is part of a family of stitches used in Turkish metal embroidery. The largest supplier of books, metal plate, needles, and fabric is

I have ordered from Goblen in the past. They ship internationally, and their orders have come well packaged and in a timely manner.

Their needles work well for making assiut. Unfortunately, I found the Turkish wire plate narrower than the aluminum strips favored in Egypt. But shopping at Goblen is a reliable way to source supplies and try this embroidery technique.

Happy Costuming & Dance!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Jan. 18, 2022






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