Kaross Embroidery

Hello Everyone

I am busy as a bee preparing for our Ighali Convention next week – this is our Bi-annual convention held in the Western Cape with delegates from all over South Africa. I promise to tell you more about it and share some photos when I get back.  I have also started work on the Colour Scheme booklet which is consuming my waking and sleeping hours – seem to be seeing colour everywhere at the moment, more about this in a future post!

This week I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful hand embroidery that is done in South Africa.  There are many community based projects but the Kaross is one of my favourites:  Kaross creates opportunities for  rural women to make a living by embroidering stunning cushions, wall hangings, table ware etc.  You can see some samples below of these vibrant embroideries.

Kaross cushion
Kaross cosmetic bags

“Kaross is an embroidery initiative started in 1989 with five Shangaan embroiderers and Irma van Rooyen, a visual artist, as creative director and founder. Sitting on a kaross (blanket) the ladies started creating works of art unique to themselves and their cultural background. The objective was to create pieces of excellent quality and a fresh approach to handwork. Over the past 22 years Kaross has become the voice of 1000+ Shangaan people and their communities in the Letsitele and Giyani areas of the Limpopo Province in South Africa.”

The embroidery is mainly worked in chain stitch with a crochet hook (like tambour embroidery) on a cotton fabric background and each embroidery is based on a folk tale or typical South African scene.

Kaross hand embroidery in progress

No child minding facilities here – the woman bring their babies to work and carry out the work regardless.

Woman at work with baby on back

This work enables these woman to earn a decent living and support their families – There are an astonishing number of embroiderers and the projects they create have resulted in one of the major export industries in South Africa to other parts of the world.

Kaross cushion
Kaross furniture stool
Kaross table mat


To read more about the Kaross embroideries and see further examples of their work see here KAROSS EMBROIDERY.

I will be away for the next two weeks but in the meantime, wherever you are have a wonderful week and enjoy your stitching.  Trish


5 thoughts on “Kaross Embroidery”

  1. Fascinating work with there vibrant colours and dedication is remarkable possibly because it brings in some help. Nice to know that it is established in our country.
    Well done for finding out about it all Love MUM

  2. Hi Trish thanks for a wonderful experiences,.I saw a cushion made in this way but did’nt relies how its been done.(Thought it was rows of chain stitch
    all over) Thank you so much. I love the colors!!!!

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