Patu’s from Afghanistan

Afghanistan does not come easily to mind as a country to source for fabrics and garments because it is unsafe to travel.  It is no secret however that Afghanistan and surrounding countries have a very rich tradition in handcrafted fabrics, carpets and kilims, made from local resources as wool and cotton. Also silver and semi precious stones are used to decorate dresses and create jewellery. A rich source of inspiration for embellishing garments and home textiles.  

Knowing I was always interested in local produced textiles a good friend gave me a large shawl as a present after his mission to Afghanistan. It was a so called Patu (or Patoo). A Patu is a large woolen Afghan or Pakistan shawl, traditionally worn by men during cold nights and days in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The size is around 120 x 200 cm. They come in a variety of colors and qualities. The high priced Patu’s are handmade by experienced craftsmen on traditional looms. They use high quality hand spun woolen yarns from the Kashmir region along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.  Weaving by hand gives the craftsmen the freedom to create a different  decorative border in each shawl they make. Also the less expensive shawl are made from excellent and strong quality yarns from local spinners.  One of the reasons why they are lower priced is because they are made on automatic looms. Therefore the decorative borders are less exclusive and, in order not to break on these looms, the wool fibers in the yarns are thicker and therefore less vulnerable.  

What especially intrigues me are the type of colors they are traditionally made in. These are all ground colors that you see in Afghanistan. White in wintertime when there is snow in the mountains, sandy colors when it is dry and windy, greyish colors from the mountains and green as in the fertile areas near the rivers. Also the huge variety in the borders is very interesting. We love the richness and colors in them and it makes you to want them all.  

The Patu can be easily turned into a throw, plaid or a blanket. At different sizes are available right now.  

The Patu is machine washable.  Please note that the plaids and cushions are not a standard product, edging and sizes may vary slightly. The side pattern of the plaid might vary as well in width, shape and color, but should always be a stripe, about 5 cm width maximum. 

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