Friday, June 6, 2014
Lagh Valley Scarves
Woollen scarves and berets - it seems a logical combination, but the reason why South Pacific Berets sells these scarves is a different one. These scarves are made by a one-family business in Suma, a small village in the Lagh Valley of Himachal Pradesh in the Indian Himalayas. Sushmana is the 17 year old daughter in the family of four and it is her dream to become a public health nurse in the local community.
This means she will have to go to college in one of the larger cities which costs a small fortune. She will be the very first girl from the village to study further than high school, a goal very much supported by her lovely parents Shakuntala (mother) and Vishwanath (father). The small weaving business does not generate much money on the local market, but just from this first small batch of scarves that I bought at premium price, Susmana can study for over one term.
South Pacific Berets' aim is not to make money from this new venture, but to support Sushmana in reaching her goal. It is my hope to extend the range of woven woollen fabrics made by Vishwanath and generate more money for his daughters studies and accommodation.
The wool used for these scarves is all local from the Lagh and Kullu Valleys, un-dyed and not chemically treated in any way. Only a small percentage of merino wool is added for the warp, to give more flexibility and strength to the woven product. The wool is hand-spun by Sushmana and woven by hand by Vishwanath. Not two scarves are identical, due to natural differences in the wool, the occasional tiny bit of hay in the wool.
The scarves measure 170 x 33 centimetres approximately and come in a dark brown and a melange of dark brown and cream.