Sunday, August 15, 2010

Omani Kumas---how they are made

If you live in Oman there is no way you failed to notice the colourful pill-box style hats Omani wear. What you MAY not have noticed, is the majority sold in the shops are made by machine, not by traditional methods: hand embroidery. A machine made kuma can be bought for 2 OMR-16 OMR, whereas a handmade gem can be sold for 30-60 OMR. As, when I have children, AND marry lol, I intend to work more partime, I'd like something I could do for extra income, and if I'm good at this, I'll try my luck at kumas. A kuma generally takes 2 months to one year to complete, depending on your skill. Though some women manage to make 2-3 a month. I don't KNOW how, lol.
I have been lucky enough to have been taught how to do so by my friend R's mother, who seemed very excited I wanted to make kumas. In case you want to learn this art or know about it but don't have the assistance of R's Mum to do so, this post is great [where I stole most of my pics from except the blurry one above which is mine from Muscat Days].To make a kuma you will need the base and the round of cap. These can be purchased from any of the men's tailoring shops, and I got mine in Mutrah (as I am a Mutrah girl). Shops all over from Al Harthy complex & Saabco sell them. You also need two bobbins of thread (more than one colour if you like), sewing needles, and scissors for cutting the thread. The design is pre-stitched and your goal is to fill in the blanks with circle embroidery. Above pic of pre-designed kuma, sans embroidery.
Above pic of filled in design. Note the circle style embroidery called najim, which basically means 'star'. "You can see the star is what is used to fill the empty spaces which creates the design. The objective is to start and end at the same point to form a circle. The hole in the circle is formed by piercing the same hole everytime and pulling."-Daily Dose of Me . This sewing technique is called 'tanjeem'.
To make a circle/star, start off by threading the needle, and start from a corner and make a hole in the middle (which will eventually be the centre of the najim).You keep repeating the same thing, while rotating the cap and ALWAYS making sure when stiching that the thread is always held taught to the left, like so... This is how it should look, the circle is starting to form.
Still rotating and always using the same starting point (the hole) to continue the circle the pic below is half a cirle, nus najima which is another style used. As it takes half the space of the nijma (circle) then that means double the work which means more labour in turn its more costs more.
Back to the starting point... tanjeem is done. Voila! Your Omani kuma. Only x #s more najma to do! hehehe.
The handmade ones are very popular to order for Eid, like 2 a year, or for women to make as gifts for special occasions.

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