Khit weaving (Thai: ทอผ้าขิด) is done by hand in traditional looms. It favours certain basic colors, like red, purple and dark green, although other colors are also used. It includes geometric patterns in contrasting colors, usually a darker pattern over a light background, which appears to "float" over it. There are about 72 different patterns which are mostly geometrical, although some have recognizable shapes, like fishes, elephants, or turtles. All patterns have specific traditional names.
Formerly khit cloth was used in the traditional local household dress, like the shoulder cloth, as well as for pillows and bed sheets. It was an ancestral custom for Isan girls to learn to weave khit cloth before getting married and produce some fine items for their future household. Nowadays local-style dress has fallen into disuse and it is confined mostly to folkloric performances or ceremonial or formal wear for men and women.
This ancient weaving tradition has been preserved mostly thanks to the support of HRH Queen Sirikit, who has encouraged villagers to keep their traditions and sell them through the tourism-oriented handicraft marketing organizations. In certain rural areas silk-weaving has been revived since the queen inaugurated a training project at Chitralada Palace in June 1977. The program includes mulberry tree cultivation, silkworm rearing, reeling, dyeing, and weaving into, using a variety of weaving techniques. The revived fabrics include ancient textiles of Thailand like matmi, yokdok (brocade), chok, praewa (mixture of khit and chok patterns), squirrel-tail (hang krarok), and plain silk cloth.
One of the main items sold nowadays to tourists is the khit-pillow, where the patterns of traditional khit cloth are displayed.
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- "Ninnart - Thai Textiles in Modern Society". Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- Tai textiles - Continuous Supplementary Wefts : Khit
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