In this workshop, I will show you how to do Igne Oyasi: Turkish needle lace embroidery technique. It is a very old technique in Anatolian part of Turkey, where people made trimmings for their scarfs, or even three dimensional realistic flowers and plants as ornaments. The name comes from Igne=needle Oya = embroidery, though it is closer to knotting lace technique than embroidery.
We will start with basic stitch techniques and simple motifs in the workshop.
Workshop Leader: Mika Satomi
Igne Oyasi is often used to make a trim for a scarf, which then goes into a dowry chest of a bride.
These scarves are used by the bride or used as a gift to the wedding guests. This tradition still stays in Turkey although a lot of young women (at least the ones we asked in Istanbul) do not carry out this tradition any longer.
During the Ottoman Empire period, Igne Oyasi was also practiced among the royal people in Istanbul. As they had more resource and time to invest on it, it has much more elaborated design than the edging of a scarf. Traditionally they were using silk thread on these embroideries.
Base Stitch: Giraffe
The first stitch is to make the base for the embroidery. It is called “Giraffe”. Don’t ask why. Apply this stitch on the entire edge of the fabric to start embroidery motifs. Thread the needle, stitch in the edge of the fabric, turn the tread around the needle twice on clockwise, pull the needle through the fabric and pull it hard to make a tight knot. This stitch is a basic technique that is used in many Igne Oyasi motifs.
Rabbit Ear stitch is another basic technique that is used in many Igne Oyasi motifs. It is a bit hard to learn to make the Ear size always the same.
Now, insert your needle straight into the first giraffe stitch next to the small giraffe you’ve just made. Turn the open thread counter clockwise once around the needle. this is the big difference with the giraffe stitch! Then pull the needle, adjust the size of the ear with your finger. Now you have one rabbit ear.
Igne Oyasi Symbolism
The motifs of Igne Oyasi is not just about making a pretty flowers, but they act as a symbol to communicate with others. Here is a list of meanings listed on Nallihan’s municipality website
Oyamania by the Igne Oyasi collector Ms. Emine Semra Erkan also lists up the symbolism of the Igne Oyasi, but in Turkish.
Symbolizing life-long good relations, this is put especially in the bundle for the mother-in-law.
This symbolizes the love and companionship felt by the bride for her mother-in-law.
Particularly avoided in the bride’s bundle, for it symbolizes unpleasantness and pain. Wives who are dissatisfied with their lives express this to their families by making pepper needlework.
Because it stands for discord between the bride and her mother-in-law, this is never put in the wedding bundle.
Worn by mothers who are giving away a son to show their dignity and (because it is made with two colors) the fact that they will act as the situation demands.
.. and there are many more motifs used in Igne Oyasi and symbolism around it.
Example of Igne Oyasi in action
Documentary about Igne Oyasi in Nallihan