There is a remote area of India called Narasapur (or Narasapuram) in the West Godavari district of the state of Andhra Pradesh. In this remote Indian town, some of the world’s finest crochet lace makers reside – and work feverishly to produce what can only be produced by human hands. To date, there is no way to crochet by machine unlike knitting which can be accomplished by machines.
More than 80% of this lace is exported – mostly to the US – but also to Europe and Japan and larger cities within India itself. Chances are if you’ve seen a crocheted table cloth being sold commercially, it came from Narasapur.
You can learn more about these lacemakers here. One interesting feature of this industry is that much of the work is done from the homes of the women – thus the term ‘cottage industry’. This sort of business venture is extremely important so that the women may care for their own children and household while producing income with the work of her own talented hands. Imagine how quickly these women must be able to crochet!
This is one area where crochet is taken very seriously. Lace production accounts for a hefty percentage of the area’s economy. Skills are passed down from mother to daughter and the lace making tradition continues in a time when the vast majority of fiber arts are mechanized for mass production.