Chain stitching or in Azerbaijani, təkəlduz tikmə, is an embroidery technique practiced widely in the Turkic – speaking world.
It is thought that the craft first took hold in Azerbaijan in Sheki – a large town in Azerbaijan’s north – west corner a little more than 150 miles away from Baku.
The literal meaning in Azerbaijani translates into “stitching with one hand.”
In Shaki, the art is continued by native of the city, Selimli Seyali, who from 1986 has been practicing the technique.
She says that the craft takes time and patience, but despite its difficulty, she enjoys the challenge it poses and its meditative motions.
“Tekelduz (chain stitching) is a demanding art. Sometimes, it may take me 2 – 3 months to finish a project. Other, smaller ones only take 2 – 3 days. Mostly silk thread is used.”
Sayali says that she used to work on large scale projects, but that the demand for them has decreased in recent times. Now, she works mostly on smaller decorations, most of which cost from 5 – 15 manat.