Unraveling the Art of Chechia: Step 1 - Mastering the Knitting of Kabbus
This insightful glimpse into the first stage of knitting the chechia hat is just the beginning of our captivating documentary. Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing various parts of this documentary, delving deeper into the intricate processes and rich cultural heritage associated with chechia production in Tunisia.
In the first stage of manufacturing chechia hats in Tunisia, women in Benzert, particularly in the Zouaouine, play a crucial role. These skilled artisans, predominantly working from home, are responsible for knitting the initial white hats, known as "kabbouss".
The women's knitting is an essential part of the production process, but it faces the risk of dying out if the knowledge and skills are not transferred to future generations. What makes their knitting truly impressive is the use of five needles simultaneously, a technique that requires precise and careful calculation. Each stitch must be executed with utmost accuracy, as one mistake can cause the "kabbous" to unravel. In such cases, the artisan must go back and redo the entire area, ensuring that no imperfections compromise the integrity of the hat.
Despite the difficulties, these talented artisans demonstrate their dedication and artistry by producing approximately three caps per day.
The first stage of knitting the chechia hat highlights the unique contributions of these women and the importance of safeguarding the knowledge and skills involved. The risk of losing this treasured tradition calls for efforts to transfer the expertise to future generations while acknowledging the challenges and aspirations of the artisans themselves.