Topic: Turkmen Traditions
Akgaima, kojime and ilme (or ildirme - chain stitching) are basic types of Turkmen embroidery stitches. Every stitch is widespread in certain groups of Turkmen. Akkaima is never met singly; sometimes it is combined with embroidery, which is made according to the technique of the second type - kodjp-me (or just keshde - embroidery), which is quite common on its own. Both akkaima and kojime are widespread amongst Turkmen - Tekins, Goklens, Sariks and other small groups living amongst them. Akkaima is mainly applied to men's tyubeteykas; this very stitch is also used for the neck of dresses and shirts, and the lower edges of women's trousers.
Embroidery is made on the front and very dense stitched; pointed ornament in a form of triangles and broken lines is made. Kojime stitch is very similar to a stitch known to Russian people as "kozlik with mount", but with loop framing. Southern Turkmen use it for embroidery on girl's tyubeteykas and dressing gowns. Women's mantle dressing gowns, i.e., chirpi, covered by patterns (almost out of use now), are especially abundantly embroidered by this stitch.
In addition to the southern Turkmen, Tashaus Turkmen Yomuts, Emreli and also contemporary choudors also use kojime stitch (they knew how to chain stitch in the past).
Chain stitch is usual for western Turkmen Yomuts and small size groups of Turkmen - hodja, idgir, shih, living to the north of Krasnovodsk. Chain stitch was more used in the past; it was typical for Turkmen who are known under the name of Turkmen esen-hani (hasan eli). There are ancient dressing gowns and women's caps of choudors in the Tashauz region, all covered by patters of chain stitch on red or blue thin cloth brought from Russia. Ancient items of shihs, igdirs, now living on the Caspian seaside, are very close in character and technique of embroidery (on thin cloth and the type of patterns) to those of choudors.
Chain stitch is made by needlework amongst Turkmen, although other people of the Central Asia embroider chain stitch by hook. For all patterns made by chain stitch, a double line is typical.
Turkmen use two types of stitch as subsidiary stitches, usually hiding inner joining seams. First, a covering stitch of satin stitch type with straight or slanting stitches, called tugtima (Tekins) or gurtikin (Yomuts), i.e., fixed and loop, in which loops are in the middle of the pattern, forming a herring bone. Featherstitch and others are also met, but they do not determine the character of Turkmen embroidery, which is various in technique and ornament.
From our point of view, the technique of Turkmen embroidery is evidence of various ethnic components in the composition of the Turkmen nation. When thoroughly studied, it will give a lot of material for the study of Turkmen ethnogeny. A very interesting fact has to be noted here: the technique of kojime, widespread amongst Turkmen, is not met amongst other people of Central Asia. The only exception is a part of the southern Kyrgyz, inhabitants of Osh region, who widely use this technique of embroidery.
Embroidery patterns, as well as those of carpets, are strictly geometrical. However, for ancient embroidered dressing gowns and Tekin, Goklen, and Yomut girls' caps, as well as for women's head mantles of Tekin chirpi, the kurte geometrical floral ornament, close to the ornament of jewellery, is typical.
Girl's and men's tyubeteykas, the neck and sleeves of women's dresses (and in the distant past men's as well), the lower part of trousers (which can be seen from underneath of dress), different kinds of small bags used for keeping domestic things, watch cases and men's ties are conventionally embroidered by Turkmen women. Woollen embroidery on woven carpets or walking carpets is met less often.
Today, embroidery is being renewed
Source: Traditional culture and folklore of Central Asia