Rashti Duzi is the traditional crocheting and sewing of Rasht, and is considered as one of the richest and most beautiful handicrafts of Iran. Like many other handicrafts it has a very long history. The specialists know it to go back to 550 to 330 B.C. This crocheting is done by the use of a type of special hook that makes colorful patterns with silk yarns on Mahut fabric, which is a kind of wool worsted fabric. In the 5th century, at the time of Sassanid dynasty, Iranian textiles were exported to all over the world. These products were so popular in Europe that the cover of tombstones of the European kings and elders were mostly chosen from Iranian textiles and carpets. A piece of the most excellent Sassanid fabric decorated with crocheting work is kept in Hermitage Museum.
This handicraft flourished in the years after Islamic era, during Safavid, Afsharid, Zand and Qajar dynasties when the artists made all kinds of products. These years are known for their high number of products. After sketching and drawing of the patterns with various social, political, common culture, religious and economical subjects, the crocheting was done by craftsmen. The masters combined the art of crocheting and needle work to enhance the beauty of the products which resulted in very elegant patterns. In Gilan, most of the motifs were made from the memory and imagination of their makers, and were passed from each generation to the next. The motifs that are more popular and more on demand are old motifs of “Kaj Butehee”, paisley and circle. Rashti crocheting is divided into three groups: 1. simple crocheting, this method includes crocheting of all the fabrics with colorful silk yarns that takes place after drawing of the pattern. 2. crocheting combined with “Tekeh Duzi” method. In this method, after the artist applies the patterns on the Mahut fabric, he cuts away a specific part and replaces it with a piece from another color and then makes the crocheting. 3. crocheting combined with “Moaragh” method.
This kind is the most elaborate of all. The artist places colorful Mahut pieces on the basic fabric, and patches them together by crocheting the edges. Products such as table clothes, drapery, beddings, cushions, coasters, bags, baggage and floor coverings have been made by this technique.