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Ralli quilts are traditional quilts made by women in the areas of Sindh (Pakistan), western India, and in surrounding areas.
Women have been making these quilts for thousands of years. Rallis (also known as rillis, rellis, rehlis, rallees, gindi and other names) are a cultural symbol for the regions where they are made.
In ancient Indus (Sindh, Pakistan) civilization, a Ralli Quilt was also a textile currency like other valuables. Women started making Ralli Quilts in early age as part of their dowry. The poor artisans used to make Ralli Quilt as gifts for the occasion of marriages and births of the elite families.
Traditionally rallis were made at home, from recycled and hand dyed cotton cloth, for use by the family. Now there is some commercial production of rallis as colourful quilts, table runners and cushions and pillows.
The rallis come in three categories of design: patchwork, appliqué, and embroidery.
made from pieces of cloth cut into squares and triangles and then stitched
patchwork is the most common and is found on most village beds. Many of the designs are very complex. The designs are not written down but are held in the women's memories and are passed down from mother to daughter.
Applique is made from intricate cut out patterns in a variety of shapes and sewn into the block fabric.
Embroidery quilts are where the embroidery stitches forms patterns on solid colored fabric. Embroidered quilts are the specialty of a few nomadic groups especially the Saami.
A distinguishing feature of Ralli patterning in patchwork and appliqué quilts is the diagonal placement of similar blocks as well as a variety of embellishments including mirrors, tassels, shells and embroidery.
Many regions and communities have their own special colors and patterns in their rallis. The traditional colors of rallis are called "Satrangi" or seven colors (white, black, red, yellow, orange, dark green, blue / purple.)