Patchwork ( Khayameya ) craft is a unique art, which started in the Pharaohic era and flourished after the Islamic conquest. Khayameya is a fine decorative textile, famous for its durability as it is made of thick Tiel “Kenaf” cloth. Egyptians used Khayameya in the past to create shelter tents, which protected them from the sun and sand storms while traveling in the Western desert. Khayameya artisans used to be chosen by the community sheikh of khayameya after examining the artisans' artwork, as a guarantee of quality and skill.
Khaymeya means "tent" in Arabic and here, All of the designs used in the making of a new tent must first be drawn on large sheets of brown paper. A fine needle point pricks out the outline of each pattern in tens of thousands of small holes.
The perforated sheet of paper is then laid upon each chosen piece of colored cloth - brilliant blue, blazing red or scintillating green. A black carbon dust is sprinkled lightly over the paper so that the dust percolates through the holes, leaving behind a fine stencil outline of the pattern pounced onto the cloth, ready to be cut out. This same process is repeated for the hundreds of pieces of colored cloth used to embellish a single tent.
The tent makers used the same technique in doing very attractive cushion covers, bedspreads, table runner and wall hangings .
Khayameya is all hand-made. The finest pieces usually feature Arabic typography or Islamic decorative shapes with golden thread strokes and colored fills. Nowadays it is used to decorate people's houses, wedding parties as well as funerals. Give an original oriental touch to your own home by purchasing a colorful Khayameya cloth or buy it as cushion cover, table runner or wall hangings.