Narsapur is a town in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, and along with neighbouring villages like Palakol, it is home to a rather unlikely industry – crochet. In India, crochet evolved over a hundred years ago as a cottage industry primarily due to the efforts of Christian missionaries to help destitute women and orphans earn a livelihood. Centres like Narsapur began to cater to Buying Offices across the world as the women of the region took to making crochet to supplement the household income. For the women, the income from crochet is not the only means of sustenance, it is a hobby, usually done while watching television. Products include home accessories - like doilies, pillow covers, cushion covers, table-runners, bed spreads and table cloths - and apparel - like skirts, blouses, children's frocks etc. – and trims. Other than the commonly available white and gray colours, export houses have innovated Narsapur crochet with vibrant colour-fast yarn in shades like yellow, blue and maroon.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's September 2012 Issue.