ISLAMABAD  - As the winter has set in, the business of hand-made, machine-made quilts and blankets is picking up gradually in twin cities of Islamabad Rawalpindi.

According to quilt makers in twin cities, the demand for quilts has increased manifold and they are being sold like hot cakes. They said that there is a great demand of quilts, hoping that they will earn handsome money in the season by selling quilts and blankets.

Kashif Butt, a quilt maker from G-7 Markaz while talking to APP said, “Nowadays store owners are using automated machines to prepare cotton, which has increased our working speed, but reduced our working period to only around a month.During peak season I used to make at least five quilts a  day. Now it has come down to two on average”.

“We have to think of alternative professions in the future if we want to survive,” he added. Kashif earns Rs 150 to 200 per quilt, which is not enough.

Hassan Ali, another quilt maker at Aabpara market said, “Winter used

to be our best season.We sewed at least four to five quilts a day. We used to spend the winter period making quilts and the rest of the year making pillows and mattresses. Now we sit almost idle during our best business season.”

Winter is also the season of weddings in Pakistan. Most low-income families do not have enough quilts for their guests so they rent quilts from these centers. Quilt makers come to the two cities for seasonal work from as far as Multan and Karachi. Their business gathers pace from October to December.

Muhammad Hadi, a quilt owner , told APP that quilt prices ranged from Rs 500 to Rs 1,200 and a quilt sewer earned Rs 70 to 150 a piece. He said the introduction of polyester quilts and imported blankets had affected the traditional business but that he had still sold 100 to 125 quilts in the season and a worker made four to five quilts a day.

He said people were returning to traditional quilts because polyester quilts and imported blankets were not as comfortable. Kashif Ali, owner of Quilt Shop said, they do brisk business every winter and they have already started getting orders from the surrounding of the areas. “In winter, we work hard to earn breads for the rest of the year” he said.

Most quilt makers said they eagerly wait for this time of the year as they are dependent on quilt business.

Meanwhile, with start of chilly weather especially at night, people of federal capital have started enjoying winter food like Chicken Corn Soup, Doodh Jalebi, Gajar-ka-Halwa, Kashmiri tea, Coffee, fried fish and boiled eggs at homes, restaurants, stalls and sweet shops.

As soon as the dusk prevails, majority of youths start enjoying winter delight food. A number of makeshift stalls at F-6 (Super Market), F-7 (Jinnah Super and Raana Market), F-8, F-10, F-11, G-6 (Aabpara and Melody Market), G-7 (Sitara Market), G-8 Markaz, G-9 (Karachi Company),

G-10 and G-11 Markaz, I-8, I-9 and I-10 Markaz, are in business offering scrumptious winter food and crowd around them enjoy such pleasant and interesting moments.

“Kashmiri tea and coffee is high in demand during these days. “I prepare five drums of tea and coffee and it all sells like hot cakes,” Kashif Khan, a vendor told APP.  

“It’s impossible for me to shop here without refreshing myself with a cup of Kashmiri tea or a bowl of hot Chicken Corn Soup in winter,” said Tayyaba Khan, a visitor at G-9 Karachi Company. Besides, liquid, fried food like Fried fish, French frie Vegetable Rolls are also high in demand. Such spicy items are considered to be an integral part of the evening tea in the winter.

“There is a crave for fried items during winter and it’s hard to resist,” said Hina Asif, adding that even the weight conscious people could not stay away from this food. The mouthwatering Gajar-ka-halwa is supposed to be one of unputdownable food items in winter. Prepared with carrots, condensed milk and dry fruits, the delicious dessert is not only a source of energy but it also adds colour and taste to meal.   

“A chicken corn soup bowl is now available at Rs 40-60, however, taste and quality of chicken and place where the stall is set up, determine the price,” said a visitor at F-10 Markaz. He said he has been regularly visiting F-10 and Karachi Company (G-9) as two spots are giving the tasty soup.