Kantha

Examples of kantha stitch


Examples of kantha stitch

Examples of kantha stitch

hand embroidery

Certainly, here are some examples of kantha stitch:

  1. Kantha bedcovers: One of the most traditional and popular examples of kantha stitches is the kantha quilt. These quilts are made by layering and stitching together old saris or other pieces of cloth to create a cosy and colourful blanket.
  2. Kantha sarees: Kantha stitch is also used to create beautiful sarees. The embroidery is often done along the edges of the saree, and the designs can range from simple geometric patterns to more intricate floral designs.
  3. examples of kantha embroidery
    Examples of kantha stitch

    Kantha bags: Kantha stitch is also used to create stylish and colourful bags. The embroidery can be done on the entire bag or just on the straps and handles.

  4. Kantha pillows and cushion covers: Kantha stitch is often used to create colourful and decorative pillows and cushion covers. The embroidery can be done in a variety of patterns and colours, making each piece unique.
  5. Kantha jackets and clothing: Kantha stitch is also used to create stylish jackets and other clothing items. The embroidery can be used as a border or to create a pattern all over the garment.

These are just a few examples of how kantha stitch can be used. Kantha embroidery is incredibly versatile and can be used to create a wide range of decorative and functional items.

Join Jamie Mason on her Fabricology course to learn how to kantha stitch

Natural Quilts is a company based in the Uk. They ship handmade kantha quilts all over the world. Check out their website

Natural Quilts produce ‘Jaipuri quilts and quillows’, which are handmade using environmentally friendly hand block printing and natural dyes, meaning they are free from harmful chemicals or processes. Our company promotes traditional crafts made ethically from raw materials. The quilts using vegetable dyes fade naturally over time due to the absence of chemicals to set the dyes. This combined with hand block printing makes each quilt unique. We are very proud to have designed the 100% cotton ‘Jaipur quillows’ and to have them made by people in their homes, not in a factory. They are not mass-produced and there are no middlemen; the wooden blocks are designed by us (and sometimes by other artists). We spend days with our team of printers block printing together and deciding which colours look best.

natural quilts block printingThe quilting is done by women most of whom work from home as they are not allowed to go out-they have never been to school but are the most fantastic quilters. Jaipuri Quillows are unique and make great presents. Small groups of textile enthusiasts from the U.K. have accompanied us to India a few times (on trips organised by The Blo ) and have been fascinated by the intricacies of the work our craftspeople do. We firmly believe in buying quality goods and knowing where our products come from and the processes they go through. Fair working partnerships that benefit all parties concerned are very important to us.

Background

Natural quilts are a speciality of Jaipur in Rajasthan, the desert region of northwest India. Nobody quite knows when and how this mini marvel came into being. Why did Rajasthan alone become the home of this unique form of winter covering when quilts were common all over? Certain factors seem to have played a part, the inhospitable desert terrain, the bitter winter and the age-old Rajasthani penchant for being constantly on the move. Sundown in winter always sent the temperatures plummeting among the dunes. For those who stayed home, there was warmth enough but too many a Rajasthani male, the home was none other than the dunes themselves with only the sky for cover. Princes and chieftains on the warpath, soldiers in the saddle, banjaras (gipsies), Bhopal (itinerant bards), shepherds, traders, camel caravans rolling along the featureless sands on private business- they all needed something to keep the chill out without adding significantly to their saddle bags. And some unsung genius found the perfect answer in the Jaipuri quilt.

The process

about natural quiltsThe age-old techniques for making these quilts involve many craftspeople with different skills. First, the soft, unbleached voile fabric is hand-block printed with vegetable dyes. This simple process seems to be the earliest of all printing methods to create sensational prints in vibrant colours. People were hand-block printing on cloth long before they printed on paper. Since the 12th century, India has renowned its printed and dyed cotton cloth. People have long appreciated the softness and comfort of Jaipur’s block-printed natural-dyed cotton bedding.

What is unique about the tradition of hand-block printing is that it is practised without the aid of mechanization or computerization. It is this defiant indifference to mechanization that gives block printing the aura of a pure craft form and makes block-printed textiles so special. The main tools of the printer are blocks of teak wood with handles, one for each colour, carved to allow the design to stand up in relief. The block carving process needs a high degree of craftsmanship, especially for the making of the outline block. In this process, an artist accurately draws the design freehand on tracing paper, transfers it to the planed wood, and then chisels it to a depth of a third of an inch. Each colour needs a different block. New blocks are soaked in oil for a few days to soften the grains in the timber.

The fabric to be printed is stretched over the printing table and fastened with small pins. When the block is applied, it is slammed hard on the fabric where the pattern appears in reverse. A point on the block serves as a guide for the repeat impression so that the whole effect is continuous and not disjointed. The outline printer has to be very skilled because he leads the process. If it is a multiple-colour design, the second printer uses his block to fill in the colour and so on. It is interesting to estimate the number of blocks used in the printing of a quilt. Each colour will have its block so will each component of the design. A border, in addition to the main design, may use several sets of blocks, depending on their complexity, size and sequence.

Sometimes, after printing, they steam the fabric and then dry it out in the hot Rajasthan sun, which helps set the natural dyes without using chemicals.

Jaipuri quilts are unique in using light, fluffy pure cotton as a filling. The skilled craftsmen take freshly harvested cotton and make it light and fluffy resembling soft clouds by a process called carding. The lighter the quilt, the more evenly it is filled and you will find it warmer and more comfortable. Skilled craftswomen in their own homes actually hand quilt to hold the filling in place. A double quilt takes a woman around four hours to complete.

Natural Dyes

We print and dye many of our fabrics using Natural Dyes, which can achieve a variety of colors. You can see below how some of these colors are created and how various factors, including air temperature and humidity, affect Natural Dyes. The resulting fabrics vary from one batch of dyeing or printing to the next making each piece unique.

Blue from the Indigo plant

Blue from the Indigo plant

Observe the rich blue achieved from the Indigo plant. The leaves are soaked in water for several hours until compounds from them collect in the water. The leaves are removed and the water whisked exposing it to the air and forming the indigo residue that is then used for dyeing and printing. This process is environmentally friendly because the plants require little maintenance and are often used to revitalize soil between crops. They also sell the soaked leaves as an organic fertilizer.

Yellow from Turmeric

Yellow from Turmeric and Pomegranate

Boiling pomegranate shells for 48 hours allows the creation of a yellow dye; then, strain the liquid and mix it with ground Turmeric in a copper pot. The Hindi word for Turmeric is Haldi, and people often use it as a food spice. Turmeric provides a strong dye either with or without Pomegranate. People often use it in conjunction with other dyes, such as Indigo, to produce green, or with Madder root to achieve a rust/orange color.

Green from Turmeric, Pomegranate and Indigo

Green from Turmeric, Pomegranate and Indigo

People use Turmeric and Pomegranate to create yellow dyes, which they often apply over the top of an Indigo dyed or printed fabric, resulting in an overall green effect. The yellow dyes are light sensitive and over time your green fabric will become bluer and bluer (indigo is far more stable) with successive washing and wearing.

Red from Alum and Alizarin

Red from Alum and Alizarin

Alizarin commonly comes from the dried root of the madder plant (though other roots are also used). The Alum (a metal compound) which acts as a mordant is first printed onto the fabric as a colourless paste. When you immerse this in a vat of Alizarin, the two compounds react with each other and turn red.

Black from Iron, Sugar and Alum

Black from Iron, Sugar and Alum

Rusted Iron (often from old horseshoes) is soaked in a mix of sugar solution (sugar from molasses) and flour made from Tamarind seed. This is left to ferment in the sun for a couple of weeks. The resulting paste produces a rich black, quite different from that made from chemical dyes.

Natural versus synthetic

You may think that a quilt with a synthetic filling may be better than a naturally filled one, but you may prefer the modern to the traditional. But you would probably feel differently if you had the chance to make a proper comparison. User trials conducted by an independent market research company over two months showed that, after sleeping under both natural and synthetic quilts, an amazing 75% of users said they preferred the natural quilts.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Firstly, naturally filled quilts breathe in a way synthetic quilts cannot. Your body loses moisture while you sleep, which is absorbed overnight and gradually dissipates in the morning when you air the quilt. When you sleep under a synthetic quilt, there is nowhere for that moisture to go resulting in a sticky feeling.
  • Secondly, natural quilts drape better around the lumps and bumps of your body, while synthetics can be rather stiff. Because you can snuggle into it better, a natural quilt will usually feel warmer on a chilly night than a synthetic quilt of the same thickness, even if both are new.
  • Thirdly, a natural quilt will almost always be lighter than a synthetic one. Natural fillings bring warmth without weight, for a comfortable, natural sleep.

Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum to see some wonderful examples of quilts