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Kantha stitching

What comes to your mind when you hear exotic word Kantha?

Kantha /rug in sanskrit/ is a stitch and a tradition in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, with a rich history and intricate beautiful texture.

My inspiration to try Kantha comes from Instagram. Last year I enjoyed seeing incredible versatile makes popping in my feed - pillows, journal covers, pouches, bags, table runners, scarves... This year I decided to join #libertysocietykanthastitchalong hosted by @tincatsew and @ava_and_neve.

I grabbed my scraps of Liberty and linen, a piece of cotton batting and backing fabric. Originally Kanthas were made by layering old saris and cloth, so you can recycle cotton fabric in your project too instead of using batting.

The recommended thread is Perle cotton No 8. But any heavy weight thread for hand qulting or 3 strands of embroidery floss would work too.

Basically Kantha style stitching is a dense hand quilting with 1/4 inch spaced rows. So, don´t forget a thimble! All you need to do is a running stitch and have lots of patience!

What I love about Kantha is the fact that it is very forgiving, it doesn´t need to be perfect. Find your rhythm, relax and enjoy the process. You can simply stitch in rows or play with the directions of the stitch lines to create movement. The stitching turns your patchwork into a wonderfully textured new piece of fabric where all edges just blend together. You can find information how to do Kantha style stitching on this blog

This pillow was my first Kantha project.

Then I made a small dumpling pouch from the tiny Liberty scraps.

I truly enjoyed every stitch and love the result.

And my appreciation of traditional Kantha grew enormously. My friend Peg owns 2 pieces of vintage Kantha (that you can see in the photo) - the work is simply incredible.

I admire those unknown masters who put so much time and effort to create these tiny stitches and transform fabric into something special that people treasure and love.

If you like hand stitching I hope you get inspired to try Kantha too - it doesn´t need to be a large piece, make a small patchwork panel and turn it into a masterpiece!

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