Wednesday, 26 February 2014

SAL Kantha - choosing a fabric,thread and transfer technique

I've decided to write about this sal only on Wednesdays so don't forget to check my wednesday posts every week from now on until we finish this project.
I've sent the pattern to all the participants except Julie. Please let me know if any of you had signed up but didn't receive the pattern. Julie – I couldn't find your e-mail id,so please do leave a comment with your id or send me an e-mail.
Firstly I had to choose between linen,close weave high count cotton and silk fabric.After serious thinking I decided to go with silk fabric.The silk fabric has to be medium weight,high count with less sheen. Tusser silk has all the above said qualities and l had it in my stash already.I chose a light gold colored tusser silk, cut it to the required size, finished the edges to prevent fraying, rinsed it with mild soap, dried and pressed it.If you are a beginner then you have to be extra careful and cut the fabric along the grain.

The next step was to transfer the pattern onto the fabric.I reduced the pattern at 90% and used a 2H pencil to transfer the pattern,then brushed it thoroughly to remove the lead dust in case if there was any and pressed the fabric again.The pencil mark is darker than it appears in the photo

I had decided to use only stranded cotton threads otherwise known as embroidery floss in some countries way before choosing the pattern and fabric.I have almost full range of Anchor threads but many of the DMC shades are missing in my collection.So I'll be using only Anchor threads and if you want to use DMC floss or any other threads please go ahead.I'm afraid that I can't give the all the shade numbers as of now because I may not like a color and change it as I go.But I'll tell you the shade nos. that I've used after finishing an element of the design in each post.So if you want to work this pattern exactly as I do then please be patient until I finish an element and post it here.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please feel free to leave a comment here.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kantha embroidery and Sal FAQ

Kantha embroidery is one of the popular form of Indian embroidery techniques.It is widely practiced in West Bengal.Today it is also one of the popular techniques in Bangladesh which was a part of Bengal,India before the independence.I would say that kantha embroidery is one of the finest example of rich folk art.The kantha quilts were exported to Europe in large quantities during late 1500's - early 1600's.
The kantha embroidery has both Hindu and Muslim influence which is evident from the motifs used in this form.
*The above image is a part of a pattern from my collection of a sampler worked by an unknown kantha embroiderer.

Kantha quilts called 'Lep' are made from old sarees. To make a 'leo' many sarees are laid together, running stitches with white thread are used to join and strengthen the sarees. The base fabric of the quilt is always a white saree (both cotton and silk) , decorative motifs are drawn and embroidered using black,red,green,yellow and blue threads.To get a rippled effect the entire quilt is covered by darning/running stitches with white threads.

Apart from quilts there are also other varieties of kantha. The most popular one is 'sujanis' which is a thin spread used during religious festivals and marriages.The mythological stories are depicted in these sujanis. Lord Krishna and the lotus dominates the sujanis. 'Rumal' kantha is a hand kerchief with a floral border and a corner motif. 'Bayton' kantha is a piece of embroidered cloth used to cover books. 'Arshalita' kantha is a narrow strip of embroidered cloth with broad borders used to hold accessories like mirrors,combs etc. 'Arshalita' kantha is an envelope shaped wallet .

The common motifs used in Kantha embroidery are lotus,fish,peacock,bull,tiger,pipal leaf,ship,snake,elephant.Also vines,flowers,human figures,geometric motifs are widely used.

Kantha Embroidery Sal FAQ
I have received few e-mails with some queries about this sal. I thought it would be better if I answer them here so that it'll be helpful for others with the same queries and also on a personal note it saves me some time.
  • To participate in this sal you have to sign up by either leaving a comment with your e-mail id or e-mail me at . If you'd already left a comment in the previous post with your e-mail id that's okay too.
  • You don't have to buy a kit or pattern from me to participate in this sal. It is totally free of cost.
  • I'll start sending the pattern via e-mail to all the participants this week end.
  • It's suitable for all level embroiderers.
  • You will need a close weave cotton or silk fabric,stranded cotton threads/embroidery floss,hoop or frame,mechanical pencil and light box if needed,scissors,crewel needles no.7 or 8.
  • Regarding the size of the fabric – you can decide it after you receive the pattern by yourself.
    I'll be making an iPad cover out of this project so I will be choosing a size that suits my iPad.
    But you could also stitch this on a pillow/cushion cover,dress,frame it,use it in a cq block etc.
    I'll let you know about my fabric choice and the size required for my iPad and feel free to contact me if you need any help with figuring out the size of fabric needed for your project.
Please let me know if we give two weeks time to gather all the materials will be enough and start stitching from the first week of March is okay with you all.

Happy stitching!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sal 2014 ? Openwork and challenges!

My friend and I are throwing art challenges at each other this year to help us come out of our comfort zone...atleast that is what we think.My January challenge was to create something using only black,white,grey,greenish grey and red.I decided to do a cq block because I have very little cq experience and this is what I came up with.

I would like to wait and see what the other challenges are before I do motifs on this block.If I end up making more blocks then I'd like to see if some of them look good together and then I'm planning to embellish them with motifs or pick a theme..What do you think,did I manage to do a decent job or not?
I'm pretty sure none of the challenges will be anywhere near my comfort zone because my friend knows me very well.
I need all your help and advice with cq but please don't tell my friend that you all helped me :)

Speaking of the comfort zone...
I've been stitching yards of openwork last week..yet it is no where close to the finish line :(

I need a cover for both my iPad and kindle.. so out came the paper,pencils,planner,ledger etc.My first plan was to do an Indian embroidery,next one was a to draw a simple but an effective design with variety of stitch applications but with limited colors.After I finished the rough sketching part of the design process I decided the embroidery technique..

Guess what? It is kantha embroidery. For the next few weeks I'll be showing the progress of this kantha project..So if you want to stitch-along or follow-along this project with me please do either send me an e-mail at or leave a comment with your e-mail id here and I'll e-mail you the transfer pattern .

Happy stitching! And don't forget to let me know if you interested in this SAL.