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 artisticfingers2012@gmail.com . 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!


Wendy said...

Hi Anita,
I am interested in joining in this SAL, though I'm not sure if I'll have time!

Sangheetha said...

Thanks for all the details. I'm interested. My email id is n.sangheetha@gmail.com

When you are letting us know the fabric choices( color/size), could you pls show us the embroidery threads u have chosen?
March beginning will be comfortable, I'll buy the materials and be ready.

Queeniepatch said...

I have seen some very beautiful examples of Kantha at the Yokohama Internatiaonal Quilt Week one year. Now I have a question; you say the Bayton Kantha is used for covering books. Is it a kind of book cover with 'pockets' for the front and back of the book? Or is it a cloth that you place over a pile of books (dust cover) or is it used to carry books? In japan the 'furoshiki' is a cloth that is used for wrapping things and lawers often carry their documents in such a furoshiki.

Anita said...

@ Sangheetha - Yes, I will show the threads and fabric that I finally choose.Right now I'm thinking about the pros and cons of silk fabric as a cover :)

Saffron said...

Hi Anita,
I would love to join, my email is ajcmallik@gmail.com.
I did the Chikan SAL (after it had finished!) and am keen to learn some more.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anita,

I would love to be part of this SAL

Thank You


sharada u said...

Dear Anita I would like to participate in kantha emb sal. Ihave learnt chikan emb from you. thank you. My email Id is sharadau@hotmail.com.

Nalini Vasudevan said...

Hi Anita,
I would like to participate in kantha embroidery sal. My email id is naliniaviyur@gmail.com.
Thank you,
Nalini Vasudevan.

l'alternativa said...

Quanto lavoro!!!!!!!!! Interessantissime le tue informazioni,sei una grande insegnante. Baci

kiran seth said...

yes...I am interested in the kantha embroidery project.....my email is kiran_seth@yahoo.com...looking forward to the detais
thank you
kiran seth

Sviksha said...

Hi Anitha..,
I learnt aari embroidery from your tutorial to a certain extent..Thank You very much..,I would like to participate in yr Kanta Embroidery SAL., My email id is shanthivivek99@gmail.com.,
God bless you..
Shanthi Vivek

laleeta said...

hi Anita,

i would like to participate in kantha embroidery sal.my email id is lalitapandit174@yahoo.com.

thank you


lalitha said...

Anita, I would like to join the SAL.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Bonjour Anita,

Je souhaite participer à ce SAL,
Merci beaucoup;


chantal said...

Merci Anita, j'ai bien reçu le modèle.

uma srinivasan said...

Hi Anitha,I would like to join the Kantha SAL,I did the Chicken SAL and its a great experience.

uma srinivasan said...

My email Id

Julie said...

I would love to give this a try. I am working on three other SALs right now (two long term)so I may not be the fastest stitcher in the group.

Julie said...

Don't know if my comment went thru or not. Sometimes Blogger doesn't work for me. I'd love to participate in this SAL!

jyoti goyal said...

hi Anita

I would like to join the SAL
MY email id is jyo84ti@yahoo.co.in

Unknown said...

Hi,Anita! I would like to join the SAL. My email is teghanni@gmail.com. Thanks for offering this!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anitha,
I too would like to join the SAL. My emailid niveditagpai@gmail.com.

Thank you

Royce said...

very much interested...... A suggestion , if we could form a facebook group( closed or open) it would be easy to follow
roycedavids at gmail dot com

sassythor said...

Is it too late to join this SAL? I am always looking for Indian techniques to learn (my husband is Indian).

Anita said...

@ Sassythor - No,it's not late to join.I need your e-mail id. So please either leave it here in the comment or send me an e-mail.

vanita said...

I would love to join. My email id is vanitatipnis@hotmail.com.
Vanita Tipnis

Unknown said...

Hi Anita.I would like to join this SAL.Kindly include me as a participant.

Thanks and Regards,


Anita said...

@ Renuka - To sign up for the sal you need to leave your e-mail id either in the comment or send me an e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anita,

I would LOVE to join this sal. Am I too late?
My e mail id is suman_mallya@rediffmail.com

Thank you so much.
Suman Mallya

Madhavi said...

Hi Anita,
I would also love to join this SAL. Please let me know if I can. My email id is craftziners@gmail.com

Thanks alot for the initiative

Unknown said...

hi.... Anitha,

I would like to join this kantha embroidery sal. Could u send me the details of kantha embroidery sal.My email id. nalinianbarasu@gmail.com

sorry for the delay.

Thanks in advance.