Patches & Patchwork

Kantha quilts (a type of traditional embroidered patchwork quilt from India) have become popular within interior design communities, home decor retail & home decorators for their effortless ‘bohemian’ look. They are excellent for rustic queen bedding, floral quilt cover, hippie Indian tapestry, beach throw blanket, cotton sofa throw and even kantha cushion covers.

Originating from India and naturally made from upcycled saree cloth, hand-stitched together in sections and mended with patches over time, they are also considered one of the most sustainable quilts.

Kanthas don’t have any wadding, they are made from layers of sarees to create the thickness and texture. They can be quite insulative because of this construction.

These brightly coloured, incredibly versatile cotton quilted throws originate from generations of Indian mothers and daughters passing them down within the family. These true bohemians, are the originators of this method of re-use and repurposing.

PATCHWORK

The dreamy patchwork of kantha quilts may seem like a bohemian aesthetic, but actually the kantha technique has been used in India as a method for re-use and recycling old fabrics and clothes. Indians never waste anything – everything can be re-made into another item by repurposing and reviving materials. In the case of the kantha, layers upon layers of cotton are stitched together, creating a wonderful array of colour and texture. The patchwork of these fabrics make unique quilts – no two are ever the same. With a simple running stitch over the entire surface of the quilt or throw, the fabrics are quilted together in a simple but ingenious method, requiring only hand-work. The patchwork usually consists of cotton sarees, sometimes silk sarees, or a combination of both, as well as other fabric scraps. Large or small pieces are stitched together with incredible contrasts of colour and pattern.

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PATCHES

Once the pieces of fabric have been laid down, the next step is to cover up any fabric imperfections – due to their recycled nature, any marks and holes are patched up with small pieces of fabrics mostly to revive, but also add character and charm to the finished quilt. Because of the vast array of textile materials produced in India, including various dye methods, block print fabrics and traditional sarees, there is a great amount of scrap fabrics.

Look out for our exciting new collection of handmade individual patches – that are handmade in Australia, ready for stitching onto jeans, jackets & bags – reviving all your favourite clothes!

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To view our range of beautiful vintage Indian kantha quilts and throws and other kantha items, handmade in India and Australia, visit The Kantha Project shop

CAMELLIA [SOLD]

A beautiful mid-weight queen-size handmade patchwork quilt in homely 50s vintage florals of subtle colours, coloured threads and a multitude of colourful patches. One of our most patchy quilts, this Indian cotton bedspread is perfect for the bed as a bedspread and bed cover. 

For other Indian kantha quilts, floral queen bedding, hippie Indian tapestry and decorative throw blankets head over to our shop!

AVANI [SOLD]

Beautifully soft to the touch, rippled with texture from kantha’s characteristic running stitch, weaved through the layers of vintage cotton saree, this quilt is a dream. Soft hues of lime, pinks and browns ~ every brown shade, from caramel, to chocolate, to golden brown, to ochre. The combination of colour in this hippie Indian tapestry is extraordinary. Over 30 years old and hand-stitched, this gem of a kantha will be snatched up quick!

Available at The Kantha Project shop.

SITARA

SITARA, such a beautiful hippie Indian tapestry. The white dotted pattern gives the quilt a unique appearance – as though it is covered with sequins creating an ethereal, majestic quality. It’s light in texture and weight and the perfect throw for a couch or table. By just adding clips, it would also do great as a curtain! Created from brightly coloured saree cloth, turmeric dye fabric, this one’s truly dreamy vibe will bring a unique touch to any space.

Shop this quilt here.

PAISLEY

Florals, polka dots & paisley brings a fun combination of prints to this vintage kantha quilt. A festive, hippie Indian tapestry, PAISLEY will liven up any occasion – bring her along to the park for a festive picnic or gathering with lanterns and delicious eats.

Eco quilts: Kind to the planet, many times over

Vintage, handmade and often containing natural Indian dyes (such as turmeric), kanthas are one of the most eco-friendly, cruelty-free & sustainable quilts available.

Vintage kantha quilts are either; made over 30 years ago; or made recently with vintage fabrics. New kantha quilts are made from new fabric, recently. Here, we are passionate about the vintage kantha throw and in this post we go into detail about the benefits of buying a vintage kantha:)

GOOD FOR THE PLANET

You can call Kanthas The Eco-friendly Quilts due to their composition of recycled & repurposed fabrics as well as their natural dyes. In place of synthetic dyes, India is known for using the spice turmeric as well as other natural dyes to create the wonderful earthy colours that are so abundant in their culture. (For more on turmeric dye, view our post here.) Superior to synthetic dyes which harm the environment with chemical waste run-off, turmeric comes from the earth and is returned to the earth. 

The longevity of the quilts themselves and their many uses adds to their positive impact on the planet = less production of new materials and products.

Kantha production sustains small communities. There is a wonderful harmony in how giving new life to old sarees provides a livelihood for the women and artisans who create these stunning textiles. It’s important to support cultural traditions, so that we stay inspired. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s often what we need to remember the important things in our busy technology-crazed society.

GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE

Not only is re-use an environmentally-conscious option, the kantha trade helps support small rural communities and keeps traditional craftsmanship alive.

Historically and culturally, the kantha technique of re-using, repairing and carefully stitching is the beautiful solution to the limited availability of materials. The kantha has it’s beginnings in the home; the passing down of handmade kantha quilts through generations was an age-old tradition; a symbol of family, comfort and togetherness.

Often, kanthas are made by women in Bangladesh and Calcutta’s slums, as well as in rural communities, giving these women the chance to be independent through their earnings.

The Kantha Project seeks out kantha items that are fair-trade – providing work & livelihood for these women, as well as supporting the growth and development of small craft-smiths with fair work agreements.

Cotton is a natural fibre and thus is perfect for someone who is allergy-prone, as there is no synthetic wading, nor does the vintage kantha contain wool, unlike many quilts.

GOOD news FOR ANIMALS

Supporting vintage gives life back to old products thus halting the excess production of new products and materials, ensuring no further animals are harmed. Buying vintage or pre-loved is the best way you can reject the exploitation of animals – because it’s hard to know the exact content and process of any given new product. Therefore, repurposing and re-using is highly regarded for it’s ethical standing.

Kanthas don’t contain any wool products, unlike most quilts. And although silk is a common textile material used in India (and may be present within the kantha layers), we believe that all we can do is improve life for all (big and small) in our time. Since we can’t change the past, we’ll do our best to fix the present and future.

As well as being one of the most sustainable quilts made from layers of cotton saree, because of the Indian embroidery design of the kantha stitch hand embroidery and vintage print textiles, these cotton quilted throws are always one-of-a-kind which makes them that much more special. They have quickly become the favourite hippie Indian tapestry.

VISHNU [SOLD]

Exotic Vishnu, the hippie Indian tapestry, goes well with Eastern-inspired interiors – lanterns, incense, a record of Ravi Shankar…

These light weight summer blankets are great for indoor and outdoor use. Layers of cotton saree embroidered textiles handmade into a cotton quilted throw can be used as table cover, curtains or even a picnic blanket.

DRAGAN [SOLD]

This light weight kantha embroidered patchwork quilt is full of character and charm. An eclectic combination of vintage saree fabric patchworked together to form a unique hippie Indian tapestry of blues, yellows, oranges and pinks.

For more Kantha quilts India visit our shop here!

Another 8 awesome uses for your kantha quilt

 

So we’ve covered the most common uses for kantha quilts India – if you haven’t yet read our previous post “Top 5 uses for Kantha quilts” this may be a better introduction.

Thought the wonderful colourful kantha was reserved only for the home? You were oh so wrong! Read below for some awesome uses you probably never thought of – definitely some of our favourites…

1. TABLECLOTH

Bring that perfect vibe to a relaxed balmy-night Summer tea party! Because there is so much detail in the vintage print of a kantha throw, using it as a tablecloth can really bring this detail forward and in the spotlight! Using a light-medium kantha throw will work best for table tops, allowing the corners to flow nicely off the table.
Most are completely machine-washable and they are probably a better choice over a plain tablecloth, as any spills will be barely visible on the vintage ethnic textiles vibrant patterns and patchwork.

 2. CURTAINS OR ROOM DIVIDER

Simply adding curtain clips along any edge of a kantha quilt can instantly turn it into a wonderfully colourful curtain or room divider – with a hippie Indian tapestry vibe. Here at The Kantha Project we like to keep open-minded and let you decide what uses you can get out of our beautiful range of kantha quilts and blankets, leaving them untouched, as-is.

 3. car seat cover / throw

Keep a kantha in your car for extra warmth as a blanket, a picnic rug or even to bring personality and colour into your car. Cover the back seat with a colourful kantha, throw a kantha on the front seat and drive!

 4. cape / wrap

Chilly night? A little too breezy? Swap your jacket for something a little more fun – a kantha around your shoulders will give much warmth due to the insulation created by the various cotton layers – it’s a poncho-like, cape-y, wearable blanket sort of deal. Plus, vintage ethnic textiles are all the rage.

 5. BABY PLAYMAT OR WRAP

Babies love colour! Choose a bright kantha with varied prints and patches and you’ve got yourself a baby-approved playmat that you can lie on your living room floor guaranteed to keep your bubs occupied while you catch up on that midday soapie.

You can also use it as a blanket (folded over twice) or baby wrap!

 6. BEACH THROW / COVER-UP

Whether used as a beach throw blanket to sit on, or a cover-up if you just want to chuck something on over your bikini, kanthas are the latest accessory. They provide whatever cover you need on-hand. Aren’t they just awesome?

 7. RUG

The thicker, heavier kantha quilts can be used as rugs! Perfect for the teepee or glamping experience, they are a great choice for covering the entire tent floor – easy, fun and pleasant to sit or lie on – pile up some cushions and chill!

 8. YOGA MAT

Bored of the usual foam yoga mats – feeling like changing things up a bit? A folded kantha quilt that is fairly light-weight is ideal as an eco friendly yoga mat or yoga blanket. Because it’s layered cotton, it’s more hygienic and a more natural yoga mat than the typical foam yoga mats, and a lot more attractive as well. You can roll it up the same way or have it folded in your bag, and even use it for other things the same day – such as a picnic lunch!

 

What do you think? Can you think of any other great uses? Comment below or if you have a kantha or two tag us on Instagram @thekanthaproject 🙂

HARI

Hari has the most spectacular kantha stitch hand embroidery I have ever encountered, giving the quilt a rug-like quality. The thousands of tiny stitches allow for a very strong and durable kantha which will last forever. Perfect for a picnic rug, a floor rug for a bedroom, teepee or bell tent or wall hanging. The blue hues and the many perfectly placed kantha patches create an exquisite hippie Indian tapestry!

Shop this quilt here