Monday, 28 January 2013

It's quilt time again

I don't have time to make quilts any more.  And yet mysteriously there appears to be another quilt-in-progress on the sofa this morning.

New quilt

I have been yearning for a Kantha type quilt for ages, and last night I just snapped and  pulled out my sewing machine, grabbed a fairly random selection of fabrics off my shelf, and began cutting and sewing.

Kantha quilts are traditional Bengali quilts, made from large blocks of bright sari fabric, stitched together with tight rows of running stitch and other embroidered motifs.  They're all about colour and embroidery.  They are also made without wadding - just from layers of cotton cloth.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to make one, because even though I used the lightest wadding I could find for my quilt, it is still too warm on top of a duvet.

My new Kantha quilt is simply a top pieced from a mixture of vintage and quilting cottons, and a back of plain, unbleached calico.  No wadding in the middle at all. I sewed the top and back right-sides-together and left a gap for turning, so there is no need for binding either.  The top is nice and bright and true to the Kantha style in shades of pink and blue, but I left the back deliberately plain because I think when all th embroidery is done, it will show off the stitching beautifully.  Plus I love the way that plain calico shrinks and puckers when it is washed - it will really add to the wrinkly, faded feel of my quilt.

Kantha style quilt in progress

I have no doubt at all that I will spend years doing all the embroidery; the quilt is massive.  But I can use use it in the meantime, because it doesn't need binding and there are no pins in it.  I spread it out over my side of the bed last night, and I wasn't too warm at all.  It made me smile this morning too, when I woke up to to rain and wind lashing against the windows but sunny pink fabric spread out over me, as if spring was already here.

New Kantha quilt underway


  1. Oh my goodness! I'd never heard of Kantha before but they are stunning! And the idea of making a quilt without the batting is certainly very appealing, I have a feeling this will be going onto my "to-do" list! Please do show us your progress with this.
    Rachel x

  2. I had a duvet set as a child in the pink flowery pattern in the centre of the picture!!! I'd totally forgotten about it! Look forward to seeing updates x

  3. proof that the urge to be creative never goes away, even when you are impossibly busy x it's lovely x

  4. I'm a firm believer in the more you do, the more you can do. And why haven't I ever heard of a kantha quilt?

  5. It's beautiful! And I'm glad to see I'm not alone in having never heard of Kantha quilts. My husband is always flinging off our (admittedly rather cosy) quilt because he is roasting. He'll have no excuses if I make one of these ones...

  6. I had a duvet in the yellow version of that pink fabric too! Your quilt is going to be lovely - but I'm never too hot so I love wadding! Lucy xx

  7. Oh, you're just showing off now. Uni and nursing and perky little quilting projects. You're making the rest of us look REALLY bad.

  8. oooh, nice! I have the 70's sheets in pink and turquoise just crying out for a project like that! so how will you embroider-by hand? and with different coloured threads? does one use a hoop for such a project? am thinking of potential summer holiday camping projects...all advice gratefully received!


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