Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Kantha Inspired Quilt with Sashiko Machine

Have you ever heard of Kantha? Kantha means "Patched cloth" and is a type of embroidery performed in the eastern regions of India and Bangladesh. It is often used to make simple quilts with a mix of old saris and other discarded pieces of fabric. The rich history of Kantha traces back to centuries ago! I have a Kantha quilt I purchased years ago and what I love about it is the bright colors and big stitches running through the quilt. Kantha does not have batting in them, but it is very soft and perfect for summer nights. The art of Kantha reminds me of Sashiko, which also has a very rich history of its own as a type of traditional Japanese embroidery or stitching used for the decorative and/or functional reinforcement of cloth and clothing.

Kantha and Sashiko were both created by people who were trying to be frugal; repurposing the old cloth, but at the same time those women created something beautiful to enrich their lives.

I marvel at how the human brain works and makes us innovative. India (and other parts of east asia) and Japan are separated by sea over thousands of miles. There was no TV, books, or internet to know these things centuries ago, but somehow we have similar beautiful crafts. Isn't that interesting?

I always wanted to make a Kantha quilt, but I have so many other projects I want to work on. I thought why not use modern technology (meaning my Baby Lock Sashiko machine to create a Kantha inspired quilt!

I have a stash of beautiful fabrics (Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Tula Pink and Sandi Hendersen!) but some of them are big scale fabrics and kind of difficult to incorporate to some quilt projects. I love the fabric design so much that I hate to cut them into small pieces and lose their original beauty. You should see me in my sewing room pulling them out, admiring them, petting them and putting them back on my shelf. Haha. I bet many of you have the same problem as me. I know that this project is perfect for those fabrics waiting to be used and shine!

* You will need ~ finished quilt size 63"x 75"

Several large scale fabrics with bold colors and designs, Several fat quarters and cut by the yard fabrics
Batting ~ Actual Kantha quilt doesn't have batting, I decided to use batting
Fabrics for backing ~ I pieced my fabrics for backing
Thread for piecing and quilting

* How to
1. Some of you may not want to hear this, but to piece this quilt, I just went with the flow. To start off, I cut several of my fat quarters in half to create rectangles and lay them out on the floor to see the placement of the colors and scale balance. The wider rectangles are about the width of the fabric which is about 42" to 44"wide. They are about 7" to 17" high. I pieced narrow columns and wide columns separately, then pieced the two columns together.

2. Baste the top, batting and backing together. I wanted to use the Sashiko machine, so I went with pin basting. If you are machine quilting with your regular sewing machine, this step is the same. If you are hand quilting, I recommend hand basting the quilt with large stitches.

3. I set both the stitch length and stitch spacing to 5 on my Sashiko.

4. I used 4 different colors of Aurifil threads. I love Aurifil threads for quilting, they don't break like my other threads and I can always depend on them. The space between the quilting is 5/8".

5. Cut the excess.

6. Sew bias tape around the quilt. I normally sew the bias by machine and hand sew in the back, but I finished it off with the machine this time.

Time to enjoy!

I pieced the backing.

I love looking at gorgeous stitchings

Now the Kantha inspired quilt is all ready to be enjoyed. It is almost winter, but I love bright colors and bold floral design. I could imagine myself, wrapped up in this quilt with good books in front of the fireplace and dreaming of a warm spring day.
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