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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Embroiderers' Guild Kantha Class

I have long been interested in Kantha embroidery - from books and from some of the Sari scraps I have used. Last week the South Australian Embroiderers' Guild offered a Kantha workshop as part of the Certificate Course. The workshop was taken by Barbara Mullan, who has worked and written on running stitch, including Kantha. All Guild members can attend, so I did.

We examined examples - from the Guild's Museum, from Barbara's collection, and from the collection of Christine Bishop who coordinates the Guild's Certificate Course. We then got into learning the stitches one at a time and stitching them on our sampler.

This was a lot of fun. Kantha is a series of variations on running stitch.

It is so versatile. For example, the crosses on the left side are made the same way as the purple/blue vertical/horizontal pattern next to it - in one the verticals cross the horizontals, in the other they go between.

Kantha is used as a quilting stitch, layering two or more pieces of fabric, such as old saris together to form a heavier fabric. We used two layers in our samplers.


The spaces between the sample stitches or patterns are filled with more running stitch in a free-style to suit the stitcher and the design.


The Kantha 'bible', now out of print, is The Art of Kantha Embroidery, by Niaz Zarman.



I was enjoying this piece so much I finished it off at home over the next two days.

I decided to finish the sampler by ironing, cutting the two layers of fabric to form a border then folding the raw edges in, between the two fabric layers, and using Kantha stitch to seal the edges.




I used one of the stitches we hadn't tried on the outer edge.




In what I hope is the Kantha spirit, I used my eye and instinct rather than a ruler. The signature would be better in lower case, but upper gave me more straight stitching.

I am really pleased with this result. I'm grateful for the class, the teaching and the companionship of the workshop.It has given me ideas as well as a lot of learning fun.

8 comments:

margaret said...

this sis a much more versatile stitch than I thought, before I saw yours thought it was just a running stitch. Especially like the top one and think maybe this will be appearing on one of my crazy blocks. Many thanks for sharing your lovely sampletr

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. It would be great to see that stitch in your crazy blocks - and it really is a lot of fun to do.

Monica said...

What a likeable project! It has a great feeling to it. And it sounds like a fun class!

It's interesting to see how many different cultures have variations on running stitch. This reminds me a lot of sashiko, with the different crosses and patterns.

Jillian said...

Yes, Monica, you're right - while Kantha is a particular variation, there are a lot of running stitch traditions - particularly, but not exclusively, in Asia. Barbara Mullan, who took the class, has written a thesis on 'the amazing running stitch'. I could get addicted!

Lyn Warner said...

Hi Jillian. Anita over on the blog Artistic Fingers has just finished running a free internet course on Kantha embroidery. You will find posts on it if you go back through the blog http://artisticfingers.blogspot.com/

Lyn Warner said...

Hi Jillian. Anita over on the blog Artistic Fingers has just finished running a free internet course on Kantha embroidery. You will find posts on it if you go back through the blog http://artisticfingers.blogspot.com/

katherine said...

What a wonderful class for you to attend. Love your sampler too and what a great addiction to have Jillian.
With needles, threads, yarns and hooks we can mend the soul.

Jillian said...

You got it in one, Katherine!