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Happy new year to you all! I hope you had a relaxing Christmas. It’s a lovely way to start the year in Australia, as we are on school holidays, and go at a slower pace for a few weeks. That’s the plan anyway! For me there’s no better way to begin a year than to learn a new skill, and I’m trying Kantha quilting.

The project I’m sharing with you today is inspired by the Kantha (pronounced KAHN-taa) technique of applique and quilting. It’s a traditional Indian way of thriftily layering used saris and old cloth, and quilting them together to create cushions and throws. The texture is just amazing!

Image courtesy onekingslane.com

Kantha’s have a range of uses in decorating, and the modern variations interpreted for western quilters are just as inpiring and exciting! Who doesn’t love a project, which can be pulled completely from your scrap bins if you wish?? That’s a double yes for me!

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - Liberty bouquet

There’s just something so wonderful about sari silk – I got to wear one once, and have never forgotten how beautiful it was. And even though I don’t have one at the moment, I do have some stunning Liberty in my collection, courtesy of the wonderful girls at Ava&Neve.

Liberty is another fabric certainly worthy of turning into a Kantha artwork. Its soft handle and sheen is certainly reminiscent of silk!

So I’ll be really frank here…I’ve only just been introduced to this whole new idea by Cat from @tincatsew. She had the brilliant idea of kicking off a stitch along using Liberty fabric to make a Kantha inspired project. I was instantly smitten when I saw what was involved!

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - fabric and felt

So here I am…sharing my wealth of knowledge about Kantha (zero), and all the Kantha projects I’ve made (also zero).

But I will share what I’m doing, what works for me and what doesn’t, and my design process using colour and style.

So I have put together a really bright range of Liberty prints, with some good contrasting colour values. I’ll be using white Essex linen as my base fabric, and I’m also hoping to incorporate some wool felt flowers into my design as well. I’ll be going shopping soon to add to my perle 8 thread collection, as most of the colours I seem to have are not bright ones.

For my base linen fabric and batting, I’ve cut it a good 2″ bigger for both length and width than I actually want, as I’m sure the quilting puckers will distort it a reasonable amount, making the overall size shrink.

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - backing the light fabrics

I’m planning on overlapping my fabrics on each other, which will create shadowing on the lighter fabrics that I don’t want. So I’m adding an extra layer of white cotton before pressing my seams under to prevent this.

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - layering ideas

 

Then the fun part begins!

There are really no rules here, but it helps to have an idea of where you’re going. Begin by layering your fabrics over your base. You don’t even have to unfold anything for this part. Just move everything around until you like what you see.

I’m after a strong contrast effect, so I’m putting opposite colours on the colour wheel next to each other. Think purple and yellow, blue next to orange, and green with red.

And then break a few rules if you want.

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - tacking down with glue

When you’re happy with some of the layout (and you don’t have to do it all to start with…I’ve only done a small fraction of mine) then begin cutting some pieces. Leave enough seam allowance to press under. I then put a few dabs of glue to hold a few of the pieces in place.

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - beautiful texture

Now start stitching! I’m going for contrasting thread for a lot of mine, as I figured if I’m going to all that trouble to hand quilt it, I want it to be seen. The stitches can be really big, and as you can see, my stitches are far from perfect. I’m good with that. I’m going for that beautiful bubbly texture over perfection.

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - pink stitches

Liberty Society Kantha Stitch Along - yellow and purple

So this is where I’m up to at the moment and I’ll be popping in regularly to share my progress.

Hop on over to Instagram, and check out the #libertysocietykanthastitchalong and maybe even join us!