Kantha or Hand Quilting?

Posted by Daisy Aschehoug on

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The Aurifil Artisan Challenge this month was to try kantha quilting. Kantha (wiki link) is a style of embroidery from the eastern regions of India. When I think of kantha, I think of stacked saris recycled into medium sized, lightweight blankets, and I think of the layers being secured with long lines of running stitches, tightly spaced.

I had high hopes of getting more rows of stitching in on this quilt, but it's about 50" square. The picture below if from March 15, two days after schools closed here in Norway in an attempt to limit the spread of the corona virus. I've got Aurifil 12 wt in Fairy Floss (6723) on a chenille needle size 24. 

Fairy Floss has the tiniest bit of pink to it, but it's not really noticeable once stitched into the quilt - if you look closely enough, there's a bit of fun contrast that comes from the tiny bit of pink, but I think it mostly served to cheer me up a bit when I grabbed the spool to pull off a piecer for the next row of stitches.

I tried using chalk to mark the lines, but the white chalk I had didn't show up well enough on the gray Essex Linen. I considered a hera marker, but instead I opted for blue painter's tape. 

I use painter's tape for a variety of tasks in the studio. If I want to pin baste a quilt, I use painter's tape to secure the edges to the floor as I layer the sections and place the safety pins. When I need a visual reference for something, I use a bit of painter's tape to put a sketch or printout on the wall where I'm working. I take a bit of tape to secure the end of a giant roll of sketch paper after I've torn some off, and I tack up quilt blocks that may not fit on my design wall with tape, too.

Painter's tape is meant to be temporary, and it comes up easily, without leaving residue behind. That part is super handy when using it on textiles.

I've decided to give up on the dense stitching. These rows are spaced one inch apart, and they still conjur the rhythmic, orderly feel of dense kantha stitches.

I basted the quilt on my long arm so at the end, I snipped and pulled all the longer stitches that ran perpendicular to my straight line quilting.

I'm still auditioning ideas for binding: all black? a mixture of fabrics already used in the quilt? something bright that picks up one of the color pops between the blocks?

We've already gotten word that preschools will reopen in two weeks, and the younger grade school kids will go back in three weeks. I know the threat hasn't passed entirely, and I do worry about my friends and family in the US. But I am grateful that there seems to be an end in the future to the immediate tragedy, and that processing and healing can begin to deal with the aftermath.

 

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