It begins with a stitch, and ends with a story.
I remember when I received my first quilt, passed down to me from my mother, stitched by my grandmother. It was full of life; her favorite colors, crooked lines, silly patterns. It was worn, gathered around the edges but kept its tender warmth. Grandmother collected all of the quilts she made, and gave them to family members when she left us. I’ve cherished mine, knowing that I’ll never get another like it, but still wanting to find something that I could begin to collect, just like she did.
I found my something when I was first introduced to a few quilts that were labeled “Kantha Cloths” at my mother’s furniture store, Hot Haute Hot. It was love at first sight; I wanted to learn anything and everything about these beautiful textiles. Kantha refers to the type of stitch used in the craft of this specific type of embroidery. The tradition began in India, where old sari is mixed and layered with worn fabrics and stitched together, creating a vintage quilt. This specific stitch gives the sari quilts and various fabrics a textured, wavy, quality. Each quilt is unique, and I love how each one feels like it has a different story.
So, I’m hooked. Here I am today, collecting and loving each vintage kantha cloth I can get my hands on. It may be the variety of fabric on each quilt that draws me in; how I can relate to each stitch, after all, I’ve always been a bit all over the place, a wandering soul, a bit of everything. I fall in love with each one for a new reason. How one side has emerald green paisley prints with a vibrant patch of pink florals, and the other has a denim menswear feel. They’re so quirky, and so me.
Kantha to me is a little bit like home. It’s what I love to collect; it’s what I hold near and dear to my heart. Each quilt has a different story, and I’m now making them my story.
+ What do you collect? Does it have a story? How are you turning it into your story? Let me know in the comments!