Kantha (meaning: “patched cloth”) refers to both the tradition of producing these unique, quilted blankets (making something useful and beautiful out of discarded items), as well as the craft and stitch itself (a small, straight running stitch in Bengali embroidery).
Kantha is a traditional type of embroidery native to eastern South Asia, in particular Bangladesh and the neighboring Indian states of West Bengal and Odisha, along the Bay of Bengal. For this reason, it is considered a craft of the Bengal region ("Bengali"), which is not the same as Bangladeshi (meaning, of the country of Bangladesh).
All of our kantha blankets are handcrafted in Bangladesh, but other retailers may receive them from India.
Officially, it is pronounced KAHN-taa, (though we will unofficially continue to incorrectly call it "can-tha").
For as many as 500 centuries, poor Bengali women have taken their discarded cloth scraps and sewn them together with a simple running stitch; taking the old and repurposing it into something useful and protective. Far from trend-setting, or even artfulness, kantha was created originally for the most basic and practical purpose: to keep warm.
Today, the rich tradition of kantha has gained popularity in the West; no surprise, given the beauty, intricacy, and "wow" factor of each piece.
Our kantha blankets — sometimes called sari quilts — are not made of rags, nor do they feature elaborately designed stitch patterns. But, they are indeed fashioned from cloth that has been discarded and is ready for new life.
Cotton saris have been traded on doorsteps for cooking pots & spoons, then sold at large sari markets; our "special" silk-blend blankets are made from silk-blend cloth discarded by the producers for flaws, colour variation, out-dated patterns, or as remnants. All the cloth that makes kantha blankets sold at dignify is sourced in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
There is a wide range of quality, craftsmanship, and employment standards that produce similar-seeming kantha products. How can you know which is the best? Is the value worth the cost?
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you shop for kantha:
I have received emails in the past where a customer shares her disappointment that the quality of her kantha blanket is lower than expected; every time (multiple times!), we've discovered that they had not received their blanket from dignify, but from another store instead!
We stand by our products and are confident that you won't find a kantha that is as unique, versatile, rich in story, or as well-constructed as our hand-stitched kantha quilts.