My favourite craft is anything which combines using beautiful Liberty fabrics and English Paper Piecing. Earlier this year I made a sweet EPP Liberty heart and framed it in an embroidery hoop. I wanted to make something similar in different colours so I could try decorating it with kantha stitch.
What is kantha?
Kantha is an ancient form of hand-stitched embroidery which originated in India. The word kantha means “rags” in Sanskrit, reflecting a tradition of using discarded clothing or garments to recycle into something new, such as bed coverings or clothes. Kantha can also refer to stitching fabrics together into quilt form and to the running stitch itself, which gives fabric the wrinkly appearance that is characteristic of kantha.
English Paper Pieced heart equipment
one inch hexagon template
selection of Liberty fabrics
white fabric banner
selection of co-ordinating embroidery threads
Heart banner with kantha stitch
I chose a bundle of co-ordinating fabrics from my Liberty stash. I opted for blues and mustards which I thought went well together. I cut out my paper templates and started making up my small hexies, then arranged them so the colours were mixed. The next step was to stitch them into rows and sew the rows together.
The EPP heart didn’t take long to stitch. I always think the back looks as interesting as the front.
I bought a ready made fabric banner but you could easily make your own, there are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest. I positioned my heart centrally in the banner and whipstitched it in place.
Then I was able to start adding kantha stitch over the heart. I experimented a little and found that two threads from an embroidery skein worked well. I used blue or mustard thread in alternative rows down the length of the banner.
You can see that my stitched were neither even or straight! The fabric was quite thick and the EPP layer made it even thicker. I even managed to bend a needle along the way!
The effect was really pretty though, making the fabric crinkly and textured.
This was a fun little project and a great way to try kantha stitch.