Kanthakarma

Ethically made, fair trade, one of a kind, kantha

On Etsy since 2019

Kanthakarma

Ethically made, fair trade, one of a kind, kantha

15 Sales

Announcement    In these strange, challenging times, we hope you are all keeping well and safe.
We are still managing to post all orders out in a timely manner, but Royal Mail - despite running as usual - is experiencing some delays due to being inundated with parcels. Please bear with us and our wonderful postmen and postwomen.
Take care x

Announcement

Last updated on Apr 21, 2020

In these strange, challenging times, we hope you are all keeping well and safe.
We are still managing to post all orders out in a timely manner, but Royal Mail - despite running as usual - is experiencing some delays due to being inundated with parcels. Please bear with us and our wonderful postmen and postwomen.
Take care x

Items

Melissa

Contact shop owner

Melissa

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(2)

About Kanthakarma

Sales 15
On Etsy since 2019

It begins with a stitch, and ends with a story.

Having a deep love for travel, I have spent countless hours wandering through markets around the globe, admiring the beauty of handmade and vintage textiles. I first stumbled upon kantha in Calcutta and it was love at first sight. Kantha refers to the type of stitch used in the craft of this specific type of embroidery, where old sari is mixed and layered and stitched together, creating a vintage quilt. This specific stitch gives the quilts a textured, wavy, quality, with each quilt being unique and having its own story.

I'm hooked on them. It may be the assortment of fabric on each quilt that draws me in; the intricate stitching or its unique imperfections. I fall in love with each one for a new reason. How one side has emerald green floral print with a vibrant patch of burnt orange paisley, and the other has a bold geometric print.

I carry carefully chosen, one of a kind, kantha that I not only love, but that ensure artisans are paid a fair wage for their craft. By paying a fair wage, we ensure quality craftsmanship, and improve economic well-being and a brighter future.

My production partner is a Bangladeshi NGO, called Basha, that supports women in need. Through dignified work, Basha (meaning 'house of hope') provides a sustainable livelihood for women at risk and survivors of trafficking. Women gain job skills and the opportunity to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs in a healing, supportive environment. They are given a fair wage and an education and their children are cared for in safe environments. Your purchase changes lives and builds futures and makes a difference in women’s lives around the world.

It is important to me - and to you - that Kantha Karma is a responsible, sustainable business. Our beautiful kantha quilts tell a story of repurposing, beautiful up-cycling, opportunity, dignity and women empowerment. Each piece allows the intricate details and hard work of the original saris to be preserved, creating something that is always unique and always one-of-a-kind.

A little more about our blankets:

- The cloth used in our kanthas is re-purposed, which means no new dyes or inks, no by-products of production; the only factory-produced supplies we use are thread.

- 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 Kantha Karma is sourced in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

- Thickness : Each layer of sari cloth is very thin (imagine a soft muslin for a baby swaddle), so if there are only 2 or 3 layers, the blanket will be very light. Our kanthas are made with 6 layers of sari cloth. The final product is still thin, not bulky, but definitely as robust as kantha come. They are light, but provide a good warmth.

- Edge Stitching : This is where a more inexpensively produced, lower quality kantha will reveal itself. A well-made kantha should have a straight edge, with a kantha stitch right up to the edge, preventing any fraying or interior cloth coming out. Our kantha are stitched with precision all around!

- Cost : Of course, we are all cost-conscious. But, there is a large amount of labor involved in producing even a single kantha throw. Our kantha throws take, on average, 3 - 6 days to handcraft.

Thanks for visiting and please get in touch with any questions :)

Melissa x

Shop members

  • Melissa

    Owner

Production partners

  • Basha

    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Basha is a social enterprise that helps victims of sex trafficking in Bangladesh leave the streets and build a new life making kantha quilts from recycled saris. As beautiful products emerge from discarded cloth, broken lives are made whole, stitch by stitch.

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on Apr 22, 2020
Frequently asked questions
Returns and exchange details

I want you to be delighted with your purchase, so items can be returned within 14 days of delivery. You will get a full refund if the item is undamaged and unused.
Please note I cannot refund shipping costs and you will need to cover the costs of returning the item back to me.

Shipping

Items are shipped from the UK. I ship all parcels via recorded delivery and you will receive a tracking number with your shipping notification. Shipping rates are based on weight and whilst postal rates are reasonable below 2kg, heavier kanthas above 2kg are unfortunately more expensive to send.

Orders are shipped within 1 - 3 days (business days are Monday - Friday), unless stated otherwise but if you are in a rush to receive your item do please let me know and I will do my best to ship as soon as I can.

Estimated shipping times are as follows:

UK: 1 - 3 working days
Europe: 3 - 5 working days
USA, Australia and New Zealand: 5 - 7 working days

Please bear in mind that, sometimes, it takes a package a little longer to arrive!

Combined shipping costs

It can be difficult to predict the costs of shipping for combined orders of more than one item. Sometimes customers end up paying excess shipping fees and in this event I always refund excess shipping costs. I refund excess shipping costs if they exceed the actual cost by more than £2.

However if a customer is charged too little for combined shipping I also reserve the right to request that they cover the additional shipping cost or alternatively offer to cancel their order, if they don't feel like paying additional fees.

If you would like to order several items, particularly heavier ones, you are welcome to contact me to get an exact shipping cost quote.

What is Kantha?

Kantha (meaning “patched cloth”) refers to both the tradition of producing these unique, quilted blankets as well as the craft and stitch itself (a small, straight running stitch in Bengali embroidery).

For as many as 500 centuries, Bengali women have taken their worn out textiles and re-purposed them. Far from trend-setting, or even artfulness, kantha was constructed originally for the most basic and practical practical purpose: to keep warm.

Over time, kantha developed as a generational skill, a craft that could symbolically impart story, desire, and well-wishing for loved ones. Elaborate kantha were made as wedding gifts or gifts for mothers with stories and wishes weaved in, allowing illiterate women to leave a lasting mark.

Kantha Today

Today, the rich tradition of kantha has gained popularity in the West; no surprise, given the beauty and intricacy of each piece.

As we culturally trend away from disposable consumer goods, and towards meaningful, well crafted goods with a low environmental impact, kantha blankets happily fit the bill.

Our kantha blankets, sometimes called sari quilts, are not made of rags, nor do they feature elaborately designed stitch patterns. But, they are fashioned from cloth that has been discarded and is ready for new life.

Quilt sizes

All of our kantha blankets are made from reclaimed saris, so the sizing is determined by the size of the original sari:

- Standard kantha throws are made from half the size of a sari: approximately 3.3ft x 6.6ft (1m x 2m). They are narrower and longer than many typical throws.

- Double kantha throws are made from one full sari on each side: approximately 6.6 ft x 6.6 ft (2m x 2m). They are square sized, and slightly smaller than a full/double bedding size (but could be used as such).

- Kantha small blankets (baby quilts) are half the length of a throw and a quarter of the size of a large throw. They are square sized, approx. 3.3ft x 3.3ft (1m x 1m).

Washing our blankets

Our cotton kantha quilts will not warp or change with washing, nor the low heat of a dryer. Gentle and limited washing (cold, gentle or hand wash, tumble on low) are recommended to extend the life of the blanket from wear.

For silk blend throws, dry cleaning is recommended.

Who makes the blankets?

We work exclusively on all of our textile products with Basha, HQ'd in the Mirpur district of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Basha is a generous, safe, kind & whole-hearted business that employs vulnerable and at-risk women in dignified, sustainable work.

Do you gift wrap?

Not exactly. We wrap our standard and small throws in paper tissue & twine; nice enough to send directly to any gift recipient.

Large throws are a bit more unwieldy and are trickier to wrap!

If you would like to include a message or greeting, though, we are happy to oblige! Just write your gift message in the box marked Gift Message" on your Cart page before checkout; we'd be happy to include it.