Kantha is perhaps the oldest form of Indian embroidery originating from the cities of Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Traditionally, women would take several old and used saris, layer them together and employ different running stitches to decorate them and crate unique quilts and blankets. The word kantha refers to the running stitch used in alternate or parallel repeats.
The running stitch/ kantha is the source of uniqueness of this type of embroidery because it creates a wondrous visual interest and amazing texture with the slightly wrinkled and wavy effect the fabric acquires. The kantha also emphasizes the Indian cultural principal of reusing and recycling old cloths and garments. Another interesting point is that the threads used for the embroidery are taken from the borders of saris, with which the life of used fabric is elongated and most often heirloom pieces are created.
The first kind is the Lep Kantha, which is used to make warm, padded quilts. Then there is the Sujani Kantha which is used to make bed covers for ceremonial occasions. Baiton Kantha is used on covers meant to wrap books and other precious objects.
Oaar Kantha is used on pillow covers, while Archilata Kantha is used for covering mirrors and usually comes with colorful motifs and borders. Durjani Kantha is small pieces used to make the insides of a wallet, and the last kind is the Rumal Kantha which is used to cover plates, and come with a lotus motif right in the center.
Resources I used to write this post:
1. Coveting Kantha
3. Kantha Embroidery