Kantha, meaning patched cloth is a running stitch worked on a 'lep' - for use as a light quilt or for wrapping household valuables and gifts.
Old white sarees or dhotis are layered and sewn together at the edge to prepare the fabric. Coloured threads are painstakingly extracted from old saree borders and used for the actual embroidery. Geometric, floral and , figurative designs are surrounded by rows of intricate borders in a darn stitch which recreates the woven saree border.
Finally, the background is covered with minute white quilting stitches encircling the designs and giving the Kantha a rippling effect.Today Kantha has evolved as embroidery on sarees, dupattas and even bedspreads etc on new material, without the second layer. Apart from the traditional designs, new designs based on 'Alpana' have been added.