Kantha Cushion by Margaret Light

7th April 2023

If you have seen any of our adverts for the new book ‘A Fine Tradition 2’ you would have read the line ‘Margaret Light is taking us on another adventure…’

As catchy and intriguing as that sounds, when you begin to unpack the incredible diversity and cultural richness covered in this book, that promotional line quickly becomes an understatement.

It would have been more accurate to have said that Margaret Light is taking us on an odyssey of a lifetime! Or a cultural experience of epic proportions.

This week, as we began to write this article about the featured project ‘Kantha Cushion’ we became completely immersed in Indian culture.

We read Margaret’s introduction to this piece on page 23 in the book where she gives a brief history of Kantha Embroidery, shares how she purchased an original mid-20th century kantha bedspread to study and visited early examples of the work in UK museums.

From there we began our own deep dive into Kantha Embroidery visiting fascinating websites such as Dehli based House of Wandering Silk where we discovered beautiful phrases such as:

‘Kantha was never commissioned by kings, nor ordered by landed gentry, but passed down in learning and dowry from mother to daughter’. (source)

As well as:

‘Kanthas are repositories of memories of particular makers, givers, recipients, and owner.’


We also learned that “While the word kantha has no certain etymological root, it is believed to be derived from the Sanskrit word kontha, meaning rags”.

And to really help teleport us to the streets of India, we played Bengali music all the while we were writing this piece, with the rest of the Inspirations office wondering what on earth we were doing!

Why are we sharing all of this with you instead of telling you about the project itself?

In case you don’t already know, needlework has to be one of the greatest endeavours one can ever pursue.

Thanks to Margaret Light we have lost ourselves to the moment of learning everything that Kantha Embroidery has to offer and this is all before we even pick up our needle and thread.

And to that point, Kantha is predominantly worked in straight stitch with running patterns that radiate around the design in such a way you stitch a little bit of each element as you go. It’s a technique that is easy to learn and fast to stitch with. Everything about it is continuous and flows in a beautiful motion.

So much more to say, so much more to share, but perhaps our best advice is to encourage you to go on your own journey to discover more about Kantha. This is such a wonderful project for so many reasons and in case you can’t tell… we are totally smitten by it!

Make Your Own Kantha Cushion

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Kantha Cushion by Margaret Light is a colourful combination of traditional and modern motifs using a range of Kantha Embroidery stitches.

Printed Books

A Fine Tradition 2

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Kantha Cushionn includes everything* you need to re-create these charmingly naïve motifs: Fabrics (unprinted), sewing thread, needles, embroidery thread and needles.


Kantha Cushion – AFT2 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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