Swaddled Beginnings

Swaddled Beginnings

It’s easy to understand our emotional connection to textiles when you think that so many of us were wrapped in a white flannel blanket with classic blue and pink stripes moments after being born.  The medical community and more importantly parents recognize the calming effects of swaddling. My husband could do a wicked good “baby burrito”.

And, that piece of fabric that becomes so much more than just a blanket to our kids. Have you ever gone above and beyond to find your child’s misplaced “lovey” or “blankie”?  I personally have a few stories that involve UPS, chasing a school bus, and even calling hotels after returning home.

Then comes bedtime—the sacred ritual of tucking in your little ones. Covering them with a blanket or sheet before saying goodnight - reassuring them, telling them “I love you” and to sleep “safe and sound”.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to connect with fabric. It’s a universal concept too, that’s what's so cool.  

In SE Asia, there’s a thousand-year-old upcycling craft that turned discarded clothing and fabric remnants into beautiful quilts.  This is the textile that your Sapana blanket coat is made from.  The thought of living in a blanket, one that was made with intention to provide protection or use - that sounded really good to me. 

Women in Bangladesh and India, between running their households - managing kids and livestock, would repurpose worn saris or older dhotis (worn by men), by layering and stitching them together to create a kantha.

Kantha, in Sanskrit means rag - speaking to the repurposed fabrics used to create the quilt.  It also refers to the running stitch used to bind layers. Blankets that were used to swaddle infants, dowry gifts, rugs, bedding, hung to keep heat in or to block out the sun.  Kantha construction didn’t begin as an industry - this is the part I love.  It was born by industrious women working with materials on hand and their own skill so they could provide a resource for their family.

I feel like when something is made with intention, it’s no longer just an object - it becomes an expression of creativity, emotion, or personality.  When I found my first kantha, I was immediately drawn to the sincerity of the quilt. What if we repurposed that fabric once more preserving it’s history and appreciating it’s usefulness and how it was made? 

If you feel some sort of emotion when you put on your blanket coat, you might be sentimental.  Maybe someone who appreciates the artistry of these blankets. Or like me and a bit of both.

I’m excited to start telling you more about what I know about kanthas.  And I’m going into a deeper dive on these textiles as well - as I learn it, I’ll certainly share it!

Find a kantha quilt to love at SAPANA

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