Kantha stoles are hand embroidered in kantha style of both east bengal (now Bangladesh) and west bengal in India.Bengal has an old tradition of Kantha embroidery. Kantha Embroidery enjoys international repute for the fineness of the fabrics woven in Dacca. With exquisite names like Running Water these were woven plain or patterned with thicker threads of white cotton providing opaque patterns on the fine cloth The jamdani again white on white, was woven by a brocading technique. The embroidery of Dacca followed the same process. The pallusand borders of Kantha sarees were finely embroidered with the motifs of the cypress, leaf and stem used by the weaver. Additionally the white on white was the natural colour of wild silk thread to provide richness and a light and shade effect to the work. Silver-gilt wire was sometimes used to enhance the effect.
The tratition Kantha stitches can be found in modern Kantha Sarees, dupattas and stoles. Chain stitch, back stitch, knot stitch, open work produced by lines of back stitch pulled to produce small holes are all used in the natural colour of the silk.
Kantha stoles today come in various types. The first type is handembroidered in silk in motifs of birds, and leaves. The second type is the reversible kantha stole. Made in soft cotton silk fabric these are first block printed to form the patterns and then these patterns are handembroidered. The reversible kantha stoles are extremly soft and can be worn around the neck with a western dress as well in addition to the Indian salwar kameez and kurtas
The same tradition of quilting and embroidery, though in a more folkish form has persisted inKantha Quilts of Bengal. The Kantha used as quilt, shawl, handkerchief, pillow cover, cover for mirror, combs and toilet articles, is made entirely by women and is a marvellous example of the recycling of waste material towards the production of artistic goods. Old, worn out sarees and dhotis are placed one above the other, the best ones on top, the rest providing the filling. The borders have previously been unpicked to yield the thread which would be used for the embroidery. The word Kantha itself means patched cloth.
Nakshi kantha is a very popular form of kantha embroidery.The colourful patterns and designs that are embroidered resulted in the name "Nakshi Kantha", which was derived from the Bengali word "naksha", which refers to artistic patterns. The early kanthas had a white background accented with red, blue and black embroidery; later yellow, green, pink and other colours were also included. The running stitch called "kantha stitch" is the main stitch used for the purpose. Traditionally, kantha was produced for the use of the family. Today, after the revival of the nakshi kantha, they are produced commercially.