Saami Ralli Quilts

A different kind of quilt that uses a Kantha running stitch is a Ralli quilt.  There are many variations of ralli quilts which typically include patchwork and applique designs.  Pictured below are examples of a very specific kind of ralli, known as Saami Ralli. Saami ralli quilts are made by the nomadic Saami who travel the many regions of the Thar Desert in their yearly migrations between Iran and India, mostly along the India-Pakistan border.  Made from recycled cotton cloth that has been hand dyed and layered much like regular Kantha quilts, Saami rallis are readily identified by their intricate, multi-colored stitching over a solid background, typically in a concentric rectangular pattern.  Folk embroidery of this kind is a centuries-old tradition among nomadic tribes, with much time taken in the hard life of the tribal women for the preparation of a bride’s dowry- having many ralli quilts is an indicator of wealth and status. Stitching these quilts is a communal project, with several women gathered in something like a quilting bee to work together on the quilt.