ralli quilts

by Grace Bonney

this past friday night new york city got a pretty serious tornado warning and i found myself home alone (ac was in atlantic city), huddled under my blankets. i don’t think i ever pay as much attention to my bedding as i do when i’m scared and think of it as some thin layer of protection. thankfully the storm passed without producing a tornado (i actually dragged out my bookbags in case i had to run down to the basement with the cats), but i was left thinking about blankets for a while. as much as i love my current blanket, it didn’t feel comforting enough. so when i saw these new ralli quilts at pergolina i thought they seemed way better for (emotional) storm-protection.

ralli quilts (also spelled rilli, rilly, rallee or rehli) are traditional quilts made by women in sindh, pakistan and western india. the quilts combine vintage fabric that is quilted together with fine hand-stitching and often feature bright colors and bold patterns. the name itself is taken from the word “ralanna”, meaning “to mix or connect”. i love the way that handmade quilts have a sort of warmth and comfort level that’s impossible to match with a machine made product. this collection of ralli quilts is made of of one-of-a-kind pieces that are about the size of a twin-size bed. it’s a bit of a bummer that they’d have to act as a secondary blanket for most people’s beds, but i’ve actually seen these stitched together to make a larger bed blanket and they look really phenomenal when combined. you can check out pergolina’s full collection of handmade ralli quilts right here. here’s hoping you won’t have to hide under yours for fear of a tornado….

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  • I have one of these quilts that I bought in Pushkar, Rajahstan. It is actually large enough for a queen size bed and is so beautiful. We shopped around for ages in the town (which has an excellent selection of traditional crafts, much better than the normal tourist tat that prevails in Delhi) for the right quilt and the shopkeeper told us that the craft is unfortunately changing. Women have less time to make the tiny stitches that they used to, so now the stiches are larger and the fabric is often of a lesser quality (can you really blame the women for taking less time to make tiny stitches? I can’t). Nevertheless, every quilt we saw was beautiful and unique. I would also like to say that they are actually really warm. We use ours as a bedspread over a down quilt in winter and then as the only blanket (with a top sheet) in spring and autumn. It is actually too warm to use it in the summer.

  • I have been thinking a lot about quilts, and more specifically the act of quilting lately.

    I am sure you’ve come across Fun Quilts at the ICFF before, right? They’re kind of a modern take on traditional quilts…

    Over the weekend, I noticed both my lands end and pottery barn catalogs were brimming with “vintage” quilts.

    Makes me wonder if there will be a bigger resurgence of this homespun look -?

    These ones you shared are great looking.


  • I definitely judge blankets with three qualifications: 1) is it washable and/or will hair or paw prints from my dog show up on it? 2) how good does it look in the morning sunlight when I wake up and see my dog and/or boyfriend curled up beside me in it? and 3) emotional protection. These are all valuable ways to find gorgeous quilts like these.

  • ralli #7’s impossibly pretty midnight+tomato hued duo is nothing short of perfect for our little humble abode and the many cozy movie nights on the couch :) many thanks for sharing this special find. love!
    sylvie of silver lining

  • there’s an organization called sari bari based in the red light district of kolkata, india that works with former prostitutes to make raali style quilts. i LOVE them, and have given them as gifts to just about everyone i think would appreciate them.


  • I spotted these in St Helena a few months ago and thought they’d be amazing window coverings for my baby’s room. As I recall they’re not too expensive, either.

  • These blankets definitely caught my attention! They are beautiful. They remind me of a friend of mine who works with women in India out of the red light district. They hand make blankets & bags from saris. Their work is really beautiful and proceeds help these women tremendously. Check out their stories & products at http://www.saribari.com.
    Thanks for this article!

  • Thank you D*S for posting our quilts. It is a HUGE honor. If anyone has any questions about the quilts, the store, etc. please don’t hesitate to contact me via

    Happy snuggles!