Saturday, November 03, 2012

Another way to label a quilt

I hate labeling quilts, probably because I'm not very good at it. I should learn to print one on fabric, though I hate stitching those on. I had seen somewhere that a quilter had machine embroidered her label on the binding, and I thought I'd try something similar on the quilt I made for my husband. (You can see that quilt, the purple kaleidoscope, here.)

I used hand embroidery with 3 strands of floss. I wrote the words on the edge of a piece of paper and laid that next to the binding so I could get the spacing right. Nothing, not even a white pencil, showed up well, so I just tossed both paper and pencil and did freehand stitches. I got looser as I went, and I think it shows. This was much faster than making a traditional label, and I like the way it looks!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Challah covers

My daughter got married this summer and when her future mother-in-law invited me to a bridal shower last spring, I wanted to give her something personal but also something she would use. Something homemade, I thought, would be perfect, but nothing so big that it would be awkward for the newlyweds if it didn't suit their taste. I finally decided on challah covers.

 What are challah covers, you ask? On Friday night in Jewish homes, the sabbath is welcomed by lighting candles and saying blessings over the wine and bread. The traditional challah, a braided bread rich with eggs, is covered with a decorated cloth.

This challah cover says, in Hebrew, shabbat shalom -- peaceful sabbath. I think Hebrew letters are absolutely gorgeous, but I don't read Hebrew and so I wasn't at all sure that I could make free pieced letters that would still be recognizable. My son-in-law's family are Israeli and would definitely know if I botched the Hebrew, so I was pretty nervous about this. Google to the rescue! I saw this fabulous challah cover on Malka Dubrawsky's blog, A Stitch in Dye. Armed with that and free piecing techniques I learned from Tonya Ricucci (see her book, Word Play), I stitched this up. I love the colors! Now that I know it's legible and actually really and truly says "shabbat shalom," I may try another that's a little wonkier. How much fun would that be?

The design of this batik challah cover has a history. In one of the Renaissance synagogues still standing in the Ghetto Nuovo in Venice, there are floor tiles set in a design that I copied (above). But the tile was laid with an obvious mistake in one of the sections, as a reminder that only God is perfect. Check out the lower left block here and you'll find the mistake. As I told my daughter, I sketched the tiles from memory (no photos were allowed) and may not have gotten the basic block quite right -- but after all, only God is perfect!

The third challah cover I made from the Circle of Life I posted about here. I knew when I posted about it that I wanted to turn it into a challah cover, but didn't say anything because I didn't want to spoil the surprise! I'm thinking of turning the small kaleidoscope quilt in my last post into a challah cover, too.