Sunday, October 9, 2016

Kvelling Over Hat and Hebrew Quilt "Grandbabies"

Every so often, I get an email with the subject line "Your newest grandchild!" These announcements don't come from my own kids, which is a probably a relief, because they're 18-to-23 and single.

Instead they come from my friend Linda Horowitz, a businesswoman and humorist, who loves making over-the-top kippot from the patterns in my yarmulke how-to book.  She especially likes to make personalized, reversible lined kippot with 12 fabrics (plus buttons and charms.)  A couple of months ago, she made the hat below for a friend's rabbinical ordination. There are six panels on the outside....

And six more on the inside....

Her giftee is involved in Jewish summer camp (so there's a camp fabric); "edible Judaism" (pumpkins); sun-and-wheat for counting the omer; a dove of peace button on a Jerusalem fabric; a tree fabric (Tree of Life/Tree of Knowledge - both work), with an apple button, which, she notes, could also be a teacher's apple; a G-clef charm; and much more. The binding is black denim with gold musical notes.  

I thought I couldn't be prouder, but shortly afterwards, Linda sent me another baby picture! It was for the following 4-panel kippah she made for her son, who is starting freshman year at Butler University in Indiana. The school mascot is a bulldog.
This hat didn't come as a total surprise - Linda had visited my home to print a bunch of bulldogs onto a pretreated sheet of fusible-backed printer fabric. Our printout looked like this:

She then cut out two of the dog heads, and fused them to a satin white fabric. She hired a professional machine embroiderer to spell out "Butler" in Hebrew (under the dog's head), her son's Hebrew name, and "Go Dawgs!" (The embroideries cost her $10/panel.) She cut the fabric into four panels, and stitched them together to make the kippah.

But wait,  there are more new grandbabies! They're not hats; they're quilts, and they're Canadian! (so I may need to move in with them after the election.) A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Susan Podlog, who lives in Calgary - and it contained this photo:
Left to right: Leslie Levant, Nadine Waldman, Deb FinklemanCarolyn Devins, Polina Ersh, Myrna Ichelson holding a challah cover by Lily Joffe
This group of women - members of the Alberta-based Rimon Calgary chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework -  made quilts from my Hebrew Aleph Bet pattern. Their finished projects range from simple alphabets to challah (bread) covers to a "welcome" sign for a synagogue office.

What makes this astonishing to me is that some of these ladies were beginners to paper piecing and even to machine sewing! Tackling my paper piecing patterns without a little experience can be daunting. For example, here's the letter Aleph:

It makes this:

... Fortunately, this group of stitchers includes Polina Ersh, "a phenomenal quilter and paper piecing maven," explains chapter member Susan Podlog. "Polina has the patience of Job, and was so gracious in sharing her knowledge. We so appreciated her willingness to be a teacher!"

One of the Polina's most helpful tips, Susan reports: Use the "Add a Quarter" ruler to trim seam allowances as you go. My pattern does not include information about this tool, but I just found a very clear tutorial here. (This tutorial is from the ruler's inventor, Carolyn Cullinan McCormick. No financial affiliation!)

The group also gave me some very lovely feedback on the patterns. One of the women wrote,
"I do remember thinking it was good that I'd done a previous paper-piecing project. I guess I'd say it might be tough for novices without some guidance.  But I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and very glad that Cathy made this pattern. It's something the world needed!
What more could a grandmother ask for?  Well, a human grandchild would be nice, eventually....meanwhile, I'll just sit here in the dark.

A blog post with more about aleph bet quilts is here.  Patterns are on my Judaiquilt website, here. and my Etsy shop.  If you make something from one of my patterns, please send a birth announcement! We will both kvell!

P.S. Many more Judaica patterns, in many different mediums are available to members of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework. You'll make new friends and learn new techniques - it's all good!

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