Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, Japan

If you happen to be a Jewish quilter, or are a quilter with Jewish friends, you may already know that there are lots of Chanukah fabrics out there.  It's harder to find Passover fabric, and forget about Rosh Hashanah, or - what a concept! - Yom Kippur. (Atonement fabric?) 

Many Chanukah fabrics involve dreidels. As a result, Jewishly-interested quilters have waaaayyy too many dreidels. We're always looking for ways to use them up. 

Super-quilter Cheryl Lynch did a brilliant job reducing her stash by making fabric-intensive table runners, here. The blues look so wonderful together. 

Above and below are some fabric postcards I made for an online exchange a few years ago. It was not only a lot of fun, but also a tremendous dreidel-reduction opportunity. 

I started by making a large background of crazy-pieced Chanukah fabrics. Once all the pieces were joined, I painted them with a translucent Setacolor blue paint, so they all became a similar dark blue tone.

Then I cut the backgrounds into postcard sized pieces - just a little larger than 4" x 6"

Fused the background pieces onto a strong, thick, craft stabilizer, like Peltex, again cut slightly larger than 4" x 6". 

From unpainted Chanukah fabric, I cut out the dreidels, backed them with paper-backed fusible web, then fused and stitched them to the painted fabric rectangles.  Cut the cards to exact 4" x 6" size. Added embellishments. In the card above, on top of this article, I stenciled spirals, and stitched on small metal coins. 

The card below also features stenciled spirals and a crazy-pieced painted background. 

For the next card, I criss-crossed a translucent ribbon on the card, and stitched that dreidel smack-dab on the intersection.

Here, I appliqued three large stars, and stenciled small stars around them. 
After a bunch of cards like that, I needed something different. 

So I played around with foiling. In this card, the dreidel is created with a variegated silver foil. The message ('Hanukah sameach' = Happy Chanukah) is stenciled, as are the hands; there's a coin embellishment on the lower right.  
Foiling involves stenciling or painting a special glue onto the fabric, then ironing or rubbing a sheet of shiny colored foil to the sticky glue area. It's easy and a lot of fun, though, with a non-variegated foil, I can't say the effect is wildly different from using metallic paints. (Learn more about foiling here. No financial affiliation. I use Jones Tones foil paper and glue.)

Finally, I made a one-off. I had printed the lyrics to 'Rock of Ages' on fabric, for a different project, and didn't end up using it. I combined the lyrics with a sincere little guy from fabric I'd bought in Japan many years ago: 
I strongly suspect he's a marcher in a traditional Japanese festival. But he looks like he's as impressed by these lyrics as I am. Alternatively, he's eager to mop dreidel scuffs and chocolate gelt crumbs from the floor. 

Making fabric postcards is fun and addictive.  And they can serve as holiday decor/ornaments.  Tutorials abound, and I liked these two, at: 
If you're longing for your own dreidel fabrics, or other Jewish fabrics, my website has a list of shops that carry them. Start searching at

And, whatever you celebrate, may most of your dreidels (fabric, spiritual, or real), come up gimel (winner takes all!).

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