The new issue of Threads (Sept 2003) has an intriguing article on repeat and reverse embellishments. For those of you who have NOT been following the “Vestments” thread, I am a Catholic Sister in Los Angeles and I have a hobby of making Liturgical Vestments. I am still at the amateur stage, but having fun. We use a long stole in our services, that hangs down the front to mid-shin level, and meets in a mitered point at the back. These are often embellished with designs. It seems that this braid embellishment would be a fun project for a stole or even the front of a chasuble.
Two questions occur to my pragmatic little brain…
1) What is the best way to stabilize this? I have not embroidered long pieces that hang, and I assume the weight of the embroidery/embellishment pulls the fabric quite a bit.
2) Liturgy is messier than it looks! I don’t make things so that they can hang in closets and not get used! This creation will have to get cleaned. Do all this little beads, etc. dry clean well? Words of wisdom, anyone?
The article indicates that King uses a flannel weight fabric as stabilizer behind the braid. I would think that the actual stabilizer would be determined by the weight of the face fabric.
Cleaning.....well, the more heavily embellished, the less likely you will be able to clean it successfully. Could the embellishment be done on a separate piece, and then hand-stitched to the stole? Then it could be removed for cleaning the rest of the stole.
For the weight problem, you could counter-weight the front by putting something weighty on the back like a heavy tassel.
re: tassels. Boy did I get an earful from a priest about tassels on the back of things. People who make vestments think they are pretty. Priests who sit against hard-backed chairs think they are a pain in the, um....... kidneys.
How about a medallion instead of a tassle? How about repeating a theme from the front in a padded and or weighted freestanding applique - If the vestment is for a particular season, the medallion could reflect that..
I make tallitot - which are thejewish older cousin of the vestments that you make.. usualy the draping of a tallit in the back provided loads of visual interest in the back.. how much does a priest have his back to the congregation??? (didn't that change with vatican II???) anyway, it might be nice for the congregation to have something that furthers the religious message on the back of the vestment... I could see a celtic cross, or one of the other many variations on crosses as a medallion or one of the many other christian symbols.. fish, doves, or allusions to the trinity or perhaps to the saint's symbol for the church in which the mass were being conducted.. (OK, i was an art history major and was steeped in christian symbols)
sarah in nyc
You forced me to go to google and learn about tallitot. Thank you! If you had written, "prayer shawl" I would have made the immediate association, but I would have never learned how much artistry is being employed in making them. My immediate association is white/off-white with stripes across. There is some beautiful work out there--do you have photos of your work? I would love to see what you are doing.
here are photos of some of my tallitot. i hope they actually get posted. All of these were special orders.
the blankie tallit was made for an adult batmitzvah whose 4 year old son wanted his blankie to be part of the tallit.
the multi colored tallit was done for a mark a rabbi's new pulpit.
the tallit with the brocade was made for a woman whose mother escaped to shanghai during WWll. She bought the brocade just before she left for the states..
all the best
They are all lovely--the brocade and the multicolored are exquisite! It is touching that people are wrapping themselves in their personal history/family life when they come to prayer. A group of us happened to be at the retreat house a few years ago when some people who escaped through Shanghai were gathering for a reunion. We'll NEVER forget that experience--what a testimony to guts and determination!
Beautiful! The colors are wondeful and I love the tassels and lace. They must be fun to make. rjf
Thanks for your kind words. The tassels are actually what turns the item into a tallit. The fringes are wrapped and tied in a set pattern that is determined by where your family originates from. (it is actually a bit more complicated than that but this is not a forum on Jewish law but rather about sewing.. so if folks want to discuss the various tzitzit (fringe) tying traditions they should feel free to email me privately.)
I love that each tallit is created individualy for each client and ties in to who they are or what their history is. Often I use the tallit making experience as a way to hook folks into the laws and meanings of the traditions...
sarah in nyc
Sarah - fringe tying tradition! Wonderful. I don't see how that isn't part of a forum like this. We're about fibre art - knitting, sewing, ... For the people who love the history of these things (ever see/hear knitters talk about the history of their particular style of needle use? we're nuts!), learning about things like 'fringe tying tradition' is what makes these boards interesting.
Please do talk about this more. I know I can read about this, but hearing from someone who works with the tradition means so much more to me.
It is like hearing Sr. Tracey talk about her work. Hearing it from her added SO much to my understanding.
(rant over. thank you. carry on)
I started the braid embellishments thread because I was aware that a lot of creative stuff was happening under the heading of "vestments." There are a number of different religious traditions, and a number of approaches to religion among the people logging onto this message board and I didn't want to make the fact that I am crazy about religion(s), and very Catholic, dominate the discussion. I am equally crazy about Fiber Arts!
Now that I have said that, I have to say that there is a heck of a lot of beautiful work created around religious traditions. I recently had the opportunity to tour the synagogues of Rome and Florence, in Italy. The museums hold the most beautiful scroll covers I have ever seen. The workmanship in them is incredible, and nothing being done today in embroidery compares to them (in my humble opinion). I think the same could be said of a lot of churches in Europe, where the best pieces of fiber arts in their history are preserved in their museums.
I too would be interested in hearing the history of knot tying and the significance of it. I don't know what kind of title we could give to the thread, but it would be fun and fascinating to discuss the relationship between religion and fiber arts, as long as we can keep it open to people of all religious persuasions.
This is part of what prompted my first postings about Tapa cloth--I was hoping that someone would prevent me from commiting a cultural/religious faux pas with the Tapa! What are we saying when we are playing with fabrics and symbols from other cultures?
Oops--this is long winded and kind of preachy. I apologize. I have been away from my fabrics for two whole days now. Confession: I bought some fabric today that I am shipping home. This will be a long two months! :)
This is a very long explination of tallit and tzitzit, jewish prayer shawls and fringe.. if you have no interest in the matter.. feel free to skip this posting.
OK, The scriptural source for the fringes or tzitzit,comes from the book of Numbers... the translation is mine
"And God spoke to Moses saying. Speak to the children of israel and tell them to put fringes on the corners of their garments for ever. And they should put in the corner of the fringe a blue thread. And you should have the fringes, and see them and remember all of God's commandments, and you shoud do them, so you won't go wandering after your hearts and after your eyes for the things you lust after. In order that you remember and will do all of my commandmentsand be holy to your God. ..."
so the deal is that any four cornered garmemt is to have fringes in the corners. Some folks will make sure that if they wear a four cornered garment that they don't intend to be a tallit will knot or fold in one corner so it is not fully a four cornered garment.
A tallit is a wearable mnemonic device to help you remember the laws of the torah and to remind you to behave properly. the fringes are the most important part.There are 4 strands that are folded in half to make up each fringe (8 strands total) there are a series of five knots separated by wraps. (one strand is left long to do the wrapping)
additonally there are verses from psalms that are traditionally recited while you put on the tallit - They evoke a different sense of what a tallit is all about
"lovlieness and glory do you wear. you spread out the light like a garment, spread the sky like a curtain"
" Human beings are sheltered in the shadows of Your wings"
So wearing a tallit also has the sense of recreating God's act of creation - as well as symbolizing being protected by the presense of God.
I love the multitudes of meaning as well as the ambiguity inherent in the act of wrapping oneself in a tallit. additionally, there is a Chassidic teaching, that God's tallit is our prayers.. so the entire question of ,who is wrapping up what in what , is deliciously unclear and changing.
the wrapping /knotting pattern varies by tradition.. most jews who spent the diaspora in northern europe (Ashkenazim) do a series of 7, 8 11 and them 13 wraps. Many jews whose families originated in spain (sepharadim) use a pattern that uses the numeralogical value of each of the letters of the tetragrammaton - god's holiest name.. 10,5,6, 5. I'm not sure of the actual reason behind the ashkenazi custom.. I have not been happy with the reasons I have seen for it.. they don't quite make sense to be within standard Jewish legal reasoning. but it is the one I use more often - because it is te tradition used by most of the Jews I deal with.
The strands can be made in the same fiber as the tallit, or more often in specially spun wool. You can purchase pre cut sets of strands for tying the fringes in any Judaica store ( the fringes will often wear out before a tallit and will need to be replaced - this is not a difficult task. It is common to say a small intentional prayer when tying the fringes. (this is Judaism, and not Christianity so the text is set - We are not into free form prayer)
Now for the blue thread, the dye for the blue thread came from the murex, a shellfish found off the coast of syria. use of the dye was outlawed for commoners during the time of the roman empire (where it was used only for royalty) additionally the animal may have become close to extintion.. so for many centuries the blue thread morphed into the dark blue or black stripes in the body of the tallit. now it is possible to purchase fringes (or tzitzit as they are known in hebrew) made with the blue dye. you can purchase them on the internet - you can find it if you do a google search for the word techelet - which is the technical name for the blue. the sites wil also tell you additional tying/wrapping patterns. Some of the patterns are so complicated i have no idea of how to figure them out - the patterns are minority opinions on how the wrapping should go - but as the nature of Jewish law is.. we keep all minority opinions.. even if we don't follow them.
Various localities had different traditions for striping patterns for their tallitot. there is a factory in brooklyn that will make you a tallit based on the village your ancestors came from. in my work i have also learned that there have been various fashions in tallitot over the years.there was a silk tallit industry that existed in China before WW l. With the flowering of the '60's cruncy granola whole earth catalog lifestyle there has been a terrific flowering of creativity in the look of tallitot over the past 35 years.
Well, that should do for now.. again, feel free to ask any other questions...
sarah in nyc
ohhhh - and thank you for sharing the photos - the work ( and back story ) is wonderful. =; D
Your tallitot are gorgeous. When my rather traditional synogogue became egalitarian not long before my daughter's Bat Mitzvah we both bought talitot. There are so many beautiful ones now. A friend of a friend makes talitot in Brooklyn and she bought one from her. it is exquisite but totally different from yours. There is so much room for creativity now in a traditional craft.
Thanks for sharing,
Thanks! I'm so glad that you like my work! who is your friend who makes the tallitot???
I'm starting to work on the tallit for my son's barmitzvah.. it will be pretty amazing when we get it done.
some beads dry clean well - if they are glass, and have no coating on them, they should be fine. Plastic beads, and beads with plastic coatings on them do not do well! Sequins are almost all coated anymore... The old true silver sequins are impossible to find unless you take them off of a thrift store find, and something that old will probably not be thrifty!
why not just put a curtain weight in the back hem of the stole to counterbalance? I would be much flatter than a tassel!
Thank you on both counts! I did not think of glass beads, and I can do without sequins. The curtain weight is perfect--I can put one in each side of the mitered corner in the back of the stole. I will be in an antique-area for the next couple of months and I bet I can find some cool medallions, too!
I've been following this thread now for some time and I give up! I need to ask about the mitered corner......my brain doesn't let me see it. I thought you said sew one corner in the back but I don't then see how it falls over the shoulders to lie straight down the front. What have I missed ? rjf
Sarah - thank you for sharing that. It was really interesting. I think I will do some more reading on tallit and fringe tying. You really whetted my appetite!
If you look at a standard shawl, or the tallitot (prayer shawls) that Sarah is making, you see that a straight piece of fabric causes the sides to wrap around the upper arm, instead of coming up over the shoulders and lying flat. As soon as you bring the pieces of the shawl up over the shoulder, it bunches or kind of loops in the back. The mitered corner pulls the loop/bunching together and causes the shawl to lie flat on the back, while still pulling the sides up over the shoulders and down the front. I am in the desert, lost in the land of dissertation (hopefully not for forty years!), otherwise I would send a picture.
Does this make sense, or did I completely miss your point (Hi Betsy, "mitered point"!)?
No, you didn't miss my point but I think I'm missing a point. I keep seeing it as needing two miters so it lies straight across the back and then goes up over the shoulders. One miter gives a right angle and that wouldn't lie right. Ah-ha! The miter might not be right angle! And then it would work I think. Am I getting closer? rjf
ps. I don't see how you can work on a dissertation and sew at the same time. I'd get so involved with one, I'd forget the other. Good for you if you can make it work.
Now you have it! The angle is maybe 45 degrees. I don't have my work here...
I got to working on vestments because I was involved in some work that didn't take a whole lot of time, but it sucked up a whole bunch of emotional energy. The creative work of vestments relaxed me and made the other stuff possible. The vestments really are a hobby, and that will have to shift to a couple of hours on Sundays....play time! I have my sketchbook and my camera with me now, so that I don't totally lose my mind! :)
Reverting back to your original question, I noticed that in the actual 'Threads' demo, that he actually states that the fabric is backed with 'felt' - which IMO would make sense, since felt has a certain thickness which could hold the weight of the embellishment.
Greetings from Jerusalem,
I will have to go back to look at the article. I read it in a hurry the first time through. I am going to assume that there is a dressmakers' felt that is somewhat lighter-weight than crafters' felt?
Unfortunately, I can't be too helpfull on this one (although I am aware that felt does come in various thicknesses,) this is one (of many) items that I haven't been able to locate over here.
Just out of curiosity however, do you have any information as to the origins of the use (or symbolism) of vestments?
I have some information that is dated. One of my current projects is to see if anyone is doing any recent research on the topic. When I have something, I'll post it!
I am learning that when I travel I should seek out the textile specialties of a region. We found some beautiful trimmings in Italy this summer. I am nosing around antique malls here in Maryland/Pennsylvania. I would LOVE to get my hands on some old vestments so that I can incorporate the quality into more up-to-date vestments. What are the special textiles that one would find in Jerusalem?
The only thing that comes to mind are the old Bedouin dresses that are very finely and quite exquisitely embroidered with cross stitching. What is interesting to note is their tradition of patterns which they use. Due to the simplicity of their lifestyle, Bedouins usually cannot afford 'luxurious' fabrics however, young girls (usually round the age of 12 yrs,) commence making these dress which ultimately become their own trousseau outfits.
These dresses can sometimes be purchased second hand in the Old City, however, my mother has found some beauties for next to nothing in the market in Be'er Sheva.
These she has dismantled and (having laundered them) has used the embroidery in a variety of projects. Among other things, she has made the most exquisite 'Tallis bags' - these are very ornamental bags that are made in order to place the 'prayer shawls' when they are not being used.
As ultra-orthodox Jews, the only tradition we have in embellishment (of fabric) are the covers of the Torah scrolls and the fabric that is used to tie the Torah scroll (in order to prevent it from unraveling,) as well as and the curtain that covers the arc that house the Torah scrolls (which imitates the curtain that covered the 'Holy of Holies' in the Temple) plus various day to day objects such as Challah Covers and tallis bags.
However, generally, we go out of our way to dress in as modest a manner as possible as not to draw attention to ourselves, hence, most men will be seen to be wearing dark suits and white shirts and women will refrain from wearing colors that will make her 'stand out' (such as red) We keep our hair covered at all times and wear modest clothes. Hence because of our tradition, there is very little likelihood of finding 'Special textiles.'
That doesn't mean that beautiful fabrics aren't to be found.......just that these would be no more special than what would be found anywhere else.
ST, I somehow lost notification of postings in the "Vestments" area. The last I knew, you were giving up sewing for a while. (a little while?) I'm glad to see that it seems to be part of your thesis work so that you are not going cold turkey. Now to everyone who is interested in liturgical garments or other threadwork involved in religious practices, I was trying to skirt religious aspects in my earlier messages, not knowing what was appropriate on line. It now sounds like I'm not alone in my interest in the origins of- and current use/role of textiles in religious contexts. Understanding allows us to appreciate and respect others' worlds. I have found all of these discussions enriching and appreciate all of you who have shared your traditions. Thank you! Would it make sense to start a Forum heading for liturgical sewing? Does that appropriately describe these areas of sewing? (Carol Fresia, can you help us?) I have visited a site where banners representing various Unitarian Universalist congregations are shown which I found to be helpful. (I'll be working with a senior high youth group to identify how they would like to represent their group. Regarding stoles, there is an organization called 10,000 villages that has stores in many areas. In the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, there is a shop with a basket holding a variety of clerical stoles. All were hand made;some were hand woven, some silk screened, some applique'd, some patchworked, from just as many cultures. I thought of all of you! (NB, ST, no puns! Will you be coming back through Ohio?) Betsy
I thought you were in some rehab clinic for punsters and you would have to give us up as part of your therapy! :) Welcome back!
I think we can just start a thread with the title you suggested--look at how far we got on "vestments". Would love to hear from people of other religious backgrounds--what would be the most welcoming title, so that people who are not Christian would be tempted to peek in on the discussion and maybe contribute?
I did nose around a bit on the history and symbolism of vestments. So far the answer I am getting from those who specialize in the field is that there is little out there, that what has been published is dated. Hmmmm...post-dissertation project? Textiles in worship, or something like that? I have a few small leads, maybe I'll find someone who is working on this already.
I think I will not be back through Ohio anytime soon....
If you ever do that post-doctoral project on Vestments, let me know. I have long wanted to do interviews with female clergy and female religious lay leaders about vestments and their meaning to them, and put it together in an oral history form. Ideally with a series of hand made/hand woven/hand embellished vestments to illustrate the work. I see it as a small exhibition--touring church fellowship halls and university libraries near you.
A few years ago I mentioned this desire to my weaving teacher at the Community College and she told me it's been done, but I've never seen it.
Oh, now that sounds like fun! I think I'll start collecting stuff as I run across it!
Edited 8/5/2003 7:51:48 AM ET by ST
Does making cornices to replace circus-like banner-ish window treatments in a dark church hall count as liturgical needlework? If so, I could use a little divine intervention to stretch the 6 motifs I have on two remnants into 7 usable motifs. OK, I'll be delighted if the additional piece I just ordered from Massachussetts matches my color lots. Please keep your fingers crossed. About titles/themes for this area of needlework, the term "sacred threads" comes to mind. I can't tell you from whence it came, perhaps a meeting in Columbus, Ohio? Does this sound familiar to anyone? I'm off to wrestle with applying a tab-piping to the bottom of first valance. I exchanged the 1/2" recommended for a slightly smaller diameter and will straighten out the suggested scallop a bit. Talk about the little project that grew...
"Sacred threads" works! That pulls in the prayer shawls (tallitot), vestments, stoles, kippiot, etc!
Googling on sacred threads pulled up 76,000 hits. This was among them
An Asian Religions Curriculum for High School Youth
by Jeff Liebmann
I googled. Most of the links seem to be related to four things: 1) a store that handles clothing from India, 2) A high school world religions curriculum that seems to have nothing to do with textiles, 3) a Hindu tradition that involves something called "sacred threads" and 4) a spirituality that ties quilting into spirituality.
There was also a book that sounds kind of neat:
Sacred Threads: Ceremonial Textiles of Southeast Asiaby Textile Friends of Singapore
I think we can use Sacred Threads!
I'd lost track of this thread but Thursday nite I saw pictures of some beautifully hand woven vestments that I thought you might like to look at. They were done by the daughter of a fellow weaving guild member and she certainly was justifiably proud. Here's the address: http://sbweavingdesigns.com/ rjf
(In your spare time, of course)
Oh, I have plenty of spare time right now, because I have just thrown the whole dissertation into the trashcan. Not really, but I am so frustrated with the chapter I am working on that I will take ANY excuse for a distraction! :)
Thank you for the link!
ST, this sounds like a good time to get out the needle and thread (if you haven't arranged for a sewing machine) and do some stitching. Failing that, I usually find ironing gets me through the rough patches. I had a pretty well-maintained wardrobe when I was writing my dissertation, and I might even have ironed my then-fiance's shirts at that time.
Or just send that chapter up to me and I'll whip it into shape for you. Heh heh heh...But honestly, I did once have to turn a 64-pp. manuscript into a 4-page article. It's a lot easier when there are no footnotes involved, though.
Needle and thread might be a good idea! Right now I have the best-polished shoes in the state of Maryland! :)
Well, I got to thinking about your habit, and realized you probably don't have that much ironing to do, so a needle and thread might be in order. This seems like a good time to practice the Kenneth King braid embellishment.
And remember the old grad school motto: "The only good dissertation is a done dissertation." Gosh, sometimes I miss the free-form days of plowing through interesting old books in the library, but I don't miss the writing-up part at all. Good luck!Carol
Her work is incredible! I like the chasubles, but I LOVE her stoles! I printed the webpages for future reference. This is motivation for finishing this stupid chapter so that I can get back to fun projects!
Writing is painful! It's much easier to produce a paper in mathematics because the conciser, the better. And you don't usually have to worry about the spelling. I admire you for your efforts and hope it won't be too much longer to finish. Does anyone ever feel it's just right and it's done? rjf
If I had to produce a paper in mathematics, it would be a very short paper! :)
this morning, I got my first" notification of a threads posting " in a very long time. I was awed, inspired, and uplifted by the exquisite weaving, then confused by the posting date of Aug. 12 or thereabouts. What's going on here? My sympathies to your dissertation frustration, but I think I'd like to read what you threw out the window. It's probably much more interesting than the informational sheets I've been trying to put together, all based on information I don't have. As for the bundle of postings I just rec'd,
what is crackle weaving (correct phrase? crackle something!)
Well, Betsy, if you have not logged onto Gatherings since the 12th of August, you can't be THAT frustrated with your work. :) There have been days that I have logged on about every thirty minutes! Where have you been? I was beginning to think that you had found some other nun to talk to....
I am past my frustration with writing. I managed to get one chapter completely revised and off to my director. That revision has made the next revisions much easier and I have a good sense of what the finished product will look like. Finally.
My computer has a tummy ache and has gone off to the doctor and I am borrowing a friend's. THAT caused a bit of anxiety....
The braid embellishment project that started this thread is moving along slowly. The rattail in anything other than very basic colors is hard to find, but I found a source in the DC area (everybody's source--G Street!).
Aren't you in Ohio? Did you get hit by the power outage?
Good luck with your writing...
A rattail source, if you are still looking, might be Baer Fabrics in Louisville, KY. They are wonderfully helpful over the phone, and seem to have a wide assortment of stuff, housed in an old, wooden floored building.
Where I have been is working on window treatments for a church we joined last year. OK, so I couldn't wait a full year before I attacked, but it seems to be OK with everyone. I'm now onto a bare little powder room, making a skirt for the sink and another window treatment, far more simple than the first 7, but I'm still trying to accomplish the jobs with whatever I can find:" inexpensive and now" is my motto, kind of like the "hot and now" fast food chain. If that is the best they can say about the food, it makes me wonder...
My other project is making labels for a book puppet I made for our elementary school library. The librarian wanted something to demonstrate the placement of the title, author, call number, bar code, etc. I had sewn velcro dots onto the puppet, and she tried to glue the matching dots onto laminated labels. The velcro didn't stay on the plastic. Today, I plan to print the words onto butcher paper-backed fabric. I'll then sew those onto felt rectangles to the back of which I've sewn velcro. These topics hardly fit whatever category we started in, but here we are, and I welcome any ideas for this label thing. I haven't printed yet! Thanks, Betsy
Betsy, what did the librarian use to glue the velcro dots onto the laminated labels? Have you tried a hot-melt glue gun?
In one of my past life phases I was the national quartermaster for a veteran's organization and some stuff that I needed in small quantities I had to make myself because it wasn't cost effective to have them manufactured. One of those was badges that clipped into the pockets of men's blazers for our "Sons of..." sub-organization. I used the embroidered patches that were used on their hats and color jackets and applied them to the plastic pocket clips with hot-melt glue. It was fast, easy, and it worked. I tried about eight different adhesives before I learned about hot melt. It is the best thing I've found for adhering fabric to non-porous surfaces.
to Tish and ST, Thanks for excellent ideas for attaching book puppet labels. There are times when I go spinning off on one tangent without a single look at "the big picture". This afternoon, I pulled some white felt scaps from 18 penguin costumes I made years ago (talk about past lives!), grabbed a Sharpie marker, and had a label in about 30 seconds. "duh!" It stuck to the velcro dots I'd sewn to the puppet, probably better than felt to a traditional flannel board. I'm not sure that I can get my hand printing sized down and legible enough for the small "call number" area, but the method is good for the larger labels... and it's simple! The hot glue gun is another excellent idea. In my costume past, I was the sewing advocate, but saw the glue gun work miracles. Thanks for the suggestions.
As for the simple scarf window treatment I've been working on, I finished the sewing, folded the piece into pleats , and draped it around a shirt hanger for the time being. What did it look like but a clerical stole! Readers, we're back to "sacred threads" again!Thanks to whomever traced the phrase "Sacred Threads". When I saw your listing of the author Jeff Lieberman, the connection was made: that book is sitting on my desk as a possible unit of study for my senior high youth group. Is this a Zen moment... realizing that I'm supposed to be working up this year's curriculum (rather than sewing)? I tried to interest the students in making a textile hanging to represent their beliefs, either personally or as a group, but they didn't seem too excited. Hmmm. I think I'll go look for that glue gun. Thanks, all.
Glad to hear the writing goes well. We don't seem to mind the effort if there's hope for success. I guess getting one chapter finished sets the pattern for what follows and that makes it easier. rjf
I'm the crackle weaver and I'm not sure how it got it here either but I think I had been sending messages to "ST" in this thread and she was responding to a photo I posted in the picture gallery. It's a kind of weave where the texture and and color changes from small block to small block. It does have a lot of texture and if one plans the threading properly, lots of color changes so I guess it looks kind of crackly. The terminology of weaving is a little strange...." We sley the reed after we thread the heddles" Who would know??? That's part of the charm for me, I think, because I like to think I'm carrying on an old tradition although that wasn't the original intention. I like the planning and the picky parts(threading 240 heddles) and solving the equipment problems and the actual weaving and taking it off the loom. I love all my cones of yarn and the shape of my shuttles and the warp sticks(so smooth) and even the roll of wallpaper that gets wound in with the finished cloth to keep it smooth. There are endless possibilities and, often, happy accidents. Who could resist? rjf
Thanks! The terms convey a magical, mystical spirit which I think weaving deserves. The woven liturgical pieces are exquisite; thanks for posting them! Betsy
It is strange that the velcro did not stick. Was the librarian using old velcro? I don't have my toys with me, but there is some stuff that you can get to keep vases and lamps, etc. from scratching furniture. It is an adhesive-backed felt. Would that stick to the scratchy part of the velcro? If I were at home, I would try this out before suggesting it.
It sounds like you are doing a lot of work for something that should be pretty easy.
Another thought--could you sew buttons onto the puppets and cut "button holes" through the laminaged paper?
Wow! Wow! and Wow!
I really want to get closer to those - they are wonderful pieces of art and craft.
Isn't she something? And her mother is a wonderful weaver too! Everything is perfect and she has a great eye for color. For our Christmas bazaar, she knits teeny, tiny sweaters in Fair Isle and with cables for tree ornaments and she weaves elegant bookmarks from sewing thread. You know how you meet someone and discover you're on the same wave length? rjf
Oh *MY*! That's weaving, isn't it? It makes me feel embarrassed by the slow rate of my progress. I loved the seasons stoles.
"slow rate of progress...."
I have the same feeling! I plan a zillion things (and purchase thread for same) but each one seems to take forever to finish. So when I go to that great loom in the sky, my daughters will have not only yards and yards of fabric and skeins and skeins of wool but also cones and cones of thread to run their fingers through. I still can't produce what I envision the finished product to be which is frustrating because I can do that with knitting and sewing. Sometimes I luck out and get a happy accident. I just finished 9 yards of doubleweave tape (boring). It took about 3 yards to get a reasonably steady beat but along about yard 7, I got new glasses and the beat changed yet again! Arrgh!
Right now, I have a sample on the loom for crackle weave which has lots of colors. The warp looks great but what will happen when I choose weft???? I never know. It feels like skating on thin ice. It's very hard to give up perfectionism and be happy but I'm trying.
Hope your summer is going nicely. rjf
Not to be a pest.. but when folks wear a tallit they just take a rectangle of fabric and drape it over their shoulders each time they put it on.. you grab the front corners and sort of flip and fold them over the shoulders. When you do that - you get those great drapey folds on the back..
the other styole of tallit - the bandaid style (think reform rabbi in the mid 1950's - or that classic barmitzvah boy photo)- is just folded neatly and you just hang it around your shoulders.
what most tallitot have is a decorative neckband called an atara - or crown - just a rectangular strip of fabric ,often decorated - sometimes with pointed ends.
sarah in nyc
Dear Sr. Tracey,
In the theater, we have to make garments that have to take a lot of wear under hot stage lights, so building in "cleaning considerations" into a garment is a must.
What you might try is making this large handworked design detachable, as someone suggested below, yet consider part of the "design challenge" of the garment to make this attachment look like it's not something "attached". Creating see-through pockets or inserts, or creating a finished edge that the handworked piece can sit "inside" of might be an interesting challenge.
I hope what I wrote makes sense!
The finished edge that it can fit into is a definite possibility. I woujld be happier with something that can be totally drycleaned, though. I have enough"stubborn" in me to make it work! :)b
I love this discussion... I remember that one of the personal sewing pages for (at least to me) one young woman discusses when she was working on vestments for her Episcopal Church: http://www.sewgeeky.com./sewing/journal/newbeg.html and http://www.sewgeeky.com./sewing/journal/dalmatic.html
She has some interesting links.
I nosed around her website a while back and I love it! It was encouraging when I was just starting! Her work it beautiful and original! Thanks for the reminder. Now I can go back to it and look for ideas.....
I love this discussion about the vestments and also love hearing about the knot tying and all of the traditions involved.
And now a couple of questions for you. Are you going to hand embroider or are you going to use machine embroidery? As a devot machine embroiderer I fully understand the question raised regarding the weight of the vestment but can tell you that the choice of threads and the design chosen will effect the weight of the garment only slightly. As far as being able to dry clean everthing the only thing that you have to worry about when machine embroidering is that you choose a fabric that will be able to withstand the riggers of dry cleaning. Most embroidery thread out there that is used for machine embroidery will hold up nicely to dry cleaning. But check to make sure before doing the whole project. I use rayon thread usually by Robison Anton or Mega Sheen and have not had any problems with fading or anything like that. As far as a stabilizer I would think that you would want a cut-away type in a medium weight that would not be real stiff and that will still give you some drapeing to the vestment.
Hope this helps.
I have been all over the place on this project, and now two separate stoles have emerged. My initial concerns about weight have lessened, now that I have the braid and raittail in hand.
The first stole will have a rough upholstery fabric as the background. I think I will not need much of a stabilizer on that. The background to the second stole will be pieces of silk (dupioni, I think) left over from an earlier project. I am going to use felt as a stabilizer, to hide the stitching on the back and to give the silk more texture. All of this, of course, is in future tense, because as I got into my dissertation my energy and "creativity" were diverted. My director would argue the creativity part--the work I submitted to him is "boring." [Fortunately he laughed when I offered to change the font and print it on wild paper].
Thanks for your message!
Hello ST and others in the land of liturgical/Sacred Threads!
Once again, my notification of Gatherings postings stopped; I don't know what I have done to deserve this! Oh well, in the meanwhile, I have become involved in a new "sacred thread" project which brings great joy. My niece has met her soul mate, and has asked me to make the "chuppah", or canopy, under which she'll be married.They are living in Israel right now, so all of this will be planned long distance. She and her fiance' like the style of Gustave Klimt. This will work very well, because I hope to incorporate pieces of fabric from special people in her life, and the little dashes of color in Klimt's style will work. In the meanwhile, I must start research. Is a chuupah a garment, thus needing fringe at the corners? I'd welcome advice from anyone with advice or experience here. Thanks! My daughter suggested a tree of life motif with the four supporting poles representing the parents of the bride and groom, and a leafy canopy overhead. Oh, happy times! Thanks in advance for the advice!Betsyps, I have been absent from this "thread" in part because I have been making fleece hats (with my High School youth group) for children in need. Our congregants liked them, & asked to purchase hats, donating profits to the group we serve, and the little project grew, and grew,... I've seen enough fleece to last a life time!
Glad to see your name pop up!
I pulled up some Gustav Klimt through a google search. Are you talking about something along the lines of Die Tänzerin? You should see if you can get EhBeth and SarahKayla in on this. I don't know if they will pick up on the "Braid Embellishment" subject line, but some of their previous posting would lead me to believe that they would have some leads for you (and a few photos of previous work!).
Good luck--keep us posted as this progresses!
ST, Good to hear from you ,too, and now I remember how an hour or two could disappear as I sat at the computer. Actually, it was "the kiss" and "fulfillment" that my niece mentioned. I googled Klimt and found a beautiful web-site which I attempted to forward to my niece. To my chagrin, I realized that the image on the screen when I sent the link was "expectation". Yikes, did I sound like I was pushing for youg'uns? Happily, she thought it was very funny. I do not want to include the faces in these images, so am probably more interested in something like "Stoclet Frieze". Coincidentally, I'd received a postcard with that image from my sister last year, and had set it aside as future design inspiration. (Please insert one of your happy smiles here)! I would like to hear from our sewing sisters familiar with Judaic traditions about chuppah symbolism and guidelines. rjf or Carol Fresia, can you give advice about establishing "Sacred Threads" for communication about liturgical stitchery? Thanks!
A chuppah can be anything from a tallit (prayer shawl) to branches and leaves!! I think the only advice I'd give would be to keep the design subtle. You wouldn't want to take attention away from the bride and groom!!
Be sure and post a pic for us when you finish,
Very good advice! Is it customary to decorate both sides (top and bottom) of the chuppah? What about a translucent / sheer background fabric for thesky of the tree image so that you would actually be seeing through the leaves overhead? Just musing at this point, so any input is welcome. Thanks! Betsy
How wonderful to see this thread in action again - and for such a beautiful reason. Off to do some research. With any luck I'll resurface soon. =; D
I'm lousy at posting images here, so here (hopefully) is a link to a Klimt-inspired quilt. There may be some inspiration here (though I suspect the background colour isn't appropriate).
That is the pattern that I have seen referred to as "Cathedral windows"
ehbeth and ST,
amazing! I, too, opened to catherdal windows at first. Then I went down a few artists, and there was the Klimt! However did you find it? I'm working upstairs on a quilt for my husband's and my room that isn't exciting me nearly as much as this Klimt exploration, but since he is out of town for a week, I'm trying to get as much pieced as possible. I seem to leave a trail of threads wherever I go, and I ignore everything else at this stage of piecing, so I'll carry on with that. That doesn't mean I can't think about the chuppah, and I really appreciate your input, thanks!
Betsy - have you done a google image search on chuppah? I just did, and was, to be honest, a bit surprised to see the variety of things which are called chuppahs.
It looks like the field is wide open for you to be as wonderfully creative as you'd like (and as you think your family can handle <grin>)
Betsy, I'll start a new discussion called Sacred Threads. And if warranted, we can also have a Chuppah discussion, and a vestments one, but I can see that these topic want to blend together. These are all wonderful projects for trying out some fabulous embellishment techniques.
I don't know a lot about chuppahs, but I would suggest that you talk to your niece about how it should be constructed before you sew it. At my wedding, the chuppah was attached to 4 poles, each of them held by a member our our families. At some weddings the chuppah appears to be a stationary object, like a gazebo or bit of temporary architecture. You'll need to know this before you get started, as the structure she wants might also dictate some elements of the design. In most cases, the chuppah is not that huge, so you can kind of splurge on gorgeous fabric it you want to. I don't know if this is done, but I could see making a chuppah that either is passed down or around in the family, or one that could then become a wall hanging for the bride and groom. ehBeth and SarahKayla might be able to weigh in on the appropriateness of this...
So from here on, look for Sacred Threads...
Carol, thank you so much, for starting the "Sacred Threads" thread trail and for your advice on Chuppah technology. It's a novel approach for me, to consider these details at this stage of design. My daughter had suggested that each of the poles be a tree, perhaps representing 'branches' of the families, supporting the leafy canopy overhead. I hadn't given a thought about whether these would be held or rooted to the ground. I actually like figuring out details like these, but have to know what to ask! Library trip ahead. Thank so much! Betsy
Ok... a chuppah is a custom and not a matter of law. It can be made any size.. and of any fabric - yes you could use a hefty bag.. the bride and groom just have to fit under it. there is a tradition to use a tallit.. but since what you are making is not a tallit is needs no fringes in the corners.
you are free to decorate both the top and the bottom. My guess is that since the wedding is in israel you won't be having a gazebo type of chuppah ( an american invention created by the floral industry) but that it will be held on poles by friends. (things are far less formal in israel)
yes you can use a sheer fabric... again this isn't like a tallit - something dictated by the torah ...it is a custom so there is a great of freesom in terms of what to do - as for as what might be inappropriate??? christian symbols, naked folks making love...
I have found that cup hooks screwed into wooden dowels work just fine for chuppah poles.. yes you can decorate the poles. your niece may be able to scrounge up chuppah poles.. you can just sew curtain rings onto the corners.. or you can make fabric loops. I have also used plumbing washers covered with yarn.
my feeling is that nothing can take away from the fabulousness of the bride and groom. make the chuppah as glorious as you want. Unless they are two nearly invisible wallflowers... but everyone looks glorious and radiant on their wedding day... a fabulous chuppah will just make the event more wonderful -
I just put together a chuppah for a pal - it was made of lengths of turquoise and gold balinese silk.... the bride is wearing a bright red Indian wedding dress.. that's embellished with gold beads.. she keeps saying that it's on the border of garish - i keep telling her that it is two states past that.. i also made her a headpiece out of gold cording and a huge gold button. she looks like a biblical character when she wears it with the red veil.. and like a flapper when she wears it without the veil.
go wild with it.
sarah in nyc
Oh, I am grinning away in Ohio, and thinking that my niece would love this discussion. Some of her fiance's family lives in Bombay, and my niece would like to get some fabric from them. My mother in law has some beautiful embroidered fabric for which she doesn't have plans that are more important than her grand daughter's wedding, I don't think! So, thanks very much for helping to clarify the freedom from parameters. Knowing that a hefty bag would qualify as a chuppah is quite liberating. Cool! I think we'd all like to see pictures of the wedding you describe; is it possible to post photos? Carol Fresia has written that she'll establish a discussion titled "Sacred Threads". This way, someone not familiar with the direction "Braid Embellishment " has taken can join in if interested.
ST, are you here? The tapa cloth piece is beyond beautiful! It is interesting, too, to learn the cultural details involved. I seem to recall something about chewing the tapa cloth, or am I barking up the wrong tree with this idea?
Thanks, everyone, for the chuppah input.
indian fabric would be just perfect.. what a treat to use it . I have done several chuppot where family members constibuted fabric and my job was to tie the whole thing together... Carol mentioned creating the chuppah so it could be used by various family members.. This is lovely. i have also done several chuppot that spent their post wedding lives as bed quilts. I had heard of a chuppah that came apart into 3 sections. there were three siblings in the family and each one got to take one section home.. their job ,was each of them ,to bring their section to the next sibling's wedding - so the chuppah would be incomplete unless they were all there.. I found this idea to be terribly touching.. I have not yet been able to convince any of my clients to do this..
What a beautiful idea (the chuppah in three pieces). It speaks volumes of family and familial harmony. I don't know how that can carry over into Christian marriage ceremonies, but you sure planted a seed in my mind, for future development!
To all of you contributing to this Chuppah "thread", I am typing through tears! I just wrote to my niece about this discussion group, and how special it is to share technical advice (hefty bags and cup hooks) as well as spiritual significance and traditions. Thank you all, so much! So many ideas, my head is spinning (and the chuppah is growing!) Betsy
Carol's wedding was held in a Protestant chapel with a Catholic priest and a rabbi officiating. The chuppah seemed right at home, the sun was shining and everyone was smiling....quite a day. rjf
Well, the chapel was officially non-denominational, though very Gothic in style. Was the sun shining? I remember being quite chilly in the outdoor photos! However, with all the talk about autumn foliage in the other discussion, I do remember that the leaves were pretty spectacular that weekend.
Just to bring this back to sewing...no braid embellishments on my wedding dress, although it did have some subtle beading that was completed the morning of the big day, right?, by rjf!
Well...the beads were all on but I attached the top to the bottom about 2 hours before the service. Almost ran out of safety pins. (That's a joke, of course) ((It was really a staple gun)) rjf
I am marvelling at the idea of a chuppah in three pieces - the bringing together of which means the family is together. It is, well, marvellous! Thank you for bringing the idea here. I am busy imagining so many applications of a co-operative family item.
to those following the chuppah discussion, I'm back to the discussion. I have been trying to finish up a large quilt before jumping into the chuppah project, but have been busy doing internet research. http://www.ncjudaicart.com
has some beautiful pieces and gives an idea of the variety of approaches to the chuppah design. I'm quite sure that I'll be doing some image of a "tree of life", but that's about all that's been decided. Still no date for the wedding... gulp!
Thank you for sharing the link. I thought of you when one of the Creative Vest designs popped up--the one with circles and half-circles connected with chains. If those chains were bias strips, and the circles and half-circles were shapes that formed your design of a tree of life, it would make a neat overlay on a gossamer-type fabric.
And after the wedding, it would make a neat wall hanging or it could be appliqued to a pice of fabric for a quilt top.....
Just a thought. Would take a lot of patience and some careful measuring....
My daughter and I have been playing with the idea of having leaves hanging down from the top somehow.Bias tube vines connecting three dimensional leaves might be handled like the vest pieces. (note, I'm avoiding the term "ball and chain" connection). Some chuppot have "flaps" so that the overall shape is more like a box top than a flat sheet. That gives more design possibilities.
I read one description of a chuppah that had shorter poles in the back (or was it in the front ?) so that the wedding guests would be able to see the underside (or was it the top?) of the chuppah. Is any one familiar with this?
My husband has been visiting his parents, so our first family fabric contributions might be on the way. gulp!
Dear Betsy.. sometimes people use taller poles at thefront( the side closest tothe congregation) so you can see all of the fancy work - sometimes the chuppot are dsiplayed at the reception...
sarah in nyc
Excellent, thanks! I was having trouble coming up with a tree (of life) design that was completely symetrical, other than having the four poles be tree trunks from which the canopy of leaves grew together overhead... still a possibility. I can better visualize an entire tree on the canopy itself if there is one part higher than the other. For now, I am forcing myself to finish the binding on a quilt before diving into the chuppah. Believe it or not, we lost power last night, when I'd thought I could handstitch the finishing edge of the quilt in two hours. I've been at it since 7:30 this morning, and still have more to go!
Thanks again, Betsy
ps, let's switch this to Sacred Threads discussion. ok?
Dear ST and other who have followed the meandering path of my chuppah* making. We (the couple to be married) and I finally agreed on a simple tree of life design. We sent out a letter to family and friends, requesting gold fabric for the leaves of the tree. The fabrics have been arriving from Israel and many states. Along with the fabric came blessings to be shared with the bride and groom. The tree has been stitched to the background (down to the point at which I'll reattach the ground I've already pieced). Two of its branches are formed by verses in Hebrew. Roughly 130 leaves are sewn to and around the branches. I've now put the chuppah aside, waiting for the final golds that are on the way from India and Chile. Next comes the challenge:
the couple had asked that hanging from the bottom branch be a small chuppah (and beneath it, a bride and groom), a chuppah within a chuppah. Is anyone following this? I'm afraid that it will be too literal an image. I'd rather applique a softly curving line to represent the ground, and leave it at that. My niece asked if there is a way, other than the bride and groom, to symbolize or represent marriage. Any ideas?
I'll try to attach a picture (it's about time, right?) I have one in the computer, but am not optimistic...stay tuned, Thanks! *chuppah- canopy in Jewish wedding
Greetings to you from Jerusalem.
I've been lurking in this discussion for quite some time, awaiting the outcome of this 'challenge.'
Traditionally in Jews have always preformed the wedding ceremony under the 'chuppa' or canopy supported in four corners (either by posts or by young men who can to hold up the corners)
The reason being that the 'chuppa' represents the home, which a new couple creates when embarking on a marriage.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no Jewish symbol depicting bride and groom, as Sara Kayla already mentioned, Judaism has an uneasy relationship with images. (As far as I know, most forms of (Jewish) symbolism were frequently adopted from various forms of paganism)
However, several years ago when we were visiting a cemetery in Prague I noticed various symbols engraved on grave stones. One that particularly caught my eye was the stones of the Cohanim (priests). As you might already know, the priests were given the task of blessing the children of Israel. (In Israel this is still performed daily.)
The symbol depicted on their stones was that of the two hands splayed in the manner that the priests give their blessings ie. baby and fourth finger together and the first and second finger together with the space between the thumb and first finger and second and fourth finger (does this sound complicated?)
This symbol, (I thought) would be very appropriate to display on a chuppa for a young couple that are embarking on a new life together (filled with blessings)
However to return to your chuppa, which IMO is absolutely lovely, certainly doesn't warrant the additional chuppa with the bride and groom, if anything, I think that the addition detracts from the whole effect of bold simplicity (not that it's all that simple ;) ) But there is a famous saying that is often bounded in design circles that "less is more" and in this case, I think that adding diminutive chuppa (with bride and groom) detracts more than it adds.
thank you so much! I've just written to my niece that I'm happy with what we have. I like the simplicity, and don't feel we need anything else...beyond leaves of the fabric that has been on its way from Israel for many weeks now... I am certainly of the "less is more" camp. Thanks for the reinforcement!
Yes, I am here! Thank you!
I think you asked about chewing the tapa cloth before. If they do, I don't want to know about it! :)
The following is from a booklet I did for my wedding explaining the origins of the Chuppah. I had a tallis hand woven for my husband, so we used that in the chuppah, but had flowers over it.
Judy 7 of 9
The origin of the Chupah has been explained in a variety of ways. Some believe it is a vestige of ancient tent life of Israel, and a symbol of the new home the bride and groom will share. Some scholars regard the Chupah as symbolic of the laurel wreath worn by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony during the Talmudic times. The original meaning of the word “Chupah” is to cover with garlands. Another interpretation of the Chupah is that it represents Abraham’s home which had doors on every side to readily welcome guest from all direction. Our Chupah will be draped with a Tallis (prayer shall) which is the traditional wedding gift of the bride to the groom and often used for the Chupah. This is a hand woven & embroidered Tallis made by Judy for Marc.
For poles, we got closet rods at Home Depot, cut them to the size we wanted and stained them, and yes, used cup hooks on the tops. They looked professional!! Afterwards, we recut them and used them in our closets........: )
This post is archived.