>> Thursday, June 2, 2011
It's not technically summer yet, but between the humidity and the long days, it certainly feels like it to me. I'll take the evening light, but I'd be happy to toss the humidity aside. I miss many things about living in Northern California, and the weather is high on that list. Summer's long days also means the Shabbat, which starts and ends according to sundown, starts and ends a lot later. Among friends of mine who are technical about these things, the late start/end has certain advantages and certain disadvantages over the early start/end in the winter. I'm not one for technicalities on these matters, though I appreciate the concept of living according to the rhythms of nature. It's one of the things I really like about camping: you sleep and rise according to the sun. But I digress.
My friend and best customer, Sara, contacted me about a commissioned challah cover. Her sister-in-law was recently engaged and Sara wanted to give her a challah cover as a gift. I was happy to oblige and we started talking about various options, in terms of both design and color. After she talked to her sister-in-law and they looked through some of my work, Sara asked me to make a challah cover like this one, but requested adding "shabbat" in Hebrew. At first I thought I could replicate the fabric from the inspiration one, but I didn't have as much left as I thought. But Sara had sent me some images and color preferences to work with, and "coral" stuck with me. I dug through my stash and reconnected with this coral-y orange/blue/yellow/pink fabric and decided to use it.
This was my first attempt to piece letters, and I spent a lot of time staring at Malka's work. The nice thing about the letters that comprise shabbat is that they're pretty simple -- Hebrew has two main font styles, a blockier printed text and a "cursive" handwritten one. The latter has a lot more curves while the former has serif and non-serif varieties. I briefly thought about using applique, for which I would have started with a serif-ed version, but for sanity's sake, I decided piecing would be better. So I stared and stared and finally started cutting 1.5" strips and working from there. I started with the shin, the letter on the right (Hebrew reads from right to left) as it was not only the first letter but also the simplest. Once I made it, I proceeded with the others. Though it may look like the bet, the middle letter, is wider than the others, they're actually all the same size.
Naturella Collection. I put this challah cover together a little differently than in the past: instead of quilting it all at once, I pieced the shabbat letters and quilted the off-white canvas before adding the dresden flowers on the edges. Then I added the dresdens and quilted them, so only the dresden quilting shows on the back. I did this so I could fully quilt the background without the back looking like a mess of quilted background lines + dresden lines. Instead, just the dresden petals show. For the dresden centers and binding, I used a solid pink that matched the pink in the orange fabric from the front and coordinated with the fabric on the back.
The best part of making this challah cover was that Sara, who lives in London, was visiting her family in the DC area, and I got to hand this over to her in person. We hadn't seen one another in years, but we had a lovely dinner and chance to catch up.