Hurray!! Sara-Beth's tallit is done

I like productive days. Yesterday I sewed the pinot, corner pieces onto Sara-Beth's tallit. I also sewed the eyelets by hand, ( I love the way they look). In addition, I did the lettering for the atara/neckband. The text that Sara-Beth chosefor her atara is a wonderful one. It comes from one of the Psalms we recite every morning, "(God) counts all of the stars and calls them all by name".

I like that every morning I get to re-think the work on this tallit as I chant those verses. I also love how each element in this tallit, the tallit itself, the corner pieces and the atara all reflect the verse. They aren't identical but they all work well together, ( kind of like my kids).

The atara is made out of a black tussah silk. It's got a heavy horizontal weft and the fibers themselves have the slightly rough texture of a raw silk. It's a subtle but nice contrast to the slubby rough textured even weave of the rest of the tallit.

Sara-Beth, I think, had expected me to use only the first half of the verse. I really wanted to use both halves. I like the interplay of the cosmic and the personal in that verse. I realized that if the first half of the verse was written in a curve, then I could add the second half of the verse under the arc of the first several words.

This is the sort of task that used to make me crazy, it was just so difficult for me to do. But when you do something often enough, eventually you improve. I marked out two co-centric curves on the silk using a piece of sidewalk chalk. I painted the first half of the verse, using a mix of acrylic paints, fabric dyes and artists gold, beginning with the last letter ( so I wouldn't smudge any of the letters). It worked. So I added the second half of the verse underneath. A line of machine stitching in gold outlines the letters and makes them look finished.

When I was done outlining the letters, I notices that I had some drops of silver paint on the atara. I decided that rather than starting again, I would add more droplets to look like more stars. ( Another artistic decision made to fix a flub!)

Tomorrow , Sara-Beth comes by to tie her tzitzit. I hope that she will be happy with her new tallit.


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