A tallit bag

If it weren't for Caleb, my son probably would have flunked middle school. My son keeps forgetting to write down his homework. Each time he forgets, he calls Caleb, who is gracious enough to give my son the assignment, time, after time.

Caleb is exactly the sort of friend you want your kid to have. He's smart, he's funny and above all, he's just a nice kid. When the invitation to Caleb's bar mitzvah arrived in the mail, I really wanted to make something for him. Last week, Caleb came by to hang out with my son. I stole part of their time together to meet with him about his bag. We looked at the texts around tallit together, after all, the bag is to hold the tallit.

Caleb asked lots of really good questions. He's one of those kids with a slightly skewed perspective on the world. His questions got me thinking as well.

The verses from Psalms that we say before we put on the tallit really evoked the cosmos for Caleb. He drew me a little sketch of a super nova surrounded by a nebula. I loved the idea. I had thought that I would do something akin to the applique on a Hawaiian quilt. I folded a piece of cross-dyed yellow linen, the way one folds paper to make a snowflake. I cut away to create the star. I thought layering that star with some of the metallic silk organza from the wings tallit might help create that celestial look I was going for. I also had some orange silk organza ribbon. I stitched the star together using lots of metallic threads radiating from the center.

My work space is a jumble. Stuff often appears just as I need it. A cone of copper metallic soutache appeared at exactly the right moment. I used it to edge the star after I stitched it down to black cotton velveteen. Silver metallic thread and white silk yarn make up the nebula. The bag is lined with black rayon faille and has a black invisible zipper with a red pull.

Tomorrow I will mail the bag to Caleb. I figure that this tallit bag is a better gift than an Amazon gift card.


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