Naomi's tallit

Naomi is a twin. I'm making a tallit for her and one for her brother. When I was growing up, it was fashionable to treat twins as if they were a set of book ends. Twins were dressed alike and expected to be alike, even if they were not. Fortunately, Naomi and her brother have parents who get that being born on the same day does not mean that they share a brain and a soul.

Naomi wasn't even sure if she wanted a tallit before she met with me. By the time she left though, she had decided that she did want a tallit. She wanted a tallit that was fairly quiet. She chose this not quite a color called fawn. The fabric she chose though, is a really lovely charmeuse. It feels wonderful on. I have discovered that my clients fall into one of two camps, the ones that love smooth and silky and the ones that don't. Naomi is a smooth and silky loving girl.

I have been working on creating the stripes for this tallit. I have been using an embellishemnt technique adapted from Bird Ross, a brilliant fiber artist. I call it crazy stitching. You build up layers of color on a fabric by stitching back and forth over the base fabric using many different colors of thread. I usually start on a base of metallic and silk organza. I add color after color of thread. The more colors you add, the more delicate and refined the finished product looks.

My next task was to cut the silk to size. Charmeuse is notoriously shifty. The only way to cut it with out major drama is to pull a thread ( which creates a line in the fabric) and then cut along that line. It's boring work. It's really boring work. You snip and then find a teeny thread to pull from the center of that snip. You pull until the thread breaks. Then you straighten out the gathered threads and cut along the faint line that is formed. You cut until there is no more line to follow. Then you pull another thread and begin the process again. I did about 15 feet's worth of silk this way.

Here you see the line I will cut along.
I then had to cut my crazy stitched fabric into stripes. I thought about various ways to do this. I finally decided to measure on the back of the fabric with my rolling ruler and mark the lines with pencil. After the lines were marked, I cut along the lines with scissors.

My next headache was figuring out how to place the stripes evenly on both sides of the tallit. There are some jobs that I can just eyeball. This was not one of them. I measured a line eight inches up from the bottom of the tallit on both sides. Then I pencilled it on the silk. I put the bottom edge of my first stripe along the pencil line. It usually isn't a great idea to mark fabric in pencil. But I knew that the stripe would completely cover that pencil mark.

I used the quilting guide on my machine, the little bent arm that sticks up from above the sewing machine foot, ( such a useful tool!) to help me figure out where to place the additional stripes. The stripes are even, without having to do fancy math or without having to do anything too complicated.

I love tools that make my life easier. ( Like the X-Acto knife I used when I mistakenly sewed two layers of the tallit together,)

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