Getting There

I suppose if I were a smarter business woman I wouldn’t have chosen to do teeny chain stitching around each of the letters on Charlie’s atara.


But ultimately I worry more about getting the piece to look right than about dollars and cents.


I used the sewing machine to do the borders on the atara, a black diamond stitch and then the whole piece is edged with gold blanket stitching.


My design had called for sprays of wheat. I used a mix of threads, copper metallic, the black and gold metallic I had used on the letters and an ivory sewing thread to make the wheat stalks.


I had thought that each grain of wheat could be formed by a single chain stitch. The idea worked fine in my head but in real life I just couldn’t get those grains to look right. I slept on the problem and came up with a different solution.


I did not do a whole lot of hand embroidery as a kid.  My older sister was pretty serious about embroidery when she was in her teens. She spent lots of time talking through the process of creating each stitch and telling me how she achieved each one.


So I reached into the messy garbage pail that is my head and the careful explanation of how to out line a shape with straight stitches and then fill-in the shape with embroidery  just sort of unspooled from my brain like a movie.


First I drew the shapes of the grains with a pencil. Normally I wouldn’t suggest doing this, but I knew that the pencil lines would be completely covered with the hand embroidery.


Here is one grain outlined.


If I were my sister I probably would have outlined all of the grains and then would have gone back and carefully filled in each grain of wheat.


Instead I gave myself permission to embroider those wheat grains in any order that made me happy.

I have been watching garbage TV as I work.


I was trying to go for the feel of my parents old challah cover.

imma's challh cover (5)

Actually, looking at both side by side I realize that I was actually going for a looser look. Either way, here  is  my wheat after two episodes of really stupid TV.


Yes I plan to add the tassels to the wheat as well. Yes, I do plan to press the atara back into shape.


Now that I look at the photograph I see that I am nearly half way done.


  1. Photos are great for seeing what you have managed...or what you still need to do. The grains look suitably impressive. By which I mean that a challah cover and a tallit would probably have different degrees of impressiveness about them.
    I have been doing subtle beading (but actually time consuming and involving quite a lot of them) on the gown for this year's fashion show. I am nearly done. I sooo much want to stop and get on with the next project!
    So, I have allowed myself to begin thinking properly about the next project. I can begin the auditioning part of it during breaks from the gown.

  2. WEell, now I have done about half of the grains...and I don't hate them. Thanks for the encouragement.


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