Pushing towards Shabbat

There are mitzvot that you need to do without thought of any reward. Bikur Cholim, visiting the sick is one of those mitzvot.

Earlier in the week we went to visit our friend who is in the hospital in New Jersey. Our  formerly vital friend is indeed very ill and our visits have been distressing to my husband and for me.We have taken small comfort that our drive to the hospital has us drive through Paterson.

Patterson had been the great center for silk weaving.  You can see how wealthy it once was.

The stucco building in the foreground is the musician's union building. I don't know what the elegant factory behind used to produce.

I love the ghost of a building visible below.
We were glad that we spent time with our friend. Our drive through Patterson isn't exactly a reward but it makes the journey easier. Old abandoned brick  factories by a river just feel like home to me.

My to do list these days is long.

My nephew is getting married. His sweet bride loves to sew. She is making a chuppah for herself out of squares of white fabric sent to her from women important in her life and in the life of her groom. She asked me to participate. I was delighted. I have made LOTS of chuppot in this manner. I was delighted not to be the person constructing the many squares into a coherent  composition.

I combined textiles that had come to me from three different women.

The beautiful doily is a Vivian treasure. It's a bit of bobbin lace, so nicely done.  I stitched it onto a linen napkin that was given to me by my daughter's first babysitter, a sweet Hungarian woman who taught me how to put my baby on a schedule.  

The piece is backed with linen that came from a bit of bedding that had belonged to my cousin's mother-in-law. There are whole categories of bedding that we just don't use any more. My best guess is it was a top sheet that buttoned onto a blanket. The sheet was most likely part of her trousseau. The wedding took place in Vienna in the mid 1930's.

I added the rows of machine embroidery. My son mailed off my square this morning.

One of my sisters has been teaching a girl to prepare her for her bat mitzvah.  The bat-mitzvah girl's mother is making her daughter a tallit. The mother asked me to make the atara/neck band. After a bit of talking back and forth we both realized that it would be even better if my sister did the lettering and I would turn the lettered fabric into an atara.

While my sister has been doing calligraphy for far longer than I have, this is her first time doing it on fabric. When she was here for our cousin's wedding she sat down with my supplies and got to work. The gold lettering is my sister's. I added the outline. 

 The text was a bit too close to the left edge of the fabric and would leave you with a too short atara.

I added a rectangle of fabric on either end. I could have left it there. But it looked like an nice atara with two patches added to each end. 

I traced around a seltzer bottle cap with a pencil and chain stitched around the pencil mark.

I did the same on the other side.

That helped,

but I didn't like how the seam looked. 

I remembered that I had some embroidered ribbon left from a recently completed tallit. I thought the ribbon could cover the seam.

It was almost right. I added two rows of gold scallop stitching.

That was much better.

I stitched the ribbon down using green embroidery thread.

 That made me realize that a row of green stitching over the pale blue stitching would pull everything together.

All of the colors and shapes get picked up by the completed ribbon. The piece is stronger as well.

I am grateful to my friend from my sewing list who sent me maroon embroidery thread to mend a piece I had made long ago. The rest of the supplies have been ordered and are on their way to me.

Our Shabbat table is nearly full tonight.

Aside from family and shul friends, two of our guests know me from childhood.

The chicken reminded me of the overly tan wiry old men one sometimes sees on the beach.

We are also eating meatballs--in case you were worried that two big chickens might not be quite enough for eleven adults.

We are also eating roasted tomatoes inspired by my cousin Ian.

This will be served ( crispy, spicy and slightly sweet) along with a big green salad.
  There will be some sort of a carb  to round out this meal.

Luckily one of our guests is bringing dessert.

Shabbat Shalom!