Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From Paper To Fabric

The first step in preparing the fabric for the Pomegranate torah cover is to prepare the background.  My idea is to use a subtle sky-like background, instead of the plain white dupioni silk.  A subtle sky would enhance the feeling of a pomegranate tree.  To achieve this, I decided to hand dye the silk with special dyes developed for silk.  I used a combination of blues and red.  First the silk was dampened so that the dye would flow and and the colors would blend.  The dye was brushed on with sponge brushes.  After drying, I was very pleased with the result.  I love that the rough slubs of the silk, which is my favorite part of the dupioni, came out darker.

 The curly vines were then cut out of the green silk dupioni from the pattern that was previously prepared.  The silk was first stabilized with a fusible interfacing to give it body and keep it fom fraying.  It was ironed onto the background fabric with a fusible web, that is like a heat activated glue.  It then took 2 days to stitch down all of the vines with a machine blanket stitch.  I used a rayon thread for the stitching, because I like the resulting sheen.

The next step was to prepare and attach the pomegranates and leaves.  I used a combination of silk dupioni and a silk/cotton fabric that I hand dyed for the outside of the pomegranate.  The inside is white silk.  The number of pomegranates used was 7 to symbolize the seven species representative of Israel's fertility as mentioned in the bible.  The blanket stitch was done using gold metallic thread.

The next step in preparing the torah cove is the quilting.  Several decisions have to be made before proceeding with this step.  The first one is to pick the batting.  This is the layer of the quilt that will determine how puffy it will be and its drapability.  The next decision is the type/color of thread and the final decision and the most difficult to choose is the quilting design.  I chose to use "Wam and Natual" batting - a blend that is 80% cotton and 20% polyester to give the cover a little stiffness and body once it is quilted.  I chose a blue rayon variegated thread for quilting and an overall pebble pattern fo the quilt design.  I chose this quilting design to epesent the seeds and the flesh inside the pomegranate.

So I layered the top on the batting and pinned it in place so that it didn't shift while I was quilting, and started stitching.  And stitching, and stitching.  It reminded me of a mulch pile.  Have you ever had multiple yards of mulch delivered? You bring over wheelbarrow and wheelbarrow full of mulch to your beds.  And the pile never seems to get smaller.   It seems like the mulch will last forever.  That's what it was like quilting.  It took me 3 entire days to cover this entire piece with "pomegranate seeds".  But it was certainly worth the effort.

The next step is to hand stitch the "inside" of the poms with some veins and seeds and then turn this piece into an actual torah cover.  Stay tuned.


  1. Cheryl it is wonderful. I love the vines and your quilting is a perfect complement.

  2. Truly amazing!!!! I love seeing the process and creativity.


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