Monday, May 31, 2010

Torah Cover #2 "Flames"

The body of Torah Cover #1, Pomegranates,  has been completed.  It will  now be set aside to await the other 2 covers.  When the bodies of all 3 torah covers are completed, I will then construct all of the covers at the same time, assembly line style.  This is my plan, since it is quite challenging to construct the actual Torah cover with the wood insert.  My goal is to do it in the tidiest, most elegant manner so that no raw edges can be seen - either inside or out.  Constructing 3 at a time will help me with this ever evolving technique.  It is always on my mind that I am creating these Toah covers to last for many, many years and I must do my best work with longevity as a prime consideration. 

Time to start Torah Cover #2. The theme - FLAMES.  There is a recurrence of the  appearance of flames throughout the history of the Jewish people.  From Moses and the burning bush to the eternal flame to the death camps during WW II.  It's a concept that needs to be celebrated and mourned, and definitely contemplated.  Flames can represent destruction, purification, joy and holiness. 

The initial design concept on paper: 

This time, I used an overhead projector to enlarge the design to full size.  After enlarging it, I still had to make adjustments.  I used this pattern to make the actual pattern pieces from the freezer paper. 

It was fun to collect the fabrics for the flame.  I was looking for colors that ranged from red to yellow.  Some of the silk dupioni I already had.  Some I bought on Fabric Row in Philly and some of the fabric I bought on my most recent shopping trip to NYC.  I was looking for fabric that glowed.
 As  a quilter, one of the most enjoyable aspect  of quilting is developing a working palette.  We call it a stash and it involves accumulating fabric.  Sometimes it is for a specific project - like for my Torah cover.  Sometimes, it is just accumulating fabric because we like it.   Here are some of my silks for "Flames". ( I can't explain it, but the colors are not that accurate. )

I dyed the background of the white silk dupioni using the same technique that I used for the Pomegranate Torah cover.  This time I used various combinations of yellow and red dye.  After dyeing the fabric, I layered it with the batting (I used the same Warm Blend again).  I quilted this before adding the appliques.  By doing the quilting before the addition of the appliques, I was able to stitch the horizontal quilting lines without them being interrupted by the applique.  This method results in a more fluid line and also there are less loose threads to tie off.

I used freezer paper to make the pattern pieces.  Instead of fusing down the pieces, I turned under the edges, ironed the seam allowance to the waxy side of the freezer paper  and planned on using  a machine blanket stitch.  Below is the freezer paper pattern , to be cut apart, with a snippet of the assigned silk color.

The flame pattern pieces were positioned on the Torah cover pattern.  And then the  inevitable.happens.  Even though I had lots of choices for fabric, I just couldn't find the  right one for the central flame.

So what's a girl to do?   DYE!  I hand dyed a piece of fabric using the same silk dyes that I used for the background.  .  Can you see the bit of gradation from the top to the bottom?  This was perfect. This central flame's subtle change in color,  blended with the change in color of the flames.

I used many different  rayon threads for the quilting to match the different colors of silk dupioni.
Here's a close-up. The sheen of the thread really complimented the sheen of the silk.  This looks so rich and vibrant.

And the completed piece waiting to be made into a Torah cover.

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