Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #31 - Torah Covers

I have been spending the week working on a commission for my local synagogue, Temple Sholom.  It's for 2 torah covers for the Jewish High Holidays, that start with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur.  Traditionally these white, plainish covers are put on the torahs for these most sacred days. 

 In our synagogue they adorn the torahs for about 3 weeks.  They are put away for the rest of the year.
I often have a little chuckle because without fail this is the scenario:

1.A few weeks before the covers are needed, the synagogue search begins to find them, especially if someone new is involved in trying to find where those covers were put at the end of the High Holidays the year before.

2.Then the question is  how to clean them.  (Remember they are white and are handled more than usual  by many different people during the services.)

3. It would be so nice to have new covers because most of them have been around a long time.   They are not a high priority in terms of expenditures.  Maybe next year.

4.  The covers are put away and forgotten.

5.  See step #1.

So I am excited and honored to be a part of this tradition.  I sat with the clergy and we designed the covers together.  Even though they are predominately white, they do not have to be plain.  They loved my pomegranate themed torah cover and wanted pomegranates to be visible in the background.

This week I designed, auditioned and practiced the quilting for the background of the design. It's interesting that the discussion these past few blog posts have been about contrast.  My goal for the background quilting was for it to be subtle, but I still wanted it to be visible.

The fabric is dupioni silk, an elegant and rich fabric.  The thread is a variegated gold rayon.

Here is my work in progress:

My initial sketch

I used Solvy, a water soluble transparent film as my quilting guide.  I traced my drawing onto the solvy with a thin tip marker that was similar in color to my thread. The film tears off pretty easily. Silk dupioni does not like water.  It loses its sheen and lovely texture if it gets wet.  I used the clear film and the similarly colored marker so if  any of the film remained behind, it wouldn't be readily visible.

I layered my backing, low loft batting, silk and Solvey and secured them with a few pins.

And free motion quilted it.  It's a little hard to see the transparent film.

The pomegranate
Finished sample, aka Wednesday Wandering


  1. I love the one with the colors, just stunning! Are they going to use that one?

  2. The cover will be so beautiful! I look forward to seeing it!!

  3. Beautiful, graceful, subtle... goals accomplished!

  4. The design is most beautiful and worthy of your synagogue's Torahs.

  5. I really love how that came out and something I was thinking about. I need to make a wedding pillow and wanted to do a muted design to embellish it on the outer sides.


  6. Lovely work Cheryl. Pomegranates are one of my favorite subjects. As a matter of fact I'm just finishing a large quilted wall hanging with pomegranates in the center block.

  7. I love pomegranates! This one is specially beautiful!

  8. They are both beautiful!

  9. That's really pretty Cheryl! I can't wait to see how you put all the pomegranates together! I loooove the colors of the completed cover!


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