Planning Ahead

When I first met Mr. MemphisWeaver, one of the things I remember him saying was  “Man plans, God laughs”.  This from a well known Yiddish proverb,  Mann traoch, Gott Lauch. We’re all laughing now, because at that moment we weren’t planning on marrying and being together for at least 26 years.  But it’s true. Yes, it’s true.

And now I am planning ahead for some projects that will keep me busy for awhile.  Short term are two art and fine craft fairs where I will be selling my handwoven scarves, accessories and handbound books.  One is happening this weekend, February 20 at the Hutchison School in Memphis. The second show will be at Christian Brothers University in Memphis the last weekend in March (26-28).

Some of the items that I have been working on to include in these shows are handwoven scarves woven with bamboo, cotton and ribbon yarns, and also a series of handbound books made with hand made paper.  The book bindings are varied ranging from herringbone, coptic and long stitch.

Handwoven bamboo scarves

Handbound books with Thai mango paper covers

The long term projects I will be working on are the eight ceremonial prayer shawls that I will be weaving  by commission for a large synagogue.  The shipments of  yarns required for this project recently arrived, and I will be warping my looms as soon as my production for the art/craft fairs has calmed down.  The warp for this project will be 8/2 undyed natural tencel yarn from Webs.

16 pounds of undyed 8/2 tencel yarn

The background weft will be the 8/2 tencel, and the pattern weft will be Bambu 7 from Silk City Fibers and a luscious hand painted 5/2 tencel from Yarns Plus. The friendly folks at Yarns Plus were especially helpful in guiding me in the preparation of the hand painted tencel, particularly in light of the fact that I will be weaving it with undyed tencel.

Bambu 7 Yarns to be used for the prayer shawl project

Handpainted 5/2 tencel yarn

I’ve wrapped the yarn and color sequence around a foam board as a way of planning the pattern design.

Yarn and color sequence for 2 sets of prayer shawls

The first set of four prayer shawls needs to be completed in time for the High Holy Days in early September. My goal is for this to happen! These are my plans and I hope no one laughs…

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7 Responses

  1. The scarves and books look great, I hope you sell out and come home with no stock!!

    I didn’t know that prayer shawls could be so colorful, I always thought that they were white and blue, but then again I don’t attend a synogogue so I’m ignorant to the rituals and allowances.

    • Hi Bety-Yes, white and blue are the traditional colors of a prayer shawl. But in the last generation or so when women started wearing them, the shawls became more colorful and with unique designs. The only laws we have to follow when making a tallit or Jewish prayer shawl is that we don’t mix wool with linen. This prohibition is known as shatnez from Leviticus 19:19. And also there needs to be ritual fringe in each of the four corners of the shawl (Numbers 15:37-40). These are called tzitzit and the knots and wraps on each represent the number of commandments in the Hebrew Bible. Thanks for your interest!

  2. Beautiful color sequences for the tallitot! I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop. We aren’t coming to Memphis for the scholarship audition now. Daughter decided Memphis to tooo far from home. (I loved Memphis, but didn’t want her that far either;0( )

    • Thanks, Cherri for your encouraging words. Too bad about coming to Memphis, but I understand completely. My oldest is in school in Maryland and I miss him. But you get used to it.

  3. I am planning to weave a tallit for my son’s bar mitzvah and was considering tencel 8/2 so I’m excited to see you are working with this for the very same purpose! 🙂 I’m curious what sett you are using and any other details you can share that might help me avoid mistakes along the way.

    • Hi Allie. I will sett the tencel at 24 epi. The weft in the plain weave sections will also be 8/2 tencel and I am using Bambu 7 and 5/2 hand painted tencel for the weft in the overshot pattern sections. These are ceremonial tallitot so they will be narrower than the traditional ones. They will also have a seam at the neck to join two sides. I weave the more traditional tallitot in one rectangle. The atarot will be woven separately and then sewn on. Good luck!

  4. […] This previous post described one of my long term projects – a commission to weave eight ceremonial tallitot, prayer shawls for a large synagogue.  The project is currently on my loom and looks like this. […]

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