Joyful Jewish

Posts Tagged ‘challah cover

Finished challah cover

New Year is just around the corner, and I have been very busy in the lead up this year!

Following on from my earlier Chanukah and family handprint challah covers, I have now made one for Rosh Hashanah.  (I think I’ll be taking a break from challah covers for a while now!)  As Rosh Hashanah challah is round, so so is this cover, and the fabrics depict or represent apples and honey, two traditional sweet foods eaten for the new year.

Fabrics2

Fabrics1

I don’t have much patchwork experience and I wanted something simple (read: foolproof) so I found a very easy looking idea on the internet: a circle made by sewing triangles together.  I made a template out of cardboard, just a triangle with a 30 degree point.  12 “slices” x 30 degrees = 360 degrees aka a full circle. By cutting the point of each triangle off before sewing them together, I didn’t need to worry whether or not the points would meet up neatly.

Construction phase1

As you can see, it is not particularly circular at the edge, but you cut it back later.  (Make sure you cut your fabric larger than you think you’ll need so that it’s not too small when you trim and hem it.)  Alternatively, you might be smart enough to cut the template with the right curve built in – but I was sticking with simple!

Next I appliqued a circle to go in the centre and cover that hole.  I printed off the text for L’Shanah Tovah (literally “for a good year”) using a font called Frank Ruehl and traced around it to put the outline onto double sided iron-on adhesive.  A fair degree of fiddly cutting out and ironing on later, it looked like this:

Construction phase2

I used a bit more iron-on adhesive to stick the circle in the right place. Then it was just a case of stitching around the edges to make sure nothing falls off, EVER, and including a few beads for decorative effect.

Edging detail

Finally, I cut a circle of fabric for the back, trimmed the front to match, sewed the two faces together (you get the general idea…).  Next job, relocating that really good Rosh Hashanah challah recipe I used last year.

I wish you and your loved ones L’Shanah Tovah – may you be inscribed in the book of life for a sweet and blessed year.

Closer view of challah cover

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Feel the urge to sew something useful and maybe a little bit fancy, but don’t think you have the stamina for a quilt?  Think challah cover!  Big enough to look impressive, small enough to finish in a relatively short space of time.

Hands on challah cover

Our first challah cover was a wedding gift and has already given us 15 years good service, but we felt like a change.  I made a new challah cover for Chanukah last year but I wanted a design which would be suitable for use year-round.   Then an idea coalesced after I read a post on Sweet and Crunchy in which she made a mini-quilt featuring the outlines of her childrens’ hands.

I thought it would be lovely to capture an image of my daughter’s childsize hand next to those of her parents.  Even when she grows up and leaves home, we can still have her with us on Shabbat.   I was also reminded of a custom of our synagogue – when they say the blessing over the challah, everyone reaches out to touch the arm or shoulder of the person next to them, forming branching chains that reach towards the person in the centre who is holding the tray with the challah on it.  If we have visitors who don’t know this custom, someone will usually call out “Everyone’s touching someone who’s touching the challah!”

Appliqued challah cover

So we traced around our hands (my husband and I are right-handed, our daughter is a “lefty”) and transferred the images to fabric in our favourite colours.  I blanket stitched around each hand.  In retrospect it might have been better if the arms went to the edge of the cover rather than looking like disembodied glovesl but I was making the pattern up as I went, and didn’t think of that until later.

bias binding

Then I made some bias binding out of the three fabrics to use as a border, and stitched a gold ribbon into the seams when I put on the backing.

And here we are: everyone’s touching the challah cover that’s touching the challah.

family challah cover

This is part one of the story of two chanukiot (chanukah menorahs).  I really wanted to sew a wall hanging of a chanukiah, so I designed a lovely nine-branched menorah on graph paper and scaled it up.

This is how it started.

As will become apparent later, this design turned out to be the wrong size for my planned wall hanging – but I still liked it.  So I decided to make it into something smaller: a challah cover.  Yes I know they usually have a Shabbat theme, for obvious reasons, but I have plans for a number of festival themed covers so we can change them over as we move through the year.

In my haste to get the project underway, I cut out the menorah from a lovely teal blue/gold fabric which, I discoved later that day, clashed with every other piece of fabric I had intended to cut the candles from.  I was about to throw it out and start again when my husband said “that would look great with red”.

I’m not sure that anyone else has ever used red chanukah candles, but when we lived in the UK a decade ago, nowhere near a Judaica shop and well before it became easy to buy anything and everything over the internet, we used to buy candles that were perfectly sized for our chanukiah from our local Asian food shop.  They were very good quality, and they were red, a symbol of good fortune in their country of origin.  In the end, the whole project had quite an oriental flair to it, with the dramatic use of dark colours – a striking contrast to our existing white challah cover!

This is my first effort at a hand appliqued project.  My stitching was a little variable, but I enjoyed incorporating some beads for the wicks and around the candlelight.  And here is the finished product!

Click for larger picture!

Now, back to the wall hanging…


Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

A resource site for anyone who wants to share the joy of being Jewish with the children in their life.

Enjoy!