Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yair and Joanna's Chuppah

A few years ago my brother Yair got married. He and his wife Joanna decided to have a community chuppah. They asked me if I would help and of course I said yes! They had their guests to send bits of fabric, beautiful or meaningful or both, to me, and I put the lot together into a patchwork Chuppah for them.

The fabrics include T-shirts belonging to my Dad, with photos of some of his grandchildren; fabric from a dress Joanna's grandmother had made for Joanna's mother when she was a teenager; strips from my grandmother's kitchen towels; commemoration t shirts; fabric drawn on with fabric markers, decorated by my youngest daughter and oldest niece; a piece with an embroidered message from my older daughter; silk given by one of Joanna's friends; and an embroidered purse, cut into its parts and incorporated. There are many other cuts of fabric contributed by more friends.

The experience was great, and quite meaningful to me. Not only did I get to Make a quilt for Yair and Joanna, but I got to learn and stretch as a quilter.

Since the piece grew as each contribution came in, I had no set plan before I started. This is reminiscent of the Crazy Quilt with two important differences. First, the pieces were not cut in weird angles and, second, I did not use decorative stitching. I did, however, incorporated lace, ribbons, yarn, and crocheted material. It was great to lay them all down, sew them together, and watch the piece come together.

Now, before I knew about Yair and Joanna's idea of the community Chuppah, I'd decided to make them one of my own. I asked them, and they said yes. This is what I made:

And a detail:

The center blocks are birds flying in a circle. I'd figured out the pattern from a picture in a book my mother gave me about quilters in America. It took a while, and some geometry, but I did figure it out. working with diamond-shaped pieces was interesting, and challenging.  The border is in the "flying geese" patten and is made with different-sized triangles.  This side of the Chuppah let me use many scraps I had and I was able to incorporate older fabric from various projects and clothes I'd made.

I made both pieces the same size, sewed them together, and voila! My brother and his wife had a double-sided Chuppah for their wedding.
The Chuppah is now hanging in their living room and they alternate the sides so that both are part of their house.
I get great pleasure from seeing it, and remembering the day, the process, and all the stories behind it.
One of the things I love most about quilting (or patchwork really) is the fact that it is so multilayered, but in fabric and in meaning. How great to be able to use fabric used by 4 different generations, of multiple families, across two continents, bringing together family and friends into one piece.

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