Passover Preparations

/ Tuesday, 23 March 2010 /

Matzah cover, originally uploaded by Shadrach Meshach & Abednego.
This is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all those who are hungry come and eat with us.  Let all those who are in need come and share our meal.

Passover begins next week. It celebrates the Exodus from Egypt and is hallmarked by two big ritual dinners, or seders, that feature the communal reading of the Exodus story and eating matzah, or unleavened bread.  The story goes that the Jews had to leave Egypt so quickly that they had no time to wait for their bread to rise, and for this reason, we are allowed to eat no leavening for the eight days of Passover. Calling matzah the bread of affliction is another reminder of the slavery that the Jews endured in Egypt, and after eating it for eight days, one certainly feels afflicted!  At the seders, the plate of matzah is covered by a cloth until a certain point, at which time they are revealed.
Matzah cover quilting detail
I made this matzah cover as a gift for Susan who is hosting the first seder this year. We will have the second seder at our house on Tuesday night. I wanted to make another one for our seder, but ran out of time. I was surprised how quickly and easily it came together. It is mainly batiks, with a bit of regular quilting cotton.
Pesach
 The Hebrew letters, which spell Pesach (Passover in Hebrew), are ones I got from the internet, from a Jewish education site showing the Hebrew alphabet. I printed them, photocopied them at 400%, and, using a lightbox, traced them onto fusible webbing. I ironed the webbing onto cotton and cut out the letters, then hand-basted them onto a piece of fabric. Using a narrow zigzag stitch, I machine-appliqued the letters.
Matzah cover
The batting is a piece of cotton flannel, and the backing is another piece of batik - light purple with gold highlights.
Matzah cover
Between now and Monday night, I have to turn my house over for Passover, taking all regular (non-Passover) food, the toaster and breadmaker, down to the basement and cleaning all the cupboards, shelves and cabinets to remove any trace of leavening, or chametz. A big job, since I'll be in Toronto for the rest of the week! Today I will be deciding my menu for the seder. Whew! I'm going to need some extra coffee before my noon cut-off!  If you celebrate Pesach, what is your biggest challenge for getting ready?  And what are you making for the seder?  

28 comments:

{ Cara } on: 23 March 2010 at 09:07 said...

Thanks for explaining your holiday some more! It's a beautiful cover. Good Luck with the purification!

{ Melissa } on: 23 March 2010 at 09:32 said...

What a lovely addition to any seder table. We're getting ready to start the great clean-up here as well. Poor toaster oven, banished to the shed!

{ Lee } on: 23 March 2010 at 10:13 said...

What a beautiful cover and I am sure it will be cherished for many more Passovers. Thanks for your explanation of the legend. good luck with the cleaning. I need to do some cleaning too.

{ Leanne } on: 23 March 2010 at 13:50 said...

How beautiful will that seder table be. Wow. If I did that my mother-in-law would love me forever. We are off to Scottsdale on Sunday to celebrate Passover with my inlaws. Send positive vibes my way .... Back on Wednesday.

{ Dee } on: 23 March 2010 at 18:53 said...

We celebrated Pesach last year with KT and her family. She hosted the sedar, and I made her a matzah cover for her.

Yours is beautiful!

{ Susan } on: 24 March 2010 at 00:13 said...

Good luck with your Passover preparations. Don't forget to take deep breaths from time to time.
And thanks for sharing your matzah cover. It's spectacular! I love how you used the batiks.

{ ParisMaddy } on: 24 March 2010 at 00:58 said...

Your table will be beautiful with that colorful and pretty cover. The colors resonate together. I love all of the traditions and celebrations and thanks for sharing a bit of it with me.

{ Kristen } on: 24 March 2010 at 11:55 said...

Thanks for sharing your traditions. This is beautiful cover. I love the colors. I am sure it will be enjoyed!

{ Rene' } on: 24 March 2010 at 22:28 said...

Lesly, I enjoyed your post. Beautiful matzah cover. I am sure your friend will love it. Great way of making the letters. Beautiful batiks you used.

{ Claudia } on: 25 March 2010 at 12:43 said...

Lesly, nice Matzo cover! I love the splashes of gold on the batiks. I'm from a hybrid family - my mother is Jewish - but growing up we never did a Seder. I attended my first seder as an adult. We did ate plenty of Jewish foods though, usually on Easter (lol).

{ The Calico Cat } on: 25 March 2010 at 14:04 said...

YAY - A question (or 2)!
Hag Kasher Sameach!
cleaning - that has to be everyones biggest challenge. Especially for those of us whose lives are so full already & are fairly lasiez faire with the regular cleaning...
For the first seder, one of our guests is allergic to tomatoes - out goes my brisket. So I am going to break an entertaining rule & try out a new chicken recipe - one that uses Israeli spices - zaatar. I stick with standard plain vegetables for the rest - & I love to bake Pesach - cake, cake, & more cake! Haroset cake for the first night.
Earlier in my quilting career (Hardee har har) I made a 10 plagues table runner & I have made a wall hanging - I now "need" to make more quilty stuff for the table. (I have been saying that for YEARS!)

{ Mrs Moen } on: 26 March 2010 at 07:50 said...

I absolutley love your colour combo!

{ Sarcastic Quilter } on: 26 March 2010 at 08:56 said...

thanks for the post. It's nice to learn new things about my "neighbors" who celebrate and what it means.

Your cover is beautiful.

{ ktquilts } on: 26 March 2010 at 08:58 said...

Beautiful, the cover, and the traditions!

Many Blessings,

KT

{ nima } on: 26 March 2010 at 09:21 said...

Beautiful cover...thank you for the post about the tradition...

visitng you from sew&tell

{ Lauren } on: 26 March 2010 at 10:22 said...

The colors are so pretty. very vibrant!

{ Danielle } on: 26 March 2010 at 11:06 said...

Very beautiful. Thank you for giving me the history and tradition of Passover. This is the coolest post I've read all week:-)

{ Vicki @ DottyJane } on: 26 March 2010 at 12:01 said...

What a great, informative post. Your matzah cover is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

{ Candied Fabrics } on: 26 March 2010 at 12:07 said...

Love your cover! As a teenager, my best friend was Jewish so I always got to have a least one seder with her family - I got all the fun parts with none of that cleaning beforehand! ;-)

{ ROZ } on: 26 March 2010 at 12:34 said...

A Happy and kosher Pesach to you and yours! I love the matza cover, and what great colors. My daughter and I start cooking on Sunday, making apple farfel kugel, brownies, what fun!

{ pinksuedeshoe } on: 26 March 2010 at 14:27 said...

That is amazing. I love the apliqued letters. Thanks for sharing about your traditions!

{ Mary St. John Nielsen } on: 26 March 2010 at 15:56 said...

VERY pretty, love the colors! Is it possible that "spring cleaning" comes from this "getting ready" tradition?

{ Leslie } on: 26 March 2010 at 18:24 said...

this is beautiful...even more so because of the tradition of it.

{ Mary } on: 26 March 2010 at 19:25 said...

So special and lovely!

{ Nina... } on: 27 March 2010 at 01:01 said...

Gorgeous colors, lovely quilting, beautiful quilt!

{ Sew It UP! } on: 27 March 2010 at 10:40 said...

I always love to hear other traditions how they are spent. Thank you for sharing. Your matzah cover is really pretty. I'm sure you host will love it.

{ Karen } on: 27 March 2010 at 16:37 said...

Great finish. Its great when things just come together easily. Good luck with getting everything done.

{ wishes, true and kind } on: 28 March 2010 at 02:39 said...

How beautiful, Lesly!

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