Needlepoint Tallit and Tefillin Bags
|Individual, needlepoint embroidery|
|Needlepoint tallit and tefilin bags can be bought as kits or as a predesigned product.|
Needlepoint tallit and tefillin bags are generally colorful, often very detailed and illustrated. They are sold as 'do it yourself' kits or as predesigned bags. Kits range in difficulty from 'novice' to 'expert'. Some Judaica artists offer uniquely designed needlepoint talit and tefilin bags.
Needlepoint, or canvas embroidery, is an ancient craft that goes back to the time of the Egyptians and was very popular both in the Middle Ages and the Victorian period. Needlepoint uses an open weave canvas as the basic ground material, on top of which a design is stitched using a variety of threads. These threads may be made from silk, wool, cotton or other combinations.
 Thread Count
Choosing a thread type depends on the canvas being used, which come in a variety of mesh sizes, known as the thread count per inch. An open mesh canvas allows thick wool thread to be used resulting in a fast tallit bag design since less stitching is required. Closer mesh sizes allow for the use of finer thread which can be used to create very detailed designs. This painstaking stitching can take a while and is more suitable for the smaller tefilin bag.
 Needlepoint Kits
Needlepoint tefilin and tallit bag kits generally come with all the materials necessary to make the bags; the canvas, threads, design as well as a stitching instruction guide. Some companies prefer to just sell the canvas weave design alone, leaving the embroiderer to choose the quality, type and colors of the threads. An experienced needlepoint craftsperson can even buy all the individual elements themselves and design their own individual tefilin and tallit bag set, using a blank canvas. Even with template designs there is a lot of room for artistic personalization allowing creative individuals to create unique tallis and tefillin bags which will stand out in the synagogue, for either personal use or to give as a gift.
 Needlepoint Designs
Designs are usually preprinted or hand-painted on the canvas bags making it easy for the novice to follow. For the completely inexperienced needle pointer there are online videos, DVD’s, adult education classes, as well as numerous books and needlepoint magazines available.
There is a wide choice of designs available for needlepoint tallis and tefilin bag kits. Very simple designs using only one or two stitches are ideal for someone with no stitching experience. Elaborate designs which use a wide variety of stitches are available for the expert stitcher. Design themes vary from traditional blue tallit bags with the person’s name stitched in a different color to elaborate views of Jerusalem as well as very modern abstract patterns.
Actual bags can be included as pieces of canvas that must be assembled as part of the kit. They can also be bought already assembled leaving only the needle-pointing itself, making the kits easier and quicker to complete.
Handmade needlepoint tallit and tefillin bags are a unique gift for Chasanim (grooms) and Bar Mitzvah boys. Sets make an excellent personalized wedding gift.