A Rule for Living Pays Off

By Kay Gardiner
July 19, 2018

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162 Comments
  • What a beautiful story and rule to live by. Love the embroidery too, so perfectly stitched, a treasure just for you.

  • It is beautiful!

  • Wow:)!!!Well done both of you:)!

  • absolutely gorgeous. I love this story too!!!

  • What a beautiful bag…definitely an heirloom! (And I love that the one-off knit night became a regular thing. Knitters are lovely that way!)

  • This is a beautiful story in every way. Thank you for sharing it.

  • I’m all verklempt! (Hope I spelled that right, my eyes are all misty right now.) Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and true story of unexpected treasures and friendships to be found if we just look.

  • Absolutely beautiful.

  • Gorgeous! Paula is an artist!

  • THIS.IS.PERFECT. A truly beautiful story, which reflects my own feelings about this. Two years ago on July 4, my beloved 28 year old godson was found dead in his bed by his housemate who thoght he was late for work. It was sudden adult death syndrome – later found at autopsy to be due to a “silent” heart defect.
    As you can imagine, this has exploded a bomb in his family and mine. His sister has had to undergo genetic testing, my children (who grew up with Martin) are inconsolable, and his mother continues to be devastated. With the mother of a friend of Martin’s, who took her own life a year prior to Martin’s death due to ongoing mental health issues, she has set up a small charity called Purquoise (Bobbie and Martin’s favourite colours were purple and turquoise). It holds an annual art auction, so this year I knit a shawl in purples and turquoise to be auctioned. It attracted several bids, but Martin’s mum made sure hers was the highest as she didn’t want it to go outside the family. She has now commissioned me to make two more shawls in toning shades for her daughter and her daughter’s partner. It helped me to knit it, and it helps Sue to wear it. #loveineverystitch

    • Oh Karen, what a lovely gesture to make those shawls. You bring tears to my eyes.

    • I have to admit my eyes teared up reading this. So many blessings are coming your way for having such a kind and giving heart

    • Thank you for sharing your story. It warms my heart.

    • What a lovely lovely thing to do. Thank you for sharing that.

    • Thank you for sharing your story – such a beautiful thing you have done to help give comfort in such heartache.

    • I am reading this with happy tears. Thank you for sharing.

    • I agree – a really positive action and one that truly honors her loved ones. What happened to Martin happened to my beloved sister, age 21, back in 1977. Devastating. My sympathies to you and to Martin’s family.

    • I am gladdened by these stories – that sticks and a little wool can heal and forge with such ferocity. Keep telling your story, Karen Bond – it flows with love all the way out her to Wyoming.

      And Kay? Now I wish I was Jewish.

  • Makes me want to cry. I live for connections like this. What a fine reward for living by your rule.

  • That bag is stunning!

    • Kay, beautiful bag and wonderful “rule for life!” Use the bag in good health. Herschel wrote, “Build your life as if it was a work of art.” Through your knitting and your blog, you are doing just that. Thank you for sharing your wit, wisdom and passion. Keep it up!

  • The outside of the bag is beautiful, but it’s the inside that really caps it off for me. Silk lining, with your name embroidered – so perfect!

  • That bag is truly stunning and what a lovely story. Just perfect!

  • I couldn’t love this story more. Thanks, Kay.

  • Oh my goodness. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Such a beautiful story – and then I saw the Tallis bag. That’s just a wow and totally tear-worthy. Thank you for sharing

  • I love this so much. Beautiful bag and beautiful story.

  • A sub-Rule for Charity Auctions: Be alert, as sometimes “Knitting- or Needlework-Related Items” may come in disguise. A week on an island in Maine has become Knit Night for 7 Nights for a group of knitting buddies!

    • Love this suggestion!

  • What a wonderful story!! The bag is gorgeous and a true treasure.

  • The story is as beautiful as the Tallis bag.

  • This has got to be the most beautiful Tallis bag I’ve ever seen! I love using truly special Judaica. And this is truly special!!

  • May you use it in good health!!! (K’nayin horeh…Ptu, Ptu, Ptu). Beautiful story and heartwarming to read it.

  • That bag is really wonderful! Great story.

  • Stunning. Such a powerful story. I’m always in awe of the . . . power of the needle arts.

  • Thank you for this beautiful story. Rules for Living would be a great title for your memoir, which I am hoping you will write. I am so curious about your journey from Nebraska to New York City.

  • An heirloom, with the story to go with it. What exquisite work.

  • SA womderful story on so many levels, but best of all:that you bid on the tallis bag, and created a friendship: friendship is always the best gift of all.

  • This is truly beautiful. I’ve not ever seen one so lovely – makes me want to take up needlepoint! I also abide by the same rule and have come home from auctions with treasures from folks unknown to me – but, yet connected through our love of creating with fibers.

  • Absolutely beautiful!

  • beautiful bag, along with a beautiful new friendship. As Vonnegut would say, “If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

  • Stunning bag, stunning story.

  • LOVE!!!!

  • Couldn’t agree more with The Silent Auction Rule. Do I understand correctly that your beautiful bag was also designed by the maker to match the window? Also, am remembering the days when we girls at Holy Cross needed to carry our chapel veils (they weren’t veils; more like lace frisbees) with us across the street to Mass. If you forgot yours, Sister Mary Adelaide would make you bobby-pin your glove or a kleenex to the top of your head. I’d like to think that God had more fashion sense than that and would gladly give you a get-out-of-humiliation-free card for the day. We didn’t figure out to stash some loaner frisbees in the cry room.

    • Oh my goodness – your comment cracked me up. I do remember the bobby-pins and Kleenex at Mass scenario. We were stylin’ and profilin’ for sure!

    • My grandmother made me a tiny lace doily that I folded into my rosary case with a bobby pin so that I only had to endure the Kleenex walk of shame once in eight years of parochial school.

  • Thank you for sharing this story – it was very touching and the bag is beautiful! Is the knitting group still together?

    • Yes! It’s so fun and Paula is a wonderful knitting teacher and coach for the newbies.

  • What a windowful—er, wonderful—story!

  • Beautiful!

  • Fabulous. Thank you for sharing the story of the bag and friendship.

  • This is a great rule, and what an absolutely spectacular bag. Stunning!

  • The image of the windows. Ah! Such meaning. Such wonderful layers of meaning. Such superbly executed work ! To think that you were also invited to participate in the design and color choice for your tallis bag. True generosity in its fullest form. Too, I sort of lost it at the end when when I saw the lining with your name embroidered, so unexpected. Beautiful story. Thank you.

  • That is so beautifull and her stitching is perfection!

  • So beautiful, it stirs emotions.

  • An absolutely beautiful piece of fiber art! I have a similar rule and it includes almost all handmade items. Thus, I have a wonderful collection of floral watercolors done by a friend’s father (now deceased) that were rarely bid on. They are beautiful and I know the love that went into them.

  • I absolutely love this story! I began my love of all things fiber related when I was in Kindergarten, doing my first needlepoint from a 5 and dime kit of an apple. I have it framed, hanging by my front door. Next I learned cross stitch and went on to expand my stitching and needlepoint skills in to my 30’s. When my first child was born, I put away all my stitching related things because I didn’t want them to be ruined and I didn’t want my child to get injured with laying tools, fine scissors and needles. I then learned how to know and haven’t looked back. People have no idea the time that goes in to handmade gifts. That bag is beyond precious and you’re so right about it being an heirloom. Well done!

  • It is the most beautiful bad of any sort I have ever seem.

  • What a beautiful story. The tallis bag is absolutely beautiful.

  • You won’t hear this question anywhere except New York, “…could I come down and get my tallis bag so she didn’t have to hunt for a parking space?”

    • Amen!

  • Love the bag, love the rule and love the story.

  • Someone who appreciates hand made. Kudos.

  • It’s glorious! What a wonderful story…thank you for sharing 🙂

  • What a wonderful story. Your rule produced two treasures, the stunning tallis bag & a new friend. Sounds like a good rule to me.

  • That is a beautiful piece of artwork!. And a lovely story. Auctions are so much fun.

  • Beautiful story and beautiful needlepoint bag.

  • What a beautiful bag. What a wonderful gift! ( yes, I know it is not a “gift”, but )
    I , also, always go for the handmade , fiber, item. “Women’s work” always goes for less $$ than everything else. My fiber friends and I always bid up the item. We have some beautiful pieces to show off.
    Thank you for sharing the story and the bag.

  • This brings tears to my eyes. What a wonderful treasure. Good advice about supporting fiber artists.

  • Such a wonderful story in so many was! Your new bag is a treasure done stunningly. I love it!

  • So beautiful!

  • Wow – so gorgeous!

  • Oh my Kay that is too pretty to use. If I had it I would frame it and hang it on the wall.

  • As much as you love your bag, I suspect that she loved making the bag for someone who could truly appreciate the work that went into it. A wonderful story!

  • Such a beautiful and meaningful story! Thank you so much for sharing, and for providing a new way (to me) to support fellow fiber artists!

  • I’m a little emotional about this: this is just amazing. What a delightful passel of gifts your rule has delivered to you in this story.

  • That is absolutely gorgeous–just stupendous!

  • It is definitely the most beautiful tallis bag I’ve ever seen, because I’ve never seen one before. AND it’s a GORGEOUS piece of needlepoint. (When I saw the photo, I thought “Wait, that’s needlepoint!”) I’m rushing to finish the 7th and 8th needlepoint dining room chair seats before I die so my kids won’t inherit an unfinished project. Fitting them in around the knitting.

  • This story and the bag are utterly lovely. Your rule lead to a personalized piece of art and a new friend. Truly a good rule to live by.

  • What a wonderful story! I have followed this rule for a while now, too! Once I won a pattern and yarn for a lovely shawl. The person who donated the kit came to find me after the drawing, to see if the person who won her donation was a knitter! We gushed together over the pattern and the lovely wool. Several times I have donated handknit items (felted bags, bowls, and a couple of times a pair of socks) to club raffles and silent auctions. It is always gratifying when the item earns a nice monetary reward for the club, and even more so when the person who wins the item is excited about it.

  • I’ve tried needle point, but suffer with eye floaters. This is one of the most beautiful geometric needlepoint works I’ve ever seen. A labor of love, most cherished cherished heirloom. Always, amazed at the God given talents people have. Enjoyed your heart warming story. Such a blessing on the two of you meeting.

  • You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story. The bag is an amazing piece of art. Love it.

  • I love this story! The bag is absolutely breathtaking. You deserve it!

  • I’m crying happy tears this morning. Thank you for this wonderful story of fiber and friendship. And that tallis bag is beyond gorgeous.

  • Stunning! It’s been a tradition in our family to needlepoint Tallis bags for the Bar Mitzvah boys for many years. This year my Granddaughter had her Bat Mitzvah and I made her a cover for her Siddur. It’s a beautiful sense of continuity in the family. Use your bag in good health,

  • Wow, that is stunning!! A wonderful story, thanks for sharing.

  • WOW!! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Oh my goodness. The beauty of this bag and the story behind it had me crying (ok, sobbing!). Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • What a great find,! A beautiful Tallis Bag and a beautiful friend!bb

  • I am definitely adopting your golden rule. And not only because it led to your ownership of this gorgeous, beautiful, unique work.

  • This post just made my heart sing! What a beautiful bag. What a very special purpose. Love it!

  • What a wonderful rule, a spectacular and unique Tallis bag, and heartwarming story. I definitely would have bid on a knit night at your house.

  • That is definitely a rule to live by. I’ve unconsciously followed that rule myself probably because I value hand-made. As I type this my vision is distorted by a migraine, but I can still see that you have won a Treasure of Greatest Beauty. Following the Rule worked out well for you. Hooray for Paula and her skills.

  • It is beautiful. Hazel tov! Loretta

  • Beutiful!

  • What a lovely collection of stories you have initiated. And you are so correct: bidding on handwork is essential when one is a creator herself. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and it brought tears, too.

  • I, to my knowledge, have never seen a tallis bag. This one is beautiful. Her workmanship is exquisite.

  • Gorgeous! What a treasure!

  • An excellent rule, and what a pay-off!!! Good work. Thank you for sharing this lovely story with us. And please tell Paula we love it. 🙂

  • Holy Moley! That is gorgeous–now I wish I could be davening next to you sometime, just so I could stare at that bag again. What a great new connection…and such a meaningful gift. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  • I love this story and I love your bag! Truly, the love of textile and fiber is like no other!

  • I agree with all of this….the bag is gorgeous, aND the idea of always supporting the needlework echoes my own thoughts. Why else would I have tons of embroidery, crocheting, knitting and any other craft that I “rescued” from estate and yard sales.

  • The talllis turned out beautiful . I am trying to teach myself how to crochet and hopefully knitting. I do all types of crosstitch and embroidery and needlepoint and latchhook I enjoy things like that.

  • I have been known to purchase unneeded knitted/crocheted items when I find them at Goodwill just so they’ll feel that someone still loves them after being ignominiously tossed in the “donate” bag by their previous owner, who obviously lacked the good sense that God gave a goose. (Sorry about that. My Great-grandmother Stephan popped out of my fingertips there for a second.) Absolutely the most beautiful tallis bag.

  • It is a thing of beauty on its own but of course filled with all sorts of symbolism – wonderful story

  • What a beautiful story and exquisite tallit bag! With the new friendship adding another layer, it’s a great embodiment of ‘enhancing the Mitzvah.’ So much kindness and appreciation going back and forth! We need more of that.
    Thanks for the lift this gives!

  • Exquisite tallis bag, beautiful friendship and a truly heartwarming story.

  • beautiful!

  • The tallis bag is nothing short of awesome!!! You are definitely a very lucky lady to have a friend like Kay. Wow!!

  • I may know how to needlepoint and knit, but I clearly remain a technology luddite. Thought I signed up up for notifications from MDK, but only discovered your incredible story from the emails and posts of others. Then I tried to post a heartfelt comment from my iPhone on the 8:11 from Riverdale en route to a day of back-to-back meetings, and that clearly didn’t work either! Ugh….I must once again seek a technology consultation from my resident teenage child. But I digress……
    Kay, you have told “our story” with your signature combination of wit, warmth and wisdom. If the story didn’t bring smiles and tears of joy to my face, the comments from your wonderful followers and fellow knitters at MDK had me go through a box of Kleenex. What an amazing group of people! I’m over the moon knowing that this tallit bag is as meaningful to you as it is to me; I can’t imagine a better owner for it. And that knit night at your house was the best gift I’ve ever bid on. We’ve made things in our knitting group, for sure; but it’s the new friendships that I treasure. I’m so very grateful for that auction, and will forever live by your very wise rule. I offer you my mom’s traditional wish when someone gets new garments or accessories: “May you wear it and tear it in the best of health” (but please try hard not to tear it!). XOXO

    • Paula, the tallit bag is gorgeous! I love stained glass, and the minute I saw the picture, I knew it was based on a window somewhere. The story behind it is as beautiful as the bag!

    • Hi Paula,
      I cannot believe that you already have a teenager! Please give him a hug for me. Is he still knitting?
      xoxo,
      Suzie

      • I should have figured you two would know each other!

      • Suzie! How great to hear from you, and of course, it would be through a wonderful knitting connection. Yes, Eli is a full blown teenager and an all-around great guy. He hasn’t knit in ages, but is always supportive of my “necessary knit time”! Would love to knit with you some time!!

        • Paula, That would be so fun. Getting back from vacation this week and then we should make a date.

  • WOW. Every single aspect of this story is a WOW!

  • Wow! You hit the jackpot! And I am not just talking about the bag! What a wonderful story!

  • So gorgeous! Beautiful workmanship. I absolutely love the story that goes along with it.

  • I understand how precious and meaningful this bag is. It is on the same level as the temple apron I embroidered. I know how meaningful your friendship with this sweet sister is and with the rest of that group. We lived in Israel in 1988 to 1991. I made many good friends while there. The Jewish people are fierce friends when they accept you into their group. I am not Jewish but that mattered not to them. I really like you page and hearing about the things you write about. Thank you for your time to write. Linda

  • How beautiful!

    And I love your rule- always bid on the fiber arts. I hate seeing handmade items passed over at auctions! I know the time and love that is put into creating them. Lovely to have a beautiful Tallis bag, and even better to have made a friend!

  • Oh my goodness! The bag is beautiful!

  • I also abide by that rule for living! And you just made me cry. Such beautiful work!

  • WOW!!! That is gorgeous! Great story behind it.

  • It is gorgeous, and b’shert (or however you spell it) too apparently.

  • This is so incredibly beautiful.

    I happen to have the exact same life rule. I go to a lot of charity auctions and have a stack of lovingly made quilts to prove it. I’m all about someone not get a quilt for less than the teeth whitening consultation.

    • I know right? lol’ing at the teeth whitening consultation.

  • Your gift of the bag and the friendship. No words can express how wonderful that auction was. The synagogue and both of you benefited. Priceless. Loved the bag.

  • That’s a true piece of art, as well as an heirloom. Exquisite.

  • WOW! That is beautiful as an object, and there is a beautiful spirit behind it. How wonderful that your decision to support others with similar hobbies has led to a lovely friendship as well as such a lovely tallis bag for you! So sometimes virtue is rewarded 🙂

  • What a beautiful design to that bag — reflective of the beautiful circumstances surrounding it.

  • how beautiful!!!

  • Ptl. Praise the Lord!

  • May I adopt your Rule for Living? It’s truly wonderful and very special.

  • that i believe is one of the most absolutely beautiful things i have ever seen.

  • Wonderful story for the Sabbath!

  • Incredible needlework and a beautiful story! You made me realize that I have this rule too and hadn’t articulated it out loud.

  • Just wait a sec… something in my eye.

  • Just fabulous! And so windowey.

    • Meant to say “stained glass windowey” !!

  • Such a beautiful story! The bag is amazing and a friendship was born and has bloomed 🙂 Am a day late in reading but this has started my Saturday with such a smile

  • Beautiful Tallis bag and story. I am definitely adopting your Silent Auction Rule.

  • Paula made you a loving gift from God. What joy came from her fingers!

  • Oh!

  • I think I may qualify as competition in this game. I can hardly get into my closet. People know I knit, and keep offering me yarn….and I say “Yes!” I have some really strange yarn, and some really beautiful yarn – both are fun to use. I have donated several hand knit sweaters to my hospital thrift shop, and hats for the homeless. Someday I hope to run into one of my hats of a real person on the street on a cold day.

  • Beautiful bag, beautiful friendship, beautiful story!

    I would totally bid on a knit nite with you. So fabulous.

  • I can’t tell you how much I love love love this! For both of my son’s Bar Mitzvahs I sewed their tallises, crocheted their kipahs, and needlepointed their Tallis bags. A year ago my older son got married, wearing a brand new crocheted kippah, standing under the chuppah I knitted, while the rabbi wrapped him and my DIL in that very same tallis. I’m literally tearing up as I write this thinking how much love we put into the things we make for others. I don’t care how many times people tell me I can just buy something, there’s nothing like making something special for someone. I can’t wait until my younger son gets married so I can do it all over again! And I guess I better get busy soon- I have twin niece and nephew who will be b’nai mitzvahed in 2 years. Time to get started on the next generation!❤️❤️

  • What a wonderful story! Knowing Paula a little I can see how meticulous and careful her work is. So glad that the two of you found each other!

    • Hey Suzie! Fancy seeing you here!!

  • Beautiful bag, beautiful story, essential life rule!

  • Beautiful object and a lovely story.

  • Exquisite!

  • May you use it in good health!

  • Oh! Oh, my! Oh mymymymymy. *sigh* Simply stunning.

  • Lovely story, gorgeous handwork. I am glad that there is some special sparkle, and the silk lining seems like it glows. And I love that both of your fiber-arts prizes have led to that great connection. Marvelous!

  • That gave me goose bumps. How beautiful it is!

  • I love of everything about this story!! And that bag – oh, my!

  • That is a fabulous rule that I can relate to, both as the maker and the bidder. Thank you!

  • What a lovely tallit bag and a heartfelt story to go with it. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • Ditto to all that has been said . . . a gorgeous tallis bag, (and the silk lining with your name embroidered!!??!!), a beautiful friendship, a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • You are a good soul. The bag is beautiful

  • That is insanely beautiful.

  • This is incredible. And very inspirational. (I don’t end up at many charity auctions, but if I go to a thrift store or estate sale, I always peruse the handmade textiles first!)

  • So very beautiful and your story was so moving