Stoles are the topic of conversation at the moment on Ecclesiastical Sewing. Stoles are often one of the first projects that someone new to vestment making undertakes. Clergy stoles, from all outward appearances, look as if they would be something extremely simple to make. And so they can be, provided one has a good blueprint to follow.
I admit we are taking things a bit out-of-order in with the process of making Clergy Stoles because the focus has been on the stole end. And, yes, that is the one area that causes a great deal of consternation when it comes to making a stole for a Priest or Pastor.
There are many ways to finish the ends of a Priest’s stole. The end can have fringe on the lower edge, or the edge can have a plain hem as the finish. Creative placement of trims and orphrey bands offer other options. One of my favorite ways to finish the end of a stole is to use tassels. The tassel choices for this current stole project are a soft white or cream tassel and a gold tassel. Locating nice tassels through retail stores can be a challenge. Often the stock and quantity on hand is limited, especially when six or twelve are the needed numbers. The above samples were ordered from a new supplier. They are made from a different type of yarn or thread than the ones I usually purchase locally. The colors are light gold, dark gold, and white. When the shipment arrived, I felt a bit like Goldilocks, saying, “This gold color tassel is too yellow; this gold color tassel is too dark. But this white color tassel is just right.” Well, not really. The white is actually too white for the current Priest or Pastoral Stole project.
The tassels on either end are the dark gold and light gold ( or almost yellow) tassels. For some projects, the dark and light gold will be fine, but the colors are not right for this project. The middle tassel comes from my local fabric store, and yes, it is still my favorite tassel, and the best color option for this Pastoral Stole project.
A quick trip was made to the local fabric store this evening in the hopes of finding enough tassels for the Pastoral or Priest stole. But what to my wandering eye should appear? Nothing but nearly empty shelves. And that has been the case for weeks. Ah, the challenges of living in a small town. Thankfully there is a chain fabric store, but it is poorly stocked most of the time.
The store had three soft white tassels, and four gold tassels on hand. Add to that one soft white tassel and two gold tassels at home, and that would make four soft white tassels and six gold tassels. I would be short two soft white tassels. I always use six tassels on each stole end. The reason? The stoles my pastor had from years ago all have six tassels, which add weight to the hem and help keep a clergy stole from flying away. Being a wider stole at 5 1/2″, six tassels fill the space nicely, without looking either skimpy or crowded.
The shortage of my favorite tassels for use on a Priest’s stole leaves two options:
- Make the stole with six tassels on each end, using the newly ordered dark gold and white tassels.
- Make the stole using 5 tassels on each end: three gold and two white.
The dark gold is still too dark in the first photo above, and the white is too white. The only option is to use the five tassels. It will be a bit skimpier that I would prefer, being short one tassel on each side. But in all likely hood, I will be the only one cringing at the thought and sight, but still, it will be better to have something for this Sunday instead of having a pastor with no stole at all………….
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Pastoral Stoles Tagged: Clergy Stoles, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Pastoral Stoles, Priest stole, vestment making