Intersisterhood event to feature Kiddush cup coaster craft project

Temple Israel will host the 2021 Intersisterhood Program on Zoom on Tuesday, April 27, at 7 pm. Once a year, the Sisterhoods of Temple Israel, Beth David Synagogue and Temple Concord share a program. This year, artist and educator Maxine Rosenberg will teach an English paper piecing project. Participants will be able to prepare a Kiddush cup coaster for Shabbat. 

“This paper piecing technique was very popular in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century,” Rosenberg said. “At that time, quilts were often made with small scraps of fabric. Their affordability increased their popularity and sustainability during the Great Depression. Our project will use diamond shapes to form the Star of David and will include a contrasting colored background.” 

Materials needed for the project will be assembled by the Intersisterhood program organizers, and will be available for signed-up participants ahead of the event. “Signing up for the event is essential,” organizers said, “so that there is enough time to assemble the individual packets of necessary materials.” 

Reservations must be made by Thursday, April 22, for those who live in town. Out-of-town participants must respond by Friday, April 16, in order to receive their packets by mail on time. Reservations can be made by contacting Tammy Kunsman, Temple Israel’s secretary, at 723-7461 or Once registered, local members will need to pick up their packets at Temple Israel, 4737 Deerfield Pl., Vestal, on either Friday, April 23, or Monday, April 26. Participants will be sent the Zoom meeting ID for the event.

Each packet will include an explanation of English paper piecing; precut shapes that will already be ironed onto fabric so that participants can more easily complete the project; batting material, a “big eye” embroidery needle designed for batting; squares of fabric for the background and back of the coaster; and a roll of thread that will glide through the fabric. Participants will need to have on hand the following: scissors that can cut cotton fabric; a glue stick; a 6- or 12-inch ruler; a pencil; an iron; and an ironing surface.

Associated with the quilting tradition, English paper piecing has been called a historically significant handicraft, with the earliest known English paper pieced quilts dating back to 18th century England. EPP first came to the U.S. in 1807. The traditional quilting style makes use of paper templates that are the exact shape and size needed to create an interconnected pattern without any gaps or overlaps. In EPP, the fabric is wrapped around the paper, then basted and glued, thus holding the fabric to its shape. Finally the fabric-covered shapes are whip-stitched together to make the finished product. 

A former kindergarten-12 visual arts teacher in the public schools, Rosenberg has taught continuing education art classes at SUNY Broome, and was an outreach educator for the Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas, and the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University. Rosenberg volunteers her artistic talents at Temple Israel, contributing everything from graphics to centerpiece design. “My current passion is quilting,” Rosenberg said, “and I have Temple Israel member and friend Sandy Paston to thank for teaching me the art of English paper piecing. The Kiddush cup coaster for Shabbat project combines a traditional technique with a modern design. As participants will see, there’s something so lovely about the feel of hand stitching: it brings a sense of peace. Our hope is that this project will remind us of the bond we all share every time we place our Kiddush cup on our beautiful handmade coaster.”