I really wish I were less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.

Billy Joel

The business of an artist is a tough road fraught with multitudes of rejection. Artists have to have tough skin, not take it personally and keep searching for the right showcase for the work.

And so it is with mixed feelings that I introduce you to the book: Jewish Threads: A Hands-On Guide to Stitching Spiritual Intention into Jewish Fabric Crafts with thirty Jewish fabric craft projects to celebrate milestones. Among the projects showcased in the book are quilted challah covers, a knit seder plate, biblical Purim hand puppets and wall hangings for various holidays.

The one project not chosen for inclusion in the book was this Rail Fence Signature Table Cloth that you can make before and take to a big birthday, wedding or anniversary celebration for all of the guests sign. After the event the cloth stays with the recipient as a usable permanent keepsake sustaining the memory of a fleeting event. You can commission me to make one for you or you can use this pattern to make one for yourself.

Project: Rail Fence Signature Table Cloth

These instructions make a 54” table topper. The number of blocks may be increased to accommodate a larger table. Rail Fence pattern is a simple one to make. It is a square divided into three equal rectangles. It has a great 3-dimensional look when constructed with the right combination of light, medium and dark valued fabrics.

Supplies for a 54” square table topper:

  • 1 ¼ yards of light cottons
  • 1 ¼ yards of medium cottons
  • 1 ¼ yards of dark cottons
  • 2 yards 60” wide 100% cotton flannel
  • Sewing thread to match cotton flannel
  • Assorted permanent ink markers


  1. There are 81 6” rail blocks. Each rail is cut 2 ½” X 6 ½” and finishes 2” X 6” using ¼” seam allowance. To cut the rails cut 2 ½” strips across the width of the fabric and then cut those into 6 ½” segments. Cut 81 rails of each light, medium, and dark value fabric.
  2. Piece the rails into blocks, each block with a light on the left, a medium in the middle and a dark on the right.
  3. Piece the blocks into rows alternating the direction of the rails for every other block. There will be 9 rows each with 9 blocks.
  4. Using the quilt-as-you-go technique, sew the rows together and at the same time sew them to the backing.
  5. To bind the quilt, trim the backing to be 1½” bigger than the patchwork on all four sides. Turn the backing in to meet the patchwork and then again to cover the raw edges and stitch through all of the layers.
  6. Gather friends together to sign your quilt. Be sure to include your name, a date, and a blessing of your own on the quilt.

Published by SilkQuilt

Pittsburgh-based fiber artist, Louise Silk, creates art that combines aesthetics and functionality with meaning and memories. From the influence of a 1972 MS Magazine article to the current SILKDENIM label, her quilt experiences culminate in a display of her particular capacity to use her patchwork skills to piece together just about anything into an aesthetic meaningful whole.

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