Full Disclosure Statement:

Cathy Perlmutter and I became fast friends a number of years ago over a bunch of commonalities that we just kept discovering: we’re both quilters, both writers, both working on illustrating, writing, and laying out books, both have scientists for husbands, both have papillon dogs (Wuli and Willie), and we both know the words to Tzena Tsena Tzena. (Okay, so Cathy’s Jewish and I’m of just about Puritan stock, but I did go to Israeli folk dance camp as a teenager and some things just stay with you.) When Cathy and I get together in person we’re like old shoes.

uncommon-yarmulkeCathy’s book is now out, and I have to say that my heart has been stolen away.
The Uncommon Yarmulke: Easy, Fun, and Spiritually-Loaded Little Jewish Hats is the most extraordinary book, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend. This is a gem.

Not only will you learn every single thing there is to know about making four-panel or six-panel yarmulkes from any kind of fabric there is, you will laugh out loud at Cathy’s excellent and completely thorough instructions filtered through her sense of humor. The section on fussy-cutting fabrics includes advice on how to avoid partial kittens, 4 ¾ Commandments, etc. She did regret slicing off the tails of some endangered manatees, “as if they hadn’t suffered enough.”

You needn’t be Jewish to appreciate this book. If you know anybody who would appreciate a personalized yarmulke, you would be doing such a mitzvah to sew them a kippah from a fabric that’s meaningful for them!

Besides that, the book contains a lot of valuable information about fabrics, templates, cutting, sewing, binding, and embellishment that any sewing enthusiast could benefit from. Or for that matter anybody who can thread a sewing machine, that’s how complete and thorough the information is, plus Cathy’s plentiful illustrations are out of this world. And, I learned some really interesting things about Judaism and Jewish culture along the way.

Cathy made a ‘barkmulke’ for Wuli, so of course I had to make one for Willie.


The hat's okay but did I really have to wake up out of a nap for this?

The hat's okay but did I really have to wake up out of a nap for this?

I also wanted to make an appliquéd and quilted kippah, so I made this one for Cathy, to show that I consider her a sewing star!


I used an idea that I’ve been playing with for a future project… magnets! I had these tiny spools that I picked up somewhere over the years, I had super-strong magnets, and I had a roll of sticky-backed magnetic tape. A super-strong magnet on either side of the hat and a little bit of sticky-backed magnetic tape applied to the spool and voila!



The hats are reversible, giving the maker another opportunity to carry out the theme. The magnetic hood ornament is easy to switch from side to side!


I had a ball making these. The Uncommon Yarmulke is available at Cathy’s website, Judaiquilt.com.

By Kay Mackenzie