Priest or Pastoral Stole: Tassel Ends

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.

Selecting Tassels for Stole Ends
Selecting Tassels for Stole Ends

 

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.

Variations in Gold Tassels
Variations in Gold Tassels

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.

Variations in white and gold tassels for a Pastoral Stole
Variations in white and gold tassels for a Pastoral Stole

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.

Shiny tassels for a Priest or Pastoral Stole
Shiny tassels for a Priest or Pastoral Stole

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.

Tassel options for a Pastoral or Priest Stole
Tassel options for a Pastoral or Priest Stole

The shortage of my favorite tassels for use on a Priest’s stole leaves two options:

  1. Make the stole with six tassels on each end, using the newly ordered dark gold and white tassels.
  2. Make the stole using 5 tassels on each end: three gold and two white.
Stole end with five tassels
Stole end with five tassels

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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6 Comments »

  1. Hi,

    I’m looking for the tassel you describe above as ‘light gold’ to replace on a (deacon’s) stole that was an ordination gift. As you don’t seem to sell it yourself amongst all the colors you have, can you give me an idea of where I could find them these two years on? I was never much of a shopper, and my search skills are failing me.

    Thanks.

    Hans

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  2. I like the look of 5 tassels, as opposed to six. There’s just something pleasing and balanced about the odd number. I also like that you have alternated the colors here. It’s a nice look with the white and gold dice trim. I can’t imagine trying to find most of what we use at a fabric store. Most of the fabric stores here are geared to quilting or upholstery, and, of course, the ubiquitous and iniquitous Joann’s. It’s rare to find a good stock of any notions in a local store. Have you tried La Lame http://www.lalameinc.com?

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    • Thank you. The five tassels are growing on me, too. I got used to doing six tassels after the fashion of the Almy stoles. But I did like the alternating look as well. Since I usually make a little wider stole, the five is a bit of a stretch to fill the lower edge on this stole. If I use my narrower pattern, the five tassels will be perfect.
      The challenge of finding trims for Ecclesiastical work is daunting. I have gotten tassels at JoAnn Fabrics, and I like their quality and price, but they never have enough, or the correct colors. They did say one can order in store, (not available online) but it takes 2 to 4 weeks.
      The longer tassels did come from LaLame. They remind me more of the quality or style of tassels used for graduation caps. They will work, and I will use them. I only wish the colors were a little better. The dark gold is a little dark and the light gold is a little too yellow.
      I am still on the hunt for a supplier who has the right Ecclesiastical colors, quality, length, and price of tassels.

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