Sep 162013

We receive about half a dozen inquiries a day. Often customers want to know how to track their orders, how to order a special type of tzitzit, which tchelet tzitzit to choose, how to tie tchelet, etc. Yesterday we received a very terse inquiry, obviously written by an earnest mother with an important tallit project on her hands.

want to weave a talit for son. can’t find the tchelet yarn. can u help?

Upon reading her question, I had a hunch Miriam has very noble intentions, but is not very clear on how to go about making a tallit or how to observe the mitzvah of tchelet tzitzit. So I spelled out the tallit-making process step-by-step:

The Torah tells us to attach strings to the corners of our garments, three white strings and one tchelet string on each corner.

That means you weave a tallit using whatever yarn you want. According to halacha and Jewish tradition, wool is preferable, but sometimes people use cotton or silk.

Tchelet TzitzitOnce the tallit is completed, you make a hole in each corner. With handwoven tallits, sometimes people don’t make a hole, but simply use a darning needle to insert the strings. Personally, I think it’s best to make a proper hole and reinforce it a bit.

The holes must be placed near the corners, but not too close. From each edge, measure out two inches and then make the corner.

Choosing and Tying Tchelet Tzitzit

Now that you’ve finished making the tallit, you’re ready to add the tzitzit, which is really the essence of the mitzvah. You might want to have another family member take part in the tallit-making process at this point. I think it’s very nice for a father or grandfather to tackle this big mitzvah. It should take no more than an hour, and it’s not very complicated. When the time comes, I would be glad to provide you with a written guide and a video on tzitzit tying.
Which tzitzit do you need? A good place to start is by taking a look at our Tzitzit Wizard. If you want to buy tchelet tzitzit, I would also recommend you read this page, which explains the difference between the two types of tchelet tzitzit available today.

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