Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whatever Happened to the Sabbath?

My church (which is on Facebook, and Twitter) is doing a number of small group studies for Lent.  Every group covers the same topic each week, and that topic is related to Sunday’s service as well.  Pretty neat.  One of the groups is structured around writing.  It’s being led by our Pastoral Intern and she’s posted some of her writing for the group on her blog

It’s pretty neat and though I’m not as brave as her to share so much, I thought I’d give it a try and share my writing for this week on the topic of Sabbath.  (Last week was on prayer; we wrote psalms.)


Sabbath.  I can’t hear or see the word without thinking “nsabata,” the Tonga word for “Saturday.”  Having the word built into the week like that was a constant reminder.  “What is today?”  “Sabbath.”  “Rest.”

As Easter draws near, I long for Sabbath.  I miss it fiercely.  That week I used to find some way to set aside.  “What denomination does that?”  Because it’s not a valid religious practice unless sanctioned by some denomination.  Yet, I made it happen.  Me and God, me and a dorm room, a hut, an apartment.  Me and myself and fear, of the dark, of boredom, of being alone.  Me and God and calmness and peace.  It seems impossible now.  The world calls.  How can one disappear for a whole week?  But the world called then, too.  And yet, I found Sabbath.

Now, my Sabbath comes in smaller doses.  An evening knitting.  A BART ride with closed eyes and a prayerful heart.  A deep breath.  A hug.  A connection to God and God’s world that may not last for days or hours, but long enough to listen, long enough to stop, long enough to be.

I still miss that week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Christmas Suit

And for those few of you who might be thinking it, no, a Christmas Suit is nothing like a Birthday Suit.

Made entirely from scraps and left-over fabric, this suit took me several years to make. It was put aside often for many, many other projects.  I started it on the antique treadle machine I bought when Mr. Trizzle was around. He hated the noise my electric machine makes so I bought the only super-quiet kind of machine I know, leg-powered.  The jacket was made pretty much entirely on the treadle, but by the time I got to the skirt, I was back to the electric.

By October, I realized the suit was almost finished and decided, by-golly, this would be my Christmas Eve outfit this year.  And it was.

It’s a Butterick Retro Pattern from 1936.  The skirt sits at the waist and is mid-shin length. It’s fitted, but not super-fitted, so there’s room to move in it and it doesn’t pull at the hips.  The jacket is tailored at the waist and hits just above the hips on me.  It has a large collar and rather high neckline.  And the whole suit has lots of hand-stitching detail.

Christmas suit (3)I used grey wool left from Mr. Trizzle’s Barristers Ball suit (I had bought a lot of extra in case I messed it up really bad) for the outside of the suit.  This fabric frays a lot so I went through a bottle plus of fray-check and reinforced every seam with stitch-on black seam binding.  The lining of the skirt is tan silk left from a pair of under-trousers Christmas suit detailI made for Mr. Trizzle.  It’s trimmed with hand-stitched rows in a nice, light grey button-hole twist thread.

But the really fun part is the jacket lining.  One lower sleeve is part of an old skirt that Mommy got rid of after it got to stretched out.  The other lower sleeve was a very badly done skirt I made many years ago for Munchkinhead out of scraps from a dress Mommy made for Alfred.  The upper sleeves are black suit lining from a zoot suit I started for my college boyfriend and never finished.  The center back is part of an old worn and torn vest Mommy made as part of a three-piece suit for Daddy.  The side-fronts are suede cloth left from the gloves I made for my Jessica Rabbit costume.  And the side-backs are pieces from an old pair of Mr. Trizzle’s boxers that no longer fit.

Christmas suit (1)

Inside-out jacket, front.

Christmas suit (2)

Inside-out jacket, back.

After finally finishing the suit, I figured I’d wear it for Christmas and it’d wind up sitting in the closet with my other homemade suits.  But, it turns out it’s one of my favorite suits.  It fits well; I love the style; and it works great for leaving my trench coat at home.  I often treat the suit jacket as an outer jacket and look nice and professional in the skirt and a pretty blouse.