Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Baptismal Stole

In light of the last two posts about my contractor nightmares, it is lovely to get back to a little stitching therapy. I am immersing myself in this project and thinking only happy thoughts. And since I really do need to give myself up to this project almost to the exclusivion of all other activities, I expect to be a much calmer person by the end of the day.
This needs to be completed by Sunday afternoon ... nothing like working to deadline to get the adrenaline revved. The stole itself is made from a sewing linen as opposed to one designed for cross-stitch. I am guessing it has 48 threads to the inch, judging by the fact that the completed 15 stitch [over two] high letters measure just about 5/8ths of an inch. I am stitching the block letters without a chart, counting as I go, to keep them consistent both in size and style ... just like stitchers in the 18th and 19th centuries must have done when marking their household linens. I feel positively historical !
Since this is for an 8 year old girl whose mother has described her as "definitely NOT a girly-girl", I used a very subdued and plain lace trim for the edging. Elizabeth Cora explained her favorite color is light blue, so I am using Belle Soie Bahama Blue for stitching the name on the right flap of the stole. I plan to run down to the office tomorrow to photocopy a worksheet we use with 5th graders, all the symbols of Baptism [shell, water, candle, chrism] ... I'll enlarge the shell and water droplets to make a motif for the left side of the stole ... I'll use the stem stitch to outline the shell and satin stitches for the water droplets ... a brass metallic for the shell and the same blue silk for the water droplets as for the letterring. I started stitching from the bottom and thus far have only stitched the E-T-H of Elizabeth. I will center C-O-R-A beside E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H. I really like the way the Belle Soie Bahama Blue looks ... just dark enough to be seen but still pale enough not to detract from the symbolism of the white garment.

Most Baptisms at Immaculate Conception are infant baptisms and the "white garment" used in the ceremony is a bib. Adults baptized at the Easter vigil Mass are given white choir robes. The deacon and I decided we had to come up with an alternative more suitable to this situation ... hence, the stole. My only fear is that I have set a precedent and will be expected to come up with a personalized stole for all older children's baptisms ... and I may not always have the time to do a proper job. My good friend John [the deacon] has already mentioned that the bibs for the infants ought to be personalized with their names because "we know the names way ahead of time". Non-embroiderers have no clue how much time is involved in the craft. I think John was disappointed when I suggested he talk to the Prayer Shawl Ministry committee about the bibs ... he probably expected me to step right on up, in spite of the fact that running a ten month Religious Education Program for 500 children, grades 1-8, takes up a wee bit of my time. I may talk to the pastor in August about setting up another committee for Baptisms, perhaps called the White Garment Committee. If I can get a committee up and running, I'll design the bibs but I will ask others to stitch them. Just don't anyone tell John!

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