Thursday, December 23

Preparations and hard work

I love the season of Advent in the church calendar, because you get this whole month set aside for preparation and anticipation of something special. Even with a whole month, though, procrastinator-me saves up all the work for the last week! Here's a glimpse of the process I went through to get the altar frontal for the cathedral complete:
My mother's been making these star ornaments out of past Christmas cards. I think the form was quietly bubbling in the back of my head as I planned the designs for the Christmas banners and frontal

Time was of the essence- I would have preferred to do this all by hand but the machine and a wide buttonhole stitch won out for the sake of speed. I probably should have hooped the fabric, but I was afraid of indelible hoop marks on the lovely white silk

The shapes were drawn out in pencil and I stitched around each shape. I do like the bold yellow outline!

I carefully cut out all the centers of the shapes for the cutwork effect. Here it's laid out over the deep blue-violet background cloth to see the effect. To connect it back to the banners, though I wanted to use the yellow fabric again.

The yellow points are reverse applique affixed to the white silk. I stretched the purple linen onto a batting-covered board, then stretched the silk over the top. There are still some wrinkles from the odd stitching tension, but I steamed most of them out.
On the back of the board I laid a piece of brown felt to cover the backside of the board and all the staples holding the silk and linen on. Then I attached two long black ribbons to the back, so the board can be tied to the legs of the altar table. I'm going by this afternoon to set it all up. I haven't heard yet about the brackets for the banners, but no news is good news. I'll take pictures tomorrow when everything is installed, and the flowers are placed, and the candles are lit!
It gives me great joy that the work of my hands can contribute to the spiritual experience of others. Is the image on this frontal a star, a compass, a cross?  I like all those connotations.

I hope as the time of preparation and advent closes you all feel accomplished- gift-shopping done, craftiness complete, the halls decked, yummy things brewing in the kitchen, and your family and friends warm in your home and the spirit of the season.

Anyone who'd like can come to the Christmas Eve service at 5 pm Friday night at the Philadelphia Cathedral, 38th and Chestnut.

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