This week I have been on a lacemaking retreat at a CSJ House of Prayer in north central Kansas. Each morning we meet for prayer in the chapel. Then we have two hours of lacemaking instruction. Then we have most of the afternoon free to pray, continue working on lace, read, or all of the above. We meet again for prayer and a reflection on CSJ spirituality from the retreat director just before supper. The evening is free for whatever.
The kind of lacemaking we are learning is the kind the first sisters taught: bobbin lacemaking. It's not really hard to learn, but I'm finding it's hard to get good at it. It clearly takes a lot of practice, and the sisters at this retreat who spend their free time working on it are moving along with that more quickly than I am. Here's my first effort:
...the beginning of a butterfly, which, I'll admit, I didn't finish. I decided it was too advanced for me, and so I went back to the basic bookmarks. I need to learn the foundational stitches well before I try to do something small and roundish like a butterfly or a doily. My second bookmark is turning out quite a bit better, and is also teaching me quite a bit about how the threads all work together in the making. I'll post a photo here when it's done.
So what have I been doing while others diligently work on their lace? Well, reading, and sitting on the wonderful shady front porch contemplating our charism, and birds, clouds, Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God, hollyhocks, and people riding by on scooters, which they do a lot around here. Here are some photos of clouds, birds and hollyhocks:
From our prayer this morning, a poem entitled "Mindful" by Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early: