Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Extreme Farming

I play a bit of Minecraft on occasion and am starting to feel a bit less clueless. Molly has been playing for years and started me off on modded Minecraft. I dabbled at this and that but didn't really contribute to our two person server. It ended up with her running around doing all the builds and I just mined a lot.

So we decided I should start a vanilla single player game which would force me to have to create what I wanted on my own. It quickly became clear I had no clue how to do anything. Motivation is a bit of an issue with such a sandbox game so my original goal was to build a large, decorative house. The need for resources led to wanting better equipment which led to wanting XP for enchanting.

Somewhere along the way I found a double spawner in some caves right next to the local village. The house project has been abandoned for the moment. Perhaps building it will be my end goal. At the moment I took over one of the villager huts and pretty much live in the village. For my first real build I made a kill area the spawners. It's stone brick which, I know, is Minecraft 101, but hey, at least it's not cobble right? I thought it looked pretty nifty when I was walking back to base.

I don't have many other pics from the game. Most of my screenshots folder looks like a toddler got a hold of my phone as I fumble for the F3 button. I use F3 a lot due to my amazing ability to get lost carrying over into the virtual world. I can get lost with a mini-map on my screen. I find I miss some of the mods and waypoints is definitely high on the list of wants. Here are a couple of lovely examples of my random wanderings.

A couple of my farmers have glitched into the ground and I just decided to leave them there. In my head, they're so dedicated that they've become one with the earth. literally. Today they were joined by a librarian selling a silk touch book. Since I haven't really set up a proper trading area or way to keep them safe, I'm leaving them there as it's probably safer than running about. I thought it looked fun with the kid and other browncoat standing there so I snapped a pic. It's like a family photo :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Crochet Cincture

For quite awhile I've wanted a way to make cinctures by hand. Are they just rope? Is that how it was done historically? I think I finally found an, if not the, answer in crochet rope.  

Evidence to it being more traditional is there's a group of nuns in India producing cinctures in this style. 
They are available at this site: http://catholicliturgicals.com 
They are available at other sites as well. This is just the first one that comes up in my web search. 

These nuns are why I probably won't ever try selling cinctures. Being nuns, their labor costs are low, and being in India, the silk is cheap.  For me? I haven't touched silk yet ever due to costs. And I know I'm slow and inexperianced, but I can't imagine getting the labor costs low enough even if I only charged minimum wage (most craft sites suggest charging $10 per hour).  I created about 5.5 inches per 30 minutes. At 157 inches, that's....too much.

But it was tons of fun to do, and I'm glad to be able to keep my priest friends well vested as best I can. I'm very happy that the white cincture below is now being used. I'm really curious how long it will last.

My first attempt is this purple shown here:

The yarn is 100% rayon which I picked up for $1 a skein at a yard sale.  It went okay and I made about 20-30 inches over the course of a week. Then I realized I'd killed my wrists with these little movements they weren't used to and had to set it aside for awhile.

All the while, I was bothered that while it looked okay, it wasn't doing the distinctive spiral I'd seen in the videos. Which, by the way, I won't be giving a tutorial here. I will say it is only single stitch. That's it. I'm horrible at crochet. I can never get the tension right and I only know single and double stitch. I'd actually given away my hooks because I wanted to be sure I'd never be tempted to try the craft again. Yet I was able to do this project. 

Go to YouTube and search for "crochet rope". You should get 3 or 4 videos. Watch them all. Even the ones not in English as the visuals are very helpful. Watch them in slow motion as you make your first attempts. Starting the project is tricky but you'll get it. 

(side note: for the love of sanity do not use stitch markers. No offence to that lady but seriously, I don't know why she was doing that. The project just goes round and round. Once you're past row 3 or 4 you will never care again what row you're on. And for rows 1-3 I think it's pretty clear where you're working. Using markers just looks like a painful waste of time.)

Since my pastor was needing a white cincture, I started a second one even though the purple was far from finished. (Totally out of character to have multiple projects going.  Really. Never happens. Don't look at my shelf. or loom. or closet. Nope, just one at a time for me!) When the white turned out better I abandoned the purple. (that also never happens, nope)

On this one I somehow managed to get the spiral going.  I just kept trying random stitches until I got the "floating" stitch or whatever it is people call it. You'll know what I mean when you look up tutorials. but ya, just keep stabbing at random ones until it makes sense. Once the spiral starts to form there's an easily found horizontal stitch running between the ribs of the spiral. You just aim your hook there and off you go! The trick at that point is putting the project down, haha.  It's so addictive to do just one more stitch, just stitch stitch stitch. It's so fun!

This cincture is polyester with the gold color pre-integrated. I chose this because of the gold which my pastor preferred over solid white. I'm thinking for a future one I will try to stitch gold thread in at the same time. That way I could use a nicer yarn. I generally dislike polyester in liturgical use, but in this application it doesn't seem too bad.

In a future post I'll share how I did the tassels. That took me forever to find as well, but again, they're super easy to make.

The biggest challenge to this project was simply it's length. The tutorials mention using this stitch for purse straps. Yeah, at that length it's not so bad and you could finish even long ones in a week easily. A cincture is 3 to 4 times as long, so, well, 3 to 4 times as long to finish. And the twist, urg. Near the end it felt as though I was spending as much time straightening the project back out as I did stitching.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section, or post your successful projects, or suggestions.
Happy stitching!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Domine non sum dignus

Two days ago my pastor celebrated Mass in the extraordinary form for the first time. I, and the other altar server, had never served at a vetus form Mass before. Father's MC for the night had served often at the extraordinary form, but not for a couple years and had never been an MC before. There were prayer cards everywhere. It was over an hour long even without a homily. It was absolutely beautiful.

One of the things that struck me was how little attention I gave to the congregation. Normally I'm hyper self-aware and my childhood has trained me into thinking it's better to not be noticed. I've come to love altar serving because even though people notice you, they don't notice you. Not if you're doing what you're supposed to anyway. Everything is scripted. Where you stand, when to speak. Even the bells which bothered me at first because what screams, "Look at me!" more than ringing bells? But I don't ring them so they'll look at me. I ring them to alert them to the part of the Mass they should know is occurring. 

For the past three years I've found it very beautiful to fall into the role and let it direct me. The more I am able to fall into the Mass, the less anxiety I have over what people will think and how I should react to that and where should I be looking right now or how should I be holding my hands. I've found some ways to use that mindset to accomplish other things, like talking to people, or chanting where anyone can hear me. 

I don't know how to explain why the vetus was different. It wasn't until distribution of Communion, when I had to maneuver the paten around babies, and having to notice if a person was taller or leaning in more, that I realized I hadn't been paying attention to them before. It can't be the lack of dialog because there was a scattering of responses throughout the Mass. And I noticed when someone came in late, and there was a regular backdrop of noisy children in the back and adults trying to quiet them or moving them to a different area. 

It's just, somehow, I didn't have any need to pay attention to them. The Mass was going to proceed with or without their attention. The bells would alert them to this or that, but if they didn't heed them, meh, not my problem. There were responses I had to say, but if others said them or not wasn't important. I think it's because I was there for the priest, but not just for the priest. I've been MC before at our Easter Vigils which necessitates paying a lot of attention to the priests' needs as well as the other servers. That night though, I was there for the Mass itself.  

This is something I've been learning as I attend daily Mass more regularly. Being tired or otherwise distracted has helped me learn to focus more on prayer. And I guess that was emphasized more when altar serving for this Mass. Talking with another server last Sunday, we both admitted we'd originally taken up the service as a way to "have something to do" during Mass. As we've grown we've come to love the role for how it helps us focus on the Mass. Two nights ago, I feel I learned more about how the role fits into the Mass. So I wasn't just falling into the role, I was falling into the Mass. 

It's obvious to anyone that attends a Mass celebrated by this priest that he's focused on what he's doing, and on God, not on the congregation or himself. It's why we love him. And the amount of love and dedication he's shown by taking on the task of learning the vetus Mass, it's just amazing. 

I plan on doing a short series of posts about the struggles he's had learning the Mass, and advice on how you might be able to support your local priest should he want to do this as well.  For now, I'll leave off with an explanation of the title. The one point at which I was very aware of the congregation was after the Ecce Agnus when the priest says the Domine non sum dignus three times for the people. This actually isn't said by the servers at low Mass so I'm not entirely sure where it came about for the congregation to say this. In a non-dialog low Mass, technically the congregation doesn't say anything out loud. Though, technically they have no rubrics at all so it's all whatev, so long as they're not bothering anyone right?

Well, this congregation, en masse it would seem, vocally participated in the Domine non sum dignus. As I mentioned, there had been a scattering of responses all along. A reflexively said et cum spiritu tuo here, a whispered Amen there. There was a long pause before the Ecce Agnus as the priest struggled to hold the ciborium comfortably while keeping his finger and thumb together. I actually was preparing to reach a hand up to support his hand if I needed to, to help prevent him from dropping it. But he got it all situated and presented Our Lord to us. Then another slight pause as the MC points to the next prayer he is to say. So he begins by saying, "Domine non" then pauses a bit and starts it over.

And the congregation was so loud in joining in I nearly jumped. If you'd ever seen me passively watching a horror movie, you would understand why this is such a big deal. I don't really react to things. But this was just so out of nowhere, and it was wonderful. Not sure the priest felt that way, but I hope he did afterward. At the time I could tell he was having to concentrate very hard to say the prayer three times, as the congregation more confidently and more quickly said it at a volume that filled the room making it difficult to focus on anything else.

The other servers and I at dinner afterward agreed that somehow the congregation was conveying their love for this priest in that moment. Like they'd been seeing him struggle but were awed by the attention he was giving to the Mass. And then along comes this part they know, and the priest is facing them uncertain but not hesitant, just taking his time to get it right, and they're like, "Let us help you Father!" 

Having had to kneel for a rather long time (many on the bare floor because they didn't know those things on the chairs were kneeler pads, not back pillows), in the mostly silence that is low Mass during the Consecration and surrounding prayers, they put aside any distractions and were fully there to support this priest. It was wonderful. I hope he will continue to receive support for this, and all his efforts. Pray for our priests and for our Church. One prayer, one Mass at a time, we will continue the fight for Truth.  

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


I'm going to post these pretty much without comment. They were created by Molly, who may occasionally contribute to this blog through me. She's my primary source for religious news and philosophical discussion. She doesn't remember what year these are from, maybe 2-3 years ago? I was poking through photos for something else I wanted to share and found them again. So they're here for your use, education, amusement, or whyever you're still here. Data was gathered from publicly available Church records. Enjoy!