When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me to knit.  She gave me this pair of old plastic needles, sat me down on her couch, cast on for me, and showed me how to do the basic stitch.

That first practice swatch was terrible.

That was a long time ago and a lot has happened since then.

I think some of the other grandkids will know what I mean when I say that grandma didn’t always understand our accomplishments or our life decisions.

But she was always proud of us.

She always loved us.

And when I was packing to travel to be here today, I was sure to pack my knitting.

My grandmother died on July 20th.  She was 77 and we all expected her to live another 20 years.  When we saw her at Easter, there was no indication that anything was wrong.

These are the words I spoke at her funeral.

The image above is my favourite picture of grandma.  As far as I know this is the last image of her with her natural hair texture.  For most of her life, she kept her hair shorter and permed.

Church Search Victoria — Sunday July 19 — St John the Divine Anglican Church

When church searching, special services are dis-preferred.

This morning we went to St. John the Divine Anglican Church.  They had a guest choir and a guest speaker.  I have very little idea what their ordinary service is like.

  • Building: Pretty.    I was interested to see that despite being built in a similar time period to both the United Churches we’ve been in this month, the architecture was considerably different.  United churches seem to often be kind of round, with those curvy wrap-around balconies.  This church was straight with no balcony at all.  It gives a substantially different feel.* In this particular building there are many seats that don’t have very good sight-lines.  And the congregation easily fills all the good seats (and some of the less good ones).  The other difference here was the lack of additional classrooms and meeting rooms.  I saw a nursery and a bathroom, but most of the doors out of the sanctuary actually lead outside.  Apparently there is a church hall in another building, and from the outside it’s clear that the old minister’s house is actually connected to the church somehow.  But by that time I was too discouraged to try to find these things.
  • Demographics: This is a large congregation.  Or…It seemed to be large.  Kind of hard to tell given the guest choir and the guest speaker and the baptisms, but I’d estimate there were at least 300 people present.  Larger than I’d like really.  Most of the good seats were taken by the time we got there.  It is full of old people.  There were one or two younger families, totally drowned out by a couple hundred people older than my parents.  I saw a few babies and toddlers.  Many of them seemed to be at church with their grandparents.  I did not see anyone between 5 and 25 and there was hardly anyone between 25 and 50. **
  • Service: Again here, it’s really hard to tell how much was the special occasion, but I found this church to be significantly more formal “high church” than I prefer.  The choir was definitely contributing to that:  there’s nothing that gives a high church feel than choral music in Latin.  Do they use that much Latin usually?  No idea.  I find it interesting though to see how some of the same liturgical elements that made St Albans or Ascension in Ottawa feel informal and participatory, made this service feel formal (and quite awkward with a 3 year old).

    This congregation can sing.  It was really impressive.  That alone could be enough to bring  me back for an occasional visit, but of course it’s hard to know if this is a usual thing either (if the usual church choir was in the congregation this week to make way for the guest choir that could make a big difference to the quality of singing in the congregation.)

  • Overall Impression: Doesn’t really fit me in any way.  Except they can sing.

* Pretty sure there are functional and theological reasons.  I wonder which came first, the architecture or the beliefs and practices.

** I realised on the way home that these demographics may not be quite as depressing as they seem.  If people are retiring to Victoria, it’s possible that these churches get most of their new members quite late in life.  At least I hope that’s what I’m seeing rather than the ageing remnants of congregations that have been declining since the 1960s.


Did I mention how much fun felt is?


Church Search Victoria — Sunday July 12 — First Metropolitan United Church

  • Building: Huge.  Besides the main sanctuary, they have multiple meeting rooms, a chapel, a whole hallway full of Sunday school rooms and offices, a library, an archive, a gymnasium, and a second floor that I didn’t see.  The whole place gives the impression of being well maintained, but I have a hard time imagining what sort of congregation would ever have used so much space.
  • Demographics:  Less dire than last week, but still pretty grey.  The congregation was on the large side, I think there were over 100 people in the room, but they were mostly older.    There were enough kids to send out for Sunday school.  Apparently in at least two different classes.  I’m guessing there were maybe three or four families with children school aged or younger.  It also seemed like at some point in the past they may have confronted their ageing population by focusing on racial diversity.  The older people were overwhelmingly white, but the under 50 portion of the congregation seemed to be a little more diverse.  (Still pretty outnumbered though.  Median age was almost certainly over 60.)
  • Service:  Hymns, lyrics projected on screens.  No choir, the congregation is not bad at singing.  I missed most of the sermon.  It seemed like it was a guest speaker.  They were not following the lectionary.  Completely unflappable:  Shortly after the sermon an older man sitting in the second row collapsed.  The prayer continued as if nothing was happening.  People called 911.  They announced the hymn.  They wheeled him out of the sanctuary in a wheelchair.  The service continued on exactly as scheduled.
  • Overall Impression:  The resulting impression of this little drama was a little cold and distant.  The people sitting around us knew the guy’s name and jumped to help, but something about the way the service continued on as if nothing was happening made it feel like the congregation was disconnected from the service itself.  It might as well have been recorded.

Practical sewing planning

A significant chunk of my wardrobe is 8-10 years old.

A significant chunk of my wardrobe is made up of disposable fast fashion t-shirts.

Ok, a good chunck of my wardrobe is also me-made, but somehow I’ve not really managed to make that many practical staples.  Though if I’m making tops, they should work with my existing skirts.

My only pair of summer weight pants have self destructed to the point of unwearability.  I always disliked them anyway.

So I think it might be about time for some practical sewing.

To replace the pants, I’m thinking either Sewaholic’s Thurlow or Cake’s Endeavour.  Opinions? Anyone else have a favourite pants pattern?

Cake’s Endeavour — Full length, not cropped like this picture.

Probably in some kind of linen blend for summer wear.  Maybe this?

And then I need some relatively boring V or scoop necked t-shirts.  Perhaps in fun prints?

Or boring prints?  (I know how to do fun things with stripes, but it’s slightly more involved than your basic t-shirt sewing)

Or vibrant solids?

I’m thinking maybe all three.  Or maybe something else? Possibly as many as two different versions in each?  I could easily throw away 6 – 8 tops showing some serious wear.

And then I need to cull my existing wardrobe mercilessly.

New Bike

Someone has a new bike.


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