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  • Writer's pictureJulie S.

St. Anne's gets a custom Vesperale

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

A cool thing happened. Last winter a crazed animal breached the defenses of St. Anne's Chapel and 'borrowed' the nice warm wool vesperale right off of the altar, showing absolutely no remorse. Is nothing sacred?! However, that old vesperale was kind of boring which allowed us to make a new one, more in keeping with the character of the place (and there is lots of character).

The chapel was built by a Polish company that specializes in the construction of mountain chapels following the traditional log style. After they made it, they took it apart, loaded it into shipping containers, followed it over to Michigan and put it back together with some additional labor from the Canons. The place has wonderful vibes.

Case in point is the traditional chip carving in one of the main support beams in the chapel. I have developed a great affection for this particular embellishment, so when the old vesperale went down in flames (apparently the squirrel grinds his teeth when he sleeps) I began to fiddle with this scroll design to see if the Cornely could pull off a rendering of it.

The scroll was a bit tricky to map out, needing to connect properly, and exactly to the right length with a reverse at the center point. This more complicated design required us to pull out the old-school prick and pounce method of transferring the pattern.

Then the design was embroidered with our chain stitch machine, an 80 year old Cornely A, using two colors of gold rayon filament thread. There are a lot of starts and stops with this particular pattern. It is not a very speedy process.

But is it extremely enjoyable, just ca-chunking along. I had to slow the speed of the servo motor down quite a bit to allow more precision. This is the repeat scroll pattern, trimmed out.

This particular altar has a tabernacle that juts out into the altar. That makes it more fun because we get to invent a pattern to go around it.

Good Saint Anne. God's Grandma! It seemed like she should get something kind of grandma-ish and pretty.

Perhaps this winter the new vesperale will keep the critters warm in high style. I'm down with that. It would be fun to have another go at this pattern.


Update, June 2023:

Looks like it made it through the winter without becoming some varmint's sleeping bag!

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