bach bit more progress. I had gathered the bottom of the bag (I just knitted it as a tube, since I had initially planned to make a flat rectangular bag) before I felted it, but post-felting, it began to come undone and develop a hole. I therefore used a bit more of the leather ribbon to gather it back up. Here is a scanning of its bottom. I did take it to the gym yesterday, and it worked perfectly for the purpose, but I think it needs a lining. I have a few more days before the end of the Olympics to get said lining done.

It was hard to go to the gym yesterday. I had not worked out for four days, and there were deer prancing around in the leftover snow in the back field, and I have several unread books… I went, though. The Knitting Olympics will not sub for actual physical activity. 

I was over at the Knitting Curmudgeon’s, reading her imaginary play-by-play announcement of the Knitting Olympics, when something she said caused me to read her comments. I usually avoid this, because — while it can be entertaining to read someone’s fairly abstract ill-natured essay about something — the comments are interaction. And reading mean-spirited interactions is not my idea of fun.

It made me think about my Lenten sacrifice.

Now, a Lenten sacrifice is when you give something up for Lent, which is the part of the year between Mardi Gras and Easter. Many people give up luxuries, or perhaps something they especially enjoy, but we mainstream Protestants also sometimes choose bad habits as our Lenten sacrifice.

The object of the Lenten sacrifice is not to suffer, but to have reminders. When you reach for that cup of coffee and then have to stop because you gave it up for Lent, you are reminded to contemplate the things you are supposed to contemplate during Lent. If we did not have these reminders, we might not get around to contemplating anything. For the past couple of years, I have done an online Lenten study which has prescribed various sacrifices which were designed very specifically to increase awareness of particular issues and consequences of our actions. (Index of the studies is here — there is not a new one for this year, but the old ones are still excellent.)

But when you give up a bad habit for Lent, there can be a side-benefit of losing the bad habit permanently.

Reading the nasty comments at the Knitting Curmudgeon’s place has encouraged me to give up being critical for Lent. It is so easy to be snide and mean, and often we mistake it for cleverness or wit.

I do not make many snide comments (I don’t think — if you catch me at it, let me know), but I have a lot of snide thoughts. As we get older, it is easier and easier to go around disapproving of people and mentally belittling them. I don’t want to end up as a nasty old biddy, or even a curmudgeon. I enjoy reading Mencken, after all, but as I do, I frequently feel gratitude that I am not like him.

Now, the disadvantage of giving up something like this is that it is not conducive to Mardi Gras festivities. Eating up all the meat and chocolate in the house, having a last bottle of wine, spending the entire evening in riotous reading of novels (Partygirl usually gives that up for Lent) — these are jolly images. But who would want to spend Mardi Gras in a sipe-fest, making snarky little digs at people?

Well, maybe some would. But I don’t think I would enjoy it. So I think I will plan to join others in celebrating before they make their Lenten sacrifices. Anyone who plans to give up pastry, come on over!