Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gathering Stitch

If you want to gather the waistband of an apron, you stitch two rows of gathering stitch (6 stitches to the inch) along the edge of material to be gathered. Then, very carefully, you pull the top two threads from one end, together, to begin the process of bringing the material into small folds until it reaches the desired length. As you keep tension on the threads, you move excess material toward the center of the piece, keeping the gathers as even as possible. You will be working the material toward a measurement...say 20"...that will then be encased in a waistband. Mother taught me to make an apron. The process is simple. Cut a piece of fabric in a retangular shape, probably twice as wide as the front part of the waistband. Leave enough material in the length to hem. Then cut the waistband and the ties. Remember the waistband and ties will be doubled over, right side in, stitched, then turned. Simple! Mother wanted me to get this right, so I was always ripping out my stitching, or if I was too eager with my gathering and broke the stitches, I had to begin again. Beginning again wasn't something I liked, as I work quickly and was ready to move on in a short time. Now it is moving onto a new project: a painting, a poem, a story; then it was to the park to play or to a friends house. I remember one material (we now call it fabric) with a pink background and a spray of something fernlike in black repeated across the entire piece. It was very sweet and an apron of the material would have been perfect for me as I worked in the kitchen baking bread, cookies, and cakes frequently. But Mother, a Virgo, very precise and accurate, wanted perfection. Finally, exhausted from ripping and redoing, I threw the apron in her lap and walked out. Editing can be like this. First there is the letting go and writing from the wild side of the mind, and then the transposing, as usually this first wild writing is done longhand. Then the editing...in the computer and on hardcopy, looking for continuity, for spelling, for grammar, for clear thinking, and a good story arc. the final touches, the pressing of the material for nicely creased edges, the lovely final story, white crisp paper, neat margins, bold heading. Do you sign your work? Quilters do. On the back on a small patch, signed and dated. How about the final finished essay or short-short, the poem? Signed and dated. Well, maybe not so dramatic, but many of the same steps, the finding of the material, the cutting of the pieces, the fine tuning, are all the seams the same width, stitched evenly, is everything pressed and neat at the end? And of course, can we move through this process and still feel eager to create again. I think if we're careful not to let Monkey Mind have the best of us, the process is a joy. What's the saying, the journey is the destiny? Otherwise, it can become tedious and we might throw the apron in the rag bag before it's finished. What is your creative process like? Where can you modify or explore to make the process work better for you? I'm working on letting false starts go...not having to finish everything I start. Happy writing, Nancy Canyon

1 comment:

L.C. Lyon said...

The process you describe is so rich and full of love, as a creative activity should be. Rich with details, which can be daunting, and overwhelming at times. Thanks for helping us to move on and through this process with this wonderful article.

Hugs to you Nancy!

Laurie Lyon