The running stitch.

November 5, 2012 § 10 Comments

The first stitch I ever learned was the running stitch.

It’s easy-cheesy.

Weave the needle back and forth through the fabric for several stitches—be sure to leave enough of the pointy end free so you can grab it and pull.

Needle, then thread, slide through the fabric, the thread stopped by the knot that was spit-twisted, rolled against a finger and pulled tight (a much more difficult skill to master than the running stitch).

The stitch can be neat or loping and erratic—I’ve been teaching this stitch to the kids at my library and have watched needle wobble through fabric leaving a trail of stitches like bird tracks on snow.

The best thing about this stitch? True to its name, you get places fast with a running stitch.

Use the same stitch to make gathers. Just hold onto the needle and push the fabric down the thread toward the knot and that whole long swath of fabric bunches, folding back and forth on itself.

That quick slide of fabric down thread takes no time, but it instantly introduces all kinds of complications. The next thing the seamstress must do is “adjust the gathers” to make them lie right, appear even.

At the moment my life is a frantic attempt to adjust the gathers, and give order to too much life bunched along the short thread of too little time.

As I write this I am getting ready  for a couple of weeks on the road that have been preceded by weeks of feverish editing, launching a CD, and always getting ready for one more program at the Front Porch Library–and there is, right at this moment, a giant hose snaking behind my chair carrying blow-in insulation to the attic.  Three hours from hitting the road, I’m ignoring the hose, the fabric of my daily life about to bunch into even tighter and more intricate folds.

Being so busy is kind of a compliment—the world includes me in its plans. Sometimes I even feel a brief glimmer of importance.

I give myself the sense I’m managing by accomplishing things like posting this before I fly out the door (one post a week, and I know things are under control).

Chances are you too are adjusting the gathers. Good luck with it. And don’t forget, when the thread is short, don’t stitch until you reach the needle. Leave a little thread so you can tie it off and start again.

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