Immense Confusion Created by the Needle

By Yariana Pino Sánchez 

When starting with the sewing portion of the book, I was very confused by the construction of the wax string on the needle. I have sewn clothes before and although I have not done so in a long time, the comparison of the two needles hindered my ability to understand how to start. It took me a few tries and Maddie’s assistance to finally understand how to wrap the sides of the book without having any of the thread overlap with each other. Instead of helping me, my past experiences made it harder for me to understand how to sew the book. Once I understood how to sew, I started to reflect on the physical qualities of the string itself. String made of cloth is typically thinner and softer than the sting we used in class. The one I used for the book was significant thicker and defined, so much so that within the string it could be identified smaller and thinner strings composing the one final string. What held these small strings together was the braid they were entwined into and the wax exterior. The wax exterior is very useful because it will last longer than it without it but it makes it harder to work with. The wax creates random pauses through your fingers and blocks the fluidity of the sewing. Slowly, I learned how to use the wax to my advantage to tighten the string around my book. All this “trial and error” of such a simple object did become frustrating after a few tries but I’m glad i learned this very fun skill. Doing it with such knowledgeable and kind people also makes it better. I also had much fun recording the experience. As I sewed the book, I was able to record myself and create a time lapse video (a type of video that records long spans of time and shortens them to a few seconds). It was very fun to view my progress and learn from my mistakes for the next time. Maddie was able to help me with the creation of the pattern for the stitch, which came out much nicer than I would’ve ever expected. I look forward to learning how to make different patterns for future books.

2 thoughts on “Immense Confusion Created by the Needle”

  1. But wait, Yariana–you make it look so easy! Love the visuals you included in this post. (!!)
    Your contrast with the ‘feel’ of sewing fabric is spot-on–and yes, the wax thread really makes the pull of the needle slower and less fluid. But the shared experience of sewing makes a fun analogy between paper and fabric – which are more related than we tend to think. Papers and fabrics have traditionally been made of the same materials (silk, cowskin, cotton, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand the frustration of coming to bookbinding from stitching. I worked with my sister on some quilting projects this summer and I always felt that it wouldn’t matter if I ran the thread over itself two times because no one would notice it. Definitely would be seen on bookbinding, though! There’s an exactness to stab binding that you don’t really feel pressured by with casual forms of regular stitching.


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