Pretending to be Jackson Pollock with my sewing machine

I have a tallit due at the end of January. The silk for that tallit still has not arrived so I decided to begin work on a tallit that isn't due until the end of the spring. The late spring tallit is being made out of a fawn colored charmeuse. The stripes are being made out of what I call "crazy stitching".

I had first seen crazy stitching in an article by the brilliant Bird Ross in an old issue of Threads magazine. In the article Bird Ross described a brilliant way to make a reversible vest. She sewed the vest and the lining together right sides out. She then covered all of the raw edges with squares of fabric set on point and folded over the raw edges. After securing all those fabric squares, she then stitched over those now triangles ( diamonds folded in half) with multicolored threads zigzagging back and forth.

The vests are great. I have made several of them. But that multi colored wild stitching technique is something I have used over and over in my work, not just in edging vests. I will often make the pinot/ corner pieces of a tallit out of crazy stitching. I like how even from a distance that tiny corner piece will look jewel-like. I assume that for the wearer of a tallit, looking at the pinah/corner while they are spacing out during services, might draw their mind back to the tying of the tzitzit and the symbolism tied up ( pun intentional) in those tzitzit.

I particularly love doing the crazy stitching on silk/metallic organza. Even if the metallic organza is nearly entirely covered with thread, the sheen of the metallic still shines through. The look is subtle sheen and not flashy.

I also love that crazy stitching is both so simple and yet so complex. You can blend colors like the Impressionists ( or like Jackson Pollock ) by using individual bits of color that blend in the eye, rather than on the canvas, so to speak.

You have to be in the right mood to do crazy stitching. At first it is overwhelmingly boring. As you work and the layers of threads build up you get into a Zen sort of a groove. Many of the threads that I am using for this piece of crazy stitching are from little spools that are otherwise, less than useful. My cousin gave me her sewing box when she moved out west. Many of these threads are hers. I think fond thoughs of my cousin as I use her threads.


Popular Posts