I seem to always end up sewing something no matter where I start out. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a teenager saying that if I insisted on wearing my skirts at belt length, I should learn to hem them myself. Well, it was the 60s and miniskirts were the height of fashion. My mother refused to do any sewing, viewing it as a chore. I’m afraid I adopted her attitude for years until I caught a severe case of quilting fever. Now I’m a fabric artist sewing scraps of fabric and thread into complicated wall hangings. I have a studio, a design wall, a website, and a sewing machine that cost more than my first car, all dedicated to sewing. My grandmother would be proud.
Still, I thought writing would be the one activity that would never involve sewing. I found out how wrong that assumption was when KaBoom decided to create a book. Not only did we write, edit, and design our book, we have actually sewn many of them as part of the binding process. The elegant edge, caught up in what Susan named the butterfly stitch, is a thing of beauty most book lovers will never see. I , however, will not look at another bound book without seeing the stitches holding the smooth pages together and feeling the prick of the needle as it winds in and out. And I am sewing yet again.
The Butterfly Stitch
Welcome to the launch of the KaBooM Writing Collective blog! This is the latest project of our writing group, and we hope it will offer a connection with other writers and writers groups. We’ll be sharing news about what we’re doing in our meetings, what we’re reading, what kind of projects we’re working on, and whatever else comes to mind. Our group has seven members, and you’ll be hearing from all of us.
For the past several weeks we’ve been focused on the publication of our anthology, When the Bough Breaks, which will be out on September 10. For this post I’ll share with you some of the steps in physically making the book, a process we’ve felt privileged to be part of.
We thought we were intimately acquainted with our book when we finished writing and revising it. We had pored over every line until the day it went to the printer. But with this publishing project designed as a hands-on venture, we were just starting a new chapter, so to speak. We were about to experience a whole new level of knowing a book.
Mary and Lynn collating pages
When the printed pages were delivered, our first task was to transform a roomful of boxes filled with paper into the recognizable innards of a book. There are many reasons to work with a writing group, and getting that job done was one of them. We collated the individual pages into six separate signatures, which are the small sections put together as if they comprised their own little book. They are later stacked and bound together to form the complete volume. That was a day spent with pages spread out on large tables, telling stories and trying not to lose count as we put boxes and boxes of paper in order. When the collating was complete, then the signatures assembled into books, we were ready to sew.