It's an interesting title for a book: "The Art of Manipulating Fabric" by Colette Wolff. And the book is all in black, white & shades of gray, using muslin for all samples. This turns out to be a real plus in this case because one can really see tonal values very quickly; and there is no color or pattern to attract/distract the reader from focussing on the needlework/stitching.
Many of the techniques shown demontrate various "how to's" for dress making and interior decorating. But Wolff takes every technique further to push the boundaries and create new opportunities to form the fabric in artful ways.
Today I tried my gathering foot - which I have never, ever used for anything! It's an odd little fellow and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to put the fabric somehow between the folded over metal part of the foot or not. I decided to just put the fabric beneath the foot like always & see what happened. Let me tell you, the fabric indeed gathers itself & begins to curl around to the front of the machine after less than a minute of sewing! Keeping the fabric appropriately placed proved to require full time concentration, but the effects were fun. I played with several different ways of using the gathering stitch hoping to find one or more to put in one of my journal quilts for the 2005 QuiltArt Journal project.
The biggest problem I encountered with the gathering foot/techniques was in learning how to start and stop the stitching without losing some of the gathering at either end. Once I decided to back stitch at the beginning & ending as usual, things moved along without coming un-gathered, much to my relief. I had been timid about backstitching in case it messed up the gathering, but all turned out fine.
As to the cording exercise I was doing at the last post, let's just say it's not yet a success. Sometimes the cording is perfectly covered, and other times it's not. I'm relatively sure if I used the identical color of thread as the cord being covered, the finished covered cord would certainly LOOK better. But this way, I can see my mistakes & try to correct them... or not! I haven't decided yet whether to polish up this technique or not. But I have a feeling if I do, the covered cords will begin to appear in my work rather frequently - so I guess I've made the decision... Back to work with cording it is.