Haptic (hap-tik) -adj.
Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.
Gr. haptikos able to come into contact with, f. haptein to fasten.1
Labyrinth (lab-uh-rinth) Ėnoun
1. an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one's way or to reach the exit.
2. a maze of paths bordered by high hedges, as in a park or garden, for the amusement of those who search for a way out.
3. a complicated or tortuous arrangement, as of streets or buildings.
4. any confusingly intricate state of things or events; a bewildering complex.
5. (initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. a vast maze built in Crete by Daedalus, at the command of King Minos, to house the Minotaur.
a. the internal ear, consisting of a bony portion (bony labyrinth) and a membranous portion (membranous labyrinth).
b. the aggregate of air chambers in the ethmoid bone, between the eye and the upper part of the nose.
7. a mazelike pattern inlaid in the pavement of a church.
8. a loudspeaker enclosure with air chambers at the rear for absorbing sound waves radiating in one direction so as to prevent their interference with waves radiated in another direction.
1540Ė50; < L labyrinthus < Gk labżrinthos; r. earlier laborynt < ML laborintus, L, as above2
Given the history and varied traditions of labyrinths and other walking meditations, it would take up way too much space in whatís supposed to be instructions for a craft project (clue: see above definitions of labyrinth). You want to know more? Google the term and youíll have more reading material than youíll know what to do with, and some of it is self-contradictory.
Besides, what can I say about my path that would truly inform you about your path? When you discover your path, walk it and be true to it. Thatís all I can say.
Now, there are times when literally walking a labyrinth cannot be done. Sitting in a doctorís office, or waiting to be called for jury duty are examples. On these occasions, you may wish you had a portable labyrinth. Thatís where the concept of a haptic labyrinth comes in handy.
This I where can help you.
"Raisins" Snacktime by Barenaked Ladies (Itís a gentle stream of consciousness meander which Iíve found to be the fastest way to put a slow grin on my face.)
"I Walk the Line" I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash
Battle of the Labyrinth: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4
by Rick Riordan
Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice
by Lauren Artress
All Tied Up At the Moment
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.
Varies. Really. Itís up to you. Itís your path.
- Flat working surface (Seriously. Donít skimp on this. Donít expect to do it in the car.)
- Transfer paper (I used Saral brand) + stylus/ballpoint pen/knitting needle OR fabric pen + lightbox/window
- Masking tape or pins
- A printed-out or traced copy of your choice of labyrinth
- Embroidery floss, sewing thread, crochet thread, barbed wire; string-of-your-choice
- Fabric of your choice
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery hoop
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Fabric stabilizer (optional)
The useful and unique thing about this labyrinth is that it is portable (hence, the escape/focus time-while-youíre-stuck-somewhere-tedious) and has a raised, tactile (haptic) surface. You can make it big, to cover a throw pillow (good for wandering in your dreams) or very small, to be mounted on a bracelet or necklace. Itís your choice and your path. You donít even have to leave your comfort zone, either while creating it or once you start using it.
Itís a good idea to take into consideration the weight of your fabric/embroidery surface in comparison with your thread/twine/barbed wire. Too heavy a string will overwhelm the fabric, too light gets swallowed up and the labyrinth design becomes less easy to follow with your finger.
Itís your path. Own it.
Spread out your fabric, wrinkle free, on your flat surface. Tape it down.
The path forksÖ
One way: Lay the transfer paper color side down on the fabric. On top of this, face UP, tape or pin your labyrinth to the transfer paper and tape or pin ALL of that to the fabric.
The other way: Tape your design on paper to the window or a light box, facing up. Center your fabric, also top side facing up, onto the design.
Of course, you could chance it and attempt the tracing with just a little hand pressure holding everything in place. But if youíre meticulous about lines matching, youíd probably better secure all elements so they donít slip.
Whatever. Itís your path.
Trace your pattern. Press hard. Itís ok to go over things more than once. This is the point where some of you will wish you taped things downÖ too late now! Just keep walking that path.
Secure your cloth in the embroidery hoop. Load your needle with thread. Stitch. Stitch til youíre done.
The path forks againÖ
One way: Hand embroider this design.
The other way: Free-stitch your design using a sewing machine. Youíll probably still want to secure your fabric in an embroidery hoop, to keep it stretched out, but stretch it so the working surface of the fabric will be right up against the surface of the sewing machine. Just remember to NOT lower the foot. It takes a bit of practice, but it can be an interesting path to walk. Two things that may help you with this path: you can actually sew your pattern right to your fabric and tear the paper away once done; some fabrics will do better with this technique if fabric stabilizer is ironed onto the reverse side before you start embroidering.
Itís all up to you. Be true to your path.
The path forks yet again, when you consider what stitch to useÖ
The stitch/es you choose to use as you embroider your way through the labyrinth will set the tone for your path. Some stitches are more expected, some are more whimsical, regardless of whether you machine or hand stitch. This is a profound fork in the path!
Expected stitches would be straight, running, chain, cross-stitch, or basting stitches. A series of French knots might be interesting. But whatís more conventional is just sticking with one stitch. Itís not bad, but consider these other options.
- Daisy stitch
- Daisy stitch mixed with chain stitch
- Alternating basting stitch with French knots to spell in Morse Code, "S.O.S" or "Help, Iíve fallen and I canít get up."
- Blanket stitch gives a ladder-like effect, in the event you feel your path is up-hill
- Alternate cross-stitches with French knots to make a tactile "XOXOXO"
- Zig-Zag on the machine for a really tactile path
- Öyou get the idea.
Thereís no wrong stitch to choose for your path. And only you can decide your path.
Donít use a serger. Just donít. OK? THATíS a wrong path for sure.
Mount your finished piece however your path directs: appliquť it to a pillow cover, mount it in a frame or in as a cabochon for jewelry, etc. Or donít do anything to it if itís a doily or quilt top. Stuff a pillow in it if itís a pillowcase, and have sweet dreams.
Whatever. Itís your path.
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