In Gathering Blue, why does Lois Lowry spend so much time describing the thread and Kira's weaving?
Lois Lowry, the author of Gathering Blue, chose an artist to be the main character because she wanted a character who was uniquely capable of influencing her society, even as a young person. The detailed descriptions of dyes, weaving, colors, and thread reinforce the idea of Kira as an artist. Before Kira comes to live in the Council Edifice, she doesn't really understand her gift. As she works on the Singer's robe; gets to know Thomas, another artist; and becomes more in tune with the way the cloth "speaks" to her, she begins to understand the unique opportunity an artist has to influence society for good. When Thomas, on their visit to the Fen, says that people have always lived in such horrible conditions, Kira suggests that since they are both artists, "maybe we can make it different." Thomas doesn't understand what she means, but Kira holds on to that thought.
Even after she learns that she, Thomas, and Jo are all being held captive by the guardians, she embraces her destiny: "They were the artists who could create the future." Thus, Kira decides to stay in her village, believing that her creative vision can produce improvements for her people. Because she is an artist, she "could feel the future through her hands."
Lowry emphasizes Kira's work with thread and dye to communicate her idea that artists can shape the future through their creativity and vision.