Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Diversion

I want to tell you how exhilarating it was to get so many comments on my resurrecting of Masks, that so many of you have been following long enough to remember it. The "eye" patches are all sewn in place but I haven't proceeded with the beading short of laying out bags of potential candidates, mulling what colors to put where and coming to the discouraging conclusion that I simply do not have enough beads of the best colors, and none at all of a neutral that could stretch those that I do have. Isn't it always the way? So I've turned to another "side project" as a diversion.

Class samples - stamping barely visible

It's another coming together of divergent things. Do you have bits lying about the studio like I do, things that were experiments or leftovers that have no obvious use but that you can't just toss? That's what these two pieces of wild batik were, used in my first linocut class to test my stamps but a disappointment because of the paint the teacher had us use (see this post). Must be something I can do with them, I thought, and so they were set aside but not away. Later I watched Lyric Kinard demo how she makes covers for sketchbooks, noting a step I'd not seen before. That too got set aside (in my head). Later still, I took advantage of a going-out-of-business sale to purchase yet more sketchbooks, including one with a cover I'd rather not be looking at. Eventually, those three things mulling around in my brain led me to see if the batiks were large enough to cover that sketchbook. I experimentally wrapped them around it and it appeared that they were. But as I was working on something else at the time, they stayed wrapped like that in a spot where the bundle continued to nag to the point of distraction. And so, over the weekend I laid everything out to check measurements. It was as if I'd cut these pieces specifically for this project.

Can you see which spirals have been outlined?

The spiral stamped piece turned out better than the larger stamped piece so I had no qualms about fusing it on top, the added band giving a bit more stability to the cover. I spent my usual too much time picking a thread to satin stitch the edges - the spirals were faint enough as it was and too much contrast, I feared, would make them even more pathetic. Frankly, even for a book cover, this was lacking. I'd considered some stitching but I knew I'd end up doing a lot of starting and stopping and pulling threads to the back. Contemplation led me to a simple solution of using a red micron pen to trace around the spiral shapes. Just enough highlight to bring them out.

Finished cover laid out flat

I knew I wanted some kind of closure, something Lyric does not mess with. Again, it was lengthy contemplation and a look through my button collection that led me to this simple solution. A button was sewn on the front and the back, and a decorative but strong yarn knotted on one end was pulled through from the underside next to the button on the back. This was done before doing the stitching around the outside to form the pockets that the sketchbook covers slip into.

Button and string closure

This "string" can be wrapped around the buttons like the closing on some manila folders. I also added a bit of loop to the inside flap to slide the clip of a pencil through. If you are interested in the basic construction sequence and that clever extra step, you can watch Lyric in action here. (She has lots of other video tutorials on her website well worth looking into.)

A glitch in practical use

I will warn that, while a snug fit is good, it is easy to stitch up a cover that is too snug to slip onto the sketchbook. Yes, there was some ripping out and resewing here as I ignored that little voice in my head that I was being too trusting. I discovered this little issue too (shown in the photo above) which only applies to spiral bound books I would guess. While it is very convenient to be able to fold back the sketchbook while drawing, I may not be able to do that with the cover on. Or, I may not notice the lump at all - we shall see.

At any rate, it was a learning experience (especially that solution to improve the spirals - lately I feel like I'm learning basics like a beginner), those bits of fabric are used and no longer distracting me, and I have a prettier cover to a sketchbook. 


The Inside Stori said...

Nice visual and practical results....wish my 'diversions' were always so successful!!!

Sherrie Spangler said...

I really like this, especially the spiral button. The perfect finishing touch.

Chris said...

I like it. I have never made a cover for a sketchbook. I would imagine that there is a fine line between the cover fitting well and being too tight.