Saturday, August 28, 2021

Another Sketch, Another Book

We've had a pretty glorious week of temps in the 70's and several good rains that have helped clear smoke from the air and dampen down some nearby forest fires. I've been back on the deck reading in the afternoons and enjoying some walks including one down at city beach. I really wish I'd thought to bring my swim suit - it would have been perfect for a dip in the lake! Today was just too good not to grab a sketchbook so I could stay outside a little longer as I walked around McNearney Park. I certainly need more practice, once again running out of room for the entire building here and wishing I'd turned the sketchbook sideways so I could have gotten it all in. I will post this anyway on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page, remembering what Angela Walters reminds us: "Comparison is the thief of joy." I'm certainly not as good as many of the posters, but as I sat in the sun and sketched away while children and adults alike enjoyed the pump track, I certainly felt joy and no need to compare my sketch to others.

I'm gearing up to make another french link book, using cardboard from a cereal box covered in that cat tissue paper. I nearly tossed or gave it away since I am not a cat person. But then I remembered someone who very much is who I had planned to make a book for some day. That day is here. I wasn't going to use cereal boxes again as covers because of some issues I had, but I'm telling myself I will be more careful about applying the glue and weighting. As you can see, the ribbon I'll be sewing over is narrower than what I used on the first book and has a light and a dark version depending on which side of the ribbon you decide to have showing. And you can also see that I will have a choice to make - the blue (there are bits of blue here and there in the print) or the pink (which shows up in dark bits as well as the light background). I hope I don't end up spending too much time making up my mind. Maybe I'll use both!

Friday, August 20, 2021

5 Day Fabric Journal Finished!

When last I wrote I was mulling which color thread to use for stitching my book together. Those of us leaning toward the black thread were right! This binding is best sewn lying flat. It includes kettle stitches, link stitches and long stitches.

And here it is all sewn together. I have a slight spring in the front cover which is not uncommon, but a little manipulation and more time under weights solves the issue. That batik I used to make the bookcloth for the cover looks so fantastic. I am very pleased.

I'm happy enough with my stamped endpapers, if for no other reason than the ink color  is a perfect match with the batik. And really, you could make this book in 5 days easily, as many who took the challenge did. Don't let my dilly dallying convince you otherwise!

If I do another book with lined paper, I'm already thinking of how I would do it differently, altering the pdf I used or coming up with my own. There are signatures where the center is a plain page, and others like this one that are lined all the way across. In my mind, this would be better with a break at the center, like conventional book pages that have a "gutter".

And here is an example of the alternating plain and lined pages. Again, it bothers me that the lines run all the way to the center rather than having a margin like on the fore edge. But live and learn. This won't be the last book I make. This also shows how the book lies flat when open and the unavoidable gap between signatures. The heavier the thread (and sometimes the weight of the paper too) the wider the gap may be  This is not a feature that bothers me.

Here's a closeup of those 3 stitches we used. From left to right, the kettle stitch (which is essentially a knot to increase the stability of the book at top and bottom), the link stitch (sometimes called a coptic stitch which is an attractive stitch you want to show off - it makes me think of my crocheting days), and the long stitch (versatile, utilitarian, quick, and can be gussied up with beads, weaving, gathering and even French linking it - yes, I want to try them all).

Saturday, August 14, 2021

What Presented Itself

After getting the boards cut for my 5 day fabric journal challenge, I mentioned that I hadn't found anything suitable for end papers, and I couldn't (or shouldn't) glue the bookcloth to the boards until I did. But I was sure a solution would present itself and it did. I remembered the teacher saying somewhere that you could always use the same paper as the signatures, and I had plenty of it. It's just that it is white, and plain, and I wished I at least had something that was off-white, but, better yet, patterned. And then while musing outside the studio, I realized that the drawing paper was a good weight for stenciling or stamping, and lord knows, I have plenty of stamps and stencils to choose from. I could easily make my own prettily patterned end paper. I settled on a recently bought foam stamp that I thought would relate a bit to the design of the bookcloth, and a reddish brown stamp pad. Very pleased with this.

Now there was nothing holding me back from covering those boards . . . except my own foot dragging. I suddenly found myself intimidated by the process, even though I've covered boards several times in the course of working on books in the club. Read and reread the directions I'd printed out. Watched the instruction video to refresh my memory. Got out my glue brushes. Cleaned out my small jar to place the PVA glue in. Played with where to place the board on the cloth. Not all on the same day of course - I can procrastinate for days with the best of them! But finally I just had to do it, and it all went perfectly smoothly. While the covers dried under weights, I got out my punching cradle and got the signature sewing holes punched in. Today I got the holes in the cover punched. I'm ready to sew, once I decide on which thread to use - the 4-ply black linen thread or the slightly thinner handspun tan hemp thread. Any thoughts? The thread will be a feature on the spine and I'm leaning toward black.

Friday, August 06, 2021

A "Quick" Project

You know me - I can take any quick project and turn it into a major endeavor. But this time, things were speeded up when I uncovered a near perfectly sized painted and stenciled piece of Kraft Tex I'd totally forgotten about. See these posts to learn more about it: Working With Kraft Tex and Getting Comfortable With Layering. My Kraft Tex off the roll does not lie flat until it has had time to relax or gets weighted under books. When I started moving books to get to the signatures for that 5 day Fabric Journal Challenge, well, there it was partway down the stack. I quickly measured to see if it was big enough for the Midori-style traveler's notebook I wanted to make and it was. Just a little trimming and I was set to go, not having to stencil a new piece that I'd already cut. You just don't know how much time that saved me! And you just can't imagine how exciting it was to find a use for this leftover that I feared was too small for anything.

I'd originally thought to make this of leather because of the instructional video I'd found, but it turns out that the leather I had on hand was too thin and floppy. That's when I hit on the idea of using Kraft Tex, that faux leather product. The video gives dimensions for 3 different sizes, one of which is for Field Notes which is what I was looking for, and regardless of size, the basic instructions are the same. Can't tell you how many times I've tried to figure out how to neatly  add elastic for a booklet to slide under without being able to wrap my mind around it even though it really is quite simple. It's quite alright to have two pieces of elastic running along the center, one that will show in the middle of the book and one with knot trimmed hiding underneath. As you can see, I had plenty of color options to choose from and went with green. Only about a 1/2 inch shows along the top and bottom on the outside of the spine but you know how we like to color coordinate when we can. It's suggested to snug up the elastic until the cover bows slightly to make sure there is good tension when the booklet is inserted but I'm not sure that was necessary with this Kraft Tex.

It is suggested that rounding the corners makes for a nice touch and I agree. Plus it gave me an opportunity to use this corner cutter I'd gotten enticed into buying when I was playing more with paper projects. Actually I purchased 3 different sizes because, well, you never know what size you will need - bane of my shopping existence. 😏 It wasn't particularly pleased with clipping through the Kraft Tex - I really had to exert some pressure to get through it. If I'd been working with leather, I'd be making short cuts with an exacto knife using a small metal washer as a guide.

Here you can see the Field Notes slipped under the elastic. I was very intrigued to find these particular field notes made from a yupo paper in order to be able to write on a damp day. Several types of pens are recommended because not all work well on this non-paper paper. I treated the Kraft Tex with a water repellent spray to match those wet day features.

The video also shows how to add a bookmark, which I've done with a narrow black braid I had on hand, and found a bead in my collection with a hole large enough for it to slide through. Knots on either side of the bead hold it in place and I think it is a nice touch. The closure is more of the green elastic, ends knotted together to anchor the loop on the inside where it goes through a center hole on the spine. So simple but I admit, those last two bits of threading through holes and finding the right thing for the bookmark caused me to finish this up the next morning. Yes, quick projects just laugh at me! But I like this form and can see making more - more quickly now that I've worked out the kinks on this one.