Monday, November 17, 2014

Variations in long stitch book binding class

I recently was able to take a two day book binding class with Hollis Fouts.  The class focused on variations of long stitch binding, which I was very excited to be able to take it.  It was held at Asheville BookWorks in west Asheville, NC.  I was able to work with old friends and meet new book art enthusiasts.  Working side by side on similar projects is a great way to share ideas, discover new ways to do things and learn from your collective mistakes and successes.  I also was able to use some large historic bindery tools, like the hand guillotine (below left) and nipping press (below right).
It was a fantastic weekend!

We started by making a leather wrap link and long stitch bound book, with a button and twisted thread closure.  I used Crawford green 4 cord thread for the binding.  The twisted green and tan thread closure was secured under the sewn on floral button.  I added a matching wooden button to the end of the twisted thread as a decorative detail.

We looked at examples of bindings and discussed variations in long stitch binding patterns.  Then we learned how to make our own pattern cards.  Stitching an example card helps you work out the stitching steps required to use the pattern to sew signatures to a book's spine.  The cards also serve as a reference for later.

Our second leather wrap book was bound using link and varied length long stitches.  A decorative chain stitch circle was sewn on the spine and a leather strap closure was added.  Hollis makes beautiful marble papers and I used some for the end papers of this book.  This style of book makes a great travel journal.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A second crossed long stitch leather book

The second book will use a a thicker less flexible dark blue leather cover, a short wide dark blue leather strap and button to keep the album closed, five signatures of three folios of acid-free paper with cut edges, and tipped in handmade marbled endpapers with swirls of gold, black and blue.  Like the previous book, the binding will use long stitch, crossed long stitch and link stitches.  Unlike the previous book, this one will have a handmade raku button closure instead of a leather strap.

Since the signatures for this book are only five inches high I was not able to use the templates I had previously made for the signatures and spine of a leather covers.  I needed to create new templates which had only two groups of long stitches per signature.  One less then I used on my six inch high books.  Also, because this leather is thicker and stiffer I would need to punch larger holes in the leather to keep from breaking needles.  The weakest part of the needle is the eye which can very easily be bent and broken.

I used tan 4 cord waxed linen thread for all the stitching.  The leather strap was attached to the back of the leather cover using crossed stitches matching the crossed long stitches used to attach the signatures to the leather cover.  The central long stitch is flanked on either side by crossed long stitches.  I used templates to position the holes for the stitches attaching the strap to the leather cover, as well as the holes for the button and cut for the button hole.  I used a punch at ether end of the cut for the button hole to prevent the hole from ripping when being used.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Crossed Long stitch pattern bindings

I pulled out my book making supplies to make two leather covered books using alternate patterns of the long stitch for the binding.  The use of long stitch binding dates back to the centuries, and was popular in the medieval times.  Alternate patterns of the simple long stitch binding include altering the length of the stitches, wrapping or crossing long stitches, and using multiple colors of thread.  There are several tutorials on the web for using the long stitch to bind a leather journal.

The first book will have a soft and flexible light green leather wrap for a cover, dark green leather strap to wrap around the album and keep it closed, seven signatures of four folios of acid-free paper with deckled edges, and handmade plant fiber endpapers.  The binding will use long stitch, crossed long stitch and link stitch.

I was able to use a previous template I had made for punching holes in the signatures of the book since they were the same hight.  However, there were fewer folios in the signatures used for this book and I decided to make a new template for the holes of this book's spine that were closer together so the cover would not be too loose.  Once the new template was measured and drawn, it was quick work to punch all the holes through the leather. Accurately placed holes is important to both the function and look of the book and a carefully made template is a great help.

I used a tan 4 cord waxed linen thread for the stitching.  I stitched the leather strap on to the end of the leather wrap using crossed stitches matching the crossed long stitches used to attach the signatures to the leather wrap.  I made a template to position the holes for the stitches that attach the strap to the leather wrap.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Negative sketch of pine cones

I had expected to see some fall colors at Rock Eagle, but found the leaves were all still green.  So instead of colorful leaves I selected a few spent pine cones for a quick sketch.  

It was mid day and the bright sun lit only the tips of the scales, casting deep dark shadows on the interior and below the cones.  I used the white of the paper for the outer edges of the scales, and a mixture of  blue (535) and burnt sienna (411) to provide the various depths of shadows.  The rock background is a wash of yellow ocher.