Posts Tagged ‘book’

After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…


…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…


…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..


I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).


I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.


The next prompt was cutting and patching.


So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.


As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.


By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.








Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.


My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.




With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…


…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

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Our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was a full day workshop led by one of our members to make a gorgeous book bound with what I know as French Link Stitch with the aim of using the front to showcase a piece of embroidery. I’ve used this stitch several times to make fabric books but it was my first time using this binding on paper and I love how it turned out.

French link stitch indigo book 1


Having only discovered at the last minute that I could actually make it to the workshop, I had to make do with the contents of a bag of fabric scraps that I had hastily grabbed on my way out of the door to find something to use for a cover. About the suitable only piece was this oddment of indigo dyed cloth that was annoyingly only big enough to fully cover one of the boards.

French link stitch indigo book 2

However, what was left would be big enough if it was joined… So I decided to do just that, using some natural coloured silk thread and boro/kantha type stitching right across the two pieces I wanted to join.

French link stitch indigo book 3I really like the way it turned out, especially the way the join is almost invisible below the layers of stitching.

French link stitch indigo book 4

Then came the question of what to put on the front. I toyed with weaving scraps of indigo dyed cloth, but they disappeared against the indigo cover. Then I tried some beading on another piece of indigo dyed cloth, this one with a vibrant sunburst in the middle.

French Link Stitch indigo book 5

French Link Stitch indigo book 6

I like the sunburst and I like the beading but… next to the cover, somehow it’s not quite right. The indigo of the sunburst is a different colour and texture and if I did apply the beaded piece to the front then I would lose the marbled pattern behind.

French Link Stitch indigo book 7

In fact I like my boro mend so much that instead of making it the back, I’m tempted to make it the front and not add any extra embroidery at all.

French Link Stitch indigo book b

Any thoughts?

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Well, effectively, that’s what it’s made from! I really enjoyed making my Eden project paper carrier and chocolate box book last year and when I went to a local food and drink fair last November I earmarked the advertising postcard and another carrier for the same treatment. I cut the postcard in half for the covers…

Rubbish book 1

…and sliced up the carrier into signatures.

Rubbish book 2

And then Christmas happened and it got well and truly shuffled aside until yesterday when I needed to turn some work I’d done with a group of children into little books using Coptic binding. I had five to do, so another one wasn’t going to make much difference, so here it is, finally finished:

Rubbish book 3

Rubbish book 3


I’m really pleased with the chain stitches across the spine.


Rubbish book 5


No idea what I’m going to do with it now I’ve made it, of course…!

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The applique cover of this little book experiment has been finished a while, so the next step was to cover the back of the embroidery with a lining.

Leaves book cover 1

I chose some hand dyed purple and turquoise feather-light silk and turning over the raw edges as I went, ladder stitched it to the back of the cover.

Leaves cuff book 1

Leaves cuff book 2

Finally, I divided the medley of papers into three signatures and used a beaded long stitch binding to attach them to the spine – not easy through two layers of shifting fabric!

Leaves cuff book 3

Leaves cuff book 3

Leaves cuff book 4

Leaves cuff book 5

A little selection of iridescent seed beads, matte bugles and interesting triangular beads work well together for the binding and the blue thread I used blends into the denim for the unbeaded stitches.

Leaves cuff book 6

The thickness of the denim layers really helps it to stand up on its own.

Leaves cuff book 7

It’s a pretty rugged little notebook! I’ve really enjoyed putting it together and even, better, the concept worked just as I’d hoped. Not often that happens!

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In the week before our December Embroiderers’ Guild meeting I managed to turn this:

Embroidery consequences 9

into this.

Buildings book 1

I covered the back with the same red lame fabric as the front and used silky black fabric for the endpapers.

Buildings book 2

With there being so little daylight at the moment, these were the best photos I could get indoors.  Then I chose some sunset coloured hand dyed cotton for the pages.

Buildings book 3

And used my favourite french link stitch in a variegated medium weight perle (to complement the colours in the pages) to put the whole thing together. In terms of time, it was a close run thing. I ended up attaching the last page and cover while sitting in the meeting and the judging had started on every one else’s pieces!

Buildings book 4

So, having rushed the binding, I managed somehow to make a mistake in the stitching at one edge, which means it’ll have to be rebound at some point, but I’m very pleased not only with the way it turned out but also that I actually managed to get the book completed for the meeting!

Buildings book 5

I’m not a great user of reds and yellows, so it was good to do something in an unusual colour way. And the tension on the binding isn’t great, aside from the mistake, so all the more reason to take it apart and restitch it at some point.

Buildings book 6

But what to do with it? (If anything.) I’m more than satisfied with the creating side – it doesn’t have to be for anything, but a suggestion made at the meeting by Debbie, coupled with some of the work I’ve been doing in my altered book, planted the germ of an idea…

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Only three weeks of my jewellery making and silversmithing course left and so much I’m desperate to do! I have lists everywhere; ideas and sketches of things I want to try in my sketchbook, jobs I can do at home with my small selection of tools, and things I can only do in the fully equipped workshop at the college.

So lots of things have been started this week, both at home to be finished/continued at college, and in the workshop, to be finished or continued at home!

Another scrap of reticulated brass to make another brooch like my goldwork spirals on the blue silk.

Beginnings - brooch

Turning this piece of gilding metal impressed with some sticky circles…

Beginnings bubbles book charm 1

…into a set of covers for another book charm.

Beginnings bubbles book charm 2

Impressing more brass with embroidered fabric.

Beginnings impressed brass 1

I put this one through the rollers on a slightly too small setting, which distorted the imprint of the embroidery but the crispness of the weave comes out so well at the sides.

Beginnings impressed brass 2

And some wide leafy lace, which being dark green, is a bit difficult to see at the top of the photo.

Beginnings - impressed brass 3

Beginnings - impressed brass 4

I have plans for this off cut of reticulated brass now it’s been barrelled.

Beginnings 2

And these reticulated shisha shapes.

Beginnings - shishas

And that’s not everything! Now all I need is about another 12 hours in the day. 🙂

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Several things came together for this book.

Firstly, I finally finished the little wintry silk fragment and thought what a good book cover it would make.

Wintry fabric book 1

Secondly, I’d just bought some scraps of Japanese kimono silk from ebay and thought what a wonderful way the fabric book would be to showcase their delicate beauty.

Wintry fabric book 2

Thirdly, I had a couple of long meetings coming up and combining the donkey work of lacing fabric over the cover boards and stitching ‘endpaper’ pieces on the back to finish it off with the whole meeting thing is a great way to take the boring edge off both.

I love the figured blue-grey silk of the ‘endpapers’.

Wintry fabric book 3

 And lastly, I’m still loving making these little books.

Wintry fabric book 4

The pages are all silk, and as I had trouble with the red cabbage dyed silk pages, I decided to iron them first. It helped, but the silk moves around a lot more than cotton and it made stitching the spine quite difficult. I restitched it three times and it still isn’t quite as even as I’d have liked.

I chose the smaller stitch pattern for the french link stitch and decided to use a cool blue cotton thread to contrast with the wintry greys and blacks of the cover and pages.

Wintry fabric book 5

Inside, a range of printed and woven luscious silk ikat, crepe etc.

Wintry fabric book 6

This looks out of focus, but it isn’t – it’s the ikat pattern.

Wintry fabric book 7

Wintry fabric book 8

Wintry fabric book 9

It’s a pretty miserable time of year here in the UK so I thought it would be nice to have a giveaway for my little wintry book.

Wintry fabric book 10

I’f you’d like the chance to win it, then in time-honoured fashion, please leave me a comment by next Saturday (9th February) and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday the 10th. I’m happy to post to anywhere in the world. 😮

Good luck!

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These are finished now and ready for me to decide what sort of book I want to turn them into.

This is the inside of one cover – a scrap of wonderfully textured fabric which I folded over at the edges and ladder stitched into place.

And this is the patterned fabric I chose for the other.

And together…

I’ve been looking at options for the binding. I originally thought about a coptic binding but I don’t really want to put holes in the fabric covered boards, so I had a good look through some of my bookbinding books and am wondering about something more like a french link stitch where I could stitch through the fabric on the covers instead.

Something to mull over and experiment with.

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