Sunday, May 22, 2011

May Ribbon Book

I have spent hours poring over my various books on books, sorting through the hundreds of variations on the scores of bindings, stitchings, and creative permutations.  Eventually a few rise to the top as ones you are a little afraid of, as well as the ones that you just have to try.  I am still avoiding the scary ones while trying to advance my education and skills.  So this month I made two 'ribbon books'. The instructions came from The Handmade Book by Angela James.

The cover and finishing is quite simple, but there is new stitching to learn for binding the signatures together.  I started with six signatures and sewed them together using a running stitch up and back down each signature.  As you add the third signature you begin going back and using a 'kettle stitch' to bind the signatures together.  Typically a proper book has stitching over two or three pieces of tape which are bound into the cover.  In the ribbon book, you use ribbon instead of tape, make slits in the folds of your cover paper and pull the ribbon ends out through the slits, tying them on the outside.  This keeps the book block safely attached to the cover.

For the first book I used lavender text weight paper with some darker sheets and some floral print sheets dropped in here and there.  The ribbon was a heavyweight gauze and I used a stitch pattern for three ribbon ties.  The only problem I had was that the book block didn't feel as snugly together as I would have liked.

Nevertheless, I was so pleased with this first one, I decided to make another one.  This time I used a natural shade paper - text weight but on the heavy side and I used a woven cotton ribbon with only two ties.  I have a friend who recently bought a very nifty little travel trailer and she asked me to keep a lookout for a book that would suit her for a travel journal.  I wasn't far into this book when I realized it was perfect for her.  So I finished this one with travel and nature quotes handwritten on a dozen pages, rubber stamped images in shadow shades on about every third page, and I pulled some of my best postage stamps of plants, animals and trees for another dozen pages.  Finally, I finished the cover with a feather from my precious stash of bits smuggled back from England and used a stamp pad to darken all the edges - both cover and text block.

The feather came from the Tithe Barn in Lacock in the Cotswolds.
I can say with confidence that my friend was pleased with the book and I have an idea for another one with a slightly different theme for someone that was quite envious, so this probably won't be my last ribbon book.

Monday, May 2, 2011

72 Booklets and Counting

In my rash of booklet making, I was able to almost completely use up a small stash of 8 1/2" x 11" art papers I had been saving for....who knows what.  The magazine Somerset Studios publishes several free pages of art paper in each issue and of course, I have saved them all.  Because I needed to cut around the credit printed on the back of each sheet, I wound up making a pair from each paper - one 5" tall and one 4" tall.  I finished them with beads and my regular postage stamp on the back.

As an added bonus, by the time I had used up all the pages that worked for me, I was able to let go of the remaining 8-10 pages and that is one little stash gone.  And just in case anybody is interested, you can easily make 45 booklets in the time it takes to watch four Premier League Soccer (football) games.

Although I have already moved on to my May books, there are about 3 weeks left in the Premier League season, so I will be making a few more booklets, including a couple of variations.