Sunday, January 31, 2016

I made another book

After posting about the book I made with Diane's help, Joanne asked if I could make a tutorial. Well...........I am a rank amateur, making my second book—hardly qualified to present a very knowledgeable tutorial, but I decided I would photograph my process, problems and successes of my second effort. We are going to Costa Rica and Nicaragua in a month and I decided I would make a little sketchbook/journal to take along. After several trips to the art and craft supply stores in my area I got most of the tools and supplies I needed, but came up short on some. I had to make some substitutions. The first was the cover. I did not find book board, so I used some mat board that I had on hand. I decided to cover it with fabric, instead of paper. I found a tutorial on YouTube showing how to make fabric suitable for covering books by fusing tissue paper to one side so glue doesn't seep through the fabric. It looked pretty fussy. I've glued fabric to lots of things and decided I could safely skip this step.

I cut the fabric about an inch wider on all sides, than the board and used Mod Podge for paper to glue the fabric to each cover piece. It worked great. I trimmed the fabric at an angle, leaving about 1/8th inch extending beyond the corners, then wrapped and glued that excess around each side, tucking that little excess at the corners to cover the corners of the board. Then I glued a piece of ribbon to use as a tie, to each inside cover before gluing down a sheet of paper to the inside cover. Nice and neat.

Then while all that was drying, I cut paper for the inside of the book. I used a pad of tan drawing paper. The paper is cut into a sheet that will be folded to make two pages. The folded size will be smaller than the cover size. The cover should extend about 1/8th to 1/4th inch on 3 sides, but not on the edge that will be bound. I figured out how many pages I wanted and cut all the paper, then used a bone folder and folded each, separately, in half, then organized the folded paper into signatures, by nesting three folded sheets together. I ended up with 6 signatures.

Now I was ready to bind all the parts together. I would be using the Coptic binding that Diane taught me. Before binding I needed to decide where to create holes to sew the binding through and make those holes, using an awl made for this purpose. I liked the looks of a book I saw online that was bound using a group of three, evenly-spaced holes on each end of the bound edge, with a wider space in the middle. I measured and marked a pattern on a piece of paper the same width as the signatures, then used it to poke the holes through each signature, using a handy little "cradle" that Diane made and gave to me.

The signatures almost matched!

Then the same pattern of holes needed to be made in the cover pieces, but approximately a half inch in from the edge.


After the first cover piece's holes were made I laid it on top of the other cover piece and worked the awl through the existing holes into the piece below, so they lined up perfectly.

Now I was ready to start sewing the book together, by sewing the first signature to the cover, then the next signature to the first and so on. The recommended thread to use is waxed linen, which I was unable to find, so I had to substitute. I settled on hemp cord, which I waxed by running it, several times, over a small beeswax candle. (Then I ordered some real waxed linen from Amazon—it hasn't arrived yet...)

I'm not going to try to explain or show the stitching steps. I found it a little difficult to wrap my head around and I made some mistakes. I think it will take more practice. There are some good directions for Coptic binding online. I liked these two.

Here is my bound edge finished.


I did a couple of things I have seen in other books. I added a couple of little, short pages, just to make the binding a little thicker so that if I want to glue some things into the book, the binding will accommodate the extra thickness. I also made the last page with a folded pocket at the bottom for other additions and souvenirs. I like how this binding method makes a book that lies flat.

Here's how the finished book came out.

Overall, I'm happy with it. The binding seems a little loose. That part was the most difficult. I made one big goof and ruined a signature by pulling the thread tight and tearing through the fold. I made a new one and learned not to do that again!

I think I'm hooked. My next book will be better!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Phone photos :: California

A week ago I was in Northern California with Diane and, of course, snapped a few photos. The first was taken from the plane window of downtown Portland and the Willamette River. I never see this view as we are usually heading East when we fly out of Portland. I hadn't realized that Ross Island is shaped like that. The bridges are interesting seen from above.

The weather in California was mostly rainy and cloudy, with one beautiful blue sky day when we explored Diane's beautiful little town of Healdsburg. That part of California doesn't really seem that far from Oregon, but seeing redwoods and palm trees and oranges and lemons makes it feel like a different world.


In one of the many interesting shops in Healdsburg, the woman working there was wearing the most gorgeous embroidered boots. She was happy to let me take a photo. She said they were comfortable. I'm skeptical— I think my toes would be pretty squished, but they sure were spectacular to look at.

One day we went to Berkeley where I'd never been. For years I have been hearing about two iconic fabric stores. They were worth the trip! Later we drove through the UC Berkely campus, then ended our day at the Marina for dinner with a view, through mist and rain, of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.




On one of those days we took Diane's lovely daughter to ride in the rain. Neither horse nor rider seemed to mind the drizzle or the mud.

A visit to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery on my last day.

Beautiful, interesting place. Lots of memorabilia from Coppola's movies. That last photo is the car from the movie "Tucker" in the entrance to the winery.

I enjoyed this getaway so much—a part of California I'd never seen and time shared with a good friend.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

I made a book...

For the past few days I have been visiting my friend, Diane Perin Hock, in California. It has been a lovely break from the wet, dark Portland winter and we had a good time catching up on the past few years. Diane has been making wonderful, ingenious books and when I told her I was considering taking a bookmaking class she suggested we make books and she would teach me.

A big roll of fabulous papers sort of magically appeared on her dining room.

After choosing papers for the inner and outer covers of our books, we set about deciding on size, measuring, cutting and carefully glueing the chosen papers to cover boards.

Then we measured, tore and folded the pages to go inside the books. I learned to fold the paper into signatures, carefully use Diane's tools to create holes that line up perfectly to sew the signatures and cover boards together to form a book.

Two finished books.

New tools, new materials and learning something new with a friend—this I love.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Phone Photos

Another catch-up by way of a weeks worth of phone photos. January in Western Oregon —rain, rain, rain and the occasional sun break. The view from my kitchen window this morning:

A lot of this kind of view for the past week. The ground is a soggy sponge. The creek is high and wild. Sunday, however, dawned sunny and blue-skied and Ray and I took a lovely, nice long walk at the nature area a couple miles from our house. There were a lot of happy people out walking that day.

The rain had greened up the moss and ferns and filled the creek and pond, which is always a good reminder of why we put up with all the rain.

That evening we drove out across the city to a reception for my buddy, June Underwood's one-woman exhibit of her paintings. Since June and I have each moved to opposite ends of the city I don't see her as often, so it was especially great to see, not only her work, but June herself.

Driving home after the reception, the rain had started up again and the view of downtown Portland was wet and smeary and sparkly along the river. I know it is impossible to capture in a photo, taken from a moving car, but I always have to try...

Rainy days are great in the studio. I finished the top of the Quito quilt and am quilting now.

And so it goes...


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Real sewing and real winter

The first week of a new year always feels a bit celebratory and filled with anticipation for me. "How is this new year going to be different," I ask myself. The weather seemed to be tuned into that and gave us some uncharacteristic cold weather in the form of snow and ice, which was fine with me. I had no place to go and loved the very soft, peaceful snowfall. It doesn't happen very often here.

Yesterday it all turned to ice and only the very foolhardy were out in that. No school, no garbage pickup, no mail. I went only from house to studio and even that was a careful, don'tletmefalldon'tletmefalldon'tletmefall tiptoe across the icy bridge and path. It felt like a good day for a special project. Hidden away in the loft I had 3 yards of indigo blue Japanese fabric, purchased at least 5 years ago. I had a pattern I bought several weeks ago, the day the STASH group went out for our annual Christmas lunch. They were a match and I set to work making a long, loose-fitting top that I'm sure I will enjoy next summer, as well as for a trip south we have planned.

I like the simplicity and ease of the design, but dark as that fabric is it seemed that the detail of the set in "bib" might be lost, so I made a length of very small orange piping, which worked out well, I think. I felt inordinately satisfied with this project, and it felt good to do what felt like "real" sewing. There was a time when I did a lot of garment sewing for myself, my kids, even for Ray, but I no longer have the patience for the details like zippers and buttonholes and collars and cuffs. It is nice to finish something in one sitting and nice to make something soft and simple and unfussy. I ended last year with a simple canvas apron and started this year with this project. Maybe it's a trend...

Note: I recently discovered this British pattern company online and was considering ordering one of their patterns, then the very next day, when my friends and I were browsing the shops near the restaurant where we had lunch, there they were—the very patterns I had seen online. Fate. I took it as a sign. I really like the designs and the pattern and instructions are well-done. I even like the odd black and white cover photos of the wrinkled garment, which seemed to put some people off. They aren't cheap, but a good find, in my opinion.