Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Look Lizzie, I did it, I did it!!!!
The front
Lizzie gave us a great lesson on book binding with Japanese side stitch when we met her in Coalport. Just before Christmas I gave myself a few hours off and decided to finish off the book I had started. Its not the neatest of books, but it taught me a few things and I'm sure my next go will look far better. What I was very happy about though was that it worked! Not only did I manage to bind my own book but it isnt falling apart, and is totally usable! I even scored the front cover so that it opens easier.
So what did I learn....

  • I need to pay a lot more attention to making the covers so that they are neat without the odd gluey finger print on them.
  • I need to buy a smaller needle, though mine worked the eye made the holes too large for the thread. This makes it look rather untidy.
  • That book binding is really fun & not only do I want to make more but I'd love to learn more techniques as well.
The back

Thank you Lizzie for giving me a new hobby (I'm sure Ryan (my other half) will be far less enthusiastic that I have another hobby to spend money on ;-)


  1. Wow that's gorgeous, I too love the bookbinding techniques that are out there at the moment. Thank you for sharing this one!

  2. Well done to Kirsty! I thought that cover paper was gorgeous when you started the book in Coalport -it looks even nicer as a completed book.
    Yes, needle is important. You need one that is the same thickness (or a fraction thicker than) as your thread, but it needs to be straight - no bulge on the eye. You also need to make sure you punch holes that are thick enough for the thread & needle, or else you are pulling hard against the needle, to force it through the hole - that usually ends with some kind of disaster, normally the needle-eye will burst and you need a new needle!
    I use "Quilters Basting Needles", which are long and thin with a gold-plated eye (which is smoother than steel and is supposed to sew better - I actually think it does!). These are good for all but my really heavy-weight binding thread. I also have a couple of thicker needles - one is curved for Coptic bindings. I made some of the thinner needles curved also, by holding in tweezers over a hot flame, then bending gently round a wooden spoon-handle. Works wonderfully and I have a set of curved needles for multi-needle coptic bindings!
    The pre-creased front cover is good. It would crease anyway, when you opened the book, but that would be one of those messy, crumply creases, whereas you have set a nice straight crease-line in the cover and it will look neater.
    For a neat finish on your binding, it's a good idea to start in the centre. Then any knot you tie, will appear balanced. You can start on the front, if you like to see the knot - it can be a nice decorative touch - or at the back otherwise, so the knot is tied behind. I find it makes a stronger binding to start from the middle, though some people prefer to start at one end. You can use a pointed object - needle-eye, awl-point etc - to tuck the knot into the centre hole at the back, so it is less visible and looks "tidy". But, as I said, some people love to see the knot, as part of the binding features.
    You can also make patterned bindings with this stitching method. Some can be very complex and there are some traditional bindings, with names.
    Here are some bookbinders' examples:
    And, of course you don't have to have the stitching evenly spaced - you could put groups of holes, so two or three stitches were next to each other, with a gap, then another stitch/group of stitches.
    I think I should make a Tutorial on my Blog...

    You don't need to buy special materials for your books, Kirsty. The only "special" items you really need are needles, good strong cotton or linen thread, a lump of beeswax to wax your thread - run through a couple of times to coat the thread and make it strong and a bit slippy!, also an awl or other paper-piercing tool and/or a small-hole punch (I use the 1/8" hole on my cropadile)

    Also, see this blog - the Etsy bookbinders' team blog - for lots of info and great books to goggle at.

    There are some links to tutorials and info in the r/h sidebar of my own blog too -

  3. Thanks for the advice Lizzie & the links are great, I shall be studying them with great interest

  4. It looks great, I love the cover paper :)



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