Thursday, 7 June 2012

Blue and Yellow and Green and Lilac... A Book Rainbow?

Last Wednesday, I posted this photo of my desk, for the WOYWW post:
Several books in progress

There seemed to be a rather strong turquoise and yellow theme going on, but I did say I was working with other colours too (eg. the cream and lilac book covers at the bottom of that front pile!).

This is what I have completed in the past week:

Turquoise and Yellow Wedding Guest Book


A large Wedding Guest Book, for a lady in Hong Kong.  She chose the turquoise Indian paper and matching silk taffetta for the covers, with a turquoise Coptic style linen binding.  Inside, the covers are lined with a bright sunny yellow paper and she asked for a tassel to match.  There are twenty pages inside, of a medium/heavy artists paper, with hand-torn soft edges all round. 

Swedish Linen Guest Book

This book is one I made for my shop "stock", just because I loved the fabric and wanted to make it!  The bookcloth covers are made from a lovely Swedish Linen fabric, which I bought in "Nord", a shop that I explored, with Celia and Diane, on our day out in Cambridge

The fabric is designed by Eva Jemt and is part of a range called "Skimmer" (Shimmer). There are two sets - "Gryning" (Dawn), which has white warp threads and coloured weft and "Skymning" (Twilight), with black warp threads.  The weave is fairly loose, but the contrast of the warp and weft threads makes it a very attractive fabric.  It has self-coloured warp threads at each edge of the panel, to give a deeper coloured stripe, which I like very much. 

Although it was designed for making window blinds, or panel curtains, I could "see" books made with this; luckily, the lady was happy to sell me quarter metres, so I bought pieces in the green and also an equally zingy pink. 

So, here is Nord Swedish Linen Book Number 1, using the green fabric.  I loved the bright stripe on the edges, so I folded the bookcloth and halved it down the centre, giving me two pieces with a striped border, big enough for one large book. 

I wanted the whole of that green edge to show, so I used a matching lokta mulberry paper, to line the whole cover, wrapping over the bound edge.  This meant I could lay the fabric up close to the edge, but not have to wrap it over and lose my striped piece. I left the inside lining section loose, until I had trimmed and glued the fabric onto the back of the covers, then I trimmed it and laid it over the raw edges, to give a nice neat cover lining.  I'm pleased with how it came out. 

The binding is in an off-white hemp cord, which I waxed lightly with beeswax, to help avoid it going fluffy during binding.  The wax lets the thread slide through the binding holes, so it doesn't snag and get that nasty fuzzy, tatty appearance, which would then gather dust and look grubby. 

I made a decorative binding, combining a Coptic / chain stitch with Longstitch.  It looks quite good, though I still need to practice this type of binding, to make it 100% right.  Under the binding, I added a soft spine of the same linen (I thought of this before I cut up my linen piece, so I actually removed that strip from the centre of the panel, rather than cut right through the middle - just for once, I thought ahead!!).  The spine is not stiffened, but the stitching is all done with the one thread, as a unit, so although the binding is flexible, the book is strong. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this book.  I want to make the pink version next and may have to schedule a linen-shopping trip to Cambridge again soon... (any excuse eh?).

And Finally:

"Sparkly Trees" Extra-large Baby Album

I have just finished this huge album, for a customer's baby First Birthday party (you can see the covers at the bottom of the pile in the WOYWW photo above). 

The customer chose a creamy paper, with sparkly trees, for the front and back covers.  After a bit of thinking, she decided that she would like the gold and white floral paper for the cover linings.  I think, in a smaller book, it wouldn't look right, as the design is big and bold; but in this large book, it just seems to work out quite well.
The customer wanted a silk edging which picked out one of the colours from the trees.  She suggested lilac, with a yellow ribbon tied binding.  I was so lucky to find a piece of lilac / white dupioni shot silk, when I went to the fabric shop last week, to buy the yellow ribbon.  They had just had a delivery of "spring" colours (of course, I bought more than one colour - best to be prepared, eh?).

The ribbon binding is "sewn" through the covers.  I made a blue and white album, with a tied binding, a while ago:  
This had three holes for the binding, but the "Sparkly Trees" book is really big - it measures 15.5" / 39.5cm x 11.5" / 29cm, which is large - so I decided to make a five-hole binding and effectively sew the book together with the ribbon. 
It has worked out well, although it will loosen a bit over time - but then, all bindings do that. The advantage of the ribbon-tied binding, is that it can be undone, tightened and re-tied! You can also add or take away pages from the album, as it's not as permanent a fastening as a stitched binding.  The ribbon is woven from man-made fibres too, which are more rigid and less stretchy than cotton or silk; so I am confident that this will hold together well. 

I am just about to go and make some "trial runs" of a label for the inside first page. We tried out labels on the cover yesterday, but the customer feels that it spoils the look of the covers, so we are "going inside" for the next attempt.  I like that, as there's a lot more scope for a bit of fun and experimentation!  I also will be working on the pair of Recipe Books, which I've had on the binding table for a while now - I really want to finish those soon, as the customer is very patiently waiting!

Off to start enjoying myself - see you all later!


  1. I like the green linen book very much!


  2. Wow you have been busy. Great books.

  3. So many beautiful fabric choices - i especially love that blue toile becasue I used to have some very similar bedroom wallpaper. It's wonderful to see how busy with orders you are

  4. Beautiful, beautiful books, I like the sparkly tree one best

  5. Beautiful books Lizzie! I think the green one might be my favourite!
    Alison xx

  6. Thank you, lovely people!! X

  7. Oh my gosh - that tree paper is fantastic!

  8. These are beautiful, Lizzie! You inspire me to learn bookbinding.

  9. Wow, what beautiful books, I am hoping to be able to create something like that soon. I have only just started with the pamphlets. Lovely to see how enthusiastic you are about it and now I know where to come if I have any questions!

    Best wishes, Jacqueline


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