On Indefinite Hiatus
December 30th, 2014 | Link

You may have noticed that I haven’t updated here much in the last couple years. I thought about taking the site down altogether, but people have linked to the content over the years, and I for one hate it when people break links! So I’m leaving the archived content up, but I don’t expect to be actively posting in future.

Nothing’s wrong, I just don’t have much to blog about these days — I’ve given up bookbinding (finally) and when I knit I’ll post on Ravelry. Occasionally I blog about geekier topics at shannonsansserif.com, and most regularly I’m on Twitter as @shannonsans.

I’m grateful for the people I’ve connected with through this blog over the 10 years (!) it’s been up. Thank you for reading!

Brookfield “Friends” Flat Back Book
May 5th, 2014 | Link

Brookfield Letterpress flat back book

The cover paper on this book is from Brookfield Letterpress. I’ve used their papers on a few projects (including the Pinwheel Book, made around the same time as this one), and I like it because it always looks crisp and sharp and it’s really easy to work with — it doesn’t curl or wrinkle in awkward ways when coated in paste! I think this one ended up going home with Cordelia.

Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in Mohawk Superfine 100 lb Soft White text. Endsheets are Hannemühle Bugra.

Woven Chain Photo Album
April 28th, 2014 | Link

Side view of decorative spine stitching

This is a binding that long-time readers may recognize, since I’ve used it a few times  (starting with Jane’s & Patrick’s wedding guest book). It’s the Woven Chain binding from Keith Smith’s 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings book, done as a photo album.

I always love the effect of this binding, especially done up with a luxe book cloth (in this case a slubby silk-like book cloth from Asahi) and beautiful Japanese paper.

I always make these photo albums quite large (usually folded down from a full-sized sheet of Rives BFK, so around 11-5/8″ wide by 7-3/4″ high) but I think they would also be lovely in a smaller size to fit 4″ x6″ photos.

Green and Red Mums Flat Back Books
April 14th, 2014 | Link

Green Mums flat back book

A few of the books I made recently have hand-sewn silk endbands, from the book Headbands: How to Work Them by Jane Greenfield and Jenny Hille. They aren’t difficult to do and add a nice finishing touch to books like these two, which have a luxe feel to them. The green chrysanthemums paper has shown up before here, notably in the woven chain guest book I made for my friends Jane and Patrick — she picked the paper and I keep getting more of it. Last time I ordered some in the red, too.

Close up of endband in alternating red and green threads

These are a little smaller than the others because I had to trim the sections — the ends of the sheets were damaged in shipping. Finished size is about 6-1/4″ by 9-1/4″; 160 pages Mohawk Superfine Eggshell in Soft White; red mums and green mums Chiyogami papers from The Paper Place.

Buckram and Cotlin Flat Back Books
April 7th, 2014 | Link

Spine detail of several stacked books

I made quite a stack of books over Christmas — 35 by the time I was done, some full cloth and some quarter cloth with various cover papers. I was trying to use up all the book cloth and paper that I’ve acquired over time so I can think about what I want to do next. I’ve written before that I’ve thought about giving up binding as a hobby, and then I had a surge in interest, and then it waned again.

I took a class called The Ideal Sketchbook from Michael Burke at the San Francisco Center for the Book a few summers ago, and these are not that book structure (the ideal sketchbook spine is rounded, and the covers attached in a specific way to allow the book to be opened flatter). But the book I made in the class used buckram for the cover, which I’d never used before, and I liked the way it looks and feels — simple and with kind of a waxy, polished finish. The darker gray journals here are covered with buckram, and the lighter one is cotlin, which is a linen-cotton blend without the polished finish. I also made matching endbands, folding the book cloth over linen hemp cord.

These are journals that I would write in, if I wrote that much. I’ve actually set aside one of the charcoal buckram ones for myself, if I ever fill the journal I have in progress.

Spine detail of dark gray full cloth book

Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Soft White (100 lb), which is my favorite text-weight paper. The board is .098″ Davey board, so these books have heft and are really pleasing to hold, especially the buckram  — if you’re the kind of person who gets enjoyment out of holding a nice, solid book.

Blue Marble Girl Flat Back Book
March 31st, 2014 | Link

Detail of fore edge and blue marbled cover paper

“Blue Marble Girl” is a song by Howe Gelb and has nothing to do with this book, though when I was thinking about blue marbled paper somehow the words came out that way.

Memory is funny. Thinking about that song made me think of a conversation I had with Howe after a show he played at Schubas in Chicago in 2001, and then I realized that was nearly 13 years ago, and that I realized I’d first seen Giant Sand almost 20 years ago. It makes me feel old! But I digress. (Old people will do that.)

Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in French Paper Co. Speckletone text (70 lb) in True White. Asahi book cloth in raw black silk, and I forget who made the marbled paper, though I’m sure I got it at Talas.

(Last of the) Monkeys Flat Back Book
March 24th, 2014 | Link

Detail view of brown book cloth and monkeys cover paper

I love this playful monkey print paper, but unfortunately this is nearly the last of it from my stash. I purchased it from Kozo Arts, a bindery and specialty paper store down on Union Street, but they closed a couple of years ago and I’ve never found anyone else that carries it. Sad panda is sad.

I was lazy on this one and I regret it — I didn’t have any commercial endbands that worked with the book cloth or paper, and I was low on hemp twine for making them, so I used what I had (from Cotlin book cloth) and the texture and color are not  what they should have been. This is what happens when making something becomes more about finishing it than the process of creating it.

Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in French Paper Co. Speckletone text (70 lb) in True White.

Black Mountain Flat Back Book
March 17th, 2014 | Link

Spine and cover paper detail

Back to the Japanese papers. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ve seen this one a lot, like here and here and here. It’s from The Paper Place and one of my all-time favorites. Combined here with Asahi book cloth in black raw silk from Talas, Hannemühle Bugra endsheets, and French Paper Speckletone in True White. Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages.

The funny thing about Japanese papers is that I use them a lot for covers, but I almost never choose to use those books as my own journals. In fact, I’m still working my way through these gray journals I made three years back.

Casting On: Boneyard Shawl
March 13th, 2014 | Link

madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light yarn

I’ve been pretty good about not acquiring new yarn since destashing a couple of years ago, but once in a while I do pick up a skein or two without thinking about what I want to do with it. Right now I have a few skeins of gray lace-weight yarn (I know — shocker!) and two skeins of this madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Robin Red Breast (420 yards/384 metres).

This yarn has subtle variegation in it and is fingering weight, so for patterns I was looking for something simple. I settled on Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl — the large stockinette areas might drive me bonkers by the end, but should be a fast knit.

Here’s my Ravelry project page for updates.

Full Cloth Flat Back Book
March 10th, 2014 | Link

Detail of green cover and endbands

The trouble with book cloth is that it’s sold by the yard, and since I usually do quarter-cloth bindings (where the spine is covered in cloth and the rest of the cover is paper), and I’ve bought many colors over the years to go with the different Japanese papers, I have a lot of it. And it’s kind of a pain to store — I roll it and store it on the bottom shelf of my flat-file storage, but sometimes it gets squashed or damaged, and then it’s all rolly and flippy when I try to use it. Drives me nuts!

As part of my last Discardia I did a big cleanup of my bookbinding materials, and that included flattening out all my rolls of book cloth and cutting it down to manageable sizes that could be stored flat. Since most of my books are roughly the same size (25″ by 38″ sheets of paper folded down to 6-1/4″ by 9-1/2″ sections) and the cloth to cover is usually 11″, I cut all the cloth to that height. I cut most of my cover papers down to that as well, so now when I want to make a book I can just pick out the materials and not wrestle with large sheets.

Once everything was cut, I decided to make a few full cloth books to use up some of of the colors I don’t use often. I don’t even remember why I bought this green, and apparently I didn’t use it much because I have a lot — I don’t generally do green. But on its own I kind of like it. It’s Iris bookcloth from Talas in Olive, a rayon, and has a pleasant texture. This book has 160 pages of 100lb Mohawk Superfine, so it’s got some heft to it.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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