Archive for March, 2014

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.

Pinwheel Flat-Back
March 3rd, 2014 | Link

Pinwheel book head detail

I went a little nuts over Christmas with the bookbinding. In the weeks leading up to November I’d been picking up text paper and cover paper and endsheet paper and tearing and cutting and folding and even a little bit of sewing, until finally I was off work and had nothing to do except put everything together. The first weekend I cased in 15 books that had been sitting around as text blocks for nearly a year, and over two weeks I finished 35 in total.

Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in French Paper Co. Speckletone text-weight paper (70 lb). Endsheets are Hannemühle Bugra. Cover paper is Brookfield Letterpress from Hollander’s.



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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