Monday, 17 March 2014

Young Embroiderers' Guild book project

This project is one I have taught a couple of times, first as a full day workshop with a group of Young Quilters at the Quilters' Guild Regional Day and then as a two hour workshop with the Young Embroiderers, it was certainly interesting trying to adapt a day long workshop to a two hour one!  

Granny's book of quotes, painting is also by her

Spine detail from Granny's book
I learned how to make books at the wonderful courses I went on at Springfield Creative Arts and used this knowledge to recreate a now rather tatty little book made by my beloved grandmother Peggy James to keep quotes in, one which has guided me since youth is one she wrote down in 1934:
If you have two loaves -
Sell one and buy a lily
The book is constructed from a back piece and a larger front piece which wraps round the back to form the spine.  The back cover is punched with eyelets and treasury tags threaded through to hold the hand cut pages.

The first version I did of this was just in cardboard, but with the project I have taught twice the cardboard is covered with fabric to make neat little books containing A5 sheets of paper and card.  I use one to hold knitting patterns when I'm carrying them out and about, Caitlin has one with card sheets that she uses as a scrapbook for her completed origami creations from one of Klutz's ever fabulous books Origami Fashions

My front and back covers from the Young Embroiderer's workshop. 
The version I did as a mockup for the most recent version was fabric from my mum's stash, I'm fairly sure it dates from the 1970s and was a skirt, great patterns for playing around with.  On the front cover I followed the linear pattern and did a line of beading and a line of pekinese stitch in wool and tapestry cotton.  On the back I followed the mad psychdelic paisley with beads and metallic threads.

So here are my instructions.  For the day long workshop (about 5 hours in total) the Young Quilters were able to embroider their fabrics before putting the book together, but for the shorter workshop I made up the books to the end of stage 5 without decorating and they had to sew through cardboard, which wasn't easy but they made light work of it!  For the Young Embroiderers project as my boards I used thin cardboard thoroughout, but for the Young Quilters' project I used 3mm greyboard for the back cover, this sturdy book board is impossible to stitch through so any embroidery would have to be made up before glueing.

1. Choose 4 fabrics for front cover, back cover, front lining and back lining.

2. Cut the fabrics:
Front cover 18.50cm x 28.00cm
Back cover 18.50cm x 24.00cm
Front lining 15.25cm x 24.75cm 
Back lining 15.25cm x 21cm 

3. Cut the boards
Front cover 15.50cm x 21.50cm  - score two lines parallel to the short end, one 2.50cm in and one 3.50 cm in (these form the folds for the spine
Back board 15.50cm x 21.50cm

4. Decorate - embroider, applique, glue, stick, paint, draw...!
5. Glue front fabric piece to front cover, and back fabric piece to back cover.  Apply the glue to the board rather than the fabric, and work well in.  I use a stencil-style brush with a squared off end to work the glue well in.  I used craft pva for these everyday books, it dries flexible, usually clear and you can stitch through it.

6. Glue the linings in place and finally bend the front cover along the creases of the front cover.  Glue it in into place either inside or outside the back piece, nestling them closely together.  Clip together, either with clothes pegs or the clips you get on the end of trouser hangers, and if possible leave to dry.

7.  Punch holes in the back cover.  I use an eyelet making kit and a hammer though this is hard work and eyelet punches are available

8. Cut paper/cardboard to A5 size and use a hole punch to punch holes in the shorter edges.  With a piece of thread, wool or anything of the sort thread a lace through and tie the pages in place.

I've used various things for my laces, ribbons, even an old pair of earphones with the earpieces cut off.

Front cover beading from a red-themed multipack

Small paisleys embellished with blue metallic thread

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