Monday, January 27, 2014

A Mystery Solved

I love to read a good mystery, curled up in a deep armchair with a box of restorative bon-bons nearby, and recently I managed to solve a small mystery myself. Nothing involving a murder, which is perhaps a good thing.

The other day I was leafing idly through one of my books on bookbinding, when I noticed a small, blurry, black-and-white photograph of a coptic stitched book (yes, this is a bookbinding mystery, Dear Reader :). 

On the cover of the book were some cross-stitchings that seemed to be part of the binding. And unfortunately, even though it was a very instructive book on bookbinding, in this case there was no explanation of how one would do that sort of stitching. Where is Sherlock Holmes when you need him? 

I became determined to solve the Mystery of the Cross-Stitch Coptic Binding, so I got out my needles and a couple of recently pressed book covers, and commenced my investigations.  And at last I think I've done it! Turns out it was a variation on a multiple-needle coptic stitch pattern I've been using for years for my books with wooden covers.  I just had to do a little criss-crossing with the needles, and voila! Here is the result:

I used reclaimed, walnut brown leather from a vintage bomber jacket for the covers, and stitched it together with sky blue Irish linen thread.

 On the inside covers are ephemera stickers with Italian and French handwriting:

I named this journal / sketch book "Blue Skies". It's currently residing on the shelves of my Etsy store.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baseball Journal

While waiting for my book covers to dry in the press (see previous post), I finished my second baseball-themed journal / notebook. This one is called "Pop Fly":

Its covers are made from a well-worn, vintage Carlton Fisk catcher's mitt, and a bit of reclaimed bison leather. On the first page is a reproduction of an 1888 baseball card with a photo of Monte Ward of the New York Giants.  I loved this little photo! In it, Monte Ward is clearly in a photography studio, manfully reenacting a slide into home base. 

This journal is residing on the shelves of my Etsy store.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Here is my lovely old book press, in its temporary home in the living room:

I've been waiting with great anticipation for the contents to finish being pressed. Inside are the covers for two new journal/guest book/delirious products of the imagination, which I started working on yesterday. More on that to come anon, but I'm thinking at the moment that they (and some other books I'm thinking about) will have to do with my favorite cities: Paris, New York, and Venice.  

That little black blob in the background on the right is my faithful bookbinding dog, Gretta, who does no actual bookbinding herself, but is a very devoted companion and keeps me company while I work. She is at present hoping for a dog biscuit.
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