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  • Writer's pictureKari

Long Stitch Workshop

I had a small, but very enthusiastic group in the Long Stitch Workshop, which was re-scheduled to April 7th because, well, WINTER!

Worktable with tools and work in progress
Lunch Break while the covers dried!

Part of the challenge of designing this course for me was deciding on a long stitch pattern that was easy for beginners, but not too simple! There are literally hundreds of exposed sewing patterns to pick from thanks to the astonishingly hard-working Keith A Smith. I wanted to focus on the long stitch and span stitch for these books, primarily. Other courses have touched on the various sewing methods - link stitch, kettle stitch, etc - but for this one I wanted to explore the decorative aspects of the simple line.

My models for the course - one a paper cover and one a hard cover with a cloth spine. I used a "rat-tail" rayon thread for the hard cover book which was delightfully variegated, so the long stitch with a pearl sewing pattern looked very fun. It's not a traditional thread of course, but I couldn't resist the colours. The solid colour paper is from the amazing St. Armand Mill in Montreal. Love the "Colours" line of cover weight paper - it's so satisfying to work with and has an amazing feel in the hand.

The most fun part is seeing what the students end up picking for their books. I love seeing what combinations they think of!

Student's Books - Long Stitch Spines
Spring Colours!

Group Photo of Long Stitch Books
The choice of Japanese Papers - So Gorgeous!

Close up of Student's Long Stitch Books Spines
Two of the students tried some of the other "rat-tail" threads!

The other part of teaching is trying to re-create the "bindery" type of experience without breaking the bank. To that end, I made up student tool kits, but was stumped on the issue of weights. Practically every step in hand bookbinding can be made better by a weight close at hand to convince the materials that flat is the goal.

Bochord Bookbinding is lucky to have a minion (my husband, Martin) and his idea was to use tiny ice bags filled with sand as weights. We've used them a couple of times, but they still completely amuse me.

Student work under weights while drying.
Could these weights be any cuter?

And here's a gratuitous shot of Chiyogami - I like to give students lots of choices!

Japanese paper is both a marvel and inspiration.

And some St. Armand Paper Mill love


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