Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ruth's book

I can now post pictures of a recent present as the recipient has had it already! I've been wanting to experiment with limp binding techniques for ages because at some point I'd like to try my hand at making felt covers for books and selling them on my Etsy shop - but not quite yet!

I used a lovely golden felt I made ages ago. Technically it's probably not felted enough so it is a very soft cover for this book. I thought that perhaps an expanse of plain felt would look a bit boring as the colour and texture of this piece of felt is very uniform, so I embroidered swirls and curls in running stitch on the front side of the felt, making sure that I didn't sew all the way through to the back. The result was just what I wanted: added interest, but in a subtle way.

I used complicated instructions from Keith Smith's book on "Bookbinding without paste and glue" (I think!) but didn't get it completely right. To make long stitch binding work properly I'll need to figure out how to pull the long threads tighter. It's not as easy as it looks as you have to leave a loop of thread at the end of sewing the first section and work a kettle stitch into it at the end of the next section... basically I didn't do it very competently and although functional it's possibly just as well that the recipient isn't a bookbinder!

I used etching paper for the pages and natural coloured linen thread for sewing the sections. Then I attached a deep red flower shape cut from a felted jumper, using a disc of felt behind and a button covered in matching silk at the front to make a fastening for the felted cord used to wrap the book shut.

I like the end result, though I say so myself. The intention was to make something beautiful that would be functional and could rattle round in a bag without the pages being damaged - and I think it succeeded. I need more practice before I can sell them, but the idea is OK.


  1. very pretty; i dont think much felt is as felted as it could be; but that doesnt matter as long as its good for the task, and this looks certainly up for it.

  2. Really lovely! A wonderful gift.