The midpoint of the year has come and gone and I now have a little library of six fabric books, made for the monthly #areyoubookenough community challenge run on Instagram by Sarah Grace Dye. Thank you Sarah!
The theme for June was Black and White and the participants produced an astounding array of handmade books. Something about the theme sparked remarkable feats of bookbinding and creativity. Visit the page of submissions at #areyoubookenough_blackandwhite and be prepared to be delighted and inspired.
I stuck to my usual format of a seven-page accordion fabric book, made to the same dimensions as the previous books (6 x 35 inches when open). But the book is in a vertical format to accommodate the contents, which is a list of things. As usual, it was finding the idea for the book that took the most amount of time. Once the phrase “in black and white” came to me, the rest was fairly easy. It was fun to sift through the files in my brain for objects and concepts that come in black and white.
The first page was set aside as the front cover. This left three “double-spreads”. First I stitched the title of “in black and white” using three rows of alternating running stitch, or the bricked format from kantha-style stitching. After that I played about with different, but simple, stitches to form the words. I used running stitch, back stitch, and couching. I did give chain stitch a try, but the effect was too bulky. The title took up the first page and each following page contains three items. This meant I had to find 15 black and white things. I confess that I did use google to fill in the penultimate space (i.e. WHISKEY).
The first photograph (top left) shows the cover of the book, with a plain row of saddle stitching, and the last one (bottom right) the verso side. For this I used a patterned black, white and grey fabric from Augusta de Jager’s stash and in memory of her. The black fabric is a beautiful linen that was a pleasure to work with. The thread used was no. 8 soft crochet cotton which was, surprisingly, very easy to stitch with.
Previously I sandwiched a layer of batting between the front and the back cover of the book. Because I was making a list, I decided I wanted a thinner, paper-like feel to the book. To stabilise it, I ironed very fine fusible web onto the patterned backing fabric and added a layer of black cotton flannel. As shown in the photograph I turned in a small hem for a neat back cover. The linen used for the front, or pages, of the book was torn to get that rough fringed effect.
The lettering was done more or less freehand and is therefore not perfect. Getting the word to fit in the allotted space was part of the fun of making the book. I used a sliver of old soap as a marker. (This is an old quilters’ trick and is a good way of getting rid of the guiding lines after the stitching is done, as the soap marks rub off easily. Well, mostly. If you look carefully at WHISKEY on the list you will see the traces of the guidelines).
Here are two more pieces in the traditional costumes series, made from the clothes on souvenir dolls from Thailand and Whales.