Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bag lady chronicles

The next stage was to build the bag. The pieces were layered much like a pocket: the outside right-sides together with the lining fabric, all on (black) batting. I stitched ONLY the flap edge and what will become the top front edge.

The long sides were left open. I turned the whole works right way out through one side.

Once it was right side out I pressed it very carefully to make sure that the corners were turned, the hidden zipper on the front flap was not stitched shut by accident, and that the layers were all nice and flat. You can see here that I layed it with the outside facing up and chalked lines for stitching. These lines were at the fold of the top flap and the fold on each side of the base. I stitched them side to side, careful to make sure that my layers did not shift. At this point I did a few lines of vertical stitching in the back (between the base and the flap stitch line).

Once these lines were in place I turned to the inside pocket placement. The first thing I did was add a fabric covered piece of Timtex the same size as the base. I stitched it right to the inside of the bag. This will help keep the bottom flat even when the bag doesn't have a book or the computer in it.

I then put in the small patch pocket on the front inside. It's smaller than the outside pocket, so I put it on first...that way all the construction stitching was hidden inside the big pocket when it went on later. I used the same method as last post when I put the little patch pocket on the laptop pocket.

Notice in the photo at left that the top front edge (and flap edge, too) is only pinned, not topstitched yet. That is later. I pinned it early on so that the layers would not shift while I was putting all the pockets on the inside. It's really important to pin like crazy through this next portion so that the layers don't shift. If they do, the bag will never be square or stand true.

I put the laptop pocket on the back inside, topstitching down each of the three edges at a 1/8" from the edge. You can see in the photo that the pocket stands up nicely. You can also see where the Timtex is stitched into the bottom, and that the front inside pocket is open in the opposite direction to the laptop pocket. This is so that when the side seams are sewn the pockets are both right way up.

I put those pesky button tabs back on, they needed to be against the back of the bag. I'll put buttons on the pocket later so that when the computer is in the bag it will be secure. They were placed using the flap stitch line as a guide. First they were put on facing up, then stitched a second time, down, covering the previous stitching and the raw edges of the tabs.

Once the all the inside pockets were secured, I put the patch pocket on the outside front. It was done using the same patch pocket method as earlier...first with the lining facing up and stitching the bottom edge, then turning it upward and topstitching. The front pocket is the same size as the front of the bag - this was fundamental to the final bag shape, and to the final form of it.

The picture at left shows the front outsidepocket pinned into place before stitching the sides.

You can see that the top edge of the pocket is open, the sides of the bag are still unstitched.

I took a minute and trimmed the batting, making sure the outer bag, batting and lining fabric were all even, then turned the bag lining side out and stitched the side seams. The trick here was to make sure that the top edges were even. The bottom tends to work itself out a little. For this seam I used a strong overcast stitch. This one takes a lot of stress, and will be seen when the bag is open. Many times I'll use a Hong Kong seam finish on a side seam that will show, or flat fell the seam, but it didn't appear to need those kinds of finishing details.

The bottom edge was given its depth by the following, extremely simple corner shaping trick:

Once the side seam is stitched, stand the bag up on it's base. Match the side seam to the centre bottom of the bag. This will give you a little triangle. Stitch across this little triangle at the point at which it is your desired bag depth. In a lot of cases you can then cut off the little triangle, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance - but in this case I left it. When I'd put the Timtex on the base, I'd left the short ends open. Once the bag was turned right side out I just tucked those little triangles under the end of the Timtex.

Here it is, right side out for the first time. I like a bag that will stand up and keep it's shape without stuffing it with tissue.

I removed the strap hardware and webbing from my original favorite bag and made more strap out of the brown batik and black batting. The finished strap is 2" wide. The wider straps are more comfortable. I may yet make a strap pad for it, if carrying the computer puts a lot of strain on my shoulder.

I pinned the strap in place and tried on the bag to make sure it would hang right, and that the strap is long enough. It was good, so I stitched it on. It ended up that the best placement was right at the top of the bag sides. It seemed to take the weight the best there.
The last shot I have here is of the inside of the bag from the top. You can see that I don't have buttons on for the button loops yet.

Now to test drive it for a while. I'm never sure how functional a bag will really be until I've used it for a while. This one has definite potential, though. And luckily enough, it goes with most of my jackets!



In the bag!

This is how I make a not-so-simple pocket. This one is 3 dimensional, and designed to hold the laptop inside the bag. I wanted a specific spot like this for a few further pads the laptop, distributes the weight of it a bit better (to the back of the bag as well as the bottom), and keeps it from flopping around inside the bag. Please ignore the button loops on the top of this pocket in the photos, I later removed them when I realized they were in the wrong place.

The method below is only for pockets that are the same depth on the sides as the bottom.

So. To start, I worked out the width of the pocket and the depth. The width of the pattern piece is left side + front width+ right side + seam allowances (1/4" each side). The height of the pattern piece is bottom depth+ front height + seam allowances. I then cut out the bottom corners - the measurement for the notches cut were taken from the width of the side ( in this case 2" on each edge).

I layered the two layers (lining and outer pocket fabric) right sides together, and batting, then stitched around the perimeter (1/4" seam allowance) but NOT the edges of the notches - see photo above and left. I trimmed the batting to size, then turned the pocket right side out through one of the notches. Then came pressing, making sure that the corners were well turned and pointy and topstitching along the top edge.

Of course why do one pocket when you can do two? I made a little patch pocket to go on the front of this one using the simple method from last post. As in that post, I left the bottom edge unfinished.

To place the pocket:
Place the small pocket lining side up, with the raw edges 1/4" above where you want the bottom of the pocket to be. Stitch across the bottom edge. Flip the pocket up into place and press carefully. Top stitch right and left sides of pocket down, making sure to backstitch well at the top edges to re-enforce. This will help keep the pocket corners from tearing.

If you wanted at this stage you could subdivide the pocket with vertical stitching, or you could just leave it. I left it.

Back to the big, main pocket now:

Bottom corners...

I turned the bag outside sides together at each corner and stitched the notch edges using a 1/4" seam. I didn't bother finishing this seam allowance as it ended up deep within the bag.

I stitched each corner, then turned them right way out.

More topstitching! I folded the bag along each of its vertical corners, then stitched at 1/8" from the edge to create a vertical pin tuck. Once both sides were done, I did the same to the bottom front edge of the bag.

At this point I had a completely finished 3 dimensional pocket. You'll notice in the photo at bottom right that none of the outermost edges of the pocket are topstitched - yet. They were stitched as a construction seam later, when the pocket was attached to the inside of the bag.

I then set this one aside and made one more inside pocket for the inside front (using the simple pocket method - leaving the bottom edge open).

Just a quick note here, about bag linings: I used to use really dark fabrics to line my bags, but now-a-days use light fabric. The reason being that it is really hard to find anything in a dark bag - especially in a dark room! Light coloured linings make things easier to find, and don't seem to get dirty very fast. The bonus about making this style bag is that I can throw it in the washer if I need to, too.



As promised...

Here's the scoop on how I put together a 'simple' patch pocket for my quilted bags. You can see I had pieced the front, what I want to be the outside of the pocket...using some of that yummy strip pieced fabric among others. This is made the desired size plus seam allowances, 1/4" on each edge (the pocket finished measurements are the same size as the projected front of the bag. It'll help to give the bag dimension, body and a defined shape).

Next step is to layer the batting, outside of pocket and lining (last two layers right sides together). The lining and batting (in this case) are cut to the same size as the pocket. The reason I put the batting on the bottom is that I find the pocket and lining layer don't crawl on each other as badly as they do if they're on the bottom, so the pocket is less likely to come out trapezoidal.

Next, I stitched around the left, top and right sides (using my 1/4" seam allowance) - NOT the bottom edge. I clipped the corners, then turned the pocket right side out.

Once the pocket was turned right side out, ran a topstitch line across the top edge (this one was at 1/4" from the top, sometimes I do a different placement). At this stage I'll usually stitch some vertical lines to stabilize the piece and to emphasize the quilted texture...and most of all to help give the pocket vertical strength. In the early days of my bag making, I had a lot of difficulty with pockets sagging. Since doing the vertical stitching - almost not at all!

That's the basic method that I use. For this particular bag I made a smaller patch pocket to fit on the main front pocket (somewhere for my pen, and hotel room keys to go). With a bit of careful measuring it fit right in the middle, on the centre brown stripe.

In order to stitch that smaller pocket on I matched the raw edges at the bottom edge with the main pocket, then stitched from the bottom edge up each side of the small pocket (1/8") catching the edge of the small pocket, then continuing right on up to the top of the main pocket. (More of that re-enforcing vertical stitching!) Then I measured in and drew two chalk lines for pencil/pen slots. They were stitched the same way, from the bottom to the top, right on up and over the top edge of the small pocket (I do often backstitch here, as this is the place that gets the most strain) and right on up to the top edge of the main pocket.

I'll often layer pockets in this way. You'll see more of that with the pockets designed for the inside of the bag.

A little tip for really nice topstitching that I learned a long time ago was to use the blind hem foot, move the needle position over until it is about 1/8" to the left of the foot's 'fence'. Run the fabric under the foot so that the edge is against the 'fence' and the stitching will be on the left of that edge by 1/8". It's a slick trick, and works almost every time.You don't have to be so worried about following a seam guide, as the fence acts as a physical one for you. It is especially helpful for topstitching things like this where you can't see your usual seam guides on the machine bed.

For this (and most of my bags) I make the pockets all first, then put the whole works together at the end. This pocket (the bottom edge is still unfinished at this stage) was now put aside.

I guess my last post wouldn't be called a 'teaser' if all you wanted to see was the finished bag! I kind of gave the game away, with that.... You'll see, though, that there's a lot more to this than the final product. Man, I love process.



A teaser....

I couldn't stand it. I had to finish it. It was just going well. Don't worry, I'll post all the in-between stages later. I just had to put the photos up. It still needs clasps of some kind on the front flap, and on the inside laptop pocket. I'll think about those for a while...while I go get the mail with my new BAG!


Bag pursuits

I started out by making a paper pattern according to the diagram shown in yesterday's post, then folded it together to make sure that it would fit itself - and not be too big for my height.

I didn't make patterns for the pockets. I tend to like to do that as I go along, figuring out where they would be most useful.

The bag will be constructed in three layers, then all the layers put together at the end. I'm making the outside layer first.

The outside of the bag is brown batik, the lining is going to be a combination of some of my minty hand dye (I knew it would eventually come in handy!), and a lovely blue/green batik.

Anyone who followed my last bag construction project knows that I'm the pocket queen! This one needs a zip pocket on the closing flap (for keys, hotel keys, anything I don't really want to have to dig for).
The first step was to piece the top edge of the flap - this is where that great strip pieced yardage from yesterday came in (just as an accent, don't worry - I'll use more later). Second step was to put the zipper into what will be the bottom edge of the flap, or the top of the pocket. You can see here that the lining is green, the outer bag is brown.

Once the zip was in, the bottom edge of the pocket fabric was folded up until it met the top edge of the unsewn edge of the zipper. (This creates the pocket - before it was just two pieces of fabric with a zipper at the top)

Then, I brought over the top edge of the pocket, my accent strip. This was placed on top of the zipper so that the fold edge covered the zipper itself, and the raw edge was even with the top (unsewn) edge of the zipper and the pocket fabric. Then I sewed through all the layers, stitching near the ditch of the accent strip.

I put the zipper in the very middle with a bit of room on either side as I knew that the whole works would have to be trimmed to size.

The last photo here shows how the bag looks when folded roughly into shape. It will be as wide as the flap once it is all done. The black you can see in the final photo is a layer of black 80/20 batting. It's not attached yet and is there to see how it changes the weight of the piece.

The final bag dimensions that I'm aiming for are 15" wide X 10" high X 3" deep.

I'll find 15 minutes later today to put the other front pockets on the outside (under the flap, on the front of the bag).

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Misc. loose ends

My boys are counting the end of school in hours, not days now.

Oldest and I took some time last night to make a gift for his teacher who not only was responsible for a wonderful classroom culture and fantastic year, but also is retiring. This is Teacher's last class of students.

We made a journal to record the first few chapters of this next bit of Teacher's life. Oldest made an ATC which we mounted inside the front cover. Tonight he'll finish drawing a border around it all; tomorrow, he'll give it to Teacher.

I've not often been moved to this depth to thank a teacher, but this one is truly exceptional. We feel very lucky indeed that Oldest had the opportunity to learn from him.

On a totally different tack, I've started another bag. This one is a messenger style bag. Much as I like my other bag, it doesn't quite fit the bill. I like it, but I don't LOVE it. It's hard to go from a bag one loves to a bag one's try this again!

I've included here the first little inspirational sketches and working out doodles as some of you lovely readers have expressed interest in my process. It always starts out pretty humbly, usually on scrap paper (sometimes in my sketchbook or journal, though).

Part of what I hope to accomplish with this is a bag that will be easy to get in and out of, that I can put my laptop in if I need to, and that is comfortable and not too huge. I'm a small person and big bags make me look like a munchkin!

Part of my inspiration is this little strip pieced thing-y that I read about on one of the lists I belong to. I haven't read many of the lists lately as I've been quilting a lot, but this post caught my eye for some reason. Using the method posted I was able to strip piece a rather large piece of fabric (from 1 1/2" pre-cut strips that were in my strip bin) in 15 minutes. Once I totally decide which fabrics to use with it, I'll get going on the construction.

Oh! And I'll be posting a little fusible appliqué tutorial when I get a few minutes.

Oh! And Vicki over at Field Trips in Fiber tagged me to do the 7 random things about me meme:

  1. I learned to sew on a hand crank Singer. This has left me with a deep love and nostalgia of old sewing machines of all kinds. I was pretty young, I think around 5 or 6, and remember making a rag doll by drawing a dolly shape, adding seam allowances and sewing all around. I know Mom guided me through this process, but she somehow made me feel like I did it all myself. I made a dress for that doll, too, and wish I still had her. Smart Mom giving me the hand crank to start on - I didn't put a needle through my finger until I was 25.
  2. I ate fried egg sandwiches every day for lunch during my second pregnancy. I still can't think of them without my stomach turning.
  3. When I'm not sewing, I'm drawing or writing. I have too many ideas in my head and can't get them all down fast enough. My ideas tend to come in clusters, almost like variations on a theme.
  4. One of the most exciting things in my adult life was climbing Saddleback mountain last summer. If there stops being fresh snow up there and things melt, I hope to go back up this year in late August.
  5. My family (Mom, Dad, Sister) are all super achievers in their horticultural pursuits. I am not. I'm not sure if I just blocked it all out growing up, or if I really have a black or blue or just 'not green' thumb. It may have just skipped a generation.
  6. I listen to audio books or CBC radio all day. I'm a complete probably began when I was a kid and would stay up late to listen to re-broadcasts of 'The Jack Benny Show', 'The Shadow', 'Dimension X' and others. This may be where my fascination with advertising from the 30's, 40's and 50's comes from, too.
  7. My shop is usually the cleanest room in the house. I'm endeavoring to change that (not by being messier in here!)...and get the rest of the house to be tidier, not just when we're expecting company!
Who knew it would be so hard to come up with 7 things?

Happy stitching,


Friday, June 22, 2007

Meant to post this the other day

I did this one the other day when I posted last about sun printing. This one was originally painted with yellow Dye-na-flow and heat set. It was then repainted with the cerulean blue Dye-na-flow and placed out in the sun with all the pairs of scissors on it.

The detail showing in this one is even greater than the other, right down to the texture of feathers on my stork scissors.

I'm starting to think it would be really cool to make up a wall quilt of small squares sun printed with different sewing-room tool themed fabrics...can you imagine seam rippers and pins, needles, beads (I bet glass beads would be really cool; small and large), wooden and plastic spools, lace and get the idea.
Still working on customer quilts (and taking Advil for my sore hands). - But look out the window! Summer is here!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lesson 2 completed

These are my results from lesson 2 in the Mixed Media Surfaces class I'm taking right now.
I'm really happy with this surface. It's hard to see in the photos how 3 dimensional and layered this surface is. It's based on wool felt, uses hand painted cheesecloth, torn paper (I used an article about forgeries from an old Biblio magazine), soy silk and misc. fibres. I did opt to cover the whole works with tulle this time (not like the last project) and am really happy with the result.

*just so you know, all the photos can be clicked on for a larger version*

The box construction, while quite straightforward, was quite time consuming. The gluing took quite some time. I was worried at one point that the glue would not set for the shelf supports, that I'd be looking at a collapsing interior! I re-glued and pinned everything in place overnight (okay, half the night. I got to bed around 2) - lo and behold - it set!

I found all the zig-zag stitching around each piece to be somewhat tedious, but am really happy with the result. Used a trilobal embroidery polyester for the stitching, and the lustre of the thread picks up the gold stamping I did on the paper parts of the surface. Should have bought shares in Fray-Check, though! This thread doesn't tie off well, so I've glued it to keep it from unraveling.

After all that talk about glue it should be mentioned that the only part of this box that is glued is the shelf support structure. The rest is all sewn. It's a fibre extravaganza!

All in all, it would make a great hand sewing box for my end table upstairs, or a lovely little jewelry box. The box is a 5" cube, and each of the drawers are 1" deep. It won't fit anything too big, or too heavy, but is solid enough to have some actual functional use.

The remaining surface would be great used in a book cover.

I haven't been doing many 'quilt-y' posts lately, but rest assured, I'm quilting like crazy here. There is a lot to get done, and many deadlines to meet (or miss !) with school coming rapidly to an end.
I've been doing enough since I've been home from Grand Forks that all my hand muscles are sore! This is the first time I've had that happen. - Just think how big and strong and muscle-y my hands will be if I can keep up this pace! I've done 3 quilts this week so far (including binding on all and construction on one) and am hoping to get one more done by the weekend. Sleep is for sissies, anyway.

So, as far as the class goes, I've managed to keep up. (I figure any time after midnight is mine) I won't be doing the first project in this next week's assignments as I was unable to get some of the supplies. Will do the second, though (a concertina book), and hopefully within the time frame available. We'll see. Once the kids are out of school they start swimming lessons, then soccer camp, then we get to see the cousins! Summer promises to be fun and full of activity for our family.

I guess it's time to get back to the quilts.

All the best to you on this sunny, sunny day!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunprinting suprises

I've been inspired by what Vicki has been doing over here on her blog. She has been working with Dye-na-flow to do sunprints - something I've never done.

I've been taking this great mixed media surfaces class through joggles and have found myself with the right stuff to try this out - here's my first effort. I love the saturated colour of the Dye-na-flow! I honestly gasped when I got outside this afternoon and saw the detail that was picked up by the fabric. It's just a wee piece, only 8" square, but I think I'll have to do some more. I set up the fabric and put it outside at about 10:00, and brought it in at about 1:00pm. Is it so clear partly because of the time of day that I did it at, and that the sun angle was pretty consistent during that time? Let me in on it if you know. Inquiring minds and all that.

Back to the quilts,


Monday, June 18, 2007

Home from the Grand Forks Quilt Show

I returned home from Grand Forks last night after a beautiful drive. It's about 250-300 km from here (Nakusp) to Grand Forks. Most of the in-between territory is almost entirely wilderness. There are a few hearty souls who forge a living out in the middle of nowhere, and a few small towns and settlements strung out along the route. A gorgeous and contemplative drive.

The quilt show in Grand Forks was lovely. We were in a large empty shop at the end of a strip mall there, very central! The space was a good one for the show - large, spacious and well lit. The quilts were very easy to see, both from a bit of a distance, and up close for stitching inspection.

The Guild there took wonderful care of us (the vendors) and made sure that we were never without refreshments...look at these beautiful tea cups! Tea tastes better when it's served like this. It did make me feel a little under dressed, though...
I had to stop on the way home to take a couple of photos of the Turk's Cap lilies that dot the roadside right now. Beautiful and delicate, they tend to grow on exposed roadside areas where bracken and grasses also happily thrive. At this time of year, the little lilies lift their heads up above the surrounding greenery and bloom. Each one of these flowers is about 2" across. A single stalk will typically have several flowers, all in varying states of bud and decline. I'd never seen them before we moved here, and think that if they aren't a protected species now, that there is a time in the not-too-distant past when they were.

Below is a picture of the Slocan River, looking back toward the South (the direction I'd come from). The sky was still reasonably light then - this is before I drove into the huge rain storms to the North. I included the picture here to show just how little civilization is out this way. At the spot I stopped there is no real settlement for 50km in either direction, just the occasional dirt road or driveway off the highway. Our little town feels small sometimes, nestled in all these vast forests. Coming home I saw many, many deer, and a couple of bear along the roadside.

Happy Monday,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The best bread ever

I've been making the lion's share of the bread consumed in whatever household I've lived in for the past 17 or so years. Having children 10 years ago brought the first bread machine into my life (a good machine, it lasted me through every-other-day use for about 7 years). Our old machine packed it in a while back and Mom and Dad gave us theirs, which they didn't really use. It's a great machine and very serviceable (it's been in heavy use since it came to reside with us), but sometimes I crave the well developed crumb of a thrice-risen loaf and will make our bread the long way, the old fashioned way.

About 9 years ago, when Oldest was very small, I had a recipe for traditional French bread. It was a marvel of crusty wonderfullness, and somehow, through time, I misplaced the recipe and had no luck finding anything that came close...until now. I found this recipe while tripping around the web the other day (if it comes from your blog, let me know! I want to give you credit!) and thought it sounded about right:

  • 3 C all purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 5/8 C warm water
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 C water, and stir until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it, sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put dough seam side on towel and dust with more flour (or whatever you're using) and cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least half hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 - 8 quart heavy COVERED pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed, it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 - 30 minutes until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Makes one 1 1/2 lb loaf.

I started the dough yesterday at about 3 pm, and had it out of the oven at around 8:30 this morning. It's wonderful. No sugar, as the yeast has long enough to work on the wheat gluten and make a delicious, light, well developed crumb. Simplicity at it's finest.

I'm heading out of town here early tomorrow morning, to a quilt show in Grand Forks. It runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I'll be there in my booth with a selection of the fabrics that are in stock right now. I look forward to seeing many ladies I've not seen in a while. If you're in our neck of the woods, pop in and say hi!

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More fun with fibre - 2

Finally got to this project yesterday. I'm usually very good at documenting my progress, but this one was an exception. I didn't take any process photos at all - I got too caught up in DOING it. I think the last time I looked up at the clock last night it was 1:30!

Here's the finished book. This one was (much like the other projects so far) a lot of fun, and I found it totally absorbing. One of the things I like about this fusing method is that I don't have to wait around for things to dry... I'm still working on my torn paper piece from yesterday; today I laminated a bunch of flower petals to it with gel medium and that's still drying. (That's the one I'll use to make covers for my surfaces sample book.)

I love the texture of this final piece. It's done using old pattern tissue...about 3 layers on fabric. I used some of my tea-dyed muslin as a base layer, and love the warm patina that had. I also brushed on some warm brown Tsukineko ink after the tissue was laminated (before the fracturing), and sprinkled it with some copper Radiant Rain paint.

The wool felt for the outside cover is red, for the inside covers is a couple of layers of black that I had gathering dust here. The thread is a variegated King Tut cotton (a giveaway I brought back from MQX).

There are 5 signatures inside instead of 3, and I made them out of sketchbook paper rather than card stock. They're not as thick as they would have been, but I like the weight of this paper for drawing.

The inside front cover has spots for pens or pencils, and the back inside cover has room for paper, receipts, etc, and a special pocket that's the right size for ATC blanks.

Because of the extra signatures, I had some extra threads to tie off...I used two buttons that were here in my buttonbox. Also the thimble button was mounted on the front so that I can loop the book shut if need be. (I may add another one of these at the same distance from the bottom as this one is from the top.)

I like the weight of this book and how it's something like a hardcover book in heft and size, but soft with the wool felt and flexible laminated/fractured tissue. It's solid enough that I could sit with it on my lap and write in it without having to have a hard surface underneath, but it's soft enough to feel really nice in my hand.

The finished page size is 8"x 5", a little smaller than the hardcover books I made in April (though thicker. Those books have a 3/4" spine, this one is close to 1 1/2"). Because the cover is soft and there is still a lot of room inside this book, I could mount a lot of different things on the, drawings, tape things in, etc. This has the potential to be a really great catch-all sketchbook and journal.

One of the recommendations for this book was to add a final surface of tulle to the outer cover- I just couldn't do it. I know it would probably extend the life of the cover, but after feeling the buttery suede-like texture it has now, I just couldn't make the leap to the slippery-nylon feel that the tulle has. I'll just have to try that method on something else.

I've got a quilt on the machine...and that gel medium is still drying on the laminated flower petals. Back to work!