Monday, January 28, 2008

Some other stuff

One of the amazing things about the part of Canada that we live in is that it can be so tremendously HOT in summer, and so incredibly COLD in winter. Our lovely little town has an amazing public beach (I know I've gone on and on about it here before, bear with me) that truly is an all season wonder.

In the summer we build sand castles and run around in two piece bathing suits, swim in the lake and bask with our books under sun umbrellas.

In the winter, we play with our sleds, sliding down, down down toward the water (which recedes at this time of year, giving us a reeeeaaaaalllly long slide when the conditions are right).

All the photos in this post were taken last week at the public beach.

Don't you just love how the water and sand are right up against the snow?

It's like a little band of summer (colour wise, not temperature wise) right along the water.

I can't believe that people go out fishing in weather like this. It was -14 degrees Celcius that day, with a wind as you can see by the choppy waves. It was PESKY cold. And I lost my first pair of mitts this season. ....sniff.

I was warm and toasty in the OTHER sweater that I've knit so far this season....

Merino wool and mohair (just for cuffs and collar). Cozy, cozy. The pattern is from here.

Now if you're a knitter, you could live your whole life, knitting every day and never make half of the things offered as free patterns from that website. It's a treasure trove.

Do you like the last photo? Taken by Oldest. We're still working on him composing things so that the horizon line is -er- horizoney and straight.

Fun, though, eh?

Stay warm,


An evening work-in-progress...

I'm making a top down, fit-as-you-go raglan cardigan from some wool that I bought for my knitting machine (which I've been unable to get working properly, yet!). The pattern is one that I found through Ravelry, but is available here.

I've actually done quite a bit of knitting this winter, a real change for me. Usually I just knit one sweater and a pair or 3 of socks, but this year I've knit at least 4 pairs of mitts, several hats, at least 3 pairs (maybe more) of socks, a vest (which is waiting on one skein of yarn so that it can be completed), a sweater, and now this sweater. I've found that I can knit while waiting for one of my sons at piano lessons, and that has upped my productivity considerably!

So, with this current WIP, I need to decide now how much waist shaping I want to do, and whether I want long or short sleeves. Hmmmm....

By the way, I'm volunteering these days at the Elementary School, teaching knitting to the grade 7 students. It's a laugh riot, and they're all very enthusiastic! We're making fingerless mitts like the ones I posted here. I hope to get a picture of all of their hands together with their mitts on when they're done.

Stay warm and cozy,


Friday, January 18, 2008

A few of the final steps

Sorry that this is not the most thorough tutorial for bookbinding, but the original tutorial really has all you really need to know. I thought I'd just share the little bits that I do that might be different from the original.

One of the things I've found that simplifies everything is that instead of folding the cover over the cover guide (left) with my fingers, then folding the wax paper over and clamping it all in place, I grab the wax paper and fold it over to clamp. I end up not handling the glue areas at all, it makes everything tidier and more accurate.

When assembling the cover I've taken to gluing the corners first and letting them dry completely. It makes for a very nice, tidy corner.

Oh, and if you want to have a ribbon bookmark, the best time to add it is when you are clamping and gluing the signatures. Just lay it on top of the glue and smooth it out. Make sure it is long enough to go the length of your pages. I leave mine quite long, they can always be cut shorter later. In this book I used a woven tape-style ribbon. I'll add beads and embellishments to it in the final steps.

This is how I put the pocket in this book:

Once the signatures were in place and glued into the inside front cover, I glued the pocket in as though it were an endpaper. Normally one would glue the last page of the last signature in to the back cover before placing the endpaper. I didn't do that (that would have meant that the pocket could not sit in as snugly as the signatures). I glued the pocket side to the inside back cover, then the paper side to the last paper of the last signature.

Once the pocket was in place, I glued in the endpaper. I made custom endpapers for this book by collecting quotes that spoke to my heart about our friend's life and situation. I wrote them all in WORD, turned them all a co-ordinating purple, made each of the quotes slightly different sizes and fonts so that, though they ran together, they can also each be read individually.

As you can see in the picture there are a lot of pieces of wax paper interleaved with pages that have glue drying.

This is the point the book is at right now. I'll let it sit under a weight overnight to dry, and I'll check on it tomorrow. It will be handle-able by then, but probably not totally dry. I can do any finishing bits at that time, then leave it under a weight for another 10 or so hours so that it is completely dry and flat.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. Thanks to you, too, for the comments and well wishes for our friend. She is much like an Aunt to me, she and her family have been in our lives as long as I can remember. I'll always be grateful to her for letting the boys hold her newborn lambs. They will never forget it.


Pocket construction for inside back cover

This next step involves an amount of glue. Don't be too enthusiastic, but do be thorough. I used wax paper in many steps to keep the glue from migrating through the fabric and paper surfaces.

Place wax paper on your work surface. Grab the longer (12" ) paper that you folded last step and place it on your work surface, both folds as 'valley' folds. Set aside the smaller (8 1/2") paper for now. Make sure that the smallest (fold 2) fold is toward you.

Run a line of glue along each side edge from the first fold to the edge closest to you (click on any of the images to enlarge them).
Place the folded muslin on the paper, on top of the glue, between the first and second fold as shown above. Make sure that the folds look EXACTLY as shown in picture above. Check that the fold of the muslin is parallel to the edge of the paper.

Fold the forward edge of the paper up and over, sandwiching the muslin. This creates the outer pocket edge (it won't make sense yet, just trust me). Smooth it to make sure that glue is making good contact along the side edges.

Cut a piece of wax paper 5 1/2" X at least 5". Place it on top of the muslin as shown in the picture above.

Lay the 'peak' fold of the muslin on the wax paper. (If it doesn't make sense, just enlarge all the photos and follow them step by step. A picture really is worth a thousand words).

Fold the top edge down toward you.

Run a line of glue along each side edge. Fold the remaining muslin over onto the glue.

Above is what your pocket should look like, only in better focus. Keep the wax paper in place until all the glue is completely dry.

Grab the other piece of paper that you set aside in step one. Place it on your wax paper work surface so that the fold is a 'valley' fold. Apply glue to one whole side, as in picture above.

Place your completed pocket on the glued side, muslin side down against the glue. Put another piece of wax paper over top of the whole thing and put a stack of quilting magazines on it until the glue is dry and everything is nice and flat. Then you can carefully remove all the wax paper.


preparations for the book construction

I prepared the signatures the way the whip-up tutorial recommends using light weight sketchbook paper. This time, though, in order to make room for the pocket in the back I bound 7 signatures (groups of pages) together rather than the customary 8. I did measure the spine and cut it to accommodate 8 signatures - this was to be sure that the book has enough room to hold the pocket and anything that our friend might want to put in it.

The thread for sewing the signatures is a lovely purple trilobal polyester, used double.

Making the pocket for the inside back cover was the next step. I wanted to make sure that the pocket had room to expand for anything that our friend might want to slip in there (notes, cards, anything). I started out by cutting two pieces of muslin 3" X pocket depth. I fan folded the muslin to create 4 layers (fold the fabric in half lengthwise, then bring the top raw edge to match the fold edge, turn the whole works over and bring the last raw edge to match the fold edge). You can see the folded muslin right and below.

In the last picture you can see the watercolour paper cut for the inside back cover. There are two pieces, one is 5 1/2" X 8 1/2", the other is 5 1/2" X 12". The second piece could have been longer, but it was all I had.

The smaller piece is folded in half (at the 4 1/4" point). The larger piece is folded so that the first fold matches that of the other paper (this is where the bottom of the pocket is, where things snuggle up against the spine). The second fold is at the 8 1/2" point. When folded up the two pieces should be the same size. Notice the directions of the folds in the pictures below and left. This is really important if you decide to try this for yourself.

The next post is about how to assemble the pocket pieces. It'll be VERY picture heavy.


working on a gift

A dear friend of our family is pretty sick.
She's lovely, we've had her in our lives since I was in pre-school when I chased her son around the playground equipment and she met my Mom. I've been thinking about her an awful lot, especially right now, knowing that she's going through some pretty heavy treatments for her illness. I really wanted to make her something...something that would be right, y'know? For a good while I thought I'd make her a large shawl/throw as I understand that people undergoing radiation can get very cold. I researched all kinds of yarns, trying to find one that would not be irritating on hyper-sensitized skin - but with where we live it would take a long time for anything like that to get here, so I started casting about for other ideas.

I've been keeping up on Sue Bleiweiss's blog where she's been doing wonderful things with journals, making them themed, and in that way they can become tremendously personal. It struck me that I could make a journal for our friend.

I started out making a multimedia collage surface to be the cover. It's layered up with MistyFuse on muslin using several kinds of tissue, pressed Johnny-Jump-ups and Calendula petals that I dried last summer from our garden, skeleton leaves and stamps. I sealed the whole works together with diluted fabric medium to give it a bit of resilience, but help it maintain it's flexibility.

I'm using the same template I used for the hardbound journals last Spring when I made gifts for other friends, with some modifications.

I wanted to put a pocket inside the back cover, and make the endpapers from inspirational quotes and sayings.

Our friend has always been a very outdoor person, enjoying the outdoors and an active lifestyle. I hunted through my stash of tissue to find the dragonfly tissue, and included the plant material as a small tribute to her love of nature.

The next couple of posts include how I made the pocket and incorporated it into the endpapers. I've broken it up a bit as I expect this next bit to be quite photo heavy.


Thursday, January 10, 2008


I think this has been my longest blog silence - ever.

We're getting back in the swing of things here Chez Thiessen, what with the boys having gone back to school and me finishing up the last few customer quilts on my roster. I've got a lot of paperwork to do yet, so I'll probably not be out here in blogland for a while again.

Once I'm back to doing my own quilting I'll play show and tell, and share some of my knitting stuff as well, no doubt.

Thought I'd put up a pic I took this afternoon in our garden - the deer amaze me. They jumped the fence, braved the dog and ate all the remaining grapes that were on the vines along with most of this sunflower head. It was easily twice this size yesterday! This is the only head that didn't go moldy out there, and apparently the only one palatable to the foraging deer.

Happy snow day,