Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cobwebs and Lace

Up until now, my spinning has produced lovely, fluffy yarns. They were also really thick and uneven. I love those qualities, but it takes a lot of roving to make thick yarns and it's hard to fit more than a few dozen yards on my spindle.

For the last couple yarns I've spun up, I pre-drafted the crap out of the fiber. The result: yarns that turned out fingering weight and smaller! Success! My pride and joy is this skein of cobweb weight wool. I hand-painted the black and white mill end roving in shades of blue, and got all 240 yards (47 grams) to fit on my spindle.

This yarn is being turned into a lacy crocheted scarf. But, it's only halfway done (hence, no pictures at this time).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Adventures in Bookbinding

I’ve been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember, and this love extends to blank journals, too. I learned how to do some more traditional bindings a while ago, but I always admired the leather-bound journals I saw on Etsy and in the bookstores. Who doesn’t like the look, feel and smell of leather, right? I just never knew where I could get some nicely textured leather, or how to go about using it if I did find some.

Recently, I joined Round 2 of the Quick and Easy Swap, and my partner (superhooker) had this great suede journal on her wist. Yay! A ready-made excuse to hunt down leather and a tutorial! (I quickly found both.) It was so much easier than I thought it would be, and has quickly become my binding method of choice.

I made a mini ‘practice’ journal (something I always do is make a prototype) out of some gorgeous, dark red leather and banana peel paper. I stitched on the metal gear for a little ornamentation (tried gluing it on…no such luck). It measures 4.5”high x 3”wide.

The journals I made for my swap partner are made from a rich, coffee-colored leather. The large one is filled with straw paper and each signature is covered with double-sided scrapbooking paper (lots of sea life, maps, partner’s favorite colors, damask prints, etc.). The small journal is filled with ‘Stardust’ drawing paper (white with flecks of colored fibers thrown in). Both are stitched with linen thread, waxed with beeswax, and have metal gears attached to the leather straps. The large journal is about 6.75”x5.75” and the little one is the same size as the red journal. (And, based on the swap guidelines...the big journal really is a medium! I swear.)

I’m having a hard time putting that little red journal down. I take it out occasionally, just to ‘pet’ it and turn it over in my hands, open it and wrap it back up. Haven’t written anything in it, yet…waiting for a really good reason. I’m such a dork. It really is a great style, though. It lays flat when it’s open, so you can write into the margins…it’s practically water-proof…it’s okay if you bend it a little, ‘cause it’s flexible…it’s really, really easy to get the stitching tight and secure…you can attach stuff to the pages and the cover will still expand to contain it…and, you can add more signatures if you need to!