Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Chapter 11. To make a special book structure related to media - continued.

I’ve decided to keep the finish simple and have not included the added leaf ideas for this final piece. I’d considered playing with the idea of using the ‘pockets’ between the forest floor and lettered pages but I felt this detail would detract from the overall effect achieved and I could see the handmade paper becoming more brittle. Instead I have continued where I left off in the previous post with this title.

Stitching the patterned lettering pages:

I set about experimenting with threads and lower bobbin tension for cable stitched pattering:

experiments with cable stitch

The cable stitch is worked ‘blind’ with the work upside down in the sewing machine. The lower bobbin thread will show the finished result. I’ve used stranded cotton on the lower bobbin with tension loosened and a Polyneon polyester thread on the top. Interesting effects result from altering tensions and stitch width.

Stitching the lettered patterning:

I drew the designs on some Stitch n’ Tear [ in reverse] and worked straight stitch first of all to mark the lettering.

New York in the Fall:

stitched letter pattern 1

Cable stitch using a wide zigzag stitch width to highlight the larger text. Matching colours in both top and bottom bobbins. This gave a bold text with a rhythmic feel.

New York in the Fall 2:

stitched letter pattern 2 (2)

Vermicelli worked in free straight stitch on the  background for added texture. This sample needed a smaller text as the whole phrase was fitted into one line and then written again in ‘reflection’. I used a narrower zigzag stitch width and a joined up writing style with yellow stranded cotton on the lower bobbin and purple on the top. Creates fabulous patterning.

American Oak and Maple:stitched letter pattern 3

A background of  American oak and maple leaves worked in free style straight stitch. A larger text and wider zigzag stitch width using purple on the lower bobbin and yellow below on top half of sample and yellow throughout below.


stitched letter patterning 4

Narrower zigzag stitch width to maintain clear pattering as text written across the page and then turned to write again. I like the interesting spaces and patterning achieved here.

Finishing the edges of the pages:

My pages featuring the forest floor measure 22 x 17cms and so my letter patterning pages were worked to fit. I used my bone folder carefully to score all  the side paper edges to create a sharp fold and then finished these edges of both sets of pages with the bow stitch on my sewing machine. This echoed the curved lines of the leaves and lettering.

I ‘framed’ the upper edges of my lettered pages with a line of straight stitch and the lower edges with more of the bow stitch whilst leaving those of the forest floor and Manhattan with a rustic frayed edge.

Trying out wrapped cords and threads for lacing the Insertion stitch:

trying out wrapped cords and threads

I decided to go with cord samples 4 & 5  these provided the strength of colour and texture I needed along with the fine thickness of cord to ensure easy weaving of the insertion stitch through the blanket stitch.

I decided to weave the insertion stitch through twice along the spines of my concertina book for added intensity of colour and texture.

I then took the cord through all the Blanket stitched edgings, this looks beautifully rich when the book is closed.

To complete I decided upon a cord made up of 3 wrapped cords which are then twisted [see Module 3 ch. 5]. I chose this as it reflects the weave pattering of of the Insertion stitch.

For the acorn finish I cut two maple leaves from my home made paper and added 3 layers of Acrylic Wax to strengthen it. I drilled a hole [carefully] on the acorn shell and threaded the twisted cord through it followed by a gorgeous bead which was threaded and stitched to the cord to represent the acorn.

The cord and leaves are then wrapped around the finished book.

My completed concertina book structure showing embroidered panels and a variety of folding or ways of presenting:

Front cover with twisted cord, leaves and acorns:

front cover3

Concertina opened out showing the forest floor pages:

flat open leaves

And the patterned letter pages:

flat open letters

The Manhattan pages:

flat open manhattan 2

New York in the Fall concertina:

ny in fall concertina

American Oak and Manhattan square books:

squ american oaksqu manhattan

New York in the Fall square book

squ NY fall

Triangular option:

triangle american oak

Insertion stitch:

insertion stitch

Insertion stitch detail:

insertion stitch detail

Insertion stitch and cover:

insertion stitch and cover

Leaves and cord:

leaves and cord

I’m really thrilled with this final piece and really enjoyed designing and making it up. It holds special memories of  a special holiday in New York in the Fall of 2014.


  1. What a beautiful, fabulous piece of work Carrie! It will be a very special memory for you of a wonderful trip. I love your colours and the variety of shapes, stitches and techniques in the finished piece. You must be justifiably proud!

  2. Wow! Thank you Catherine! It was a very special trip indeed and I have loved bringing this piece together as a record. x