Little blue books

This is a work in progress. A long road. Step 1 happened months ago when I cut a batch of these mostly blue section covers, but never used them. I found the batch recently and then saw Rosemary’s woven spine book at Chapter Two. Put 2 and Two together, if I can say that, and the little blue book idea was born.

Next step: dye a quantity of text pages with blue butterfly pea tea. I used up all the Mohawk Superfine 70lb Text Weight paper that I bought from Vintage Page Designs. I cut first, then dyed to get some edge coloration. The paper became slightly fragile when submerged in tea, but I only tore a few pieces. I crumbled butterfly pea flowers directly into the wet pages, then laid down plastic and stepped on them to generate some contact. This all took some time, especially since I had to brush tea leaf fragments off each sheet individually as they dried. But as a bonus I got a nice-looking drip sheet (last photo).

Now to start assembling the sections (signatures). Limiting factors were the number of good text pages I had and the need for a wide enough spine to show off the weaving. After some calculating and recalculating the optimal numbers, I settled on two books, eleven sections each, three text pages per section.

Next step was to sew the pages into each section, 22 total. A five-hole pamphlet stitch allows for weaving two patches on the spine. Starting stitching from the outside allows some long tails for beads and other embellishments. I used up almost all of my waxed linen thread in cool colors.

Then I needed to make covers – four total. Found some paste paper from a long-ago workshop with Abbie Read that would work well. For stiffness, I used card stock inside from some old political mailers. Then stitched, then glued. I think I glued too soon because now I’ll have to figure out another way to hide my weaving thread ends! Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the covers in process.

Now I’m working on the weaving. Had to unweave several times before I finally got a decent patch. It’s mesmerizing. I first tried an indigo sashiko thread, but found it too subdued to show up well. I switched to variegated embroidery floss dyed by Deb Lacativa. Finished one patch … to be continued.

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