This month's yarn club package had a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in Lilac. It is a lovely blend of superwash wool, mohair, and nylon in a blend of navy blue, purple, and blue-green. The pattern that came with the package was for a pair of fingerless gloves. I discovered that the pattern is just a "suggested pattern" and as long as I use about the same amount of yardage, I can make whatever I want and still get the $10 store credit!
Since I just finished a nice pair of fingerless gloves earlier in the year (and the pattern provided had eratta and a few sizing issues) I opted to make a pair of socks instead. I wear warm socks all winter long at work, so it would be nice to have a third pair of basic handmade socks. I used my favorite sock pattern from the book "How to Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy."
This month I was slowed down by a trip out of town, two craft shows, and a massive ear infection. I was also working on a few baby items for a friend of mine that is due very soon. (More on those projects later.) I found myself five days out from this month's deadline with only a half inch started on the second sock! So I knit furiously on my day off and after work every day that week... And somehow managed to get it done! I think that is the fastest I have ever knit a pair of socks. (Huge thanks to my boyfriend for not minding that our "date night" was watching episodes of Community on Hulu while I finished knitting the second sock...)
So far having a deadline has really helped me finish the projects I'm starting. Next month's box has already arrived and I started knitting a lace shawl over the weekend. I've also got a plan for my store credit: get another skein or two of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky and make the sweater I wanted to make last year.
A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon doing a private book workshop with my friend Jamie. She was interested in making a recycled journal as a wedding gift for her brother. So she got the box, I brought the other materials, and walked her through the process of making a simple recycled journal.
Jamie chose a vegan falafel patty that her brother likes to eat and used the box for the cover. We lined the back of the cardboard pieces with decorative paper, joined the two pieces with a piece of bookcloth, and sewed a single signature of pages to the bookcloth spine.
Here is Jamie with her finished book! I had a great time working with Jamie and sharing my knowledge of bookbinding with a friend.
In preparation for my end-of-summer shows, I made five more envelope books to go with the couple I already had on hand. These books are fun because I get to play with different colors of cardstock and ribbon to match each decorative paper. I think I'll need to make more soon because they sold like hotcakes at Berea Arts Fest!
I also had DIY kits available with instructions and all the materials needed to make an envelope book at home. After having them all summer with no interest, I sold all but one kit! More kits and an instructional PDF will be available soon on Etsy and at my winter shows.
This brings me up to 201 out of 365 for the year. I'm actually up to 220, but those blog posts are yet to come! I think 145 books over the next 3 1/2 months is reasonable... I just need to keep chugging along and making books for my fall/winter shows.
I had two late summer craft shows this year: Square Fest on August 31st, and Berea Arts Fest on September 8th. Because the shows were so close together, I spent a lot of time in August making books and stocking up on larger journals. One weekend I spent picking out papers and making five new case bound journals.
I have a stack of shimmery, metallic bookcloth that was leftover from a workshop several years ago. The pre-cut pieces have been sitting around at work ever since, and were probably never going to be used for a project. I decided to use the shimmery bookcloth for some case bound books to see how it would look.
I picked out a black paper with purple and blue flowers, and a purple paper with blue flowers from my paper stash. Both papers had metallic outlines around the flowers that matched the bookcloth very well. One had gold outlines and the other one looked more like bronze. The next shimmery paper I found was a blue paper with a silver floral pattern.
For the fourth book I used a cool red and blue double-sided paper with crabs on it. I knew this paper would be great for a case bound book because the decorative end sheets in the beginning let you see both sides of the paper. I paired this with a shimmery blue bookcloth to go with the nautical theme. This one is definitely my favorite out of the five!
For the fifth book, I used one of my favorite new papers. The paper has cartoon beer bottles with fictional brand names like "Cold One." The pattern is so cool I wanted it to stand on its own without a fancy bookcloth. I call this one The Hipster Book.
Remember when I posted about ecodyeing paper way back in July? Shortly after dyeing those sheets of paper I needed to submit a piece of artwork for a juried show. That week, things came together and I created an art book using the dyed paper, handmade paper, and a curly willow branch.
The curly willow branch was given to me by another artist earlier in the summer. I had been saving it to use for a "stick binding" where a single signature of pages gets sewn around a stick. The stick binding didn't seem appropriate for most of the books I had been making this summer, but the ecodyed paper was exactly what I had been waiting for! I alternated sheets of handmade flax paper (that I made in 2011 during my internship at the Morgan Conservatory) with the ecodyed paper. The flax paper has a lovely translucent quality that allowed the patterns from the dyed paper to show through.
Some of the pages had gotten torn and developed holes during the dyeing process. I used earth toned embroidery flosses to sew over the damaged pieces of paper. This functioned both as a repair and a decorative element. The cover is a piece of recycled leather someone had been given to me years ago as scrap materials (I believe it was part of a thrift store leather jacket.) Lastly, I sewed my folded signature and cover around the stick.
The piece was accepted into the show Rags Make Paper at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland. The opening reception was on August 9th, and the show runs until September 14th.