Handmade Book Club – Could try harder

At the end of last year, I joined the Handmade Book Club run by Ali Manning of Vintage Page Designs, a Brit now living in the USA. Membership of this club, has moved my book binding skills from basic to moderate. The last two books using Dragonfly stitch are the best looking I have made so far. However, my report would still say “Could try harder”.

Ali’s instructions are very good and the extra techniques that she add to each book design help to make the task in hand easier and more professional. Each month, Ali adds a different type of binding to the club. I have yet to make two of the bindings which were posted whilst I was on holiday – in another country in another life!! Will we ever be able to travel again?

Talking of which, being creative is still a challenge as so many of my artists friends are writing, even Leah Higgins whose productive is legendary!!

Please keep safe and well,

So much time, so difficult to concentrate on being creative

We seem to have been in lockdown for so long and currently little sign, we will get out soon. It makes being constructive quite difficult. I get more visits in my studio than usual – all household members, coming for a chat and to ask where something is.

So last week, I switched to my default activity – screen printing and discharge. I love to decorate fabric and screen printing is fun. Doing it with discharge paste means no soda soaking of fabric beforehand.I have more than one pile of fabric that I am not sure I like the colours of so I have discharge printed some of these. The prints with less discharge will be easier to use. I am considering over dyeing some of the fabric with lots of white as they kind of look dirty!!! May be just vintage.

I have also started to listen to audio books – somehow the radio with its overly cheerful DJs has lost its appeal. Currently I am listening to Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir by Irvin Yalom. Very New York – I love the accent. But an interesting memoir of another time and world.

Please keep safe and well,

March book

March’s book suffered from a split cup of coffee! It was on white paper so now is messy and buckled. Here is a photo which looks better than the real thing!! 


As we were on the boat, I was a little short of more paper, so I used some papers I had with me that are printouts of work by ViewSeven textile artists to make March’s book. The prints are not very clear and were on cheap copy paper but the book is a good prototype for next month’s book.


It is a Granny Boasting Book – lots of little pockets to put photos and other bits in. My binding is getting better. Almost perfect after I had unpicked a messy bit.

Still no quilting happening but I am having fun!!!


i am not good at sketchbooks – they are more note books that sketchbooks. However, I started a new sketchbook for my books project. I was writing up and sticking in ideas from blogs. As so often happens on the Internet, one ย led tuo another and I ended up in Pinterest printing lovely marking making. Having cut them out and stuck them in the sketchbook, I started to play and now I can’t stop. All quilting has ceased!!


This is one of the pages – images of Dorothy Caldwell’s mark making, the template of a Granny Boasting Book (so I can make one), other mark making images and my scribbles.

Here is another page:


Now I really must go back to the quilting! Hope you are stitching.

February’s book

At our CQ West Christmas lunch, we swapped Secret Santas – not my idea of fun but a group activity!! The parcel had to have a mixture five pieces of fabric , threads or beads. My package was provided by K3N, Kathryn Chambers who is our new organiser. It was supposed to be secret but one of the pieces could only have come from K3N – it was her signature bubble stitching. It now has pride of place on the cover of February’s book along with her piece of orange fabric and an interesting ribbon.

The back cover is fairly plain as it took ages to get the rest of the book together. Here it isย with my badly done french stitch binding. I need to practice it on another book as I didn’t get it quite right and eventually decided undoing it once again would result in damaged pages.

The purple was also K3N’s. And the last piece was some gold fabric which is on one of the pages.

All the pages have a small randomly sized and placed piece of printed paper in oranges and browns. Now I need to start March’s book and make it better than this one – get the cover corners clean and the binding completely correct.

Happy stitching.

Project 2015

This year as my non quilt work, I have decided to make books. I have flirted with the idea for years and just never got on with it. So 2015 will be a book a month. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be able to make some books that look good having learnt the techniques and how to be accurate and patient as I put them together.

So here is January’s book – a version of accordion.


Looking down on it.


And looking at it sideways and upside down. This image refuses to go in the right way!!!


I learnt quite a lot – I should have marked, painted the papers inside the concentenia, the paper needed to be heavier and the pages would have been better if the whole book hadn’t been so wide. But I like the cover, I enjoyed marking up the papers and it is neat and accurate. This is a vast improvement on my earlier attempts!!

Til next time.

Unfolding Alphabet Finished

I have, just in time, finished my Unfolding Alphabet which will go on display at the “Unfolding Stories” exhibition at Bradford on Avon starting Tuesday 30th September. It is being hung by Contemporary Quilters West – a fabulous group. It is our first exhibition so exciting and scary.

The Unfolding Alphabet will be display open so all the letters can be seen if there is enough table space. Otherwise only partially open.

Apple have just updated the operating system and I have a very different key pad. I can do ๐Ÿ˜Š and ๐ŸŒ† and ๐Ÿž. Apple are slowing catching up with Android. Still no dragging to type as I can on my phone.

So come and see us in Bradford – we would love to see you. For more info go to CQ West.

Chrisse ๐Ÿ˜