Like many artists I am so fortunate in the people and places the muse throws into my path. Regular readers will already know that I love spending time at WNYBAC – the Western New York Book Arts Center, in Buffalo. Its a bit of a hike from my home (1.5-2hrs by car) but I finished the second half of my undergraduate degree in Buffalo at UB as a commuter, so I can find my way there and back in my sleep. Last year I was offered an opportunity to have an exhibition in their gallery and that show opened earlier in the month. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you will already have seen some images from that show, but in case you don’t here’s a few images
As part of the exhibition “package” they ask you to design a workshop to tie in with the show, and today I taught a cheerful group of 13 students, many of whom had never made a book before, a pretty challenging two signature, two needle cross stitch binding. If you’d like to give it a try, or were in the workshop (thank you!) and want a refresher here is a brief tutorial. To begin you will need the following supplies:
- This two signature cross stitch template printed on a sheet of letter sized (8.5×11) cardstock
- 8 sheets of 9×12 paper (grained long)
- some linen thread and needles
- an awl, a bonefolder and an x-acto knife
Begin by cutting out the pieces from the template.
Next score the lines along the spine and fold to create the cover ( printed side inside)
Punch all the dots to create the sewing stations in the cover
Fold each sheet of 9×12 paper in half and tear down into 16 pieces that measure 6×9
Divide into two sets of 8 pages, and fold together in half to create two signatures
Using the stripy punching guide from the template, punch the sewing holes in both signatures
Cut a piece of thread 24-30 inches long, and thread with a needle at both ends. Do not tie any knots in the thread
To begin sewing enter the spine at the head of the book. Each needle should go into the first sewing station, through the signature to the inside of each.
Then take each needle out the second sewing station in each signature, back out to the outside of the spine.
I always sew left to right because I am right handed, but as long as you are consistent it doesn’t really matter. With the spine facing you, take the needle in the left hand row and take it down into the third sewing station in the right hand making a diagonal stitch across the spine.
Using the same needle, sew down into the 4th sewing station and back out to the spine
Take the right hand needle and sew into the left side, completing the cross stitch, again take the same needle out though the 4th hole to the outside again. This is now the left hand needle, sew across the spine to make the next diagonal, and repeat until you reach the end of the sewing stations, alternating needles so the crosses form on the stitches in the same direction
At the end, sew up to the previous sewing station, but only through the signature (NOT the cover) tie off the two ends in the gutter and trim.
You can increase the numbers of signatures in pairs and sew into a larger book, like this one. You could also sew between signatures 2 & 3 in the same manner if you wished.
I chose this binding for the workshop because learning it gave me the idea to experiment with making samplers as bindings, which lead to making bindings using lots of other kinds of embroidery – especially blackwork embroidery.
Its been a pretty perfect day – now I am relaxing at home with tea and chocolate. Taking a few minutes to let all my good fortune wash over me, before I get back at it!