Our small but animated group of Book Geeks reconvened this morning to give the criss-cross long-stitch another try, this time successfully. You may recall that our last effort had us actively competing for parts in the Bookbinders' version of a Marx Brothers movie. We were particularly flummoxed on that day because we were well aware that the criss-cross is one of the easier long-stitch bindings, and each of us would easily have vouched for the intelligence and accomplishment of the others in the group (if not for our own).
So we were molto/mucho/tres relieved that the stitch seemed to come more naturally to us this time. First, of course, we had to spend some time ooohing and aaahing over the ATCs that two of us exchanged; discussing book cover techniques, munching on the tasty goodies provided by our generous host, and comparing notes on our birthday celebrations (2) last week.
In spite of a gratifying session, I've decided to consider today's book purely a practice exercise and take it apart. I made the text block from ad and fashion-feature pages in W magazine, which was a nice idea in concept but not in execution, at least not for a larger book such as this one. The signatures were very hard to keep in place, since the linen thread kept slipping and sliding through the holes in the slick paper. This made it difficult keep the signatures aligned, add new signatures, and, generally, handle the book.
One of us has begun to sew pockets into the inside front cover of her books, which is not only practical, but looks quite handsome. Two of us are putting design elements on text pages to add decorative flair; another is using interesting surface techniques. I, on the other hand, if I'm brutally honest, more often than not find myself using materials that I come across the night before our sessions, since that's when I usually remember that I need to have book parts ready for the next day.... (In my defense, I'll say that of late I've been particularly attracted to the images in my fashion magazines, seeing them more as art elements than anything else.) I'll prepare more thoughtfully for our next gathering, when we'll make a piano hinge book.