Saturday, 28 June 2008

Looking back, moving forward

My First Book

The last week or so has been swamped here: I was rushing around, getting things finished before I head for Olds College tomorrow, and somehow managed to sprain my right thumb.

Normally, that wouldn't be insurmountable, but when I tried to transfer over my lovely, edited and ready-to-print handouts for my classes from my ancient PC laptop to my new(er) Mac desktop, the floppy drive on the laptop died. Totally.

sigh So rather than just take me a morning to transfer everything over and format it, I spent too many days having to retype everything in, taking frequent pauses to rest my hand.

And then I discovered I needed to reknit one of my samples: more stress on that hand wasn't what I really wanted or needed.

But it's all done: the handouts have been printed and stapled, ready for my students, and the washed sample is drying.

While searching for something to take with me for show-and-tell, I came across the first book I ever made myself: the archival album pictured above. Although I brought it home with a paper "bead" I had made from the scraps of my cover paper, there was something about it that didn't really get me excited.

So I dug through my stash for some roving I knew I had in matching colours, and felted up my own "bead." Wasn't thrilled to have to take apart the binding and resew it -- sewing anything isn't my strength, although I get less frustrated with books than I do with anything else -- but it worked nevertheless.

It's got some "issues": there are some glue spots on the cloth, and if you look inside, my linings could have been better, but all of that is in hindsight now....

Portfolio finished, with contents

The other major project I did finish was the portfolio I had started at the end of my two weeks with Don Rash, and I'm rather pleased with how both the book and the portfolio turned out. The best part was when I took the portfolio out of my makeshift press after drying, placed the book inside, and then folded it up.

Mirabile dictu, it fit! And here's an overhead shot of it open: it's pretty fiddly work (nine pieces of meticulously trimmed bookboard and huge pieces of bookcloth), but it sure looks nice when it's finished.

Portfolio finished, and open wide

I get back from Olds late on Wednesday, after taking my Level 2 Fleece Judging course and teaching two knitting classes. Stampede starts Friday, and I'm doing my usual shifts in Ag-tivity in the City, spinning on my drop spindle or knitting away.

And next Saturday is the start of the Tour de France: despite the drug scandals, it's still a grand spectacle. This year, I have extra incentive to watch: I've joined the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry (sort of Facebook for fibreheads). As the guidelines say: they spin, we spin.

By the time the boys roll down the Champs-Élysées, I hope to have all the yarn ready for My Past Life and Family Ties, and enough linen bookbinding thread (my big challenge for July 23, when the Tour finishes at the summit of L'Alpe d'Huez) to last me until the end of the year.





  1. Congratulations on getting the portfolio done; it looks great. So, the gelatine worked all right for you? Think we could see a close up of the book?
    Hope your teaching and taking of classes goes well, and that Stampede is as excellent as you described it.

  2. Lovely portfolio. I've always thought that handmade portfolios lend a touch of class and distinction to whatever's in them. I need to start making some!

  3. Glad you two like it.

    Don: The gelatine worked fine, although I ended up making enough for a half-dozen portfolios with six envelopes -- I'll know better for next time. I'll email you the original pix so you can see more details.

    Fleece-judging class was terrific and hard work, and I had great keen students. Best part is that I've been asked back for next year.

    Clara: After watching Don build them when I was there taking class, I couldn't agree with you more about portfolios making almost anything look stylish. It's not like they are difficult, but they are a bit fiddly.


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