I finally made a book without having to look up any instructions at all! I used Kettle, Coptic, and French Link stitches on this one, but instead of parallel Coptic stitches, I stitched them diagonally to create an "X" on either side of the French Link stitches. I learned to do that during my week-long bookbinding bookcamp that I went to this past spring. (If you are interested in going to the bootcamp, I believe there will be another one this coming April.)
Size: 4.75" x 7"
# of Sections: 10, with 4 folios each
# of Pages: 160
Stitches: Kettle, Coptic, French Link over Tapes
Closure: 1/4" Elastic
Cover Material: Cotton Fabric
This journal was commissioned by a friend. Her only request was that it have something dog-related on the cover. I found several fabrics with dogs on them, but the images all looked a little freaky, so I went with this cute puppy paw print fabric.
I considered using white or black ribbon for the French Link stitches, but this lime green polka dot ribbon was calling out to me, and I liked the contrast between the red thread and green ribbon. Adding ribbon to the spine, then having to inset it into the cover, up to now, has been a chore because I was cutting the slits with a ruler and blade. But, I invested in 3 different sized, very sharp chisels, and now it's super easy to do. A few taps with a hammer and I'm done. The slits are much neater and the ribbon and elastic are much more secure than they used to be. Sage Reynolds is my first go-to guy for bookbinding videos, and he has a great one on insetting ribbon.
I think most people prefer writing on lines rather than a blank page. The problem I've had with printing them myself, though, was getting the front and back of each sheet to match up so that when the paper is folded the margins are equal in the center of the folio. After many, many hours, I finally got all the settings just right and so this book has lined pages. To coordinate with the colors on the outside, I made the lines red, and put a little lime green paw print in the corner of each page.
I am NOT an expert on bookbinding, but I do have some advice for anyone who wants to give it a try. Don't give up if your books turn out differently than you envision. It takes a lot of practice to learn how to form stitches, how much tension to use, how to attach the covers so they aren't too loose (my biggest hurdle), how to punch the folios and covers, how to make bookcloth, and even how to cut bookboard and sections so that everything is square. I'm a competent bookbinder, but every single time I make a book, I learn something new and it is just a little bit easier than the book before it. Also, don't think that you have to run out and buy a bunch of equipment or tools. Except for my paper cutter (which I use every single day) and a diy book press (which I seldom use), all the tools I use to bind a book fit into a fairly small box that sits on my craft table. In my opinion, bookbinding is a relatively inexpensive craft, and if you have the urge to give it a try, do. It's quite enjoyable.