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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

so it goes...

patience does reward itself!

drum roll please...

presenting my very first knitted sweater! i probably could've chosen an easier sweater to begin with and preferably one that came with a more coherent pattern (sorry wenlan), but, hey, it's finally finished at last! and i even made a hat too.

the sweater is the best friend cardigan from wenlan chia's "big city knits". one warning: the patterns are at times vague and confusing and there is a pdf file online with errata that you might want to check out before making one of her designs. but hey, i love a challenge and learned to improvise! pretty soon i'll be writing my own patterns.... :D

i only recently discovered a site that sells wenlan's twinkle chunky yarn at a discount. if you love her yarns like i do but can't bear to pay the $19.95 price tag for 83 yards, do check it out: fabulous yarn. there are so many discounts involved with that site - i only wished they carried more brands.

i've already bought yarn to start another project from the book. but that'll have to wait until my flurry of midterm examinations are over with!


roshni said...

Hey Shirley, love the color of the sweater. I am going to make a journal, and i was wondering if you have any advice on the type of paper and thread to use for the binding. I am going with paper instead of cloth for the cover. Are there any tools i absolutely need, and i am thinking of something along the lines of Amy Butler design. How is school and do you have an Etsy store yet?

ShiriMe! said...

hey roshni!

how are you? where are you now? still at nyu/general new york area?

too lazy to find you directly via email or facebook... so here goes.

i'm not an expert on journal making as i make mine kind of freely and without convention. i just sort of make it up as i go. if you want some advice, i highly suggest you send an email or leave a comment on paperiaarre's blog (her name is Kaija of Finland and her link can be found on my blog). she is trained specifically in bookbinding and you'll find various examples of her work. she does mostly linen and leather covers, but i'm sure she can give you some tips for a paper-bound journal. if you're interested in carrying this on beyond just one journal making.

for paper, i'd definitely go for medium weight or lighter. cardstock-heavy weight is too heavy and difficult to fold into a cover. not impossible, but difficult in my experience. if you are going to make a traditional hard cover book (like with a kit or buy your own cardboard thing), then you can probably get away with thinner paper (think... the blue swirly paper you bought at an art store back when you were in berkeley). tissue paper thinness will be too thin however. in general, too thick = difficult to maneuver. but how thin to go will depend on the sturdiness you'll want. and regardless of thickness of material, do not use construction paper like material as the outer cover. as the inside cover that is fine but i've found that paper that are too patchy and grainy and feels soft like construction paper will fall apart a lot quickly. it pills really easily and flakes off. it's like using an eraser on construction paper. bad quality. but there's a lot of beautiful italian paper made like that. so watch out. if you want patterned paper a la amy butler, then your choices are gonna be limited to thinner papers (like.. printer paper thinness). i've found that the type of paper that is the japanese washi paper is of decent quality as a cover. it's not very pulpy and the consistency is like printer paper.

no idea about thread. depends if you want a thicker thread or thinner thread. there is a specific kind of thread specifically for bookbinding and i'm sure you can find info online. can't think of any brands at this point.

since bookbinding is not my specialty (not that i have a specialty), i dont know which tools are absolutely necessary and which tools are just helpful. for me, a good pair of long scissors is essential. sharp scissors. sharp enough to cut neatly into fabric. that'll help you cut nicely into whatever materials you use. a paper cutter, rotary cutter, or guillotine cutter would be good to have so that cutting paper for the book pages wont be so difficult and will be more even. the guillotine cutter is best and there are plastic ones that cost way less than the traditional wood kind you might've seen at CO or in a school setting. this thing is so cool cuz you can cut several pages at once. rotary cutter not so great because it's like using a cutting knife. you might as well use a scissor. and paper cutter is weaker and is the type scrapbookers use to trim down the edges of stuff. so... not made for bulk usage and can't really do more than one page at a time. a bone folder, while not essential, is helpful to have so that you can evenly fold paper instead of using your fingers. but your fingers will do. haha. you'll also need a needle to go with whatever thread you choose - most likely the thread will be thicker than typical sewing thread so the needle will need to fit the thickness of the thread. and decent glue of course! also... depending on what type of bookbinding you'll be using, you might want to make a makeshift "press" to clamp down the book as you make it. to press it flat and stuff.

by the way, be sure to read up online about where to cut your paper in half for the pages. paper is generally made so that the grain line (or whatver is called) falls on one side of the paper (vertically or horizontally). if you cut it and fold it against that line then the book wont close very well or wont lay flat. so... read up on it. people have done tutorials with photos.

have fun! sorry for the long message!