Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Japanese Stab Stitching Journal Workshop

Last evening I indulged myself in a workshop for learning how to make a Japanese Stab Stitch Journal. This was the first time this class had been offered at the college where Chad teaches. It was fun and very informative.

We started out learning some basic facts. Like did you know, that in Japan they don't have coil bound note books like we do? That's where Japanese Stab Stitch comes into place. Traditionally, Japanese books, even the notes books, tablets, and journals they use are all bound by a variation of stab stitch technique.

Not only is the technique of book binding decorative and practical, but it's also environmently friendly.

We started out learning the basic Japanese Stab Stitch on a piece of printed cardstock.

As you can see, I mastered this first step pretty well. The knotted end and strands hanging from the sides are considered decorative.

Once we learned the stitch, we moved on to making our own journals. We started out by folding in half our pages for the "signatures" inside our book (double sided pages).

After all the pages were folded, since they precut for us, we moved on to the cover.
The cover of our journals were a choice of decorative fiber based paper.

Centuries ago paper was made from cotton fibers and often when clothing turned to rags it was recycled and turned into paper. This type of paper lasted far longer than the regular tree based pulp papers we use today. Fiber paper is acid free, and most often used for printing resumes.

Acid free paper is meant to last a life time, but resumes change all the time and we print it on acid free paper. ( a little humor from the instructor of the workshop.)

Once I had all my pieces cut it was time to choose from the four different variations of Japanese stab stitches for my jounal's book binding. I choose one called tortouis shell which was much more challenging than the basic.

I took my stitch card template provided at the beginning of class and marked my holes. I clamped the end of my book, opposite of the binding, and used an awl to punch my holes. Some of the students in the workshop used a drill with a brad nail in the end for a bit.

After a few minutes of following a diagram of the correct stitching technique, here is my Japanese stab stitch journal!

It's the perfect size at 4 1/2" x 5 3/4" to keep in my purse to write notes when I need it.

I can't wait to teach my oldest daughter how to sew using the Japanese stab stitch.

The instructor suggested I teach some workshops of my own at the college. It was the second time that day someone had asked me if I was a teacher or suggested I should teach.

Who knows, maybe in the future I will. But for now, I'm just happy being the student.

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