Sunday, January 14, 2018

Booking it

I laid out all the mail received from kindred spirits last year ... spread it out on a coffee table, considering whether to try collaging it all.

And no, I didn't take a picture. Because I began to pick up piece after piece, realizing that the words within each one were as valuable as the images. 

Of course.

So what to do? Sorting them into stacks of portrait-oriented cards, landscape-oriented cards and two-sided postcards, an idea began to form and ended up as three book-like constructions ...


Here then, is the back story. 

First I turned on my little-used sewing machine (a sturdy old Kenmore from the 1970s which continues to chug along in spite of getting but one proper servicing in all the years since). Tearing strips of hand-dyed cloth purchased last November from Jean Dahlgren (more on that in another post), I tried to stitch portrait-oriented card edges together ...


with this less-than-satisfying result ...


I tried again and again, but as the machine jitters set in, I realized a more soothing, hand stitched solution was called for. And yet, there was no way I was going to subject my fingers to forcing a needle through cloth and card stock. 

Lunch and time to ruminate led to this solution: machine stitch folded strips of cloth to the edges of each card, with the fold just barely beyond the card stock ...


Then hand stitch the folds together ...


Paper-full piecing, if you will (with a wink and a nod to Jude's paper-less piecing). And as I jittered my way through the machine stitching, I realized the source of my unease: I hold my breath whenever I put the pedal to the metal. Well.

Thank goodness for the soothing pace of hand stitches. Soon I had a book of portrait-oriented cards, both fronts and backs visible, fronted by this apt phrase ...


I tackled the two-sided cards next ...



and was gratified by how well they stood together ...


And as the last rays of sunshine beamed through the window by my chair, I stitched the bases of five landscape cards together ...


offsetting them to good effect ...


I am utterly delighted by the results and looking forward to coming up with a solution to the tiny bits of notepaper and fanciful envelopes that remain.

Stay tuned ...

12 comments:

Tina Zaffiro said...

Wow ... just wow!

Liz A said...

Tina - thanks for the affirmation ... and the chance to mention I’ll be adding to these “books” as new mail arrives

Sue McQ said...

What a wonderful and meaningful idea! Bravo, Liz!

Mo Crow said...

what a good way to keep your cards and letters! I have shoeboxes for each year of cards & letters, then next time we move I will go through them all and do a big cull keeping only the most significant. Some of the saved cards and letters go back to the 70's... at the turn of the century I sent 3 decades of my brother Mike's letters back to him so he could collate them into a book when he retires, hopefully that will happen in the not too faraway!

Fiona Dempster said...

In so many ways I love this post and this book Liz! I think I love that mail has been criss-crossing the globe and making our hearts lighter; I love that you chose a book! I love that you worked out such an elegant solution to binding, and let the materials speak with you...and I love how happy the whole darn thing looks - standing jauntily upright, full of reminders, each end every part showing itself to the world - just fabulous.

I am also so happy that you had all these pieces in a place where you could find them! Mine get a wee bit scattered I'm sorry to say...What a great start to making in the new year!

susan hemann said...

I love it, what a great way to preserve them! I too hold my breath when using the machine. Do you have an awl and hammer? That's what I use to poke holes since the arthritis is so bad in my hands

Patty said...

So much nicer than in a box on a shelf!

deemallon said...

what fiona said. and: can we be pen pals in 2018 ?

Hazel said...

You are so clever & skilled!

Liz A said...

Sue - thank you ... your missives are amongst my treasures

Mo - culling, yes ... I had been keeping the kindred spirit correspondences tucked into a blank journal, which had expanded past reason. Your Key Book, sitting across from my stitching corner, was the inspiration for creating this concertina-styled solution

Fiona - thank you for providing so much of the raw material (I'm sure you recognize your pieces bookending the two-sided cards) ... there's more to come

Susan - I did briefly consider punching holes in order to stitch the cards together, but was daunted by the magnitude of the task ... sometimes the machine is the best (if less-than-desirable) solution

Patty - boxes of cards I have, in abundance ... and now I find myself eyeing them speculatively

Dee - we can be pen pals for ever and a day

Hazel - thank you ... I gave this post a "craft" index label, because it did feel more skill-full than artistic ... that being said, I'm now thinking about how these forms might become bases for further embellishment

ARTISUN said...

Love your solution Liz!

Liz A said...

Deb - I had much good fun!