North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

NORBAG August Workshop - Kris Nevius and the X Stitch Books

Kris Nevius drove up From Graton (near Sebastopol/Santa Rosa) to teach our members Keith Smith's various X Stitch bindings. By providing templates, we were able to sew the correct sequence by following the numbers and letters with Kris guiding us. This practice gave us the confidence to then use different patterns on our subsequent two books.

Kris is showing the spine stitch when finished.

Kris is piercing the spine. The spine has two rows of piercing
 so that each signature will have its own attachment.

Kris piercing the signatures using a piercing cradle.
 Kris made sample boards for us to practice each of the stitches before we began. We used two basic piercing patterns. The one on the right is the more straight forward. The needle would start in Signature A and then move to B. Where the threads crossed in the middle, they could simply cross, wrap or loop giving different stitches. On the right, you can see each of the possibilities. The left set gives an offset batch of holes again with the possibility of simply crossing, twisting, or looping. 

The first stitches were awkward to hold. Once the first two X's were complete, the holes lined up more easily and we then moved to our second and third books using a different stitching pattern each time.

Examples of our work:

Please note, one of our members came up with this variation during the workshop.

Look closely and you will see several stitch variations on the same book.

This book has a variation that uses all 4 holes with stitching directly across
resulting in a bar with the lower stitch looping over the upper bar.

We were busy.

The book on the far right has a linked stitch with a different tension
on the stitching resulting in a bow-like look.

The pink book has a combination of bars and X stitches.

Kris made these in different sizes and put closures on them for notebooks.

Many thanks to Kris for her fantastic workshop. She included wonderful handouts and instructions. It was especially interesting to see how varied this stitch can be. We came away feeling very accomplished! We hope to see this binding in future exchange books.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


This summer the kiosk in the Humboldt County Library features creative nontraditional book bindings made by several NORBAG members. Many thanks to Donna Gephart, Edge Gerring, Dolores Guffey, and Michele Kamprath for lending their books and to Lynne Gurnee for arranging the display.

In traditional book binding, individual signatures (sets of pages) are sewn together and then bound between two covers with a spine which hides the stitching. Modern book binders sometimes eliminate the spine so that the stitching is visible becoming part of the decorative art of the hand-bound book.

Exposed Spine Bindings

• Coptic binding comprises methods of bookbinding invented by Egyptian Christians (Copts) as early as the 2nd century AD. Coptic books did not have a spine. They were spineless. 😉

• The French Stitch and Bow Tie Stitch are sewn over tapes. Functionally they are used to tighten up the binding, applied to every third or fourth signature. In a traditional binding the stitches are concealed by the spine; in nontraditional binding a stitched exposed spine is a decorative element.

Decorative Bindings on Spines

• Caterpillar binding is a decorative stitch that is sewn on both covers & spine.
• Buttonhole binding is sewn around cutouts in the spine to attach the signatures and cover to the spine.
• Pisces binding (resembling fish) is a 3 signature binding designed by Keith Smith.
• Secret Belgium binding has the signatures sewn onto the spine which floats separately from the covers.
• In Raven’s Foot binding the cords crossing the spine are wrapped with waxed linen thread.
• Both tacket binding & rope stitch have thread wrapped around a long stitch, which is a long running stitch.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

X STITCH BINDING with Kris Nevius

Kris Nevius, a NORBAG member from Graton CA, is also a member of the Sonoma County Book Arts Guild. She will be traveling here to teach Keith Smith's "X Binding" (a two signature binding) and the "Twisted X" (one of his variations). There are more variations that Kris will share so participants will be able to choose which variation they would like to make for additional books, time permitting. This is a great opportunity to learn a Keith Smith binding WITHOUT having to decipher his often complicated instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: This workshop is limited to 15 participants. Registration will be by mail only. The first 15 who send in a check for $10 will be in the workshop. A waiting list will be made in case of cancellations. You will be notified immediately upon receipt of registration if you are in the workshop or on the waiting list. Send your check for $10. made payable to NORBAG along with your name, email address, and phone number to: North Redwoods Book Arts Guild, P.O. Box 225, Cutten, CA 95534.

Members are still invited to attend a short meeting and the usual book exchange before the workshop. The meeting will begin at 12 noon with the book exchange to follow at 12:30. The workshop for registered participants will begin at 1 p.m.

The materials list and tool information for the workshop are all in the newsletter. If you have any questions please contact Kris or Dolores. Their contact information is in the newsletter.
When:       Saturday August 12. 
   Meeting at 12 Noon 
   Book Exchange at 12:30
   Workshop from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Where:      Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
RSVP:        Register by mailing a check payable to NORBAG to P.O. Box 225, Cutten, CA 95534
Cost:         $10.00
Questions: Email Kris or Dolores, contact information is in the newsletter.