North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Saturday, March 23, 2024


Our April workshop will be a follow-up to the March French Link stitch workshop taught by Lara Cox. For those of us who attended, we ended up with a 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" text block sewn with the French Link stitch. Now we're ready to turn that into a Girdle Book. Lara describes Girdle Books as "small portable books worn by medieval European monks, clergymen and aristocratic nobles as a popular accessory to medieval costume. They consisted of a book whose leather binding continued loose below the cover of the book in a long, tapered tail. The tail ended in a large knot which could be tucked into one's girdle or belt. The knot was usually strips of leather woven together for durability. The book hung upside down and backwards so that when swung upwards it was ready for reading. The books were most often religious in nature: a cleric's daily Office, or for lay persons (especially women), a Book of Hours."

Tools Needed:

  • Pencil, Ruler, Bone folder, Scissors
  • PVA Glue (or favorite paste) and brush for gluing.
  • Scrap paper for use in gluing. Old magazines work great.
  • Sewing needle and thread for finishing off the belt knot at the top of your fabric binding.

Please Prepare Ahead of Class:

  • Book Block: The book block you made in the March workshop or one of the same size: 5 1/2" tall x 4 1/4" wide x 5/8" thick.
  • Decorative End Papers: 2 pieces that measure 5 1/2" tall x 8 1/2" wide. These will be the End Papers at the front and back of your book. Mi Teintes or a similar weight of paper will work.
  • Bottom Paper/Fabric: This piece finishes the bottom of your book where the cover fabric extends. It can be a piece of your cover fabric or a color that matches your cover. (This piece needs to be 9" wide x 1 1/2" tall.)
  • Book Boards: 2 pieces precut book board measuring 5 3/4" tall x 4 5/8" wide for front and back covers. AND 1 piece of book board for the spine measuring 5 3/4" tall x 1/2" wide. **Note: Cereal boxes and such while not as heavy duty as book board are usable in place of book board for many bindings.
  • Cording and/or Ribbons for the closure and knot: 3 to 4 feet.
  • Pre-cut Cover Fabric: 24" tall x 10 1/2" wide. Suggested fabrics: Mid-weight wovens: cotton, linen or silk. Fake leather such as ultra suede or real leather as long as it's soft enough to fold easily. NO stretchy or sheer fabrics.
  • Cover Decoration: If you wish to pre-decorate the front of your cover, note that you will be working on the upper right corner of your fabric. The area in which you may decorate is 5" tall x 3 1/2" wide. Leave a border of 3/4" on the top and 1" on the right side free of decoration as these areas will be folded under.

When:    Saturday April 13 at 10 a.m. PDT
Where:   On your computer, tablet, or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:    Dolores Guffey by April 8 to receive the password
Workshop questions: Lara Cox
Zoom questions: Bobbie Hayes
Contact information is in the newsletter

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