Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Workshop

Yesterday I got to attend another fun workshop at King's Books given by Mitzi Lindgren, and this time, my mom and one of my sisters attended too. What a fun time we had. In this workshop we made little single-signature books using decorative embroidery stitches to attach the soft covers to the signatures. As usual Mitzi had organized lovely kits with lots of helpful instructions to take home. We learned six spine stitch patterns, and chose four of those to sew the books. In the photo above you can see my four books. The covers are made from that wonderful Cave Paper made from flax.

My background is in fiber arts, and I consider myself a fairly accomplished embroiderer, so these little stitch patterns were familiar and really fun. For the first book, done in the chain stitch, I stuck right to the instructions, as you can see below.

But I can't help it- I am one of those people who can't follow a recipe without adding my own little pinch of something else, and after getting my bearings with the first book, the next three definitely had Kim stamped all over them. The book below is The Twist (Exit Backward and Link). Yes, it sounds like a cool dance step, but it is a variation of backstitch with a little twist, or loop, forming the links. I found that if I ignored the directions, exited to the left instead of the right, and wrapped the waxed linen thread a couple times, I got this interesting variation of the variation, and I really like it.

The third book used the Bow Tie, which is a simple running stitch with a little couching stitch "pearl" in the middle of each stitch. Perfect place for a bead, of course, and if you know me, you know beads will be used. I think you could also put four beads on the running stitch, then couch that little pearl in between the second and third bead, which would also keep them nice and taut. The only issue here is that if you are using waxed linen thread and a book binder's needle, you must use a large hole bead, and you will probably have to either remove the needle each time and just thread the bead directly on the linen, or switch out to a narrower needle when a bead must be attached. I managed to thread the bead by hand, thanks to the stiff waxed thread.

The last may look complex, but it started out the simplest stitch. It is The Laced Dash, simply a running stitch down the spine, and then the rest of the thread is brought back up and laced under each running stitch, alternating from side to side. My variation again uses beads on the lacing part of the stitch, and then I simply wound the thread around each running stitch instead of just slipping under it. It's an easy way to spice up a very simple stitch. This time the holes in the beads were so big that the tapestry needle I used went right through them.

It was a great workshop at a wonderful bookstore. If you're in Tacoma and haven't been to King's Books, shame on you. And if you ever get a chance to take a workshop from Mitzi, go for it.


  1. SO jealous . . . gorgeous, each and every one!! I wish I could teleport there and join you!

  2. Thanks, Paula. I am really enjoying your Tunisia blog, but we miss you guys!

  3. Does Mitzi ever have her classes available as book kits for those of us who are drooling over these beautiful little books. I'd love to purchase her kits.

    1. To my knowledge, Mitzi does not sell kits. I think she feels her classes benefit from in-person instruction. But I can understand your desire to make those little books. She used Cave Paper for the covers of these, which is pretty pricey but just beautiful paper. And many of the binding stitches can be found in Keith Smith's Volume II Non-Adhesive Binding book. I will tell Mitzi there is an interest in kits, and if she ever does decide to sell kits, i will definitely post the good news here.