Recent Books

Back in September, I finished a custom order of 8 books, which was very satisfying. I used only naturally-dyed pattern weft, in linen, cottolin, and cotton (the warp and tabby wefts were commercial). I had a variety of weld-dyed yellow, madder-dyed pink and terra-cotta, and woad-dyed blue yarns to work with. They were all woven in an overshot pattern called Young Lovers Knot, which I have been using for my book cloth for about a year now.

You may recall my frustration earlier in the spring when I was weaving the cloth, and I was bored of weaving the same pattern over and over again. I complained about it at the time, and then got re-inspired when I bought some new tabby weft colors. I also switched from weaving the design star fashion, which creates boxes and distinct diagonal lines as you weave, to weaving rose fashion, which makes the motifs rounded and gives a sense of concentric circles rippling outward.

I realized that part of my “bored” feeling was a worry that the cloth was objectively boring, i.e., that other people would find it boring, and that despite all my time and effort, I wasn’t making anything beautiful. Now that the books are all done, I don’t have that worry anymore.

Below you can see four of the books. From top left going clockwise these pattern wefts were dyed with weld (black tabby), woad (black tabby), weld (light blue tabby), and madder (purple tabby).

four out of eight books

And below are the other four. From top left going around clockwise the pattern wefts were dyed with madder (blue tabby), madder (black tabby), woad (purple tabby), and weld overdyed with woad (teal tabby).

the rest of the books

Below are some close-ups showing the stitching I used for the Coptic binding. I use waxed linen thread and try to match it with the cloth colors. I have considered using a contrasting color of binding thread, but I prefer the feeling of integration.

Madder-dyed pattern weft with black tabby and terra-cotta thread:

madder dyed pattern weft

Weld-dyed pattern weft with black tabby and black thread:

weld dyed pattern weft

Weld-dyed pattern weft with blue tabby and blue thread (sorry, hard to see the color):

weld dyed pattern weft with blue

Madder-dyed pattern weft with purple tabby and purple thread:

madder dyed pattern weft with purple

Woad-dyed pattern weft with black tabby and blue thread:

woad dyed pattern weft with black tabby and blue thread

And last but not least, weld-dyed pattern weft overdyed with woad, which was theoretically supposed to make green. Instead I got this pale greenish-blue, which I initially found very disappointing. However, paired with a teal tabby and teal thread, it is lovely:

weld/woad pattern weft

I find it fascinating how a single pattern weft color can look so different when combined with different tabby colors and binding threads. I want each book to be one-of-a-kind, even with my limited palette, and so far I have been able to achieve that.