Sunday, 28 October 2007

Our New BEST Logo

Thank you to everyone who participated in our poll to select the team's logo. So here it is, having won a very clear victory:

Designed by NielsenHandmade. Thanks Josh!

Also remember that a previous poll determined that our official team colours would be the same as those used here on the blog, so feel free to use these colours and our new logo when you are promoting BEST! With consistent use of the logo and the colours, we will be able to do some branding and establish a recognizable identity. And we're going to look good!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Tutorial: Double-Layered Diamond X Technique

Brought to you by a contractually-obligated Satan, this tutorial will
guide you through the process of binding your very own blank journal
using a double-layered diamond X technique, sometimes called a
"renaissance" binding. Starting with materials and layout, it
continues right through to the end, including cover preparation and
quesadilla intermission. Inquire within for instruction in two parts
pictures, one part tutorial, and five parts disgruntled lord of the

Please click here to access the BEST tutorial!

Tutorial by yatsu

Displaying Books at Craft Shows

It is prime season for craft shows and many members of BEST are taking their books and other creations on tour to sell at the craft markets around the globe. Since it can be very difficult to display handmade books and show them off effectively some of the BEST members have been sharing ideas and photographs to help each other with their upcoming shows.

Tiered sloping displays for JennysBooks:

Devil's Paradise using multiple levels:

StacyHandmade's books all up neatly on the walls:

MyHandboundBooks all lined up using some sloping display units as shown on the right:

Subu's work on display using individual book stands:

Clearly the size of your space makes a big difference when you are planning a display. Having a whole corner like JennysBooks and Stacyhandmade shown here, allows for some extensive and creative shelving, all looks great. The smaller spaces require even more creativity to fit your work nicely together so everything can be seen and shown off nicely. Having some height to the display and keeping lots of books upright is certainly a common element here. And they all look amazing!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Etsy Labs Visit

This other day I visited NYC and stopped by the Etsy Labs for an hour!

I made an Etsy book to present to them from BEST:

Off I go!

Door to the building in Brooklyn (So glad that little sign was there! Otherwise I would've been lost!)

At the top of the stairs

Look familiar?

They wrote cute little signs on the elevator -- which I was nervous about riding so I walked up the six floors to the Labs ;)

Presentation includes: card made from recycled book leaf, Etsy book, and poster print from samples of BEST books

The main workshop area! The Labs consisted of a hallway with a few individual offices, the main workshop, a room for Storque, a computer lab area, a screen printing room, a storage room, a kitchen, and the main lobby area... a lot bigger than I had imagined!

Cozy little corner with comfy couches and lots of fun reading material!

Got some stickers and buttons from them, and cut out recycled paper for future stickers and buttons. They told me to make myself at home but I hadn't really planned on crafting so I just grabbed paper from their little bin and chopped away haha!

The inside of the card

With the Etsy gals! Hurray for the Etsy Labs!

Preparing for holidays

BEST members respond to:
"How do the holidays affect your work?"

LostMyMarbles says...
For my books and notebooks, I concentrate on packaging. I want my books and notebooks to make a delightful gift for someone. I always offer (or just include) a box. I usually use clear acrylic boxes and I tie them with a simple printed fabric ribbon. I also like to include some verbiage about how the item was made and some history about the technique. I have found that handbound books and Moleskine notebooks are often gifts to writers, artists, readers and thinkers. Including information about the item makes it an interesting gift. For my other paper products, I concentrate on making holiday-themed things. I marble sheets of paper in shades of green or shades of blue and then overprint them with holiday-themed sayings. I also make gift tags in holiday colours. I don't necessarily make more stuff. I just try to focus on holiday themes with the new things that I make.

MyHandboundBooks says...
So far it seems that the holidays bring custom orders, more than anything else. Throughout October and November I will get too many requests for custom books... Besides that, the holidays determine what I make since I start working on gifts for my own friends and family besides the items I am trying to sell. So I am likely to make duplicates to sell when I'm working on the original gift. And I'll start using red and green tissue paper in my packages too, so my customers will always feel like they just got a little present in the mail!

This post has been submitted to the Blog Carnival at

Monday, 22 October 2007

BEST Pick: Subu's Notebook

Today's featured item is this creative use of the Japanese 4-hole binding to make an open-face-type notepad. This would be perfect beside my telephone.
Handmade Notepad

The traditional 4-hole binding is very elegant on its own, but combined like this with the pretty paper and ribbons, its just the best way to present an otherwise simple open-faced notebook! I just want to go make some right now. Check out these notebooks and lots of other styles, available at

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Bookbinding Glossaries

I hate it when I can't remember the name of that it the flyleaf? or was that the colophon? or doublure? Sometimes it's nice to be able to just look it up...

Etherington & Roberts Bookbinding Dictionary (this one is interactive)

AboutBookbinding Glossary of Technical Terms and Implements

Wilsey Rare Books Glossary

Markey Bindery Glossary

Univerisity of Florida Libraries Glossary of Binding Terms

Inland Graphics Bookbinding Terms

Hollanders Glossary of Terms

French-English Bookbinding Terminology Project (CBBAG)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Our Team on Flickr

The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team is also on Flickr! Our bountiful body of beautiful bookbinding work can be seen here:

All BEST members are welcome to join the Flickr group and contribute to the photo pool!

Monday, 15 October 2007

BEST Pick for Dictionary Day

October 16th is recognized as Dictionary Day, being the birthday of Noah Webster who was born on this day in 1758. Go ahead, read a dictionary today!

Spines, small blank journal

Vintage bookcloth from discarded books is used to make the covers for these journals; the endpapers are also selected from old books so these are truly unique handmade journals. This one in particular has some great dictionary spines on the cover, making it an apt pick for Dictionary Day.

Interview: Spacedog Studios

Name: Sarah Hansen
Company/Etsy Site:
Location: Hilliard, OH

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
Going on 2 years.
How did you get into crafting?
I've always done art - drawing, writing, anything creative. I just
always have, I don't think it ever had a beginning. I never "got" into
it, I was just IN it.
How did Etsy come into your life?
Just from hearing about it on the internet, and deciding to give it a shot.
What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
In the "crafting" world, little. But I do have an art degree, and I'm
just now figuring out how to put that to good use.
Do you have a day job?
Yep! I'm a floral designer at Michael's.
Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
Uh, my cat is a superb paperweight, and my husband is the mail-man and bread winner of the year! (I love you honey.)
What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Buy a decent camera, a decent computer, some decent glue, and then stop worrying, and jump in. You can always live and learn, but you can't learn if you don't live.
What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
By far the hardest part is making time for it.
Do you show your work locally?
Sometimes I show my art in a local gallery, but then, sometimes not.
Famous last words?
Less talkin' more rockin' !
How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I took an altered book course a couple of years back at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and learned some rudimentary bookmaking techniques. But I loved it so much I bought the Keith Smith books, and taught myself more.
A book can be so simple and so complex, so utilitarian and so beautiful, so empty and so personal . . . .
How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
Bookmaking for the past couple of years.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I love the coptic stitch, especially how the hard covers reveal the little "inner world" of soft paper. I love having that other "window" to play with.
Also, I love finding new uses and forms for books.
What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
Materials you use for your books?
Book board, paper, YES! paste, PVA, brushes, bone folders, cutting mats, clear rulers, utility knives, threads, fabrics, ribbons, vellum, velcro, buttons . . .
What inspires you?
Color and texture
Who is your crafting hero?
Yikes. I really have no idea.
Guilty pleasure?
My name is Sarah, I'm 28 years old, and I have a DDR obsession.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

A little history of the Chain Stitch

Book by TheCraftyKitten
Early multi-section Coptic codices
Dating from the 2nd century AD, the Copts used a chain stitch to bind multi-section books. In most documented cases, it seems that these books were sewn with a continuous thread and a single needle. The first and last sewing stations thus having half the number of loops as the other sewing stations. There are variations in the chain stitches from this period, though, since the technique was still in development. The cover would be made separately & attached after the textblock was sewn, covering the book completely including the spine. The textblock was attached by pasting it directly to the covers.

Later Coptic codies
After about the seventh century, there are very few extant Coptic bindings and most remnants are very badly damaged but it is evident that the chain stitch was still used. It also seems that the cover boards started being attached as part of the sewing process – unlike the separate attachment of the cover described above for the early Coptic codices.

Ethiopian Codices
Dating from about the sixteenth century, chain stitch binding had also evolved in Ethiopia. These books typically had paired sewing stations, sewn using two needles for each pair of sewing stations (so if there are 2 holes, use 2 needles…or 6 holes, 6 needles etc). The covers were wooden and attached by sewing through holes made into edge of the board. Most of these books were left uncovered without endbands.

Byzantine bindings
There were also Islamic bookbinding methods employing the link stitch, and Byzantine/Greek bookbinding methods using a link stitch. An interesting variation employed by the Greeks was sewing the sections in two groups, then joining them so the chains meet in the middle. This makes it look like the chain stitches change direction in the middle of the row. The Byzantine bindings are more likely to have elaborate endbands which are worked onto supports and anchored to the cover boards through holes in the boards. These books typically had full leather coverings.

This quick summary is largely based on information in Szirmai’s text, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. There are five chapters dedicated to link stitch bindings so this is really a miniscule summary of what I read.

There is some debate surrounding the various terms used to described the chain stitch binding methods that are so often used today, especially concerning the very loose application of the term "Coptic binding." Ekthesis has a nice article about the Coptic binding which includes some discussion of these issues.

Please leave your comments if you'd like to fill in some of the gaps I've left here or if there are any other details of link stitch history that you want to share.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

BEST Online Sources for Linen Thread

Royal Wood Ltd
Discounts for orders over $50. Spools are 100 to 200 yards and lost of colors. Full spools available for 2, 3, 4, 7, and 12 ply.
Recommended by Lady Artisan and JennysBooks

John Neal Books
A good source for unwaxed thread; unbleached white and colours in full spools. Their service is excellent.
Recommended by Comfortable Shoes Studio

Volcano Arts
Excellent service and products. Lots of colours of 4 ply waxed linen thread in full spools.
Recommended by MyHandboundBooks

Hiromi Paper International
A variety of colours for 3-ply unwaxed linen thread available in smaller quantities – 5 to 10 yards per package.

Waxed and unwaxed linen thread in full spools. Many colours of the 4-ply waxed threads.

Several colours of unwaxed linen thread, full spools available in two weights. Also a very good selection on unbleached white linen thread in various weights and quantities.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

BEST Pick for World Animal Day

October 4th is World Animal Day! We are all encouraged to do something special for the animals in our lives, and celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom and acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives.
Little Zebra Address Book

Super cute address book, of course. But also, Bexx's products are all vegan, containing no animal products. A pretty prefect pick for World Animal Day!