Kettle Stitch Ambition

Saturday night I got a bit ambitious and tackled kettle stitching. First off I have to mention that this feat probably would have never happened if I hadn’t of been blindsided by my sweet tooth and been hyped up on cake and oatmeal cookies. (We all have our weaknesses.) I had spent the day watching bookbinding videos on various stitching techniques and found myself interested in kettle stitching. To me it seemed the easiest to grasp of all the stitching techniques that I watched yet still rather challenging so I really didn’t have any real intentions on trying it. But late in the evening I was full of energy. Too much to sit down and stipple, which requires me to be in a less excitable mood. So I opted to make a blank journal using kettle stitching.

In this project I used two precut 5×7 mat boards, some cardstock, two images from an old wolf calendar I had (by the way, if you didn’t know, I love wolves), an elastic band and bookmark I cut from an old Mokeskine journal, waxed thread, a needle, a corner rounder (I think that’s what it’s called and 72 sheets of paper cut and folded to the appropriate size.
I first made the case cover which is why I needed 72 sheets of paper. The sheets I grouped into six signatures (this is a group of folded sheets) of 12 sheets. Most examples I watched used signatures of four sheets, if I had of done that, I would still be stitching right now. After making the signatures I made the proper holes with an awl to prepare for threading. Now I won’t go into all the details on kettle stitching, it would be better to watch the video below that shows the technique I used if you’re curious to know the basics of how it’s done.

Once I got my text block ready I glued two end papers to the front and back of the block. And to keep from getting long winded, in a nutshell, I glued those end papers to the inside cover of the case I had already made and voila, I had a hot mess of a wolf journal on my hands.

You can’t see from the pictures but the first mistake I made was attempting to stitch such a large number of sheets for the first time. I blame the sugar for my lapse of good judgment. Second, I didn’t keep the thread tight as I was stitching which made the binding a bit loose and this led to a rather  uneven cutting of the pages when I trimmed the excess. Initially I was disappointed with how it turned out but I had to remind myself that it was my first attempt and mistakes are a given. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself but some things just take time to learn so I’ll be tackling kettle stitching again. Anyways I’m not going to let some paper and thread defeat me. Overall it was fun and I look forward to mastering this technique. ☺

Published by

Q.

Pen and ink artist inspired by Nature, Beauty, Spirit and Song.

5 thoughts on “Kettle Stitch Ambition”

  1. Oh how strange, I tried this for the first time yesterday, too! I’ve always wanted to make a hardback journal (I love the ones made by a particular company) but have never tried before. My problem with it was some of the signatures are now too tightly sewn and a couple are too loose!! But anyway, thought you might like to try it from a different video, this one: https://youtu.be/9O4kFTOEh6k I’ve not yet made the cover, but will get there eventually!

    I hope you have a happy Christmas/holidays, Q. And let’s hope 2021 is a better year for us all. x

    Liked by 1 person

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