Sampler book cover

In the interests of keeping busy, I made a start on the cover for my sampler book.

birdie in his natural habitat

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to tackle the cover. I considered various kinds of needlepoint, cross stitch (really didn’t want to do any more of that) and a variety of seams. In the end I went for my usual style of book cover, which is layers of strips laid on a foundation fabric. I used modern, vintage and antique silk and cotton fabrics, mostly hand-dyed.

cover in progress

I really like old lace and ribbon, but I don’t tend to use it much. I thought this was probably a good place for it.

layered fabrics, lace and ribbon with hand stitch

A couple of weeks ago I acquired a few old wooden bobbin reels – more on that later, there are plans afoot – all of which came with very old dusty thread still in place. Most of the thread was unusable, very brittle from age and light damage. But on two of the bobbins, once the outer layer of damaged thread was removed, the rest of it appears to be sound. I’ve dyed some, and have road-tested the finer of the threads on this cover. It breaks quite easily so wouldn’t be any good for sewing seams, but it seems fine for surface decoration.

vintage cotton thread from an old mill bobbin, hand-dyed

As with the sampler book itself, I found myself wondering whether Ellen Mahon would like the cover I’ve made. I wanted to make it pretty for her.

Hand-dyed vintage viscose ribbon, very soft and silky

I wondered about whether I should label the cover with words, whether I should stitch the words ‘sampler book’ somewhere on it. I decided not, in the end. For one thing I’m not very good at stitching lettering, and for another thing I didn’t think it needed words. I really like the way stitching conveys its own meaning without the need for words as well. I always think hand-stitching is more like writing than drawing. I often find myself recognising artists’ work by their stitching the same way I might recognise the handwriting on an envelope.

Sampler book with cover
Back cover

I hope Ellen would approve.

Author: Karen

Textile and mixed media artist

8 thoughts on “Sampler book cover”

  1. It was your stitching style I spotted when looking for new blogs! I know thatโ€™s Karenโ€™s I thought! ๐Ÿ˜„ Iโ€™m sure Ellen would approve.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter showed me your work. It seems that my mind has been working along similar lines. Great minds eh? I have been doing ‘week by week’ handsewing each year, each week, since covid started.
    I love to see your work.
    I ,too, live in Hull.
    Jacky

    Liked by 1 person

  3. as much as I love stitched words, your decision not to use them feels just right … the bands of lace, stitch, and color are a wonderful sampling of what lies within … and I like the ribbon most of all

    Liked by 1 person

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