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Re: Japanese stab binding



There's been a lot of good info the last 24 hours on sewing Japanese stab
bindings.  I'd like to add a bit--some traditional and some adaptations.

In terms of sewing material and technique, it's hard to tell what is
traditional. A book may be 600 years old but the thread may not be more than
100 years old.  Still, I think it is safe to say that silk thread was the
main material thru the centuries.  Now there are lots of thread weights and
colors available at any fabric/craft store, in any number of natural and
synthetic fibers.  And as Bob Drake said, wire is another flexible material
for sewing.

The basic 4-hole sewing pattern is sometimes seen as a 5-hole variation in
older books.  The expanded patterns in Ikegami's book seem to be a fairly
recent and decorative variation (extra hole at corners; second row of sewing
holes).  Altering the number and spacing of holes, and the sewing pattern,
is usually the first thing that people play with.

If you are doing a basic 4 hole sewing pattern, it is best to start the
thread at one of the two middle holes (there is more stress on the sewing at
the top and bottom of the book, so why start the sewing at an end?).  The
sewing starts by the needle entering thru the spine edge of the book and
ends by coming out the spine edge.  Bob mentions leaving the thread ends
out--other people will have long ends and use them for tying on feathers or
stringing beads.

Silk thread can be more slippery than other types so I do a loop/knot around
the last part of the sewing, go thru the thickness of the book and do a
second loop/knot on the other side of the book, then do the exit at the
spine edge.  This stabilizes the sewing and is invisible with light and
medium weight threads.

So--anything is possible with this format.  Some bindings may end up being
less sturdy than others but the variations are endless and so satisfying to
explore!




Cathy Atwood
Local Records Program, Missouri Secretary of State


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