Sunday, 27 January 2013

Books and sewing, two of my favourite things!

Well I have a lot of catching up to do, it's been a good 6 months now since my last entry, and the course has finished without me. Unfortunately, it turns out buying a flat was more hard work than I thought, and everything else in my life sort of got left behind. Even today we are still finishing off bits of DIY around the place!

Well a lot has been happening at work since I last posted. I have a new graduate trainee buddy, and together we have been sharing the anxiety-inducing experience that is applying for master's degrees. The stress is defiantly getting to me! I have one application already done, so fingers crossed *_*

I thought I might ease back into the blog with some pictures of what I have been up to recently. Once a week I go to the library's preservation studio to help out and learn a bit about modern techniques for maintaining and repairing books. I have had a go at mending rips, removing stickers, creating acid-free boxes for fragile materials, and fixings spines. This week I got to have a go at re-binding a book that was falling to pieces.

The first step was to cut out each section of pages from the original binding. This was a bit of a delicate operation as I had to make sure I didn't cut through the pages. Eventually I was left with the empty cover panels. You can see in the picture where the text block was sewn in.

Now we got to set up the sewing frame. It's a large wooden height-adjustable frame, where you tie on the lengths of tape that you then sew the book around. It's meant to look like this:

(contrary to this picture, this was a job apparently usually done by women)

 So taking each segment of text (and making sure it's in the correct order), some special book-thread and a needle, you weave in and out of the paper around the vertical bits of tape like so:

Each segments is also sewn onto the one beneath it, so that when the entire text block is done it should be really sturdy. I found it quite easy to pick up the technique as I like sewing anyway, but it still took me about an hour to do half the book! I'm looking forward to finishing it off next week. Anyway, that's that for now, more blogging soon!

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