A few years ago at the kids’ school fair, another mother and I were in charge of the craft room, which entailed coming up with crafts that could be done by kids of all ages. I knew one of them had to be a book, something do-able for little kids but challenging enough for older kids to get into it. I came up with a Japanese Stab binding.
Stab bindings can be easy or more complex. Keith Smith’s book has a number of them, some quite elaborate. I started with the relatively easy tortoise-shell binding.
It starts with the basic front and back cover (here it’s Tyvek printed with a photograph of beetles — I love beetles) and a handful of single sheets (unfolded). I put together a template, seen at the bottom, to poke four clusters of three holes and used an awl to get through all the layers at once (this was the hardest part, keeping the book still and intact while poking the holes).
I used waxed Irish linen thread to sew the book together, keeping it intact with clips on either side of the book. Because stitching involves going through some of the holes several times, I had to use the awl a few times to expand the hole slightly, without breaking the thread.
I ended up making a slight variation, not sewing around the top and bottom of the book, and leaving out the center stitch on the ends, but I like the way it looks. Another sturdy book, it’s also on the smaller side — 4 by 6 — so I might just put it in my purse for notes on the road.