Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Product Review...of sorts

I've decided to do a product review of sorts. This is't a review of a particular brand, but of a general round curved needle.

I've had a package of needles that I found in my mom's stuff but the only needle I had used from the pack was the "bookbinding" needle, because its eye was larger than the needle I was using. The package as you can see is old. The store Towers doesn'y exist anymore, nor has it existed in quite a long time here in Ontario Canads

I asked another bookbinder/friend if she used these needles and she loves working with a rounded needle. I have only used the needle for a coptic stitch journal, I don't even know if it is a needle I would use with any other stitch.

Now, as I've mentioned, I have MS. My hands have taken a toll, so when I'm using them for too long (whatever that means on any given day) they want to curl up. There are stretches the physiotherapist mentioned but I don't feel they work. Having said that, I still do them.

I found the round needle to be great for the two coptic stitch books I've bound with it. However, I found it hard to hold without it turning around when between my fingers. As the sewing went on, it became more difficult, but that was because of my hands, not the needle itself.

I chose to work on a series or collection of journals, coptically bound, covered in book cloth with a small sample of the featured paper. Here I used a burgundy (for lack of a more eloquent colour name) bookcloth, and a Baroque style golden paper that I originally ordered for a custom order portfolio.

I now see that when I took this photograph, one of the cover loops was loose. Luckily I did spot this post photo but pre completion of the book. *phew*

I found the needle allowed super easy kettle stitches (looping around stitch in previous signature), a nice in and out, and I found that the needle went smoothly between the signatures and I didn't catch any pages with the needle (big huge annoying pet peeve)

Now the fact that the signatures do not perfectly and neatly meet up at either end of the book. Each page is hand torn so therefore each page, and in turn each signature is a slightly different size. Part of me hates this, part of me likes it. I found the binding was stronger than books I have sewn in this fashion in the past. Which reminds me to re-sew a book I felt was too loosely bound.

This is a photo of the finished product. The sample pattern of the gold paper adorns the front as a hint of what is to come, both end papers (inside of the cover) have the same paper. The first one I  made didn't sit super well with me as a favorite book of mine, but as I add to the collection or series I'm loving the idea.

My hands are decent today, I think I will go into the studio and finish the book I had started and left the bookcloth in the press to flatten. I say they are decent now but I've been typing all this. You are damned if you do, damned if you don't. What can ya do but smile?

Listening to: The only living boy in New York by Simon & Garfunkel


  1. Nice little "Needle Review"! I have been using curved needles too; I made some myself, by heating my normal straight needles and bending them (a la Karleigh Jae Hayward!), then I tried a curved "repair" needle, like yours. If it's any comfort to you, I also find the needle twists itself round between my fingers (which is left hand is badly behaved some days anyway, so it does add to the frustration factor ;-) ), but it does sew smoothly. I use this for coptic bound books now, but when I'm doing a multi-needle binding, I use my own home-made needles, as I have a whole set of them. They're quite good, except that they're not quite so smooth as the completely curved one.
    Still, curved needles have made coptic stitch a whole lot easier than it used to be, when I used straight needles! Definitely would recommend it.
    Hope your hands behaved well and you got lots done today.

  2. Phew Im not the only one that has the needle spin around between their fingers. I thought it was me.

    I never thought of bending my own...great idea, and if its an "imperfect|" arc than it must be easier to hold :)