Winter in August

Still in the spirit of tidying and finishing, I spent the weekend finally getting round to finishing the cover for a sketchbook I started in January.

8" x 8" handmade sketchbook

Not really the season for it, admittedly, although the temperature and rainfall recently have definitely not been typical of any kind of summer I understand.

inside front cover

This is a sketchbook containing studies of a long cloth I was going to make, inspired by a fragment of eighteenth century ivory silk brocade. Somewhere along the way, the sketchbook became more of a thing than the cloth for which it was supposed to be a study. One of us lost our way a little, I think. The cloth was going to be something along the lines of samples of a ‘fantasticall costume’ that might have been presented to the Winter Queen by her tailor. It was going to take the form of a band sampler – a form that fascinates me, and something I will certainly work with at some point. Band samplers are the older form of sampler, and typically measured something like 8″ x 23″-ish. Worked in horizontal strips, they pre-date the more square ‘alphabet + cross-stitched house’ form by a couple of hundred years. They literally functioned as a portable sketchbook for stitchers in the 17th century. This is a good book on the subject, if you’re interested.

But back to the sketchbook. The front cover is just cloth, with no card or stiffener, so it remains pleasantly tactile when you open the book. The back cover is stretched over thick card to provide a firm base:

I always like to make a pocket on the inside of my sketchbook covers, which is useful for slotting in later additions, photographs, notes, etc. The pocket in this one is made from a piece of silk organza, so it remains partly transparent:

In the pocket there is a scanned image of the silk that inspired it, very aged and stained, as you can see. Would anyone be interested in seeing the inside pages?

It’s always good to finish something, but then I’ve always believed that finishing is just another kind of starting. Maybe this coming winter might be this cloth’s time. In the meantime I have the last of the large ‘peace’ cloths to finish, as well as a couple of ‘in progress’ cloths for the shop. More of those later. Happy Monday!

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15 Responses to Winter in August

  1. chloe says:

    I would love to see more of the book! Sounds a bit weird, but I have had a fascination with white for a long time without finding any path for it, and your work really inspires me to pursue it. Really like the look of those samplers as well. I’m new to sewing, coming from a photog/printing background, and I’m really enjoying your work as it has such a strong sense of depth and concentration in it, as well as being beautiful. And apropos your previous post, it should never be a matter of ‘good enough’: that’s imposing a patriarchal, judgemental view upon yourself which is entirely self-defeating and unconstructive…. if it feels right, it IS right. x

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Chloe; glad you’re enjoying some stitch. There are so many shades of white. Tracy Franklin’s ‘Contemporary Whitework’ is one of my favourite reads on the subject. Thanks for joining us here, and welcome to you ­čÖé

  2. chris gray says:

    ..I’d love to see the other pages…

    …and it’s not much like summer here either…the leaves are beginning to turn and fall…

    ..things don’t feel right….so it’s time to stitch…

  3. maggi21 says:

    I too would love to see the inside pages. I love books anyway but those that are tactile have a real appeal.

  4. Happy Monday to you. I’d love to see the inside pages – and thank you for the info on band samplers. xx

  5. Rachel says:

    It’s always fascinating to see and read more about the development of ideas and images..

  6. Lenka Štrosová says:

    I would like to see anoter pages too. Band samplers are so remarkable.

  7. Lenka Štrosová says:

    Another, of course. Please, if you – anybody and anytime – find mistakes in my English, correct me.

  8. Penny says:

    Love this book – and all of the thought and heart you put into it. During this hot and hotter, last days of summer – its fun to switch over to winter mode and rethink the days when we’re cozied up with a cup of tea, needle and thread.

  9. Bea says:

    This is lovely! I would love to see more of it.

  10. serenapotter says:

    more pages please.

  11. Sally Jo says:

    Thank you Karen for sharing your beautiful book. I love books so much for some reason – even though I don’t read much. Just love handmade books. Would love to see the inner pages also.

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