Friday, June 05, 2009

resting the thumbs

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"The covers are rugged hand-laid paper of rice chaff, bamboo tailings, free-range hemp, and crystalline glacial meltwater made by wizened artisans operating out of a mist-shrouded temple hewn from living volcanic rock on some island known only to aerobically gifted, Spandex-sheathed Left Coast travel bores. An impressionistic map of the South China Sea has been dashed across these covers by molecularly reconstructed Ming Dynasty calligraphers using brushes of combed unicorn mane dipped into ink made of grinding down charcoal slabs fashioned by blind stylite monks from hand-charred fragments of the True Cross."

~Neal Stephenson,
Cryptonomicon

This doesn't really apply to the photo, in fact it doesn't apply in the least to my latest crafting endeavor, but I love the passage. Neal Stephenson once more blows my mind with a thoroughly absorbing, complex, and full novel. Augh, it's fun to read. I'm just over halfway through, and I am not anxious for it to end. It makes me wish I understood math, though maybe that would make it all less magical.

Anyway. While resting my hands which have reacted badly to the frantic knitting that accompanies warm weather and the home stretch of a wintery cardigan, I made a book. (No unicorns were harmed in the making.)

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The covers are cuts of an Emily Carr print from an old calendar of Canadian paintings. The inside pages are kind of uneven and edged with pencil marks - cutting out lots of identical pages quickly turned into cutting out enough vaguely similar sized pages. It's roughly based on the chain stitch bound blank book from Alisa Golden's Creating Handmade Books (1998). I've made this kind of book a few times before: the binding is flexible and lays flat, so the format is good for journals.

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The covers are a little ripply despite intensive action by the bone-folder and several days compression under a stack of songbooks, but I don't really mind. It fits with the texture of the painting.

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I'm a little worried about the condition of my thumbs - they seem to get sore after only a few rows of sleeve knitting, lately - so finishing Basic Black will have to wait for a little while. But I'm so close! Just sleeve-cap shaping, button-band knitting, and other finishing details left.

Just in time for July, maybe. Weather being how it is, I may get some use out of it even then: the other day it hailed, and about half an hour later I saw my first hummingbird of the year.

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