Tuesday, October 7, 2008

how knitting journals are born

I'm an idea mill, and I have the filled notebooks to prove it. There aren't many days when I don't make plans for another creative project, but whether I actually complete it is another story. That doesn't mean I get nothing done; I simply don't have enough time to act on every rough sketch or sprawling materials list that I complete. I like to think that the projects/products I do finish represent my best ideas, and that the ones I've left behind are probably better left as daydreams and speculation.

One of the products I've recently been working on, and of which I'm proud, are my knitting journals. I'm nearing the completion of my first edition, but getting to this point involved a lot of work and deliberation. I started, several months ago, with the idea that I wanted to make hand bound knitting journals. At the time, I was thinking about actually printing prompts, rule, and even graph sheets, and then binding them into a book. While I might actually do this for future editions, I scrapped the idea for now, opting instead, to devote my attention to an attractive cover design.

Remember that blue paper I made a couple of weeks ago? That's what I began with. I knew, when I first began planning the design for these journals, that I wanted to use handmade paper for the covers, and these sheets' beautiful deep turquoise with even darker flecks of turquoise silk fiber were perfect.

I had no trouble deciding what to print on my book covers; I just combined my two current favorite printing elements: wood type and a rainbow roll. The studio where I work has a small collection of wood type in an assortment of faces and sizes. I pieced together a block of type that measured approximately the size of my book covers. The randomness of the type collection yielded a puzzle-like text block that's has a lot of visual appeal. While I set my cover design, it really did seem like I was putting together a jigsaw puzzle; I'm amazed that in the end everything fit together so nicely.

At the press, I got to print a rainbow roll, which allows you to print two colors in one press run. Rainbow rolls are pretty simple to execute, too. You just ink one half of the oscillating roller with one color and apply a second color to the other half. As the ink is evenly distributed across the rollers, the color blend at the center and create a gradient look. Here are some of the finished covers.

I love how the finished books look; the archival longstitch sewing across the spine ties everything together, structurally and design-wise. After a photo-shoot with Pam Morgan, who's responsible for the first picture in this post, the last stop (before they find owners) for these journals is the sales table at the art festivals I'll be attending throughout the season. Their popularity (or lack thereof) will have the final say on whether the design is successful.


Martine said...

This is really very special work, i love it.

amyelizabeth said...

these turned out great!