My daughter’s Mandarin teacher and I came up with the idea spending one class period making Japanese-like bound books. Tomorrow is the day that I go in to work with his eight students of various ages. I thought that this would be an easy class to design: take some papers, fold them, punch in some holes and sew. I’m not using traditional materials so things didn’t go as easily as I had imagined. I’ve spent some time, then, working out different variations that might be successful. One of my experiments was making just two holes to sew through, using craft cord and a big plastic needle.
This sample, using needle and thread, came out okay, but I didn’t like how the sewing stations, which were punched using an awl, were so ragged. Also, I wasn’t sure if the students could handle the needle and thread. I sent this sample into school for the class to see, and the consensus seemed to be that the students wanted to work with needle and thread, rather than with yarn or shoelaces.
This evening I tried out making various sized holes in the covers using a hole punch, so that the edges of holes would be smooth. The punch that gave me the best result makes a hole that is about same diameter as my needle. I used this punch just for the covers, then used my awl to drive holes through the inside papers, while the covers were clamped to the pages. This sequence of working kept the sewing stations lined up nicely.
After playing around a bit more I’ve decided to bring in materials so that students can choose between using craft cord and two holes, or using waxed linen thread and five holes. I’m bringing in some origami papers and some symbols of Fu, the symbol for luck, so that they can decorate the covers.
Now, if it ever stops snowing , I might actually get to do this project tomorrow morning!