japanese stab binding tutorial: sushi

jsb-37Second place in the tutorial poll. A very simple bind, no twists or complicated V shapes. 58 total holes. If you’d rather have cinnamon rolls instead of sushi, ignore the steps marked with an asterisk “*”.

**click any image to enlarge**

hole pattern
jsb.sushi.holes

sewing pattern
jsb.sushi

EXIT = needle pointed DOWN and ENTER = needle pointed UP
=====
enter 1, leave a tail but don’t knot it, wrap around right edge, enter 1 again
exit 2, wrap around spine, exit 2 again
enter 3
exit 4
enter 5
exit 6
enter 5
exit 4
enter 3
exit 2
enter 1
exit 7
enter 8
exit 9
enter 10
exit 11
enter 12
exit 13
enter 14
exit 15
enter 16
exit 17
enter 18
exit 19
enter 20
*exit 16
*enter 20
exit 19
enter 18
exit 17
enter 16
exit 15
enter 14
exit 13
enter 12
exit 11
enter 10
exit 9
enter 8
exit 7
enter 6
exit 21
enter 5, wrap around spine, enter 5 again
exit 22
enter 23
exit 24
enter 25
exit 24
enter 23
exit 22
enter 5
exit 21
enter 26
exit 27
enter 28
exit 29
enter 30
exit 31
enter 32
exit 33
enter 34
exit 35
enter 36
exit 37
enter 38
exit 39
*enter 35
*exit 39
enter 38
exit 37
enter 36
exit 35
enter 34
exit 33
enter 32
exit 31
enter 30
exit 29
enter 28
exit 27
enter 26
exit 25
enter 40
exit 24, wrap around spine, exit 24 again
enter 41
exit 42
enter 43, wrap around spine, enter 43 again
exit 44, wrap around left edge, exit 44 again
enter 43
exit 42
enter 41
exit 24
enter 40
exit 45
enter 46
exit 47
enter 48
exit 49
enter 50
exit 51
enter 52
exit 53
enter 54
exit 55
enter 56
exit 57
enter 58
*exit 54
*enter 58
exit 57
enter 56
exit 55
enter 54
exit 53
enter 52
exit 51
enter 50
exit 49
enter 48
exit 47
enter 46
exit 45
enter 44
exit 45
enter 40
exit 25
enter 26
exit 21
enter 6
exit 7, tie off

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japanese stab binding #39 and #40: tiara and double arrows

I seem to have a backlog of patterns I have sketched but not sewn yet…lately I’ve been playing with triangles. Here are a couple:

“Tiara”… 28 holes. Beginner bind.
jsb-39

“Double arrows”…48 holes. Beginner bind.
jsb-40

japanese stab binding tutorial: maple leaves

jsb-mapleleaf

The maple leaf pattern tutorial, as requested in the poll! I’d say this one is pretty simple. The instructions for the ‘V’s at the edges are written differently than usual, but I hope it make it a bit easier.

*Tip: make holes 1, 14, and 26 a bit larger than the others, as the needle will have to go through them eight times.*

**click on an image to enlarge**

hole pattern

jsb.maple-leaves-holes

sewing pattern

jsb.maple-leaves

EXIT = needle pointed DOWN and ENTER = needle pointed UP
=====
enter 1, leave a tail but don’t knot it
exit 2, wrap around right edge, exit 2 again
enter 1
exit 3
enter 1
exit 4
enter 1
exit 6
enter 1
exit 7
enter 1
exit 9
enter 1
exit 11
enter 1
exit 12
enter 11
exit 10
enter 9
exit 8, wrap around spine, exit 8 again
enter 7, wrap around spine
enter 6
exit 5, wrap around right edge, exit 5 again
wrap around spine, exit 5 again
enter 4, wrap around right edge
enter 3
exit 2
enter 3, wrap around right edge, thread needle through loop at edge, point up
enter 4
exit 5
enter 6, wrap around spine, thread needle through loop at edge, point right
enter 7
exit 8
enter 9
exit 10
enter 11
exit 12
enter 13
exit 14
enter 15
exit 14
enter 16
exit 14
enter 18
exit 14
enter 19
exit 14
enter 21
exit 14
enter 23
exit 14
enter 24
exit 23
enter 22
exit 21
enter 20, wrap around spine, enter 20 again
exit 19, wrap around spine
exit 18
enter 17, wrap around spine, enter 17 again
exit 16
enter 10
exit 15
enter 13
exit 15
enter 10
exit 16
enter 17
exit 18, wrap around spine, thread needle through loop at edge, point right
exit 19
enter 20
exit 21
enter 22
exit 23
enter 24
exit 25
enter 26
exit 27
enter 26
exit 28
enter 26
exit 30
enter 26
exit 31
enter 26
exit 33
enter 26
exit 34
enter 26
exit 35, wrap around left edge, exit 35 again
enter 34, wrap around left edge
enter 33
exit 32, wrap around left edge, exit 32 again
wrap around spine, exit 32 again
enter 31, wrap around spine
enter 30
exit 29, wrap around spine, exit 29 again
enter 28
exit 22
enter 27
exit 25
enter 27
exit 22
enter 28
exit 29
enter 30, wrap around spine, thread needle through loop at edge, point right
enter 31
exit 32
enter 33, wrap around left edge, thread needle through loop at edge, point down
enter 34
exit 35
enter 26
exit 25
enter 24
exit 14
enter 13
exit 12, tie off

The theory of japanese stab binding

…or at least how I understand it. I’ve had many questions since I began posting my own Japanese stab bind designs: about how I create them, the thought process behind the designs and sewing mechanisms, the tools I use, etc. I’ll break down my personal process in another post; for this one I want to explain some of the basics for those of you just starting out in the world of bookbinding and are looking for a style that allows for incredible expression.

If you have researched bookbinding at all, you will have most likely come across the basic Japanese stab bind (JSB). It looks like this: four holes, four wraps around the spine, and a wrap around each edge.

Fold line
The most import part of the traditional JSB to remember is what I call the ‘fold line’. This is made by the holes that are farthest away from the spine, or closest to the content on the inside of your book. It is vital that they be in a straight line, otherwise your book will end up with a crooked fold and the cover will be more likely to tear.

Having thread run along the fold line is helpful because it keeps the cover from tearing off as easily – there is more surface for the cover to bend against, instead of just single holes. It also keeps with the traditional JSB look. I’ve only sewn a handful of binds that didn’t have thread reinforcing the fold line, but the holes were even.

“Butterfly” bind.

Edges and spine
It isn’t absolutely necessary to include the edge wraps, but good practice to do so. If you have a tendency to sew loosely, or if you ever have trouble making your knot tight enough, it is important to include the edge wraps. They also help with reinforcing the fold line, and keep the book together better. The spine needs to always have some kind of wrap. As you can see from the example binds in this post, there are numerous ways to do this.

Holes
The absolute minium of necessary holes would be one hole…but you would end up with a fairly wobbly and shaky book and your design would be limited to a triangle. Two holes would still create a weak bind, but if the book were quite small, or had only a few pages, it would probably work. But good news: there is no maximum limit to how many holes your design can have, and it doesn’t matter if it is an even or an odd number. You are only limited by your patience, persistence, and stamina when it comes to drilling all of those holes! I would say my patterns have an average of 30 holes each.

“Crocus” has 53 holes.

**A potential problem area is how close your holes are to each other…the closer they are, the more likely your book block will rip when you pull the thread tight. And NOTHING is more disheartening than when that happens! I try to keep my holes at least .25″ (or 7 mm) apart. On occasion I will place them closer, but I then sew the book very, very carefully.

Process
This is where it gets a bit complicated to explain by using words and not physically demonstrating (maybe one day I’ll try to create a video tutorial).

The traditional JSB with 4 holes has the sewing start at hole #2. But if you have a complicated design, it’s easier to start at the very edge.  The central objective of JSB is to sew your entire bind while never repeating the same line; in other words, never having two threads between the same two holes.


To achieve this, you essentially sew half of the design in one direction, then at the halfway mark you return back to the start by sewing the pattern in reverse. You must get the concept “over-under-over-under”…then, “under-over-under-over” firmly in your mind. This is fairly easy to figure out on a geometric pattern – and it can become convoluted with an organic/non-geometric design very rapidly! The ease or difficulty is very much dependent on what the design is and who is sewing it.

For example, below is “mushroom”, which is a geometric pattern with 5 repeats. The first ‘mushroom’ segment is completed before the second is begun. In fact, because of the gap between each segment, each mushroom is sewn exactly the same way. If they had been touching at the fold line, the needle direction of the second mushroom would have been completely opposite of the first (every ‘enter’ would become an ‘exit’). The third mushroom would have been like the first, the fourth like the second, etc.

In “peacock”, an organic pattern, the sewing starts in the middle, creating the feather’s rachis first, then the center circles, then the final circle with fringe coming off of it. It looks complicated, but once you have mastered the concept of ‘over-under-over under,’ it isn’t too difficult to figure out.

“Woven” is an exception to the rule: it is a geometric pattern, but the sewing actually goes from one side to the other and back again just to complete one ‘V’ shape. But the edges and the sides still use the ‘over-under-over-under’ approach.

======
Early in my experimenting I decided that straight perpendicular lines by themselves were boring. I figured out that the spine could be wrapped with a ‘V’ shape by crossing one loop with another previous loop (or loops). So far the only shape that seems impossible is a circle, but I’m working on it!

I hope this is helpful. If you ever run into a snag with your own pattern or design (or with one of mine) send me an email. And send pictures of your creations, I would love to see!