Needle and ThREAD

Old Bookmarks

You may recall that last year I attended and did a presentation for the first Bookmark Collectors’ Virtual Convention. I had a blast! I loved the collectors and their collections and found the whole thing enlightening and inspiring. This year’s convention was canceled, but a group of presenters (myself included) is already planning for next year’s convention.

Two collectors have generously agreed to share images of their fabric and fiber bookmarks here during the Bookmark Challenge. We’ll look closely at the bookmarks to see how they’re made and try to identify materials, stitches, etc.—whatever we can from the photos. I hope we crafters and stitchers will get some new ideas and be inspired to create.

Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy 2011 Bookmark Challenge, Don Baldwin's self-made perf paper bookmarkOur first bookmark in this series is from Don. You can see much of his collection on his donmervin Flickr pages.

I asked Don where he gets the bookmarks in his collection. He got them one-at-a-time from old bookstores that he frequented as he traveled throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. He says, “Since I was early to bookmark collecting, some dealers saved them for me. I still have one here in Iowa City who is doing that. Of course I buy plenty of books from him too!” Antique shops are another place where Don’s found bookmarks for his collection, and a few have come from eBay.

This one is card stock on ribbon. The design was probably drawn or traced on the card, and then holes poked through the card along the design lines. I have the benefit of a larger image, and I don’t see a lot of paper slubs on the front side, so I’m guessing crafter poked through the paper from front to back before starting to stitch. (We talked about embroidering on paper here.)

The fiber looks like some sort of pearl to me, silk, rayon, or cotton, maybe. It’s highly twisted and seems to have a luster, even in the image. It’s either a double-running (Holbein) stitch or backstitch, but it looks mostly like double-running to me. When you backstitch, each stitch is isolated because it’s a little circle or loop unto itself. With a double-running stitch, there’s often overlap where two adjacent stitches meet. I see overlapping, so my guess is double-running stitch. (By the way, Marion Scoular has a way of doing the double-running stitch that eliminates this overlap. Her double-running stitches meet end-to-end. I learned it in one of her Hardanger classes.)

Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy 2011 Bookmark Challenge, Don Baldwin's self-made perf paper bookmarkThe backing looks like a silk or satin ribbon to me. I’m not sure I’ve ever backed a paper bookmark with ribbon, but I might in the future. These days, I see paper bookmarks in vinyl protectors or backed with another piece of card, fabric, felt, or Ultrasuede.

I especially like how the card is attached to the ribbon with smaller ribbons on the corners.

I present this bookmark first because I hope at least one of us will make one like it–not the bell design, necessarily, but the self-punched paper on ribbon. Who’s up for it?

Any other thoughts on how the bookmark might have been made or the materials that were used?

1 reply »

  1. Jen, this piece on the hand made perf paper ribbon more than meets my expectations!

    I felt sure there was something more to be described about these interesting craft creations.

    Knowing nothing about stitchery left me with a simple gross visual description.

    Thank you for enlightenment!