Thursday, February 25, 2010

Read any good books lately?

I've been scheming about making some bookends with old wool. I've amassed quite a collection of plaids, tweeds, and solids. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know I just recently organized EVERYTHING by color and fiber. The time is now for my bookends!

My first step was to pull all the old Geometry rules out of my brain. Bookends need to have a right angle somewhere to sit flat against the books and against the shelf at the same time. I knew I wanted a broad "face" so I could embellish or otherwise go crazy with texture and pattern. You'll need the Pythagorean theorem if you're going to make these at home. Shockingly, my initial sketch and calculations were dead on. No second starts on these. Amazing.

My friend, Katie, gave me some kilts recently. Beautiful, vintage wool in "Katie" colors of lavender, blue, ivory, etc. Adding to this my own collection of purples, I had at least 6 different coordinating wools. Given that I'm a fan of the patchwork, I decided to patchwork at least one face of the bookend. Patchwork maximizes texture with a minimum of material. It's a great technique when you have lots of different fabrics to use. I cut wool into squares and laid them out until I was happy with the result. I totally love the eggplant/ivory houndstooth. That was a skirt from a thrift store. It was only 70% wool, but I took a chance because the pattern was so fantastic. Totally makes the fabric pop, doesn't it?

After sewing the patchwork together and ironing it REALLY well, I trimmed it to a nice rectangle. The rest of the bookend consists of two triangular pieces for the sides, a square back, and rectangular bottom. Easy to do with a rotary cutter and a ruler. Everything was sewn and pressed with one bottom seam left open to allow for filling.

The insides required a second fabric form because I didn't want rice spilling out from any seam or corner. I used plain muslin for this liner. The sewing on that didn't have to be pristine, either, because no one will ever see the inside. After jamming the rice-filled liner into the wool form, I hand-sewed the final seam shut and stood back to admire my work.

This set (I've since made a match for the one in the pictures) is for Katie, to thank her for all the wool and the sweaters she throws my way from time to time. Future pair will vary the embellishment a bit but the basic form is a good one and I can't wait to get some made to list in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned for more photos!


  1. Love, love books. Great books need great bookends. I like how you threw in a little mathematical thinking there. I could never recall the Pythagorean Theorem and am officially in admiration of you, haha.