Longstitch Journal: Versatile, Easy to Make

The longstitch binding method on a journal creates a useful book that lies flat and is easy to construct.

The Creative Quest in Glendale, AZ has a class called “book of the month.” You go in on class day and two hours later, you’ll come out with a completed book. The class is fast-paced and fun, because the drudgery of book binding–the measuring and cutting–is largely done for you. One of the owners, Kathie Shephard, teaches the class and she doesn’t let you stare into space. In Kathie’s class, you pay attention. And you love it.

Longstitch journal. It has a boxy shape that's useful.

The last journal I made there was a longstitch journal. The books are wedge-shaped, like a binder. That might make it hard to chuck in your purse, but there are advantages to the longstitch journal.

The longstitch journal has a distinctive spine. Each column of stitches holds two signatures.

The biggest advantage is the room for fat pages. If you like your journal pages collaged and stuffed with memorabillia, this is the journal for you. The spine makes it roomy. When you make this journal, plan ahead and don’t pull the stitching as tight as I did. (It’s an old problem, I knit bullet-proof scarves, too.)

Making it is not hard. When you add the second (and the rest) of the signatures (groups of pages) you don’t have to force them in because there is enough room in the spine. The stitching is not difficult and goes the same way for all the signatures.

The inside pages are easily accessible for drawing and the whole thing lies flat. It doesn’t get much better then that.  I know you’ll want to make one, or a few.  Here are some easy instructions for doing your own longstitch journal, courtesy Teesha Moore. And here are more websites and videos to help you make that just-for-you journals.

The stitching helps the journal lie flat.

Have you made one of these? I’d love to see one that’s been filled in to see how it looks.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. She teaches people how to fill up their journals.