Bookbinding - A row of chain stitches that holds the signatures of a book together. Most rows of kettlestitches are sewn in grooves cut into the backs of the signatures.
The term comes from the German word ketteln, meaning to link or make a chain.
Some styles of bookbinding use kettlestitches at the top and bottom edges, with tapes or cords in between. Others use several rows of kettlestitches.
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How to sew up a book using only kettlestitches:
- Cut a shallow groove in the backs of all of the signatures where the rows of kettlestitches will be.
- Lay the first signature out, with the top of the book to your right.
- Run the thread through the first signature (which we will call A) from the bottom to the top, leaving the end trailing by about 2 inches. Make small loops of thread hanging out at each row of kettlestitches planned. The needle end of the thread should come out of the top hole.
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n = needle
- Push the needle through the top hole of the second signature (B). Bring it out at each kettlestitch cut, and pass the needle through the loops you left in the first signature. At the bottom, pull the threads tight in both signatures and tie them off.
- Lay the third signature down (C), top to the right as usual. Put the needle in at the bottom hole, then bring it out at the next kettlestitch cut along. Pull the thread taut. You are now ready to do your first kettlestitch.
- Take the thread from the hole in your left hand, maintaining tension.
- Pass the needle between signatures A and B so that the thread goes from right to left behind the knot you made at the end of step 2.
- Bring the needle out between the knot and the thread you're holding in your right hand, so the thread path looks like this:
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n = needle
$ = knot
- Draw the knot tight and pass the needle back into signature C through the same hole it came out of.
- Continue to the end of the signature, making kettlestitches in each row. Be sure to make a kettlestitch linking signature C to A and B at the extreme right before adding a signature D.
- Repeat steps 5 - 10 until all your signatures are stitched in. Then do a couple of kettlestitches at the final row and cut the thread off.
Covering the book is left as an exercise for the student.