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Two-needle Coptic Sewing

Hello, all!

I've been experimenting with a two-needle (as opposed to 4-needle)
Coptic sewing for a model book, and I'm experiencing some technical
problems.  Does anyone have any advice?

Let me first give the original description of what I'm trying to do:

"Before sewing, holes were made in the boards about 3/16 in. from the
back edges at the four sewing stations A, B, C, and D, spaced equally
between the head and tail and each other.  Shallow slots were cut in the
faces of the boards from the holes to the back edges to accommodate the
thread.  Four V-shaped slots were cut across the backs of the sections
for the sewing stations, and the stitches lie in them.
"Two independent threads are used, each with its own needle, working the
sewing stations in pairs.  The sewing of the pairs of stations is
independent; that is, one thread is used only in the pair of sewing
stations closest to the head (A and B), and one in the pair closest to
the tail (C and D).
"At the start, the threads were laced two times through the hole closest
to the head in each pair (A and C), catching the end underneath.  The
threads were passed into the first section, out again at the next holes
(B and D), and through the corresponding holes in the boards.  The
threads were then passed into the second section and back out at the
starting points (A and C), and kettle-stitches were made to join it to
the first section.  From there the needles were passed into the third
section to repeat the process at B and D.
"The sewing was continued in this way to the last section when it was
finished off by sewing through the back board and so attaching this in
the same manner as the front board was attached.
"Except for the tie-down of the headbands, there is no thread between
the head of the book and A, nor between B and C, nor between D and the
This is a composite description of the sewing of a particular book (the
Stonyhurst Gospel of Saint John) taken from several sources.

Now, the problems:

I needed to make the holes in the boards large enough for the needle to
pass through.  Then, I needed to sew through the holes _three_ times
instead of two, so that there to be enough friction to hold the ends
down.  The threads aren't supposed to be pegged, but I've considered
doing that to improve it.

As a result of sewing in the boards, there is a single kettlestitch at A
and C to tighten the first and second gatherings.  B and D are not
joined.  This results in the first gathering being a little loose.  Any
ideas on how to tighten it?

The description of adding the back/lower board is vague.  If I did it
the same way as the front/upper board, the gathering would have been
loose.  I ended up sewing the last gathering to the text block, running
the thread twice through the board, sewing back through the last
gathering, and then sewing to the other sets of holes to finish off.
This results in two threads running through the center of the last
gathering, rather than one, as in all of the other gatherings.

Any suggestions for improvements would be greatly appreciated.

Lyle H. Gray
lyle@xxxxxxxxxxx                                Non animam contine.
Spam bait: postmaster@xxxxxxxxxxxx, abuse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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