Abaca paper, or should we call it yarn?

Last week our member (and group president) Dinah proudly showed off her just-completed girdle book.

So what are girdle books?
Simply put, they were originally small portable books worn by medieval European monks, clergymen and aristocratic nobles as a costume accessory.  These books normally contained religious texts and were suspended from a waist chain, belt or ‘girdle’

Women especially wore the girdle book out of convenience since it was already fashionable, at least in the 15th century, to wear a girdle belt above the waistline.  A book secured on the girdle belt enabled hands-free carrying and protected valuable books from theft.

It was usual for the books to have a leather binding which continued in a long tapered tail with a large knot at the end which could be tucked into one’s girdle or belt. The knot was usually strips of leather woven together for durability.

However, Dinah has brought the concept up to date by using Abaca paper yarn to knit a cover, extending it and tying a knot in one end, which would fulfill the ability to tuck it into a belt or waistband.

So what exactly is Abaca?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, it is this:

Abaca (Musa textilis), plant of the family Musaceae, and its fibre, which is second in importance among the leaf fibre group.  Abaca fibre, unlike most other leaf fibres, is obtained from the plant leaf stalks (petioles).  Although sometimes known as Manila hemp, Cebu hemp, or Davao hemp, the abaca plant is not related to true hemp.

http://www.dairing.com.au tells us the yarn is made  in Japan using both cutting-edge and traditional technology.  It is fantastic for knitting & weaving and is not only eco-friendly, but also light and fuzz free, as well as having good ventilation, insulation and touch.

Dinah’s book cover has been knitted in single yarn for the main part, with the central closure in double yarn.  Her book has been constructed from a variety of handmade papers.  Great result.

http://www.dairing.com.au – source for purchasing Abaca yarn in Australia.

About primrosepaperarts

Currently the Web Master for Primrose Paper Arts is Claire Brach
This entry was posted in Paper, PPA General News, Techniques and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Abaca paper, or should we call it yarn?

  1. It is a wonderful work Dinah

    Liked by 1 person

    • dbeestontpgcomau says:

      Thank you Brenda. I’ve had a fascination with girdle books for a while for some reason and the knitting is taking me in a different direction !!!


  2. Claire B says:

    Having been there and seen the book and cover I’m amazed at how fine the knitted thread is and how evenly it’s knitted up. Beautifully done and a lovely piece to add to your collection of handmade books.


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