Hello, Let’s start by telling us who you are?
What’s you craft?
My craft is called book folding. I design patterns with measurements that when marked in a book and the pages folded over create a picture or words in the side of the book. Great for gifts with a difference. Its very relaxing creating patterns and takes time to fold the books but its a good way to de-stress and relax.
What illness/es do you have?
I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and Dissociative Neurological Disorder in 2007 and just recently i’ve been diagnosed with Lupus. As a result, i’m unable to work in my dream career which I had just qualified for in forensics. I’m tired and in pain all the time and now I have welts and hives for no reason which are so itchy and sore I can’t stand anything on my skin. I’m allergic to the sun so cant go out for long with my two year old and if I do, I have to be covered head to toe and have two layers of factor 50 suncream on, but it still doesn’t help much. I get a whole host of other symptoms which make me feel like giving up but I will not give in.
What are your favourite pieces of craft equipment?
My laptop is great as I can sit when I don’t have much energy and either draw new patterns or write novels without having to move much. It also keeps me in touch with family and friends which keep me sort of sane.
Why did you start crafting?
I first got into card making when I got ill with the M.E. as a way to keep me busy and give me some sort of thing to look forward to and now it has escalated whoops! I’ve always been creative since I was a child with writing stories and drawing so it was a natural thing for me to do. I now sell my patterns to cover the cost of making the books and all profit from the soldier patterns go to charity for Help for Heroes.
What adaptations or changes have you had to make to craft because of your illness(es)?
There are times when brain fog means I can’t get the ideas from my head to paper or screen so I am unable to do them and it is depressing but got to take one day at a time. Now I have urticaria from the Lupus, any slight pressure on my skin causes welts so I have to watch how I use some tools like craft knifes as you have to hold them firm and tight.
What is your favourite project or part of crafting?
Right now my favourite project is designing patterns, I can create just with my laptop and not use up loads of energy. I start with a silhouette and load it into a program called B.A.D.S which turns it into a pattern.
How expensive is your craft?
Once I have the B.A.D.S program which is just under £40 I can create as many patterns as I want at no extra cost. As for books, I shop in charity shops or the library for cheap books with lots of pages to keep costs down so I can create a finished book folded and decorated and bagged nicely for £5.
Any advice for someone with a chronic illness starting off in your craft?
All you need is a pattern, a ruler, a pencil, and a book and then you can start creating. It does take time to create so just go at your own pace and enjoy the craft.
Dawn has also been good enough to add a quick guide to book folding for anyone wanting to give it a go. (If you are you should check out her Etsy shop as she has some great patterns on there for really good prices, I’m sure if there was something specific you wanted she’d be willing to help too.)
How to work out the book fold
Divide the number of numbered pages in a book by 2 to give you the number of folds. So if a book has 500 pages then it can do a 250 fold pattern. Don’t forget to count the un-numbered pages too (e.g blank pages, dedication pages etc.).
If you have left over pages, such as a pattern of 240 but the book can do 250, then divide the extra pages by 2 and that will give you extra pages to leave at front and back.
Make sure the pages are tall enough for the pattern you want to use, so if the second measurement is 22.4cm you will need a book with at least 23cm tall.
Numbered pages 648
Divide by 2 324
Pattern is 320
Extra pages 4
Divided by 2 2
So you would start the pattern on leaf 3
Keep the ruler firmly in place and mark the first measurement on the page then move the ruler down and mark the second measurement. Fold the corners to the spine of the book as neat as you can then crease the fold.