Valhalla's Things


Welcome to my blog, where I post sporadically about the things I do and the ones I make.

Recent posts

Chickpea Crackers

Posted on September 20, 2023

A flatbread, prescored into small portions, but still in one
piece on top of a plate and overflowing to the side (it's about 10
cm × 30 cm or so). A side is thin and more browned, the other side
is a bit thicker and paler.

And another half-written article I had in my repo. (Am I doing #FallFinishAlong with blog articles instead of / in addition to craft projects? it feels so).

I was in need of snacks. I wanted something bready, but with a bit less carbs and more proteins. I had a bag of chickpea flour.

Ingredients were:

  • 100 g wheat flour
  • 100 g chickpea flour
  • 100 g water
  • 3 g salt
  • 1 g dry yeast

Mix everything as usual for bread, leave to rise for 4-6 hours.

Divide in 4 parts, roll them out to a thickness of about 1 – 2 mm, prick them with a fork (or the fancy cracker pricking tool that you don’t really need but I may have bought).

Optionally spray with a bit of water and sprinkle with salt (coarse or flake is best).

Preheat the oven to 240°C and cook for 5 minutes, or preheat the oven to 210°C and cook for 10 minutes for a dryer version.

I’ve tried both cooking temperatures: the 210°C had the big advantage of being the same as the common bread I was already making, so no additional oven time was required (it was summer. this was a consideration.), but I’m not sure which version I like best, so I think in winter I will alternate between the two.

Put it in a cotton (linen?) bag and keep it in a dry place, where it will keep for weeks (assuming you’ve made a bigger batch :D ).

This is now part of my staples.

Installing minidlna

Posted on September 19, 2023

I’ve found the draft of this article I almost completely wrote (checks) more than 3 months ago, and I guess it’s time to finish and publish it.

The very first A10 based device that entered our home, before they started to use it for SBCs, was a Chinese media server with a slot for a 3.5" hard disk and a few analogue audio outputs.

Of course from the time it entered our home it has always been running Debian.

Now that we may have a few, more powerful, A20 SBCs available, it has been fully dedicated to music: it is connected to the stereo, the hard disk has a clone of the git-annex repository where I’ve ripped all of my CDs1 and is played by connecting via ssh and running alsaplayer.

It’s simple (for my tastes). it works. Unless you’re in a different room than the one with the stereo.

And then I read this post on the fediverse that suggested installing minidlna on an old Raspberry Pi, and on a whim I decided I needed it.

I installed the package from Debian, set a few easy settings in the configuration file (such as which directories to serve), restarted the service.

And that’s it, it just worked.

The only thing I had to take care about is that to use git-annex repositories as the source of media files either the root of the repository should be used as media-dir, or the wide_links options should be set to yes, otherwise the symbolic links that point outside of the media-dir won’t be served.

As a client I used VLC (note for myself in case I ever forget, it’s under View → Playlist and then Local Network → Universal Plug ‘n’ Play), mostly because I already had it around.

Now that I’ve used it for a few months I have to say that it isn’t a perfect solution: the main format I store my music in is in flac 2, which isn’t supported by dlna; for a significant part of it I’ve also already generated single-song ogg files for convenience 3, and at least it works for those.

I don’t store (yet?) my video collection on the A10 device, but I did a quick test, and no, of course a raw dump of a DVD as generated by dvdbackup isn’t supported, so I would have to convert those too. And there is some support for subtitles as a separate file (which is something else I tend to have around), but only one file, with strict requirements for the name, which is a bit restrictive.

On the other hand, the hassle to set this up was so low that the functionality / hassle ratio is most definitely worth, and I’m quite happy I did and plan to continue using it.

  1. (yes, I’m still using CDs, I have objections to those newfangled streaming services)↩︎

  2. full CD rip in a single file, with an embedded cuesheet, to preserve as much as possible of the original disc.↩︎

  3. in theory the flac was supposed to be future-proof storage, with the ogg files for actual use, but then I always listen to full albums, so the flac just work, and I only tend to bother generating the ogg when I’m already generating mp3 for the car.↩︎

Non-e (Note)Book

Posted on September 18, 2023

A coptic bound book with a blue PCB as the cover.

Some time ago our LUG bought some things from and while browsing around the website my SO and I decided to add a junk box to the order and see what we would get.

Other than a few useful things, there were two mostly unpopulated boards for the inkplate 10 which would have been pretty hard to reuse as electronics.

Two PCBs for the Inkplate 10 from eradionica, unpopulated.
They are rectangles with a long slit close to one long side, a
few holes and a notch at the bottom.

On the other hand, at 23 cm × 18 cm they are a size that is reasonable for a book, and the slit near a long edge made them look suitable for the cover plates of a coptic bound book.

Since the size isn’t a standard one, I used some paper I already had in big (A1) sheet: Clairefontaine Dessin Croquis Blanc at 120 g/m², and cut 32 sheet 466 mm × 182 mm big, to have room to trim the excess at the end and straighten the edges. This would make 8 signatures of 4 sheet each, for a total of 128 pages.

The paper will make it suitable both as a notebook (where I’ll write with liquid ink, of course, not ballpoints) or as a sketchbook for pencil (but not wet techniques).

I could have added a few more signatures, but this felt already good enough, and the risk to end up with an half-empty notebook was non-trivial (I will already have to force myself to actually use it, rather than keep it for a good topic that will never be).

First we finished depopulating the boards, using it as a desoldering exercise and trying (and not always succeeding) to save as many components as possible, even if most of them were too tiny for our current soldiering skills.

The book, closed, partially sewn.

And then I only had to sew the book, which was done mostly while watching the DebConf streams.

The finished book seen from the front edge, showing that the
trimming isn't very smooth.

And a couple of days later, trim and sand the pages, which as usual I could have done better, but, well, it works.

The next time I do something like this I think I will have to add a couple more mm also to the height, to be able to trim also those edges.

A coptic bound book, open between signatures, on white pages.

And now of course the Big Question is: what should I dedicate this notebook to? Will I actually use it? This year? This decade?

How I Keep my Life in Git

Posted on September 12, 2023
git secret_cabal greet

After watching My life in git, after subversion, after CVS. from DebConf, I’ve realized it’s been a while since I talked about the way I keep everything1 I do in git, and I don’t think I’ve ever done it online, so it looked like a good time for a blog post.

Beyond git itself (of course), I use a few git-related programs:

  • myrepos (also known as mr) to manage multiple git repositories with one command;
  • vcsh to make it easy to keep dot-files under git;
  • git annex to store media files (anything that is big and will not change);
  • etckeeper to keep an history of the /etc directory;
  • gitolite and cgit to host my git repositories;

and some programs that don’t use git directly, but easily interact with it:

  • ansible to keep track of the system configuration of all machines;
  • lesana as a project tracker and journal and to inventory the things made of atoms that are hard 2 to store in git.

All of these programs are installed from Debian packages, on stable (plus rarely backports) or testing, depending on the machine.

I’m also grateful to the vcs-home people, who wrote most of the tools I use, and sometimes hang around their IRC channel.

And now, on to what I’m actually doing.

With the git repositories I’ve decided to err for too much granularity rather than too little3, so of course each project has its own repository, and so do different kinds of media files, dot-files that are related to different programs etc.

Most of the repositories are hosted on two gitolite servers: one runs on the home server, for stuff that should remain private, and the other one is on my VPS for things that are public (or may become public in the future), and also has a web interface with cgit. Of course things where I’m collaborating with other people are sometimes hosted elsewhere, mostly on salsa, sourcehut or on $DAYJOB related gitlab instances.

The .mr directory is where everything is managed: I don’t have a single .mrconfig file but a few different ones, that in turn load all files in a directory with the same name:

  • for the media file annexes and inventories (split into different files, so that computers with little disk space can only get the inventories);
  • for stuff that should only go on my own personal machine, not on shared ones;
  • for the actual projects, with different files for the kinds of projects (software, docs, packaging, crafts, etc.);
  • with all of the vcsh repositories, including the one that tracks the mr files (I’ll talk about the circular dependency later);
  • for repositories that are related to $DAYJOB.

Then there are the files in the .mr/machines directory, each one of which has the list of repositories that should be on every specific machine, including a generic workstation, but also specific machines such as e.g. the media center which has a custom set of repositories.

The dot files from my home directory are kept in vcsh, so that it’s easy to split them out into different repositories, and I’m mostly used the simplest configuration described in the 30 Second How-to in its homepage; vcsh gives some commands to work on all vcsh repositories at the same time, but most of the time I work on a single repository, and use mr to act on more than one repo.

The media collections are also pretty straightforward git-annex repositories, one for each kind of media (music, movies and other videos, e-books, pictures, etc.) and I don’t use any auto-syncing features but simply copy and move files around between clones with the git annex copy, git annex move and git annex get commands.

There isn’t much to say about the project repositories (plain git), and I think that the way I use my own program lesana for inventories and project tracking is worth an article of its own, here I’ll just say that the file format used has been designed (of course) to work nicely with git.

On every machine I install etckeeper so that there is a history of the changes in the /etc directory, but that’s only a local repository, not stored anywhere else, and is used mostly in case something breaks with an update or in similar situation. The authoritative source for the configuration of each machine is an ansible playbook (of course saved in git) which can be used to fully reconfigure the machine from a bare Debian installation.

When such a reconfiguration from scratch happens, it will be in two stages: first a run of ansible does the system-wide configuration (including installing packages, creating users etc.), and then I login on the machine and run mr to set up my own home. Of course there is a chicken-and-egg problem in that I need the mr configuration to know where to get the mr configuration, and that is solved by having setup two vcsh repositories from an old tarball export: the one with the ssh configuration to access the repositories and the one with the mr files.

So, after a machine has been configured with ansible what I’ll actually do is to login, use vcsh pull to update those two repositories and then run mr to checkout everything else.

And that’s it, if you have questions on something feel free to ask me on the fediverse or via email (contacts are in the about page)

Update (2023-09-12 17:00ish): The ~/.mr directory is not special for mr, it’s just what I use and then I always run mr -c ~/.mr/some/suitable/, with the actual file being different whether I’m registering a new repo or checking out / updating them. I could include some appropriate ~/.mr/machines/ in ~/.mrconfig, but I’ve never bothered to do so, since it wouldn’t cover all usecases anyway. Thanks to the person on #vcs-home@OFTC who asked me the question :)

  1. At least, everything that I made that is made of bits, and a diary and/or inventory of the things made of atoms.↩︎

  2. until we get a working replicator, I guess :D↩︎

  3. in time I’ve consolidated a bit some of the repositories, e.g. merging the repositories for music from different sources (CD rips, legal downloads, etc.) into a single repository, but that only happened a few times, and usually I’m fine with the excess of granularity.↩︎

Banners and Signs

Posted on September 8, 2023

I forgot to write down the details back when it happened, but now that the surprise has been delivered I can write about it.

A triangular fabric banner, black with a reflective grey
border, and a penguin outline where part of the outline is in
the shape of Lake Como screenprinted in white and light blue.

Some time ago, I decided to make a small banner with the GL-Como penguin for a friend, because reasons.

However, this friend has a big problem, he, well, is from Pisa (no, I’m not from Leghorn, why do you ask?), and I had a screen printing kit, openclipart and no inhibitions.

Three fabric banners: one is the one mentioned above, two are
square with a yellow corded border, a yellow triangle and a
tower of Pisa in black in the middle. The yellow triangles
aren't perfectly flat yellow, but somewhat ruined, one more
than the other.

So, with the encouragement of a few friends who were in the secret, this happened. In two copies, because the first attempt at the print had issues.

And yesterday we finally met that friend again, gave him all of the banners, and no violence happened, but he liked them :D

An ISO 7071-style triangle warning sign with a simplified tower
of Pisa in black on yellow background.

If somebody is interested, the source image I used is on openclipart, with links to all of the sources I’ve used.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but when I was working on the Pisani sign I also stumbled on the “no dogs” sign and decided that the world needed a “mandatory cat” sign, and well, here is the full set (all images are a link to the openclipart page).

ISO 7071 “no dogs” sign, a black dog on white background with a
red circle with a diagonal line.

ISO 7071-style “mandatory cats” sign, a white cat on blue
circle background.

ISO 7071-style “mandatory dogs” sign, a white dog on blue
circle background.

ISO 7071-style “no cats”, a black cat on white background with
a red circle with a diagonal line.

Origami Document Folder

Posted on August 1, 2023

A pink origami holder for business cards, open, with two triangular
pockets. The cards in it are pope cards and a Debian
“consensually” name card.

A long time ago, around the turn of the century, I was looking at some Useful Origami website and found a pattern for a document folder with a lot of pockets.

The same holder, seen from the top: it also has rectangular
pockets on the covers, and there is even room in the middle for
moar contents.

And by a lot of pockets I really mean a lot! I immediately had to fold one, and then another one, and then a few others, both in a size suitable for business cards and as a folder for A4 sheets of paper.

A document folder in the same shape, but it's white, bigger,
and it has an envelope in one pocket and some stationery sheets
in the other pocket.

And then, a few years ago I needed a new document folder, and looked for these instructions, and couldn’t find them anywhere. Luckily I still had some of the folders I had made, and the model was simple enough that I could unfold those and reconstruct the instructions.

I tried to show them around to see if anybody knew where it came from, but had no results.

An origami schematic; see the link below for text instructions.

Now that I’ve prepared a new website for patterns for non-fiber crafts (and that I needed a new folder :D ) I’ve decided to post those instructions on it, so that they will have a stable place to live on.

And now that the #origami crowd on the fediverse has grown, maybe somebody will stumble on them and will remember where they come from: if you do, please let me know, with a comment if you’re reading this on the fediverse, or through one of my contacts if you’re reading the blog directly.

Elastic Neck Top

Posted on July 26, 2023

A woman wearing a top in white fabric with thin blue lines and
two groups of blue lozenges near the hems. It has a square neck
gathered by a yellow elastic, the blue lines are horizontal on
the wide sleeves and vertical, and more spaced, on the body.

Since some time I’ve been thinking about making myself a top or a dress with a wide gathered neckline that can be work at different widths, including off-the-shoulders.

A few years ago I’ve been gifted a cut of nice, thin white fabric with a print of lines and lozenges that isn’t uniform along the fabric, but looks like it was designed for some specific garment, and it was waiting in my stash for a suitable pattern.

And a few days ago, during a Sunday lunch, there was an off-hand mention of a dress from the late 1970s which had an elastic in the neckline, so that it could be optionally worn off-the-shoulders.

And something snapped in place.

I had plans for that afternoon, but they were scrapped, and I started to draw, measure, cut rectangles of fabric, pin and measure again, cut more fabric.

The main pieces of the top laid flat: a big rectangle for the body,

two rectangular tubes for the sleeves laid so that they meet the body just at the corners, and a triangle (a square gusset folded on the diagonal) joins them to the body.

I decided on a pattern made of rectangles to be able to use as much fabric as possible, with the size of each rectangle based mostly on the various sections on the print of the fabric.

I’ve made the typical sleeves from a rectangle and a square gusset, and then attached them to the body just from the gusset to keep the neckline wide and low.

The worn top shown from the side back: there is a strip of
vertical lines spaced closer together like on the sleeves, and
it continues to the bottom rather than ending with a strip of

The part of the fabric with large vertical stripes had two different widths: I could have made the back narrower, but I decided to just keep a strip with narrower lines to one side.

The fabric also didn’t have a full second strip of lozenges, so I had to hem it halfway through it.

Closeup of the center front and center back of the neckline
casing, showing the matched lines.

The casing for the elastic was pieced from various scraps, but at least I was able to match the lines on the center front and back, even if they are different. Not that it matters a lot, since it’s all hidden in the gathering, but I would have known.

And since I was working on something definitely modern, even if made out of squares and rectangles, of course I decided to hand-sew everything, mostly to be able to use quite small sewing allowances, since the fabric was pretty thin.

In my stash I had a piece of swimsuit elastic that feels nice, looks nice and makes a knot that doesn’t slip, so I used it. It’s a perfect match, except for the neon yellow colour, which I do like, but maybe is a bit too high visibility? I will see if the haberdasher has the same elastic in dark blue, but right now this will do.

It was a quick project anyway: by the end of the working week the top was finished; I think that on a sewing machine it would be easy to make it in a day.

the top worn with the neckline pulled down to leave the
shoulders bare.

And it can be worn off the shoulders! Which is something I will probably never do in public (and definitely not outdoors), but now if I wanted I could! :D

As usual, the pattern (for what pattern there is) and instructions are on my pattern website under a #FreeSoftWear license, and I’ve also added to the site a tip on how I use electrician fish tape to thread things through long casings

Shawl Calculations

Posted on June 16, 2023

Update 2023-06-17: I had missed an N in the formulas, they have been updated, and since I was editing this I’ve added the haskell bit.

I’ve just realized that I’m not anywhere close to finishing the shawl I’m knitting, so I’ve done the perfectly logical and rational thing and started a new one.

This one is using some yarn from the stash, so its size is limited by the available yarn, and I wanted to estimate how long it may be, so I weighted the ball of yarn at the beginning and then again after knitting 10 and 20 rows.

It’s a top-down crescent, with 6 increases every two rows (but these calculations should work for any uniform top-down shawl with a regular number of increases), so each block of 10 rows should use an approximately fixed weight of yarn more than the previous block of 10 rows.

So, let w0 be the weight of the first block of rows, wr the (average) difference between two consecutive blocks and wT the total weight of the shawl. Then the weight used by block i should be wi = w0 + wr ⋅ i and the total weight of the shawl should be:

$$w_T = \sum_{i=0}^{N}w_i = N ⋅ w_0 + w_r ⋅ \frac{N ( N + 1)}{2}$$

where N is the number of blocks in the whole shawl.

This gives:

N2 + (1 + 2 ⋅ w0/wr) ⋅ N − 2 * wT/wr = 0

and the only positive solution will be:

$$N = - 1/2 - w_0/w_r + \sqrt(1/4 + w_0^2/w_r^2 - w_0/w_r + 2 ⋅ w_T/w_r)$$

or, in a few lines of python that can be easily copypasted (changing the values in ws and w_T, of course):

import math
import statistics

w_T = 200
ws = [2, 4, 6]
w_r = statistics.mean(map(lambda x: x[0] - x[1], zip(ws[1:], ws)))
-1/2 - ws[0] / w_r + math.sqrt(1/4 + ws[0]**2 / w_r**2 - ws[0]/w_r + 2 * w_T / w_r)

Or, in Haskell:

let ws = [2, 4, 6]
let w_T = 200
let w_0 = head ws
let w_r = ( sum (map (\(x,y) -> y-x) (zip ws (drop 1 ws))) ) / (fromIntegral (length ws - 1))
-1/2 - w_0 / w_r + sqrt (1/4 + (w_0/w_r)**2 - w_0/w_r + 2 * w_T / w_r)

Which right now (using the actual measured values) tells me I will have about 135 rows in my shawl, but I’d really want to do a few more blocks of 10 rows and have more datapoints before I trust the numbers I’ve put in.

Which means that this shawl will also take forever.

Late Victorian Combinations

Posted on May 26, 2023

A woman wearing a white linen combination suite, with a very
fitted top, small sleevelets that cover the armpits (to protect
the next layers from sweat) and split drawers. The suite buttons
up along the front (where it is a bit tight around the bust) and
has a line of lace at the neckline and two tucks plus some lace at
the legs.

Some time ago, on an early Friday afternoon our internet connection died. After a reasonable time had passed we called the customer service, they told us that they would look into it and then call us back.

On Friday evening we had not heard from them, and I was starting to get worried. At the time in the evening when I would have been relaxing online I grabbed the first Victorian sewing-related book I found on my hard disk and started to read it.

For the record, it wasn’t actually Victorian, it was Margaret J. Blair. System of Sewing and Garment Drafting. from 1904, but I also had available for comparison the earlier and smaller Margaret Blair. System of Garment Drafting. from 1897.

A page from the book showing the top part of a pattern with all
construction lines

Anyway, this book had a system to draft a pair of combinations (chemise top + drawers); and months ago I had already tried to draft a pair from another system, but they didn’t really fit and they were dropped low on the priority list, so on a whim I decided to try and draft them again with this new-to-me system.

Around 23:00 in the night the pattern was ready, and I realized that my SO had gone to sleep without waiting for me, as I looked too busy to be interrupted.

The next few days were quite stressful (we didn’t get our internet back until Wednesday) and while I couldn’t work at my day job I didn’t sew as much as I could have done, but by the end of the week I had an almost complete mockup from an old sheet, and could see that it wasn’t great, but it was a good start.

One reason why the mockup took a whole week is that of course I started to sew by machine, but then I wanted flat-felled seams, and felling them by hand is so much neater, isn’t it?

And let me just say, I’m grateful for the fact that I don’t depend on streaming services for media, but I have a healthy mix of DVDs and stuff I had already temporary downloaded to watch later, because handsewing and being stressed out without watching something is not really great.

Anyway, the mockup was a bit short on the crotch, but by the time I could try it on and be sure I was invested enough in it that I decided to work around the issue by inserting a strip of lace around the waist.

And then I went back to the pattern to fix it properly, and found out that I had drafted the back of the drawers completely wrong, making a seam shorter rather than longer as it should have been. ooops.

I fixed the pattern, and then decided that YOLO and cut the new version directly on some lightweight linen fabric I had originally planned to use in this project.

The result is still not perfect, but good enough, and I finished it with a very restrained amount of lace at the neckline and hems, wore it one day when the weather was warm (loved the linen on the skin) and it’s ready to be worn again when the weather will be back to being warm (hopefully not too soon).

The last problem was taking pictures of this underwear in a way that preserves the decency (and it even had to be outdoors, for the light!).

This was solved by wearing leggings and a matched long sleeved shirt under the combinations, and then promptly forgetting everything about decency and, well, you can see what happened.

A woman mooning by keeping the back of split drawers open with her
hands, but at least there are black leggings under them.

The pattern is, as usual, published on my pattern website as #FreeSoftWear.

And then, I started thinking about knits.

In the late Victorian and Edwardian eras knit underwear was a thing, also thanks to the influence of various aspects of the rational dress movement; reformers such as Gustav Jäger advocated for wool underwear, but mail order catalogues from the era such as (starting from page 67) have listings for both cotton and wool ones.

From what I could find, back then they would have been either handknit at home or made to shape on industrial knitting machines; patterns for the former are available online, but the latter would probably require a knitting machine that I don’t currently1 have.

However, this is underwear that is not going to be seen by anybody2, and I believe that by using flat knit fabric one can get a decent functional approximation.

In The Stash I have a few meters of a worked cotton jersey with a pretty comfy feel, and to make a long story short: this happened.

a woman wearing a black cotton jersey combination suite; the
front is sewn shut, but the neck is wide and finished with
elastic.  The top part is pretty fitted, but becomes baggier
around the crotch area and the legs are a comfortable width.

I suspect that the linen one will get worn a lot this summer (linen on the skin. nothing else need to be said), while the cotton one will be stored away for winter. And then maybe I may make a couple more, if I find out that I’m using it enough.

  1. cue ominous music. But first I would need space to actually keep and use it :)↩︎

  2. other than me, my SO, any costuming friend I may happen to change in the presence of, and everybody on the internet in these pictures.↩︎

Correspondence Book

Posted on May 26, 2023

A Coptic bound book open to the first page with the title “Book
of <space> Correspondence / Volume <space> Years <space>”

I write letters. The kind that are written on paper with a dip pen 1 and ink, stamped and sent through the post, spend a few days or weeks maturing like good wine in a depot somewhere2, and then get delivered to the recipient.

Some of them (mostly cards) are to people who will receive them and thank me via xmpp (that sounds odd, but actually works out nicely), but others are proper letters with long texts that I exchange with penpals.

Most of those are fountain pen frea^Wenthusiasts, so I usually use a different ink each time, and try to vary the paper, and I need to keep track of what I’ve used.

Some time ago, I’ve read a Victorian book3 which recommended keeping a correspondence book to register all mail received and sent, the topics and whether it had been replied or otherwise acted upon. I don’t have the mail traffic of a Victorian lady (or even middle class woman), but this looked like something fun to do, and if I added fields for the inks and paper used it would also have useful side effect.

A page with writing lines with the title of the field below it:
it has a number and then date, sender / recipient (at the ends of
the same line, in reply to / replied, ink, paper, pen, topics /

So I headed over to the obvious program anybody would use for these things (XeLaTeX, of course) and quickly designed a page with fields for the basic thinks I want to record; it was a bit hurried, and I may improve on it the next time I make one, but I expect this one to last me two or three years, and it is good enough.

I’ve decided to make it A6 sized, so that it doesn’t require a lot of space on my busy desktop, and it could be carried inside a portable desktop, if I ever decide to finish the one for which I’ve made a mockup years ago :)

Picture of book open to the correspondent pages: the fields are
name, letters sent, letters received, address and notes.

I’ve also added a few pages for the addresses of my correspondents (and an index of the letters I’ve exchanged with them), and a few empty pages for other notes.

Then I’ve used my script to rearrange the A6 pages into signatures and impress them on A4; to reduce later effort I’ve added an option to order the pages in such a way that if I then cut four A4 sheet in half at a time (the limit of my rotary cutter) the signatures are ready to be folded. It’s not the default because it requires that the pages are a multiple of 32 rather than just 16 (and they are padded up with empty pages if they aren’t).

If you’re also interested in making one, here are the files:

the book open to the page of letter two, which is repeated

After printing (an older version where some of the pages are repeated. whoops, but it only happened 4 times, and it’s not a big deal), it was time for binding this into a book.

I’ve opted for Coptic stitch, so that the book will open completely flat and writing on it will be easier and the covers are 2 mm cardboard covered in linen-look bookbinding paper (sadly I no longer have a source for bookbinding cloth made from actual cloth).

The grey cover of the book with the word correspondence, a
stylised envelope and a border in blue.

I tried to screenprint a simple design on the cover: the first attempt was unusable (the paper was smaller than the screen, so I couldn’t keep it in the right place and moved as I was screenprinting); on the second attempt I used some masking tape to keep the paper in place, and they were a bit better, but I need more practice with the technique.

Finally, I decided that for such a Victorian thing I will use an Iron-gall ink, but it’s Rohrer & Knlingner Scabiosa, with a purple undertone, because life’s too short to use blue-black ink :D

And now, I’m off to write an actual letter, rather than writing online about things that are related to letter writing.

  1. not a quill! I’m a modern person who uses steel nibs!↩︎

  2. Milano Roserio, I’m looking at you. a month to deliver a postcard from Lombardy to Ticino? not even a letter, which could have hidden contraband, a postcard.↩︎

  3. I think. I’ve looked at some plausible candidates and couldn’t find the source.↩︎

…this is probably not the beginning, you can find more in the archives.