So I pulled out the ugly, brittle, scratched wire I had managed to get threaded into the book and did this loose stab binding instead. The stitching is done with red hemp, very strong and doesn't stretch.
OK, so I'm fine with the finally finished book. I do love the cover. It's made from a blown-up print of the cover of an old 1950s pulp novel. The print was a bit thin so I glued it to a nice heavy cardstock backing. I'm getting smarter. This time I used spray adhesive. No warping. The books pages are alternating sheets of graph paper and vellum tracing paper and there are 60 pages total.
Some nights I just have to ask "Why am I doing this again?"