Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Step-by-step: Making a journal cover - part one

Our local crafters group did an exchange I was able to take part in this time: embellished journal covers.  For my partner, I decided to make an embellished crochet journal cover that could be removed and used again.

I took photos of the step-by-step process and will be splitting it up into several parts.  Partly because of the number of photos, and partly because I don't have time to do the whole thing at once. ;-)

For the first part, I'll cover how I worked it out to fit the specific journal I had.  If I do it right, you should be able to follow along to make a cover to fit pretty much any hard cover book.  If something isn't clear, feel free to ask me questions in the comments.

First up, the materials.


I decided to keep it quick and simple.  I stuck with black to match the book's cover and chose a bulky yarn for the body of the cover, which would work up quickly, and a faux fur yarn for contrast and a bit of silly fun.  I also picked up some brads meant for scrapbooking as extra embellishments.  At the time I chose them, I wasn't quite decided on if I'd use one or both styles.

In choosing yarn for the body of the cover, anything sturdy will do the job.  If you don't mind taking a bit longer, choose a thinner yarn for a less bulky cover.  I wouldn't recommend going thicker, though.  If you wanted to, an unusually textured yarn could be used, and no other embellishment would be needed.

The journal itself is plain and practical, found in the stationary section of a Walmart, with blank lined pages and stickers to mark them.  Any hard cover book you want to protect can be used.


The first part worked is the inner flap, which will be used to form a pocket the book's cover will fit into.  I started out by making a single crochet foundation, rather than working stitches into a foundation chain.  Leave a fairly long tail of yarn for sewing with, later.  I didn't bother counting stitches, and just made it as long as the book's edge.  I then turned and worked sc into the sc foundation.  The sc foundation counts as the first row.


I continued doing rows of sc until the flap portion was about 2-3 inches wide.  Depending on the size of the book, you might want to go wider.  This portion of the cover needs a bit more strength and stability, and since it won't be seen unless the book is opened, plain sc stitches do the job admirably.


The next row will be the row that bends around the edge of the book.  For this, I changed to double crochet for its flexibility.  Unless your book has an unusually thick cover, one row of dc should be enough for any thickness of yarn.  If using crochet thread, I might do a treble stitch instead.


The first row after the folding dc row is done in sc.  Because I was planning to embellish the finished cover, I chose a stitch pattern that would be both plain and sturdy, yet still quite flexible.  I decided to alternate sc and dc rows.  If I'd wanted something sturdier, I would have gone with just sc.  If I weren't planning to embellish the cover further, I would have chosen a more decorative pattern, or used colour changes to add more interest.  Of course there's nothing wrong with a plain cover, either.

In this photo, the large hook is woven into the folding dc row to show where it is.

I worked the alternating sc and dc rows until the body of the cover was long enough to wrap around the book, measuring from the folding dc row and finishing on an sc row slightly short of the edge - I wanted the cover to stretch snugly over the book.  Then I worked another dc row for the fold around the edge, and finished with the same number of sc rows, including the sc foundation, as the first flap.


Here I've placed the finished rectangle around the book, with the flaps tucked under the covers as they will be when closed up.

As you can see, the width of the cover doesn't match the width of the book itself.  The next step will be blocking the piece to the right size.

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