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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthess

Handmade Knitted Journals

Everyone who hand-spins and hand-dyes their own wool will know the 'itch' to want to make something with it instead of just selling it as-is!

These journal covers are in 2 sizes, small is 6"x4" (below) and the larger is 6"x8" (above).

The fun thing is that there's no pattern and I just create them as I go, matching yarns, and using small 'shots' of artyarns that perhaps would be too small to go in larger projects.

I had fun making this one below, because I had hand-painted some handspun skeins of Shetland wool with cochineal, madder root and onion skins, and I desperately wanted to see at least one of them knitted up!

Book ends are made from 100% cotton, and I try to colour-match them to the yarn somehow. Either a zanny contrast, or something that blends. Bali Batik fabric like this one just below is very suitable because it's quite 'stiff' fabric. That's because the base fabric they dye on is more closely woven than normal quilt making fabric. So it makes a really good book-end even though it's slightly more expensive to buy.

The journal below was knitted from some of my 'Sea-Breeze' artyarn which contains little wave-tumbled sea-glass beads found on Northern Ireland beaches. I had them hand-drilled and incorporated them into the yarn as I spun it, along with some BFL locks. 'Beach-hut' fabric finished this off, with a lovely smoothed sea-pottery button, from Sand Between My Toes UK

This piece of pottery was found on a County Sligo beach and drilled specially for the colour-way I was using on this particular journal cover.

More Bali Batick fabric below, except this piece has hand-painting on it as well, which I just love.

The zig-zag edge took a long time to knit, and was a bit fiddly, but worth it. This particular journal is entirely dyed using nettles gathered behind my house. I incorporated some BFL and antique looking lace in it as well.

I prefer to source buttons that are hand-made, and that's part of the fun, to match the button to the yarn-colours.

Loads of work, but it's work I love. Probably this is not a cost effective way to run a business but it's creative and enjoyable which is all part of life.

Journal inserts are available at Eason's and WHSmiths, as replacements when these are filled. I put lined journals inside each cover, but they could be plain sketch paper, and become art-journals, or scrap-books. I make each cover to go on a 8.25"x6" (large size) journal, but because there's a little 'stretch' in the knitting, they would accomodate a very slightly larger or smaller book.

Have a go!

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