I have noticed that when one is unmotivated, depressed, or simply feeling down, learning a new craft helps. Or just going and creating something helps a lot. Beading had helped me a lot in a difficult phase of my life.
I hear crochet has helped many with with emotional healing. I have interviewed my friend Jennifer Spears who teaches Crochet. She talks about her difficulties in life, and how crochet helped. Below the video she has given a beginner’s tutorial on how to crochet. And then you get to create a journal cover. 😀 I love the idea, because it’s lovely to maintain journals for your thoughts, ideas, gratitude etc. And to personalize it like this by making your own journal cover will be simply beautiful! Don’t you think?
In this interview she talks about how doing crochet has helped her stay happy through the many health challenges she is facing. When she is in pain and up at night, she chooses to crochet, and gives the finished products for charity. When I talked of “some people might stay up at night with pain and just cry”, I was talking of myself. LOL!! I have done that :P. But next time I will crochet like Jen.
Here is a great book on how crochet helped people with depression and other challenges: Crochet Saved My Life.
So here is Jennifer Spears…she’s been a great friend for years. She is the one I mention in my story of how this website is named “The Purple Flower”. And please don’t mind the mess behind me. I am sitting in my child’s lego room. 😀
Journal Cover Tutorial
by Jennifer Spears
Crochet is so “in” right now! Lacey tops and sweaters in every shop… I feel a flashback to the 1970’s coming on. But this is not your granny’s crochet, filled with filet doilies and squares (although that can be cool!), today we’re going to focus on simplicity and speed. If you’ve never tried crochet before, this is a great opportunity to get started.
Before we start talking projects, let’s briefly talk tools. Because crochet is worked one stitch at a time, hooks only need to be long enough to have a comfortable way to hold them. For beginners, I recommend starting with an H (5mm) hook. It’s a good middle of the road place to start with worsted weight (Medium/4) yarn. Handle style doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable for you. For this project I’ve used Caron Simply Soft Yarn – I like it because it readily available, washable (great for kid stuff), and comes in great colors. It also happens to recommend a size H hook right on the label!
Now that we have our tools, we’re ready to get started! To make this journal cover, you’ll need:
Any journal or book
Hook (H/5mm or follow label recommendations)
Fabric glue and bling if you want to decorate!
Here are the stitches we’re going to use:
Use a slip knot attach the yarn to your hook. (I’m sorry I don’t seem to have this recorded myself, but this one is pretty easy to follow.)
Single crochet in “back ridge” of foundation chain:
1. Use your book as a guideline to determine the number of chains you need to span the book from top to bottom. Try not to hold the yarn too tightly as you chain, because you’ll be inserting your hook into each chain to make your stitches later.
2. Single crochet (abbreviated “sc”) into the second chain from your hook, and in each chain all the way back to your original slip knot. You can insert your hook anywhere in the chain. I personally like to use the back ridge of each chain. I am pointing at the chain I’ll start into:
How it looks after one single crochet (sc):
And after many single crochet (sc):
3. When you reach the end of the row, “chain one” just like you did for the foundation chain. This will allow a little room to turn and work your row back in the other direction.
Turn your work and make one sc into the top loops of each sc in the row below:
After one single crochet (sc) in Row 2:
After many single crochet (sc) in Row 2:
4. Continue repeating Row 3 until your cover is about an inch or so wider on the sides than your open book. Since my book is about 5 ½ inches wide and ½ inch thick, I’m going to shoot for about 13-14 inches total.
5. Once your piece is wide enough, it’s time to “fasten off” your work. Cut your yarn, leaving a few inches for sewing, and just pull your working loop all the way out.
6. Place under your journal, fold that extra 1-1/2 inches towards the spine and sew the top and bottom edges into place. I used a simple whipstitch, which just means hold the two layers together and push the needle through! Once you feel it’s secure, run the needle through a few stitches to hold the yarn end in place, and trim the yarn end flush.
7. Your book is now safely protected! If you want to jazz it up, embroider it, sew on beads, paint it, even fabric glue works great on yarn. Just be sure to remove the book until the glue is dry.
Since the single crochet rows remind me of tire tracks… I’m going to make mine the Piston Cup Champion, and glue on a patch I picked up at CarsLand. Looks great!
Want to learn more about crochet? Visit your Local Yarn Store for tips and classes, and check out yarn company websites and communities like Ravelry for patterns and ideas. Lion Brand Yarn has a great reference for crocheters HERE… and you can always find me over at Just For Fun!
Jennifer Spears lives in Arizona spending as much time as possible looking for the laugh. Sometimes she finds it in her husband, kids and grandkids, and sometimes in helping other people smile along with her. When she’s not hanging out with the grandkids or crocheting she works full-time from home and spends a lot of time on Ravelry (www.ravelry.com – an online community of fiber crafters) as Conductor of the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾ and teaching crochet to anyone who wants to learn.
Her long term medical issues can be a daily struggle, but with a good support system and crochet to keep her mind and hands busy she always finds her way back to the sunny side of the street.
Check out hundreds of her crochet projects on Ravelry:
Or her blog: http://justforfun2291.blogspot.com/
Want to learn how to crochet? Visit her Crochet Q&A group on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/just-for-fun—crochet-qa