It is always satisfying seeing a project come to fruition after a lot of trial and error.
Ever since I picked up a crochet hook, the one thing I always wanted to make is a book sleeve so I can travel around with one of my current reads in my bag and not worry about it getting damaged, because I really hate the prospect of pulling out a book to see a key scratch or a bent corner of the front cover etc. It drives me crazy! The only acceptable wear and tear on a book can come from me reading it repeatedly over the years, not because it was bashed around in my bag.
Anyway, my point was that every time I made a book sleeve, there was always a problem with it – the seams were messy, the measurements were way off, the cotton yarn I was using was too thin, I tried to be too clever in the design…etcetera, etcetera. It never worked out the way I wanted it. I thought I’d just resign to the fact it wasn’t going to be, I should just move onto the next project and forget about it.
However, as you can figure out, I didn’t forget about it very well because on browsing my yarn stash last week, I saw some variegated cotton that I’d used to make one of the not-so-good book sleeves and something inside me urged me to try again. So I did, and guess what…IT WORKED!
The book sleeve is the right height and width for what I wanted and the cotton worked up beautifully!
It’s made with Rico Cotton Creative Prints (50g, aran weight) in their fuchsia colourway, using a 4mm hook. It’s the smallest of the recommended hook sizes for this cotton but I wanted it to be as tight, sturdy and protective as possible. It is crocheted in the round with UK half trebles (US half double) so the only sewing I had to do was weave in the tail ends. Easy! Unblocked it measures 16x21cm and is the perfect size for a paperback with a maximum of 500 pages. Anything over that was too big and it distorted the fabric. So if I wanted a sleeve to fit any of the books on my shelves like A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, or The Dark Vault by VE Schwab (definitely 500pgs plus), I’d need to make a bigger one.
Hopefully now I’ve managed to successfully crochet this sleeve, I can tweak the stitch count and the foundation row stitches slightly to make that bigger size, not just for a paperback but a hardback book as well as they deserve pretty crocheted accessories too!
I can also say for certainty that the sleeve is holding up pretty well. It’s been bouncing around in my bag for the last few days protecting The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and there’s no damage to either the sleeve or book.
I’m chuffed to bits with it and it will definitely be making more of them because book sleeves are akin to project bags – you can never have enough of them!