Friday, January 27, 2012

A New Needle BookI

My house has been invaded by needles.  What started out as a meager collection of simple needles appropriate to a new sewer grew when I was given a needle book several years ago.  That needle book had large eyes, blunt tips, and curved needles, all of which quickly became my favorite.  Recently, I think I have quadrupled the amount of needles in my house with the collection from my grandfather’s late girlfriend.  Then, I went and bought longer needles for weaving.

Where do I put all these needles?  How do I remember where I put them?

I take a great idea and make it better.

Remember that needle book I mentioned?  It was a small thing made of plastic canvas with a thinner strap to hold it closed.  The large needles it came with barely fit in it, and the strap long ago fell off.  So I made a new, larger version.
My new purple, white, and black needle book.  Yes, it looks blue, but I swear it's purple.

Plastic Canvas Needle Book
Plastic canvas
Yarn needle
Sewing thread

1 – Decide on the size you want your needle book.  I took my largest needle and laid it sideways on my cutting mat to get a feel for how big I needed it.  Once you have a basic idea, consult your plastic canvas and design idea.  Count out the squares and see if your design idea will work.  You may need to add more or less.  My needle book was twenty five squares high by twenty squares wide.

2 – Cut your plastic canvas into five pieces using your measurements. 

You will need:
2 main pieces for covers (twenty five squares by twenty squares)
1 piece for the spine – Make this piece as tall as your cover but only a few squares wide.   (Twenty five squares by two squares)
1 piece for strap – This piece should be as wide as your cover plus spine but only a few squares tall.  (Twenty two by three)
1 piece for the buckle (what holds the strap in place) – this should be about double the height of your strap.  (Seven by five)

3 – Decorate your canvas with yarn.  I chose to do a checked pattern with an outline (see below for instruction type things).  You could make it all one color, use stripes, whatever you wish your needle book to look like.  Use one continuous piece of yarn if possible.  If you do, you have less ends to worry about.  The inner side will be covered when done.

4 – Edge your canvas.  Pull your yarn up through one square and go over the edge of the canvas to come up through the next square.  Repeat this around the entire canvas to cover the edges.  When you are finished, weave in your end.

5 – Adding the strap.  On your back piece, center the end of your strap and hold in place.  Use your needle and thread to sew through the canvas to anchor your strap.  You could use yarn, but I like to use thread to make sure it is secure. 

6 – Add your buckle.  Lay out your front and back piece with a gap the size of your spine between them.  Center your buckle and move it slightly forward on your front piece over the strap.  Make sure you put the strap beneath the buckle.  The strap will cause the buckle to, well, buckle a bit.  You will want to keep that arch as you sew.  Sew down the top and bottom ends of the buckle with thread.  Go over the ends several times to secure.

7 – Add the spine.  Lay out your front and back piece on either side of your spine.  This time, use your edging yarn to whipstitch the spine to one of the covers.  Run your thread to the other side and whipstitch the other cover to the spine.  Tie off your yarn and weave in the end.

8 – Cut one to three pieces of felt just slightly smaller than the laid out book.  One piece will be sewn to the covers.  Any additional pieces of felt will become the pages of your book.  My original needle book did not have additional pages.  I added two extra pieces of felt to this new book. 

9 – If you have additional pages, stack all your felt pieces together and line them up.  Find the center of the stack and sew down the length of it, creating a ‘book’ of felt. 

10 – Putting it all together.  Center your pages in the middle of your spine.  Use thread to sew the bottom piece of felt to the cover.  Follow the edge and stretch your felt slightly if needed.  I went in and out along the first row of the plastic canvas.  When finished, knot and bury your thread.

11 – Put your needles in their new home!

 Now my large needles don't have to live in a plastic exile from all the others!

For the Checked pattern:

Columns are vertical.
Rows are horizontal.

With Yarn One, start at the second square down (first column, second row) and pull the yarn up and then down through the second square across (second column, first row).  Move to the third square down and repeat until you have yarn through the fifth squares (first column, fifth square and fifth column, first square).  Now, instead of moving down, you will move over.  Pull the yarn up through the second square in the fifth row (second column, fifth row) and down through the second square of the fifth column (fifth column, second row).  Continue through the third and fourth squares (fourth column, fourth square and fifth column, fourth square).  You have completed one square!  Move over five columns and continue.

With Yarn Two, repeat the same pattern above except begin at the opposite corner and move backward.  This varies the angle of the yarn.

With Yarn Three, begin at the space between the colors (column five, first square).  Pull your yarn up through column five, first square and down through column six, first square.  Pull the yarn back up through column five, first square and down through column six, second square.  Pull yarn up through column five, second square and down column six, third square.  Continue until you reach the end of the canvas.  Pull the yarn up through the last empty square and down through the square across from it, repeating what you started with.  Repeat this between all your squares.

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