I am enjoying a lot of inspiring ideas from the book Make Your Own Ideabook with Arne & Carlos: Create Handmade Art Journals and Bound Keepsakes to Store Inspiration and Memories. The book isn’t really about crochet, although it mentions crochet and knitting, but it can be a great tool for people who crochet and just looking through is giving me even more ideas about my own crochet art journalling.
Note: all of the photos in this post are from the book. The book is RICH in stunning photos. So inspiring.
Keeping a Crochet Journal
Before we get started, I just want to say that I think there are immense benefits to keeping a crochet journal. This is your personal journal about crochet and can include everything from your sources of inspiration to things that are causing you frustration. The crochet journal is one of the central tools I explore in my book Hook to Heal, the tool that comes before all of the other exercises. And I’ve written an article about the use of crochet journals for Interweave Crochet Summer Issue. I won’t recap all of that here but suffice to say that I think there are many creative and mental benefits to keeping a crochet journal and this book about ideabooks is inspiring to me along those lines.
What is an Ideabook?
As described in Make Your Own Ideabook, the idea book is a handmade book, created out of papers and ephemera you collect and bind yourself. Some of the points they make wonderfully in their introduction include:
- “It’s all about the joy of owning one book or several, and how nice it is to leaf through all types of paper, sewn together by you and for you.”
- “Paper continues to make people happy … Every home should have some bookshelves – and some books to put on them.”
- “Well-worn books are like old people – they are lovelier because they’ve lived a life with good memories!”
- “A book you’ve made yourself can hold anything you want! It could, for example, be a memory book, a planning book, a renovations book, or perhaps a gardening book.” (Or a book celebrating your love of and experience with crochet!)
The authors share their own ideabooks throughout this book so that you not only learn how to make one but also get inspiration from them. They write, “to look into our ideabooks is the nearest one can come to looking into the creative right sides of our brains. We welcome you in!”
An Ideabook of Your Crochet
You can use the ideas in this book as a starting point to create your own crochet ideabooks. Maybe you will make one that is devoted to your design ideas. If so, you’ll love the chapter on “knitting ideabooks” where the authors have shared their own pages from a knitting collection. It includes drawings, images snipped from knitting magazines, color inspiration, etc. If you like to design crochet pattern then this type of book would work well for you. They also have a “crochet ideabook” chapter, showing how they’ve used granny squares to make butterflies – LOVE this section.
Even if you don’t design your own items, you might find it useful to create a crochet ideabook when you are exploring ideas around a particular theme or crocheting many items for the same event. For example, if you want to DIY your own wedding then you may make a crochet ideabook featuring bridal crochet. This is great inspiration for figuring out what to make.
Alternatively, you might want to create a crochet memory book. Save your crochet patterns, your notes to yourself that you’ve made as your work, copies of your text messages or Instagram posts about your WIPs, snippets of the yarn used and photographs of the work before and after its finished. Create one small memory book per project or one large memory book that is a collection of projects – a book for all of the crochet blankets you make for example.
An Ideabook to Go with a Crochet Gift
Another idea is to make ideabooks for the items that you crochet as gifts to others. This type of ideabook could show the process of your crochet work, as described in the section about, but it could also incorporate images and text that show why you care about the person, what inspires you about them, things that you want them to know about you. A set of messages for mom and baby along with inspiring and serene photos, reading lists for new mamas, etc. would be a great accompaniment to a gift of a crochet blanket.
Use Crochet and Yarn In Your Ideabooks
Your ideabook can incorporate crochet whether or not crochet is the subject of the book. In fact, the authors of Make Your Own Ideabook show how crochet lace and doilies can be used as stencils to create the backgrounds on pages for use in any ideabook. You could also make small crochet motifs and appliqués to include on the cover, a crochet bookmark or two to mark special pages and a crochet cozy to store the whole thing in.
There is a section of Make Your Own Ideabook devoted to explaining how to make covers for these books. Many of the beautiful examples shown here include covers with fabric, embroidery and quilting. You can definitely use your crochet to make or accent the cover of your book.
And you know all of those yarn scraps that you have? The ones that are too small to use for stashbusting but you can’t bear to get rid of them. Well they make great little decorations for your ideabooks. There is a section in the book devoted to thread because that’s what you use to bind your books together; you may find some ideas in here for using the thread and yarn you already have on hand.
Recycled Crochet Patterns for Pages in Ideabooks
Finally, if you are the kind of person who generates a lot of paper when working with your crochet, consider using that paper as the recycled basis for your idea book. Printed patterns, magazines that you are done with and even yarn wrappers all make excellent paper to incorporate into your ideabooks. The authors of Make Your Own Ideabook show you exactly how to choose and use different types of paper in your creations.