A Quick Gift for Readers

Hey, friends! Joce back with a not-so-heavy post about DIY gifts. If you’ve picked up on any running themes here, you may have noticed that Cath, Jen, and I are three of the biggest book nerds you’ll ever know. When we were all living together in 2137, our cumulative library was pretty darn good; and if one of us didn’t have a book in particular, one of the others probably did. This post is for you book-lovers, and you lovers of book-lovers: while the very best gift for a bookworm might just be a new book, a handmade bookmark might be the next best thing.

When I was a girl, my next-door neighbor and surrogate grandmother Ms. Dot taught me how to cross-stitch, and she also made me the occasional cross-stitched gift. So when I was visiting her over the summer and she handed me this book of patterns, I recognized it immediately:

Dot made me one of these bookmarks and gave it to me probably fifteen years ago. I still have it marking a spot in a favorite book, so it has lasted much longer than the standard bookmark. Since she doesn’t cross-stitch as much anymore, she let me have the patterns, and now I’m going to share one of my own with you.

Materials needed for homemade bookmark:

  • DMC floss in 3 complementary colors
  • grosgrain ribbon in a complementary color
  • needle, scissors, and a small hoop
  • aida cloth in whatever size you want (medium density)
  • hot glue gun

I thought I’d make my own pattern for this one, so feel free to use it yourself. You can easily use graph paper to make your own patterns, but since I couldn’t find any, I made my own with pen and a ruler. A good pattern size for this project is 24 X 24 stitches if you want to get your design on.

Take a look at your ribbon and floss collection, and pick out whichever colors you like together. For this project, I used DMC floss numbers 312, 3348, and 3350.

Dot taught me the trick of finding the center of a cloth scrap by folding it in half twice, then sticking a pin in the corner. It may not be the exact center, but since this scrap is plenty large, close-to-center is good enough. Start your stitching from the center, then work your way out.

I like how this one turned out a little bit like a pinwheel. Once you’re done with the cross-stitching and outlining, cut your square out with four extra lines of cloth around the edges:

Next, to create a frayed look around the edges, use a needle or pin to lift out two layers of the horizontal fabric. Depending on the tension of your fabric, this may be easy or a bit more difficult.

You are almost done! All that’s left to do is cut your grosgrain to whatever length you want. With a dab of hot glue, adhere the ribbon to the back of your square. And if you want, you can cut a fancy notch in the bottom of the ribbon like so:

This bookmark is so easy and really does not take much time at all. In fact, I cranked out a couple of these while watching two episodes of The Wire over the weekend. I gave one to my granddad for his birthday, since he really is impossible to buy for. And if my cat hadn’t so mercilessly eaten the other one, I might have sent it to someone else. I’ll just pretend I sent it to Omar Little for his copy of Ghettoheat.



PS – Thanks to everyone for the feedback on the Troy Davis post. Though the outcome of  Davis’s story is just as tragic as many of us expected, it serves as a reminder that this important discussion is far from over. Peace and love, J.


3 responses to “A Quick Gift for Readers

  1. I was just wondering to myself if anyone cross-stitched anymore. That was the one crafty thing I did when I was younger. This might inspire me to start again. Thanks, Joce.

  2. Great idea for a creative bookmark. I might have to get cross-stitching a shot. Thanks!

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