SLA Journal Cover Gift

SLA Journal Cover front
SLA Journal Cover front

I am, once again, president of my local library association. Not what I wanted to do again, but circumstances required that I step up. One thing that I did was want people to read my newsletter/”Message from the President”. As an incentive, I offered a fabulous prize, which was a journal cover for a composition book.

Since I didn’t know if a woman or a man would win, I chose neutrals – mostly blacks and greys, but one piece had that great orange triangle, so I used it as a centerpiece. I wasn’t excited about making something with those colors, but I am pleased with the way it came out.

SLA Journal Cover -open
SLA Journal Cover -open

I picked the winner and now just have to get it to that person.

Blue Improv Journal Cover

Blue Improv Journal Cover - front
Blue Improv Journal Cover – front

My blue scrap drawer is finally showing some signs of having some space available. I have been piecing blue scraps together, as I mentioned the other day, in between working on the Red Scribbles quilt. I finally had enough to make a journal cover, so I decided to stop and make a journal cover. I need a quick finish fix and there are more blue scraps for a Color Improv donation quilt.

Blue Improv Journal Cover - inside front cover
Blue Improv Journal Cover – inside front cover

As also mentioned, I hadn’t thought of this as a journal cover, so the piecing is pretty random. I didn’t center any motifs for the front. This is for an older journal just to protect the pages, so it looks ok for that purpose.

As I did this piecing, I wanted to save any strips I found for more of the Color Strip donation blocks (quilts). I don’t know if I will find enough to make another quilt. If not, I can make a few blocks for the rainbow strip donation quilt I am planning.

Blue Improv Journal Cover - back
Blue Improv Journal Cover – back

Though I am making space in the drawer there are still a lot of scraps. The scraps still fill the drawer, but are not crammed in. There is hope, in other words, that I will have enough strips for something else-blocks or a quilt.

I am trying to use scraps that are smaller than 4.5 inch strips, because of the possibility mentioned above. This means that there are a lot of small scraps becoming larger slabs until they end up as a journal cover. It feels good to see the blue drawer emptying out.

I forget how much I like some of the fabrics I have used until I see a scrap. I know I always say that there is always more fabric. I do get attached to fabrics I like and want to email the fabric companies too reprint them when I find a scrap and know it is out of print.

Blue Improv Journal Cover -top
Blue Improv Journal Cover -top

I had a problem (or my own making) with this journal cover. It is slightly too large. By the time I noticed, I wasn’t about to rip everything out into order to trim it.

I thought the slab was the correct size, but I think I forgot to think about seam allowance for the last bit of piecing. Oh well. Things happen.

Amy Butler Journal Cover

Amy Butler Journal Cover
Amy Butler Journal Cover

I have a number of the Miquelrius journals** without covers. I want to make covers; I just haven’t gotten around to it. This week I got around to making one.

After making Frolic!’s back, I had some large-ish pieces leftover. I decided that one was large enough to make a journal cover.

After I started, I found that I had run out of flannel. I use the flannel for the interior instead of batting, because it is thinner. Since I won’t be carrying this journal around, I don’t need to worry about the feel of it in my hand, so I just used two pieces of fabric.

I thought about using ShapeFlex, but it is out of stock everywhere and I didn’t want to use it up on a journal cover if I can’t get more at a reasonable price.

Using two pieces of fabric seems wrong somehow and makes me wonder why I think journals need covers. When I am using a Miquelrius journal every day I carry it around. I know that the cover corners can be sharp. Having a cover keeps me from getting cut. Also, having a cover keeps prying eyes away. If I am not really using these journals on a daily basis because they are full, do I need covers. Need? Clearly: no. I think I just want them all to be the same. I guess I’ll have to think about that some more.








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Journals on the Shelf

Journals with Covers in the wildI was ironing fabric the other day and looked up to see my journal covers staring back at me. I had been thinking about making a journal cover from some leftover fabric from the Frolic! back and the journals on the shelf caught my eye. They sit on a shelf at about eye level. Since I have cleared off some of the books on my shelves, I can see things I didn’t see before.

Looking at these journal covers has made me think about beauty and fabric. I am much more careful now about choosing fabrics to purchase. Some of the fabrics above reflect some, if not poor, ill advised combinations of poor fabric choices. Something appealed to me about the fabrics, but the combinations and how they appear on the shelf do not all appeal.

I don’t plan to remake the journal covers, but I do plan on paying more attention to how the new ones come out. I have several that need covers and journal covers are a good use of scraps.

This is part of the process. I probably made the covers I no longer like a long time ago. I have evolved in my color choices and the way I put colors together since then. I also realized that I can see these journal cover, so I need them to be pretty. I need to take more care in choosing fabrics.

I use a medium gridded Leuchtturm journal now, so I don’t need journal covers. I still like the Miquelrius journals. I plan to use up the blank  journals I have and to make journal covers for them. I find that the Leuchtturms fit in my purse and seem more compact. I can also put a spine sticker on them saying which month is contained within.

It’s All About Orange Right Now

Orange Improv Journal Cover
Orange Improv Journal Cover

Because you have seen the Orange Strip Donation Top and the Orange Improv Donation Top in progress, you know that it is all about orange around my house right now.

As I rummaged through my orange scrap bin, I found a shard that was really great. It was made from some of the same fabric as my Fresh Fruit quilt. I decided that it would make a perfect journal cover for my AQ business notebook.

Orange Improv Journal Cover -inside front cover
Orange Improv Journal Cover -inside front cover

Since I had a big shard already, it didn’t take long to make as I use a really basic version of the tutorial. I used interfacing and no flannel for the inside, so it came out very slim. I am trying different things to find the best way to make the edges of the journal cover easy to sew through. Without anything (like batting) in between, the maker is already sewing through at least 8 layers and that doesn’t even take the seams from the piecing that might hit the edge. I don’t know about your machine, but that is a lot of layers through which to sew.

Orange Improv Journal Cover -inside back cover
Orange Improv Journal Cover -inside back cover

I still haven’t quite figured out how to center exactly what I want on the front. I did a pretty good job on this one, but would have preferred to have more of the front inside cover on the front.


Orange Improv Journal Cover -whole cover
Orange Improv Journal Cover -whole cover

Red Scrap Journal Cover

Red made fabric pieces
Red made fabric pieces

As mentioned, I have been working with red scraps. As I dived into the drawer, I found several pieces of fabric that had already been made from scraps.

Since I have a few Miquelrius journals that need covers, I decided to use some of the scraps to make a journal cover. It was fun to look at all of the made fabric and decide which pieces to use. I felt like I was picking out commercial fabric. It was nice to have a choice.

Red journal cover closed - May 2019
Red journal cover closed – May 2019

Because I had already done the hard work of making the fabric, I just had to make the piece large enough to fit the journal. (Sizing info can be found in the journal covers tutorial). It went really quick, which was great, because I was in need of a quick finish. I am pleased with the chair print on the front as well as the disbursement of dot fabrics.

Red journal cover front open - May 2019
Red journal cover front open – May 2019

I use flannel instead of batting for the center of the journal covers. It gives the cover a little bit of body, but doesn’t make it bulky. I’d like to just use ShapeFlex, but it doesn’t stick very well to made fabric because of all the seams. If I am using a favorite commercial fabric and there aren’t a lot of seams, then I will use ShapeFlex.

Red journal cover back open - May 2019
Red journal cover back open – May 2019

I always cover the batting the another cotton fabric, but I forgot to do that this time, so the flannel serves as batting and backing. It is on the inside and doesn’t show much, so I think it will be ok. I haven’t been carting my journals around as much as I have in the past, so I think the flannel will stay clean. I am glad, however, this is just for me. I think I will need to read the tutorial again before I make the next one.


Dark Blue Journal Cover

I have to admit to using Leuchtturm journals lately instead of my favorite Miquelrius journals. The Leuchtturm journals are slim and fit in my handbag with all my other stuff. They don’t need covers. I couldn’t figure out why I was leaning away from the Miquelrius journals.

Finally, I realized, on Sunday when I needed a new journal because I had finished the old one what the problem was. I didn’t have any Miquelrius journals with the journal covers already made. As you may have guessed, I like to put journal covers on the Miquelrius journals, because the corners of the covers tend to poke me. I looked back and found that the last journal cover I made was the Orange Soda Journal Cover back in November (November seemed to be a good month for me). That was at least two journals ago.

I actually had a journal cover partially made. I hadn’t really worked on it in a few weeks. It occurred to me that it be an entry in the BAMQG scrap challenge. The donation blocks were giving me a bit of trouble (decision making not sewing), so it was an easy choice to switch projects. I used the journal cover pieces and parts as leaders and enders while I worked out my donation block issues.

Journal covers are not difficult (tutorial is posted -sizes are for the  Miquelrius journals). The time consuming part is the mosaic piecing. Of course you can make the cover out of one piece of fabric for an even quicker and easier version. I rarely, if ever, do that, however.

Dark Blue Journal Cover
Dark Blue Journal Cover

Frequently, I start pulling out fabrics and stick to certain values in that one scrap drawer. I am not sure which fabric pieces I started with, but the first fabrics often set the tone for the entire piece. This one is a little darker than I usually like. I do like the monochromatic look, however, so I stuck with the darker blues.

Dark Blue Journal Cover - other side
Dark Blue Journal Cover – other side

I haven’t decided which side to use as the front. Since I don’t need it immediately, I don’t have to decide for at least three months.

I had some issues with the filling. I have been using flannel, but am just about out. I had some leftover bits of fusible fleece, so I stuck those to the back of the pieced front and filled the rest in with flannel scraps. Some parts are fluffier than I like, but  it works and the project is done.

I started another journal cover with turquoise. Stay tuned.

By Annie Mini Notebook Cover

ByAnnie Mini Notebook cover
ByAnnie Mini Notebook cover

In addition to the bag I made for my swap partner, I also took the opportunity to make up the notebook cover we received as a gift at the retreat.

I was pleased with the way it came out and enjoyed learning a different way to make a book/journal cover.

This pattern is by ByAnnie, so it came with a piece of Soft & Stable. I am not sure I would use that again, but it did the job. It is a little too puffy for me. I have to remember that this is a very small sized journal cover and the effect would be a lot different on a larger piece.

Inside pocket - Mini Notebook cover
Inside pocket – Mini Notebook cover

She also does not make an entire inside cover, which reduces bulk. I want to try that on one of my journals.

I am also interested in the pen holder. I would have to create the sizing for a larger journal cover, but it could probably be done.

Inside - Mini Notebook cover
Inside – Mini Notebook cover

You can see the tutorial for my journal cover on the tutorials page.

Orange Soda Journal Cover

I have been in desperate need of leaders & enders lately. The crisis has passed since I got my order of Northcott Colorworks charm squares, though before it did a lot of weird pieces were sewn.

Orange Soda Journal Cover (closed)
Orange Soda Journal Cover (closed)

I had some orange scraps that I had started to sew together, so I continued to sew and turned it into a journal cover. It is along the same lines as the Orange Crush journal cover and the scraps may have been from that piece.

I am really pleased with how this one came out. The front cover is really well placed. The scraps aren’t too small, which always causes finishing issues. It is also bright and cheerful. I need bright and cheerful right now.

Orange Soda Journal Cover - open
Orange Soda Journal Cover – open


B/W Journal Cover

B/W Journal Cover
B/W Journal Cover

I found a piece of pieced fabric when I was rummaging through stuff recently. The piece was about the right size for a journal cover. Over the weekend, last weekend, I did a bunch of small projects. Making this journal cover was one of them.

I am not sure for what this piece of made fabric was intended. I hope I don’t come across a note saying I needed it for X project or Y quilt. C’est la vie.

SIL #2 observed that the fabric combination looked like an adult coloring book. It does, but a mad version!

B/W Journal Cover Open
B/W Journal Cover Open

The strips were relatively even and bordered with the jester’s diamond check. I had to cut most of the diamond check off to make the journal fit. As it was I cut off a bit too much and the fit is snug. Fortunately, with cotton, it will stretch a bit.

I was working on something else at the same time and had magenta thread in the machine. I thought it would be great to use for this, because the piece is so stark. I thought a little color would enhance the whole project.

B/W Journal Cover Open - thread nest
B/W Journal Cover Open – thread nest

What the bold color choice highlights is the big wad of thread that happened as I was trying to sew over several seams. Bleah. I unsnarled the thread nest at Craft Night. The journal cover is finished and will be ready when I finish the dot journal.

B/W Journal Cover - Open
B/W Journal Cover – Open

You can see a little bit of the tightness on the inside cover. Still, this journal cover, even with its ridgy bump on the front will be an interesting change from my current journal.

Dot Journal

I was working on another project that required a different foot than the quarter inch foot. This made my ability to sew donation patches together with any precision limited. I turned to an idea I had since I made my last journal cover. I had hoped that the CVZ/Paris Journal cover would be more of an exploration of low volume prints with just one bright spot. It didn’t quite work out as I intended. I kept thinking on how to do it differently.

Dot Journal Cover
Dot Journal Cover

With these two constraints, I started sewing dot fabrics together. I was very strict with myself on the background and the fabric. I stuck to dots on bright white. I think I avoided any creams or ivory backgrounds.

Dot Journal Cover and Back
Dot Journal Cover and Back

I was also very strict with myself on getting to the right size (top to bottom)- remember I use the Miquelrius journal #4— and then not being sentimental about cutting off nice bits of piecing. There is always more fabric, right?

Dot Journal inside
Dot Journal inside

Finally, I used a fun print, that I probably won’t use for anything else, for the inside.

I am pleased to have finished something after so much work on the Food Quilt. This project is also very cheerful and I will need a new journal soon, so I am looking forward to using it.

CVZ / Paris Journal Cover

Karen issued a challenge to use a piece of Carol Van Zandt fabric a few months ago. She gave out the FQs at a meeting and there were so many that almost everyone got one, even those of us who had no intention of doing the challenge. Fortunately, I received a color that I liked. As the weeks wore on, I decided that the least I could do was make a journal cover. I needed a new one anyway. I wanted to explore the low volume concept some more so I decided to use low volume fabrics with the CVZ fabric to make a journal cover. I did it as part of the sewing frenzy over New Year’s weekend.

CVZ / Paris Journal Cover
CVZ / Paris Journal Cover

I like the journal cover, but am not as happy with it as I am with the Carpenter’s Wheel effort in low volume. Somehow I got derailed and the journal cover looks like I am trying too hard. Or something. I think I should have stayed with black and white rather than straying into grey and colors.

I used some of the leftover strips from the Paris One Hour Baskets, most markedly to fill in the space at the bottom. What do you think of the addition?

Still, I am resolved to make a lot of work and just have a few good pieces come out. This will function quite well.

CVZ / Paris Journal Cover - front cover
CVZ / Paris Journal Cover – front cover

I tried adding in some other purple, but should have stuck to the Carol Van Zandt fabric to highlight it. Fortunately, it is bold enough that it does stand out.

CVZ / Paris Journal Cover - back cover
CVZ / Paris Journal Cover – back cover

I tried to add interest here by turning one of the strips sets sideways.

CVZ / Paris Journal Cover - open
CVZ / Paris Journal Cover – open

You can see the whole cover. The colorful ribbon fabric really doesn’t go and I wish I hadn’t added it. I have some CVZ fabric left and will try again with that.

Low Volume Journal Cover

I have been working with a lot of grey lately for the Carpenter’s Wheel experiments and for the Flying Geese exchange, so I have bits and bobs of scraps around. After making Henry IV, I thought I should make a snowy owl version. That led to me starting to piece leftover bits of grey and white together.

LV Journal Cover in progress
LV Journal Cover in progress

Somehow making a snowy owl was put on the back burner and I decided to make a journal cover instead. I have made some headway, but am not finished. I like the calm look of what I have, but also think it might need a bit of color.

I have to make the piece long enough, but I am thinking of making a strip of 1.5″ squares alternating a grey and a color and inserting it into the journal cover somewhere.

As I have mentioned before, the greys are very different in the way they look. Those Bonnie and Camille strips look positively beige next to some of the other greys. The Paris writing fabric looks dirty, or something. I still like this piece so far and these observations are just noting thoughts of interest.

Pinkalicious Journal Cover Finished

Pinkalicious Closed
Pinkalicious Closed

I finally finished Pinkalicious over the weekend. I am happy with the front cover and the overall look of the piece. I am not happy overall. There are small seams close to the edges and that makes pressing the edges into a crisp line. It also makes it hard to sew the edges closed.

I tried a lot of things when I made the Orange Crush Journal Cover and I guess I wasn’t thinking about the things I learned. I drifted back to small pieces and put them too close to the edge.

Sewing is like that. It takes awhile to get things down and in the case of mosaic piecing there is some reliance on the size of the available scraps.

Pinkalicious Open Back
Pinkalicious Open Back

Fortunately, these journal covers are a good way to practice mosaic piecing and a great leaders and enders project.

I don’t know what the perfect mosaic pieced journal cover is. I don’t if there is such a thing, but I will keep looking.

Pinkalicious Progress

Pinkalicious Stitched, Not Finished
Pinkalicious Stitched, Not Finished

After I wrote about this journal in the a blog post, this piece got lost in a big cleanup I did and I didn’t find it again for several weeks after another mini-cleanup. The other morning I decided I needed to make progress and decided that I could finish this journal cover in a short amount of time.

I set to it, getting as far as the second to last step. Then I realized I was out of journals. This would create a panic except that I just started a new journal so I have some time get another. I sewed as much as I could without a journal and will finish when I get one.

There are some pieces I like about this cover. I am finding that I am still learning about what fabrics I like and what fabrics I don’t. Or perhaps that is constantly changing?

I used a piece of Philip Jacobs fabric for the back. I won’t see it all the time, but I will get glimpses of it when I use the journal. I might as well use my good fabric and I only had a small piece of it so it wouldn’t have worked for a backing.

Pinkalicious Back
Pinkalicious Back