Friday, July 08, 2011

Reinventing the Bookmark Idea #2

While playing with bookmark ideas I did want to come up with a design made with recycled materials. Being a quilter I save all sorts of fabric and quilt scraps, yarns, threads, old buttons and other sewing stuff for repurposing projects, so I raided my stash boxes and put together a pile of materials.

In my latest batch of art mags I noticed a number of cuff-type mixed media bracelets that I thought were interesting, especially the designs that incorporated old textiles. That got me to wondering if I could make a cuff that turned into a bookmark instead of a bracelet, which lead to my second design, the BookCuff.

For this project I used an old cutter quilt piece I picked up at a garage sale, two glass buttons and a scrap of tapestry yarn. First I cut a strip out of the quilt with pinking shears (this prevents fraying) in a length that was a little over 15". To provide the means to close the cuff, I thought of the old interoffice envelopes we used in the old days with the two circular fasteners and a bit of string. I duplicated that fastener with the two buttons and the tapestry yarn, sewing one button to each end of the quilt piece. I also added a third button to the end of the yarn to have something to hold onto when winding the yarn.

Here you can see the finished product holding my place in Marjorie M. Liu's The Fire King. It's a bit too wide because I was trying to preserve the quilt block design, and while it held my place in the book perfectly the look of it didn't make me happy; I felt it covered up the cover art too much. As a bookmark the piece is really too floppy, too.

What doesn't work for one thing sometimes serves nicely for another purpose. I often give away sets of series books as gifts for friends, and I also like to shelve series books together and sometimes take a set with me when I travel. Usually I just put them in a tote bag, but I discovered that my BookCuff makes an excellent strap for more than one book:

This is very customizable, since you can cut the material you use for your bookcuff to whatever length you need for however many books you want to strap together. You can also use whatever materials appeal to you or relate to the books; leather, lace, tapestry, fun fur (wouldn't that be great for were novels?) along with whatever little bits you want to use for the fasteners (and if you write steampunk I'd definitely check out some art mags for inspiration.)


  1. What a cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Now I'm looking at my fabrics and going oh, yes, you might get used on something soon. :D

    You just helped me think of how to corral some magazines (quilting and sewing) in style instead of the cardboard box with scribbles all over it.

  2. Margaret S5:12 AM

    I like this idea.
    I am fond of keeping bits like ribbon and fancy thread or elastic that comes attached to gift items. I have a pretty length of ribbon pink with pale blue hearts that came wrapped around some nightwear and many other eye catching bits that it seemed a waste to throw out. My memory sticks hang on hooks with some short lengths of round elastic which came attaching the label to I think it was a pair boots.
    There are so many wasteful uses of things like this. So I am all for reusing as much as you can.

  3. I love this idea! I think with some tweaking it could work as your original idea of a bookmark too. Very creative!

  4. bluebamboo8:24 AM

    Very inventive! Thanks for the brain-spark. Love the closure mechanism on it too -- flexible and forgiving. ;) I may make a few of these out of the extra flannel I have downstairs.

    Question, out of curiosity. You called it a cutter quilt piece -- is that the pieced top only? Or does it have very thin cotton batting between the pieced top and a backing? (I'm not a quilter but my mom is, and I've helped her on many a project.)

  5. The book cuff is perfect for commuters. Why? It hides those covers that are a bit "too much" if you know what I mean. I commuted back and forth from 42nd St. to Mineola (NY) for over 10 years. The commute takes a good 45 minutes in the LIRR on a train making local stops. One of the reasons I became an early adopter of e-books was that I didn't have to deal with the issue of how to hide certain types of covers.


  6. Love this use of old left over fabric and pieces of old quilts. And your choice of books is right on! I love those cuff bracelets-the recent addition of steampunk elements has been fun to watch as the steampunk genre grows!

  7. Anonymous2:54 PM

    That's an awesome idea! Everyone has books and this is such a versatile idea it would make the perfect gift for any fellow book fanatic!
    Will definitely be trying this one out myself :D

  8. Laura D.11:53 PM

    I like this idea too.

    So many ways to run crazy with different themes, these could be fun. Actually, just had an idea for fabric covered magazine racks....

    Laura D.


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