The Animator's Wife had this problem when she went to Ireland in 2010 and bought some local yarn spun from real Irish sheep. It was surprisingly hard to find, so she wanted it to be used for the exact perfect project--something that might last forever.
And so she ended up using it to make a book cover, but not just any book cover. To make it just a touch more interesting, she worked it so that the book cover would make the book look like a purse so that the book might be easily toted around.
As it so happens, the book we covered is The Animator's Wife's bible, but this technique could also be applied to personal journals, sketch books, scrap books, or any other book that has special meaning to the owner.
A book to be covered
Yarn - any kind
Hook - size to fit the yarn
Fabric for book cover lining
2 D rings
Ribbon the same width as the D rings
A chain or other purse strap
Thinner ribbon to be used as a book tie
Note: Due to the lack of photos in the first three steps, we recommend reading the entire tutorial through to the end before beginning so that you have a full understanding of what is being done. A beginner's knowledge of sewing is required to complete this tutorial.
Step 1: Measure the book. First measure the perimeter of the book when laying open flat on the table. This measurement will be used for the crocheted part of the book cover, as well as the back of the lining. Then measure just the front cover by itself.
Step 2: Crochet a gauge swatch. You can use any yarn, hook, and stitch pattern you like for your book cover, but it is essential to crochet a gauge swatch before crocheting the cover. Make sure you block the swatch before measuring! The last thing you want is to go to all the trouble to put your book cover together only to have it stretch out and distort with wear. Once you know the gauge of your selected stitch pattern, apply it to the measurements of the perimeter of your book to determine how many rows and repeats of that stitch pattern will be needed to cover the book.
Step 3: Crochet the book cover. The crocheted part of the book cover need only be large enough to cover the book when lying open flat. We're going to sew on the pockets that hold it onto the book. If desired, crochet a pretty border around the edge; it's okay if the border makes this piece a bit larger than the book.
Step 4: Cut the lining from the fabric. You will need three pieces: one large piece that is cut to the size of the perimeter of the book (it should be the same size as your crocheted piece, plus seam allowance), and two smaller pieces cut about two inches shorter than the front cover (plus seam allowance). The two smaller pieces are going to make up the pockets that slide onto the book and hold the cover in place.
Step 5: Sew the lining together. With right sides together, sew the smaller pieces to the large piece as shown in the photo below. The smaller pieces should line up with the outer edges of the large piece; again, these form the pockets that hold the book cover on the book.
Step 6: Hem remaining raw edges. Turn the fabric lining so it is right side out. You'll notice there are raw edges showing on the back side between the pocket pieces. Fold the raw edges toward the wrong side of the fabric and sew in place.
Step 7: Sew the crochet piece to the fabric lining. Pin the wrong side of the crocheted piece to right side of the large piece of the lining. They should be the same size. Make sure the pockets are free and not trapped between the lining and the crochet piece. Sew in place; this may be easiest done by hand.
Step 8: Prepare the D-rings. Cut a 2-inch length of the ribbon that's the same width as the D-ring. Fold the ribbon around the D-ring, creating a pocket in the ribbon around the D-ring, and sew into place.
Step 9: Sew the D-ring to the book cover. Pin the bottom edge of the ribbon on the D-ring to the center of the book cover between the pockets, so that it will align with the book's spine when the cover is on. Repeat with the other D-ring, so that one D-ring is on the top edge of the book cover and the other is on the bottom edge.
Step 10 (optional): Sew on book ties. If desired, a thinner ribbon may be sewn at the center of the pocket edges so that the book may be tied closed when not in use.
Step 11 (optional): Add a decorative brooch. This is obviously not necessary, but we liked that the brooch gave the book a look of being "locked" when not in use. It also enhances the purse look.
Step 12: Attach purse strap. Attach the purse strap to the D-rings. Admire your treasure.