Not long ago I caught up with a good friend of mine. Seeing her with her two beautiful girls and delightful partner, I felt inspired to create them something beautiful. My friend has always appreciated my crafts and I new I could make her family something that would be very loved.
Many hours spent on Pinterest has exposed me to the concept of quiet books. Quiet books are made predominantly from felt and feature interactive fabric pages. Some pages may include fastenings (such as zips, buttons, velcro, press studs, etc.) while others may include sensory materials (such as fur, ribbon, yarn, etc.). The prospect of endless opportunities, educational fun and beautiful needlework really appealed to me, so with this in mind I started planning.
A lot of my inspiration came from quiet book pages I have pinned to my Pinterest board. First I drew a basic sketch of each page and then noted what type of interactive fastening each page would use (see grid to the right). I then redrew the grid (on the left) and wrote a list of each of the components I would need for the page.
After gathering my resources at Spotlight I set to work cutting out the elements for each of the pages. This was definitely the most chaotic part of the project. I deliberately cut out all the pieces in one sitting so I could easily return to this project over the following weeks with ease.
I am so lucky to have a great collection of vintage fabrics to use as the pages themselves. I bought a piece of 12x12inch scrapbooking page to use as a template and carefully cut and ironed each of the pages. After allocating the fabric pages to the felt pieces that would go them I was ready to commence sewing.
Here are the pages that feature in this beautiful book:
There is a little (but well-secured) magnet inside the fishing hook and a safety pin inside each of the fish. The cake pop rod can be used to fish and the boat has been left with an opening to contain the catch of the day. The fish and hook have been sewed by hand (as opposed to by machine). I love sewing by hand because it gives me the chance to put a lot of love and good energy into whatever I am creating.
The pattern for this page can be found on this blog. Part of my love for sewing comes from the stories behind the fabrics. This background fabric was part of Nan’s collection and was used in the first successful dress I made myself. The hessian basket is material I bought to create the decorations for my wedding.
I was a little hesitant using press studs as I am very conscious of safety, however being my first quiet book I thought I should give it a try. I sewed each stud in very securely and lined the felt with interfacing to avoid the possibility of it coming loose from the fabric.
I’m so lucky to have such a great sewing machine. I don’t think my mother could have anticipated just how many projects I would be inspired to make because of it. My machine, the Janome Memory Craft 4900, allows me to program in text. This is one of the Easter eggs of the project as it has allowed to me to write directly to the recipients. The template for this page can be found here.
Each of these shapes have velcro and can be taken off and put back in their correct places. The fabric of this page was bought and used for apron Christmas gifts for some friends two years ago. Another page another story…
I believe the background from this page came from my soon-to-be mother-in-law. I love the way in emanates nighttime in such a beautiful way. The little person inside the tent has had a pipe cleaner sewn into him to allow him to move around. I also made the last minute decision to give him removable undies.
I used a real padlock in this page because I remembered my own fascination of playing with ‘big people stuff’ when I was a child. Again, conscious of safety I attached the key securely to the page and hid the sewing under a little stone. The sharks allow the background to look much less floral and much more underwater. I can only image that this treasure chest will hold many more treasures in the years to follow…
I wanted each puzzle piece to have something on it and found some great online inspiration. I mounted the puzzle in a felt frame to complete the look. The velcro circles are remnants from my teaching internship. I used all of the grabby side of the velcro on wall displays and have finally found a use for the softer side.
Here you can undo the button to open the fridge and make yourself a vegetarian sandwich. I had a lot of fun designing the food and putting the sandwich together for the first time. As I made each page of this book I thought about just how much I would have loved it as a child.
Whenever I make something I always think about who it is for and whether or not the recipient will appreciate all the love that has gone into it. Sometimes I feel as though so much has gone into it that I will struggle to give it away. This project has been the total opposite of the latter thought. I am so excited to pass this on and see it appreciated by such deserving people.
This was one of the most labour intensive pages as each vegetable and sign required sewing by hand. It was all worth it though – I’m very happy with the result.
I love everything about this page – from the way the background compliments the barn, to the vintage lace that softens the landscape, to the adorable little finger puppets. I found the pattern online, but added my own touch by incorporating the lace. I like to think about the future of this page, for example what will the animals be called? Which one will be the favourite? Will they visit the other pages in the book?
This page is to encourage numerical understanding. The icing of each cupcake has the correlating number of beads as the number on its cake. They icing is attached with velcro and can be taken of and reattached much like the shapes page.
I am very passionate about avoiding gender stereotypes. Many of the quiet book blogs I visited had books “great for boys” for “ideal for girls”. I refuse to accept that you should or shouldn’t be exposed to different things because of your physical gender. Some of the books for girls even had pages where you could put washing on the line, or match socks as they came out of a clothes dryer!
To put it anthropomorphically, my quiet book does not have a gender. I chose the pages I did because they seemed the most fun and the most engaging.
I love cats. There was no doubt there would be a little kitty in this quiet book. The fur I used was bought for my 19th birthday party costume, the eyes came from a possum I crocheted for a school I was working at, and the ribbon came from the cake bags my Nan sewed for my parent’s wedding.
The final page of this book is very literacy based. I included all the letters necessary to write Mummy, Daddy, Ruby and Audrey, with each of the vowels being pink. Each of the letters have velcro attached so they can be moved around. Not only are you able to write the four original words, but you can also make a variety of other words.
At the time of making this blog post, I haven’t received my order of metal hinged rings. The rings will go through each of the eyelets in the pages and bind the book together.
I was so happy with the product that I did not want to stop. I decided that with all the little bits and pieces, cleaning up would be a lot easier if everything could be thrown into a bag and sorted out later. With this in mind I found some of Nan’s strongest material and made a bag. I am so happy with the bag that if I weren’t about to move to Canada I would make a replica for myself.
For the first time in my life, I kept a log of my time spent working on this project. All up it took 40 hours (spread over two weeks). While I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, it is a great relief to have completed it. So much thought and care has gone into this production. I can’t imagine ever selling my work because I’m uncomfortable with putting a price on my love and energy.
I can’t wait to give this quiet book to my friend and see it brought to life through her children.