I love notebooks. I love all the possibilities that a new blank notebook represents. When it comes down to actually writing in a new unblemished notebook, well…I get performance anxiety. What if what I put down doesn’t meet the expectations I have of all those possibilities? What if my ink splotched on the first page? And a misspelling or grammatical error on the very first page casts a pall over the rest of the pages? It’s better to leave them blank and dream of the beautiful notebooks that they will become…someday.

I started to use the little Moleskine Plain Cahier Journals for my project and class room
notebooks (4th one from the top in the photo). I take a new one of these each time I head for a retreat (SOAR, Madrona, CNCH, etc.). Notes from all my classes go into these, along with random thoughts or phone numbers that I pick up along the way. At $8 for 3 notebooks, they aren’t too expensive. They are plain. Very plain. You can decorate it as you wish. Or glue the name tag from the retreat on the front as a momento. Whatever. There is no anxiety involved in scribbling in these.

I started to use these for projects too, but I find that there are too many pages for a single project. I can collect multiple projects in a single notebook, but I often can’t find the most recent working notebook so I start a new one. The cost for the project notebooks can quickly start adding up.

There was a discussion at Janine Bajus’ Feral Knitter about Project Journals that got me thinking. I like the idea of using blue books. There are only a few pages so that it’s extremely conducive to tracking a single project. My only problem is, aside from being to lazy to head down to the University Bookstore, that I really like grids, not lines. I like grids because I can use the grids for designing color work or weave structures and scribble and color away. I looked at how blue books are made. Have you? It’s just legal sized paper, folded in half and stapled in 2 places. I’ve got some legal sized paper in the house. So, I present to you my version of mini project journals.

My inaugural use for one of these was for the yoked sweater sloper, based on notes from Janine BajusFair Isle Yoke Sweater Design class at Madrona last year. It seemed fitting, doesn’t it? I’ve created a little tutorial on how to make these mini-journals, including a template for the grids. (You can also get to the tutorial from the Tutorials tab above.)