Ok so you were undoubtedly a much cooler kid than I was. But I, utter weirdo that I was, was absolutely convinced that adulthood would involve a significant number of important things tucked away in secret hiding places. What can I say, I was a credulous child, and I read a lot of really bad spy novels. But for a while there, the idea of a book with a secret compartment was just about the coolest thing I could imagine.
My actual adulthood has, alas, turned out to be rather lacking in the sorts of intrigue and adventure my eight year old self was anticipating. But somehow a tiny little knitted book, complete with handy storage compartment, still holds a certain appeal (or, possibly, it’s that I’m just utterly unable to resist the charms of a good tin or a little slide out box).
Now it's true, I'll be using mine to hold stitch markers and darning needles and scissors and a tape measure, rather than cash and jewels and forged documents and some sort of clever device that will let me foil a dastardly plot at the last possible second. But really, I suspect that's probably for the best.
This 28-page pattern is tremendously detailed and holds your hand every step of the way. There are pages and pages of step-by-step photos to show you exactly what to expect as you work. The pattern is full of helpful tips on everything from casting on, making custom sizes, decorating your books, blocking, and managing your ends.
It’s almost absurdly detailed, but it really does mean you can totally make these, even if you’ve never knit a project like this before!
Skills & scope
Each book fits in the palm of your hand and takes only a few hours to knit. The knitting is surprisingly mellow, almost all stockinette in the round with just a few other stitches here and there to give it shape. A bit of duplicate stitch or embroidery at the end decorates the covers.
Yarn, gauge & sizing
The book pattern includes instructions to make a book built around a tin the size of an Altoids tin and a book built around a giant matchbox plus a detailed custom sizing worksheet so you can make whatever size you like.
These are best made with fingering weight yarn (you want your fabric to be fairly thin, so you don't want to use heavier yarn). You don’t need to match any particular gauge, but you do need to know your gauge so you can figure out your sizing.
You can absolutely use scrap yarn for this.
The books in the pictures took less than 125 yards of yarn for the covers, less than 75 yards of yarn for the pages, and less than 15 yards of embroidery floss for the decorations. They are worked at 7 stitches per inch. The books built around an Altoids tin are about 4.5 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches deep (when closed). The books built around a giant matchbox are about 6 inches tall, 4.25 inches wide, and 2 inches deep (when closed).
Tools & supplies
You’ll need needles that let you work in the round (circulars or DPNs) in whatever size lets you get a solid fabric with your chosen yarn plus the general knitting tools you need for most projects (scissors to cut your yarn, a darning needle to weave in ends, the occasional stitch marker or bit of scrap yarn to hold stitches).
You will also need a tin or drawer style box to go inside your book and act as the pages, some cardboard or plastic you can cut to size to be the cover, and some glue (or glue and magnets) to hold everything together. I have a page here with information about the supplies I use in my projects.