A few years ago my first book came out and I had some book signings sessions at various events. At the last minute I panicked: what kind of message do you write to complete strangers who happen to like your book? Presumably you have some things in common but at the same time, you don’t know each other. So I googled it. “What do you write at a book signing?” Surprisingly, Neil Gaiman, of whom I am a big fan, has written loads about the subject. His first piece of advice was to buy yourself a Sharpie.
I had heard of Sharpies, but I thought they were these big permanent markers basketball players use to sign autographs on basketballs. A bit over the top and slightly coarse for botanical painting… Then I found the fine Sharpies. Refillable in a metallic body. Pretty. It doesn’t bleed through the page, it is touch dry instantly even on glossy paper, doesn’t smudge when you close the book… perfect. (Honestly, they are not paying me for this; I really do like my Sharpie.)
Then obviously I wanted to share the love. I have a friend in France who is a comic book writer and has signing events too. Mr Flora’s Patch needs a pen in his breast pocket at work. My best friend likes everything I like, so definitely one for her. Soon enough, every stocking that year had a Sharpie on order. The fine refillable one with the metallic body.
Then what? It might be a good pen, but a pen just like that on its own is a bit boring. I decided to make étuis to hold them and make them more Christmassy. So I made these in crochet, with an organza ribbon fastening and a little satin rose. Except for the comic book writer. He is a man and not a man who would enjoy a crochet pen holder that includes a little satin rose. I bought him a faux leather affair in black. Had he known what he had escaped from, he would have been grateful.
The pattern is very simple: it is worked row by row, all straight, long enough to fit the pen front and back and to have a fold over flap at the end. Line the crochet piece in velvet, so that the pen doesn’t fall through the holes (the horror of losing your Sharpie!) and so that the body of the pen doesn’t get scratched. Use the same yarn to stitch the sides and a thin thread to attach the ribbons and the rose. It is worked in trebles all along or if you feel fancy you can add a few shells at the front.
Yarn: Patton mercerised cotton
(Copyright Sandrine Maugy)