Thigh Gap of Yarn

What does a thigh gap have to do with yarn? Nothing and something all at once. In the age of pictures and social media we always want to look good. Thigh gaps were all the rage not too long ago and there were tutorials after tutorials telling you how to fake them.

Our yarn on the internet is a lot like a thigh gap. We want our yarn to look good. We want it to be special and so we often will hide it’s flaws. Sure, there are some people making the perfect yarns and they don’t need to  hide anything and then there is everyone else.

In classes I often hear “my yarn isn’t very good, it doesn’t look like everyone else’s yarn on the internet”. I bet your yarn actually does. You just know your own flaws and you don’t see the flaws. We all have a habit of hiding that when we hit social media.

This post is a lot shorter then my video below but I think I can be more succinct in my writing then I seem to be when I talk. Make the yarn you love and know that there are professionals like myself that have lumps and bumps. Embrace the yarn you love to make.

AND… if you want to be more consistent, stay tuned. We’re going to work on that. But make happy yarn and don’t worry about how your yarn looks compared to your neighbors.

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Basics – Fiber type and Staple Length

I’m working through a bunch of videos right now on basics. I really wanted my own answers to questions to be on YouTube so I can point people in that direction when they ask me a questions. Some weeks I’ll have basics I’m talking about and other weeks we’ll be working on Mojo Challenges or other projects. I have 3 pages of lists that I want to make videos for.

Last week I talked about Roving vs Combed Top.

This week I talked about Staple Length.

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Let’s talk about Pills… again

I posted a video to my YouTube channel about pilling.

But, if you like a good blog post, I posted about pills here a few years ago.


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Stripey sweater…

I’m working like mad to finish this up.

I’ve decided that this is the WIP project that I want to finish before I start in on the plaid one….

The Sweater is SpringLines and I’ve decided to make it a crop sweater to go with all the high waisted pants I plan to sew.  I think it will be about perfect. I’m about to start the ribbing and then we’ll work normal sleeves and in my head it will be the perfect Spring sweater.

The plaid sweater is of course to be a part of my “Year of Plaid”. I was going to make a different pattern (And still may in the future) but I decided that I love this Targhee Biggie that I’m using so much that I had to make another crop sweater but this time in plaid. All plaid. All year.

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Goal Setting and Planning

As the new year is upon us it’s always handy to set about my intentions for the year and figure out what I need to accomplish. Even if I have no die hard goals, there are things that need to be done.

I firmly believe we all need to plan in the way that works for each of us and sometimes trying everyone’s method will help us find our own. This is the method that I’ve settled on so I’m laying it all out in case it helps someone else. Mainly I make a couple giant lists of things and I have a few calendars.

I find it handy to have 3 different types of calendars for planning.

The 3 calendars I use are
1. A big year calendar on one page
2. Month on one page calendars
3. My planner that is 2 pages for each week.

Here’s the Printable Calendars I use
The calendars can be downloaded in a bunch of formats and then printed on whatever paper. I printed out a big calendar because it’s easy to see but everything else is on the A5 paper that fits my planner. The weekly pages I purchased from this Etsy Seller. For the price that they charge it’s not worth my time to do what they do to get all the dates and everything just so. Remember, your/my/our time is worth something and I’m planning to help save that time.

Let me make a note here that I also use an electronic calendar. My family shares a google calendar and we try to mark down things that will effect others. This method can work with an electronic calendar for the final weekly planning but to set it up with goals, it’s helpful to have the others.

The list needs to be EVERYTHING that is anything.
1. Birthdays, anniversaries, little things worth commemorating, full moons, etc
2. Work deadlines
3. Work trips/events
4.  Personal Trips/vacations/ events
5. Kid’s school events
6. Anything that I know the date…  I write it down.

With this list done, I can start to figure out how much time I’ll need to prep for each thing or how long each thing will take me.  For example: I need 4-6 weeks to get ready for a fiber show. My circadian rhythm may wake me up in the am but it doesn’t give me a sense of when a show is 4-6 weeks away. It certainly doesn’t warn me when a show is back to back with another so I have to prepare for 2 events at once. So for each event or item that takes an amount of time, I put a number next to it. That number will change if I have extra events around it that need extra prep. So it may change from year to year. I can’t just assume.

Once I have all these dates in, I can work backwards from that.  This is why we need the calendars so we can count back easier and more accurately. So SPA weekend is February 22-24. I pack the truck on the 21st.

I note the numbers of weeks that I need to count back. Then I need to count back in weeks based on the little numbers I noted there. Then make my notes as to what needs to happen:

If it’s an event like most of the 4H ones I have listed, I only need a day or 2 to prep and that’s in the same week so I don’t need to note it. If it’s like the service on on the 20th, I need to prep a presentation and might not notice it if I’m working week to week in my planner so I need to make a note which is why it has a “1” next to it.

Then I go to the full year calendar and I cross out weekends or chunks of time that are immovable. Things that I will need to work around. Big holidays, work events, kid events that I know of, etc.

This brings us the GOAL list.
This maybe the tough one since it doesn’t have dates attached. Or maybe it does have dates. If it does, that’s even better because I need to assign a date to each goal. Here’s a part of my list to give an idea:

You can see this list with the yearly calendar that has weekends scratched out. I mark out the “filled” weekends on my yearly calendar so I can help plan out the goals that have no actual dates. If I cross them out on my big calendar, when I go to fill in my goal dates, I can look and see that May is a bad month to finish certain goals so don’t assign that month anymore work!

This is the time consuming part. I do this with all the goals, events and happenings that need it. The more detailed I am, the more my future self thanks me. Without surprises popping up in the calendar, I’m more prepared and hopefully able to really hit those goals.

Some of these goals might need a start date and others might need to be broken down further like you can see with my drafted jacket. I just make a note of that on my planning page and then transfer it all into the calendar. Sometimes I make a scratch paper like the one above and in the end – I write it all out neatly for setting up in the planner.

After I compile all my lists and all my dates, everything will get listed into the weekly calendar. All the work in the beginning means as I go through my year, I just need to flip to the next week and I know exactly what’s going on. That is if I did a thorough job. I keep all my old lists (except the scratch drafts) and the monthly calendars so I can have them to reference if I need to. Keeping all of this until next year will also help me plan next year. What worked and what didn’t?

Happy Planning Y’all

Note: While I am a fountain pen junkie, I use pencils to start out planning. It makes me feel better to erase then it does to have to scratch out something because I changed my mind while planning. If I do use pen, I end up rewriting my page so it’s neat in my planner. Do what works for you.

You can see my video that accompanies this blog post here:

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The Jacket Project (Part 1)

Ok. Actually Beth Smith has the great jacket project. I’m just riding on her coat tails… pun intended.

I like sewing and I definitely like new blazers. I’ve been working towards more handmade garments as well. In that desire for more handmaid I want to do more woven garments for myself. And on top of that I want to be drafting my own so everything fits how I want it to.

In 2012 I talked about my working on a tank in “Progression of a Garment”.  In that I got so far as taking an old jersey tank, making a pattern from it, then resizing it into a woven garment pattern. I had all the intentions of making that into a woven garment but ended up accidentally selling most of the linen I was going to use. I never took it out of shop stock and I was left with not enough for the project. Eventually I acquired a different yarn but the wind had left my sails and there sat that project.

Something else was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it but the missing element was probably wool. I do prefer to just work with wool. Now, I don’t want a wool tank top necessarily but I do want a wool jacket. When Beth started to talk about her jacket plans my little lightbulb in my head went off. That’s the PROJECT I’ve been searching for.

Beth will be working on a more complicated garment and handspinning the yarn for it. I want a simple cut, thicker garment, and while I might use handspun at some point, right now I’m happy with using handpainted commercial yarn. I’m also planning on making my pieces on a rigid heddle. I have 2 floor looms but I want to show that weaving cloth can be super accessible.

Here’s where I am at in this project (yes this post is looooong)
I used Simplicity pattern 8093

This is my first sample jacket:

Cute right?

It’s a woven material much like I’ll be making. The pattern needs a few modifications. This is why we do test run muslins! The way the shoulders fit my dummy, is exactly the way they fit me. Those definitely need to be changed.

I wore this jacket all day and I kept putting my hands right there…. Why? I was expecting pockets. The way this pattern is laid out it’s an easy upgrade. The way the jacket is constructed, it has a piece set into the side. Pockets shouldn’t be at a side seam that’s set further back but they would work well at this seam. The jacket construction just screams pockets.

I did, least minute after the jacket was all together, hack in a pocket in the front.

I like this pocket… well, I would if it wasn’t an afterthought and it looked good. I will probably be making an inside pocket on my final jacket but I’ll do it before I put it all together and make it look neat.

All in all, I like how the lining goes in and I like the way it fits in general. I need a few modifications and this is one reason I sew. I can tailor a jacket to fit me exactly. The one modification I made to the pattern right off was the lapel. It is supposed to have a notch and I didn’t want that.

Really, what this jacket left me knowing was that I really needed to draft my own pattern.  I think it will be reminiscent of this one but it will be just so different as it will have

  • Modified shoulders – I think these are just slightly off (sorry MimiG).
  • Longer length
  • More shape in the waist area because of the longer length
  • modified back shaping
  • longer and more tapered sleeves
  • inner pocket
  • 2 outer pockets

My next material was a flocked denim but because of the “Year of Plaid”, I will find a new sample material. It won’t be just like my woven sample but I have an idea from this one exactly how my woven sample will work. Though it’s possible I will need to make a couple of these as I’m testing out my new draft. That’s ok. I like blazers and jackets.

If you too are working towards more tailored woven clothing I want to recommend this pattern. It uses a moderate amount of fabric while still managing to be tailored. It’s also not super tailored so if you’re not really experienced in sewing you can still sew this. This particular piece is a great transition between blocky garments and the super duper tailored jacket. I’m going to keep talking about and working towards showing how to set up weaving for commercial tailored patterns.


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Make Nine

If you head over to Lucky Lucille’s Blog you’ll see she has a post for last year around this time talking about her “Make Nine”. I don’t know if she’s doing it again this year but I’m going to and I’m sure there are many others that will too. The idea is that you pick 9 things that you really want to make in 2019. There’s a few prompts that she has in case you have a hard time. Its really about inspiring your year. I can see it as a great tool for when you’re feeling uninspired, go work on one of your nine. It’s clever!

Me? I had a hard time narrowing it down to nine but I think I finally have.  I made a video for youtube

But because sometimes I want to read and view pics, here’s my list in blog form

ONE: Finish a sweater for me. I make them for work more often then I make them for me. I have several poor languishing sweaters like this guy here.
I would like to actually finish one that I have on the needles and do one more (I am capable of more but this is the goal I’m willing to set.) – I posted a pretty pink yarn on IG yesterday or I’m super hoping I get my Less is More knit along sweater done.
TWO: A new winter jacket. Maybe I get it for this winter, maybe it’s for next winter. I’d like to finally use this gorgeous limey wool I’ve been hoarding for about 12 years. And no, I haven’t picked out a pattern which is most of the reason I don’t have the jacket made. If I choose wisely I have enough for 2 jackets!

THREE: New blouses in different styles. I have a habit of finding one pattern that works and sticking with it. Well. I have a crapton of different blouse patterns and I’d like to use a few new ones and try them out. Make 2-3 and then I can make a bunch of the ones I like the best.

FOUR: Jeans. I’m tired of buying junky jeans off the rack. This one might take a while. I have one pair cut and waiting to go. I don’t think these are “the one”. But I’d like to put some effort into this year into finding the right pair of jeans then I can make, make, make.

FIVE: Weave, draft, and sew that jacket. Behind my yarn is the first prototype and it was a Simplicity pattern but I want to change the sleeves, the collar, the length and the pocket configuration. Basically I need to draft a new jacket. Draft, test sew something, then weave my own.

SIX: Long plaid circle skirt. I see them occasionally on models online and I just need one. I want it to be just how I want it and with pockets so I’ll be drafting and using a traditional pattern to get what I want from this fabric.

SEVEN: Socks. I am tired of not having plenty of wool socks. My goal is to make 2-3 new pair before next winter. I’d like more but I want to be realistic on my time.

EIGHT: Weave off the Linen. I have 3 empty floor looms and a bunch of empty rigid heddles. I need more linen in my life and I have a plethora of these 2 colors in particular. I will likely overdye the cotton candy but the material is what’s important. It’s a really sweet linen and I need fabric.  I figure once this gets done, I can choose what to make with it.

NINE: Super WIDE leg pants. I love the really wide legged pants especially in summer. They’re cool like a skirt but I don’t have to worry about how I bend over or if I have to straddle a sheep out in the barn. I can wear them all I want and I have a few patterns with a few fabrics to test. So I suppose like the jeans. I want to find the right formula and make the best pair that I can more of.

That’s it.
I mean, that’s not it.
There’s self drafted tank tops, self drafted dresses:

another jacket, rompers and bib pants:

another handspun sweater project and this vest that is partially handwoven
..A whole basket of things waiting for reconstruction!. 

And so on. But these first nine things are my inspirations and my goals for the year. They’re goals, or their old roadblocks. They’re things I’d like to accomplish this year. I think I can reasonably manage them too. Wish me luck.

Now, if you’re doing this, I want to see your list. Please link me to where ever you put your list. If we’re all in it together, we’re all helping to lift each other up. Here’s to a productive 2019 for us all!

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