Finding a Planner

Planning and organization of some sort if important to run a business. Especially when you have a lot going on. When you have a lot going on, even if you don’t have a business a planner is important.  Seriously. How do you all keep track of anything without one?

The thing is, it can take time and possibly be frustrating to find a method that works for you. Before 2013 I was using post it notes and an online calendar. It sort of worked but planning was more hit or miss. That’s a lot of business years without a good solid planner. I discovered the Bullet Journal right around this time. These are my 2014 and 2015 Journals.

I thought the index page was clever. I like the size of this, it was neat and easy to carry and you can see I improved on my indexing in the 2014 year by breaking out my monthly calendar.

I kind of enjoyed making new calendar pages and being creative. The thing is that sometimes I needed more. I wanted to be able to add pages and I found myself a little frustrated… So the bullet journal got abandoned (notice the calendar stopped?) mid year for a Midori style set up and then soon after for a larger Midori setup.

This gave me the ability to have a calendar book. A book for writing prompts. A book for budget. A book for… etc etc etc. I could add or remove books as needed.

I had this thing really thick once and then pared it down to this which was fairly workable. I used this through 2016 when I was thinking I could fine tune it and make it even better.

My criteria was that I didn’t want it as thick but I wanted all the stuff in it and I wanted A5 size. I also needed it to be able to shift pages or “booklets” in and out. I looked at a bunch of options and finally settled on the Filofax model.

I will admit that this Filofax is thicker than I thought I wanted but in reality it holds my everything. I don’t always travel with it but I always travel with some part of it. It’s pages can be shifted and moved so I can take pieces with me and then put them back into this as needed.
There’s handy file dividers so I can find a section easily.
And I have 2 “Today” markers so I can find Today and also another important point just by looking at the top of my planner. Right now I’m second marker is on January 1 2019.

I know this was all long winded. What can I say, I like paper and pens and planners. I’m not telling you this to tell you that you should run out to get a Filofax, or a Midori, or a Bullet Journal, or any other journal specifically. I even tried out others that I mentioned on the blog but didn’t stick with long. Basically I’m relaying my story to tell you that if one journaling method only kind of works, keep looking. Be willing to abandon what you have in search of a set up that works for you. Work it, work it to its best and then move on if it’s not filling your needs. There are so many planners out there and one will hopefully fit you.

I’m working on some calendar and planning pages to help with business stuff so I’ll go over that next. I think if I found this kind of planning sooner, I might even have a neat desk (ha ha ha). Just kidding. I get asked about planners and biz advice a lot but I’ll never have a neat desk for long.

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Simple Blazer

This is the “Bespoke Blazer” from Sew to Grow. It’s super simple and uses just 2 cuts of a 44 inch wide cotton. Well… 2 yards of each the way I do it. I made mine fully reversible.

I made one a few weeks ago to give it a sizing text before I moved on to more expensive fabric. I have a bit more in the headlight department so it doesn’t lay as flat as it does on the model or my dress mannequin but it fits really well. I needed to make some small adjustments for my own personal fit but otherwise it works for me.

Since I didn’t make a costume for my favorite holiday I figured I’d make myself a Christmas Blazer. A sort of costume for the Holidays. Of course I made this one reversible too.
And the full lining:
Basically I just cut out 2 of the outer jacket pattern and then sandwiched them together. There is a partial lining in this pattern but if you make 2 whole outer patterns, you have a reversible jacket. Voila!

I have plans to make one more of these and then maybe one for the college kid since she could use some blazer for presentations. Then I’ll be moving on to other blazers and projects. So many projects so little time.

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Control Cards

I have talked about these things at length so many times. Every time I teach a class I will go on and on about these things. Finally I’ve made a video that explains my control card love.

The 2 sample below were both spun to 12 wraps per inch (plied)

Merino in white and Wensleydale in the burgundy.
They were steam finished, this is the same result as soaking but it’s easier with smaller samples to steam them
Notice that the Merino plumped up to 9 WPI and the Wensleydale stayed the same. If you don’t sample, you might not get an accurate example of what you need to make your sweater.


Make your cards and then spin to the card. You’ll have a better more accurate finished sweater project when you take a little time up front.  Also – your notes on your card only need to be readable by you. We all spin differently so unless you know you’re exactly like someone else, these are all unique to YOU!

THEN! Keep the card. If you ever want to spin that same yarn again (same grist, same breed type) then you just need to refer to the card and get right to spinning. You only ever need to sample once per grist- per fiber type.

My sample cards are a printout available for Patreon subscribers. I printed mine on a mid weight card stock but really you can make do with what you have on hand on scribble out your notes on recipe cards.

I keep my cards in a little box but have toyed with the idea of switching to a binder and photo pages like these. Do what works for you but sample so you have better success. And! Don’t forget to ask questions.

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Less is More – 2 Handspun Sweaters

Let’s talk a bit about 2 of the Less is More sweaters I’ve made.

The first one I ever made was this:

This is also the sweater you see in the Knitty pattern. 
It uses 4 different yarns and in the video here, I explained a bit more about the fibers that went into it and the differences.

The 3rd Less is More I made, I used all BFL and Falkand fibers. I spun this as a part of a group spin and knit along with the Spunky Eclectic group on Ravelry.
I didn’t want to keep making the same sweater over and over so this one I sought out a pattern on Ravelry that was a top down set in sleeve. It uses the Driftwood pattern as it’s basis. I love this sweater

For the one I’ll be working on with you all, I’ll be planning to work on another pattern. I like to keep it different and accessible and show that different sweaters can work with the same concept. You’re not stuck with just that one sweater in that one weight of yarn.

I am betting you can find a lot of sweaters but here’s a few ideas I have
Lace or Fingering weight:

Sport Weight:
Vitamin D
Larch Cardigan
I see Spring

DK – Worsted Weight:
Sweatshirt Sweater 
Moxie Pullover
Hey Girl
Basic Chic Hoodie

Aran Weight:
Shapely Boyfriend

Bulky Weight:
Selvedge Cardigan

These are by far not the only ones out there but these are a few of my favorites. Some of the yardage might need to be worked with or a 5th color added for the longer sweaters but we can work on that together. But you get the idea right? Sweaters that have simple designs that aren’t super busy. That’s not to say that you can’t use a sweater with a cable, you absolutely can. You just have to know your colors and make sure what you’re making won’t be too busy for the size of the cable you’re doing.

There’s a few finished ones on Ravelry – take a stroll if you’re looking for inspiration. Maybe I’ll make mine with a cable so there’s a little more inspiration… I haven’t picked out my sweater yet – have you?

Around each episode I’m posting on YouTube, I’m posting to my Patreon so we can all work on these Mojo Challenge projects there. I also try to make sure to keep open threads in FB and Ravelry to ask questions and so we are all alonging together.

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Less is More – Again

I wrote a pattern for Knitty in 2012 that was called Less is More. The concept for this pattern is that you can spin smaller amounts of handspun/handpainted yarn and with a little color knowledge it will make a gorgeous gradient type sweater.

The pattern is really simple. All the work is in the color. The other cool thing is that you can use the color formula and make any simple sweater with it! I’ve made one “Less is More” style sweater that wasn’t fully the pattern. I used a top down set in sleeve pattern.

The simplest written color explanation can be found in the pattern on Knitty for  Less is More.  If you want to see the video description of it then you can watch here:

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be fleshing out more about the colors and how to choose them if you’re using handspun, handspun and fiber, and if you’re using commercial yarns.

I’m also going to talk about fiber content and the way that fibers behave so you can make smart blending choices.  I’ll also talk about how to choose patterns and work with the grist (thickness) of yarns that you have.

I hope you want to play along.

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Fix those hands!

The most often given comment, complaint, or question about working with silk hankies is that the hands are just a mess. The silk snags and pulls and gets stuck. This is the truth. It does do that. I don’t always work at smoothing my hands unless I plan to sit down and spin a lot of silk. When I’m just doing a few bits for a jewelry project, I just deal with it.

If I’m going to really work with silk then I want to sand off the little bits of skin that snag and moisturize. Sanding off the little bits is really just exfoliating. You can use an exfoliating wash that you get from the store or you can moisturize and exfoliate all in one.

Equal parts brown sugar and coconut oil (softened but not hot)

Mix it together into a little paste
Your hands will heat it up the rest of the way and liquify the coconut oil making it a good lotion/exfoliant

Rub all over the hands. I will work at this for a good couple of minutes. Rubbing and smoothing it around. I focus a lot on my fingers and finger tips to make sure I get all the little bits of stuff off that will snag the silk.

It doesn’t damage the silk product to have snags but it is annoying for the spinner. So you want to exfoliate all of that away if those snags are particularly bothersome for you. You may need to do this more then once and you may find you need to do it more often to help keep the bits of skin at bay.

Then I just dry my hands. I don’t usually wash it off because I want to use the coconut oil as my moisturizer so I just use a clean towel and rub/dry off all the bits of sugar. Voila! Pretty hands. (full disclosure, these are Kate’s hands and they’re not nearly as beat up as mine anyway but she makes a good model)

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Spinning Silk Hankies

If you’ve been following along in any of the social media I’ve been posting (and I feel like I’ve been reposting and linking everywhere) then you know I’ve done a spinning singles and plying videos for silk hankies.

If you haven’t seen them. Here’s the spinning of the singles:

These are the 2 bobbins I spun so you can see the colors:

Here’s the plying videos with use information:
Plying with a wheel:

Plying with a spindle from an Andean Bracelet:

Yes, I love the screen caps of my ridiculous face. Maybe some day I’ll change the captures to be a little more flattering. Right now, I’m tickled.

Product info for those that are curious: 
Wheel for singles – Schacht Matchless set up in Double drive. Using lace bobbins (which wasn’t necessary but it was what I had on hand) and the 12:1 ratio.
Wheel for plying – Louet S10DT 10:1 ratio (it was honestly too slow but it was a clean bobbin and ready to go)
Spindle: Cascade Spindle company “Shuksan”
Hankies: Spunky Eclectic colorway “Burning Bush”
I’ll weigh my yarn when I’m through but I’ll be weighing it grams. I didn’t need much for the project I wanted.

If you’re coming to the New England Fiber Festival this weekend – Let me know you’ve seen the videos. Tell me you want to make the same thing and I’ll give you a small amount of hankies. Enough to make your own bracelet (which is the end project you’ll see in a couple of weeks) While the supply lasts.

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