Category: wardrobeplanning

How I Use Ravelry to Plan My Knitting Projects

How I Use Ravelry to Plan My Knitting Projects

As one of the programmers for Ravelry, I know the site very well. I don’t just help make it, I use it a lot for my personal knitting projects. Today I wanted to share some of the features I use when I’m planning a project to ensure that I end up with FOs that I love.

Finding a Pattern for a Stashed Yarn

After I finished spinning up Pomegranate I knew I wanted to knit a sweater out of it. To find contenders I built this Ravelry search: sweaters, in bulky or super bulky weight (I find these weights are not well defined so I included both), with slightly more yardage than I have, and that I have in my favorites. If I don’t see any contenders in my favorites I’ll remove that criterion and start paging through result; anything I like I open in a new tab for evaluation. There are lots of other pattern attributes – fabric characteristics like cables or ages like adult – but I find that they are applied inconsistently and I’d rather wade through patterns that aren’t quite what I’m looking for than miss out on something I would love, so I very rarely use them.

Evaluating Whether a Pattern Will Work

After a pattern has been short listed I send it through the following checklist, removing it if I am unimpressed at any step along the way.

  1. Enlarge all of the pattern pictures to make sure I really like the pattern, either as is or with simple modifications.
  2. Skim the projects to see if it is generally flattering on the people who have made it.
  3. Go back to the project page and study the yarn requirements – is my yarn similar to the recommended yarn or different but in a way I am okay with? I think about things like how the yarn construction will affect stitch definition and texture, fiber composition will affect drape, and color will reflect in those shapes. I also compare the grist of my intended yarn to the recommended yarn – weights like lace or bulky have wide ranges and two yarns in that weight may not be interchangeable.
  4. Check if I have enough yarn for the pattern. I tend to use at least 10% less than designers list for my size so that’s my criterion at this point.
  5. Study in detail the projects in my size – how much yarn did those projects use? Are the models shaped like me and if so do I like how it looks on them?

If a pattern has passed all of these steps I check a few more things to make sure I’m not ignoring red flags for a pattern I find stunning.

Do I really have enough yarn? On the advanced project search for the pattern, I look at the yardages used. I assume anyone with 1-150 yards didn’t actually fill out that part of the project page and ignore them. Here 22 people were able to make the pattern with yardage within 10% of how much yarn I have. I usually make the second smallest size, so that makes me feel pretty confident that I can pull it off, too.

Am I looking at samples made from comparable yarns? You will find projects with lots of creative yarn substitutions. I want to make sure that the projects I am thinking mine may turn out like come from materials similar to my own. The overwhelming majority of projects were made with bulky yarns here, so it’s unlikely I am being fooled here.

What If . . . 

I don’t have enough yarn and can’t get more but really want to make this pattern anyway? I look at the projects that used 2+ colors and see if I like how any of them were done.

The pictures all seem to be hiding one area of the garment or some part of the fit looks consistently a little bit weird? I cross it off my list and move onto another pattern. I put too much time into my projects to knit something that I have a sinking feeling won’t be amazing.

And there you have it! As you can tell, I like to use up all the yardage I have of a yarn, so I often pick patterns where I end up playing yarn chicken. These steps I’ve developed mean that I haven’t run out just before finishing a project in years, and I am making great garments that I love. Do you have a great Ravelry tip or want to hear more about how I use the site? Let me know!

Crafty Reads: Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style

I adore my well-planned wardrobe. Putting intention into coordinating the shapes and colors and pieces was transformative for my crafting. I have always been a product crafter, but now in particular I know that new items will have a place in my closet. This is thrilling because I know that everything I make will be worn and loved. So, I was very eager to read this month’s crafty read, Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style, which is an invitation to explore the author’s uniform.

The book has five core sewing patterns with variations – two tanks/tunics/dresses, one shorts/pants, one skirt, and one coat/jacket. The text is split into seasons, showing versions appropriate for each season, modeled by wonderful figures in Lotta’s life. At the end there’s a section showing the pieces remixed and restyled. Together it is a delightful representation of the patterns – I walked away with a great sense of the pieces overall and which one I was most excited to add to my wardrobe (an Esme tunic!).

Scattered throughout the book there are also fanciful accessories – patchwork scarves, tasseled shawls, fabric necklaces, giant pom-poms, and bags of every shape and size. Oh, and my new obsession, bias tape shoelaces. Accessories are such a fun source of variety in a uniform wardrobe. As quick, easy projects they can be an introduction to making for yourself for beginners, or a way for an expert to update a beloved ensemble without a huge investment of time.

This book has both information and inspiration. It really covers the five key pieces – suitable fabrics, styling ideas, fit – and includes the patterns for them are in the back to create your own. It also covers what Lotta likes in her wardrobe and provides plentiful inspiration there. What it doesn’t cover is how to find your own uniform of pieces. There is plenty of inspiration for how great a wardrobe made of a few pieces can be, and is a great jumping off point for further research on the topic.

Are you interested in the materials I would recommend to develop your own capsule wardrobe or uniform? Let me know and I can make it the topic of a future post! I would also love to hear if there are any books you recommend for future crafty reads.

Sewing Plans

Let’s talk about sewing plans! I just got a big batch of fabric and am super excited about my plans for all of it.

I’ve spent the last year doing a lot of reading and thinking about wardrobes. My friend Mary-Heather introduced me to the idea of a capsule wardrobe – a small set of mix-and-matchable clothing making up the entirety of your closet. I also was really influenced by The Wardrobe Architect series that Colette Patterns did in 2014. When I looked at what I owned I saw that clothes I purchased are remixable but not always in my favorite silhouettes, and the clothing I make is a hodge-podge that doesn’t really fit into my ready-to-wear wardrobe. Now I know what kinds of clothing I want to have in my wardrobe and it’s time for the fun part – making it!

First up is an Everyday Skirt from Liesl + Co. I love the look of a fitted top tucked into a full skirt at the waist, yet I don’t own a single skirt like that. I love this Robert Kaufman Chambray Union and I think this is going to be a year-round wardrobe staple. I also plan to make a lined winter version of the skirt in some Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel (with Robert Kaufman Manchester cotton poplin for the lining). I need to hurry if I want to get any wear out of it this year in my climate!

Next I plan to tackle the Archer Button-Up from Grainline Studios. This is Cotton + Steel Frock Rayon that I think will make an awesome top I can wear with jeans or shorts. I’m also planning a cotton poplin version from Verna Mosquera – wouldn’t it look great tucked into my chambray Everyday Skirt?

And I’m hoping that after making two Archers I will be ready to tackle the Darling Ranges dress from Megan Nielsen. One in an amazing tiny houndstooth print on Robert Kaufman and the other in a fantastic Cotton + Steel Lawn.

Finally, I couldn’t resist this purple Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen/Rayon blend. I am planning a tunic/shift, probably one of the patterns in Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style.

I know it’s am ambitious list. But I feel like these pieces are really reflective of my personal style so if I don’t get to them until fall or even next spring, I’ll still be really excited about them. Also, most of them are new-to-me fabrics for sewing, so I will be learning a ton as I go!

Do you have any big sewing plans for this spring? I know my friend Sarah is also planning a couple Everyday Skirts this spring. Is anyone interested in a Sew-A-Long?