Foundation Friday: Estimating Yards in Fabric & Yarn

If you were to ask a quilter, a knitter or a sewist of almost any kind the number one irritating practical problem they face it would be estimating yardage for a project. Unless you are using a pattern and relying on the exact number of yards called for, you’re in the guessing realm. Even for written patterns, almost all depend on a system whereby they round UP….. meaning you have too much, OR if you’re like most creatives you make a pattern your own by adding (or subtracting) length, sleeves, ease, style or size of a quilt or home dec project.

You can guess, or round WAY WAY up— but that leaves a lot of money on the table that could be better used for another project, right?

Quilters can use any number of quilt programs for PC or Mac where you can input the block type and add fabric to the blocks resulting in a fairly accurate yardage count.

Sewists can look at a similar pattern and guess–

Knitters can do the same.

But it all relies on a basic foundation.

Quilters need a block type and count + sashing + backing

Sewists need length and body width, knowledge of how many pattern pieces they’ll be cutting and their length (ex. bodice front and back, sleeves, facings, etc.)

Knitters need garment type and gauge.

With these foundations in place you can much better estimate yardage needed. Add to that some excellent resources on the web and you’ll dial down the zone quite a bit.


From Jimmy Beans comes a favorite yarn calculator (and there are others!).

This example uses a cardigan style sweater 40″ in chest size with a worsted weight yarn. The assumptions are given on the right. There are lots of variables to use the calculator.


Again there are lots of resources:

White Quilt with Bold and Patterned Blocks From a blog on Craftsy comes good advice

& a quilt yardage calculator from Quiltbug makes it easy for main yardage and binding:

A backing and binding calculator from Quilters Paradise is very useful as well:

Sewing Garments for Misses, Men or Kids? There are calculators and estimators as well!

From (believe it or not) Dummies comes a useful list:

You still won’t be Bang On Accurate, but you’ll be close.

Closer Yet requires some sketching and some time…… you may want to estimate and call it good. If you are using a particularly expensive fabric and can’t layout your pattern in the store (!) a layout is a good idea. Draw out the length and width of the fabric and TO SCALE add your pattern pieces in an economical layout. (Use the layout/cutting instructions from your pattern if need be). You’ll be close but I suggest you add in a little bit of extra just in case!

Keep an idea ‘in your head’ (sounds scary) of the garment….. and how it is likely to fit on fabric. A skirt? Unless you are more than 90 inches in circumference you will need only one length of fabric. Length? How long do you want with allowance for hem and waistband. Shirt? Usually one length for the front, one for the back, add sleeve length and any extras like facings, cuffs, linings, etc.

Lastly, keep notes! Many knitters, quilters or sewists keep a sort of journal with each garment made. When you add a sketch or photo of each project with the yardage requirements of fabric or yarn you’ll soon get your own built in estimator. Having a written record helps jog the memory!

Plan well and have fun!

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Tutorial: Large Flat Bottom Project Bag

I love project bags and have quite a few of them. Last weeks trip meant I needed a new one to fit into a large tote….. you know, one of those larger than a purse and smaller than a full on suitcase deals! Consolidating the current knitting project into a project bag that would bit into my tote with other essentials meant one less thing to carry.

Using favorite fabrics from stash I made quick work of it. The fabric is a long out of production Alexander Henry in a pink and black colorway, skulls with knitting needles, skulls with scissors and a print of a cartoon like sewing machine repairman. This version is unlined, if you wanted to add a lining simply make two and insert wrong sides facing before you stitch the casing in.

I’ve always loved the fabric and it was time to actually USE it!

The front and back were each one color with the pocket the novelty print

Two rectangles were cut 21 inches by 33 inches

the pocket is 8 x 16″, folded in half, stitched with an opening left to turn.

Topstitch pocket closing the opening.

The rectangles were joined on one side and finished with a zig zag (I still haven’t replaced my serger)

Attach the pocket by edge stitching around the sides and bottom. Add velcro to close.

Pin down the top edge a quarter inch and press and then turn down another inch and press for the casing.

Mark the center on one side of the casing, stitch a buttonhole vertically there to feed the ribbon out of the casing.

My ribbon is vintage pink grosgrain and the inch channel was just the right amount.

Fold up the casing carefully (so you can stitch a smooth side seam) & with the wrong sides together stitch the other side seam & finish. Stitch the bottom seam and edge finish.

Fold the casing back in place and stitch close to the folded edge.

Use a bodkin or safety pin to feed through the ribbon.

Press flat & turn inside out.

Mark the corner:

Fold the sides into points with the front on one side and the back on the other.

Mark 3 inches straight across and stitch, then trim.

Inside and outside views of the corner that will make the bag sit flat.

NOTE: Lining the bag will make it sit nicer, interfacing the bag even more so.


You’re done!

I love my project tote. It’s large enough to fit the last quarter of the Mitered Square Afghan and then some!

I just may interface and line it at some point. I’ll make a bag exactly like it, fold down to where it will fit inside just above the casing line and machine stitch a line around the top, not interfering with the casing itself.

How many project bags do YOU have?

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No Place Like Home



Worst Wedding EVER.


2 1/2 hour delay on a stopped dead interstate coming home.


Yes, knitting happened. FIVE SQUARES LEFT on the mitered square afghan. FIVE!!!  My Knit Picks order for more navy yarn to finish the last row arrived while I was away on bride duty and sat on a wet stormed on porch— so glad they wrap in plastic!!

The new knitting bag worked out perfectly and allowed me to haul one less bag.

Tutorial coming!

The week kicks off getting back into the groove and preparing for a huge wedding this coming weekend along with back to back company on the horizon.

Happy Monday!

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The Best Foundation (Friday)’s are FOOD!

As I head off for a short and sweet roadtrip I leave you with the best summer foundation of all:

Cornbread & Butter Beans.

Say Amen.

Photo: Cocktail or two on the front porch. #fourroses small batch. Yum!

If you’re not a fan of butter beans (shame shame)

how can you argue with bourbon and cheesy h’ors d’oeuvres?

I swear, if the mosquitos didn’t want to carry me off I could live on the front porch!

Posted in Chat

Little Footstool Re-Cover

The footstool is still in great shape “on the inside”…. and started as a red floral matching a chair. Then I recovered it with dropcloth—- which I still love. The slipcover needed a slipcover and a cool summer blue was just the thing.

I used outdoor fabric with a small diamond quilt texture and laid it over the stool wrong side down. Pinching a dart on all four sides brought  it in with a bit of shape—– but not TIGHT. I cut it short enough for the pleated under-skirt to peep out like a petticoat. (Hasn’t it been a long time since you’ve heard that word????)

Finding 8 great aqua and white buttons (with a 40% off coupon) echoing the chevron on the rug was great! Each “pleat” got a button on each side giving this little recover recover a fantastic summer pop for little time and little money.

Love that!

My sweet boy dog doesn’t seem very interested….. does he? Poor Price has had one thing after another, recently his left hind leg has been giving him fits and at times he can’t put it down. A trip to the vet shows no real damage except to my bank account. Good thing he’s the most wonderful dog ever and so cute, good indeed!

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Slipcovers, Knitting & Road Trip Ahead

Road Trip ahead indeed. Friday morning we’ll head out to Panama City for a destination wedding, the dogs and I get to be wranglers so how could I say no to the trip? It’s an easy drive heading in a direction not often traveled in recent years so that’s also a plus. I know the road up to Hilton Head and the road down to Jacksonville like the back of my boring hand.

On the Knit Front, I was SOOOOO excited this weekend to think ONE LAST ROW of the Mitered Square Afghan….. and of course I was way too hasty. She is looking good though and amazing to me how truly spectacular the afghan is when set together!

TWO last rows. AND, as suspected there is no way that the navy blue yarn is going to make it for one remaining square using that color. Dammit. Which makes me wonder about road trip knitting since the four squares/sections of the afghan will not be set together for the binding to commence. Now, I could join sections 1 and 2 (the top 2 completed sections) and work the black border/sashing along the top of these. Then when section 4 is completed (with new blue yarn) squared 3 and 4 can marry, the border can go onto the bottom there….. THEN the center can be seamed and the two longest borders can be added to the sides. My head hurts and I can’t make myself think of the day it is DONE DONE DOOOOOOONE.

At this point *and we all know things change* ahem, I’ll take that as well as cast on for Pumpkin Ale. Which is blue and the moniker Pumpkin Ale doesn’t seem right, I’m going to have to work on that. Moldy Pumpkin Ale…. no— that is wrong on so many levels.

Above from Bespoke Knits in gorgeous blue, similar to my colorway.

Her blog has some spectacular knitting— check her out!

With the back cabled panel of the sweater to knit,  the border/sash along squares 1 & 2 (above) I’ll have PLENTY of knitting to do. Along with my watercolor journal I’ll be good to go.

Haircut? Tuesday.

Pedi? Thursday.

Packing? In between. I mean, I’ll be gone 3 days, I make it sound like a transatlantic journey to Nepal.

As usual, I’ll have more to DO than wear and when you factor in the bag for the dogs…….. there will barely be room enough to squeeze in my flat iron! There will be no discussion that I always take more to do than there is time for as well….. some things never change.

Slipcovers you ask? Yes. I need (in a big way) to slipcover the ugly nasty horrendous red chair. With a fab new recliner in the house the urgency dimmed a bit. BUT–I’m going to cover it with dropcloth fabric as I’ve discussed before, see it on the chair back below? It’s sitting out of the way in the studio and I’m hoping out of sight won’t make it out of mind. I’d love to have it done before company arrives over the 4th and frankly—– that is not at all likely to happen. The word “likely” shouldn’t even be used. The phrase “ain’t gonna” should be inserted in it’s stead. Plus…. there is a little bolt in the bottom of the chair frame that keeps dropping out. I think the frame needs to be shored up with a little wood, some liquid nails and a blop of locktite. See? This makes it a project of gargantuan proportions.

The pillow? Waiting on another bag of polyfil—– it was just a little somethin’ after the backpack idea was junked. I do love the fabric in a room that’s yellow, coral and blue.

Happy Monday- have a great week!


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Happy Foundation Friday: Blog Roll Anyone?

Happy Foundation Friday!

Every once in awhile isn’t it fun to see what great links other creatives enjoy on a regular basis?

Mine rotate, change around as I discover new ones or my interests rotate I should say. In no particular order…. links are ‘built in’.  Enjoy!

What is on YOUR current blog roll?

jones design company

The Bitchy Stitcher

Lake Girl Paints

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No Knitting Content

So why is it that I’m not knitting? I’m SO CLOSE to the end of the endless boring can’t stand to look at it mitered square afghan. So close. I’ve searched my heart with assigned guilt and a bit of self loathing over the whole thing. I AM reading a lot. A whole lot. Which is great. And I’m definitely enjoying summer with much joy. But knitting? Not so much. I think I’m not knitting b/c I’ve promised myself to be monogamous to the afghan until it’s finished and maybe (just maybe) this is stifling me. Maybe a little walk on the wild side, cheating on my afghan with another project will break the log jams and restore my knitting mojo?

Remember this?

Pumpkin Ale……  I really am anxious to knit it and would love it to be a Christmas gift in the delicious denimy blue yarn waiting for me.

But the afghan needs to be finished first.

Or I could cheat on the afghan with a small little project….

Maybe little booties? These little sweeties from the new Creativebug class with Maggie Pace—- sigh.

Or…..Sakonette? A little froufrou?

Until I decide what to do I’m without sticks at all and up to book 3 in the Jack Reacher series. (Why did I wait so long!!)

Road trip next week for work to Panama City, should be fun. I’ll be packing some car knitting. Will it be Pumpkin Ale? Or will I make unofficial goal and have the mitered square afghan top finished and ready for the black ‘sashing’?

In the meantime……. there was homemade blueberry jam, so good! Served with fresh English Muffin Bread and although the recipe doesn’t make a lot there’s plenty to have with some fresh biscuits this weekend. Yum! Check the recipe HERE!

Photo: Homemade blueberry jam. Oh. My.


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Sew Patriotic: Burlap Flag Banner

Late for Memorial Day & early for the 4th of July— nevertheless the front porch is Southern Summer Seriously Stylin!

  • 3 yards of Burlap in an allover red white and blue flag print
  • Heavy dark twine

To determine size I folded the burlap in half and marked the center line all the way down the fabric. When this line was made, using a long ruler and a Sharpie I drew the flag shapes, each one nestled into each other to maximize the burlap. I cut out with scissors— the rotary cutter gets dull so fast when cutting out burlap.

I wanted to see the ‘right’ side of the flag while sitting on the porch as well as from the street so I laid two flags together with wrong sides facing and rolled down the top a half inch and stitched with a wide zig zag. Make sure to leave enough channel to thread through the twine.

Once I had the magic number stitched (6 for each section of the porch for me) I used a long bodkin hook to quickly and easily thread through the twine cut to length. Easy Peasy!

Then it was time to hang them up making sure that the ‘swag’ of each section matched up.

They’re smashing yes?

It must be time for a cold one……. and I don’t mean the weather (which has been nothing short of sultry).

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Foundation Friday: Sharing The Goods

One of the best things about creating things is SHARING things! It is truly one of the Foundations of Creating—- make it share it & enjoy the applause! Not only are accolades nice but truly, in the community of creatives, inspiration fuels others and round and round it goes.

I’m new to the Instagram party and have to say I’m kicking myself for taking so long to arrive! I love the platform and love the ease with which you can share. Additionally, those morning shots from creatives? Fabulous!

I’ve been pinning for quite awhile but haven’t been crazy about it lately. It seems it’s all about the food bloggers. Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE me a food blogger, don’t get me wrong– and I follow a lot of them! But the home feed needs some tweaking in order to see others. I guess it just feels more commercial to me recently. Having said that food bloggers make my world go ’round to be sure! Because of them I have no doubt I’m a better cook, a more adventurous cook, and a better baker. I also blame them for making me eat more! ;)

I only have my personal page on Facebook. I don’t talk about much— and have to say it makes me crazy to see political crap that makes my teeth itch. What can you say, you learn a lot about your friends!!!

I do Tweet but am not as vigilant as I should be. Again, it seems like it’s gotten really commercial and I don’t give a rip about celebrities and how the give good Tweet! (Well, a few—- but that’s just me!) If you can’t enjoy the occasional Tweet from Pee Wee Herman what’s life for anyway????

I’m always interested to see what social media platforms creatives use. Very few use them all. Not that you can’t have different media post to Facebook but I’m not sure if that wide scatter shot does it for me. I usually post a photo to Instagram, something simpler to Facebook. If I Tweet creatively and not personally I’ll go short and sweet with a URL for the blog.

The blog—– that’s where it’s at for me. I try to keep to my 3x weekly M-W-F blog posting and give photos as appropriate. My Facebook does not link to my blog in any way—– there are just folks who should keep distant if you know what I mean.

What do YOU use to share your creativity?

Do you follow fellow creatives in more than one place?


Posted in Chat, Foundation Friday