One Almost DONE: TWO in the Wings!

This is BIG y’all!  B.I.G. As in notorious!!!

The Mitered Square Afghan? I’m smelling soak and seeing blocking! Half of the last border remains and it will be finished, finito, fini, & pau hana honey! Can you tell I’m positively GIDDY over it? Beyond.


I love the way the black border sets everything off and melds it together at the same time!

And the two in the wings? Finishing up a large lap quilt and beginning the knitting of afghan number 2. Christmas is going to be incredibly wonderful this year!! The getting there has been something but when it’s all done and ready to be unwrapped, it’ll be incredible!

Did you see the ‘peek’ behind the mitered square afghan???? Let me give you another small peek before the bigger reveal:

 The past weekend there was opportunity to do a quick wander to the ‘island next door’. I have to leave you with a near sunset view of Driftwood Beach, it’s amazing!


Posted in Chat, Knitting, Quilts Tagged , , , , |

Foundation Friday: Yarn Conversion

Using yarn in a project that isn’t exactly the yarn that was called for in the pattern? You just KNOW that you can’t substitute lace weight (very fine) yarn for a thick, chunky yarn in a heavy sweater. Without using 25 strands of it—- which would just be crazy. But frequently the creative knitter wants to use a different yarn either because it is in the stash or you don’t like (or can’t find) the yarn that is called for.

From a yarn as fine as a spiderweb to a yarn so fat you need to make stitches with a needle fat as a broomstick the spectrum is made. This becomes a problem when you understand that not all yarn companies call different weights of yarn the same thing! Almost all companies call a lace weight a lace weight upon a site search BUT this can also be called fingering weight. Sock yarn is a fine yarn that CAN be as fine as a lace weight but not usually. SOMETIMES depending on the pattern a sock yarn is actually the weight called for and NOT a lace weight. Weights 2,3, and 4 are also very confusing as there is not a lot of difference in a fine, light or medium weight yarn with medium weight frequently the size of a worsted weight yarn. The chart below shows the weight symbols and the corresponding names of the yarn— from fingering through sock, sport, DK, worsted, chunky and bulky.

Yarn Weight Symbol
& Category Names
lace super fine fine light medium bulky super bulky
Type of
Yarns in
Knit Gauge
Range* in
Stitch to 4 inches
Needle in
Metric Size
8 mm
Needle U.S.
Size Range
000–1 1 to 3 3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 11 11
Crochet Gauge*
Ranges in
Single Crochet
to 4 inch
Hook in Metric
Size Range
mm and
Hook U.S.
Size Range
6, 7, 8
hook B–1
K–10 1⁄2
K–10 1⁄2 to


The chart below (from Ravelry) incorporates a couple other useful pieces of information—- WRAPS and PLY.

Wraps are calculated by how many times a yarn can wrap around a consistently sized object in the space of an inch. There is room to fudge this as your brain may WANT to make that yarn a certain size and subcontiously you’ll squinch or spread it! I love this $9.99 tool from Knit Picks that much more easily calculates wraps per inch, it’s a good tool for your knitting bag! Remember to wrap evenly over the inch to be measured, if a yarn is uneven wrap a longer length and average!

WPI Tool and Knit Card

Ply? When you look at a yarn how is it made? Is there one single thickness of the yarn or is that strand of yarn made from 2, 3 or even 4 smaller strands of the same (or different) yarn? How a yarn is plied, in which direction, and how tightly it is spun to make the yarn in question is another subject for another time! For basic purposes, notice the ply chart below. You’ll see that a super fat yarn is usually comprised of several plies of yarn—- BUT the ginormous yarn found today and used for arm knitting or to be knit on size 50 needles (25mm) are usually one ply of a yarn without much twist and can also be called roving. Most commonly roving is defined as the material (wool) that is held and drawn as the yarn is spun (plied) into a thinner yarn. Again, a subject for another time.

Name Ply (UK, NZ, AU) Wraps per inch Knit gauge (4 in / 10 cm) Crochet gauge
Thread 0 : Lace
Cobweb 1 ply 0 : Lace
Lace 2 ply 32-34 stitches 0 : Lace
Light Fingering 3 ply 32 stitches 0 : Lace
Fingering 4 ply 14 wpi 28 stitches 1 : Super Fine
Sport 5 ply 12 wpi 24-26 stitches 2 : Fine
DK 8 ply 11 wpi 22 stitches 3 : Light
Worsted 10 ply 9 wpi 20 stitches 4 : Medium
Aran 10 ply 8 wpi 18 stitches 4 : Medium
Bulky 12 ply 7 wpi 14-15 stitches 5 : Bulky
Super Bulky 5-6 wpi 8-12 stitches 6 : Super Bulky

When deciding on a yarn to use or substitute in any pattern use the charts gathering your information. Check this info against the pattern requirements given— usually in the form of gauge. Then—- knit samples (the dreaded gauge swatch) using a couple different needle sizes. Check the gauge YOU knit against the resulting fabric (feel, look, hang) and again, check that against the pattern.

You can ALMOST always make gauge—- but the knitted swatch using the given gauge may give a knitted fabric that is just not going to work.

It’s a process. Enjoy the journey little knitter!!

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Roadtrip: Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery

The time is flying and hard as I try it’s impossible to put the brakes on summer 2014! And I’d really like to! With a big wedding show coming up this weekend and several elopements on the books it’s been a whirlwind. Not always a bad thing, no work at all would surely be far worse!!!

I tagged along last week to Savannah to hang out at the Mansion on Forsyth during a short elopement where I had nothing else to do besides sit by the pool and have a cocktail! We did arrive early enough to check out Bonaventure Cemetery while the weather was not so desperately hot as usual. Gorgeous, what a gorgeous place! I’m a fan of historic (or just plain old) southern cemeteries anyway and Bonaventure had been on my list for a long time. It did not let me down. The cemetery really became famous when “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was published and the ‘bird girl’ that was the book cover has been moved to a museum in Savannah.

There are plenty of other historic graves in Bonaventure and many Savannah notables:

I gazed awe-stricken as one new-arrived from another world. Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light.”
“Camping in the Tombs,” from A Thousand Mile Walk

Perhaps one of the most famous graves is that of Little Gracie, I’ll give you a closer look below:

From Visit Historic comes a wonderful telling of her story:

“One of the most visited grave sites in Bonaventure Cemetery is that of ‘Little Gracie‘. Her story has captivated visitors to Bonaventure Cemetery for over 100 years. The wrought iron fence surrounding her grave site is often adorned with little gifts left by people who were touched by the story of Little Gracie. After all, she died at a young age and was left behind in Savannah, all alone after her death.

Gracie Watson was born in 1883 to W.J. and Frances Watson. The Watson family was originally from Boston Massachusetts. They made their way to Savannah after W.J. was hired to manage the Pulaski Hotel. This luxurious hotel, which was located at the corner of Bull Street and Bryan Street, was one of the best hotels in all of the south. Managing the hotel was a prestigious position. While working at the Hotel his daughter, Gracie Watson, became quite the center of attention. This bright eyed girl warmed the hearts and brought smiles to the faces of almost every visitors to the Pulaski Hotel. It is said she would put on little shows for the guests, dancing in the lobby and singing songs. Any of us with young children could certainly relate to this!

In 1889, just two days before Easter Gracie Watson would pass on. She suffered from pneumonia and finally her little body couldn’t take any more. Savannah was heart-broken. Her parents were far beyond heart-broken. Her father fell into a deep depression after Gracie’s death. She was laid to rest on the Watson family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery. As a tribute to his beautiful little girl, Gracie’s father had sculpture John Walz carve a monument to his girl. Using a photograph as reference John Walz scupltued the monument which now sits upon Little Gracie’s grave site out at Bonaventure Cemetery. It is said to be life size and a picture perfect representation of Little Gracie Watson. This hauntingly beautiful monument to Little Gracie has captivated visitors to her grave site for over 100 years.

Perhaps the most heart breaking part of the story is the Gracie is here all alone. After her death, her father quit his job managing the Pulaski Hotel. He took a job working at the Desoto Hotel. However, that didn’t last too long. Eventually him and Frances moved back to New England, leaving Gracie all alone in Savannah. After their deaths Gracie’s parents were buried in New England. Is this part of the reason why Little Gracie’s grave site is such a popular place to visit in Bonaventure? It would only be human of us to want to comfort the young girl, to keep her company, even after death. Perhaps we feel a need to keep her spirit from getting lonely, even though she is buried over 1000 miles from the only family she ever knew.

The Ghost of Little Gracie

Even after death Gracie has remained an ambassador for Savannah. It seems that the spirit of Little Gracie Watson is still around. Many people have reported seeing the ghost of a little girl playing in Johnson Square, the Square that the Pulaski Hotel was built on. Some of the people who have seen this ghost have said that they believe the ghost to be a real girl, with a pretty white dress, running around Johnson Square, just as you would imaging any child to do….until she disappeared into thin air. I personally have never seen the ghost of Gracie Watson, or talked to anyone to hear a first hand account of them seeing her. Is her ghost really seen in Johnson Square? Or are these simply reports from people who had over active imaginations? I guess I will have to spend some more time sitting in Johnson Square late at night to see if I can see her for myself.”

I closed my day at the incredibly beautiful Mansion on Forsyth where I enjoyed an excellent Old Fashioned with a Sweetwater 420 chaser. I should have brought my knitting along!

Speaking of knitting, I’m halfway through the border of the Mitered Square Afghan!  Time to join the entire afghan (it’s currently in two sections) and the last two borders will march down the remaining sides. Almost done,  I can’t stand it.  In crazy news, I’m getting ready to knit another afghan for a Christmas gift—- much faster and easier. Deets later! :)



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Foundation Friday: Tools that Save

Tools that save? Pretty fast and loose talk, eh?

But there are several that save us time energy (cussing and carrying on).

My current favorites are:

The quilt marking gun. Line up your quilt top, batting and backing and shoot the boogers out of it. It makes delicious tight layers for machine quilting and even if it’s unavoidable to stitch over a ‘tack’…. it’s okay because they’re plastic.

The Bias Binder foot for sewing machines:

The one above is for a Bernina.  I hate to bind a quilt, hate it! Maybe because it’s the last boring step in getting a quilt into the ‘finished category’ or maybe just because. But this foot does a great job of putting on a nice tight, flat binding onto a raw quilt edge. Most sewing machines have one specific to them and run in the $40-60 dollar range.

The Pom Pom Maker:

LOVE me a pom pom, and although they never really go out of style they’re huge right now! Clover makes a good one and it runs under $10. Can we ever get enough creative toys?

I love to watercolor for projects and in my journal so the watersoluable shading pencil is great! Small enough to pack easily to take along and it can provide a fine bit of shading to a large heavy shadow depending on the application.

I couldn’t get by without my Koi Water Brushes! I have all 3 sizes and keep them filled and in my walk about sketch kit. The reservoirs hold plenty of water and don’t leak at all. They do a great job in their super fine to fat tips. (sizes #2,#6 and #8) No need to carry water along and many times I use them in the studio to blend colors and shading.

Double Pointed Needles fit into the great tools category. You can buy cheapies…… and buy pricier needles. I don’t like plastic needles (although I did recently knit an the Mitered Square Afghan on orange plastic double pointed Pony needles!)

and I hate metal double points. My favorites are also gorgeous on their own:

From Blue Sky comes these gorgeous rosewood needles— satisfying to knit with and delightful to hold. Mine were from Purl Soho.

I’ ve recently been a foray into leather working for bracelets and jewelry and have fallen in love with the 1/8″ french edge tool    Osborne French Edge Tool 1/8"




and the Osborne embossing wheel Osborne Embossing Wheelsboth from Zack White.

Every creative needs excellent storage, right? My new favorites are from (where else) The Container Store:

CUTE!!!!  And $11.99-$18.99, can’t beat it!


What do YOU love?


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Travelogue: Cumberland Island: Plum Orchard: First African Baptist Church: Dungeness

It’s a long post, heavy with photos but if you stick around I think you’ll really enjoy the trip!

We recently traveled to Cumberland Island for a bit of R&R, a bit of work and to visit the First African Baptist Church on the north end. The island itself is absolutely amazing. Owned by the National Park Service with a few landhold families who live there for varied terms and arrangements many are the descendants of the original Carnegie and Candler owners of the Island. Cumberland Island limits daily visitors to 300 and arriving on the island takes place by ferry out of St. Mary’s Georgia and contracted through the NPS on the Cumberland Island website.

Cumberland Island is approximately 18 miles long and between one-half and 3 miles wide—or about 40 square miles.

Cumberland Island, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

golden isles, getaway vacation, luxury romantic hotel, georgia coast, oceanfront hotel

Most visitors are day visitors although there is camping at several sites as well as lodging at the Greyfield Inn. The ferry leaves at 9 and most visitors head back to the mainland on the 4:45 ferry although there is an earlier one for quick visits and to return campers and residents to St. Mary’s. On any day you could see jumping sting rays, manatee, or even a submarine from nearby Kings Bay!

You’re at the mercy of the elements and must carry on your own water and food as none is available. Pack it on, pack it off. Restrooms are few and far between but clearly marked on the map provided by the NPS. Most day visitors travel to the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness, and it’s remarkable grounds. Wandering around the perimeter of the ruins, along sandy paths shaded by enormous live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss and out to the beach along a couple long boardwalks over the marsh and over hot white sand is a once in a lifetime experience. While bicycles are available to rent, in all honesty they aren’t maintained very well and are useful only to travel the short walk to Dungeness. Biking further north is very VERY difficult due to the deep sand and intermittent washboard surface of the roads—- ask us how we know! :)  Our first trip to Cumberland was with the thought we’d bike up to the church where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Bessette. We were wrong and actually made it just a bit further than the Stafford Cemetery.  But this trip the focus was on reaching the church……. and focused we were. Arranging for a tour (after hours on the phone waiting to make a reservation), and arriving at Sea Camp, we boarded a van with 6 other guests of the island and had the opportunity to tour another unoccupied mansion on Cumberland, Plum Orchard. Enormous, magnificent, still showing off Tiffany lamps, beautiful wallpaper as well as many features ahead of it’s time (ice makers, elevator driven by water pressure and gorgeous bathrooms) touring the mansion and having lunch on the grounds with the wild horses was a treat.

Did I mention that approximately 140 wild horses have the freedom to wander all over the island and are seen everywhere? They aren’t terribly skittish around humans but approaching them is definitely not recommended!

Plum Orchard was amazing, I was so glad it was open for touring on our visit. Dedicated in 1898, it’s remarkable to me that tourists can take in just about every nook and cranny & find it is wonderful shape!

The mansion had lots of unique ‘tech’ that was not seen in ‘regular’ homes for many years such as the heated towel racks in the bathrooms, the bells that summoned the servants in the basement, and plumbing in the bathrooms that was so modern it was not hidden from view. Note one of the children’s dollhouse in the lower left! The bell on the lower right is engraved with the names George Carnegie and his wife Margaret who built the mansion. It was rung only when visitors were coming up the long drive or in case of an emergency.

There is still a squash tennis court as well as an (empty) indoor pool 9 feet at the deepest and quite large!

The kitchen was ENORMOUS taking up a huge space in the basement. Recently renovated with fresh pennyround tile and a fresh coat of paint I felt as if I could move right in and begin work!

Check out the electronic board on the upper left. A bell in each of the rooms of Plum Orchard could be rung and the staff summoned to exactly the right place! I got a kick out of one of the sinks in the kitchen on the lower right— it would be gorgeous in a kitchen today!

Moving out past Plum Orchard after having lunch on the grounds we stopped at Stafford Cemetery, and drove out past the Stafford mansion. The road got MUCH worse as the van moved through the center of the island past pig traps and the occasional camping sites well off the road. Once arrival at the north end of the island it was more than clear to me that there was no way in the world that we would have made the trip on bikes during our first trip over to Cumberland. The roads were that grueling, the rental bikes that bad.

That brings me to an iconic site, historic on it’s own yet having an attraction for today’s bride and all visitors! This remote location is 12 miles from the Sea Camp dock, the second stop of the ferry into the island, the ferry ride itself is 45 minutes long. The ride from Sea Camp is easily an hour, maybe more for horses in the road, trees blocking the way or any number of hazards. I’d love to go back again and  stay on at the Greyfield Inn!

The church sits at the end of the island before a river separates Cumberland Island from Little Cumberland Island, not accessible to tourists and privately owned. I have SUCH a hankering to go and see the lighthouse there! “This small, one-room church on the north end of Cumberland Island is where John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married on September 21, 1996. Constructed of whitewashed logs, it’s simply adorned with a cross made of sticks tied together with string and 11 handmade pews seating 40 people. It was built in 1937 to replace a cruder 1893 structure used by former slaves from the High Point–Half Moon Bluff community. The Kennedy–Bessette wedding party stayed at the Greyfield Inn, built on the south end of the island in 1900 by the Carnegie family.” (Fodors)

Goosebump stuff indeed.

Doesn’t everyone know the iconic photograph of JFK Jr. and his bride Carolyn Bessette Kennedy leaving the church?

© 1996 Denis Reggie

The wedding planned by Cumberland Island resident and Carnegie descendant Gogo Ferguson, “Carolyn walked down the aisle in a $40,000 pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length gown, hand-rolled tulle silk veil and long silk gloves by Narcisco Rodriguez. She also wore beaded satin Manolo Blahnik sandals. Her hair was pulled back away from her face and styled by George Kyriakos. A bun at the nape of her neck was pinned with a clip belonging to Jackie Kennedy. She clutched a lily of the valley bouquet, arranged by Rachel “Bunny” Melon, the same woman who designed the White House rose garden. The groom wore a single-breasted, midnight-blue wool suit, with a white piqué vest by Gordon Henderson and his father’s wristwatch. Following the ceremony, guests retreated to the Greyfield Inn for a reception. Dinner included shrimp, artichokes, grilled swordfish and lemon-raspberry ice cream. There was also a traditional three-tier white wedding cake covered with vanilla butter cream frosting and flowers.” (

Normally you’d never be able to squeeze in a trip to the southerly Dungeness ruins but our tour driver was kind enough to drop us off so that we could tour there and catch the ferry back from the main dock and not Sea Camp. I’d been before but it was no less magical!

Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanael Greene purchased land on Cumberland Island in 1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original foundation in 1884. The Carnegie’s Dungeness burned in 1959 and today only the ruins remain on the site. (NPS)

No doubt I’ll go back again to magical Cumberland Island

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Several groups of company have kicked my ass. Thoroughly. When the last car rolled away late Saturday afternoon I was completely exhausted. To. My. Toes. But I’m also a little bit crazy about getting it all back together so it was a whirlwind of clean sheets and laundry done, factor in the island living thing and the sand was deep so a vacuum and mop was also in order. By the time things were set to rights it was fall on the couch time.

In the WOOOOOOOOOT category is the fact that the center 4 sections of the Mitered Square Afghan are DONE! Time to join them together and add the borders. Well, once I catch up on work that is!

I’ve got a travelog to add soon from a recent trip to Cumberland Island, my second. After the first trip (which was amazing) I knew that I absolutely had to get back and all the way up to the north end to see the First African Baptist Church where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Besette. The day out there was glorious and the photos prove it!\

I can’t be the only one catching my breath on this Monday morning and getting it all back together! :)



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July Flies

I love July—- everything about it! And of course I hate the way July FLIES….. just zoom and it’s gone. I don’t even mind the heat, it isn’t like I didn’t know it was going to be hot in the first place!

July kicked off with a dash up to Savannah for work and took houseguests along to mix in a little bit of play. The request was to eat at Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant downtown. It isn’t usually my first choice (I can eat pralines and bits and bites with a smile) but I’m always happy enough to comply. The special treat was that Paula herself made a visit to the restaurant that even surprised her staff. She was shooting footage for her new internet show (that I can’t wait for) and was ‘incognito’ in a brunette wig and a staff t shirt. We were waiting for a table having left our name with the desk and there she was in all her PD Glory! Hey y’all indeed!

Photo: Shh, y'all! I went undercover today at the The Lady and Sons to surprise some of my guests! What a hoot!

I loved Miss Paula then, during and now!

How can you not look forward to a hoecake served hot to your table?


Paula Deen’s Hoecakes
Servings: 16 hoecakes (give or take)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Difficulty: Easy


Oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup buttermilk
2   eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended: Aunt Jemima’s)
1 cup self-rising flour

Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake. Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Chef’s Note: Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Along with her on the visit to Lady & Sons was her son Bobby and his sweet wife Claudia Lovera (who’s social media skills are fierce!) Upon walking into the shopping side of Lady & Sons, I found Bobbi there hearing from my table mates how everybody always calls me Paula Deen, he smiled and pulled me in for a photo. Sorry, vanity rules here, I have the worst haircut in recorded history and I’m not going to share it! :)

The 4th came in a whirlwind and I was so happy to have my patriotic burlap flag banner on the front porch, it made me feel ready to have a great weekend—- which it was!!!

Around here, the 4th means you get on your bike to get around the island a. because it’s fun and b. because the traffic is horrible and you’re not likely to find parking anywhere! Sure it’s hot, who cares? The beach was packed to the point that I’ve never seen it so crowded!! Granted it was high tide when I took this photo so there was less sandy real estate, but still! No thanks, I’ll beach it up later! ;)

The highlight of the 4th for me is always the Golf Cart Parade!

{SO. MUCH. FUN!!!!!}

There were a record number of carts this year with locals & visitors

all decorated and wonderful!!

After a ride home for a bit of cooling and some rehydration, a quick bite to eat, it was time to get back on the bikes and head down for fireworks. This year with a nice low tide, we decided to ride along the beach and pick out a great spot with a good vantage point for viewing, with some of the “big houses” and their own displays large enough to pay my mortgage and car payment… and a quick egress from the beach to the road. With 45 minutes to burn we enjoyed fine people watching, the sounds of the surf, a little tiny nap and a stunning sunset! Sunsets here are usually gorgeous, this one seemed breathtaking as if Mother Nature wanted to show that her display was as good as the upcoming fireworks!

And finally, at about 9:05 the fireworks began, they raised up in all their glory above the bend in the beach and gave it their all. Then when our neighbors with money to burn (ha) joined in the fire-y display, it was magical indeed.

Riding home was easy going the back way and after a nice shower to wash the beach away it was time to think about a slice of watermelon to cap off the day.

Hope your holiday weekend was nothing short of spectacular as well!

Knitting? Not a lot done. Houseguests kept me feeling like I ran a B&B so there wasn’t much. I can report there is ONE square left of the mitered square afghan! WOOT!  The next couple of posts I’ll show her center section complete and being sassy!

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Happy 4th!

I’m in the middle of company 1 and company 2…. the changing of the guard happens this weekend. It’s fun to have company and we have a lot of it, when you live near the beach it’s expected.

For this one I’m a little tired and a little cranky. Sigh.

Regardless, hope your 4th of July (if you of the American persuasion) is happy and safe!

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Shifting to a Close


 Count ‘em,

One. Two.

The mitered square portion is almost over. I know you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am of the lamentations! Then it’s likely time for the moaning about the endless borders.  :)

Happy Monday!

Posted in Chat, Knitting Tagged , , , , |

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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