Tips & Tricks


Getting Your Wardrobe Ready for Fall and Looking Forward to Winter

lake with geese

Fall is very firmly here, so I have sweaters, sewing, autumn, and upcoming winter, on the brain. I’m certainly not the only one.

Andi at Untangling-Knots, asked her readers to show off their favorite fall sweaters, and the response was some seriously beautiful sweaters.

Faith at Faithfully Geeky, listed her criteria for her ideal fall sweater – including “was it enjoyable to knit” – which made me think some more about the gap that sometimes appears between what we like to make, and what we like to wear.

Caroline at Sew Caroline, gathered up some fall sewing inspiration.
Including this coat from Vogue (#V8930), which looks amazingly cozy, and simple to sew. And the Cascade Skirt from Megan Nielsen, in my opinion you can never have too many long flowing skirtsā€¦ luckily, pairing boots & tights with your skirts is an easy fall update.

Kate at Design Diary, has some interesting thoughts on dressing for fall, even while the temperatures remain warm.

Elise Blaha, is doing an autumn capsule wardrobe project/challenge for the next three months, that I can’t wait to follow along with. (If you don’t know, a capsule wardrobe is, it’s a very small wardrobe, made up of very versatile pieces – Unfancy has a great page explaining capsule wardrobes here.)

Mandy at The Wardrobe Project, is planning her fall sewing, and is working on garments that will get worn all year around. I love that!

Heather at Closet Case Files, has an excellent round up of easy to knit fall sweaters, and it’s making me want to knit Beaubourg by Julie Hoover.

And Into-Mind has an amazing list of resources for updating your fall wardrobe.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go bury myself back under my pile of half finished sweaters…

…and stock up on tights…

…and try not to panic that winter is coming…



8 clothing related reminders from Month One of The Self-Made Wardrobe. Because reinventing the wheel every time sucks.

floral shoes

It’s the beginning of Day 32 of The Self-Made Wardrobe Project.

Yesterday was the end of Month 1, today is the beginning of Month 2, and I’m beginning to maybe believe that this project might not be as crazy as it feels.

At the very least I know I can come up with something to wear every day – freezing when the weather finally gets cold is a whole other thing though.

Since I’ve been doing this for over a month, I’ve learned some things, about what I like, and what I don’t.

So I’d like to write myself some clothing related reminders.

They’re not rules. Or even guidelines.

They’re just reminders.

Things I’ve learned, and would rather not have to re-learn.

Because reinventing the wheel every time sucks.

(Of course, these work for me and my wardrobe. You can have whatever wardrobe reminders/guidelines/rules work for you and your wardrobe.)

I want a reminder that…

: crew-neck T-shirts never fit in any dimension. If you love it, buy an XL and cut it down.

: you don’t have big feet. You’re a 7 or a 7.5. I don’t know where this big footed idea came from.

: go for fuller skirts – not pencil skirts. You like walking, and don’t work in an office, so not having pencil skirts is really ok.

: you prefer cardigans to pullovers. So knit some damn cardigans already.

: blouses aren’t really your thing. If there’s one you love – excellent! Otherwise don’t beat yourself up over sticking to tank tops – just make some interesting over-shirts.

: you don’t really like dresses. Don’t get sucked up into blogland’s need for all the cute flirty dresses. You prefer separates – and that’s ok.

: go for the dropped waist or at your hips. You don’t really like things at your natural waist.

: buy black fabric. And grey fabric. And blue fabric. And other solid fabrics. I know the prints are more fun to buy. But the solids make the prints more fun to wear & style.

And let me repeat that last one.

: buy the solid fabrics.

These reminders are things I’ve found work – for me.

Sometimes I go against them (most of the time I go against the fabric reminder – but this project is changing that).

But when I remember to remember these things about myself, how I wear my clothing, and how I interact with my wardrobe – things go a little more smoothly.

And who doesn’t like things to go a little more smoothly.


How many yards/meters of yarn does it take to knit a shawl?

How much yarn does it take to knit a shawl?

It depends on a lot of factors, but my preference is at least 450-500 yards (411-457 meters) of yarn.
You can read about some knitting yardage rules of thumb in “Shawls to Play With.

Can you knit a shawl with less yardage? Yes.
I have.

Wafian - knitted shawl

Wafian” is knit with 420 yards (384 meters) of Tosh Merino Light – a fingering weight yarn – on a US 7 (4.5mm) needle.

However those shawls tend to end up on the smaller side. More scarf-like than shawl-like. But I like my shawls on the giant side of huge.

That being said, the sky is the limit with shawl yardage.

Tumbling Deco - knitted shawl

Tumbling Deco” takes 980 yards (896 meters) of a lace weight yarn.

Eirwen - knitted shawl

Eirwen” takes about 1600 yards (1463 meters) of lace weight.

Ingrid’s Baby Bridal Knot” (one of the first lace shawls I ever tried knitting – it didn’t go so well…) calls for 3825 yards (3498 meters) of lace weight yarn.

And “The Queen Susan Shawl” calls for 6562-7108 yards (6000-6500 meters) of yarn. I’ve never tried knitting this shawl, but it’s the largest I could find with a quick search in the Ravelry database.
Modern Heirloom” is a close second with 5000-6000 yards (4572-5486 meters) of yarn.

So the sky really is the limit. You can knit a shawl as large as you want, with as much yardage as you can stand. What’s the largest shawl you’ve ever knit?