Yarnplanner's Blog

Blogging to control yarn and fabric urges

The Year Long Challenge – not to buy fabric or yarn (yes you read that right!) August 17, 2012

Filed under: fabric,yarn,Year Long Challenge (YLC) — yarnplanner @ 2:38 pm

Like many crafters I have too much fabric and yarn.  I have more than:

  • I can use in the foreseeable future (but not a lifetime)
  • sits comfortably in the space allotted to it
  • is the limit at which my husband makes disparaging comments about my appearance on ‘Hoarders’ or some other such reality TV program. 

 I have always justified my stash by saying (and these excuses will be familiar to some):

  • The bills and mortgage have always been paid first
  • I don’t spend time on much else except work, looking after the family and contributing ‘sweat equity’ to our house and garden
  • I rarely buy clothes because I can make my own
  • I gain a lot of pleasure from having lovely fabrics and yarn around me.

But I still have to admit it. I have too much. 

So I recently tried to ‘destash’ some of it. I pulled out yarn and fabric that I didn’t really have a project for, it doubled up something else that I already had or I just didn’t really love.

That wasn’t very successful.  Unfortunately, for everything I have bought in the past, I can see what it was going to become which to be honest, is the allure of crafting in the first place.  Whilst I can still see that ‘something’, I found it very hard to move on.  I don’t consider this a character flaw, just the sort of person that I am.  To be fair on myself, there were a few things – fabric suitable for a child younger than mine would ever be again or that I had worked with but didn’t really enjoy anymore.  Yarn that was in too small lots to be anything other than a hat (and I don’t wear hats very often) or in a colour that I knew didn’t work for me.  

 So instead of giving up I started to think about what my aim was (to physically reduce the amount of fabric that I have on hand) and what I can do about it – to use it up (and not buy any more). 

So I have set myself a challenge.  A year without yarn or fabric.  A year to work with all the supplies that I have to make those things that I envisaged and to make space. Well, all the supplies except patterns and notions.  Those things I might need.  I don’t have an extensive pattern stash and I know that some of the things I will want to make, I don’t have a pattern for.  Zips and bias tape are things that I just don’t keep in my drawers, I have always bought them as I needed them. 

There – it is out there – I have to do it now!

It sounds like a long time and it probably is.  But I have cheated a bit. I’ve just had a trial month to see how it feels.  I’ve used that month to pull out those few pieces and skeins that I know I can get rid of and they won’t go back. They will be sold or donated in the next couple of weeks. 

The space I have for fabric and yarn

 I’ve also reorganised some of my space to ensure that my current project is worked on and finished before I can move on to the next and I’ve set my challenge as to how much space I will create by July 16th 2013.  

The space I want to clear by July 2013 – perhaps not by using all this fabric but making space elsewhere to put this away.

I’ve also pulled out some pieces of fabric that I’m excited to use and matched them with patterns that I already own as an added incentive to get stuck in.

my first stashbusting projects

 I hope you will come with me on this journey and follow me as I make things happen.  I aim to give you a weekly update so you can all keep me in check.

 What would your stashbusting tips be to help me through the year?


I’m back – again! January 27, 2011

Filed under: bits of life,fabric,finished objects,Gryff — yarnplanner @ 3:58 pm

I know I’ve said it before but I really am back this time. Back in the saddle, back in a routine (well soon…) and you know, back.

I have heaps of things to show you but one of the reasons I feel so… back… is that my little boy starts Kindergarten next week. 5 days a fortnight and an extra day with my Mum (thanks Mum). So to get him ready, I have been labelling uniforms (with the fabric I had printed by Spoonflower, with his name on it) and making a set of sheets (with sheet fabric and the fabric I had printed by Spoonflower). I let him choose the print fabric and between rockets and robots, he chose the robots.

sheets 02

In that little pack is a fitted sheet, a top sheet (with robot and name fabric) and a little pillow to which I added some raw edge applique robots.

sheets 01

It took me ages but was heaps of fun. He loves them.

Sorry about the crap photos, they were taken with my phone. I can’t find the lead for our camera!

More soon – I promise.


A New Day October 2, 2010

Filed under: current projects,fabric,pattern ideas,sewing — yarnplanner @ 11:20 pm

I thought that my Blogtoberfest blogs would be more about the past than the present.  I have so much catching up to do.  But today is different (second day in… not bad).
Today I spent the best day with the lovely ladies from the Australian Sewing Guild Southern Group.  I’ve been once before for a Saturday of sewing and sharing and gossiping and pattern critiqueing but today I was blown away by the interest, knowledge and enthusiasm  of this group.   I don’t have any photos to share yet but imagine a day where you watch a jeans fly front be made – oh – so – easy – you get help to insert your first invisible zip (now you are really jealous aren’t you), AND you are shown, step by step to do an alternate facing for square neck tops that makes it look easy, smooth and even (if that floats your boat) shop bought.  Add in advice about thread choice, using short stitches and…. and…. well …. and … coffee and children and husbands and holiday destinations.

Thank you lovely ladies for all your support for this little newbee and I am so looking forward to contributing to this group.  As we all know, online is great but face to face is just a bit….greater.

For those that are interested I took a precut medium size of the Amy Butler Mini dress / tunic / top thanks to a sewing challenge that Donna and I set for each other .  The fabric was from Bargain Box in Capalaba – the most awesome fabric shop I have been in.  Great fabrics, fantastic prices, really nice service, kids play area which my boy loves.  Perfect – fabric shopping with a happy kid.

I should be done tomorrow with hems and topstiching so will try to get a photo then.  Photo?  I am so torn between taking bad photos and none at all.  I’ll get back to you on that.


More Linen May 25, 2010

Filed under: fabric,yarn,yarn ideas — yarnplanner @ 2:03 pm

Fortunately for my bank balance, not fabric this time.  I went to visit my sister for her birthday on Saturday at Sherwood  and dropped in to Threads and More.  I really could not find one skein or ball of yarn that I liked until I found some of Linen / Cotton / Silk blend.  It is in a sport weight and quite stringy but I can’t wait to crochet some little flowers which I will then sew on to my linen.  I have ordered a couple of Nicky Epstein books from the library to get some inspiration for flowers and edges which I think would also look nice on my linens.

So when will this all end?


Linen @ Gardams May 21, 2010

Filed under: bits of life,fabric,Uncategorized — yarnplanner @ 7:57 pm

I’ve had Linen on the brain since coming back from SIT.  I was lucky enough to buy a few pieces of linen quilting fabric at both Amitie and Patchwork on Central Park and then some pure linen, hanky linen and a linen /viscose blend at Tessuti’s.  Since I got back ( less than a week ago), I have added to that with some cheaper linen /cotton blends from Lincraft and Spotlight.  Suddenly, I had a neat little stash.  Enough, I said… find some projects for it… pet it a bit more, then decide what you really need.  Imagine how my heart had palpitations when I heard on the radio that Gardams were having a 50% off sale on daywear fabrics – for 3 days only!.  Gardams are the oldest, most prestigious fabric store we have in Brisbane, they carry only the best.

My mother (now over 70 years old) tells me stories of Saturday mornings in Gardams buying fabric which was then made into clothes to wear out that night.  This was in the 50’s, she was a blossoming young woman, still living at home but attending parties and balls, she made all her (good) clothes and I bet most of the fabric and notions came from Gardams.

So the little boy and I just had to check it out.  I rang first to find out which store would have the best range and that the linens would be in the sale.  No problem.

What a lovely experience!  They had the best of solid fabrics I have seen so far.  I bought a few neutral colours, some for embroidery, some for other stuff (yet to be determined).

I bought a few brights – to go with other fabric I have in my stash (yet to be identified).

(sorry about the flash brightness there folks!)

I bought some pastels because I thought they would go beautifully with some vintage sheets that I may or may not actually own at this time.

and then they wrapped my fabric in paper. Oh my…..

and put it in a lovely big bag.

I felt like a million dollars leaving that shop – well, half a million at least (it was a half price sale after all!)

I am so tempted to go back but sigh….I really don’t need any more fabric!


Embroidery journey continues

Filed under: embroidery,fabric,finished objects — yarnplanner @ 1:21 pm

Yes, who would have thought that this journey would continue.  I never saw myself as a hand sewer because I am rarely good at the ‘fiddly bits’ but I am really enjoying this challenge.

I have struggled to find some simple yet interesting little projects to undertake but I did find this lovely free pattern from Wee Wonderfuls.  I made their Wee Bunny some time ago and the boy still goes to him for a cuddle.  So here is my little Wee Bear (I used Perle Cotton No: 12 and a linen/cotton blend fabric)

I’m pleased with the fabric and thread choice and even reasonable pleased with the embroidery.  I’m not pleased with the shape of the finished item, how it puckers and how the leg I turned it out through is a bit ‘gammy’.  If I did it over again, I would just make it a rectangle.  As it is, I’m not really sure what it could be – its a bit small for a toy.  Anyway, I think I will pull the stuffing out, fill it with some lovely lavender and put it in my knickers drawer.  How cute would it be peeking out through my unmentionables?

I know what I want to try next embroidery wise (white Perle Cotton No: 8 on a charcoal grey linen) but I have to find a pattern for something to make it in to.  FUN!


SIT Inspiration May 18, 2010

Filed under: bits of life,fabric,finished objects,sewing — yarnplanner @ 10:14 pm

There is no doubt over then next little while, I will be referring to SIT a lot!  The weekend brought many thoughts and threads together in my head and I’m now in the place that I have to make sense of it all.

One of my aims during the weekend was to overcome my fear of hand sewing.  Not only do I struggle to sew a button on, I could never embroider, applique or even hand sew up an opening after turning out anything that had a lining.  So I took a few supplies (a hoop, some calico, some rubbish needles and some floss) and sat next to some fabulous ladies that were sewing.  My big thanks goes to Jan who put me on the right track by lending me (and later giving me) a No: 7 Birch Embroidery needle.  Changed my life.

So I learned to sew? Why is this so interesting (who am I kidding)?  Just stay with me a bit longer.

One of my other aims during the weekend was to discover what type of  ‘style’ I really love and focusing in on the fabric and the look of that style.  Sounds daft I know, but imagine you had never worn clothes before – and were sent out to buy some.  What type of clothes would you buy?  Classic, trendy, cute, goth?  Thats a bit how I have felt over the past 18 months since the time that I owned no fabric at all to now when I own A LOT.  I don’t think that I have made many bad fabric choices in the past and if I have, they were probably pretty inexpensive choices.  I just haven’t created a feel in my fabrics that allows me to draw on a pallette of colours and patterns that is particularly mine.  Until now! It all seemed to come together at SIT.   Being exposed to such a great range of fabrics in the stores as well as all the great work that the girls were doing on Saturday really focused my mind.  And what is the magic outcome I hear you ask!

LINEN.  One word. Many fabrics.

So I am now stuck on linen – japanese prints, great Australian printers, lovely solids. Lots more to discover out there.

So last night, my first real night at home, I put the two together and did this:

The linen is from Lincraft and the thread I bought at Amitie.

There was no pattern (duh!).

cute huh!

Today I turned that into this:

thanks to Nikki’s free purse pattern that goes with the flex frames I bought from her months ago which she reminded me about on Friday night.

How is that for a truly SIT experience. Inspirational?  You bet.