BMYS x Andrea Mowry x Spincycle 2024 Event!

BMYS x Andrea Mowry x Spincycle 2024 Event!

In January, we celebrated our shop’s 14th anniversary and invited Andrea Mowry, and the Spincycle ladies, Rachel Price and Kate Burge, to BMYS. We had the best time with all of you who attended and we can’t wait for future events with all our lovely customers!

Here’s a few of the highlights from the event, as well as an overview of the different activities we scheduled, in case you’re interested in attending one of our events in the future. 


On Thursday, January 18, we picked up our guests from the airport and were in full event preparation mode. We cleaned the shop, restocked the shelves, put up event signage and welcome signs, and created displays with our brand new custom color from Spincycle, First Light! First Light is inspired by the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround us here in Western NC. We were lucky enough to have Kate herself dye our newest custom color, and we were so happy with the warm welcome it received!


On Friday, January 19, we got to the shop early to prep for our first day of activities! Maggie bought flowers from Trader Joe’s and arranged them into 3 beautiful bouquets to display around the shop. We were kept busy all day with packing orders of First Light and getting them shipped off to their new homes. 

We closed an hour early on Friday to set up the second half of the shop for Knit Night with Andrea and the Spinsters: our first ticketed event of the year! We re-arranged the tables by the living room, set up a snack platter and water station, and Andrea set up all of her samples on our sample racks for attendees to get inspired by. 


Once it hit 6 pm, Maggie checked attendees in at the front door and everyone gathered in the living room with Andrea, Rachel, and Kate. Andrea started off knit night by going around and having everyone introduce themselves, and talk about the hand-knit pieces they were wearing! Some guests even had as many as 4 Andrea Mowry designs incorporated into their outfits, and others were wearing hand sewn pieces as well as knits. After everyone was introduced, we handed out a game of This or That for attendees to fill out, trying to guess what Andrea, Rachel, and Kate would each answer. The attendee that got the most correct for each, won a skein of First Light and a few other goodies, picked out by us! Overall, we had such a great time at Knit Night and loved getting to know everyone who attended. 

After all of our guests left for the evening, we cleaned up and re-set the shop to get ready for the following day. 

On Saturday, January 20, we prepped for another full day. At 11 am, guests arrived for Andrea’s ‘I’ll Knit if I Want to’ workshop and checked in before heading upstairs. For this workshop, guests submitted their questions for Andrea online beforehand so Andrea had prepared her answers, and also gave opportunities to ask additional questions. 

We closed early at 3 pm on Saturday instead of 4, to give us time to prepare for shopping appointments starting at 4. We had prepared name tags and a goodie bag for each customer who had booked a shopping appointment, and appointments were available for Andrea, Rachel and Kate. Each shopping appointment lasted 15 minutes, but some people chose to book consecutive appointments to give themselves plenty of time to shop! 

On Sunday, January 21, we had shopping appointments scheduled from 11 am - 2 pm and the shop was closed to the public. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended the event and celebrated our shop’s anniversary! We appreciate and love you all <3


written by Maggie Kent

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Must-Makes 2024

Must-Makes 2024

Okay, so we know we didn’t complete everything from our must-makes list for 2023, but in true maker fashion, that won’t stop us from starting something new! Here are our must-makes for 2024, so feel free to take inspiration from our favorites, or let us know what’s in your queue this coming year.

Danni: Danni’s list this year consists solely of her WIPs. Can she finish them all? Stay tuned. 

Renee: Renee wants to finish a few WIPs while also creating plenty of new ones. We can’t wait to see what cheeky things she creates this year!

  • Granny Square Vest for Valentine’s Day
  • Mismatched Halloween Socks
  • Crochet lap blanket
  • Smile Sweater
  • Valentine’s Day dress (sewn)

Maggie: Maggie wants to finish a few WIPs as well this year, while also designing some new sweaters and accessories. Her main goal this year is to dive into some colorwork designs and have fun with patterns!

  • Cardigan designed with La Bien Aimee Kumo and Helix (Name TBD)
  • Black Walnut Cowl (WIP) using fingering/sport weight
  • Magnolia Mittens (new design) using Biches & Buches le Petit Lambswool
  • Homespun Raglan Pullover (new design)
  • Florence pants (second pair) by Elizabeth Suzann using the Big Sur linen from Merchant and Mills

  • Heroine Jeans by Merchant and Mills, using selvedge denim, also from Merchant and Mills
  • Patchwork Quilt using fabric from Lo & Behold Stitchery


Let us know your must-makes for the coming year below! 


written by Maggie Kent

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2023 Project Round-Up

2023 Project Round-Up

Remember that list of our must-makes from the beginning of the year? Well, here’s what we finished from the list, and what we made that wasn’t on the list at all. 


Felix Pullover: Danni made her Felix using Corrie Confetti in the color Ochre, finished in October.

LYS: Danni used La Bien Aimee Mondim in the color Yellow Brick Road for her LYS sweater. 

Danni didn’t finish the other projects on her list from 2023, but she did cast off on the following items. 

The Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated finished in January

The Kilim Cowl by Knitting Ruined My Life finished in February

The Studio Tunic by Sew Liberated finished in February

The Double Plump Hat by Knitting Ruined My Life finished in March

The Gypsum Skirt by Sew Liberated finished in March

The Day Dress by Open Studio finished in March

The Liz Quilted Liner Jacket by Daisy Chain Patterns finished in April

The Bob Pants by Style Arc finished in May

When in Rome Tee by This Bird Knits finished in May

Liebling Sweater by Camilla Vad finished in May

The Joanie Top by Sew Liberated finished in June

Tessellated Sweater by Andrea Mowry finished in July

The Aspen Tee by Maggie Kent finished in July

The Bumper Jumper by Open Studio finished in August

The Tate Romper by Small Museum finished in August

The Wool Syster Cardigan by This Bird Knits finished in September

The Market Vest by Kate Oates finished in October

The Traveler Shell by Andrea Mowry finished in October

The Homespun Hat DK by Maggie Kent finished in November

The LP Pullover by Paper Theory finished in November

The Festive Yoke Sweater by Skeindeer Knits finished in December


October Sweater: Renee finished her October sweater as her first FO of the new year. 

The Homespun Hat: Renee finished 1 of her homespun hats, with another one still on needles

Renee currently has her Halibut sweater on needles, and she plans to finish it in 2024. 

She finished the following projects in 2023:

Sophie Scarves by Petite Knits (4 total)

Granny Square Hexi Cardigan finished in March

Sherbet Captiva finished in April

Spincycle Granny Square Cardigan finished in May

Ara Quilted liner jacket by Daisy Chain Patterns (4 total)

The Joanie Top by Sew Liberated finished in June

Granny Square Tote Bag finished in June

The Sherbet Bandana by Lamb and Kid finished in June

The Collage Top by Matchy Matchy (3 total) finished in June

The ZW Gather Dress by Brigitta Helmerson finished in July

The Aspen Tee by Maggie Kent finished in July

The Captiva Cami by Murphy Made Crochet finished in July

Merry Go Round Sweater by The Lamb and Kid finished in August

The Tate Romper by Small Museum finished in August

The Collage Dress by Matchy Matchy finished in September

Christmas Granny Square vest finished in December


Cecilia: Maggie finished her Cecilia sweater right at the beginning of the year. 

Evenfall: Maggie finished her Evenfall sweater in May!

Maggie didn’t finish (or start) the rest of the projects on her list, but she did finish the following projects:

Ribbed socks by Susanne Muller, finished in March

The Day Dress by Open Studio finished in March

The Maple Sweater by Maggie Kent, finished in April

The Liz Liner Jacket by Daisy Chain Patterns finished in April

The Aspen Tee with cap sleeves by Maggie Kent, finished in May

The Joanie Top by Sew Liberated finished in July

The Alder Cardigan by Maggie Kent, finished in July

The Aspen Tee with ribbed sleeves by Maggie Kent, finished in August 

The Ursa Sweater by Jacqueline Cieslak finished in August

The Market Vest by Kate Oates finished in September

The Protea Pants by Paradise Patterns finished in September

The Georgia Tee by Elizabeth Suzann finished in September

Patchwork quilt top finished in September

The Bifurca Pullover by Teti Lutsak finished in October

The Florence Pants by Elizabeth Suzann finished in November

The Homespun Cowl by Maggie Kent finished in November

The Homespun Hat by Maggie Kent finished in November

The Arched Gusset Mittens by Purl Soho finished in December

The Possum and Pine Stocking by Appalachian Baby finished in December


What projects did you finish this year? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Instagram, @blackmountainyarnshop


written by Maggie Kent

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Our Favorite Knitting Tips!

Our Favorite Knitting Tips!

This week we (the BMYS ladies) thought we would share some of our most helpful bits of knowledge about knitting. These are the techniques that we use regularly or the information that we feel is essential for us as knitters!

Pattern Reading: 

The main key to reading any knitting pattern is knowing the abbreviations that are used in the pattern you’ve chosen. Each pattern will have different abbreviations depending on the techniques used to make the design. The most common pattern abbreviations are as follows: 

K = Knit

P = Purl 

Pm = place (stitch) marker

Rm = Remove (stitch) marker 

Sm = Slip (stitch) marker

The most common decrease stitch abbreviations are: 

SSK = Slip, Slip, Knit

K2Tog = Knit 2 together

P2tog = Purl 2 together

You also may see some abbreviations for stitch increases. The most common of these include: 

KFB: Knit through the front and the back loop

M1R = Make 1 Right (This creates a new stitch with a lean to the right)

M1L = Make 1 Left (This creates a new stitch with a lean to the left)



Inevitably, as we become more entrenched in knitting, we will have to invest in some needles. Needle sizes are labeled differently depending on where they are from, and patterns will use different units to describe their needles. The US uses one system of needle labeling, while the UK uses another, and other countries typically use the metric system of sizing to describe needles. This can be confusing, especially if you are used to one way of sizing but you buy a pattern from a designer who uses a different method. To help ease the process, I’ve made a needle conversion chart to reference if needed. 

Knitting needles, like most other tools, come in a variety of materials. The most common materials you will see knitting needles made from are wood, metal, and plastic. When I first started knitting, I didn’t think that the material the needle was made from made any difference, so long as I had the right size. This isn’t exactly the case. 

Wooden or bamboo knitting needles are typically the best for beginners, but many experienced knitters also prefer them to metal or plastic. Wood needles provide a little bit more grip for your yarn than the other options, and therefore make your stitches less likely to slip off while you’re working. 

Metal needles are sometimes preferred by more experienced knitters because their slippery surface allows you to knit faster than wooden needles. Metal needles are the most durable of all the types, which I didn’t think mattered much until I snapped a pair of my wooden needles in half while knitting socks. Now, I buy all my smaller needle sizes in metal so I won’t have to keep buying the same set over and over. 


There are generally three factors you want to consider when picking out a yarn for a specific project (if you aren’t using the exact yarn listed in the pattern). 

First is the yarn weight. Weight simply refers to how thick a single strand of the yarn is. The most commonly found weights, listed from smallest to largest, are as follows:

  • Fingering
  • Sport
  • DK
  • Worsted
  • Aran
  • Bulky
  • Super Bulky/Roving
  • Jumbo/Rug

While there are no hard and fast rules of what weight of yarn you can use for any given project, there are weights of yarn that are generally used for specific types of knitwear. For example, fingering weight is often used for knitting socks, while bulky is often used for sweaters. That being said, DK, Worsted, and Aran weights can be used for a wide range of projects and are extremely versatile. 

Next, you want to consider the fiber content of your yarn. Depending on what you want to make, different fibers may be more effective for your chosen project. First you should decide if you want to use a natural or synthetic fiber. Natural fibers are derived from either plants or animals and include wool, silk, cotton, and linen. Synthetic fibers are man-made and include acrylic, polyester, and rayon. Most synthetic yarns you find will be composed of acrylic fiber. Many people do opt for acrylic yarns when starting to knit, simply because they are more cost-effective than most natural fibers. However, it is worth noting that natural fibers have a much smaller environmental impact than synthetic fibers, and will create a higher-quality garment, regardless of the skill of the maker. 

Ultimately, the fiber you choose should inspire your entire project, and you should be totally and completely in love with it. 

Lastly, you need to pick a color. This might be the most fun part of picking out a yarn for your project, and can definitely be the most inspiring. Obviously, you can just pick any color you like and go with it, but there are a few things worth considering. If you are a beginner, it can be easier to start knitting with lighter colors because they make it much easier to see your stitches and keep track of where you are in your work. You don’t need to choose a white or pastel necessarily but perhaps stay away from blacks, extremely dark browns, or blues until you’ve mastered your basic stitches. 

Additionally, there are some really awesome naturally dyed yarns out there, as well as undyed yarns, which I love because they preserve the original color of the fiber animals they came from. Maybe you even want a multicolor yarn! There’s no shortage of options. 

Finding your gauge:

When I started knitting, the concept of gauge terrified me. I’m not always great with technical things, and I’m also very impatient, so the idea of having to do a mini-project before my actual project wasn’t very appealing. Ultimately, not every project will need a swatch. Of course, you can swatch for every project if you’d like to, but for some, it may not be needed. For example, hats, which are often one size fits all, may not always need a swatch, while sweaters most likely will. The more size-specific your item is, the more beneficial a swatch will be for your project planning. 

How to swatch: 

All you need to do to swatch is knit a flat, 4in by 4in square in the stitch pattern of your chosen pattern. Your pattern should tell you what stitch they used for their swatch, and how many stitches they got within their square. How many stitches you need to cast on to get 4 inches will depend on your yarn as well as the stitch you are using. Here is a link to my favorite Youtube video for learning to swatch for gauge.  

What to do if your gauge doesn’t match

Fact of the matter is, your gauge won’t always match the gauge listed in your pattern. The first time this happened to me, I wasn’t really sure what to do. The solution is actually pretty simple. If you get fewer stitches than the listed gauge, meaning your gauge is larger, just go down a needle size (use a smaller needle) and swatch again. If you get more stitches than the listed gauge, meaning your gauge is smaller, go up a needle size (use a larger needle) and swatch again. That’s really all there is to it!

Our favorite tips for success!


  • Always block your swatch when substituting for the yarn in the pattern, and check your row gauge too. 
  • If you cast on really tightly, hold 2 needles together and cast on over both of them. At the end, remove one of the needles. This will help loosen up your stitches and make knitting your first round much easier.
  • Learn how to “tink” or go back on your stitches one by one. This will make it so you can fix your mistakes instead of ripping out all your work. 


  • Use metal needles! 
  • Be fearless, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes; they are what makes your project unique. 
  • When making granny squares, flip your square over after every round to stop your square from leaning to the right


  • Use stitch markers liberally. Don’t be afraid to put multiple throughout your row to keep track of your cast-on number, increases/decreases, or your stitch pattern.
  • If you’re using fuzzy yarn, like mohair, put it in the freezer for a few hours before you plan to wind it or use it. This will keep it from sticking to itself as much.
  • When working with brioche stitch, put in lifelines every so often so if you make a mistake, you can just pull back to your last lifeline and not have to start over. 

Of course, there’s a lot more to knitting than anyone can cover in one blog post, but I hope that this overview was helpful to beginners and experienced knitters alike. Feel free to reach out with any additional questions you might have that I didn’t cover above!

written by Maggie Kent

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De-Clutter your Craft Space

De-Clutter your Craft Space

If you work with fiber or fabric, chances are your craft space can get pretty chaotic and overwhelming when you’re working on a project, or have been crafting in the same place for a long time. As the spring cleaning season approaches, we want to encourage you to take a mindful approach to re-organize and de-cluttering your stash. Clearing out old items and organizing what you have can be a meditative process, so make yourself a cup of tea and let’s begin. 

Not all of us are lucky enough to have an entire room dedicated to crafts. Personally, I have a craft room that doubles as an office and a guest room. I use an old bookshelf that I got for free to store most of my yarn, and a woven basket to store all of my scraps or half-skeins. My favorite yarns to collect are the super-rustic, scratchy, undyed yarns that still smell strongly of sheep. They remind me of my family’s farm and my childhood. As most of you probably know, Renee collects mostly pink yarns (and fabrics), while Danni loves anything Spincycle.

Check out our craft rooms before we did our clean-up. 

Maggie's Before Picture 

Renee's Before Pic

Danni's Before Pic

Keeping in mind what you love most about your craft supplies and your organization preferences, think about your goals for your crafting space. How much room do you have for your supplies? Do you find it easier to organize your yarn by color, brand, or weight? Do you like your materials out in the open, or tucked away out of sight? Look at some pictures of craft rooms you love, but also consider how you would add your own personal touch while making the most of your space. For example, I know that I love the open shelving, and being able to see my craft supplies. This helps me get inspiration for new projects. I also prefer to organize my yarn by weight and by color, because I won’t typically make a project using two different weights. This organization technique helps me to see which color combinations I have available in each weight. 

De-Cluttering and Donating: 

The first step to making your craft space fresh again is going through what you already have and weeding out the things you don’t use. For me, this means going through my yarn collection and weeding out the colors I don’t like or won’t wear, the acrylic yarns that I will never use to knit anything for myself, or scraps that I can’t think of what to do with. This process will be different for everyone depending on the type of craft you practice as well as your personal preferences for craft materials. When you’re de-cluttering, grab a large box or bin to put all your unwanted materials into. Don’t throw away your scraps! Instead, set them aside in their own box/bag, they can be donated as well. 

With de-cluttering comes the issue of what to do with all the stuff you’ve just decided to de-clutter. This is where responsible donation comes in. Responsible donation doesn’t just mean giving all of your stuff to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Instead, look for an organization like The Scrap Exchange in Charlotte, NC. The Scrap Exchange is a Non-profit craft supply donation service that focuses on the reuse of craft supplies rather than recycling.  FabScrap, based in New York City and Philadelphia, is a similar service but is limited to fabric only. The ReCraft Center in Greenville, SC also takes donations of craft supplies with a focus on re-use. They sort through craft donations and then redistribute those materials to schools and festivals, makers and crafters, and professional artists.

Organization and Storage:

For small spaces: 

If your craft room happens to be just a corner of your living room couch, then here are some storage tips that might help make your life a little easier. Consider getting a thin bookshelf that you can push snugly into a corner and store the majority of your supplies. If you don’t have any more floor space, a pinboard or wall shelving may be the solution to your problems. If your landlord doesn’t allow you to put nails in the wall, try stacking a few milk crates on top of one another to create a small shelving unit. Open shelving isn’t everyone’s thing, so if you have some room under your bed or in a closet, oftentimes shoe storage racks can be the perfect solution. See if you can find something that hangs over the back of a door, or zips up and neatly slides under the bed. This way, you will avoid your small space from looking overly cluttered.

For larger spaces: 

If you have an entire room dedicated to your craft practices, that’s great! You have a lot more options when it comes to storage. Many crafters I know like to store overflow supplies in bins or large chests and keep the supplies they plan to use sooner on open shelving or in a cabinet with glass panels. You can also install a pegboard or corkboard above your crafting table or sewing machine with knitting swatches, fabric samples, and cute pictures. Make your own mood board of sorts that’s specifically tailored to your creative style. You can also do this with a smaller space if you have room! 

In terms of shelving, some wine racks can make for interesting and useful display pieces. There are wall-mounted and standing shelving units, as well as floating shelves if that’s more your style. A large set of drawers or cabinets can also work if you want to keep your materials out of sight.  

Here are some pictures of our spaces after our clean-up!

Here at BMYS, we love our yarn collections almost as much as we love to craft. We have yarns from advents, events, and special occasions that are sentimental as well as useful. Share your yarn stash with us on Instagram @BlackMountainYarnShop!


written by Maggie Kent

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2023 Must Makes Check In!

2023 Must Makes Check In!

We’ve been making some progress on our must-makes from the new year, and we’ve also started and finished some projects we weren’t planning! Here’s a quick update on what we’ve made so far, and the things we haven’t gotten around to yet. 


Nurtured: Danni has started her Nurtured, she’s currently working on the sleeves. 

Evenfall: Danni has also started her Evenfall, she is about to split the yoke to make the sleeves. Both her and Maggie are using Soka' Pii from Farmer's Daughter. 

Gr8 Gingham: Not started

Inez: Not started

DRK Everyday Sweater: Not started

Felix: Not started

LYS Cardigan: Not started

Ghost Ranch Hat: Not started, but coming soon

Penelope Tee: Not started

In addition to her planned projects, Danni also test-knit the Maple Sweater for Maggie. She made three Homespun Hats, a Kilim Cowl by Knitting Ruined My Life, a Sunset Fade Hat by Maggie, the Amelia Cardigan by This Bird Knits, and the Shiftigan by Andrea Mowry. She’s currently working on a summer top by This Bird Knits. 


October Sweater: Renee combined her October Sweater with the Carosel Sweater by Lamb & Kid and finished it while also making it her own! She used Kokon Pink Aran weight.

Halibut: Not started

Soldotona: Not started

Easy V: Not started

Homespun hat: Renee finished her Homespun hat using a funfetti yarn from Chelsea Luxe.

In addition to her planned projects, Renee made a scrappy crochet pillow, two Granny Cowls, one crochet mask for her son, three Sophie Scarves, one Granny Square Cardigan, 8 crochet chickens, a beanie, and a Blooming Bomber Jacket for Sprinkled Fibers. She’s currently working on a Captiva Top, the Maple Sweater, and the Me Oh My Tee


Cecilia: Maggie finished her Cecilia sweater just in time to wear it for the last of the colder weather. 

Evenfall: Maggie is still working on her Evenfall Sweater and just finished the body!

Ingrid: Not started

Mozaika: Not started

Thea Top: Not Started

Sur Cardigan: Not started

Camp Socks: Not started

In addition to her planned projects, Maggie finished knitting her second sample of her Maple Sweater, a scrappy crochet pillow, DK ribbed socks (Basic Socken) and a crochet chicken. She also cast on a pair of DRK Everday socks by Andrea Mowry, a Sophie Scarf by Petite Knit, and the Bee’s Knees Cardigan by Thea Colman.


Let us know what you've been working on this year!


written by Maggie Kent

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Sew with us: Vintage Bedsheets (and some fitting tips!)

Sew with us: Vintage Bedsheets (and some fitting tips!)

A few weeks ago, Renee headed to Revolve and picked up some adorable vintage bedsheets. We were inspired by Sarah Hearts and her top, also made out of floral bedsheets, so we went pattern hunting and picked out what we wanted to make for our sew-a-long. We also thought we’d share some of our fitting tips along the way!

Also, did we mention we used the Best Friends tags from Sarah Hearts to add the finishing touches to our makes?! We loved them so much, so we added them to the shop. 



Danni decided to use the Ashton Top pattern from Helen’s Closet with the sleeve expansion pack. She chose a green floral sheet that reminded her of her grandmother. When Danni was sewing her shirt, she accidentally made a size too small, and didn’t use the back extension to widen the shoulders before putting in the sleeves. See picture below of the resulting shoulder gap. 


Here are some of Danni’s sewing and fitting tips based on her experience. 

  1. Read the pattern instructions fully before starting to sew. 
  2. If you have a less than a 2 inch difference between your upper bust and bust, don’t worry about the bust darts. 
  3. Make sure to adjust the pattern for your torso length. 


Renee decided to make the Apron Pattern from Studio Handworks using 3 different patterns of vintage sheets, including the sheets that both Danni and Maggie picked out. Here are some fitting tips from Renee based on her experience sewing and working retail!

  1. Use stretch denim or denim with spandex if you are curvy on the bottom.
  2. Ignore all the fake rules about horizontal stripes, you can wear any prints you want!
  3. If your waist measurement is your largest measurement, then go for a high waisted jean. 
  4. Use a pin to pull out your seams as you’re pressing for a nice crisp seam
  5. Leave sewing up your side seams for dead last. 


Maggie decided to sew a simple beginner's pattern from Helen’s Closet called the Luna tank (free if you sign up for the mailing list). This was her first time following a real sewing pattern and making a garment! Here are some things Maggie learned after making her tank. 

  1. Your cut lines don’t have to be perfectly straight and smooth, they’ll be hidden when you start sewing anyway. 
  2. If your binding is too short, just cut another piece and sew them together to make it long enough. 
  3. Make sure you think about if you’ll actually wear something and if it matches your personal style before you make it. 

If, by chance, we’ve inspired you to make your own clothing from vintage bedsheets, tag us on Instagram @blackmountainyarnshop so we can see all your makes!


written by Maggie Kent

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Building a Capsule Wardrobe

written by Maggie Kent


Many of us have heard the phrase “capsule wardrobe” before, especially in recent years as the issues with fast fashion and over-consumption become more apparent. Essentially, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing that consists of simple pieces which can all be worn together and are unlikely to go out of style. These items of clothing should allow you to create a variety of outfits without having to purchase new items. They typically consist of neutral colors so that the items can be combined easily. 

I first became interested in having a capsule wardrobe when I learned more about textile sustainability and found myself struggling to pick out what to wear in the morning, despite having a plethora of clothes. While I’ve never been particularly inclined to buy directly from fast fashion brands, I often found myself buying secondhand fast fashion items. I would quickly become dissatisfied with these purchases and donate them once again. This endless cycle of clothing, none of which were of good quality or fit particularly well, had me feeling hopeless and exhausted about buying clothes. 

Working to create a capsule wardrobe can help solve a lot of these issues. Slowly taking the time to pick out (or make) quality pieces that fit your personal style goes a long way in reducing fashion waste while increasing the enjoyment you get from your clothing. I wouldn’t say that I’ve created the perfect capsule wardrobe by any means, and everyone’s wardrobe will look completely different, but I’ll do my best to give some helpful tips to starting your own capsule collection. Keep in mind that there’s no need to go out and buy your entire new wardrobe all in one day; this is a process that will take time and will involve self-control. 


Save up

First, I recommend buying less clothing. This might sound overly simple and even counter-intuitive, but building a capsule wardrobe that consists of high-quality, sustainable, and ethically made items will be expensive, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll need to save up money for each carefully-selected piece. This also goes for clothing you would like to make yourself. A sweater's quantity of yarn can be expensive and making a sweater is a commitment. You can start by simply not impulse buying any clothing that you didn’t really need but just felt like you wanted. It can help to create a list of how much you spend on non-essentials every month and then you will be able to take a more accurate look at the places where you can cut back. 

Figure out your faves

Now that you’ve saved some money for your first piece, you’re ready to actually start thinking about your personal style and your favorite colors, cuts, and fabrics. Write down, or make a mood board on Pinterest, the things that you just can’t wait to wear. Use the questions below if you need some help getting started.

  • What materials feel the best on your skin? I recommend sticking with natural fibers if possible, and buying things made from wool, organic cotton, linen, alpaca, hemp, etc… Personally, I find myself gravitating towards wool and linen the most. 
  • What kind of cuts do you find the most flattering? Do you prefer v-necks or turtlenecks? Bootcut or skinny jeans? High rise or low rise? More coverage or less? All of these questions will help narrow down your perfect fit.
  • What colors, or more broadly, tones/temperatures, do you love that you find flatter your skin tone? Do you prefer cool or warm tones, pastels, or brights? This won’t necessarily be your favorite color. For example, red is one of my favorite colors, but when I buy clothing, I tend to gravitate toward deep teals and greens. 
  • What items in your closet are always dirty, or, what do you wear the most? When you just do your laundry, which outfit do you put on first? Take a look at the pieces you wear the most and figure out what you love so much about them. This will help you when you go shopping for something new.


Take a long, hard look at your clothes

Next, you’re going to want to go through all the clothing you currently own. When doing this, I like to take everything out one at a time and ask myself:

  • What do I like about this?
  • What do I dislike?
  • How often do I reach for this item?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you can put the item in one of three categories, Keep, Maybe, or Get Rid Of. The items you keep should be things you love to wear and wear often. They should flatter your body and make you feel good when you put them on.  The items in “Maybe” should be things you wear occasionally, but aren’t the first things you grab from your closet. Maybe you like the color, but not the cut, or vice versa. The items you get rid of should be the last you reach for or things you never wear. Maybe this is a pair of jeans that no longer fit you or other items you’ve been keeping “just in case”. Donate these items, or do a clothing exchange with some friends to give them a second life. 

Shop! But do it responsibly

Finally, the step you’ve probably been waiting for. But remember, this isn’t a shopping spree where you buy 20 or more pieces in one go. The items you buy will cost more, but they will last longer, perhaps even a lifetime. Choose brands that make ethical sourcing a top priority and are open about their supply chain. Choose natural fibers wherever possible and brands that are passionate about sustainability. This applies to yarn as well! When you spend so much time making a garment that you’ll probably have forever, it makes sense to use high-quality materials. I prefer non-superwash wool yarn that’s made in the United States for this reason. Try your best to find items that will work for multiple seasons, that won’t go out of style with changing trends. Keep in mind that you’re looking for clothing that you may have for the rest of your life, take your time and do it right!

Shopping can also apply to picking out new patterns. Look through your Ravelry que and think about the patterns in relation to your style preferences. Weed out any that don't align with what you love to wear, and move your favorites to the top. 

If you're looking at adding to your capsule with hand-sewn pieces, Sew Liberated has some great courses for sewists of all levels. The Mindful Wardrobe Course focuses on helping you create a sustainable closet that is perfectly tailored to your needs and style. 

Need More Inspiration? 

Here are some outfits that we’ve put together that we always reach for, complete with our favorite hand-knits, hand-sewn pieces, and store-bought finds. We’ve also included some great patterns that should complement any capsule wardrobe. 


Outfit 1: Ace & Jig Jumpsuit, Gaptastic Cowl, black long sleeve shirt, and leather slides. 


Outfit 2: Madewell pants, Lopi love sweater, and Blundstones.


Outfit 3: Nurtured Sweater, Homespun Hat, Kilim Cowl, Hinterland Dress (pattern by Sew Liberated), Intersections socks, combat boots, and leggings.

Favorite Patterns: 


Outfit 1: Madewell jeans, thrifted black tee, button up from Rite of Passage, boots from Blundstone.


Outfit 2: Thrifted Jeans, Maple sweater (coming April 2023) Blundstones.


Outfit 3: Be Thankful cardigan, bandana from Frae Handmade, light wash jeans, long sleeve shirt.

Favorite Patterns:

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Our Must-Makes for 2023

Our Must-Makes for 2023

Here at BMYS, we’re excited to plan out all of our projects for 2023. Each staff member has compiled a list of their favorite patterns, that they just have to complete in the new year. From sweaters to socks, we hope you can get inspired for your next project, hop on a fun KAL with us, or even see some overlap between our must-makes and yours! 

Danni: Between her various test knits, Danni is excited to make the following projects this year. 

  • LYS by Andrea Mowry: Using La Bien Aimee Mondiem in the colorway Yellow Brick Road.
  • Ghost Ranch Hat by Andrea Mowry: Handspun by Trillium Fiber and Spincycle Dyed in the Wool in the colorway Salty Dog.
  • Penelope Tee by Julie Robinson using Wandering Flock Fingering Weight.

Renee: Renee is pretty ambidextrous when it comes to knitting and crochet, and her chosen projects are no different. 

  • October Sweater by Kaitlin Barthold (knitted) using Kokon Aran in the Breast Cancer Awareness Kit (pink). Renee has already cast on this project and is almost finished knitting the body!

  • Homespun Hat by Maggie Kent using handspun yarn, also made by Maggie, held with a strand of mohair. Renee has also cast on this project already, and is loving the look so far. 

Maggie: Maggie loves to spin her own yarn, and hopes to come out with some sweater patterns this year, but she also wants to knit the following patterns. 

  • Cecilia by Tove Richter: Maggie is knitting this sweater using Echoview’s Forager yarn (worsted weight, discontinued). Maggie is almost finished with this knit, with just a bit of the yoke left to go. 

  • Ingrid Sweater by Petite Knits using Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn in the color Pumice. Maggie has been excited to knit this sweater ever since it came out, and is excited to complete it this year. 


Katy: Katy is a fantastic knitting instructor with a love for bright colors and interesting colorwork. She’s excited to work on the following patterns this year. 

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by Maggie 

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