Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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Finished Minoru Jacket

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I finished my Minoru!  I posted in-progress photos a while ago and today I have the final photo shoot with Luki as my assistant.MinoruJacket-14

I made a number of small changes to the pattern to suit my fabric choice and my preferences.  First, I attached the hood to the base of the collar instead of adding it as a ‘hidden hood’ within the collar.  This is because I made this jacket as a rain jacket with waterproof fabric so I figured, any time I was wearing this jacket, I would likely be needing the hood!  No need to hide it :).
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I shortened the collar considerably and still find it sufficiently cozy.  I lined the collar with flannel which really makes it feel nice against my skin.  I had intended to add a zipper shield with a flannel lining as well but forgot to sew it in…which is too bad because this fabric didn’t handle stitch-ripping very well (the holes from the needle don’t really disappear).  It would have been a nice addition to the coat because, without the shield, the cold zipper rests against my chin when the coat is closed!

You can see I had a bit of trouble dealing with the fabric – especially along the front zipper plackets.  They dragged and shifted no matter how careful I tried to be (I used LOADS of pins).  When I edited these photos I had to adjust the shadows and highlights considerably so you could see the seamlines in the jacket…I think this made the ripples on the plackets more obvious than they look in real life (I hope!).

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I graded between sizes at the hips so that the jacket doesn’t flare out quite as much at the hips.  I also shortened the hem slightly and added inseam pockets to store treats and poop bags for Luki :P.

The biggest change I made to the construction process is that I skipped the lining (everywhere except the sleeves which I lined with slippery mesh).  While I love lined jackets, it seemed a shame to line this jacket because my fabric is really unique – it has a waterproof exterior and a fleece interior which is fused together.  I didn’t want to cover up the cozy fleece!

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I love the gathering included in this design, especially at the waist – it’s really flattering!  I’m happy with the fit too – it is loose enough that I can layer a sweater and even another jacket underneath it for added warmth (since I finished my ‘fall jacket’ well after the first chilly frost!).  At the same time, the sleeves look pretty slim and I don’t feel overly bundled when I wear this jacket.
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Well, I think it’s safe to categorize this Minoru Jacket as a win!  I’m heading to Vancouver to hang out with the actual designer (Tasia of Sewaholic) tomorrow – I think I’ll be a little cheesy and wear the jacket for the trip  :P.


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Sewaholic Minoru: Wet Weather Sewing Project

IMGP2124Matt and I have been heading outdoors after work a few times a week of late to take long walks in various rain forests in the Comox Valley.  Over the summer, we became enamored with the concept of foraging, and now that mushroom season is upon us, I am itching to get out mushroom hunting every evening!

We just had our first foraged mushroom meal on Wednesday (a Lobster Mushroom Pizza!), and now that we’ve been able to successfully identify one species of mushroom, I have another page marked in my mushroom identification book so that we can head out there to expand our repetoir (next is Chanterelles). With all that being said, I have discovered that Matt and I both need some better waterproof or at least water resistant rain gear!  Be both have a lot of wool outerwear, hats, scarves and gloves because I made a lot of our outerwear when we lived in Halifax.  It was much drier and colder there and so I allowed my love of wool to dictate my fabric choice when sewing our winter clothes.  My wool jacket turned out beautifully but I haven’t had much occasion to wear it since we moved back to B.C. because it is simply so wet and warm here!  When wearing wool coats, I run the risk of smelling like a wet dog all day :P.

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To solve this lack of west-coast style rain gear, I’m working on a Minoru for myself right now in a lovely waterproof, fleece-backed material that I bought during the New Years Fabricland sale last winter.  I think it will result in a coat that is light, wind resistant, water resistant, and easy to move around in – perfect for mushroom hunting!IMGP2121

I’ll write another post about my jacket once it is finished and I have tested it out!  For now though, I am really pleased with this Sewaholic Pattern (as per usual) and have been noticing Matt’s envious glances into my sewing room (I guess I know what I’ll be sewing for him soon…).

 


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Behold: My Finlayson Sweaters and the winner of the Sewtionary!

MorgansFinlaysons-2 Here are the finished Finlayson Sweaters that I made during our sew-along!  I am very pleased with how they turned out and I hope that you are feeling the same way about your sweaters.MorgansFinlaysons-4 I think my favorite one is the gray hoodie because the ponte de roma knit I used is so deliciously soft and smooth.

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The velvet touches make it just that much more sumptuous – I’m not normally a hoodie-wearing person but I think I can approve of this one since it doesn’t leave me feeling the least bit sloppy or slouchy when I wear it!

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My shawl collar version is in my favorite colour of burgundy/purple.MorgansFinlaysons-11

It is made from a poly blend which seems to dry quite quickly and also provides a fair amount of warmth.  It isn’t as soft and cozy but I think it’s hard wearing and quick drying properties will make it very useful for camping.MorgansFinlaysons-10

I have been collecting your Finlayson Sew-Along contest entries and will parade some of my favorites on the blog along with the winners of our Finlayson Competition on Oct. 1st.  So, if you are considering sewing a Finlayson Sweater, this might just be the perfect opportunity to get going on it :).  By submitting a photo of your Finlayson to our our contest, you will have the chance to win a shopping spree at one of four of my favorite online fabric shops!

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As I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks (but it is worth repeating), simply email us (info@threadtheory.ca), comment on the blog, or post on Instagram or Twitter using #finlaysonsweater to be entered to win!

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And, now to finish off this blog post, I have a winner to announce for the Sewtionary give-away!  I am pleased to announce that Rebecca will be receiving a lovely spiral-bound Sewtionary in the mail 🙂  Her comment was randomly chosen using a random number generator.  Here is what she wrote:

An email is waiting in your inbox with all the details, Rebecca!

Thank you to the well over 100 people who commented on my blog post about Tasia’s Sewtionary.  It was lovely to hear how excited you are about her book and there were some very heartwarming comments.  Some people would like the Sewtionary to help them teach their daughters how to sew while others would love to add Tasia’s book to their collection because her patterns have changed their lives and they way they think about clothing.

After reading and learning from it over the last few weeks, I don’t hesitate to tell you that, even though you didn’t win the book this time, it is certainly worth putting it on your Christmas or birthday wishlists – or even better, treating yourselves by buying a signed copy from the Sewaholic store right away!  I hope Tasia’s book will help many of you become more confident with your ability to sew, with the clothing you wear, and with your ability to teach others how to sew!


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The Sewtionary Blog Tour: Interview with Tasia and a book giveaway

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Have you got your hands on a copy of The Sewtionary yet?  It is a a new publication that is quickly becoming a necessary reference book in every modern sewist’s arsenal of sewing tools.  It is written by Tasia, of Sewaholic Patterns, who, as I’m sure you all know, is a fellow Canadian sewist and entrepreneur who I much admire.  When Tasia asked me to be part of her Sewtionary Blog Tour, I was thrilled to join in!

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So, in case you don’t already know her, let me introduce you to Tasia! She is the designer and mastermind behind the gorgeous Sewaholic patterns which are, invariably, classic and easy-to-wear designs with careful pattern drafting and clear, well-thought out instructions.  Matt and I had the pleasure of meeting Tasia just a couple weeks ago while she was on a Vancouver Island holiday.  We were inspired to no end by her enthusiasm for sewing and her business!

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The Sewtionary: An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions, is exactly the sort of book you might expect from the woman behind such successful patterns – it is beautiful, easy-to-use (the spiral binding allows it to lay flat on the sewing table), well organized, and wonderfully logical.  I’ve interviewed Tasia about her new book so that you can learn a little more about it before acquiring one for yourself (head to the bottom of the post for a giveaway of a printed copy!).

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Can you summarize the purpose and content of your book and how you came to write the Sewtionary?

I was approached by F+W Media about the possibility of turning the Sewtionary page on my blog into a book. Of course I was thrilled about the idea when I first received the email! I often read books that have very good tutorials, or useful tips, but then when it’s actually time to sew a garment using the technique, I can’t remember which book had the info. The purpose of the Sewtionary is to be a sewing dictionary, an easy to use alphabetical book that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. As well as demonstrations, I also wanted to include WHY you might want to know this skill, and examples of when it’s used. Instead of trying to have something from each letter, I picked what I felt were the most important 101 techniques and organized them from A to Z.  I wanted to have all real fabric examples in the photos, instead of diagrams, so it would easy to follow along at home. Because it’s a reference book, it features a coil binding so it can lie flat when you work. (Usually I weigh down other books with my phone or a stapler or something to keep it open, and end up bending the spine.) I wanted it to be a very useful book in all aspects, from the content and images to the physical book design.

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When writing your Sewtionary, what areas of the process most surprised or challenged you?

I definitely underestimated how much time it would take to sew all of those samples! There are literally thousands of samples in the book, one for every single photo. Plus the garments! For the step-out samples that I had to cut or sew during a demo, I made extras in case I screwed up or in case we need to retake the shot. And there were some samples that didn’t photograph well that I had to remake for a reshoot.  That was surprising, the sheer amount of time it took to sew everything, and a good reminder to always allow extra time for new or unknown projects. The other thing that surprised me was how many people are involved in writing a book! I had an editor, a tech editor, a book designer, photographers, and of course my own writing and sewing, with Caroline’s and Corinne’s help. So many people review and edit the material, it’s an amazing amount of work. It’s given me a new respect for the book publishing industry.

Who do you imagine will find your Sewtionary most invaluable as a sewing room resource and how do you imagine it to be used?

I bet some people will read it cover to cover, just to see what’s inside! That’s what I would do if I had just bought it. I think it will be most useful later on though, when someone needs a tutorial on bound buttonholes, wants to know what a godet is, or needs to look up different seam finishes. That’s when the A-Z format will be really helpful. I’d love to see it used in a classroom setting, especially at the high school level.

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What feedback about your book have you found to be most rewarding?

So far, the number one comment is that it’s so beautiful and there are so many pictures! People are loving the format of the book, especially the coil binding.

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I found it very clever and also stylish how you incorporated samples sewn using your sewing patterns throughout the book – do you have plans to display these finished garments on your blog?

Some of them, yes! The border print Cambie Dress is so pretty I might use it for fresh photos on the shop page.

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And, of course, do you have plans to write another book soon?

Not soon, that’s for sure! It took nearly a year from start to finish for the Sewtionary book, including writing, sewing, and editing, so it would be a while before another book would be a possibility. I’d love to wait and see if this book does well before starting the process over again. I’d also want to have a really good idea, something fresh and new, and right now I don’t have anything in my mind as good as the Sewtionary concept. It’s so rewarding to see the book out in the world now, so I could see another book in my future some day!

 

Tasia and her publisher have kindly offered a printed copy of the Sewtionary as a giveaway on our blog.  Enter the contest by commenting on this post for your chance to win the book (Please comment about the Sewtionary – what skills do you hope to learn from it?)!  And head to the Sewaholic store to buy your own (signed) copy if you don’t want to wait for the winner to be drawn :P.

The give-away will end on Wednesday, Sept. 17th.  The winner will be drawn randomly from the comments on this post.  Good luck!

Here is a schedule of the rest of the book tour – follow the links on the listed dates to read more about the book, enjoy tutorials and projects related to the Sewtionary and have the chance to enter other giveaways!


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DIY Travel Wardrobe

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As you will see by the end of this post, I have recently developed a bit of a back-log of finished projects that I haven’t posted about.  For the last couple months I’ve been madly sewing away whenever I have a spare 10 minutes (yes, it is possible to sew garments in 10 minute chunks!) in hopes of having some fresh handmade clothes to wear during out trip to the US.  I’ll be meeting lots of sewers and fabric store staff who I know will ask the big question, “So, did you make what you’re wearing?”  Since I’ve spent the last year mainly sewing menswear, my handmade wardrobe has become a little tired and frayed around the edges.  But I’ve taken a small step to fix this and, since this is the last Friday before we leave to the states (we leave next Wednesday!)  there is no better time than now to show you what I’ve finished!

First up is one of two modified Grainline Studio Hemlock Tees – which is an awesome (and free!) pattern, as I am sure you have heard by now!  I left off the sleeves, created a HUGE and slouchy neckline and lengthened the body to create a high-low hem.  I added a cute little pocket too.  Its a bit of a different look for me.  Usually I like things that are nipped in at the waist and fairly fitted but I bet it’s going to be super comfy and breezy to wear when it gets hot this summer!

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I really admire the aesthetic of Jen’s pattern company and love her writing style and tutorials on her blog.  I’ve been on quite the Grainline Studio kick and started with her patterns that are the quickest to sew due to my time constraints. I have not yet got around to sewing two of my favorite patterns of hers: the Archer Button-up Shirt and her Portside Travel Set (which would have been fitting for this trip…darn, if only I had the time!).

Here is my second Hemlock Tee:

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I lengthened the sleeves on this one and lowered the neckline so it has more of a scooped shape.  You can’t see from the photos but I also lengthened the hem on this one though wish I hadn’t in the end because the fabric is a medium-weight t-shirt knit that is very comfy but not especially drapey so the longer and wider hem doesn’t hang overly well.  I’ll probably chop it off to Jen’s original intended length before we leave so that it will look good with skinny jeans too.

I’m not sure if this outfit is a bit out there…it’s my first attempt at print-mixing.  I love the look but tend to find it much easier to dress matchy-matchy.

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This skirt is my favorite thrifted piece of clothing – it’s silk and has the most dramatic pleating.

IMGP7293I never know what to wear on the top (hence the print-mixing!) but I think it would look pretty nice with a chambray Archer button-up like this one if I ever get around to sewing one (I swear, my entire wardrobe would be perfect if only I had that one shirt haha)

And, since I’ve been into quick projects, I decided to whip up a dress from my go to dress pattern, the Sewaholic Cambie dress.  This is my third Cambie (the first two are here and here) so I thought I would be practised enough to sew it REALLY fast.  I would have been able to do so but I got carried away with all sorts of little details…I think due to the months and months of dress-free sewing, when I started getting into the girly details, I couldn’t stop!

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I added a contrast waistband using thick upholstery fabric (probably not the smartest idea as it split open my perfectly installed invisible zip and I had to use a regular zip instead).  I accented with all sorts of other red details to match the waistband – including the aforementioned exposed red zipper…

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…subtle red embroidery along the neckline…

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…and red lace along the blind-stitched hem.

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Now back to quick makes – the last one I’ve managed to fit in – I sewed up a Scout Tee dress!  Another of the much loved Grainline patterns, this was made using some leftover fabric from a sample for one of our future patterns.  Its a really cozy and soft flannel and is one of only two plaid garments I own (I love plaid, I don’t know why I wear it so little!).  Here it is photographed without a belt but I almost always wear it either with a belt or with a cardigan done up over top of it to cinch in the waist.

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Also, I might as well mention the accessories I made to go with my new outfits a couple months ago – some long necklaces!

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I have all sorts of random jewellery that I keep stuffed in my jewellery box but don’t often wear because I don’t especially like it for one reason or another.  I was on the verge of giving it to the second hand store (it’s mostly just costume jewellery) but lots of it has sentimental value so I decided to re-purpose it to make it wearable!  It worked really well – these three necklaces that I have layered in the above photo were originally seven different pieces of unworn jewellery! And isn’t the little sewing machine cute?  My local machine repair shop gives out sewing related charms each time you make a purchase :).

Later on this weekend I’ll post some photos of the clothes I made for Matt’s travel wardrobe – his are the most important because, of course, they are Thread Theory garments and will likely be examined closely at stockists and on the TV show set!

***By the way: Sorry for the slightly blurry photos.  I was a one-woman photography crew today because Matt has been so busy lately and can now understand the frustration of bloggers who aren’t married to photographer husbands!***


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Planning a Sew-cation

Things have been super busy here what with sending our patterns to print, working on our new pattern designs, planning something else entirely that is super-duper top secret…aside from this photo:

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Any guesses what all of this black elastic could lead to?

Outside of the millions of things that are going on with Thread Theory, other work, travelling and life itself has been going along in a whirl-wind until things have begun to feel a tad out of control.  This weekend I’ll be staying home to try to catch up on the growing pile of work rather than joining Matt for a trip to Port Hardy to visit family and attend a wedding (if anyone that I’ve cancelled on is reading this – especially Uncle Brett who I’ve promised to visit in Port Hardy since Matt and I got married – I’m very sorry for skipping out!)

…thus my daydreaming has been completely filled by the idea of a Sew-cation of selfish sewing.

Have you heard of the term ‘sew-cation‘ before?  I’ve seen it crop up on all sorts of blogs and the concept of it is just too enticing to resist: a whole [insert time frame here] where the sewist pushes all other obligations and thoughts out of the way and immerses themselves into a world of sewing, sewing, sewing!

I’m going to have mine starting Friday evening, September 20th and spend the weekend working on a few of the millions of selfish sewing projects that have been cramming themselves into my ever growing sewing wish list that sits in the back of my head.  I’m going to watch sewing related movies, drink some wine, make a gourmet dinner or two with Matt and SEW!

Do you like to watch movies or shows while you are sewing?  I only tend to when I am sewing something for myself.  If I am sewing Thread Theory samples or pillows and shams for my work with the Heather Company I usually only have music on so that I stay completely focused.  But it will be a different story entirely during my sew-cation!

What movies or shows can I add to my small list?

I love watching Chocolat for inspiration – aside from the gorgeous outfits, I love the music in the film and the colour and feel of the filming.  I find the cooking scene during which they are preparing for the birthday party makes me want to run to either a fabric store or the grocery store – I am suddenly inspired to sew with luscious chocolate brown silks and make Chicken Mole (yum!).

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I also love the documentary Bill Cunningham New York which my Textiles class watched last September.

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The costumes from the Game of Thrones series are amazing inspiration as well (of course).

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Here are some inspiration and mood boards that I’ve made to try to contain my sewing wish list to an achievable amount of items…

A little black dress using Sewaholic’s Cambie Dress pattern with Scruffy Badger’s beautiful trimmed version as inspiration:

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Finally, I’ll get on board the Scout train and make a couple printed tops (the version over at the secret life of seams is so pretty!):

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After these projects (or instead of these projects depending on where my sewing mojo takes me) I might turn these inspirations into something for myself:

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Amazing textile manipulation tutorial

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Jorth’s Rose and Cabbage Dress

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Beautiful version of Colette’s Laurel Dress

Have you ever had a sew-cation?  What did you sew and how did you choose to relax?

If you are eager to share your finished Jedediah Pants, Strathcona Henleys or Newcastle Cardigans – you are in luck!  I’ve made Flickr groups for each pattern (click on each pattern’s name to view the group)  so you can easily upload all your photos (in progress or finished) and browse through inspirational photos of other people’s projects before you embark on making your own version of a Thread Theory pattern.  I am new to using Flickr so if you notice that I’ve set something up incorrectly of if I could make the groups easier to use and view, please let me know any suggestions you have!

 

 

 


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Moving Week

This week Thread Theory Designs Inc. moved across the city to join us in a new home just begging to be decorated!  I’ve compiled a Pinterest gallery of drool-worthy sewing rooms that I hope to glean ideas from for the new office/sewing space.

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Meg of Made By Meg’s prettily framed sewing samples.

Meg, over at Made By Meg has come up with a great way of displaying sewing samples.  I’ve compiled a huge binder of them over the last year of construction classes so am contemplating putting the ones I use most up on my wall in a similar manner.  Meg’s space looks so pretty and personalized!

Tasia, of the indie pattern company Sewaholic, has made great use of Ikea’s Expedit cabinet.  I love how her patterns fit so perfectly in them…I can’t wait until the day when I can have an Expedit of my own filled with prettily packaged Thread Theory patterns!

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Tasia of Sewaholic’s organized Expedit.

 

Aside from moving and unpacking since last Friday, we have been busy refreshing various websites in eager anticipation of new comments about Thread Theory Designs Inc…we’re both a little giddy with the unexpected and sudden attention our company has received in the sewing world of late!  Thank you to House of Pinheiro for featuring us in a blog post last Saturday (April 27th).  We were very excited this week by all the views generated for our pattern store stemming from their blog post!

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Also, we found Thread Theory mentioned on Pattern Review…we’re so glad that news is spreading like wild fire across the sewing corner of the internet just in time for the Newcastle Cardigan pattern release on May 15th!

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Do you have any sewing room decor or organizing tips to share?  I can’t wait to get my room in ship-shape!