September 5, 2014

leethal Knitter’s Tool Tins!

Exciting thing!  The awesome knit designer Sarah Wilson (who I got to meet and hang out with awhile back), aka The Sexy Knitter, in addition to designing fabulous patterns (I love this and this!), makes these handy Knitter’s Tool Tins

Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos!

And for this month only, there are 5 Tool Tins available featuring my photos!  So cool!!  She sent me one of each (for free, blogger disclaimer) so I’ve had a chance to check ‘em all out, and try out the tools.  Each tin is filled with all that you see here.

Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos! Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos!

In a Tool Tin, you get: a colorful tape measure, tiny scissors (she just launched a new kind of scissors this month, sharper than her old style, and all different colors – I tried them out and they totally work, while also being adorable), a stitch holder, a cable needle, a double-ended crochet hook in 2 sizes, 5 stitch markers (very cute!), and 3 types of sewing needles which stay on the lid of the tin with a magnet!

Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos!

These are the 5 photos of mine which are available on the tins right now:

Pigment shawl Color by Number Plaid Cowl

Above, Pigment (in Malabrigo Chunky) and Color by Number Plaid Cowl (in Malabrigo Twist).  Below, Lerro in Anzula Cricket.

Lerro shawl

And then two really different samples of Mikkey, the yellow-y one in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Adirondack and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino, and the neons one in Space Cadet Elara.  The photos all look a little different on the tins, but they look nice.

Mikkey! Mikkey!

The tins are $25 plus shipping in Sarah’s etsy shop – the ones with my photos will only be around until the end of September!  Unless you place a wholesale order; anyone can order in bulk at the wholesale price (you don’t need a special wholesale license), $150 for a dozen tins, and you can continue to get old designs after they’re retired.  (If you have a dozen knitter friends/family members, this could make a great holiday gift purchase!)  You can also get all 5 of these leethal tins at the discounted price of $100, through September only.

Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos!

But hey guess what – Sarah is offering a coupon code to you, leethal knitters!  For the next 10 days only, enter code LEETHAL to get 20% off your order of $25 or more from The Sexy Knitter etsy shop (except for the wholesale/bulk orders).  She has tons of cute stitch markers, knitting patterns, the scissors and tape measures by themselves, and other assorted knitter gear, like needle gauges and project bags… Use the code to save 20% off all of it!

Knitter's Tool Tins with leethal photos!

One last fun note:  If you have a knitting photo that you think is tin-worthy, Sarah is always looking for new tin photos!  Show her your photo (contact her through etsy) and if it does get picked to be used on tins, you get the tin for free!  I know mine are going to get lots of use!

Filed under: knitting,random stuff — leethal @ 7:30 am

August 26, 2014

Adventure Knit-a-long is moving along!

Now that we’re around halfway-ish through the knit-a-long (ravelry link), I want to show you some peeks of how it’s going!  You can still totally join and catch up – we’re currently still in the section 1 week, section 2 goes out this Thursday, and section 3 next Thursday.  Since section 1 has been out for close to a week now, I hope it’s okay that I post a few spoiler-y photos to show you glimpses at the stitch patterns and stuff!

I’ll show you the mystery trunk stuff first… if you don’t want any knit spoilers, stop scrolling when you hit the big sun picture.

So, in the first blog post, I posted the first part of the story, about finding the mysterious trunk.  Here’s a bit more of the story, taking off from: A big, old steamer trunk sits near the window, filled with wooly mystery.  You hope for something awesome as you unfasten the metal clasp…

adventure kal illustration

You find a stack of notebooks, filled with notes, symbols, and sketches.  Flipping through the first one, you realize these are knitting patterns.  Short stitch patterns, handwritten out, page after page.

Adventure KAL 2014 illustration

One compartment holds another notebook and some loose papers with sketches and writing on them… a hand, what looks like a cup of tea leaves, more symbols… you open up another compartment. Whoa.

Adventure KAL 2014 illustration

Not only was she a designer, it seems that the owner of this trunk was also a fortune teller.

Adventure KAL 2014 illustration

You see an old Ouija board, but what catches your attention more than that is what looks to be a homemade version of a Ouija board, drawn on paper and pasted onto a piece of cardboard…

adventure kal illustration

So that’s when adventurers made the first trunk discovery, and received this printable board in their first mystery pdf:

This is the first item found in the Adventure KAL mysterious trunk. Cast on day is this Thursday, and another item will be pulled out of the trunk next week!

The main point of the board was to help choose between the 6 different shape options (of course, details about the shapes/items were sent out to help make a non-random decision).

Adventure KAL shape sketches

The setup knitting section went out, and then another item was discovered in the mysterious trunk!  There are story pages to go along with all the discoveries, but I’ll just show you what the are…

Adventure KAL illustration

Adventure KAL illustration

Adventure knitters found a printable fortune teller – it can be folded into a fortune teller of our childhood, or it can be used flat as a spin-the-bottle wheel.  Either way works to choose stitch patterns randomly from the first set of 8 patterns included with the section 1 pdf.

Adventure KAL 2014

And then last night, more items were discovered in the trunk!  First, a few decks of cool looking tarot cards were found (in the story/illustrations)…

Adventure KAL 2014 drawings

Adventure KAL 2014 drawings

… along with a set of handmade divination cards with names and symbols matching the stitch patterns!  Knitters received a printable page of these cards (complete with back side pattern), which can optionally be colored in, if that sounds fun.  I colored a set with colored pencils:

Adventure KAL 2014 cards Adventure KAL 2014 cards

Okay if you don’t want to see any knit peeks, stop scrolling now!

Adventure KAL illustration

And now for some section 1 glimpses!  Here are most of the stitch patterns, which are meant to all be used in any order!

Adventure KAL 2014 Adventure KAL 2014

Two of those patterns can be knit in 2 colors if you like.  Below is one of my samples, worked with the 2-color versions, patterns chosen in random order using the spin the bottle method.  The beginning of this piece as seen here can turn into a triangle, a strip (aka scarf), a loop (aka cowl), or a bent strip (like an L-shaped scarf).  This is in sport weight wool, pre-blocking on the left, and post-blocking on the right.  Blocking really helps with these pieces!  (The patterns used here, in order from bottom up, are: Hebe, Vesta, 2-color Pallas, Astraea, 2-color Libra, Sun, 2-color Libra.)

Adventure KAL 2014 Adventure KAL 2014

Here is a worsted weight cotton 1-color rectangle section 1, which will become a dishcloth (patterns: Sun, Taurus, Virgo).

Adventure KAL section 1 peek

And section 1 of my crescent sample, in worsted weight, large size:

Adventure KAL section 1 peek

Below is a post-blocking closeup of that one.  I love how this turned out SO MUCH, I can’t wait to show it to you completely.  I originally planned to use 2 colors – less than half a skein for section 1 (here), then a full skein of the other color for section 2, then the remainder of the first color skein for section 3.  I hadn’t really worked out how much yardage I’d need, or how big I wanted it to be, etc, and I ran out of yarn way early for that plan.  The partial skein for section 1 was good, and the full skein for section 2 was good, but section 3 takes about as much yarn as the first two sections put together.  So I used another entire skein (but a smaller skein) to complete section 3, and I really love the end result!  (By the way, I added the yardage to make the sample how it was meant to be, according to the pattern, but this shape is actually super flexible – if you run out of yarn early, you can just bind off and it’s totally fine!  Or you can work the last section extra big, if you have extra yardage, to use up the last of it and make it as big as possible.)

adventure section 1 closeup

This image below was intagrammed when I finished it because I loved it so much and couldn’t wait to show it to you, even if that meant pixelating it into blurry mystery.  (Also, I wanted to show proof that the shirt project does indeed work out.)  For the rectangle shape option (which can be made as a square), the pattern includes instructions for making two rectangles and sewing them together to make a boxy shirt.  I made mine as squares; I made the front using all lacy patterns, in random order, and then I made the back in one repeating pattern for the whole piece to go faster.  I LOVE how it turned out so much!!

mystery shot of adventure KAL project

So that’s all you get for now.  If you are participating in the KAL, you’ll get section 2 (including spoiler photos), and stitch patterns 9-16, on Thursday, so soon!  Oh, if you want to see more, check in with ravelry!  So many awesome projects have been going up!  The spoilers thread has dozens of photos of projects that all look totally different from each other, so cool, and then lots of knitters have put photos in their project pages, but mostly behind the mystery shots, so click the photo arrows to check them out.

Adventure KAL illustration Adventure KAL illustration

I’m super happy with how this has been going!  I can’t wait to send out section 2 and see the projects grow!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting — leethal @ 5:44 pm

July 1, 2014

Adventure Knit-a-long #2!!

It’s beginning!

Adventure KAL drawing!

The second annual leethal Adventure Knit-a-long is now available for pre-order; cast-on will happen in August!  (It’s here on ravelry.)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the Adventure Knit-a-long is something I did last summer for the first time, and it was very much fun (it’s now on my site and on ravelry as Adventure Knitting: A Day in the Woods), so it’s back for another go!  It’s a mystery knit-a-long inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure books – tons of options, choices to make in every section, countless possibilities for your one-of-a-kind finished item(s)!

Here are some photos of items knit with last year’s pattern collection, to give you an idea of how different your adventure knits can be from each other:

adventure knit items! adventure knit item!

adventure knit item! adventure knit items!

This year’s will be very different from the first one, totally different items, constructions, stitch patterns, story… the choose-your-own-adventure aspect will be a bit different too (not so much mimicking the format, but more of its own thing this time), so be prepared for possibly unexpected elements!

There will be a total of 24 different stitch patterns (all both written and charted).  You can make your entire piece one solid color, or add optional contrasting color designs or color changes.  All items are knit flat, using increases and decreases for shaping; some items/shapes are more complex than others, and same with the stitch patterns, so pattern difficulty ranges around adventurous beginner to experienced intermediate.

It will be given in foldable book format just like last year’s (see the video on this page to learn more about the DIY book format), in addition to the normal pdf format, plus some extra printable things.

Adventure knitting!

Here are some notes which are also in the pre-order pdf…

There will be six different shapes to choose from, and some shapes can be made as different items (there will be 10+ items total); they can all be made in any weight yarn, and any size, although some item types will be better suited for lighter weights or heavier weights.

I’ll give away a bit about the items, to help you brainstorm about what you might want to make before the KAL begins.  There will be many different types of neck accessories.  Pretty much any kind of neck accessory you like, you’ll be able to make it (some form of it).  There will also be some small items, simple things if you don’t want to commit to much before knowing what it’ll look like, and some simple but large items.

You can basically use any yarn you want for the KAL.  If you pick a yarn from your stash that you’d like to use, there will likely be an item that will work well with it.  Most items will need 2-3 skeins of yarn, but there are those smaller items that take less than 1 skein.

All items can be made in one solid color only, or can use optional contrasting color(s) for simple optional color patterns; or you can use multiple solid colors in wide stripes or blocks.  All yarns should be solids or semi-solids, or self-striping with really long color sections should work – not busy variegated colorways.

Try to use yarn that will block well (like wool; though there is one item that’s meant for cotton) – blocking will be somewhat important to smooth everything out.  Also, yarn with good stitch definition is recommended.

As for yardage, because your yardage needed will depend on your yarn weight, item choice, and desired size, there won’t be really precise yardage estimates given, but the patterns will be written in a way to help you use up all your yardage and not run out.

Adventure KAL drawing!

The KAL schedule is:

  • Thursday, August 14th:  Setup section released
  • Thursday, August 21st:  Section 1 released
  • Thursday, August 28th:  Section 2 released
  • Thursday, September 4th:  Section 3 released

In addition to those pattern section releases, you will get some other stuff throughout the KAL as extra pdfs.  That’s still a bit of a mystery for now, but if you read the pre-order pdf text you might get a hint!

The setup section on August 14th will involve very little knitting.  That week is when you’ll make your shape/item choice(s), pick your yarn, cast on, and knit a few setup rows to get ready for the first section.  So the real knitting begins when section 1 is released on August 21st.

But, the sooner you sign up the better, because the KAL price will go up as the adventure goes on.  Right now it’s $8 for the pre-order; once the setup section is released, it’ll jump to $10, then 11 then 12 for sections 1 and 2, and with the final section the price will raise to the final $14.

So if you want in on the adventure, pre-order on leethalknits or on ravelry, download the pre-order pdf to read a bit of the story, start thinking about your yarns, and chat about our upcoming adventures in the leethal ravelry group!  I will be there to answer your questions, and I may post new pictures or other kinds of mystery hints in there as the month goes on.

Adventure KAL drawing!

Want to learn a bit about the story?  Okay, here’s the first page:

You arrive at your aunt’s house on a pleasant, breezy day in August, bags packed with a couple weeks’ worth of clothes and books. She has invited you to housesit while she’s on vacation, since she knows you’ve always loved her cats. As you walk up to the front door, you realize what that nagging has been in the back of your head throughout the five hour journey – you forgot your knitting! And you’d been so looking forward to spending these weeks in a cooler region, so much nicer knitting here than where you’ve been for the first month of summer! You curse your forgetfulness and cross your fingers, hoping there’s a good local yarn shop nearby, as you knock on the door.

After saying hello and going through the housesitting checklist, you casually ask about the LYS situation. She says she thinks there is a small shop downtown, not far from here (huge sigh of relief!), but you’ve reminded her of something. When she was tidying up the attic a few weeks ago, she came across a trunk that had belonged to her aunt, your great aunt, and had ended up with her several years back – she’d always meant to sort through it but it had gotten hidden behind some boxes and forgotten over the years. She’d popped it open, and seen a bunch of yarn and some hand-knit items. Since you’d be here housesitting in a couple weeks, she’d decided to leave it there for you to have first dibs on anything that interested you, since you’re the only big knitter in the family.

“So you might want to take a look at that trunk first, before hitting the yarn store, just in case there’s any useable yarn in there.”

You think, cool, I might save a few bucks. You never met that great aunt; you might remember her name coming up in some of your dad’s stories, but you’re not sure.

So once you’ve gotten settled in, played with the cats a bit, and your aunt has left on her trip, you pull down the attic ladder and head up. A big, old steamer trunk sits near the window, filled with wooly mystery. You hope for something awesome as you unfasten the metal clasp…

Adventure KAL drawing!

There is one more page of story text in the pdf, so I won’t spoil too much here.  I’ll just say, there’s a bunch of exciting stuff in that trunk!!  It’s full of knitting related things, and more, all of which will work together to make up your adventures!  Throughout the knit-a-long, you’ll be given things that were found in the trunk, and you’ll use them to create your knits.  You’ll see…

I’m so excited to finally be announcing this – it’s been in the works since last summer when the first one was a success, and I started really planning this year’s way back in November (this instagram caption is about the beginning planning of this KAL!).  It has evolved a lot since then, and I’m really happy with how everything is turning out!  I can’t wait to go on adventures with you!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting — leethal @ 12:03 am

June 26, 2014

New pattern: Krewe!

I released a new single pattern - a lightweight cowl, perfect for some summer knitting!  (on ravelry here)

Krewe cowl

Krewe is made with slipped and twisted stitches (how-to included), and then full columns of stitches are dropped all the way down when you’re finished knitting, to make the beaded necklace inspired look:

Krewe cowl Krewe cowl

It’s designed to use multiple contrasting colors, as you see in my sample, but it also works well with the same 2 colors throughout, or with a self-striping or variegated color as the contrasting color (with a solid color as the main color, which is the outline color).  A version like mine uses approximately 280 yards / 256 meters total DK weight, close to half and half main color and contrasting.

Krewe cowl

This is my first pattern release in a long time that’s not part of a collection – that’s because this was designed in collaboration with Infinite Twist to make into kits!  Kits include 6 mini-balls for the contrasting colors, the main color yarn, needles and some other fun notions, this pattern, plus my new free mitts pattern (which I’ll blog about separately), Blur.  The amount of yarn included in the kit is enough to make both the Krewe cowl and a pair of mitts!

Infinite Twist Krewe kits!

There’s the Dawn Patrol colorway (above) to make the items just like mine, the Dusk colorway with 6 beautiful shades of different purples (with the same Dovecote grey main color as mine), and the Terra colorway with greens and blues for all the contrasting mini-balls and a dark brown for the main.

Infinite Twist Krewe kits! Infinite Twist Krewe kits!

The yarn is called Helix; it’s a springy plied DK weight, hand-painted – a perfect fit for the dropped stitch design!  I really love Infinite Twist (I blogged about the company awhile back) and I loved knitting with this yarn!

Krewe cowl

If you want to think outside the box a little with this design, on the other hand, it can be made really differently from my sample.  The pattern includes notes for how to make it any width in any weight yarn, and any size/weight can be made as long as you want by just stopping when you like the length.

Krewe cowl

You can even make your Krewe as a scarf or a big wrap instead of a cowl if you prefer.  The piece is a simple rectangle shape, so if you don’t seam the edges together into a loop, it works great as a flat piece as well.

Krewe cowl

My awesome test knitters made Krewe in a variety of different weights and sizes – since I only made the one sample, I’ll show you some of theirs!

Here are a couple more cowls in DK weights, like my sample – on the left is blissfulolivian’s in a few different DK yarns (218 yards total used) ; on the right is zigzaggyknits’ cowl with a variegated yarn as the contrasting color (247 yards total used):

Krewe by blissfulolivian Krewe by zigzaggyknits

Here’s a cowl in sport weight by likeleigh with a self-striping yarn as the contrasting color (165 yards total used); and a heavier cowl in worsted weight by annaknitsalot (180 yards total used):

Krewe by likeleigh Krewe by annaknitsalot

And a few lighter versions in fingering weight yarns.  First a small, airy cowl by drdomestiKated with a self-striping sock yarn as the contrasting (171 yards total used):

Krewe by drdomestiKated

A big lightweight cowl by rgoriginals (blog here) in fingering weight yarns (472 yards total used):

Krewe by rgoriginals

And a small scarflet version by knittinluv with a striping sock yarn as the contrasting (139 yards total used):

Krewe by knittinluv

A couple testers made awesome giant wrap versions!  Here’s a huge wrap by SadieLou in aran weights (650 yards total used):

Krewe by SadieLou

This measures 20″ wide by 65″ long!  So cozy!  This was made with 5 pattern repeats across and 22 pattern repeats long.

Krewe by SadieLou

And another wrap, by ChaoticK also in aran weights, just about the same giant size!  (21″ by 62″ to be exact; made with 6 pattern repeats across and 18 repeats long.  The yardage is very different – 341 yards total for this one.)  The photo on the right shows the piece with the stitches only partially dropped, so you can see how the knitted piece looks before the stitches are dropped:

Krewe by ChaoticK Krewe by ChaoticK

And speaking of how the piece looks as you’re knitting it, here’s a shot I took while knitting:

Silver lining to all day spent in the passenger seat: a big chunk of knitting got done! @infinitetwist yarn!

And my piece immediately after dropping the stitches, before blocking:

Post dropping, pre blocking. So wiggly!

All that kinkiness blocks out nice and smoothly!

Krewe cowl Krewe cowl

If you make Krewe, whether with the Infinite Twist kit yarns or other yarns, as a cowl or a scarf or wrap, etc, be sure to post your project on ravelry so we can all see your interpretation!

Krewe cowl

Happy warm weather knitting!

Filed under: knitting,yarn — leethal @ 6:03 pm

June 4, 2014

New pattern in the Betiko Collection: Lerro!

Lerro is here!  (on ravelry here)

Lerro shawl Lerro shawl

The twisted+slipped stitch colorwork shawl design for the Betiko Collection (that means it has the same kind of modular construction as Betiko and Biratu; on ravelry here) has a fully patterned version, with twisted stitch patterns all throughout the body, and a simple variation with twisted stitch designs only around the edges and garter stitch stripes in the body.  As with all Betiko Collection patterns, the modular sections are made with short rows, no picked up stitches, no seaming, and you’ll only ever cast on and bind off a few inches worth of stitches.

Lerro shawl

The fully patterned shawl is designed for fingering weight yarn – the sample is in Anzula Squishy (love!).  It measures 55 inches / 140 cm across the length (with the top edging laying flat in a straight line) and about 12 inches / 30 cm tall in the center.  The size of the fully patterned version can be adjusted by changing your gauge – use a yarn heavier than fingering if you want a bigger finished shawl.

Lerro shawl

This version is definitely an advanced level pattern – the slipped and twisted stitches are not hard to do, but there’s a lot to keep track of.  The big shawl body stitch patterns are only charted, and you need to be able to read your stitches.  But, once you get the hang of how it works, you only need to pay attention to the chart for the main color right side rows (every 4 rows) – there are pattern guidelines given that make it so you can knit the main color wrong side / contrasting color right and wrong side rows by reading your knitting and mostly ignoring the charts.  It’s a huge project, but it goes smoothly once you get on a roll with it, and it’s so much fun to watch the patterns grow!

Lerro shawl

If that’s still too much going on, there’s also the simple variation pattern!  This one is for any weight yarn, any gauge, and can be made pretty much any size, custom sized/shaped to your preferences.  My sample is in Anzula Cricket DK weight (wow I really love this yarn so much!!).

Lerro shawl

My sample happened to turn out to be the exact same length as the fully patterned sample – 55 inches / 140 cm long – and the height is a little bigger, about 13 inches / 33 cm tall in the center.  This version of the pattern is designed for 3 colors, as you see here – one main color throughout and 2 different contrasting colors.  But, because it’s simple stripes in the body, you can definitely play around with other kinds of color combos, like a self-striping yarn for the contrasting throughout, or completely different yarns for both outer edging colors… using the same main color for the first three sections is recommended, but beyond that you can totally experiment with colors on this one!

Lerro shawl

The edging stitch patterns (top edge diamonds and outer edge) are both charted and written, so for the simple variation you don’t have to read charts if you don’t want to.  You do need to read your knitting, to keep track of the wedges and things, and it’s a bit complex, so it’s probably an intermediate level pattern.

Lerro shawl Lerro shawl

The pattern pdf includes process photos and diagrams, how-tos for twisted stitches and other techniques used, notes given on chart pages to help prevent you from needing to constantly flip between pages (also quick links between pattern pages for if you’re using the pattern digitally)… it was thoroughly test knit by many awesome testers to make it the best it can be!  Check out all the different kind of versions made by testers over here on ravelry – some awesome color combos!!

Lerro shawl Lerro shawl

To go with the pattern, I made a few new tutorial videos for my sitetwisted stitches, and fixing some basic knitting mistakes.

Lerro shawl

If you’re wondering about the name, Betiko is a Basque name meaning eternal, as that shawl is forever customizable, and Lerro is a Basque word for line (and Biratu is a Basque word for twist or rotate).

Filed under: knitting — leethal @ 2:21 pm

March 25, 2014

Stuff and things going on with me…

Hi!  Things have been busy busy, as usual, and I just wanted to kind of catch up with you over here on the blog.  If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you may have seen a lot of these updates – most of the photos in this post are straight from instagram… Here are things!

There are a couple new interviews with me that you can read if you’re interested in my design process or other random things I talked out – one on Tin Can Knits, and another on Infinite Twist.

Unbroken hat!

Do you know about the Holla Knits knit-a-long that’s happening right now?  It’s kind of amazing – you automatically get one free pattern of your choice per Holla Knits item that you finish for the KAL, and then you also get entered into drawings to win bigger prizes at the end.  You can knit any Holla Knits garment or accessory (which includes my Unbroken hat, above), and the lists of pattern prizes are here.  The KAL runs through May 2nd, so you still have plenty of time to join in!  (The action happens in the ravelry group over here!)

Just shipped out TWO trunk shows to LA shops for the upcoming LA Yarn Crawl, along with fat stacks of promo postcards. LA crawlers, look out for my stuff!

If you’re in the LA area, I will have TWO trunk shows up at shops during the LA Yarn Crawl!  A Coloring Book show at Needle in a Haystack, and a general Leethal Knits show at Knit Culture (with coupon giveaways!).


I released a new pattern, like 3 weeks ago, but I’m waiting to officially blog it until I finish the Bulk Trio ebook of all 3 patterns together, which should have been done by now but it’s not yet.  So, soon, that will be done, and then I’ll tell you allllll about Mikkey!


I worked a really exciting and weird freelance gig doing crafty things for a commercial – I can’t show or tell you anything about that yet, but that’s a major reason I got off track on other things and you haven’t heard from me for awhile.

Currently knitting up a prototype of a sweater that I designed. Whoa. This is a BIG deal to me; I kind of thought I might try designing a sweater like in another couple years, but then this idea just happened and now I'm knitting it!! (The hot pink stripe

I designed a sweater!  This was one of those things where I had multiple in-progress designs that were supposed to be higher priority, but… I got this idea and I just couldn’t let it go!  I think it had something to do with getting my mind off everything else while working on that commercial, it like opened my mind up to new ideas that I wasn’t really supposed to be thinking about, but the inspiration struck and I spent some time driving to and from that gig and thinking about the sweater, and then I didn’t want to leave it with just notes to get back to in six months that I might not ever get back to because the energy may pass and never return… So I wrote up the pattern, and knit up a prototype version and the pattern is basically done now!  It’s a classic leethal-style any-gauge, custom made to your measurements design, so I made the prototype in a quick bulky gauge to try it all out.  My plan is to knit up the official sample in worsted weight over the next couple months, while focusing on other higher priority designs, and then once that’s knit I’ll get it out to testers, give them plenty of time, and plan on releasing the pattern around late summer / early fall.

Finished my bulky sweater prototype! The design is for any weight, so I'll be making the main sample in worsted; wanted to work everything out in a quick gauge first to kind of make sure it would go as intended, and it totally worked! This is a mystery sh

I spent a few days completely designing a hat that I was really excited about, and then when it was finished it turned out to be UGLY.  Damn.  So I threw that out the window.  (That’s it below – looked great in progress, but the finished piece was a huge failure.  Alas.)

Garter stitch + slip stitches in beautiful @infinitetwist handspun!

I’m slowly still working on the colorwork shawl for the Betiko Collection, and feeling crazy guilty about how long it’s taking, as I keep getting distracted by other things… but it will be released eventually.  It’s more of a spring design anyway  ;)

bechdel fest drawing

In non leethal knits things… I started a new tumblr, which will be a media-watching project starting soon-ish (maybe April 1st, or maybe a bit later, not sure yet) – Bechdel Fest.  Right now, you can check it out to see content related to the underrepresentation of women in film and television (and also of POC) as I just kind of set it up for the project.  When I start, I will be watching only movies and TV shows either made by women or featuring female main characters, for a month or so – see the about page to read the details of the project.  (It doesn’t actually have to do with the Bechdel Test, that’s just a punny name for the project/blog.)

Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret Waitresses, the - Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul Belle and Sebastian - This is Just a Modern Rock Song New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies

Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell Kinks, the - Kinks-Size Le Tigre - Feminist Sweepstakes Nina Simone - The Best of Nina Simone Mountain Goats, the - We Shall all be Healed

Speaking of projects, my 500 records in 2014 plan is going pretty well – I’m currently up to 119 (once I add the two I listened to this morning).  Pretty good!  And I’m having fun listening to more vinyl, getting more in the habit of putting on records, and I love how the flickr set is looking!

Rainbow records!!

It’s Pete’s spring break right now, so we’ve caught up on some movies in the theater – I really liked Frozen!  We had a friend stay at our house, which motivated some house projects, like our rainbow record shelf above, and getting our library room in order, so that’s neat! I can’t think of any other updates so now I’m just telling you things randomly :-p  So okay that’s all for now!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,lots of links,movies,music,personal — leethal @ 9:01 pm

February 21, 2014

New Bulk Trio pattern: Wizzö!

It’s Wizzö!  It’s super easy to knit, and SUPER fun to wear!!

That quick look video (on youtube here) shows you tons of different ways you can wear it, by buttoning, lacing, or tying it together, using the eyelet holes which line all the edges of the piece and allow for basically infinite wearing configurations!

Wizzö Wizzö
Wizzö Wizzö

I actually released the pattern way back at the beginning of last week, but I wanted to wait to blog about it until I finished all the wearing how-to videos, which I have now done!  So, that quick peek video above shows you all the ways, but you can watch the six tutorial videos to really learn how they all work.  And the pattern itself includes some photos and written descriptions of each of the six basic different styles.


Here is one of the tutorial videos, and you can find all six of them on the Wizzö webpage over here (scroll down).

As for the knitting, this is definitely one of the simplest pieces I’ve ever designed, but I don’t want anyone feeling ripped off so I included three different fully written sizes – smaller and larger bulky versions, and a “super extra bulky” version, which is on size US 36 (20mm) needles (the sample is with triple stranded bulky weight) – as well as fully customizable any-gauge.

Wizzö Wizzö

So, the pattern is essentially written for 4 sizes, those three sizes/gauges completely written out for you to follow, with zero math or decision making, to make pieces exactly like the three samples, and then the custom size which can be in any gauge (worsted or heavier is recommended).  For a custom piece, you’ll decide all your sizing measurements and do a tiny bit of math to figure out all your custom numbers.  You can also customize the pre-written sizes as you like; detailed notes are included for making any kind of custom sizing decisions you want.

Wizzö Wizzö

But, if you want to make no customizations at all, you can totally ignore all that and just make one of the sample versions, and then it’s a mega easy, beginner-friendly project!

Wizzö Wizzö

The bulky samples are in beautiful Fable Fibers Memoir bulky yarn, a brand new yarn released on the same day as this pattern!  This yarn is truly gorgeous and a great pleasure to knit with, I absolutely loved using it in these pieces!  The colorways are a semi-solid Lagoon, and a variegated Fairy Garden, and they both look fantastic in the twisted rib stitch pattern.  Seriously, awesome yarn.

Wizzö Mmmm I am LOVING how this @fablefibers variegated colorway is looking in the squishy twisted rib stitch pattern.

The @fablefibers yarn is knitting up beautifully! Wizzö

Wizzö is the second pattern in my Bulk Trio, the first being Lemmy, and the third will be released in about a week!  It’s in testing right now, and you can see a few peeks of the 2-color stitch pattern here and here and here.  I will reveal that it’s another neck accessory.  Bulky weights work nicely around necks, so I just went with it.

Wizzö Wizzö
Wizzö Wizzö

So you can grab it alone (here on ravelry), or get the whole trio (three patterns for the price of two!) to get Wizzö and Lemmy now, and Mikkey next week (here on ravelry).  The way this winter is going for most of us, you probably still have plenty of time to knit up multiple bulky neck accessories and wear them before the cold season is over!  Yay wool!  ;)

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 12:18 pm

February 17, 2014

Handspun Robin kits by Infinite Twist!

Do you know about Infinite Twist?  It’s a yarn company that makes handspun, hand-dyed yarn in Shanghai, which not only produces beautiful yarns, but also provides living wages for local spinners.  You can check out the video on the about page to learn and see more.

Infinite Twist yarn!

Some of the yarns are spun by Qinghai Spinner’s Cooperative, which gives sustainable jobs/income to rural Tibetan women (here’s an old blog post about that, when they were just starting to work together).

Robin shawl by Infinite Twist

So I am super happy that Infinite Twist is now offering kits to make my Robin shawl, in this gorgeous Qinghai Handspun yarn!

Robin shawl by Infinite Twist

There are three different kit options: Red Devil/Blush, Larkspur/Tibetan Turquoise, and Spooky Purple/Dovecote.  Each kit includes 475 yards of the beautiful handspun yarn, a bamboo circular knitting needle, stitch markers, and the download code for the Robin pattern.

Robin shawl by Infinite Twist Robin shawl by Infinite Twist

I also have plans for a design in Infinite Twist yarn very soon – I was sent the yarn for this design awhile back, and in the package with it was this awesome box of yarn samples!

Infinite Twist yarn! Infinite Twist yarn!

It just so happens that the person behind Infinite Twist, Cate Carter-Evans, has roots here in Portland, so I’ve gotten to hang out with her a couple times while she was in town visiting family.  What a fantastic person she is!

Got to grab a coffee with the fabulous @infinitetwist while wearing my UK trip sweater out in the world, and she's in a beautifully colored Robin shawl! Yay!

Really, I just can’t say enough good about this wonderful yarn company!  So, if you are ever craving some handspun, do browse around the Infinite Twist shop.  So much beauty!

Filed under: knitting,yarn — leethal @ 10:55 am

February 5, 2014

Rainbow-filled donation drive!

Knitters, are you getting ready for the Ravellenic Winter Games?  I’m participating (sort of) in this year’s games by having a donation drive!  If you are on the lookout for fun patterns to use for your projects over the next few weeks, and if you want to help a good cause, here’s the deal…

Rainbow Spiral Hat!

First, let me introduce you to a new sample of one of my very first patterns – a rainbow-tastic version of Spiraling Stripes Hats!  The pattern itself has been updated, all re-formatted in my new pdf style, with some edits and added notes about the different sizes/styles.  (here on ravelry)  This style is knit exactly as the pattern is written, in aran weight yarns, for the oversized slouchy fit.

Rainbow Spiral Hat!

It was made in 9 colors of aran weight leftovers, mostly Malabrigo (one Quince & Co in the mix), making a complete rainbow:

Rainbow Spiral Hat!

It was topped off with a fishtail braid.  Bonus: the yarn colors were all switched at the top, so turning the ends into the braid meant ZERO ends to weave in!

Rainbow Spiral Hat!

So, wait, what does this have to do with the Ravellenic thing?  Well, for the first 4 days of the Olympic games – this Friday February 7th through Monday February 10th – 100% of proceeds from this hat pattern will be donated to International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.  This organization does work all over the world (including Russia), and some of their main issues are decriminalization, stopping discrimination, torture, violence, and abuse, freedom of speech, assembly, and association, health, and human rights.

My donation drive is part of a bigger collection of designers all doing donation drives during this Olympic season – the fabulous Bristol Ivy had the idea and we all jumped right on board!  Check out her blog post here for a list of all designers participating – some are donating more locally; some are giving a cut of sales from throughout the entire Olympics time.  Check out the list and the patterns, and buy as many as you want to during this fundraising event!

As far as leethal patterns go, it’s not just that hat – I’ll also be donating from the sales of all of my patterns that could potentially be made with rainbows!  Of course, you don’t have to actually make them as rainbows… but you COULD.  Technically, I know, you could make any pattern with rainbows, but I’m counting the ones that either have specific instructions for striping, and/or that have a many-colored sample included in the pattern.

Update (the next day):  My husband was reading this post last night, and pointed out how perfectly fitting my Freak Out! mask pattern (rav) is for protesting Russian politics and how awesome it would be if someone made a rainbow version for their Ravellenics project; I don’t know how I hadn’t put that together when making the pattern list for this donation drive!  Duh!!  So, 100% of sales proceeds from Freak Out! will also be donated:

Freak Out! Freak Out!

50% of proceeds from the sales of all of these patterns (Friday-Monday) will be donated:

3 color Robin

Barry in yellow stripy cowl!

all Short Stripes Trio patterns (full trio or individually purchased) (rav)

adventure knit items!

Adventure Knitting (rav)

Flying V's

Flying V’s (rav)


Junction (rav)


Either/Or (rav)

Gentle on My Mind

Gentle on My Mind (rav)

Slanted & Enchanted scarf

Slanted & Enchanted (rav)

infinity moebius scarf thing

Parallel Lines (rav)

Note (added 2/7):  The above 4 patterns, as well as Freak Out!, are part of my Remixed collection (8 patterns total, $20, rav) – I will donate 50% of sales of the full collection as well!


Flippable (rav)

Betiko - mystery pattern version

Betiko (half of the pattern price will be donated whether it’s purchased alone or with the collection) (rav)

Custom Tritop! Brimming with Color!

Custom Tritops (rav), Brimming with Color (rav)

Shapeshifter! Skoodlet!

Shapeshifter (rav), Skoodlet (rav)

scarf5 clarissacuffs2

Game Knitting (rav)

ten 10 yard cuffs! ten 10 yard cuffs!

Ten 10 yard Cuffs (rav)


Haka (rav)

Ocean Breezes! Mr. Pointy

Ocean Breezes (rav), Mr. Pointy (rav)

Coloring Book

And lastly, 35% of all proceeds from any of my Coloring Book patterns, including the whole ebook collection (bought through my site or ravelry) will be donated.

Coloring Book Pigment Scribbled Lines

And just to let you know, the day after this ends (Feb 11th) is my birthday, and I will be having a birthday sale like I do most years, but it will only be on patterns not included in this donation drive, so the two events won’t conflict with each other.  I’ll announce details on that one later :)

If you do cast on for a rainbow, please show it off by posting pictures in my ravelry group (or at least adding it as a rav project) – I would LOVE to see some rainbow projects!!

Filed under: contest/giveaway,hats,knit-a-longs,knitting — leethal @ 9:50 am

January 29, 2014

Pattern updates and other news!

Newsy stuff time!  (No, not Newsies stuff, although I am all for seizing the day and carrying banners and whatnot.)  First off, Portlanders, my Coloring Book sample knits are currently on display at Twisted!  You can check it out through Sunday, and I will be present for meet+greeting, question answering, etc on Sunday during the “Super Ground Bowl Hog” party from 4-6!

Coloring Book Coloring Book

(Side note to other yarn shop folks – the print book is available through Deep South!  Just, you know, making sure you know.)

I’ve recently finished a bunch of pattern updates!  As I’ve talked about before, I made over my pdf template about a year ago, so I’ve spent the last year slowly going through my old patterns and re-formatting, editing them so everything is consistent, blah blah blah, and also, page counts are drastically cut down (hooray for those who like to print out their patterns!)… I’ve now uploaded the new pdfs for Junction (on rav)…


Ocean Breezes (rav), and Swerve (rav).  The patterns are essentially the same, but the updates are meant to be easier to follow, some wording has been improved; they are just overall better now, so there you go!  There is actually one other old pattern which has been more heavily updated, but that one will be talked about next week because it goes with another thing… vague enough?  You’ll see soon!

(Side note: Junction, and also Barry, will be available at Stitches West in the Anzula booth, with the samples there for you to check out!  Fun!!)

Ocean Breezes Swerve mitts in Chroma

There are still several leethal solo patterns remaining in my old pdf style – Custom Tritops, Terrapin, Mr. Pointy, Double Scoops, Brimming with Color… – so if you own any of these (digital versions), hopefully within the next few months you’ll get an updated version… it’s a pretty time-consuming process, but eventually they’ll all be updated.

And then there are my free patterns!  I uploaded SIX new free pattern pdfs last week!  Most notably, I made a brand new pdf of Scant, which had previously only been available directly on – it’s still there, but it’s now also available as a pdf download there and through ravelry.

Scant in handspun

Also updated to my fancy pantsy new pdf format (okay it’s not really that pantsy, but it is new & improved)… the scrap-buster-tastic fun modular scarf/cowl Orthogonal (on rav)…


…and my super oooold free patterns Leethal Mary Janes (rav), Gradient Mitts (rav), Big Bulky Bucket Hat (rav), and Waving Chevron Scarf (rav):

booties1.jpg knit mitts

buckethat5.jpg waving chevron scarf

In other update-y news – a couple weeks ago, I completed a big update to my leethalknits info page, with the shop list (sort of) up to date.  (I don’t know who orders wholesale print patterns in real time, I just get lists of shops every few months, so it’s never completely up to date necessarily.)

(And, for any LYS people who might be reading this, my wholesale page is now totally up to date also, with my downloadable pdf 1-page line sheet to help break down my print patterns.)

Lastly, what have I been working on lately?  Well, mostly, my upcoming two Bulk Trio patterns!  I’ve been posting peeks on instagram:

Done and blocking!! Upcoming design in my Bulk Trio, sample in worsted weight Shepherd's Wool held triple stranded... Indie-dyed bulky weight sample coming soon! This is a fucking BIG accessory project but it's looking damn good and it will hopefully be finished tonight! Phew!

Above is the first one, which I’ve been working on for a couple months now – the first sample is done, the pattern is pretty much done, but I’m waiting on yarn for the second sample… For the third trio pattern, I forced myself to keep it really simple (for me) and it’s coming along very quickly!  These peeks below don’t give much away because I’m keeping it pretty secret until it’s released.  So now I’m really working on the two patterns simultaneously, and I don’t know which one will end up released first; they’ll probably be back-to-back, bam bam bulk bulk!  You can pre-order them both by grabbing the Bulk Trio (on ravelry), which will get you Lemmy immediately.  (All three patterns are flexible gauge, working for weights in the general bulky range.)

Wearing upcoming design prototype out on errands, pre- washing, blocking, photographing. Can't resist, it's so snuggly! That green Burly Spun I showed you a little while back ended up not working for that project, so I went to buy some new yarn for it and decided to step outside my usual color comfort zone! #nofilter  (This is an upcoming design for the Bulk Trio, and I LO

So that’s all that.  Happy knitting everyone!

Filed under: Coloring Book,knitting,pattern Trios,portland stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 2:38 pm

January 16, 2014

Reconstructed hooded cardigan, with cuff tutorial!

New cardigan!

I started this project back in October of 2012, worked on it a little bit then, a little bit last spring, and then picked it back up and finished it over the last couple of weeks, finally!  Hooray!  I’m so excited to show it to you now!

New cardigan!

I got this ill-fitting but beautiful hand knit cardigan at a thrift store (4 years ago - wow time flies!), knowing I’d someday fix it up and make it wearable:

original sweater original sweater

Once I had my vision, deciding to use a heavier weight yarn for additions (around aran weight, versus the original sweater in maybe sport weight, I’d guess), and picking out this recycled sweater yarn (the same used in these either/or mittens), I got to the deconstructing.  I carefully removed all the edgings, one step at a time, and picked up stitches to knit on my new edgings.  On some parts I could use the actual live stitches, and on others I picked up stitches from sides.

sweater reconstruction close-up

It was all improvised, but I’ll tell you what I can, based on my crap memory and examining the piece now…

The first edging made was along the bottom – I unraveled those stitches, picked them up, decreased across to get a good stitch count in my heavier yarn to match up, and knit 1×1 rib for a few inches.

sweater reconstruction close-up

Then I picked up a chunk of stitches along the back of the collar, and began knitting those (also in 1×1 rib – all of my additions are 1×1 rib), picking up an extra couple of stitches every time I reached the end of a row.  So this resulted in short-row shaping, making the back of the collar the widest.

sweater reconstruction close-up

Once I had picked up down through the yoke, a couple stitches at a time like this, I picked up all the way down to the bottom on each side, ending the short row shaping for now.  I picked up the stitches closer together than I probably should have; I wanted the collar and front panels to be squishy and not pull in.  In the end, I see that I could have significantly reduced my picked up stitches along the fronts, and it still wouldn’t have pulled in, but it’s okay.

sweater reconstruction close-up

So then I knit around all these stitches (oh so many!  It took like an entire episode of a show to knit 1 row, as I’m extra slow in 1×1 rib) until the narrow front parts were a couple inches wide.  Then I made the triangle pockets on each side, using short rows:

sweater reconstruction close-up

After the pockets were done, I headed back up to the top and made the hood, shaped with short rows and decreases.  It turned out weird, and I learned from my mistakes for next time.  I like it enough to not frog and re-knit (omg the thought of taking it apart now that it’s all finished is awful) but it’s definitely not the best hood ever.  But hey, it functions!

New cardigan!

Basically, I decreased 4 stitches on every other row, because it was starting out so huge, so I thought that would be good, but I should have decreased 2, that would have made for a much nicer shape.  Lesson learned, and passed on to you.

New cardigan!

Once I finished the hood shaping, I knit back down to the bottom, and worked one last full row all the way around, then bound off.

One final row, then I bind off 289 1x1 rib stitches and am done with this long-term project! So excited to show it to you soon!

To finish the pockets, I folded them over to make a straight line with the edging above, and sewed them along the bottom.  I thought this would be it, but then they looked weird and needed to be stabilized, so I sewed them shut a couple inches on the tops and a couple inches on the bottoms, and now they are perfect!  Love them!

sweater reconstruction close-up

Lastly, the cuffs.  I actually took process photos so I can give you a full on tutorial for the cuffs!

Cuff tutorial step

Recycled sweaters are like snowflakes, every one is unique (not really), so this is how I did mine, but if you try to do the same, you’ll need to adjust according to your sweater’s specifics.

Cuff tutorial step

First, I tried unraveling the cuff from the edge, but, sadly, my particular hand knit sweater was knit from the cuff up, so it wouldn’t unravel.  Most recycled sweaters will unravel starting at the cuffs, so it will usually be much easier than this was.

Cuff tutorial step

Since I couldn’t unravel it, I grabbed my scissors and chopped it off, a few rows above where I wanted to pick up the stitches – I didn’t want to cut right up to the row I was going to pick up, and risk cutting too much, but this was kind of an unnecessary step, as I just ended up cutting again.  I could have picked up the stitches first, then cut once.

Cuff tutorial step

For your cuff project, you can either unravel all the way down to where you want your cuff to start, or cut it mostly off with scissors, then unravel the last couple rows, as that should normally work, with most sweaters.

Cuff tutorial step

I picked up my stitches, cut the rest off, picked off all the little bits of yarn stuck in there from cutting it, and had the stitches on the needles ready to knit – small needles, sized to match the original sweater yarn (not my heavier yarn).

Cuff tutorial step

Here is where I actually made a mistake with this cuff.  I made my first cuff over a year earlier, and had forgotten the details, so I slightly messed up on my second cuff.  I knew I had to decrease around, to get the stitch count down to match my bulkier gauge, so for the second cuff I decreased around during the very first round:

Cuff tutorial step

But this resulted in the cuff pulling in a bit at the join.  Damn.  Oops.  For the first cuff, I’d done it the right way: first, knit all stitches for one round in the new yarn, onto the bigger needles to match the new yarn.  Then, on the second new-yarn round, decrease around as needed to get a good stitch count in the new gauge.  This will prevent the join from pulling in.

Cuff tutorial step

Once the stitch count is right, work around (in 1×1 rib or the cuff stitch pattern of your choice) until it’s as long as you want it.  My cuffs are about 5 inches, around three times as long as the original cuffs on the ill-fitting cardigan.  Much better!

New cardigan!

So that’s that!  I chose not to put in buttonholes, since I wasn’t sure how the fit would be and I figured I could add closures later to fit best.  It works well closed with a shawl pin like you see at the top, or with 1-inch round pins like this:

New cardigan!

But I do plan to add some kind of permanent closure at some point; I’m thinking maybe a buckle of some kind, or toggles… we’ll see.  It’s fine for now!

New cardigan!

At the time when I first started this project, I began contemplating the idea of writing an ebook/collection of sort-of-patterns for this kind of thing – tutorials for taking apart reclaimed sweaters and knitting on new parts to make them into awesome new items.  The patterns would be better than this (this was an improvised experiment – if it was meant to be an actual design, the hood and other elements would be better!) and there would be lots of different kinds of projects, and different elements that could be mixed and matched together (like, pick your favorite pocket type, and collar type, etc).  Anyway, I currently don’t have solid plans to make this project happen, but I am still considering it for the future.

If this is something you’d be interested in, please let me know!  Either by commenting on this blog post, or by commenting over on the ravelry project page.  If there does seem to be a significant amount of interest, then I will start thinking about it for real and planning it.  Thanks!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,thrifty finds,tutorials — leethal @ 5:25 pm

December 18, 2013

leethal 2014 photo calendar!

I’ve been pretty into Instagram since I got my iPhone early this year, and I’ve been wanting to figure out ways to display my favorite shots.  The other day I thought, how about a calendar?  So I made one!

I made an Instagram calendar!

I love how it turned out: simple, functional, a lovely display of some of my favorite instas.

2014 instagram calendar

So I decided I should share it with you!  I turned the calendar into a pdf, with four versions.  You can go to my wallpapers (and other downloads) page and download it with my photos…

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

…or without any photos, so you can plug in your own square-format photos.  And both options come in the lighter text (as above) or the darker text (as below).  Note: the lighter text in the photos of it hanging in my kitchen looks barely-visible, but that’s mostly to do with the lighting in there; it’s actually plenty visible, I think.

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

If you want to put in your own photos, you’ll need an application that can open and edit pdf files, to place your photos on the pages.  Or you could do it analog – print out the calendar as is, then print out your own photos, and glue them on there.

2014 instagram calendar

To make the calendar, you’ll need a photo printer (or a trip to Kinko’s or something), nice letter size* photo paper/cardstock to print out the pages (I used Red River Paper GreenPix, which I highly recommend, but unfortunately it’s only available in 4×6 inch size and rolls right now), a paper cutter (or scissors and the ability to cut super straight), and a hole punch.  Print, cut down the center dotted line, punch out the grey dots, and hang!

2014 instagram calendar

*The pdf is sized for US letter size paper (8.5×11 inches) but if you use a different paper size and print it fit to page, centered, it should work fine, just with some extra white space that you can trim off as needed.

2014 instagram calendar

Happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,home stuff,photos — leethal @ 10:00 am

December 17, 2013

Block puzzle tutorial!

A couple years ago, I made a gift for Disney princess loving Alicia, using wood blocks and pages from thrifted books.  I photographed the steps, and then forgot to blog it!  So here is how I made it – it only takes a few hours, so you have plenty of time to make one for a kid gift this season (I’d love to make one with something other than princesses, like baby animals, or cats, or pretty much any kind of animals…).

Or, you could make one bigger with more pieces (and/or harder by mixing up the blocks, as explained below) for an adult version, with like photos of yarn, or photos from a trip you took together… oh shoot, I’d never thought of that until right now – now I want to make a trip photo puzzle!!

Princess gift block puzzle

So, you need wood blocks (I got these at Michael’s), pictures to use (my princess pictures came from some cheap thrift store books), a paper cutter (or scissors if you’re careful, in which case you also need a ruler), Mod Podge and a brush for the Mod-Podge-ing, newspaper or something to protect your work surface, and optional Sparkle Mod Podge if you want a glitter finish.

Princess gift block puzzle

I started by making a template for the pictures; I used the cardboard packaging from the wood blocks, cutting the piece of thin cardboard to the size of the blocks all together in a rectangle:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Then I used the template to cut out my pictures to that size:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

So now I had pictures of the exact size of the blocks all touching:

Princess gift block puzzle

I used four pictures, to make the puzzle a bit easier than if all six sides of the blocks had pictures, since she was pretty young when I made this.  Pictures on all sides of the blocks (six pictures total) would make for a harder puzzle.

Princess gift block puzzle

I carefully measured and cut the pictures into squares the size of the blocks (if you’re using a paper cutter, you should be able to measure directly on the cutter – if you’re using scissors, then you’ll need to measure with a ruler).

Princess gift block puzzle

Be careful with your measuring and cutting so that you don’t accidentally cut the wrong size for some reason (I don’t remember why this happened!) and ruin your picture, so that you have to find another princess picture to replace it:

Princess gift block puzzle

So, once I cut a picture in both directions, I had a puzzle picture like this:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Now I Mod Podged those squares of pictures onto the blocks:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Here’s another decision you can make.  I wanted the puzzle to be easy for the young kid, so I kept the first puzzle in order, turned each block the same way, and glued on the second picture in the same order, so that once she solves the puzzle for one of the pictures, she can then flip all the blocks in the same direction to see the next picture, then the next, then the next.  If you want a more challenging puzzle, you can scramble up the blocks so that you have to solve each one separately.  There are actually two more levels of difficulty – you could either flip all the blocks the same direction, then glue the pictures on in random order, all on the same sides, or you could glue them on random places and random sides, so the puzzles for each picture all start from scratch.  Just make sure you glue one square per picture onto each block.

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Repeat for each picture until all the squares are glued on:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Because this was a gift for a frilly little girl, I chose to add sparkles to the whole thing at the end:

Princess gift block puzzle

I don’t remember exactly, but I’m guessing I covered five sides with the sparkle Mod Podge, let them dry overnight, then sparkled up the sixth side the next day.

Princess gift block puzzle

Finished sparkly puzzle:

Princess gift block puzzle

Tah dah!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,tutorials — leethal @ 10:56 am

December 16, 2013

Knit gifts of the past!

In continuing to catch up with blog posts that should have been done long ago, I want to show you a bunch of things I’ve knit for gifts over the last several years that never made it to the blog!  Many times, I’ve knit a thing, photographed it, meant to blog about it soon, and then just never gotten around to it… you know how it goes, life gets in the way.  So here we go, alllll those gift knits that never got shown!  Starting with the most recent, Pete’s xmas gift last year:

Pete's Harris Tweed hat

Pete wanted a warm hat with a bill, to keep the rain off his glasses.  I didn’t want to design a hat with a bill, so I went pattern searching, and this design - Colorado Cadet / Newsboy Cap by Cheryl Andrews - seemed the best match for exactly what he wanted.  I bought this Harris Tweed yarn in York last fall (at Ramshambles), with intentions to use the black skein for something for Pete, since he’s a big fan of the Harris Tweed brand.  This hat ended up needing more than 1 skein worth, with the bill and folded-under brim adding yardage, so I added some of the other two skeins I’d bought for myself – a speckled brown kind of color for the crown, and a teal blue for the underside of the brim, and also for the braid to add a bit of extra interest there.

Pete's Harris Tweed hat Pete's Harris Tweed hat

I think it turned out great, and Pete loves it (although Portland is rarely cold enough for him to wear it; he gets overheated really easily, unlike myself – I wear wool hats constantly all winter long!).  The pattern makes the bill work without any plastic/cardboard/etc piece in there, which is cool.  This was my first time with a few different techniques: a hemmed brim, a welt, and the herringbone braid.  I made this hat a bit taller than the pattern, so it would cover his ears and be warmer.

Pete's Harris Tweed hat

Next up, my mom collects elephants, mostly of the small, hard variety, but I thought adding a large, soft version to her collection would be fun!  So I used the pattern Garter Stitch Elephant by Phylis Tucker as a guideline, and bulky yarn (a few strands of worsted-ish held together), and made this weirdo wonky guy.

Mom's weird elephant guy

He looks like a perfectly normal stuffed elephant from certain angles…

Mom's weird elephant guy

…but then from other viewpoints, he looks like some kind of anteater/elephant hybrid thing.  Oh well, he has personality.  I think she named him, but I don’t remember what it was.

Mom's weird elephant guy Mom's weird elephant guy

The other wonky toy I’ve made was a gift for Eloise, (ravelry creators) Jess‘s & Casey‘s little girl, when she was born.

Eloise's Bird+Egg

It’s a Which Came First? by Anna Hrachovec, but made to look like a blue bird instead of a chicken.  Sort of.  To the best of my lacking toy-making abilities.

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Eloise's Bird+Egg

I think the egg looks great, and then the bird hatches, and he’s a little funky looking.  Personality?

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Here’s a shot of the pieces before sewing them together:

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Another one from far back, 3 years ago to be exact, I made this scarf for my mom for a xmas present.  The pattern is Spitcurl Scarf by Staceyjoy Elkin; it’s one of those patterns I saw and just wanted to make to find out how it’s made.

Spitcurl Scarf Spitcurl Scarf

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, in soft, washable Malabrigo Rios and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK.

Spitcurl Scarf

Another mom gift, this one was for Pete’s mom for xmas 4 years ago.  We did it as a joint gift – Pete picked the pattern (Kerry by Rodger Murry, no longer available) and the yarn (Malabrigo Twist, yumm) – and I knit the hat.


This was my first time knitting with Twist and it was love at first stitch.



Lastly in the other-people’s-patterns category, I knit this scarf for Pete back in 2008 - Counterpoint Scarf by Jennifer Crawford, in Alpaca with a Twist Highlander.  It was my first (and only) time doing illusion knitting, and I love it; I’ve always planned to revisit the illusion concept someday in my own designs… Maybe 2014 will be the year for that, we’ll see!

illusion knitting piano scarf

I’ve also knit a few gifts from my own patterns that never got blogged, so here are those.  First, a pair of Either/Or mitts for my brother Matt:

Matt's Either/Or mitts

I used a striping pattern for these that’s different from all six of my pattern sample mitts, and I love how it looks!  Three colors in blocks, in the short fingerless mitts version of the pattern:

Matt's Either/Or mitts

They are man-sized, modeled by Pete, in a machine-washable yarn (Lion Brand Wool-Ease) so Matt can wash them easily.

Matt's Either/Or mitts

I knit this picture frame for my dad using my Quick Knits Cabled Frame pattern, but making each section longer for a larger frame.  It’s shown here with a placeholder picture (a page of a magazine).  It’s backed with layers of cardboard so the photo can slide in and out easily.

Cabled Frame for Dad

Lastly, I first started working on the Coloring Book designs in early 2012, to figure out what yarns I needed and stuff; when I decided to make a cowl for Pete’s mom last year out of an assortment of yarns bought throughout our UK/Ireland trip, I thought the draft version of what would become the Color by Number pattern would be a perfect fit.

Travel cowl gift knit

So, this is sort of a Color by Number custom cowl, but it’s way before the actual pattern was finalized, and there are lots of improvised bits – mainly, the cabled panel up the one side, and the scattered boxes with cables and twisted stitch patterns inside.

Travel cowl gift knit

With the gift, I included a diagram of where each yarn came from.  They are from York, London, Edinburgh, Holyhead in Wales, Dublin, and Galway.

Travel cowl gift knit

Modeled shots:

Travel cowl gift knit

Travel cowl gift knit Travel cowl gift knit

Travel cowl gift knit

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!  Although I wish I’d given it wood buttons instead of plastic.  Oh well.  It worked nicely to throw in some stitch patterns in some of the boxes, so feel free to use that idea with your own Color by Number projects if you like it!

Travel cowl gift knit

Okay that was a long post.  Better to group together all these old knits into one giant post than to never blog about them at all, right?  I have a couple other completely different gift-themed blog posts coming up this week.  Next will be a tutorial, and then I’ll be giving a gift to you for the holidays :)

Stay tuned, and I hope you are well as this season flies by!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knitting — leethal @ 2:33 pm
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