January 30, 2008

a week in the oc

man, time flies, i keep meaning to post more often… well… quality over quantity? if i don’t have anything good to say it’s better that i don’t crowd your blog reader with pointless entries? oh well… so… i’m taking a trip down to california to see my family, for a whole week! my first time down since i moved up here in august, i’m excited! there will be lots and lots of knitting, and watching bad tv (can’t wait for lost!) and movies and not working!

this means if you order anything besides a pdf file while i’m gone it won’t be mailed out until probably thursday feb.7th. i will have my laptop with me (of course!) so i will be able to email pdfs, but they might be a little late, maybe. just a warning.

i realized today that it’s right around my one year blogiversary (haha i just typed yarn instead of year, shows where my mind is!) – my actual first post was 1/22, but that one didn’t really count, so i’m counting my 2nd, more substantial post as my actual blog day, which was 2/1. since i’ve gone through so many life changes since then, it feels like it was longer than a year ago when i was struggling with that wordpress code, trying to customize the look, with my limited code knowlegde… those were some frustrating times! sigh, memories…

melonyarn2.jpg

i also wanted to say that there is one new mitt kit yarn up in the shop, a variegated skein. and i do have one more all dyed and dried, but just haven’t had a chance (or the light) to take photos yet. i figure there’s no rush since i wouldn’t be able to ship it out till next week anyway. that one will be two color striping.

oh yeah, i got my new lens!! that’s what i used for that yarn shot, and many more yarn shots that i haven’t gotten up on flickr yet. i reshot a bunch of the yarns in my shop with better light, so i’ll be trying to get the photos switched over soon. it’s a rad lens! woo!

hey is anyone doing hat attack?? it’s a hat knitting battle thing where you have to try to “kill” your partner by knitting their hat and getting it to them before you receive a hat first, killing you. sounds like fun!! there’s a ravelry group for it, but you don’t have to be a raveler to join! i’m pretty sure the deadline for signing up is feb.6th and it starts when they pattern is revealed on the morning of feb.9th. yay hats!

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,personal,random stuff — leethal @ 12:48 am

January 21, 2008

diy knit kit: ninja mitts!

randomstripesmitts.jpg brightmitts2.jpg

hey look it’s a non-hat knit kit! woo! make your very own leethal ninja mitts, it’s easy and fun! so, “ninja mitts” are what i’ve been calling my fingerless mitts for years, ever since my old friend roy referred to them as ninja gauntlets. they are different from normal fingerless gloves/mitts because they don’t have any thumb part (like these or these), giving your hands more mobility, and making them a super easy knit. not quite as warm, but great for not freezing weather, and you can leave them on all the time and function just fine. yay!

the pattern is really simple, so i’m selling the pdf by itself for just $1. it’s three pages total – a cover with photo examples, pattern notes, sizing, and some ideas for ways to customize your mitts. this is a great pattern to make your own (with ribbing, cables, stitch pattern experimentation……) – as i say in the notes, “I think of these mitts as kind of a blank canvas – be creative!”

all you need is a set of size us 10 double pointed knitting needles, a tapestry needle, and the yarn. the kits come with enough for one pair, of course, but if you want to use your own, they take about 65 yards. the weight isn’t too important because the gauge isn’t terribly important – i’ve knit these with all different yarns and they always fit fine. but, you know, your yarn should knit up well on size 10’s.

tiedyemitts3.jpg brightmitts3.jpg

i’ll be selling kits with different kinds of multi-colored hand-dyed yarn, some striping, some variegated. right now i just have two in the store – one will stripe in a repeating pattern, and the other will stripe randomly (like the top left example). at the moment i have a skein of variegated in the dye pot, which will knit up similarly to the bottom left example. i hope to keep adding more yarns over the next week or so…

(ravelry page!)

Filed under: general crafts,kit creations,knitting,leethal store,photos — leethal @ 9:42 pm

January 20, 2008

a bunch of leethal updatey stuff

first of all, i’ve changed my comments settings back to normal. i guess after i switched it to registered users only it got messed up and wouldn’t let anyone comment, lame! it has been switched back for a couple days now, and i’ve gotten several spam comments since then, so i’m assuming that means it’s working again and anyone can comment. so if you wanted to comment on one of my last few posts and it wouldn’t let you, you can now! hehe… i do love comments… and i’m sorry for any annoyance this may have caused you…

and secondly, i’ve edited the mary jane booties pattern, and added a big paragraph (in italics, for easy access) about my sizing stupidity and the changes i made. basically, the original pattern was too big, so i added small(medium,large) options.

hmm what else was a gonna say? oh yeah! excitement! i’ve joined the modern age of knit pattern-making and i’ve made my hat pattern sets into pdfs!! so now if you buy a pattern set by itself, you’ll get the pdf file emailed to you (faster, and paper-saving)! aaand, if you get a hat kit, you can choose the option to get the pdf instead of the paper pattern (again, faster, and paper-saving).

of course, i will still have the paper patterns as an option (the default option) so if the kit is for a gift, it will be in kit form, instead of just yarn and a computer file. kits with pdfs are the same price as with paper patterns, but you get bonus additions! more photos in both hat pdfs, and a whole extra page in the spiraling stripes hat set pdf with all the notes from the blog post.

also added, there is now a “ball it!” option for all my yarn so you can start knitting as soon as you get it! if you don’t want to ball your yarn, i’ll do it for you! of course, you can’t knit with the yarn until you ball it, since it’s in hank form. and i now have a ball winder, so i’ll make a nice, flat-bottomed center-pull ball.

also, i just added 2 new spiraling stripes hat knit kits.

grapes and berries candy hearts

oh yeah, i keep remembering things i wanted to mention… i’ve added myself as a “yarnie” on ravelry, which means my hand-dyed self-striping yarns are official yarns (brand: leethal) on the site. so, if you are on ravelry, and you have a leethal yarn from one of my kits, you can add it to your stash as leethal brand yarn. (right now there are 2 types – the 2-color, and the self-striping)

ravelryleethalyarnspage.jpg

and a little teaser, very soon (like, tomorrow) i’ll be adding a new kit/pattern to the shop. it’s not a hat! and it’s easy, and cheap… stay tuned!

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,yarn — leethal @ 7:22 pm

January 16, 2008

simple mary jane style booties!

update 12/13/08: hello to everyone stumbling upon this page or linking over from somewhere else! this is the original post for this slippers pattern, but i’ve since redesigned the pattern and made a free pdf download!  see the blog post with the full updated pattern here, download the pdf directly here, or check out my patterns page with all of my patterns (including several free ones!).  enjoy!!

booties1.jpg

yay free pattern! ok so this is something i designed almost 2 1/2 years ago, way back before i even knew how to read patterns. it was in the form of a page in my sketchbook with a list of each row like a checklist to work off of. i used this to make about 6 pairs back then, altering each one a little to try to perfect the shape. then i got bored with booties and forgot about it. anyway, i remembered the “pattern” a few days ago, found that old sketchbook, and deciphered the notes into an actual pattern. i changed a few things, and now i’m happy to share the final result with you!

booties2.jpg booties3.jpg

these are super quick and easy to make, a one night in front of the tv kind of project. basic mary jane style slippers, knit flat in garter stitch up to the toe, then knit around on double points. great gift knits, since the sizing is very flexible, nice and stretchy. i made a pair for my mom back when i first designed them (with monkey buttons!)… here are a couple of my original pairs:

booties for mom booties033.jpg

these are knit with several strands of yarn, on size 11 needles, making a super thick fabric. on the examples i used 3 strands – one being joann’s sensations angel hair, which is two strands in itself, including the soft fuzzy stuff which makes the booties super soft and warm. this is a great project for using up a bunch of stash yarn. i don’t know exactly what yardage they take, but i’m guessing not more than about 70-80 yards (for both), maybe less. i don’t like to use nice yarns for slippers i’ll be wearing around the house, probably stepping on things and wanting to throw them in the laundry, don’t want to worry about hand washing… so grab any balls you’ve got buried in your stash, find a few strands that’ll look nice together, and use them up!

pattern notes:

i use the long tail cast on at the beginning, and the backwards loop cast on (or single cast on) when i add stitches in the middle of the pattern. you can use whatever methods you like – it is suggested in knitty that you use the knitting on method when casting on in the middle of a pattern, which i’ve never tried, but it’s probably better.

when writing out the toe part of the pattern, which is knit on double pointed needles, i wrote it the way i think about it – each needle separate instead the whole round as a row altogether. this is the first pattern i’ve written that uses dpns, so that’s probably a silly way to write it, but it’s what makes sense to me, so hopefully it’ll make sense to you.

everything is the same on the left and right booties except for the strap, so when you get to that part just follow the pattern for whichever side you’re knitting.

the buttons are purely decorative, so there are no buttonholes in the pattern. the straps are sewed over permanently – the slippers are easy to get on and off with the straps. if you wanted to make a functional button closure, it would be easy to make a hole on the end of the strap by binding one stitch off and back on again. or you could attach a loop of yarn on the end afterwards to loop over the button, like i do with my knit bracelets.

as for sizing: my feet are size 9 and they fit great, but they are very stretchy because of the garter stitch bodies, so i think they would fit fine on feet a couple sizes smaller or larger. if you want to adjust, i would suggest adding or subtracting a couple rows in the sections where you knit 6 rows. sorry i don’t have multiple sizes figured out, but i think because of the way these fit and how they stretch, you can just guess and it’ll be ok…

EDIT 1/20/08: ok i was wrong about the sizing. after wearing mine around for a few nights i found that they are a bit too big for my size 9 feet (the heel kept slipping off), so they definitely won’t be fitting smaller feet than mine. i’ve edited the pattern with sizes – small(medium,large) – large being the original pattern. so the other sizes have not been tested or anything. i would so very much appreciate pattern tester volunteers out there (meaning anyone who wants to knit some booties and give me feedback) to let me know what size they knit, how they turned out, and any further suggestions. i am guessing the large would be for size 10+, medium would be around size 7-9, and small would be for smaller than 7, but i don’t know how small they’d fit without the heel slipping. and these are all total estimates, so again, please let me know your results!! thank you!! (end edit)

i will ask this though, if anyone makes these and changes the pattern for different sizing, i would love it if you commented or emailed me (leethalkoala at yahoo dot com) to let me know what you changed exactly. then i could add your input here, and give you credit and many thanks.

you need:
1 pair size us 11 straight needles
1 set (4) size us 11 double pointed needles
a crochet hook
a tapestry needle

pattern:

cast on 16 stitches (leave at least 1 foot tail)
knit 4(6,6) rows
k4, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k4
knit 1 row
k3, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3
knit 1 row
start strap section:
-LEFT –
cast on 12, knit across (24 stitches)
knit 3 rows
bind off 12, knit to end
knit 1 row
-RIGHT –
knit 1 row
cast on 12, knit across (24 stitches)
knit 3 rows
bind off 12, knit to end
(end strap section)
knit 2(4,6) rows
k1, make 1, k10, make 1, k1
knit 1 row
k1, make 1, k12, make 1, k1
knit all onto dpns – k7 onto 1st needle, k7 onto 2nd needle, k2 onto 3rd needle
cast on 4 (now there are 6 sts on 3rd dpn), join around, and knit 1 round
knit 1 round
(1st needle – k2, k2tog, k3) (2nd needle – k5, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all)
knit 1(2,3) rounds
(1st needle – k2, k2tog, k2) (2nd needle – k4, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all)
knit 2 rounds
(1st needle – k2, k2tog, k1) (2nd needle – k3, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all)
knit 1 round
(1st needle – k1, k3tog) (2nd needle – k2, slip 2 from 3rd needle to 2nd, k3tog, k1) (3rd needle – knit all)
(1st needle – k2tog) (2nd needle – k2tog, k2tog) (3rd needle – k1, k2tog, k1)
cut yarn, thread through all stitches with a crochet hook, pull tight, tie, and weave in ends.
use the cast on tail to sew up the back, and weave in ends.
sew the strap over on the other side with a button, bottlecap, or whatever you want for embellishment.

Filed under: general crafts,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 1:41 am

January 15, 2008

thank you 2007, you were a good year!

d80me3.jpg bookshelves2.jpg double take version2 zines.jpg snowcar.jpg
imagiknit!! strawberry/kiwi earmuffs kool-aid dyed yarn! on the spindle scarfhat3.jpg
all may'07 sampler wristbands dots stumptown pinhole taffy camera! DSC_4390.jpg
tut16.jpg stamp tags my yarn! minnieshouse3.jpg greenswirlhat2.jpg
calorimetry052.jpg workhat3.jpg diamondhat01.jpg gocco demo moving to portland mix tracks
wedding6.jpg our new home boxes 8/21 him 8/28 me
entwined shot strap1.jpg purpleswirlhat4.jpg coffeeblock.jpg studioworktablecorner.jpg
orangehat4.jpg clocks2.jpg weddingbook5.jpg leethal top display handdyedswirlhat6.jpg
zine q + a bluegreenhat2.jpg hat2.jpg rainbowhat5.jpg plied yarn closeup
redbluehat6.jpg knitkitbraceletmade.jpg mittsyarn1.jpg 1st s51 portrait yarnforscrap.jpg
mespinningcloseup.jpg knitkitspiralhatsample1.jpg DSCN0190.jpg DSC_6561.jpg xpkennedywelcome.jpg

woo look it’s my muchly procrastinated 2007 post! so those photos are all important-in-some-way things i did, places i went, projects i worked on, designs i created, or just images that relate to something special that happened in 2007.

2007 was seriously full of firsts. so i made a list. semi-consecutive order…

i went digital! i still do love my film, but at the beginning of the year i got my first d-slr and didn’t shoot nearly as much film as i planned to (like, hardly any at all really) because digital is just so fun and easy and i love my camera!

i made/self-published/released my first issue of my zine, do stuff! the whole thing was a fantastic experience which i hope to recreate very soon with issue #2. through the zine, i made tons of new online (and real life) friends and contacts and even got to do a reading at the multnomah county library which was awesome!

i started this blog! originally meant to go with the zine, it has become its own thing, and although i am clearly not the best, most frequent blogger, i have had a great time with it and am so happy that people have enjoyed some of my topics, used my tutorials, etc. i love every comment i get (even though i’m terrible about replying to them) and i hope to post many many more fun how-to’s, patterns, and cool stuff in the year to come!

i experienced my first falling snow (yeah, i had never seen falling snow before, i am such a so-cal girl it’s disgusting) in a really hardcore way – by getting caught in a major blizzard (labeled “mess in the west” by the weather channel) on the drive from san francisco to portland in february. spent the night snowed in (in yreka, just before the oregon border), then braved the terrifying weather the next day to escape back down to the bay area, never making it to portland, quite a trip! since moving to pdx i’ve seen falling snow i think 4 times/days this winter, in a much nicer non-scary form, including the beautiful flurry on christmas day!

i tried dyeing yarn, which ended up really changing my life! since i first decided to give it a try in march, after much experimenting, and thanks to the goodwill bins’ abundance of unravelable sweaters, i have now added a whole new level to my little business with my hand-dyed recycled knit kits. i have so much fun dying yarn, and it’s hard to put the yarns up for sale because i just want to keep them all for myself (i love yarn so much!)… also in march, i tried spinning for the first time, with my little drop spindle. didn’t get so super into this like with the dying because the drop spindle isn’t so much fun to use, although i did absolutely love the yarns i made with it. so now 2008 will be the year of spinning, since i just got my first wheel on january 2nd.

i had my first regular freelance photography job – shooting for the district long beach weekly. mostly live music, with a few other assignments once in awhile, it was tons of fun. i have been putting off trying to contact similar weeklies in portland since i’ve been so busy since we moved, but i hope to be able to do the same kind of freelancing up here this year.

i moved to a new state! obviously the biggest, most life-changing event of the year, and my first time moving out of california (unless you count living in england for one summer studying abroad, which i don’t). it has been fabulous so far, no regrets, the only thing i miss is my family. my life would be perfect if they all decided to move up here, hah!

i had my first knit pattern published! it was also the first pattern i ever wrote (like in actual pattern form, not just notebook notes for myself only) so it’s extremely simple and kinda silly, but its being in knitty got my name out there as a knit designer. since then, i’ve been writing a bunch of hat patterns, and working on some other non-hats that will be finished very soon!

i wrote (and shot photos for) my first contribution to one of my absolute favorite magazines (actually, now that i think about it, it’s my #1 favorite magazine!) which was so incredible i still can’t believe it. this is the first i’ve mentioned of this in the blog, because i think i’m not supposed to talk about it, which is why i’m being all cryptic and not telling you what the magazine is. sorry! but, it comes out really soon, so you will definitely be reading all about it here the second it’s released!

ok i think those are all the major life-changing firsts of 2007. some other things worth mentioning: i started contributing to the sampler, yay! i shot my first wedding, which was tons of work, but went really well so i’m totally glad i did it! i ventured into printmaking – not exactly a first since i took a printmaking class in high school – in the form of freezer paper stenciling and carved linoleum block printing, fun! i got involved in the portland crafty scene, getting to spend time hanging out with a couple of my craft world heroes (diane and susan are awesome!) – feel so lucky to get to be living in this city in this time so full of overwhelming creativity! i got to get into ravelry as a beta tester pretty early on, which has really changed my world as a knitter and designer (and now yarn-maker also), and i feel like because of this amazing site i’ll be able to get my designs seen by many more people than i would without it… hooray for ravelry creators jess and casey!!

ok yeah i’ll stop here, lots of rad stuff in 2007. it wasn’t an all-good year, there were definitely low points, like really low, but i feel incredibly lucky that my own life is going so well right now and things are looking great for 2008!

January 6, 2008

in it to spin it!

oh goodness, i am a terrible blogger. but hey, you get a spinning wheel, you want to spin! so instead of telling you about it, i’ve spun up three skeins so far since i got it on wednesday. well, technically three… but one of them was recycled sweater yarn that i spun onto bobbins, then plied together – like i first talked about doing in this post, but a thousand times easier with the wheel!

wheel2.jpg wheel1.jpg wheel3.jpg

oh first, before i show you my yarn, i’ll tell the story of my wheel acquisition. i had been researching a bit, and had decided that i wanted a double treadle wheel, and was kind of planning on either the ashford traveller of the ashford kiwi. i had been told that i should try them out before choosing one, so i went to woodland woolworks and did just that. i decided the traveler felt good, i liked its size and look, so that was the one for me. they were sold out of everything, so i was going to special order it, but had to wait a minute for the saleswoman, which was when i noticed they had a hidden back room with used wheels. they only had three, but the louet s10 called to me, even though it was a single treadle and not one i had been considering. it seemed to be in perfect condition, and it felt so smooth, and i recognized louet as being a brand i hadn’t been considering because the new wheels were out of my price range. so… i grabbed it right then and there, no special ordering, no waiting for the new one to arrive, no finishing the wood or putting it together. i couldn’t believe i was going home with a spinning wheel, ready to spin!

so that’s just what i did, of course! that night i started practicing with the insubordiknit pink wool i got in our holiday swap – ended up spinning the whole thing, and plying it together. it’s extremely bulky, but i think it looks cool!

firstspun.jpg firstspunboth.jpg

firstspunplied.jpg pinkplied3.jpg

so then last night i practiced trying to make more even singles, and played around with the idea of self-striping handspun. i dyed the orange and green parts – the wool was gifted by my parents, from spunky eclectic – and the other colors were all in my package-o-fun from insubordiknit. so it’s mostly the orange and green, then a bit of yellow, blue, purple, brown… i think i’m getting better at keeping it more even; my fat parts aren’t as fat or as frequent, and ditto for my super thin parts. i think i do have a problem with over-spinning though. of course, now that i’ve set the twist, it doesn’t curl up on itself anymore, but before you set the twist is it supposed to be that twisty?

secondspun.jpg secondspunbeforesetting1.jpg

i made a flickr set for my wheel spinning, with a few more shots of these yarns, and i plan to upload all my spun yarn photos here. i don’t want this to become a yarn-only blog, so i won’t be posting much more spinning related stuff here, but befriend me on flickr if you want to see my yarns! hopefully tomorrow i’ll have time to write my 2007 post that i’ve been meaning to do all week. i’m loving all the pretty crafty 2007 mosaics, definitely gonna copy that idea!

Filed under: general crafts,photos,yarn — leethal @ 8:18 pm
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