April 25, 2009

newish projects and knit design pattern reveal!

hey have you been keeping up with craftstylish this month?  lots of great earth-friendly crafts… here are mine!

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first, make a vest from an old pullover sweater, with different embellishment ideas…

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like crocheting into the knit fabric:

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and embroidery with recycled cotton:

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this one has hand-stitched knit tape stuff i got at knittn kitten:

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and a super weird pocket:


and that other one has slightly less-weird pockets:


that’s a lot of photos, but there you go.  next up, recycled fabric scrap cuffs!

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with examples of other ones i’ve made

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and last week’s was a handband from an old t-shirt:

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with examples of other versions:

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and some more photos…

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(no)headband23 (no)headband14

and now that you’re caught up with craftstylish projects… something new! if you were curious about that designing photo a couple posts ago, it’s getting closer, so it’s time to reveal what’s to come! i’m working on a set of knit cuff patterns, a mini-ebook type thing, and hoping to have it all done in about a week (but it could definitely end up taking longer). so i’m showing you 4 of the designs here and now, then i may reveal a couple more later in the week before they are all released… the first one is my favorite!!

cuff501 cuff507

cuff304 cuff301

cuff601 cuff605

cuff101 cuff103

i love designing on a tiny scale like this, and since my chevron cuff got a pretty good response over on ravelry, i got motivated to get going on this project.  there are more elements of the whole thing that i’m really excited about, but those details are to be announced later…   i hope more of you out there like knitting mini-projects!

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 12:31 pm

April 21, 2009

book review: the anti 9 to 5 guide

ok i’m going to try to make book reviews a regular thing for reals, starting today.  i plan to review a mixture of all different diy books, both new and old, knitting and other craft genres, and anything else i’m excited about that i want to share with you!  (some with giveaways!)  but first, here are the reviews i’ve done on the threadbanger blog, since i won’t be reviewing these book again here, but they are some of my favorites, so be sure to check them out!

you can see my review style from those – i do reviews to tell you what i’m excited about, share with you my favorite parts/projects/elements, show some examples.  the point is to show you enough so you should be able to tell whether the book is for you, not to be critical of the books or anything; i just want to show you what i like about them!


for my first book review here on do stuff! i’m going to branch away from craft books and tell you about the book that played a big part in my quitting my day job and going for my dream career!  in the anti 9 to 5 guide, michelle goodman writes about molding your own work schedule and figuring out how to make money doing what you love in a way that makes you feel like you can totally do it!

i read this book the first time on the clock at my day job when i was first starting to make a little money with my leethal business, was just starting my blog, figuring out how to move forward, and it was so inspiring!  that was back when we still lived in california, and i think the motivation i felt from reading this book also played a part in making the move to portland happen!

then i re-read chunks of it while on the clock at the same day job up here in pdx, after putting in my notice, so excited to be making it happen!!  the parts about organization really help me, since that’s the hardest part about working for myself, both organizing my time and my space (and i know i’m not alone in that).  and the book is full of practical tips and checklists, for a nice blend of pump-you-up inspiration and keep-your-perspective reality checks.

anti 9 to 5 covers all kinds of work possibilities, not just working at home, self employment type work.  check out this book if you are considering any kind of non-traditional work schedule, as it covers:

  • figuring out what you’re passionate about
  • breaking into your dream industry
  • making time to do your pet project on the side
  • flex work schedules
  • working from home
  • being your own boss
  • work that helps others
  • feeding your wanderlust
  • working in stereotypically “male” professions

i recently got michelle goodman’s follow-up book, my so-called freelance life, which is a great one if you’re a newbie freelancer like me!


check out her website, with links to buy both books, and tons more great info in blog form!!  i am forever thankful to michelle for putting her experience and her talent into creating these books, as i am sitting here on my couch writing this review as part of my “job” now, before heading into my studio to sew a skirt “on the clock”, while a year ago i was behind the counter of my retail day job, daydreaming that possibly someday i might be somewhere close to where i am today!

Filed under: books,threadbanger — leethal @ 2:03 pm

April 14, 2009

knitting, knitting, dyeing, and food!

some knitting stuff for you today… first of all, i’ve altered the mary jane booties pattern a wee bit.  just changed a couple decrease types for looks, nothing that changes the shape or anything, so it’s not a big deal.  i had knit them with fuzzy yarn that hid the decreases before, but while making another pair for a class sample with non-fuzzy yarn, i realized i should change the one side from k2tog’s to ssk’s for symmetry.  and i changed the k3tog on that side to sk2p… while i was at it, i thought about changing the other k3tog to sk2p also because it’s much easier with the fat needles and yarn (i don’t know about you, but i have a hard time with the k3tog’s when the needles get to 11), but k3tog does look better and hold the symmetry, so i left it alone and you choose which you want to use.  (the pdf has been switched on ravelry, and you can download the new pdf directly here.)

orangeslippers3 orangeslippers4

i’ve been hard at work on a new pattern design project, which will remain secret for know, but this picture might give you some clues…


oh and by the way, that fat red book in the pile – “the complete encyclopedia of stitchery” – was one of my best goodwill bins finds ever!  dated 1979, with sections on crochet, embroidery, knitting, macramé, rugmaking, sewing, and tatting, the knitting section reaches from page 359 to 559, most of those pages with illustrated stitch patterns, like this:

encyclopedia of stitchery

that’s a heck of a lot of stitches for a dollar! woo!!  but while that’s super awesome for sure, i finally got myself a copy of barbara walker’s treasury of knitting patterns for some more variety.  so the last week has been filled with crazy amounts of stitch pattern swatching, frogging, and more swatching.  fun!


i also did some dyeing last week! it had been awhile away from the dyepot, i forgot how much fun it is!  these are all recycled yarns (mostly unraveled sweaters and a couple old yarns from the craft thrift store), all dyed with kool-aid.  they are mostly for me to play with, but they’ll be going into a few bracelet kits and maybe another secret future kit! (so many secrets… i hope to reveal things soon!)

yarn207 yarn102

and i’ll leave you with a couple images of my food creations – on easter day i felt a burst of baking/cooking energy, which resulted in these (recipe here, i added some chocolate chips, and a little coconut and almond extract)…

coconut cookies!

and this (brown rice, teriyaki tofu, red potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms)

easter dinner


Filed under: books,knitting,recipes,yarn — leethal @ 2:29 pm

April 11, 2009

coffee photos, non-profits, websites, books (aka stuff!)

i have non-crafty things totally in the spirit of doing stuff! that i want to talk about, which don’t have pictures, so i’m going to stick a few old black and white film photos in here because of my excitement about my recent discovery that you can develop film with coffee!! can you believe it?! my mind was so seriously blown when i came across that photojojo post!  so these were developed the old fashioned chemical way (by me in my bathroom), but i hope to be showing you coffee-developed photos sometime soon! (you can see other people’s coffee photos here.)

castro face

have i mentioned before that pete is starting a non-profit?  it’s still in the way beginning planning stages, but we’ve brainstormed about it quite a bit, and i’ve just gotten the simple place-holder webpage up!  it’s called 2 cent solar, and you can read a bit about it at 2centsolar.org.  (not taking donations yet because it’s not started yet, but i’ll definitely keep you updated!)  the basic logo is also a place holder – we’ll probably be putting a call out to graphic designers to donate their skillz and make a logo, so let us know if you might be interested…

castro window

ok this is something i should have done years ago, but i tried once and couldn’t figure it out, gave up for awhile, transferred my domain names away from yahoo to a more easily manageable place, finally got around to trying again and finally figured it out! oh yeah, “what’s it?” you ask…  well leethal.net is now leethal.net, it no longer takes you to leethal.coloredlights.net.  which means this blog is now leethal.net/zine instead of the old leethal.coloredlights.net/zine (so long!) etc.  all old links with the coloredlights in the middle will still work, so you shouldn’t need to change your rss feed or bookmarks or anything, but i’m really happy that new links won’t have to be so long and annoying anymore!

sausage factory wall

so i wanted to ask you all a favor, since i’m not so savvy with this domain server kind of stuff (clearly)… could you let me know if you happen to come across any issues, broken links, etc, in any of my sites?  i fixed all of ours (mine and pete’s) so nothing transfers to coloredlights anymore like they all used to.  the other thing is that i think they should all work either with or without the www but maybe that might be a problem on some browsers or computers, so if you can’t get to any sites without the w’s, let me know and i’ll make sure to always use w’s when linking.  here are all of them, just for fun…

leethal.net, leemeredith.com, badmoviebingo.net (and badmoviebingogame.com), metalheadpete.com, the newest 2centsolar.org (and 2centsolar.com, twocentsolar.org, twocentsolar.com), and coloredlights.net, my original website i started in college.  we have a lot of websites!

indie publishing

another thing i’ll just mention here because i’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and maybe some readers out there have advice or anything else to share…  i’m starting to plan a self-published book!  i got myself indie publishing at powell’s the other day (image from concretehermit), i’ve started to shop around local printers a little (if you know of a portland printer that does full-color books, i’d love recommendations!!) and i’m pretty excited about the whole thing!  i do want to get issue #2 of do stuff! finished and released before putting too much effort into the book though…

open book

and speaking of books… one big thing i’m planning to start here on do stuff! is book reviews!  i have an ever growing list of books in my current collection that need to be raved about (and even some with giveaways!!) so i want to start doing reviews regularly, like one every 2 weeks ish, starting possibly today or tomorrow.  so, if any rad books happen to magically end up in my mailbox, i’d definitely do something bloggy with them, hint hint if any authors/publishers happen to be reading hehe…  so many awesome craft books have been coming out lately, i can hardly keep up with them all!!

Filed under: books,lots of links,personal,random stuff — leethal @ 11:49 am

April 7, 2009

oops this is still a massive post…

wow, the last week was so overwhelmingly awesome, i don’t even know where to start.  so i’m going to break it up a bit, to avoid a massive post that you can’t get through… so here’s part 1: fun times with amazing people!

kim and betsy at the kitten rachel's gift!

friday morning the weekend of crazamazingly crafty fun times (all because of the handmade nation premiere) started with superyummy breakfast at cadillac cafe with rachel (in from austin), kim (in from vancouver bc), sarah+josh, susan+pearl, betsy (in from north carolina), teresa (and her incredible art necklaces), diane, and pete.  it was so great get to meet the non-portlanders who i only knew online before.  rachel gave pete+i that adorable painted doll set, in the embroidered sack – cutest things ever!! i love them so much!

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so, if you’re on twitter you’re probably well aware of this… a few weeks ago some of us were geeking out over our excitement about the weekend and kim first uttered the word “#craftgasm” and there it was.  rachel designed a logo, i carved it into a lino block, printed up enough patches for everyone, and carried them with me all weekend to pass out, mostly to twitter nerds, but also to anyone else that entered our craftnerd circle.

patches patch+buttons01

by the end of the weekend, my patch was surrounded by rad buttons!  those top three are ones i made way back when i was still at my day job – they are a quote digibudi said on the craftypod episode men who craft; i doodled them on scrap paper at work, then turned the doodles into buttons when i got home.  they say “fish need to swim,” “birds need to fly,” “humans need to create.”  then the bottom 2 were picked up at the museum after the panel (which i’ll get into in my part 2 post) and the “do!” button was made at the diy table at crafty wonderland on sunday – “do!” as in “do stuff!” yeah!!

kitten on my kitten stash! cat beads

anyway, after breakfast we all headed over to knittn’ kitten and took over the store!  you can see kim and betsy posing in awesome smock finds at the top, and then banzo the kitten sniffing my finds from the kitten!  i didn’t mean to get so much, but things kept jumping into my basket!  all those big spools of fat thread are for handspun plying, and you can see me discovering that that stripey fabric will make a rad skirt in diane‘s photostream.  my favorite find was that little bag of weirdo cat beads – the two blue ones will definitely become a pair of earrings, and i’m not sure what to do with the red one, but i love love it!!


after the kitten, rachel, kim, diane, and i were off to check out cool cottons and kinokuniya!  i was able to resist buying anything (there weren’t as many knitting books as usual, so that helped me resist), but over lunch we poured over rachel’s amazing find and now i want to buy that one!!  then we went up to kim’s room at the ace hotel downtown – holy crap the ace is awesome!! wow!

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check out the fire escape route above – screen printed on fabric with stitching and a button! there was rad artwork everywhere, and i was lucky to get to see 2 different rooms since michaela and jennifer joined us at the screening and i got to go up and see michaela+greg’s room.  i love all the little details all over the hotel, so great!  and not only is there a stumptown inside the hotel, but, as you can see below, there’s even a photo booth! everything i love!  we shot a strip with us craftstylish gals, in which i was the frontmost person, making my head huge (like an orange on a toothpick)!  (when i get a digital copy of it up on flickr, i’ll link to it here.)

jennifer with our photo strip acehotel23

so then most of day 2 was spent hanging out and having crafty fun times at susan’s house.  it was so so awesome to be in a room full of crafters of all kinds (not just knitters like i’m used to, not that there’s anything wrong with knitters, of course!) all working on their own projects, and helping each other, and talking and laughing… it was a great day!!  below you can see betsy with her toast (!) needlepoint project (which gave heather the desire to crossstitch on toast!) and a crochet lesson…

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we were so happy to present diane with her group gift of the tie quilt she found a few weeks ago…

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…and there was a little tweeting of course.  (that’s 3 iphones in one photo!)  and i always love spending time with the perfect pearl (and caitlin too of course), below.  besides everyone i’ve already mentioned, garth and kacy and patrick and michelle and her little girl and heather‘s little ones joined us too… i hope i’m not forgetting anyone, there were so many rad people!

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day 3 started with a vanilla ginger pear filled waffle at the waffle wagon on division, where star got to join a bunch of us for a bit.  it was fun to be out in the sunshine (we have sun in portland!) and the food was delicious indeed.  (personally though, i prefer the waffle window on hawthorne – in my humble opinion it’s just as yummytastic for half the price, but that’s just me.)  how lucky i am to live within walking distance of both a waffle wagon and a waffle window! i love you, se portland!

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then i headed to crafty wonderland to check out the goods, make a button, and get a crafty surprise from the new machine!!  i got to hang with betsy before she left town, and talk to some other twitter friends with tables, and meet faythe levine and jill bliss.  what a weekend!!

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ok to conclude, i’m going to borrow a quote from diane’s blog/zine (hope you don’t mind, diane!)

When you’re in a group of real-live people, and a spontaneous joke happens, or a great conversation, that’s a 3D moment.  There are so many unique sensory elements involved: the sights, sounds, and smells of the place you’re all in, plus the facial expressions and voices of the other people. There’s your emotional state, and the emotions of the other people. There’s the energy of the group as a whole, and the feeling of connection. All these elements make for vivid, memorable experiences.

i hope there’s another huge craft event happening in portland soon so everyone comes back!!

you can see everyone’s photos in the flickr group diane created for the weekend! if you took any, be sure to add them to the pool!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,personal,photos,portland stuff — leethal @ 10:25 pm
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