September 22, 2009

September leethal quick knits club!


Ok most September club members should have their packages by now, so it’s time to share the contents with everyone!  I’ll copy bits from the note that was sent along with the kits…

This month I went for a back to school theme, thinking about classic school aesthetics when dyeing, recycling, and designing.  When I started brainstorming about colors, I thought of primaries, bright and bold.  The bulky wool yarn, recycled from a sweater, is dyed in random order stripes of yellow, green, and blue, with a little purple, separated by shorter stripes of red.  It’s kind of a lower elementary school theme, colors I imagine being in a first grade classroom; I named it Picture Book.

Picture Book Picture Book

The spun yarn is made from a cotton scarf I came across, knit in stripes of red, blue, green, and a yellowish off-white – more of a collegiate version of the school theme colors.  I spun the cotton threads, keeping the color changes as they were knit, then I navajo plied (chain plied) it with a variegated rainbowy thread, wrapping extra around the color changes, like granny stacks in handspun yarn.  This one is called Wrapped Up in Books.

Wrapped Up In Books

Because of the way both these yarns were made, with random order striping, every mini-skein is unique, so each member’s knits will be one-of-a-kind!  Each wool mini-skein was wrapped in a piece of ribbon or rick rack (which all came from Knittn’ Kitten, so they are secondhand or vintage) for the pattern…


So the patterns are of course back to school themed as well, but they are useful for home, office, whatever.  The 4-page pattern sheet includes the Laced-Up Pencil Case and Stiffened Chevron Bookmark designs, plus a bonus pen cover.  (ravelry links)

club #2: Back to school set

The pencil case can hold around 5-6 pens/pencils, or crochet hooks, or double pointed needles, etc, and is a perfect compact size for keeping in your go-everywhere bag.  Here’s my case shown with rick rack and ribbon, for different looks:

club #2: Pencil case club #2: Pencil case

The bookmarks can be made as long as you want, so if you stop before the mini-skein runs out, the leftover yarn can be made into a pen/pencil cover (or multiples) – the pictured bookmark/cover sets each came from a single 10 yarn mini-skein:

club #2: Bookmark and pencil covers club #2: Bookmarks

Also, if you’re not into the bookmark, the piece can be turned into a cuff instead!  If any twitter followers were wondering about my weird right-slanting decrease inquiries a couple weeks ago, that decrease is used in this bookmark design.  (Note: as always with my club patterns, these patterns as exclusive to September members for at least 3 months, after which they’ll be sold in some form at some point in time.)

club #2: Bookmark as cuff club #2: Bookmark as cuff

Then each package got a notebook to go with the little school set, with a recycled beer case cardboard cover.  I like the colors, imagery, and variation that comes from the beer cases, and I stuck a couple of hand-carved stamps on the backs, to give the books a touch of knittyness.

beernotebooks7 beernotebooks5

beernotebooks1 beernotebooks3

I also stamped leethal on the inside cover of each, in orange of course!  The basic blue notebooks came from Dollar Tree (I tried to find recycled notebooks somewhere, but couldn’t), and the stamps were all carved from a single eraser!  (Oh yeah, if you’re into making notebooks, check out my most recent Threadbanger roundup!)


And each package was finished off with a button, made with a recycled Willamette Week (Portland weekly magazine) image, for a little piece of Portland!

quick knits club buttons clubbuttons1

So each package’s contents looked something like this:


And here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what my worktable looked like a week ago:


So that was September – I’m really excited about what’s coming in October!  As I hinted at in the leethal ravelry group, October has a built in theme, and as you may know from this blog, I’ve always been a huge fan of Halloween creativity…  That’s as far as my hinting goes; you can tell from September’s club that I’m into giving the kits themes, so there will continue to be some kind of theme in each month’s club.

If you want to know more about the club in general, details are on the quick knits club page, and you can sign up for Oct alone, or a 3 month subscription.  Future club packages are always a mystery, which is part of the fun!  But if you like what you see here from September, I’ll bet you’ll like what’s to come in future months!

Filed under: knitting,quick knits,yarn — leethal @ 9:30 am

September 19, 2009

Portland news, hair makeover, and stuff…

cableyhatpreview savedbythebellhat4

I’m hard at work on this ebook (another little peek for you above, mmmmm cables!), hoping to be able to release it this week!  So I just want to take a quick break to show+tell you some stuff…

crafters talking

I’ll start out with a couple of Portland things – first, tomorrow (Sunday) is the Craft Writers Talking event at the Hollywood library!  We have a fantastic library system in this town, and they are bringing us yet another awesome free event, which should be a very useful talk to those of us who are interested in making craft books!  The talk is with Portland craft writers/bloggers/crafty superstars Susan Beal, Diane Gilleland, and Alicia Paulson (books pictured above), and they’ll be talking about “books, blogs, craftiness and everything in between” (according to Susan).  Yet another event that makes me feel incredibly lucky to be living here in PDX!

kitten patterns

And then also in Portland news, I’m so excited to be participating in a project to help support Knittn’ Kitten (which I recently wrote about)!  A bunch of us Portland crafters will be designing projects which use materials found at the Kitten, and giving them out for free at the shop, with a new project being released each week.  Here’s the list of participants (so far):

You can pick up the project sheets each week at the shop (ask for the pattern at the register), grab the materials you need while you’re there, and each of us will post about the project of the week on our blogs (and/or twitter, etc).  And there’s a flickr group!  Not just for these projects, but for anything Kitten-related, so post your rad vintage finds and projects!  You can see a peek of the project Susan’s planning on her blog, and I’ve seen a couple of glimpses at other planned projects – I think it’s so cool that every project will use different techniques (like sewing, beading, knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc) since the Kitten has some of everything!


As for some personal updating… Pete’s studio is up and running!  The site isn’t done yet, and his space isn’t finished, but he worked on his first job a few days ago and it went well!!  As for my new expanded studio space, tons of work to do and no free time to do it, so I’ve been fitting in little spurts of work here and there, slowly getting things in order.  Can’t wait till it’s done and I can show you a tour!

hairinsink haircut1

And lastly, check it out, I DIYed a haircut for the first time ever!  I don’t have a before picture, but you can sort of see in some of those hat pictures from a little while ago – my bangs had been at that super annoying length where they’re in my face all the time, but not quite long enough to tuck behind my ears, so I would always wear a clip or a headband.  I had plans to cut off all my hair again, but kept putting it off for various reasons, until I decided I wanted to try bangs with longer hair, at least just to see if I like it, then chop it all off soon if I want to.  So I tried doing it myself!  Figured, I’ve got nothing to loose; if I screw it up, I’ll just go have it fixed, chop it all off like I planned to anyway.  I think I did ok!  Especially for a first time…


So then I finished my hair makeover with some dye yesterday, which did not turn out how I’d meant, but eh, it’s different (for me), which is cool.  I picked a color called burgundy, which was the color I wanted, imagining it to look something like this (more reddish, like a dark purpley shade of red) on my hair.  And this is what I got (black in the shade, super dark purple in the light):

myhair4 myhair3

If/when I get sick of it, maybe I’ll go pink again!  For now, I think I’m happy with the look!

Filed under: personal,portland stuff — leethal @ 7:41 pm

September 15, 2009

The Photojojo Book!

me with photojojo! book

What’s that?

me with photojojo! book

Oh, it’s Photojojo! the book! Which is released today!  And why was it open to that particular page?

photojojo! book

Hey look! That’s my name! My name, written inside a Kate Bingaman-Burt drawing, on a page of a freaking amazingly awesome diy photography book!!

photojojo! pinhole!

And that’s a digital pinhole photo of me with the book, which is what I contributed! Based on the tutorial I did here on do stuff! a couple years ago, when they contacted me about contributing the how-to for the book I was crazy excited because photojojo has been one of my favorite blogs for quite some time!

me with photojojo! book me with photojojo! book

As you can see, I had some camera-remote-fun today showing off the book, hah! But hey, dudes, enough about my contribution excitement – if I had no personal part in this book, I would still be way superduper excited about it! It’s so my dream photography book!

photojojo! book

Filling its 192 pages are all different kinds of projects for using photos you’ve taken, ways to have fun with photography, and ways to hack your camera! I want to do pretty much every single project, seriously! Here are images of some of my favorites, for your viewing pleasure……

photojojo! book

photojojo! book photojojo! book

photojojo! book

photojojo! book photojojo! book

photojojo! book

Some major craftiness going on in those pages! So if you don’t think of yourself as a photographer, that doesn’t mean this book isn’t for you – this is a fantastically rad book for any creative person with a digital camera!!

photojojo! book

My tutorial, by the way, happens to be the very last one… Pete says that’s a good thing because the first and last are most memorable… I say, shrug, it’s my first book contribution ever, and I still can’t believe that I’m actually in such an insanely great book!!

photojojo! book photojojo! book

And lastly, just for fun, since the pinhole photos in the book were taken by Amit+Kelly, here are some of my digital pinhole shots:

me (digital) pinhole

pinholeneedles.jpg moving

stumptown pinhole

pinhole bench pinholeportrait2.jpg

light drawing - do stuff!

Filed under: books,photos — leethal @ 8:00 am

September 7, 2009

Just keeping you updated…

metyourmomhat8 charleshat2

Well well well things are a little bit nutso in leethal world right now, so I thought it would be a good idea for me to let you all know what’s up, and what you have to look forward to in the near future, because I might not be around for a week or so… Things are exciting, but oh so hectic!

First, a quick update about my club!  2 things are new with October memberships – first, 3 month subscriptions!  I already told you how I changed it so the club will always include 2 patterns, for each of the 2 yarns – with this upgrade, I raised the price (starting with October) to $16/month, but a 3-month subscription will knock it back down to $14!  I’m really excited about the October club, by the way; while I’m currently dyeing and designing for September (which rocks!), I’m brainstorming Oct and can’t wait to get started on it!

And second, thanks to my most favorite local yarn shop, I’m now offering a local Portland pick up option!  Portland members, pay no shipping, and pick up your club package at Twisted whenever is convenient for you!  Of course, while you’re there, I highly encourage some browsing, shopping, tea drinking, and hanging out – this is the kind of wackiness that Twisted induces:


Moving on to some of that nutso-ness I was talking about… Pete and I were painting his new studio‘s floor till 2am last night, so that we’ll be able to start moving his stuff in tomorrow!  I mentioned how I’ll be expanding my studio space a couple posts ago, but I just showed some photos of what my studio looked like when I first got it set up, almost 2 years ago.  Nowadays, this is a view of my space, looking towards the window wall – pretty cluttered, but at least the desk has a little cleared space (not usually true)…


…but then when you turn the other way, this is what you see:


Holy crap, right?!  It’s basically been a storage room for about a year and a half-ish, with too much stuff to organize properly.  Yeah so I’m crazy super excited to get this reorganization project going!  What does this all mean for you, dear readers?  Fun stuff!

Once my studio is actually functional as a work space again, I plan to spend tons of time in there, crafting away!  You can look forward to clothing recon tutorials, fun how-tos and project ideas, as well as more printed clothing in the shop, and whatever else the new space inspires me to do!!  This is Pete’s side of the room which will soon be mine! All mine!!


So that’s what Pete and I have been working on together on his off-time.  During our work hours, I have been hard at work on my upcoming ebook!!  You don’t get much info just yet, but those hats up top are a sneaky peek.  My original goal release date was this week, but then I decided I wanted to make a few extra things, so the last many days have been spent knitting like crazy and I’m really hoping for the release to happen next week (though, realistically, I’m thinking 2 weeks from today will be the day).  No hints, but I’m really super duper ultra excited about this project!!

metyourmomhat7 metyourmomhat1

charleshat8 charleshat7

I’ll be having some other exciting news soon too!  I want to tell you now, but I think I’m supposed to wait.  I’ll give you a hint: it’s not knitting related, or even crafty really, but it’s definitely do stuff! related, and it’s awesome!

And then, after the ebook, I am planning several new patterns – some free, one for a kit, one crochet (!!), and then another ebook!  Oh man, and it’s almost holiday craft show season already!  Nutso, I say!  So, you may not be hearing from me a whole lot, but I will be back with that announcement on the 15th!

Filed under: hats,home stuff,knitting,portland stuff,quick knits,self-publishing — leethal @ 5:25 pm

September 3, 2009

Damn the Man! Save the Kitten!

Ok there’s no “man” involved here, just the recession, but a favorite shop in need of help makes me think of Empire Records

If you live in Portland and are crafty, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Knittn’ Kitten, and if you haven’t shopped at the craft thrift store, well get yourself over there! Now!  Ok, if you’re busy now, I understand, but, tomorrow? The next day? Soon!

(If you don’t live in Portland or have pdx friends to pass the word on to, you’ll probably want to stop reading so you’re not too jealous of us being in near proximity to such a shop.  If you’re already a Kitten shopper and know how rad it is, you can skip ahead to the bottom if you want…)

kitten scores

Seriously you guys, it’s a CRAFT THRIFT STORE!  How freakin’ awesome is that concept?!  Well, that’s how awesome the actual shop is!  The above photo is what I took home with me when I stopped by last weekend.  As you can see a glimpse of, the Kitten has a huge variety of all different kinds of craftyness, including tons of great fabric, vintage linens, lots of magazines and some books, tons of notions, beads, buttons, yarn, needles (including cheap bamboo straights, dpns, and circulars)……  You should check out Diane’s post to see photos taken inside the shop, on the weekend of Handmade Nation, which is when I bought all this:

kitten on my kitten stash!

If you can believe it, I hold back nowadays and only buy what I really see a specific use for (mostly) – back when we first moved here and I was more frivolous about building up my stash, this is what a trip to the Kitten gave me:

knittn' kitten scores knittn' kitten closeup

I try to avoid the magazines now, because if I flipped through them I would want to buy too many!  I mean, dude, check out these photos!

magazine page magazine page

And you can sometimes find great organizational pieces, like this drawer-filled box, perfect for little bits like snaps, buttons, pins/needles, paper clips, etc… It’s a semi-recent find, so I haven’t gotten it filled yet – it’s pretty deep, so it holds a ton of stuff!

kitten drawers

And then there are hidden treasures like these amazing little cat beads – I got these awhile ago and have yet to turn them into a pair of earrings and a necklace, but that is definitely what their future holds!

cat beads

I don’t buy much fabric (I have a huge stash which I rarely touch because I mostly sew with recycled clothing fabrics), but I usually can’t resist one or two pieces each time I’m at the Kitten.  These below were both Kitten finds, and I will someday be turning that above stripey fabric into a skirt!!

vintage fabric+button wall art bulletin board

So, ok, now that you are well aware of what the Kitten has to offer, what’s the problem? you might be asking…  Well their foot traffic dropped like crazy during August, and if they have another month or two like that, they’re just not going to be able to keep the doors open, which would be a tragedy!

They don’t need us all to go empty our wallets, nothing close to that; they just need crafty folks to come through the door, look around, and pick out a few items.  While I have proven over and over that it’s easy to walk in looking for one thing, and come out with a massive bag full of other fun stuff, it’s also easy to stick to a budget, since most of the Kitten’s single items are around a dollar or two!

To make it even easier, if you haven’t been, I’ll tell you where it is – Knittn’ Kitten is located at NE Glisan and 76th (on the block between 75th and 76th).  Heading east, you’ll see their cute little sign sticking out on your right – it’s small, and not near any major landmark, but just remember Glisan+76th and it’s easy to find.

And if you’re a blogger, tweeter, facebooker, etc, spread the word and tell you crafty pdx friends to stop by!  Damn the big-box nationwide craft store chains! Save the Kitten!!

Filed under: general crafts,portland stuff — leethal @ 8:01 pm

September 2, 2009

thrifty finds: End Table!

new (used) end table

Took a trip to the Goodwill Bins today and scored this awesome Mid-Century Modern style end table!  It’s not high quality – faux bois laminate type surface, a bit wobbly – but it was $3!!  Three dollars!!

Pretty beat up, but I’m hoping this will be my before post and in a few weeks I’ll be showing you after photos!  Not quite sure what I’ll be doing to it yet, maybe spray painting it either orange or green… I’m not at all experienced with furniture recon projects, so I’d love any ideas or advice anyone might have!

new (used) end table

The Stats

  • Where: The Bins
  • What: 50’s modern style end table
  • Total Damage: $3

Want to see some other furniture scores from the Bins since we’ve been living here?  The best is my sewing table, for $10:


And both the shelving units on my desk are from there (probably around $3-5 each):


Our old loveseat was a Bins find for $15, and now lives at David‘s apt.  I also got a drafting table top for $8; sadly, the great adjustable legs wouldn’t fit in my car and I had to leave them behind – I use the table top on a keyboard stand for craft shows.  Yay the Bins!

On a side note, the reason I was looking at furniture today was that Pete will be moving most of his side of our shared studio to his new studio space next week, which will give me way more space!!  This is super awesome because while my half-room was fine when we first moved in, I’ve accumulated sooo much more stuff since then (thanks to said Bins!) and it’s impossible to keep it organized!  So I’m planning out some new shelving and drawers and I’m going to get it all super duper organized – I can’t wait!!

Filed under: home stuff,portland stuff,thrifty finds — leethal @ 8:26 pm
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