December 22, 2009

Craft a Silly Tote Bag!

Last minute gift idea!  I made this grocery bag for a gift for my brother last year – quick, fun, and recycled! Yay!

giftbag1 giftbag2

How-to:  Find a tote bag to reuse (I thrifted this one at Value Village), and an old t-shirt with a fun/funny image.  Cut the tee image out a few inches smaller than the bag front.  Use an iron-on fabric adhesive interfacing thing (like steam-a-seam) to iron the tee piece onto the bag (using the instructions on the interfacing).  Then hand-sew around the edges.


You could stitch around with yarn or embroidery floss instead of thread, or you could add extra embellishments or personalized decoration…

Hope this helps some of you with last-minute gift crafting!

Oh yeah, by the way, the holiday card winners were Jen, Heather, and Miranda! Yay!

Filed under: general crafts,quick project — leethal @ 12:46 am

December 17, 2009

Giveaway x2! Plus some last minute gift ideas…

wonderlandsetup1 wonderlandsetup3

Oh my how quickly this month is flying by!  Crafty Wonderland on Sunday went super well – it was great to meet a bunch of you, thanks for saying hi!!  The new stitch sets were well received, I got some neato gifts from other crafters, met some new people, good day!


I’m making some holiday cards for the Scrap sale on Saturday, and since I won’t be selling them online I wanted to have some way to spread them outside Portland a little, so how about a last minute holiday giveaway?! Yeah!  I don’t have any pictures of the cards right now – they are holiday/winter themed connect-the-dots pictures, sealed onto recycled blank cards.  Since the cards are recycled, they don’t come with envelopes, but they’re great for attaching to a gift or giving to someone in person…

So, the giveaway will go through the weekend and I’ll mail the cards to the winners on Monday – I’ll pick 3 winners to get 2 cards each. (Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee you’ll get them by Christmas, but hopefully you will!  If not, they could be used as New Year’s cards…)

To enter, comment on this post before Sunday 7pm (west coast time) with an idea for a picture or a theme you’d love to see in connect-the-dots form!  (Could be a stitch set idea – something there could be 5 of – or just a stand-alone image, or anything else.)  I’ll email the winners around 7:30, then get back to me with your address by Monday at noon-ish so I can get them mailed out; US only because of shipping, I think that’s all the details…

Haka hat!

Remember my Haka hat pattern?  I decided it needed to be rephotographed, so Pete and I took my favorite version of it with us to Twisted the other day and did a quick photoshoot in front of their sock yarn wall.

Haka hat!

Haka is a fantastic last minute gift knit!  Using bulky yarn (texturey handspun like this one works fabulously) and big needles, you can knit it up during a movie or two (maybe three if you’re slow like me) and have several done in the next week!

Haka hat! Haka hat!

Haka is also a super fun hat to wear in the wintertime, as it can be worn 4 different ways!  Buttoned under your chin for maximum warmth, as in the top 2 pictures, hanging loose as you see above, or fastened behind your head to keep the strap out of the way – along the bottom of the hat so the earflaps still cover your ears and keep you warm:

Haka hat! Haka hat!

Or fastened up behind your head, holding the earflaps up:

Haka hat! Haka hat!

The Haka: strappy flappy eared hat pattern is only $2 on my site or on ravelry, since it’s such a quick and easy knit!  Because I’d love for there to be more projects pictured on ravelry, I’m offering another giveaway deal!  If you knit a Haka hat and post it (with pictures!) as a ravelry project anytime throughout the winter (how about through February to be specific), I’ll send you a free pdf of your choice, out of either: Double Scoops, Ten 10 yard cuffs, Ninja Mitts, or Bad Movie Bingo!  To claim your free pdf, send me a ravelry message once your project is up letting me know which pdf you’d like.  Yay!

cuff501 cuff305

As for other last-minute gift ideas… well, if you’re looking to knit, there are my quick knits patterns (all using less than 15 yards of yarn) and my huge quick knits links list, with tons of patterns by other designers using less than 20 yards.  My 10 yard cuffs would make great gifts, and then I have several free patterns that are quick – gradient mitts, big bulky bucket hat, mary jane style booties, or a 35mm film strip cuff could all be done in less than a week, easy!

35mm film strip cuff

Ok and this isn’t just about self-promotion, I promise!  If you need to find a great gift for someone who wants to learn to knit – maybe your mom/sister/brother/friend tried to teach themselves and couldn’t grasp it – Diane wrote a fantastic review of Blonde Chicken’s new Learn to Knit Kits.  It sounds like the perfect substitute for a super patient one-on-one teacher, and you can learn on your own time with the kit instead of sticking to a class schedule.  Go read Diane’s review to learn more, as she goes into detail and has actually used the kit to learn!

Ocean Breezes

As for a knitting-related gift for a loved one who’s already deep into the craft… Twisted’s Single Skein Club is still taking members for 2010!  This is the club that I contributed the Ocean Breezes hat to this year, and next year is sure to have some amazing patterns!  The club will ship to you (US only I think, but I could be wrong) so it’s not just for locals – it’s pricey since it’s a whole year of awesome yarn and patterns, but it could be a great gift for a family to go in on together!

easy 2-bead earrings

And how about some good last-minute non-knit handmade gift ideas?  I’ve done tons of tutorials in the past for quick projects, like those 2-bead earrings (super quick and fun!) – so you can browse through all of those on my tutorials page.  The newly redesigned Craft: site has lots of great tutorials, including some superdelicious looking food posts lately (like Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Trifle!) if baked gifts are your specialty!  And their Quick Crafts section is a good place to browse for last-minute gifts to make!

matted set

Also a reminder in case you missed this bit of info – my connect-the-dots stitch sets are available as pdfs too, which means you could buy the pdf and print the set onto fabric to give as gifts for as many people as you want!  (A stitch set, plus an embroidery hoop, floss, and a needle would make a great kit gift!)  The pdfs include a how-to for printing on fabric; or you could print the designs on paper to make a little mini-zine of connect-the-dot puzzles for the game-lover on your gift list.

I’m feeling guilty about not having time to do any new gift tutorials like I’d planned to do throughout the month, so hopefully I gave you a few ideas here, even if they’re not newly written for you…  Maybe I’ll have a chance to write up a quick one I’ve been thinking about on Sunday, we’ll see… Anyway, happy gift crafting, and don’t hurt yourself knitting too much this week! (that advice is for myself as much as it’s for you!)

December 16, 2009

Connect-the-Dots Stitch Sets!!

Here it is!  My new project I’ve been devoting my time to for the last couple of weeks instead of making any new hats or anything else for holiday shows, and I’m so happy I did!!  I once again combined my loves of crafting and puzzles/games, as I’ve done many times before, yay!!

unicorn with decoration

It’s connect-the-dots stitch sets, which you embroider from number to number to reveal the mystery pictures!  Each set includes 5 images with a common theme, 1 of which is shown as an example (unicorn for the Cryptozoology set, pincushion for the Craft Tools set), the other 4 remaining a secret until you stitch them up! (I try to choose the image which is most obvious in dot form to be the example, so the others are maximum mysteries.)

There is a spoilers page where you can read the secret image identities (by clicking spoil it on each set) – useful if you might want a set as a gift and want to check what it includes, or if you just hate surprises!

regular set

Sets come with stitching instructions (3 different methods, or you can do your own thing) and the photo example; regular sets are printed on 8×10 inch pieces of fabric (assorted colors) as you see above, and matted sets are printed on 4×6 inch fabric pieces, then sewn onto matching patterned 8×10 pieces (below).  All fabric (and photo paper and packaging) is 100% recycled!

update 01/22/10: the format has changed a bit, see the update post for details.

matted set

Sets are packaged in recycled envelopes with windows to show the colors and set theme (thanks to Scrap for recycled envelopes and label paper, yay!):


So then once you stitch between the numbers and have your picture, you can add your own stitching decoration to make it your own!  I added some french knots as pin tops to this pincushion:

pincushion with decoration

My good buddies Caitlin and Star came over for a movie night last week and were awesome to do some stitching while watching; then they both took home their pieces and kept on stitching up fabulous decorations!!  Caitlin’s unicorn alone, and with beautiful french knot roses (photos by Caitlin):

caitlin's unicorn pre-decoration caitlin's unicorn closeup

And Star’s unicorn, walking on rainbows!!  Yeah!  To show how you can personalize your stitching, I’m adding the example images stitched by different people to the stitch sets page – if you have an example picture I can add, you can either email it to me, or put it up on the leethal flickr group!

star's unicorn

For a better idea of how it works… here is the piece of fabric you start with:

regular prints

Then you can stitch it in one of a few different ways – this one below is an unfinished version of the way my unicorn and pincushion at the top were stitched, as well as Caitlin’s unicorn.  After making these long stitches, you go back over them and tack them down.  (Note: the numbers will never be printed on patterned fabric like this in the sets for sale, only solid colors.)

pincushion unfinished

Or you can make smaller backstitches like this one below, which was also the way Star’s unicorn was stitched up.  (The instructions that come with the sets go into more how-to detail.)


So that’s how it works!  Other important things… there are just the Craft Tools and Cryptozoology [aka imaginary animals] sets at the moment, but making the images is my favorite part, so I already have about eight more sets planned for the future, and will probably just keep releasing new ones every few weeks or so!

PDFs of each set are available as well!  With the PDF, you can print out the connect-the-dots images onto fabric or paper as many times as you want (so, you could fill up your wall with different colored stitched unicorns, or make a mini-connect-the-dots booklet to give a friend, for example) – do whatever you want with the designs for yourself and for gifts, as long as you don’t use them for commercial purposes.  The files come with the stitching instructions like the sets do, as well as how to print onto fabric with an inkjet printer.

If you want to order a set for a Christmas gift, do so right away, as I’m heading out of town on Tuesday so I can’t ship anything last minute.  Not that shipping Monday guarantees arrival by xmas, but if you order it today, I can ship it tomorrow, so that should arrive in time.  I’ll also have some sets at the Scrap Bazaar on Saturday if you’re a local and want one!


Ok so now that you know everything you need to know about this new project, a couple more things….  I have to tell you how this concept came into being!  About a year and a half ago, Rachel (average jane crafter) was in Portland and I got to spend a day of crafty fun with her and Diane, hopping around town to places like Kinokuniya and Twisted.  All the craftiness immersion got us into some kind of silly brainstorming mode, and I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but Rachel and I threw out this concept of embroidered connect-the-dots.  I’d played around with making up connect-the-dots designs before, in my zine, and loved it, so I was way into the idea and wanted to do it, just didn’t know how.  I even tried it once way back then by tracing the numbers onto fabric with a fine-tipped Sharpie – it worked, but took forever!  So then several months ago I read a how-to for printing onto fabric with a normal inkjet printer and it clicked!  I could do that!  I brought the idea back up to the surface, but didn’t have time to fit it into my project schedule till just a couple of weeks ago.  It totally worked, and now it’s gone from this amazing brainstorm idea forever ago to a reality!  Hooray!!!!  And I am forever grateful to Rachel for coming up with the concept with me!  Woooo!


And now that you’ve made it through to the end of this post, I want to offer you a free connect-the-dots design!  It’s a bit of a weird one (I like experimenting) so it’s not great for stitching, but it looks cool on paper – the numbers create a kind of scribble design around the image.  I’ve put this puzzle on the back of my new business cards too!  You can click over to the full size image file to print it out, or if you prefer, you could load it into a photo editing program and connect the numbers with the line tool.  Have fun!!  (oh, and if you do enjoy this, let me know in the comments here or on the flickr page and I’ll know to keep offering more free designs if you like them!)

Filed under: connect-the-dots,general crafts,leethal store — leethal @ 4:34 pm

December 9, 2009

Assorted stuff all related to the holiday season…

Busy busy week!  Thankfully, I’m pretty much healthy (though this cough won’t leave me!) but I’m frantically trying to get all this stuff ready for Crafty Wonderland on Sunday, so no time for blogging.  Except to share a few things with you real quick now!  I had this idea way back when we first heard Knittn’ Kitten was having a rough time, but then we started that project series and I put this idea on hold, till now….

kitten tags

For the holiday craft show season (and in the future too), for Portland crafters who use materials from The Kitten in your items – I made a sheet of tags that say:

handmade with materials from The Knittn’ Kitten!
Portland’s craft thrift store
located at NE Glisan + 76th!

Print out the sheet (from the full size jpg here or the pdf here) on cardstock or photo paper, cut up the tags, punch holes in the corners, and tie them onto your items!  Or you could print them onto label paper and stick them onto items.  Let your customers know about our favorite local shop of awesome!

Here’s a random holiday-gifting-related thing… Anyone who is buying a copy of Game Knitting as a gift – if you burn the ebook onto a disc to gift it, you can print out this CD cover (full size, which is 5×5 inches) to slip into the case:

Game Knitting Cover For Discs

Other ideas: you could print out the table of contents to put in the back cover; print out the first couple of pages to fold up and put in the case…

crafty wonderland!

I’m so super duper ultra mega excited about this new project I’ve been working on the last few days; it’s not ready to release online quite yet, but I will be revealing it for the first time ever at Crafty Wonderland!!  I’ll give you a few hints… it’s embroidery-related! it’s game/puzzle-related! it’s cheap (under $10) and great as a gift for crafters!  I’m hoping to reveal it online and release it for sale to all around the beginning of next week.


If any locals are interested in what else I’ll have at Wonderland, pretty much everything that’s in my online shop, plus a bunch of new printed shirts, sweatshirts, and a couple of printed recycled tote bags, lots of photographs (trios of 4×6’s, and 8×6’s in 8×10 mats), plus that one new scarflet pictured above, and possibly some new mitts if I magically have time.  (by the way locals, Trillium has some of my scarflets in their shop!)  I’ll have custom ice cream earmuff/headband kits too – meaning, all the flavor scoops in a bowl for you to put together a custom kit with you choice of flavors!  Still tons of work to do before then, but I’m really excited about it!!

update 12/10:  I forgot, I’ll also have a bunch of hat and ninja mitt knit kits that aren’t in my online shop yet!

Filed under: leethal store,portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 7:25 pm

December 3, 2009

Crafts for The Knittn’ Kitten free ebook!

Making this quick because I’ve been sick all week and am no better today; hopefully my fluffy head won’t prevent this post from being readable.  Need to put off as much work as possible to get myself healed up in time for Crafty Wonderland on the 13th, so don’t expect much from me for the next week either, sorry.  Just posting this now because I’ve been getting some emails and promised I’d blog as soon as it was released…


Remember that Lined Zippered Knit Coin Pouch designed for Knittn’ Kitten, from a month ago?  Well it’s now available to everyone, everywhere!  Click here to get the free download through Craftypod, and check out all of Sister Diane’s other fabulous ebooks and tutorials while you’re there!!  She was beyond awesome to put this Kitten ebook together for everyone to enjoy, so be sure to thank her if you like it!

Lined Zippered Knit Coin Pouches!

You can find my pattern on ravelry here if you want to fave, queue, or save the ebook in your rav library; I’ll also be adding it as a quick knits pattern, since it can use less than 15 yards of yarn (depending on yarn choice/gauge).  I’m proud to have taken the photos for the cover and the intro pages – my favorite is the thread shot below!  Once my body stops attacking me with this cough from hell, I’ll be doing a little something else neat with the photos from that shoot!


Shortened excerpt from the ebook (by Diane):

In Portland, Oregon, where we all live, there’s a tiny shop called The Knittn’ Kitten. It’s a craft-supply thrift store, filled with vintage fabrics, sewing notions, yarns, beads, buttons, patterns, and lots of other treasures. …But, as much as we all love The Knittn’ Kitten, economic forces have us shopping less in general lately. And so, in early Fall 2009, we learned that our beloved Kitten was in some danger of closing for good. A group of us got together to see what we might do to help. …We took turns, offering up a new project each week and spreading the word on our blogs. …And since our blogs are read by people who live far from Portland, and can’t get to The Knittn’ Kitten, we thought we’d also share our project sheets in this ebook – it’s our gift to you.

All we ask in return is that you support your favorite local independent craft stores. They need you.



And the projects you’ll find inside:

Enjoy!!  Now back to rest with me!

Filed under: general crafts,knitting,quick knits,self-publishing — leethal @ 11:49 pm
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