March 31, 2010

Book Giveaway #3: Scrumptious Toppers!

Today’s book giveaway is for Scrumptious Toppers for Tots & Toddlers: 30 Hats & Caps from Debby Ware.

scrumptious toppers

This one is pretty insane, but could be a good fit for the right kind of creative person with a baby and clever modification skills…  For example, I could imagine this one turning into a pretty cool monster hat (different colors, different kind of embellishing…):

scrumptious toppers

This one below is about as simple as they get – the most subtle, classic kind of design in the book:

scrumptious toppers

If fun fur scares you, I wouldn’t recommend flipping through this book….

scrumptious toppers scrumptious toppers

There are only 6 of the patterns on Ravelry, but you can get a pretty good idea of the style of the book and patterns from this peek on Google books.  I know it’s obvious that I’m not into these designs (which is why I’m giving it away) but I really hope it finds a good home and gets used – I would love to see some cool modifications of some of these hats!

To enter the giveaway, comment on this post telling us what’s your favorite hat you ever knit, or your favorite hat to wear, or the hat pattern that you’re most wanting to try… pretty much anything you want to write about hat knitting!  You all know I’m a hat knitter above all other knits; I’ve made well over a hundred hats, and I love choosing which one to wear each day!  I can’t choose a favorite, but as for a pattern I’m dying to knit – I spun up yarn for an Elizabeth ZImmermann Snail Hat months ago and have yet to cast on!

I’ll pick a winner (at random) next Monday (April 5th) around 3pm.  I’m sorry, but I need to limit these giveaways to within the US to keep my shipping costs low.

(Since I’m giving away 5 books this week, and I really want each of them to go to a home where they’ll be used and enjoyed, please only comment to win the books that you want.  If this book doesn’t appeal to you, see if some of the other books are more your style, and only comment on those – thanks!)

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway — leethal @ 10:00 am

March 30, 2010

Book Giveaway #2: Classic Elite Knits!

This second book in my week of giveaways is Classic Elite Knits: 100 Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion, from the Studios of Classic Elite Yarns

classic elite knits

Very heavy on women’s garment patterns, most are not my style at all, but I do like these 2 ok (I’d wear the zig zag one in different colors):

classic elite knits classic elite knits

And this squishy cabled number looks pretty snuggly:

classic elite knits

There are shorter sections of men’s and children’s garments (mostly all sweaters)…

classic elite knits classic elite knits

I would totally wear this in my size:

classic elite knits

And then there’s a short section of accessories, with mostly pretty basic stuff, like these:

classic elite knits classic elite knits

You can browse through all the designs on ravelry, and also on the Classic Elite website here.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what was your favorite garment you ever knit (a link with a photo would be fun!), or the sweater pattern that you most want to knit.  I’ve still never really knit a sweater (this is the closest I’ve come, but it doesn’t even close in front, so it’s more of a shrug), but if I had all the time in the world and could make absolutely anything, I might choose Fair Isle Short-Row Pullover by Teva Durham…

I’ll pick a winner (at random) next Monday (April 5th) around 3pm.  I’m sorry, but I need to limit these giveaways to within the US to keep my shipping costs low.

(Since I’m giving away 5 books this week, and I really want each of them to go to a home where they’ll be used and enjoyed, please only comment to win the books that you want.  If this book doesn’t appeal to you, see if some of the other books are more your style, and only comment on those – thanks!)

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway — leethal @ 10:00 am

March 29, 2010

Book Giveaway #1: Weekend Knitting!

I’m launching my week of book giveaways with my favorite one!  The other 4 books are ones that really aren’t my style, so I want them to go to people who will enjoy them, but today’s is a book that I really do like – I was given 2 copies, so I get to keep one, and give the other away to a lucky reader!

weekend knitting

Weekend Knitting, by Melanie Falick, was first released in hardcover in 2003, and re-released in this paperback version last year.  It features mostly pretty simple projects, treating knitting as a relaxing weekend hobby, nothing too intense, but also nothing too boring… I love these Argyle Slippers!

weekend knitting

There are a couple of nice brioche accessory projects, which makes me wonder, why have I never tried brioche stitch?!  Love how it looks in 2 colors:

weekend knitting

Including a wide range of home projects, bags, accessories, garments, and some kid stuff (see all the projects on ravelry), the book has a style that will appeal to most knitters.  I’m not a sweater knitter, but this Unisex Knock-Around Cashmere Pullover has me thinking about making one:

weekend knitting

If you know me, you know how I love games, so I was happy to see a couple of different game-related projects here, fitting with the relaxing weekend theme:

weekend knitting weekend knitting

Scattered throughout are also lots of weekend-y extras, like several recipes, lists of movies and books with knitting, hand massage techniques for knitters….

weekend knitting weekend knitting

So, to win my extra copy of Weekend Knitting, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite relaxing weekend activity, or what you wish you had more time to do… for me, that would be reading – ever since I quit my day job to be full-time self-employed (almost 2 years ago!) I haven’t had any time in my life to read books, since any “free” time is spent knitting, or doing something else that’s fun and relaxing, but still work-related….

I’ll pick a winner next Monday (April 5th) around 3pm.  I’m sorry, but I need to limit these giveaways to within the US to keep my shipping costs low.

(And a note about this week of book giveaways – since I’m giving away 5 books this week, and I really want each of them to go to a home where they’ll be used and enjoyed, please only comment to win the books that you truly want.  If this book doesn’t appeal to you, just wait and see if any of the books later in the week are more your style, and only comment on those – thanks!)

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway — leethal @ 2:11 pm

March 28, 2010

March 20th – 27th photos

Wow it’s been a long week for some reason!  Feels like that knitty pattern came out weeks ago, and I just realized it was one week ago today, crazy… Anyway, here are some things I did in the last week…

20th – Stitched this sample for one of my upcoming new stitch sets – can you tell what it’s becoming?  (If you follow me on twitter, you may already know, since I tweeted a picture of the final stitched image last weekend.)  My new sets are getting much more complex than the older sets, with number counts up in the hundreds:


21st – Pete took me to Hedge House for dinner (mac + cheese, oh yeah!) to celebrate the Buttonhead release; I didn’t bring my camera, but I shot this curb horse with my phone outside – I love spotting Portland curb horses!


22nd – I made roasted carrots (with rosemary, thyme, and parsley, and some mushrooms) and risotto for dinner – yum!!


23rd – Pete and I introduced Star to Gravy for breakfast – one of our favorite Portland breakfast spots (and there are oh-so-many of them!).  Tofu scramble with hashbrowns, broccoli, mushrooms, and veggie gravy = heavenly (not to mention Pete’s banana chocolate chip pancakes).  (side note – I’m going to stop linking to yelp pages when a restaurant doesn’t have their own site, after reading this article.)


24th – Pete and I took a long walk to the Waffle Window for breakfast this day (delicious and cheap!) – I didn’t bring a camera on the walk, but I did take a couple nice Spring flower photos with my phone… sadly, my stupid phone refuses to email me the full size images (not like they’re even large files, at 110kb) and shrinks them down to bitsy thumbnails, boo!  So, I enlarged them a wee bit and stuck the 2 photos together:


25th – I went through my enormous stash of recycled sweaters and other clothing to be used for crafting materials, picking out what had been sitting there for years, to get rid of before the move.  The pieces on the floor of this photo ended up going into my giveaway sale, and every piece in that box (you can’t really tell how big it is, but trust me, it’s big) is uncut and not too felted to go right back to the thrift store.  This exercise has taught me to be more discriminating in my thrifting for materials!!


26th – I bought 83 skeins of embroidery floss (from the Kitten)!  The purpose will be revealed soon enough…


27th – I got to participate is a unique crafting experience this day – along with some other Portland craft blogging friends, I got to craft with chocolate at the new Chocolate Craft Studio in North Portland.  I made a weirdo, abstract sculpture, which I ended up liking in the end, but then about 3 minutes in a warm car did this:


For more photos from the event, check out the flickr group Susan put together; and to read all about it, head over to Diane’s Craftypod post, and Pam’s Gingerbread Snowflakes post, where there are lots of photos of the chocolate crafting in action!  And tonight, I plan to take a chunk out of that crazy, melted sculpture for dessert, since every element is edible (including chocolate glue, moldable clay-like chocolate, and glittery paint and sprinkles)!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 7:26 pm

March 27, 2010

Month of leethal Giveaways!

So all the house-buying stuff has been going super well, and now our moving date is exactly one month from today!  That means many things, a major one being that I need to de-stash!  I also would like to make an extra bit of moving-expenses money, so I’m kind of combining these needs into a leethal giveaway sale!

giveaway stuff

I’ve created a giveaway page in the shop (which you can click to from the top of the shop home page, or the photo box on the leethal home page), full of various pieces of recycled sweaters and other fun crafty gifts, and if you place any order from my shop (that totals at least $9) you get to choose one – I pay shipping on the gift, you get some fun materials to craft with!

Want some ideas for how you could use these sweater pieces?  Here are some projects/tutorials I’ve made!


Felted sweater jewelry! For this project, it’s best if the sweater pieces are very felted (technically, fulled) to avoid any unraveling.

my new cardigan! 13white9

Use sweater pieces in bigger recycled sweater projects, as buttonbands and/or pockets, like the ones in my cardigan or vest.

bluessleeve1.jpg csleeve011.jpg

No tutorial for these, but coffee cup sleeves are easy to make, functional, and have tons of room for creative embellishments!


I’ve made tons of hats with felted and un-felted sweaters – this hat tutorial for the one above shows how to make a kitty hat with a sweater that doesn’t felt (only difference between a felted sweater is that there can’t be raw edges that will unravel).  I did a post on craftster many years ago (pre-blog) with a bunch of recycled material hats… Here are a few more examples below – the triangle top fabric on the left is one of the giveaway options:

yellow sold hat hat031.jpg leethal monster hat!

And one last how-to by me – also a looong time ago on craftster, I did a silly little tutorial for these felt boots:


You can find more recycled sweater projects in a Threadbanger roundup I did awhile back… I know I once saw a how-to for making a purse with a sweater yoke (which would be perfect for light pink piece three down on the right) but I can’t find it – if anyone knows what I’m talking about, you could post a link in the comments…

bead baggies

And then my other crafty giveaway option is a baggie of beads, which came from Knittn’ Kitten!  I have an alternate motive with this option of sharing a piece of my most favorite craft store with a few of you far away from Portland who aren’t lucky enough to be able to shop there.  Each baggie has a bunch of beads, mostly glass, all in pairs, so they’re great for earrings.  The reason I’m de-stashing so many of these beautiful beads is that I keep buying bags of them, use 2 for a pair of earrings for myself, and the rest of the bag sits there since I don’t really do any other bead projects, so now I get to spread the bead goodness!

easy 2-bead earrings easy 2-bead earrings

I did a tutorial for these simple 2-bead earrings, a good beginner project… Each giveaway baggie also includes some cheap earwires to play around with (the same kind I used in this pair and these) and a few eyepins.

If you were being observant at the top of this post, you may have noticed some books in the back of that giveaways photo – that’s because leethal’s month of giveaways will include some raffle-style blog giveaways as well!  This week, Monday through Friday, I’ll be posting a book a day to give away!  4 are knitting books, one is another kind of craft book, all ones I’ve been given and haven’t used, so I want them to go to new homes where they’ll be appreciated and used!

And one last thing, for you, my dear blog readers… I’m extending the shop giveaway to pattern sales (on leethal or ravelry) for anyone who reads this and contacts me about it – if you purchase $12 or more worth of pattern pdfs, through April 17th, email me (leemeredith at gmail dot com) with your gift choice and your mailing address, and I’ll send it your way!

I just found out from Heather this morning that she declared April Stashbusting Month!  So, I didn’t know it when I planned my giveaway month, but I’m totally participating in busting my stash (though I doubt I’ll be doing much stash crafting this month!) – play along and make things with your stash stuff! Yeah!

leethal printed shirt

I almost forgot – I added a bunch of new leethal recycled, printed shirts (and a couple sweatshirts) to the shop!  They were made back in December, finally online now… I’m working on more shop updates, so throughout the next couple of weeks I’ll be adding more stuff for sale, and probably adding more to the giveaways page too (I’ll let you know about both here on the blog), but then after the move, I’ll probably be taking certain things that haven’t sold out of the shop for good.

leethal printed shirt

I think that’s all for reals… Happy giveaway month!

March 26, 2010

Game Knit Projects!

There have been some really awesome projects popping up over on ravelry, using my game knitting ebook concept, so I want to share some of my favorites with you!!  First of all, if you don’t know what game knitting is, head over to my original blog post from when I released the ebook, and scroll down to the 2 quote block excerpts from the book to read what it’s all about…

(warning – lots of ravelry links in this post, so if you’re not a member, you should join!!)  Click the photos to see the project page for each item.

bagheraa4 bagheraa3

Bagheraa in Denmark has made several fantastic game knit hats!  I lovelovelove the one above, based on the same kinds of patterns as my Arrested Development hat, but I think it looks much better than mine!  It was knit to British detective shows… And below, two more hats by Bagheraa – to the left is a combination of slip-stitches and purl bumps, knit to a few different things; to the right, a ski sprint hat which had 3 different game patterns going at once, depending on which thing happened – so cool!

bagheraa1 bagheraa2

Hazellucia has also made several projects… I love the cowl below – using game knitting to determine striping patterns isn’t something I’ve done myself, but now I want to!  And the hat to the right was worked in 2×2 ribbing, with a purl/knit stitch worked for every occurrence, in kool-aid dyed yarn:

hazellucia1 hazellucia2

The cabled hat below, by Charmling in California, turned out beautifully!!  It was worked in the traveling cables pattern to Firefly:


Skudge in Pittsburgh knit up this gorgeous short rows scarf to various shows, using Malabrigo sock yarn:


SFcorgi in California knit up this patchworky game scarf – her game was created by knitting while working at home, with occurrences having to do with computer loading times, clever!  My favorite part is the red cabled section at the top:


Thirdbreathh in Las Vegas made a cool, stripey version of the bobbles headband, to Grey’s Anatomy – I love the different colored bobbles all scattered throughout:


Himalaya in Qatar made these fantastic sleeves, working short rows to House, in Manspun Heavy Metal yarn – rad!!


Verylisa in Australia improvised a cool soap sack (which she explains on the project page) – she used the eyelet game pattern, and knit to a Charles Dickens audiobook:


And I saved Kim Werker‘s hat, knit with Blonde Chicken‘s bulky yarn, for last because Kim also wrote a great blog post about game knitting awhile back…


…Want to read more about the concept?  Several fun posts/reviews have been written over the last few months – all the ones I know of are listed on my pattern page; some good ones are at Kitchen Sink Dyeworks, Craft Leftovers, and Nuts about Needlepoint applied the concept to needlepoint, cool!

And, in completely unrelated news, after the majority of responses (via twitter mostly) were voting for the club theme to be revealed, I’ve updated the sign-up section of the club page with April’s theme: Fruits + Veggies!

Filed under: hats,knitting — leethal @ 12:08 am

March 22, 2010

March leethal quick knits club!

It’s about time I show you what was in the March leethal quick knits club packages… But first, I think I’ve gathered a few new readers in the last couple of months (hi!) so, I’ll make sure you all know what the quick knits club is!  Once a month, I send out packages to all the members which always include: a 15 yard mini-skein of recycled hand-dyed yarn, a 10 yard mini-skein of spun recycled yarn, patterns to go with each of the yarns, anything that the patterns need to complete the project (could be buttons, ribbon, a piece of fabric, etc…) to make it a full kit, plus some extra fun goodies, which all fit into a theme for the month.  (See examples of past club packages here; I also have the patterns from the first 4 months in a mini-ebook here.)

photo book buttons

I’ve been doing the club since last August, I totally enjoy coming up with all the stuff to fit a theme, designing the mini-patterns, putting together the extra goodies… fun stuff!  Unfortunately, membership has seriously been dropping the last few months, so I really hope I’m able to continue doing it for awhile (I planned to keep it up at least through this year, if not longer)… If it sounds fun to you, you can sign up for a 1 month kind of trial membership, or a 3 month subscription at a discounted rate – sign ups for April are up through the end of this month.

March '10 club!

Ok with that said… March’s theme was photography!  Yay!

Pale Green Things Pale Blue Eyes

The dyed yarn was an unknown wool/blend from a reclaimed, hand-knit sweater, a light grey-green overdyed with blue, for a teal kind of shade… I named it Pale Green Things (after a Mountain Goats song).  The spun recycled yarn was a fine, 2-ply, 100% shetland wool yarn, which I overspun, then navajo plied, turning it into a cabled yarn.  I named it Pale Blue Eyes (after a Velvet Underground song).  With the 15 yards of dyed yarn, I designed a picture frame:

Cabled Frame

I’m so happy with how the frame worked out!  Lots of trial and error, ripping out and redesigning, but in the end, I think it’s pretty neato!  Basic cables over garter stitch, short rows to turn the corners, and a piece of mat board in back turns it into a functioning frame.  The kits came with the piece of mat board (remnants from my local art shop), and a piece of inkjet printer photo paper, salvaged from my old photo lab day job – photo labs have so much waste, it sucks, so I would take usable scraps whenever I could to save them from the garbage.  (The inkjet photo paper came from the expensive large-format prints, so it’s really nice, top quality epson luster paper, rad!)

Camera Patch i-cord wrist strap

For the 10 yards of spun yarn, I designed a camera-shaped patch… My original plan was to design a wrist strap, for point-and-shoot cameras, but I couldn’t figure out a good, functional design idea, so I made the patch instead.  But then I included a bonus alternative option – if you don’t like the patch, you could use the yarn to cover your camera’s wrist strap with i-cord!  So everyone got the 2 patterns, as usual, plus a bonus how-to sheet for the i-cord strap.

fabric "star filter"

For the extra fun stuff, everyone got… a camera! Just kidding… that piece of mesh fabric taped over my camera serves as a “star filter” – check it out… taken with that point-and-shoot:

star filtered photo star filtered photo

And this one was taken with my DSLR, for a pretty different effect:

star filtered photo

I even tried it with my crappy phone camera, and it worked, so it could be used on any kind of camera each club member has.  So, everyone got that piece of mesh fabric, an instruction sheet with how to use it, and shooting in the dark tips, plus a button that was made with a page of an old photography how-to book from the 80’s:

photo-related goodies

And lastly, everyone got 2 old slides, rejects rescued from my local reuse store.  I am planning a tutorial for slide earrings (soon!); as for other ideas for just 2 slides, I bet you could make a nightlight (though I can’t find a tutorial online for one), or a cool pendant… If you can come across a collection of old slides at your local thrift store, flea market, yard sale, here are a few links to crafty things you can do with more slides: window hanging, curtains, lampshade.  I’m totally planning on making a slide curtain for our new house!

old slides

So that was March!  I haven’t decided for sure on a theme for April yet, but I have a list of great themes to choose from…. I’ll throw this idea out there to see what you think:  the clubs have always been a complete mystery until they are mailed out, but would you prefer if I at least revealed the theme early, before the sign-up deadline (not the specific patterns though)?  Would you be more willing to sign up if you knew what the theme was going to be?  I like total mystery, but maybe most of you would rather know…

Filed under: knitting,photos,quick knits,yarn — leethal @ 1:51 pm

New pattern in Knitty: Buttonhead!

Woooo it’s up!  I first started designing this hat way back last summer, then once I developed it to be any-gauge, perfect for handspun, I decided it might fit well into Knittyspin and submitted it!  Yay Knittyspin!!

Buttonhead! Buttonhead!

So yeah, it’s a simple hat, but what makes it awesome is that it can be knit in any gauge, with any yarn, and you don’t even need to swatch first!!  As you probably know by now, I love any-gauge patterns, but you may not know that I hate swatching!  This hat was specifically designed to be magically knit in any gauge with no swatch needed – just cast on and start knitting (from the top down), then figure out the measurements later on based on the gauge once you’re able to measure it – SO easy!!


And, since it’s so versatile with yarn size, I made it versatile with actual hat size as well!  There are 3 size options – cloche, beret, and super slouchy style – something for everyone!  Out of my samples, the commercial yarn version (in Dream in Color) is the only cloche style, and the striped white alpaca and hand-dyed colors version is the only super slouchy; the other 3 are beret style.  As you can see, the same size style in different yarn weights can look pretty different.

Buttonhead! Buttonhead!


Another thing I like about this design is the cool swirl you get at the top when working with any kinds of stripes!  (oh you know how I love swirly-ness!)


Oh and as for the buttons, also a different look depending on yarn weight… you can choose how many buttons you want to use, but generally, less buttons look better on bulkier hats (like the one big one on the super bulky, and the 2 big ones on the bulky blue version), and more buttons look nice on finer gauges (I’d actually meant to use 4 on the grey commercial yarn sample, but it didn’t work out for some reason… but 3 is a good number!)…

Buttonhead! Buttonhead!

Do you like my themed photoshoot?  Pete and I had fun shooting at the Rhododendron Garden (blogged at the bottom of this post), assigning one old camera to each hat.  I even shot some film that day on a couple of those cameras!  (I’ve shot with all five of them at some point, yay film!)

Buttonhead! Buttonhead!

I think that’s everything I’ve got to say about it… queue it on ravelry here, find it on knitty here, see it on my site with my other patterns here… I’m so happy to be in this issue with so many amazing patterns and designers!  I won’t get into detail, because you should check out every pattern yourself, but I love the know it all bag and the gams most of all!


Filed under: hats,knitting,photos,yarn — leethal @ 2:08 am

March 20, 2010

March 10th – 19th photos

Getting back into my blogging photos-a-day on the weekends schedule… this was an eventful week!  Multiple new projects released, lots of house-buying stuff…

10th + 11th – I (finally) got my studio completely cleaned up!  It was in a mostly organized, but with a bunch of random stuff still scattered about the floor, state for the last several months.  (Before that, it was worse, since major re-organizing after Pete moved out of his half…)  On the 10th, I had a couple visitors from the media, including a photographer, so it had to be finished, and now I love it (and yes, we are moving in about a month, perfect timing, eh?)… And the next day, I finished knitting my handspun Shapeshifter, then spent the whole day building the pattern pdf, and everything else that goes with it (photos, webpage, etc), and got it released at 4am! Woo!

0310 0311

12th – Stitched up a couple of connect-the-dots cameras this day, and drank tons of coffee after my late-nighter the night before!


13th + 17th – Out of order because both these days I worked on the same hat (even though it’s a super quick hat to knit, I’ve just been knitting for short times here and there, between other projects)… on the 13th, I spent a bit of time knitting on this hand-dyed, striped, soon-to-be Haka hat; on the 17th I did the dyeing tutorial for the yarn, and I started the bottom part of the hat in another yarn, but didn’t finish… (Garbanzo doesn’t normally look like that, but that photo makes me laugh – a horrible combination of flopped-over position and wide-angle lens makes for a disproportionally huge kitty!):

0313 0317

14th – I got started on a new design idea, spending lots of time with Barbara Walker, and I spun a skein of self-striping handspun, yay!  This yarn will be for sale, once I wash and photograph it (it’s been a long time since I’ve added new handspun to the shop!):


15th – Spent pretty much the whole day on that new design idea… for an awesome dinner (while Pete was in Seattle for the night), I made some delicious bean dip, with refried black beans, leftover rice, 3-pepper salsa, and cheese, yummmm!!


18th + 19th – These 2 days we got to go hang out at our future house!  During the inspection (which went really well!!) we got to be in the house, taking photos, planning out furniture arrangements, daydreaming about living there, for 3 hours – I’m so into the nice kitchen sink with the filtration system!!  (I’m even excited about it being double bowl, after living in our apt the last few years with a single bowl – dyeing will be easier!)  And then the sewer scope (also good news) was the next day, so we stood around outside the house for awhile, and I took some photos of the outside – I kind of like this weird little mini-fence in front:

0318 0319

Coming up this week: I can finally blog about my studio, now that’s it’s cleaned up and show-able!  In preparation for moving, I’m planning a couple different giveaway things, which might start soon.  There might be a new (free) pattern!!  And I’ve been working on 3 new stitch sets (which are all freaking awesome, I think) – they probably won’t be available for a couple weeks, but you may be seeing some peeks soon!  (if you follow me on twitter, soon like today!)

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 2:30 pm

March 17, 2010

Make long stripes in your hand-dyed yarn!

Here it is, part 4 of my yarn dyeing tutorial series!  This is probably a good place to announce, my next big project (not counting all the smaller projects I’m currently working on) is a yarn dyeing ebook!  I’m guessing the release date will be around late summer, and it will be awesome, seriously.  Everything you could ever possibly want to know about dyeing yarn the way I do it, plus a bunch of knitting patterns designed to work especially well with hand-dyed… it will rock. hard.

This how-to is just for the striping, not the dyeing itself – for how to dye, see my recent part 3 post, and my old part 1 and part 2 dyeing tutorials, plus the other sites I linked to, and a bunch of questions and answers in the comments of part 3.  If you’ve never dyed, I strongly encourage you to dye up a couple skeins of solid or simple variegated yarn before going for the long stripes!  And here we go…

knit up preview Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Place two chairs facing each other, as far apart as you want for your stripes.  My yarn is dyed with suuuper long stripes (I think around 12 yards), so it was wound across my whole apartment – from the corner of the living room to the end of the dining room (granted, my apt is small).  You can make the stripes as long as you want, but this tutorial is kind of optimized for long stripes…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

It’s easier to keep your yarn in place with towels around the chairs, so it doesn’t slide.  On one of the chairs, wrap the yarn in sections – I wanted 5 colors striping, so there are 5 sections.  Wind the yarn around the back of one chair, over to the other chair, around the back, and back over to the first – it’s just like winding yarn around your knees or a swift, but just longer, in a huge loop.  On one chair, keep it in order in the sections (wind from top to bottom, and repeat), and the other chair can just be all in one big section.  (Careful with cats, they like yarn you know.)

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Tie each of the sections together behind the chair – I color coded mine because I wanted to dye them in a certain color order.  If you don’t care about the order, don’t worry about color coding (and if you’re not lucky enough to find scraps of yarn in each of the colors you’re dyeing, you can just use whatever scraps you can find and write down a key, like black=blue, etc).  Then carefully take off the top section loop and wind it over to the other chair, or just kind of fold it, however you can keep it from getting all tangled.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Tie the yarn together in the back of the other chair, in a figure 8, holding all the yarn securely – this will be where the colors change.  Then tie that first section into a kind of hank, close to the back tie…  Repeat for each section, carefully making 5 (or however many sections you have) different hanks, all attached together at the top:

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

If you dye them like that, you’ll get major tangling problems later, so you’ll want to add a couple more ties to each hank section – it doesn’t really matter how you tie them, as long as it holds the yarn in place, but not too tightly…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Now soak your yarn and get ready to dye!  For a little color-mixing bonus info, I wanted to tone down my kool-aid colors a wee bit, so I blended them in shot glasses… I was using Lemon Lime, Berry Blue, Strawberry, Orange, and Lemonade (the exact same 5 colors used in my crock pot yarn) – I mixed a little green into the orange, a little orange into the green, a little green into the blue, a little orange into the yellow, and a little blue into the red.  There’s not a huge difference, but if I were to compare my colors to the straight-from-the-packets colors, you’d probably see it…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

I dyed this yarn on the stove top, which I think is easiest for this kind of striping – you could use microwave or crock pot methods if you prefer.  You’ll need to set up your dye pot (heat up the water before adding yarn and dye), a bowl with your pre-soaked yarn, and another bowl – I like putting a colander in the other bowl, which helps the yarn cool faster.  Take the first section you want to dye and place it in the heated dye pot, submerging it right up to the edge where all the sections are tied together, but make sure no yarn from the other sections touches the water.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Add color and dye the first section, then lift it out with a spoon (or tongs) and place it into the other bowl (or colander).  Place the next section into the dye pot, and repeat for each section, always being careful to dye up to the end, but not into the other sections.  When dyeing the last color, you can try to fill in any spots that didn’t get dyed from the other sections – I dyed yellow last for this reason, since yellow overlapping with other colors wouldn’t be a problem.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Once it’s cooled, rinsed, and squeezed dry, try to get it all untangled the best you can and hang to dry for a day or two.  When dry, replicate the way it was wound on the chairs.  Start with the side where the colors meet, then untie one section at a time and loop it onto the other chair.  Then hand-wind it all up into a ball – you’ll have to weave it through the loop sometimes to untangle parts, so trying to wind it into a hank instead of a ball can be disastrous (I know from experience)!

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Now you have a big, awesome ball of striping yarn! Yay!


Wind it into a hank if you want to photograph it or keep it around for awhile before knitting or crocheting (or weaving) it up…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Mine knit up in these big fat stripes! Fun!  This is a hat – of course, if knitting something like a sweater, the stripes would be more narrow, and on something like mittens, they would be much wider… and, on a finer weight yarn, they’d be more narrow too…  (By the way, my base yarn is Imperial Stock Ranch’s bulky Lopi wool.)

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

I’d love to see your yarn!  Have fun!

Filed under: self-publishing,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 7:35 pm

March 16, 2010

Some website updatey stuff!

argus stitching

Ok, first of all, my new Cameras stitch set is available, and to celebrate, here is an extra camera design that didn’t make it into the set!  Click the image below to download the full size version, print it out (100% size is 4×6 inches), and find out what camera it is!  (Ok, it’s not that much of a mystery, but it’s fun still!)

Camera Connect-The-Dots

I’ve been all motivated the last few days with website updating! I’ve been into reading all the comments that came in from my survey a little while ago, and I made a couple of changes based on people’s suggestions…

Someone had this idea – “it would be cool if your front page was more like a shop window, in that the displays changed often (maybe by season, or bi-monthly)…” – and I started thinking about that a bit and really liked it!  I already had the 6 featured things that I changed seasonally-ish, but I wanted to make it pop more and also make it easier to to change often…

new homepage

So now there’s this big photo at the top, which I plan to change about once a week (or 2), to whatever i’ve most recently made/released/been working on or just a photo-of-the-day that I really like, or whatever seems to fit… And then below that are 4 square photos of “featured stuff” which I’ll also change, but not as often.  Instead of those being set categories like before (they used to be “featured shop item, featured pattern,” etc), they are just photos with no text so I can change them to anything I feel like featuring.  Of course, all the photos link to whatever is shown for easy navigation.

leethal home page

And then I got a few comments about my shop being confusing (like I find the shop side of the site hard to navigate. There’s too much information on a page and it’s hard to see and sometimes find again what’s there.), which made me realize that having the shop home page featuring items from every category the way it used to probably made things too busy and I needed to simplify that.  So I changed the shop home to match the patterns and yarn home pages, with just square photos for each category, for hopefully easier navigation.

new shop homepage

If other things about the shop are confusing, I would love more feedback to make it easier!  (Or, about anything at all in the site that’s confusing.)  I’m planning on further simplifying in the future – I’m thinking about phasing out some things (hats, accessories, prints…) so I might be taking things out of the shop soon (and/or having sales!) and cutting back the shop pages.  (Side note, if there’s something you want, it might be a good idea to grab it – the whole house buying thing is motivating me to get organized, clear out some stuff, and I might be taking things out of the shop if they don’t sell by the time we move…)

about leethal page

I also did a bunch more updating this morning, and my about section is now up to date (that was on the to-do list for months!), and some other random things here and there that needed to be done.  I’m going to try to be more on top of updating, really I am!  Still need to get to the yarn section, and get the March club photos and info up… Oh yeah and I also got the new dyeing tutorial up on the tutorials page...

tutorials page

One of the reasons I’m showing you all these updates is another bit of feedback I got – Since I pick you up on the feeder I don’t notice changes to the website.  Maybe an occasional “Here’s what’s new on the site” or a featured area of/button on the blog would make me think about clicking though. I figure this is probably the case for lots of you, hence the site-update filled blog post!

Filed under: connect-the-dots,leethal store, — leethal @ 1:50 am

March 13, 2010

A few photography tips, with and without a light box…

I put together this basic photography tips photo presentation about a year ago to share with Craftstylish bloggers, and put it up on flickr so anyone could check it out, but now that there is a lightbox-along happening in the craft community, I thought it would be a good idea to share these few tips here for anyone interested!  For more info about this light box making fun, check out Heather’s post on Croq Zine (with links to multiple tutorials), and also check out Heather’s photo tips for craft bloggers!

My light box

So, first of all, I built my light box using this tutorial on Strobist, using a cardboard box, a piece of white poster board, recycled white tissue paper, and packing tape.  The main thing I did that the tutorial didn’t do was to cover the outside of all the tissue paper with a layer of packing tape to make it more durable – it doesn’t affect the function of the light box, and it prevents the tissue from tearing:

My light box My light box

I normally use the light box just with natural sunlight through the window – I am lucky to have a nice camera and an awesome lens with a huge aperture (f/1.4) which means my camera lets in a ton more light than most point-and-shoots, or DSLRs with standard kit lenses. I may do a post in the future that gets more into shooting stuff, like aperture (any interest?)… I’m just telling you this now so you know that I have an advantage with my camera that you may not have, so you may need to rely more heavily on artificial light with your light box. Here are a few examples of photos I’ve taken in my box using sunlight through the window:

Perfect Afternoon


Long Vermont Roads

Now for artificial light… When the sun isn’t an option, set up a light or multiple lights around the box – just be sure to set your camera’s white balance accordingly, and do whatever editing is necessary. By placing a light at the side of the box like this, you’ll get harsh results (not good!):

Artificial light on side of box Yarn in box with side light

So if you are using a light box with just one artificial light (mine is a super bright desk lamp from Ikea), placing it on top will give you better results:

Artificial light on top of box Light box with artificial light

Another option – you can add some foil to reflect the light on the side to give the affect of having another, more subtle light to the right:

Light on top with foil on side

I don’t have any examples for you, but using multiple lights coming at different angles is a good idea with a light box – or, using the sunlight that you do have, and filling in with some extra artificial light to make it bright enough (just be careful with white balance if using 2 different light sources – you’ll probably need some major editing).

Sunlight with foil reflector

I have some tips for shooting without a light box, too… that photo above was taken next to a window with bright sunlight, plus a secret prop:

Window + foil

(I learned this foil reflector idea from Jared Flood – check out his work for some really great photography using natural light and cheap tricks like this one.) If the same yarn is shot next to the same window, with the same bright sunlight and no foil reflector, this is what you get:

Sunlight coming from side

See how the right side is totally dark? If you have a good spot below a window, so the light is coming from above and isn’t too harsh, it can be excellent… this photo was taken on my desk, with no box or extra lights, just the window, and the camera pointing directly down at the subject:

Yarn on table with sunlight

So these were just a few tips… let me know if you want me to turn this kind of thing into a regular subject – I love to talk photography, but don’t want to bore you!  Also, comment with specific photo questions if you have any, and I’ll either answer in the comments, or turn it into a whole post if it’s a major topic.

It seems fitting to end this photography post with a peek at my new stitch set, which I plan to release on Monday!  (some camera nerdery – that’s the same Argus camera that I carved into a lino block, which you can see printed on a couple shirts here, and it’s the camera that took these photos.)

stitched argus!

(update: I ended up getting everything finished earlier than expected and the cameras stitch set is ready to order now!)

Filed under: photos,random stuff — leethal @ 8:46 pm

March 12, 2010

New Pattern: Shapeshifter!

It’s here!  Shapeshifter is an any-gauge pattern and can be worn a seemingly endless number of ways, giving it truly infinite possibility!  (Many thanks to April for thinking up the fabulous name!)


It’s an asymmetrical chevron shaped flat piece, with very basic eyelet lace making buttonholes all over, along every edge and down the off-center chevron seam – depending on how you line up the buttons with the eyelets, and whether you add any extra buttons or ties, it can shift into a hood or a cowl in whatever style you can arrange it into!


I’ve been wearing my bulky orange one constantly since finishing it, and I loveloveLOVE my new handspun version!!  I’d love to see someone else knit one up in a nice sock yarn – I bet it would be gorgeous!


Button size depends on gauge, since bulky eyelets are much bigger than finer gauge eyelets, of course – I chose these 3 mismatched vintage beauties to pop on the orange base:


The pattern PDF is 9 pages – 2 of those pages are just photos of different ways to wear it; the 3 pages you might want to print out are photo-less to save ink.  (The pattern itself is on one single page, but there’s some simple math to figure out your numbers for your gauge, and I provided a page of help with the calculations to make it as easy as possible.)

Shapeshifter! Shapeshifter!

There’s a page on making a hood, either by adding extra buttons or tying up the hood seam.  Even with the hood, there are lots of different ways you can position the buttons for the cowl part, for a tighter, warmer fit, or with looser wrapping, etc.

Shapeshifter! Shapeshifter!

I didn’t attempt explaining how to wear it all the different cowl ways, because the way I usually position it is to get in front of a mirror and just start wrapping it and buttoning it until I like how it looks.  I often can’t recreate a position (like this one – I love how it looks here and I couldn’t recreate it for the photoshoot!) so there’s no way I could explain to you… But, my advice, just play around with different positions, twisting and looping in different directions, and you’ll find methods you like.

Shapeshifter! Shapeshifter!

For a little design backround… the original idea developed off of this smaller piece I made a couple years ago (on ravelry) – it was knit at a super loose gauge so that the fabric was all buttonholes, and I loved how it could be worn so many different ways.  It’s a silly little piece, but the asymmetrical chevron and buttonhole abundance were a great combination!  I made the prototype (ravelry) a couple months ago (in Imperial Stock Ranch’s Lopi bulky wool), perfected the eyelet pattern, and adjusted it to turn it into an any-gauge pattern!

Shapeshifter! Shapeshifter!

You can grab the pattern for $4 on the leethal page, or on ravelry – I can’t wait to start seeing your versions!!

Filed under: knitting,yarn — leethal @ 3:02 pm

March 10, 2010

March 3rd – 9th photos

I’m so sorry to have blogged nothing between 2 photo-of-the-day posts a week apart, I’m trying hard to give you more value, really I am!  (speaking of Value, I’m also trying to spend a bit of time in Diane’s free online class on the subject, today only, be sure to check it out!)  The last week has been totally nuts – we put an offer on a house yesterday!!  Plus, the club was mailed out yesterday, plus there’s another exciting thing happening today which I’ll probably be telling you about soon, plus I’m trying so hard to get this cowl/hood pattern out this week (it’s looking like either Friday or Monday now)… that’s a lot of plusses, sigh…

So, yeah, excuses, but things should be slowing down a wee bit starting tomorrow, and I have some fun things planned… for now, photos!  I’ve spent a lot of time with house stuff – checking out the neighborhood, etc to decide for sure if we want it – but that’s not so photographable, so here’s my last week in photos…

3rd – Knitting away on my handspun sample of the upcoming pattern, with my own self-striping single, mostly BFL wool, mostly hand-dyed by me:


4th + 5th – Dyed club recycled yarn, and spun tons of recycled club yarn, while watching a bunch of movies on netflix instant (also spent much time knitting up ideas for the club designs):

0304 0305

6th – This day we got serious thinking about the house, checked out the neighborhood at night, then went to Dots for tofu burritos, fries, beer, and house-talking… fitting for us because Dots is where we talked about moving to Portland in the first place 3 years ago:


7th + 8th – Finished up the March club these days, making and sorting everything, then finishing and packaging, during which I consumed lots of coffee (as always) and after which I worked on getting my studio cleaned up:

0307 0308

9th – And coming around full circle, last night I got back to knitting the pattern sample, at Radio Room with friends, beer, and trivia:


Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 1:21 pm
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