December 20, 2010

Betiko! Mystery knit-a-long pattern revealed!

Wow it took me many days and many pages longer than expected, but the first leethal mystery knit-a-long pattern is now in normal pattern pdf format (well, maybe not “normal”… it is 27 pages long… but at least it’s all together in one file now)…

leethal mystery knit-a-long!

And the mystery is solved – it’s a shawl!  Or a shawlette, depending on what size you want to make it.  I love this small shawl size, for keeping my neck and shoulders warm without being big and cumbersome…

mystery pattern revealed!

I’m going to first give some background about the design process a little, then I’ll get into more specifics about the pattern… and tons of photos, so bear with me here… I didn’t want to lengthen the pattern to any longer than it already was with unnecessary photos, so a lot of shots I love were left out, which means I’ll be posting them here… anyway…

If you checked out our engagement photos back when I posted them to flickr, you may have noticed a few like this and this with blurred out neckwear – well that was my first prototype version of this shawl, designed and knit to be my wedding shawl!  Here it is in the engagement shots, pre-blocking:

us! us!

When I blocked it out, I discovered that I loved it even more because the edging caused it to stretch and curve out and up into a U shape!  And, while I liked the ruffly edge of the unblocked piece, I liked the look way more post-blocking!  So that was my wedding shawl, which I ended up not wearing on my wedding day at all because it was 100 degrees that day and cooled off to pleasant when the sun went down, but definitely no need for a wool/alpaca blend around my shoulders!


So, getting to the point, I loved the way the design turned out, and a knit night buddy pointed out how the 4-part construction would be a perfect fit for a mystery knit-a-long!  I didn’t love the top of this one, which is pretty simple and I mostly chose the zig-zag eyelets pattern because it’s called Marriage Lines, so I got started on a final design for the KAL – making it any-gauge – and the whole time thinking about how the construction was so great for making it any size, and for plugging in any stitch patterns, and really the basic design idea could be used to make any kind of customized shawl!


The shawl I ended up creating as my mystery pattern version had a waving ribs pattern across the top – simple, textured, kind of squishy, interesting but basic – and pretty much the same outer edging as that first prototype (but wider, and redesigned to work for any gauge and any width); I played around with the sizing for this one and ended up with a much larger shawl!

So, I kept the mystery pattern down to the size of my original wedding shawl, but I included the measurements for both of these 2 sizes in the final pattern, with notes on how to make it basically any size you want.

Betiko - mystery pattern version

And then, for the final pattern, I decided there needed to be some kind of really basic version of the pattern, as kind of an intro to the construction and new techniques for knitters who might be intimidated by everything – not that it’s a hard pattern, I don’t think it is, but it does involve several aspects which many knitters might not be used to (like being any-gauge, the sideways edge cast-on, and the knitted-on sideways edging).  So I made this garter stitch edged version, in the smaller size, with some soft+squooshy Malabrigo Twist:

mystery pattern revealed!

And lastly, I wanted to test out this theory that any stitch patterns could be plugged into the parts to make a customized shawl, so I plugged in some cable patterns, and I got this!  Totally worked!  The pattern pdf only includes instructions for how to go about plugging in your own stitch patterns (generally, not specifics), but I am planning to put together an extra pdf with these cable charts and notes on how to recreate this version, in the future:

Betiko - cabled version betiko

So, now for the massive amounts of photos, and more pattern info…

Betiko - garter stitch edged

The garter stitch edged version of Betiko is written like a normal pattern, with only a few parts being affected by it being any-gauge.  Most of the piece is worked until it measures a certain size, for each section, and because of the way it starts, with the panel across the top (which doesn’t affect the size of the whole piece), you don’t even need to do a gauge swatch!

betiko Betiko - garter stitch edged

My favorite way to wear Betiko is wrapped around and tucked into itself, without a shawl pin or anything to bother with…

Betiko - garter stitch edged

And it can be arranged with either side in front or in back…

Betiko - garter stitch edged

Or it works will with a shawl pin too…

Betiko - garter stitch edged betiko

Pete and I did this photoshoot last week at Reed college, in the freezing cold rain, so I was moving around a lot to distract myself from my numb hands and feet.  I love these shots he took of me dancing around in the leaves…

Betiko - garter stitch edged

…and I really love the way the wind got involved in some of the shots:

Betiko - mystery pattern version

So, there’s the basic garter edged pattern, then there’s the customized pattern.  This pattern has a bit more going on – the recipe kind of pattern for plugging anything (stitch patterns, cables, simple lace, etc) into the parts, and sidebars with everything you need to know to make this wavy version, with the waving ribs top part and wavy lace edging.

Betiko - mystery pattern version

Every section of the pattern is adjustable, so you can make the top part and the edging each as wide as you want, and make the whole thing as big as you want.

Betiko - mystery pattern version

And there are super detailed instructions for striping!  You can make any kinds of stripes you want, and they are designed so that the yarn strands are all carried along the wrong side of the piece, within the body of the shawl, not along any outer edges, making for nice clean edges all around.  Many of the carried strands are later worked into the piece as the modular joins happen, making the strands nearly invisible (see this photo with flickr notes to see how the strands are carried along the back, but it’s the prototype, which was messier than the final version).

Betiko - mystery pattern version

This larger version is so warm and luxurious, almost like carrying a mini-blanket with me!

Betiko - mystery pattern version Betiko - mystery pattern version

These yarns, by the way, are Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia wool striped with Noro self-striping Kureyon, with a darker shade of Columbia used for the edging.

mystery pattern revealed!

If you want to get crazy with the larger shawl, it can even be worn to warm your skirt area!

Betiko - mystery pattern version

And here are shots of it before and after blocking:

betiko betiko

And then, speaking of striping again, you can stripe all or just some of the parts, however you like.  In the above shawl, I striped all but the 4th part – in the wedding shawl, I striped all 4 parts:


I started to run out of yarn though, partway through the edging, and could tell I wasn’t going to make it, so I switched from wide grey stripes to wide orange stripes, at the halfway point:

Betiko - my first

The sections 2 and 3 stripes (the main body of the shawl) were all done randomly, with 2 purl ridge “stripes” thrown in there too, one in section #2 and one in #3:

Betiko - my first

This yarn is Austermann Natura and it is so freaking soft and warm, I love it so much!  Merino wool, bamboo, cotton, alpaca, and mohair – weird, right? – somehow made into this magically not itchy at all, fuzzy but not too fuzzy, beautifully colored yarn!

Betiko - my first

I have been wearing one or another of these shawls pretty much constantly (including at home) for weeks now, and I’m sure I will be all winter long!  Love them!

Betiko - my first

And then the cabled version…  On the sides there is Barbara Walker’s Banjo Cables pattern, with seed stitch inside all the yarn-over increase wedges…

Betiko - cabled version

…some regular cables in the center panel (I have no idea how I managed to screw up the twist at the bottom there and not notice it till weeks later!), and Oxox cables all along the top (looking kind of weird stretched out here):

Betiko - cabled version

It is so so so squishy and WARM; holy moly it’s the best thing ever on a cold day!

Betiko - cabled version Betiko - cabled version

Definitely my favorite way to wear this one is all wrapped up high around my neck.  My neck will never be cold again!

Betiko - cabled version

This version served as a test and, while I was definitely knitting it for myself to enjoy, I was also treating it like a giant swatch.  So, I tested out 4 different ways of working the edging across the piece, which is why you may notice different segments of the edge looking differently in some photos, and all those options are explained in the pattern.

Betiko - cabled version

This yarn, which I am completely in love with, is Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky, a wool/mohair/angora blend, and is also magically not at all itchy and incredibly soft! Yum!

mystery pattern revealed!

Head to the Betiko ravelry page, or the leethal pattern page, to read more details about the pattern (like yardage estimates and other things pasted in from the pdf), and to purchase ($6 for 27 pages!), and check out the ravelry projects to see all the mystery knitters’ versions (yay!).  I’ll paste in this one little paragraph from the pdf which I think is neat to know:

A couple more fun things about this pattern: regardless of how big you make your shawl, you’ll never cast on or bind off more than a couple inches worth of stitches!  There is also no seaming, no picking up stitches, and only as many ends to weave in as the 2 ends of each yarn you use (meaning no breaking of yarn is needed within the pattern).

Betiko - mystery pattern version

And one last thing… Betiko is a Basque girl’s name, which means “eternal”, and was suggested by naming genius Mary-Heather (who also named Swerve).  My working name for this pattern was “forever shawl” both because you can keep knitting it forever and make it different every time, and because it was originally designed as my wedding shawl.  I was having a heck of a hard time coming up with a good name, asked for ideas on twitter, and MH’s Betiko was perfect!!

Betiko - garter stitch edged

I’m so happy to have this final pattern released, and I had a fantastic time doing the mystery KAL!  I am totally planning more for 2011!  So excited!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,photos — leethal @ 8:00 am

December 17, 2010

Gifts for knitters + super quick last minute knit gifts!

First, I just want to give a quick update to those of you waiting for my new pattern (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can skip this paragraph) – the mystery knit-a-long ended yesterday (well, it didn’t end exactly, since lots of knitters are still working, but yesterday was one week after the final section was released) so I’d planned to release the final pattern to all yesterday or today.  Holiday stuff and life in general has been preventing me from really focusing on getting it all done, so it’s looking like a Friday release is impossible, and I’m hoping for Saturday, but no guarantees… anyway, you can see tons of photos of my different versions of the design (taken by Pete at Reed college the other day, pretty!) in my flickr stream.

Diane’s CraftyPod series this week on ways to give ebooks as gifts has been awesome, and reminded me of this image I made last year:

Game Knitting Cover For Discs

This is a super basic way you could gift Game Knitting – burn it onto a disc, print this out (download the original size from flickr) and slip it in the CD case as the cover.  I love Diane’s felt CD envelope, making the digital gift into a much more tangible and personal present!  Diane’s how-to for making a thumb drive box for holding an ebook on the drive would also work well for something like Game Knitting (65 pages) – the tutorials for printing out the whole book (with perfect binding, or stitch binding, or ring binding) would be a bit more time consuming and pricey with an ebook of that length.

The book-making ideas would be a good fit for my quick knits ebooks, though!  These ebooks (vol 1, vol 2, vol 3) range around  20-25 pages each, and would make fun little books for knitter giftees (pictured below).  (Of course, you can also send any ebooks or patterns as gifts to ravelers directly through ravelry, digitally, if you want to skip the tangible element.  Or, you can give tangible patterns of my designs printed by MagCloud as gifts for knitters.)

And this transitions us into the main point of this post…. super duper quick last minute knit gifts!

leethal quick knits club patterns Vol.1 Cover leethal quick knits patterns vol. 2! quick knits Vol 3

My quick knits patterns are great for ultra last minute gift crafting – all using under 20 yards of yarn, most using around 10-15 yards!  (See them all on ravelry here.)  A couple free options are my penta-coasters and buttony chevron cuff (below).  There are also all the patterns I gathered on my quick knits links page by other designers, most free, all using under 20 yards.

Penta-Coasters! 08orangeon

Within those mini-ebooks above you’ll find lots of potential gift items, like these stiffened chevron bookmarks, winter leaves which can be turned into a necklace, and several different pouch/case things – the luggage tag pouches below (which can be used for other things besides luggage tags!), the fitted pocket case, robot monster pouch, laced-up pencil case, strappy pouch and mini-wallet

club #2: Bookmarks Winter Leaves necklace Luggage Tag Pouch

And then there’s the wee gift bag, which can be used to package a special tiny gift!  Some others that would make good gifts are the cabled frame

Wee Gift Bag Cabled Frame

pinwheel earmuffs, and blooming flowers (made into earrings here):

Pinwheel Earmuffs Blooming Flowers!

And then there are the newer club patterns like the drink sweaters, and the new cabled keepers:

Drink Sweaters! December club: Wrap It!

As for bigger (but still fast!) items that can easily be finished within a couple days, starting with free – the buttonhead hat can be made with any weight yarn, so a bulky one will knit up in no time!  And the big bulky bucket hat is great for showing off some nice bulky yarn, like handspun or something hand-dyed…

Buttonhead! buckethat4.jpg

Gradient mitts and the simple mary-jane slippers are both made with bulky yarn and work up crazy fast!

knit gradient mitts orangeslippers3

And the haka hat, also for bulky yarn, and also great for showing off handspun, is super cheap and probably the fastest earflapped hat you’ll ever make:

Haka! haka!

Lastly, custom tritops are for any gauge, and a bulky version is a super fast project if you’re not intimidated by the sideways brim (it’s easy, really)!

Custom Tritop! Custom Tritop!

Hopefully I gave you some ideas for any gifts that you were stuck on – I know I always have gifts I’m still figuring out in this last week before xmas!  Happy knitting, and happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,knitting,quick knits,self-publishing — leethal @ 3:46 pm

December 14, 2010

Holiday cards for sale now and free with purchase!

These have been for sale through Trillium for a little while now, but now they are available through my shop as well!  Connect-the-dots holiday cards!

connect-the-dots holiday cards

There is a happy holidays penguins design, and a seasons greetings polar bears design (card insides are blank):

connect-the-dots holiday cards connect-the-dots holiday cards

They are meant to be given to your giftee, who can then connect the numbers and reveal the greeting!

connect-the-dots holiday cards

All the materials are recycled/reclaimed (cards, envelopes, label paper from Scrap, and 100% recycled premium quality paper) – because of the way I source the materials, nice envelopes are a bit harder to come by than the cards, so I’m offering cards without envelopes for a little cheaper ($3.75 vs $4), in case you don’t need the envelope.  Here’s a card on a gift under my tree:

connect-the-dots holiday cards

Because this month is flying by so darn quickly and there are only a few days left when shipped items will arrive by xmas, I’m having a free cards sale through the end of this week (the 17th) – buy anything from my site that gets physically sent (not patterns) and I’ll include one of these greeting cards!  Let me know (via email) if you prefer one design or the other, and also if the item is being sent directly to a gift recipient, then I can write a personal note from you inside the card!

leethal printed shirt

In case you’re a newer reader and mostly just familiar with my knit stuff (my focus nowadays), I used to make all kinds of things from recycled materials, and there are still plenty of those in my shop!  Lots of recycled shirts (and a couple sweatshirts, like the one above) with prints from my hand-carved lino blocks and handmade stencil screen prints (I’m a baller and respect the needles tame the yarn)…  A bunch of hats and a few cuffs made from recycled sweaters, sweatshirts, and t-shirts…

hat! hat! floppy ears tie hat!

Clock kits with printed fabric clock faces and instruction booklets for taking apart a thrifted clock and rebuilding your new fabric faced one…

clock kit! clock kit!

Tons of photo prints in sets of three 4×6’s and matted 8×6’s fitted for 8×10 frames…

trio envelopes

And then there are the knit kits, which I’m running super low on at the moment, and the connect-the-dots stitch sets of course, which I’m waiting on from the printer so most of those won’t ship out till the end of the week (as noted on the webpage)…

stitched argus! pincushion: orange-on-aqua

So, grab your gift items while you still can, and I’ll ship them out as soon as I can!  I use regular first class mail so I can’t guarantee arrival dates unless you’d like to pay more for faster/better shipping; if so, just let me know when you place your order.  Within the states, I think any orders placed by Wednesday (or Thursday morning) should be fine to arrive by xmas…

Filed under: connect-the-dots,contest/giveaway,gifts,leethal store — leethal @ 9:00 am

December 13, 2010

November 1st – 29th photos

How the heck are we almost halfway through December already?! Damn!  Well, I’m going to be blogging a bunch of super last-minute holiday gifty related stuff this week, which should have been blogged a month ago… Anyway…

I was really bad about photo-a-day pictures in November.  For a week I was fighting a cold, for a week I was down with extreme food poisoning (that would be the missing 23rd-27th), and more than half of these photos were not meant to be my photo-of-the-day, but just photos that I happened to shoot that day for other reasons… oh well.  Let’s get through these quickly, shall we?

1st + 2nd – Shot the tutorial for November’s club ebook; shot my newish solid color version of my Brimming with Color design, knit at the tighter gauge for a snug fit (have yet to update the pattern pdf or webpage to stick the new hat in there):

1101 1102

3rd + 4th – Awesome grilled quesadilla with bean dip, yum!  Hung the framed lyrics:

1103 1104

5th + 6th – Put in a good chunk of time working on our library, unpacked several boxes, put my cameras up, put up the book-shelves… Watched an old movie (Peeping Tom) while knitting (of course!), and happened to randomly pause it just when this knitting close-up happened!

1105 1106

7th + 8th – Photographed the painted lace for the stenciled frames tutorial.  Started feeling a cold coming on… cold-fighting dinner: plain pasta with olive oil and parmesan, hot apple cider with whiskey:

1107 1108

9th – Made breakfast pasta with the leftover penne – this is a “recipe” I plan to blog soon:


10th + 11th – Did a photoshoot with Pete at Ikea for my new grey Skoodlet, with an extra huge hood!  Still working on updating the pattern pdf to include this version, but the print pattern includes it… Photographed for my mystery knit-a-long:

1110 1111

12th – Gave Pete my cold (luckily only for a day) so he stayed home from work – Banzo helped him to feel better by snuggling up on him, very unlike her:


14th + 17th – Spent days laying out, editing, and partially rewriting patterns into the print booklets – some of the old ones (like the Mr. Pointy hats pictured) were very updated (not the actual pattern itself, just the style of everything), and I’m now working on updating all the old downloadable pdfs as well…. Went thrifting with Pete and Star – scored this bag of cotton for a couple dollars, not bad:

1114 1117

20th + 21st – Got my pattern proofs and spent hours going through them and making edits… Knitting on a big swatch for the mystery pattern:

1120 1121

28th – Knitting cables cables cables yum!  In Blackstone Tweed Chunky yarn, double yum!


22nd + 29th – Photographed my finished+blocked mystery item (rav project page), which everyone will get to see at the end of this week! Yay!  And lastly, preparing all my knits for my trunk show:

1122 1129

So that was my November – busy and went by WAY too quickly!  What a crazy time of year this is!!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 2:02 pm

December 9, 2010

Framed connect-the-dots stitched pictures!

I meant to start a series of posts like this forever ago – the main issue I hear about my stitch sets is “what would I do with them after I stitch them?”  So, this is the most basic option, but in the future I’ll be showing you more project ideas (of course, they will be projects you could make with any squares of embroidered fabric, not just the connect-the-dots pictures!)…

stitched pictures framed

On my wall now are 4 sea pictures – the octopus and one other from the Sea Creatures set, and the angler fish and one other from the Ocean Abyss set.  You can click over to the spoilers page to see the unblurred images.  For the octopus, I had fun with some mats I scored from the thrift store last week – no mat was the right size for the frame and the picture, so I layered 3 mats:

stitched pictures framed

The great thing about framing the stitch set pictures is that, while they are on 6×6 inch fabric squares, the images themselves are all fitted within a 4×6 area.  So they are easily framable in any 4×6 picture frame, or 4×6 mat.  (That mat above is a little smaller than 4×6, so the edges are cropped a little, but I like how it looks!)

stitched pictures framed

The other 3 are in basic (super cheap) Ikea Clips glass frames – the extra 2 inches are wrapped around the backs, so if I wanted to take them out of the frames later to use them for a project, they aren’t cut smaller.

new stitch set Kits!!

By the way, if you’re still looking for holiday gifts for any crafty friends or family members – I have 8 different themes of these stitch sets (from rock instruments to woodland creatures to crafty tools to dinosaurs…), and kits too!   You can get kits with 3 or 5 sets worth of images, and plenty of embroidery floss, a hoop, and a needle to stitch them all up!  Get them “mystery shuffled” for maximum fun connecting the dots and revealing the pictures!

And Portland readers – the sets are also for sale at Twisted!

Filed under: connect-the-dots,leethal store — leethal @ 9:52 pm

Wrap It! December’s quick knits ebook

December club ebook cover

December’s ebook is out!  The theme is Wrap It! and the main piece is most definitely these Cabled Keepers:

December club: Wrap It! December club: Wrap It!

An any-gauge pattern which uses short rows (sideways edge cast-ons) for custom fitting, this pattern can be used to cover any size box with any weight yarn!  You just need a box with an attached lid, and a glue gun…

December club: Wrap It!

The cables and the overall look will vary depending on your yarn weight – the red and turquoise examples are in worsted, the green example in sports weight.  This is a quick knits pattern (meaning under 20 yards) when made for a small box (like a ring box), but it can be a much larger project since you could use the same pattern to cover a big box, or any size in between.  (Side note, thanks to ohsweetie for suggesting the name – much better than my working name, Cabled Box Covers.)

December club: Wrap It! December club: Wrap It!

The second pattern is this Chevron Bow, meant to tie onto a wrapped gift.  It’s pretty darn simple, but it is also for any gauge, and the chevron shaping makes it great for using up leftover bits of variegated yarns:

December club: Wrap It!

For the extras, the ebook has ideas for making recycled wrapping papers…

December club: Wrap It!

…and includes 4 different printable knit fabric patterns, which can be used as wrapping paper for small boxes:

December club: Wrap It!

So that’s December’s club.  As usual, you can buy the ebook alone for $5 (on ravelry here), or you can sign up for a 6 month subscription (also on rav, or on my website) and save $10 on the 6 months’ worth of patterns.

In other quick knits news – remember when I half-released volume 3 of the old club patterns, and said it would be completed in November?  Well, I did get the last 4 patterns added right at the end of November, so if you buy the ebook now all the patterns are in there… I just haven’t had a chance yet to update the webpage and get the individual patterns for sale separately.  But, I just wanted to let you know that the Blooming Flowers, the Fitted Pocket Case (which, like the Cabled Keepers, can be made much bigger than a quick knit, custom sized as big as you want it!), and the rest of the patterns from the last months of my old club, are now all in that ebook.

Blooming Flowers!

I’m thinking about ending the quick knits club 6 months into next year… I feel like it’s harder to stretch for pattern ideas within the 20 yard limit each month, and maybe I only have 6 months left in me… I’m not sure yet though.  I may replace it with something else new and exciting, who knows…

Filed under: gifts,knitting,quick knits — leethal @ 3:16 am
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