November 25, 2011

Buy Nothing Friday giveaways!!

Happy Buy Nothing Day!  Or, if you’re not observing that one, happy holidays!  To kick off the season on this day after Thanksgiving, I’m having some big giveaways!  First, all Remixers (everyone who has already pre-ordered the ebook) are automatically entered into a raffle today – I’ll be picking five winners total: three win a $10 off coupon code for my knitting patterns, and two win a prize package of goodies!  I’ll comment here, post in the ravelry forums, and email the winners once I do the drawing, which will be around 8pm today.

infinity moebius scarf thing Wild is the Wind

Rumours in sport weight bulky Freewheelin'

The second giveaway is for all who have not pre-ordered Remixed, who may be thinking about it or wanting to in the future, and it’s just this one day only, so enter now!

I’ll be picking FIVE winners from the comments for Remixed giveaways:  four will win 1 Remixed pattern of their choice, and a $5 off coupon code for the ebook in case you do decide you want to buy it later – kind of like testing out the one pattern to make sure you’re going to like it before you get the whole collection… And then one lucky winner will get the whole thing!  (meaning, the ebook pre-order, so these 4 patterns now, and the remaining 4 patterns as they are finished, and then the whole book later)

Parallel Lines Cover Wild is the Wind Cover

Freewheelin cover Rumours pattern cover

So, to enter the drawing, comment on this post with your favorite out of these four Remixed patterns that are out so far, and/or tell us about something you’ve made with recycled yarn, or something else Remixed-related… At the end of the day (midnight, west coast time, on Buy Nothing Day/Black Friday) I’ll choose the winners at random.

slanted & enchanted

And here’s a (badly lit) peek at the fifth Remixed pattern!  It’s by far the simplest of all the designs so far, and totally beginner-friendly, but using all your bits of leftover yarn scraps makes it look awesome!  It’s called Slanted & Enchanted, and it’ll probably be out to Remixers by the end of next week, if all goes well…

slanted & enchanted

Filed under: contest/giveaway,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 7:00 am

November 23, 2011

Remixed pattern #4: Rumours

The fourth (out of 8 total) Remixed pattern is now out to pre-orderers!  Rumours fingerless mitts:

Rumours pattern cover Rumours

Before I go on, I just want to say now, so it doesn’t get buried in the post – now that half the patterns are out, I thought it would be a good time to start a Remixed knit-a-long!  Head over to the ravelry forums to vote on which pattern you’d like to knit along (or for a more casual any-pattern Remixed knit-a-long) and to share your knitting progress!

Rumours in sport weight

Okay so, Rumours!  They can be made with any weight yarn, and are custom fit to your hands.  Above is my pair in recycled sport(ish) weight yarn, and below in bulky weight:

Rumours in bulky

There are a few different options and variations you can choose from – like the 2-color version:

Rumours in bulky

And there are two different top hand designs.  The lace chevron design (below) is a bit too complex to work with bulky yarn, as it takes too many rows and stitches for a heavy weight gauge, so there’s a second, simpler hand design which you can see on the mitts above.


They are made top down, starting by working the top hand part sideways (using the sideways edge cast-on) and stopping when it fits perfectly around your hand.  Then the thumb is started separately, joined with the hand, and the rest of the mitt is worked down through the wrist, using color coded stitch markers to keep track of the different twirling stitch designs and yarn-over lines:


There’s no one thing that’s hard or really complicated, but there are a lot of twisted stitches, decreases, yarn-overs, and triangles of garter stitch texture, all kind of swirling and flowing into each other… as long as you pay attention to what you’re doing and read the pattern well, they knit up pretty quickly.


One little detail I like – the twirling stitches turn into the bind-off in a nice flowing way:


And a cool thing for iPad users (which isn’t specific to this pattern or anything, I just got excited because the iPad is still new and exciting to me)… There’s a box in the pattern for filling in your numbers (row counts, stitch counts, etc) while making your first mitt, so the second in the pair will be identical – I used the Goodreader app to make an annotated copy and fill in all the spaces on the pdf, so cool!  I know, iPad nerding out, doesn’t really have to do with this pattern or anything, but whatever, I just wanted to share…

Rumours pattern on iPad Rumours in sport weight

Want to see my design process for these?  I started out with some serious swatching, trying to reach a top hand part design that I was happy with… finally all my sketchy swatching led to the lace chevron design:

Rumours design process...

So then I cast on to turn that design into the top of a mitt, with my only plans for the rest of the piece being some kind of garter stitch thumb part, and some kind of swirling, yarn-over holes, and garter stitch element for the wrist.  And then I wanted to finish it off with a sideways edge bind-off cuff bit… Here’s what that whole thing turned into:

Rumours design process...

So then I moved on to my second attempt, giving it an actual thumb piece, and making the swirls more extreme, designing the whole wrist part as I knit it… and sticking with that sideways cuff bottom bit:

Rumours design process...

After that was done, I decided to let that cuff bottom part go, it just wasn’t working – but the design I used on that bit in my second prototype ended up turning into the second hand design of the final pattern, so I think it worked out well!  And then the final design stayed pretty similar to the wrist in that second prototype, just a few changes made to which bits are garter vs. stockinette.  The final change was that I brought the garter thumb gusset over into the hand a bit instead of being a straight line… And the final design was born:

Rumours Rumours Rumours

Yay!  I’m super happy with it, I hope you like it too!

(For readers who don’t know – this pattern is part of my Remixed collection, which is available for pre-order now.  It’s $16, there are 4 patterns so far, and there will be 8 total, plus yarn-making tutorials.  Order it now to get the first 4, and then each of the remaining as they are finished – see the webpage for more details.)

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 4:02 pm

November 21, 2011

How about some trivia?!

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I started posting a new round of trivia questions, most weekdays sometime between noon and 1 (west coast time) – like I’ve done in the past, I’m sending the winner of each question (first to reply with the correct answer) a $2 coupon code for my knitting patterns.  These are trivia questions I wrote to host trivia night at Zach’s Shack here in Portland.

These twitter questions are the 3rd time I hosted – the first batch of questions were blogged here, and now that I’m twittering the third batch, it’s about time I blog the second!  These questions, from the second time I hosted, were twittered back in the summer, so they may be familiar to some of you.  Like I did last time, I’ll just post the questions right now, and you can have fun trying to answer, and then I’ll post the answers in comments in a week or so…

trivia night


Ten Degrees of Television: I’ll describe a tv show which connects through an actor to the next and previous ones – just name the show.


1.  Bob Odenkirk plays the recurring role of Saul Goodman in this AMC drama set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which began in 2008; Bryan Cranston stars as chemistry teacher Walter White.


2.  Bryan Cranston was father Hal in this Fox comedy which aired from 2000-2006; Grandma Ida was played by Cloris Leachman.


3.  Cloris Leachman played neighbor Phyllis Lindstrom throughout the first five seasons of this CBS comedy which aired from 1970-77, before moving on to her own spinoff series; Ed Asner plays a main character who also got his own spinoff after this show ended.


4.  Ed Asner made a few appearances as Wilson White on this NBC series created by Aaron Sorkin, which only lasted 22 episodes in 2006-07; Merritt Wever played production assistant Suzanne.


5.  Merritt Wever plays Zoey Barkow in Showtime’s New York City based black comedy series which began in 2009; Swoozie Kurtz plays Mrs. Scheinhorn, one of Dr. Cooper’s two moms.


6.  Swoozie Kurtz was eyepatch-sporting Lily Charles, formerly half of synchronized swimming duo the Darling Mermaid Darlings, in this ABC comedy-drama which lasted from 2007-09; Lee Pace played main character Ned.


7.  Lee Pace was Aaron Tyler, brother to the lead character in this Fox series which ran for one season in 2004 and took place in Niagara Falls; Jewel Staite was Heidi Gotts in a few episodes, wife of the love interest of the lead.


8.  Jewel Staite was Kaylee Frye in Fox’s space western series which only ran in 2002-03 and took place in the year 2517; Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk were main characters River Tam and Wash.


9.  Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk were somewhat minor parts Bennett Halverson and Alpha in this Fox sci-fi series which ran in 2009-10; Patton Oswalt appeared in 2 episodes as Joel Mynor.


10.  Patton Oswalt was one of many comedians who made appearances as himself on this Adult Swim show which ran on the Cartoon Network from 2004-06 and took place in the town of Jefferton; Bob Odenkirk was a writer and producer of the show and appeared in most episodes as different characters, including Mr. Sandleman.


trivia night


Ten Degrees of Movies:  Each answer is the name of a movie – each movie is connected through an actor to the previous and the following movie.  Name the actors that connect the movies for extra bonus awesome points.


1.  John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic about Jack Burton, “a tough-talking, wisecracking truck driver whose hum-drum life on the road takes a sudden supernatural tailspin when his best friend’s fiancee is kidnapped”, to quote IMDB.


2.  Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 version of a 70’s exploitation film follows stuntman Mike through Austin, Texas and Tennessee.


3.  Billy Ray’s 2003 film based on the true story of a young journalist at The New Republic in the 1990’s who fabricated over half of his articles.


4.  Lars von Trier’s 2003 Brechtian parable about a small mountain town, the first in von Trier’s projected “USA – Land of Opportunities” trilogy.


5.  Gus Van Sant’s 1995 dark comedy, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, about Suzanne Stone Maretto, a determined aspiring newscaster.


6.  This 1999 comedy with a big ensemble cast follows twenty-somethings around New York City on New Year’s Eve, 1981.


7.  Jerry Bruckheimer produced this 1997 action-packed thriller about an ex-con and former US Ranger, which was nominated for a best song Oscar, for “How Do I Live” performed by Trisha Yearwood, and won a Golden Raspberry award for “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property”.


8.  Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1987 comedy about Hi and Ed, with lines like “We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.”


9.  Danny Boyle’s 1997 black comedy about a janitor who writes trash novels on the side, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy businessman, and a pair of angels who pose as bounty hunters, who have adventures involving kidnapping, karaoke, car chasing, bank robbing, and a claymation epilogue.


10.  Roman Polanski’s 2010 political thriller, based on a novel by Robert Harris, about dangerous secrets involving a former British prime minister.


trivia night


Colorful Mashups:  I will describe some kind of imaginary movie remake or other kind of project, which mashes up two different elements as pop-culture-mashups, or before+after.  Here’s an example of one in which both are music-related: “The Swedish indie rock band well known for their 2006 hit single Young Folks time travels to open for the legendary singer from The Beatles, who plays some of his solo songs like Imagine” – the answer would be Peter Bjorn and John Lennon.


1.  Frontman of The Pixies uses the name he goes by when playing with the Catholics when he decides to branch away from his alternative rock background and try some hip hop, joining up with Sacramento rapper duo Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel.


2.  The R&B and soul singer most famous for her 1999 hit single “I Try” stars in an experimental musical version of the cult classic documentary from 1975 about the Beales, mother and daughter Big Edie and Little Edie, reclusive socialites in East Hampton.


3.  A terrible casting decision is made when beloved 89 year-old actress and comedian best known for her sitcom roles as Sue Ann Nivens and Rose Nylund in the 70’s and 80’s is set to star in a remake of Ridley Scott’s 1996 disaster drama in the part that was originally played by Jeff Bridges; the actors to fill the shoes of Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto, and Ryan Phillippe are still to be decided.


4.  John Hughes’s 1986 teen comedy-drama about Andie, Blane, and Duckie, is grossed up by John Waters when he replaces Molly Ringwald with Divine and causes some big controversy, getting the new version banned in some countries.


5.  A long lost original version of Stephen King’s 2002 miniseries is discovered, about a Seattle mansion investigated by a parapsychologist and a team of psychics, made first decades earlier as a comedy starring John Elroy Sanford, under his stage name.


6.  Members of the english band biggest in the late 60’s through mid-70’s with singles like “Hush” and “Smoke on the Water” decide to make a rock musical version of Woody Allen’s 1985 film in which a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world in 1930’s New Jersey.


7.  A new police show set on the water is developed when creators of the Manhattan based drama series which ran from 1993-2005 decide to combine elements of that show with their favorite film, a surfer flick from 2002 starring Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriguez.


8.  In a remake of the 1973 dystopian sci-fi classic, people are informed about their evil food rations not by a heroic Charlton Heston, but by an actual superhero, one with a power ring who has been around in different comic forms since 1940.


9.  The Coca-Cola Company is rebranding their caffeinated citrus-flavored soda pop, first introduced in 1979, and hard to find outside the midwest and south parts of the country, to appeal to pop-punk loving kids, by hiring the band responsible for songs “Ocean Avenue” and “Lights and Sounds” to rock out on the new commercials.


10.  Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel is made into a new film much different from the Stanley Kubrick version; this adaptation is written by Mike White, stars Colin Hanks and Jack Black, and is set in a futuristic Southern California instead of London.


trivia night


Name That Song: When I did this trivia live, this last round was an audio round – I played the first 30 seconds or so of each song, and players wrote down the artists and the song names.  There’s a mystery theme for the artists throughout this category – so, for this written version, I’ll just list the song names and if you want to try to play, you can see if you can figure out the artists by figuring out what the theme is.


1.  The Killing Moon

2.  For What It’s Worth

3.  He War

4.  Digging Your Scene

5.  Angels of the Silences

6.  Pink Houses

7.  Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)

8.  Heretic Pride

9.  All I Want

10.  I Came As A Rat

Filed under: trivia — leethal @ 3:04 pm

November 15, 2011

Oops, belated Halloween post…

Did you have a good Halloween?!

Halloween 2011 polaroid

I did!!


My buddies and I didn’t have a plan till the last minute, but then it came together awesomely!  I was Andy Warhol, Pete was Banksy…

Halloween 2011 polaroid

…and Star was Frida Kahlo:

Star as Frida

I took Polaroids and drew sketches of people all night…

Halloween 2011 polaroid

…at dinner and at the taphouse where we played trivia…

Halloween 2011 Halloween 2011

…and where we won trivia!!  It was my team’s first win at that particular trivia night, and it was a great night to win since they had some extra bonus Halloween prizes:

Halloween 2011

Before I poofed out my hair to be crazy-haired Warhol for the night, I had Pete take my photo as smooth-haired Warhol and used it to photoshop this:

me as Warhol me as Warhol

I bleached my hair for the costume (I was going to anyway, to dye it colors, the timing just happened to work out perfectly) but it didn’t bleach out totally white – I was bad at getting the back of my hair.  But I think it worked out pretty well, lots of people knew who we all were, which is a lot more than I can say for many Halloweens!  Anyway, fun time.

I’m trying to blog more silly posts like this, but need to get in the habit – I had this one almost completely written and ready to post a couple days after Halloween, and then got distracted with my designing and forgot about it!  I have several old handmade gifts to blog about, now that it’s time to start figuring out gifts…  and maybe a few recipes as well… I’ll try to make it happen, really I will!

Filed under: personal,photos,random stuff — leethal @ 3:32 pm

November 7, 2011

Remixed pattern #3: Freewheelin’

This one sure took awhile to get perfect, but oh boy, I think it was a success!

Freewheelin cover Freewheelin'

Freewheelin’, the third pattern in my Remixed ebook collection (out to pre-orderers now, and to be available individually once the ebook is complete, next year), is a cable-tastic rounded shawl, and can be knit up in any gauge from around DK weight up to a super bulky (down to sport weight should work, for a smaller shawl).

bulky Freewheelin' bulky freewheelin' bulky Freewheelin'

It can be made pretty much any size you want, by just stopping when it’s as big as you like, or when your yarn runs out.  The blue one, in a worsted-ish recycled yarn, is knit all the way through all 6 sections of the pattern (so it’s as large as you can get in worsted); the bulky red one was bound off before the third section was complete, for just a few cable repeats.  The more sections you make, the more it’ll curve around and inwards:


The big blue one is so curved that it can be easily worn wrapped about with no shawl pin (like in the top photo)…

Freewheelin' Freewheelin'

…and because it’s so big and the fabric is so drapey, it can be tied around as well, which I quite like:

Freewheelin' Freewheelin'

You can see how with fewer sections worked, it’s still curved, but in just a U-shape.  This red one was made with a light worsted-ish weight angora blend recycled yarn, held triple stranded, making it a super bulky weight, knit pretty densely on size US 11 needles.

bulky Freewheelin'

My favorite way to wear this one is twisted around, or wrapped and closed with a shawl pin, though it can be worn in cape-like styles as pictured above.

bulky Freewheelin'

I have a third sample as well, though it was an earlier prototype and has some major differences from the final design.  There are a different number of increases per section, making it a not-as-curved shape, and making the cables run into each other differently in some parts.  But it can still serve to show you how Freewheelin’ will look in a chunky weight commercial yarn (Cascade 128), worked almost all the way through section 5 for a large size:


Optionally, you can bind off in a contrasting color for a simple slightly-decorative edging.  This option allows you to work right up through the last possible row in your main yarn, and not have to worry about leaving enough yardage for the bind-off.  The bind-off recommended (and explained) in the pattern is Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off, which makes for a nice squishy edge row in the contrasting yarn.

Freewheelin' prototype

The pattern is made up of repeating cable segment patterns, which travel and twist into each other as you move from one section to the next.  Most cable segment patterns have yarn-over increases built into them, making the shape of the shawl.  You keep track of all segments as you work by using a color-coded stitch marker system.


All pattern parts are both written and charted.  Personally, I think it’s a lot easier to make using the charts, but I had testers work successfully from both formats.  The pdf also includes photo tutorials for cabling without a cable needle, a 4-page essentials-only section for printing, if needed, and all cable charts together on one easily printable page.

(A tester, Sadie, pointed out something cool about the cable chart page: Did you know that if you print it on standard sheet of paper and then fold it in half, you can read all the cables you need for the first half of the shawl on one side, then turn the halved sheet over and read the other side for the yellow-middle section and the rest of the other side?! It’s ingenious. It meant I could take this reasonably complicated knitting pattern on the move and even knit on the bus with it.  I didn’t even think of that folding feature while laying out the page!  Perfect!)

bulky Freewheelin'

If you are intimidated by the look of this complex piece, well, one of my testers did recommend I include a disclaimer “not for the faint hearted,” but really, they all agreed that after the first couple of sections and getting used to the cables, with the stitch markers keeping track of everything, this pattern gets pretty darn addictive and hard to put down!  There’s a bit of discussion in the leethal ravelry forums about this pattern being “a highway to divorce” haha!

stitch markers

I want to give a HUGE thank you to my fabulous testers for this one – I gave them a ridiculously tight knitting deadline (one week!), since I wanted to get this pattern out to Remixers asap, and they all got their shawls knit on time with excellent feedback for me.  Monica, Sadie, Carole, and Kristin, you are all truly awesome!  (They are also proof that you can totally get this knit in plenty of time for holiday gifting, hah!)

future design prototype!

And lastly, I’ll show you my very first prototype of this design, which is super different from the final design; though the individual cable patterns are pretty much the same, the shape is all different (it doesn’t curve up, it’s just kind of a half-oval shape).  It was made with exactly one skein of Manos del Uruguay worsted weight wool (138 yards), and can be worn as a cowl (or neck warmer, or whatever you want to call it), closed with a shawl pin.  If you want to see a sample of Freewheelin’ made with exactly one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca worsted weight yarn (215 yards), check out Kristin’s project page.  See, this can be a one-skein project if you want it to be!

future design prototype! future design prototype!

Check out Freewheelin’ on ravelry, or on my Remixed webpage to pre-order your copy of the ebook and get your hands on this pattern right now!  In case you haven’t yet read it elsewhere – the Remixed ebook is $16 and will include 8 accessory patterns total, all either for any weight yarn or with very flexible gauge requirements, starting with Parallel Lines, Wild is the Wind, and this one.  Pre-orderers will receive each of the remaining 5 as I finish them (working on a pair of fingerless mitts at the moment!), and then the final ebook, with lots of tutorials on making your own recycled yarns, will be released next year (no official release date, just as soon as I finish it and it’s the best it can be).

Follow me on twitter for glimpses into Remixed designs as I work on them, and follow this blog and/or the ravelry group for updates whenever new patterns are released!

Filed under: knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 12:23 am
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