February 24, 2012

Pacific Northwest travels and other stuff and things

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks!  I’ve taken several overnight trips for various purposes, to places as exciting as Seattle and as boring as Salem.  I went up north to Washington with my buddies Star, Vivian, and Marcia, for the purpose of going to Madrona fiber arts retreat in Tacoma, but I think hanging out in Seattle was the real highlight of the trip!

Seattle!

We spent the night at Marcia’s sister’s fabulous cabin-like house in the Wallingford neighborhood, made dinner and knit and talked around the fire.

Seattle trip Seattle trip

Then in the morning we took a walk to the Fremont neighborhood…

Seattle!

…where we ate a delicious breakfast at Silence-Heart-Nest

Seattle! Seattle!

…and then stopped by the Theo Chocolate factory store!  Free samples of spicy sipping chocolate, oh wow, so good.

Seattle!

We walked back to the house along the water…

Seattle! Seattle!

…and saw some fun sights.

Seattle!

Then we headed down to Tacoma, to the Hotel Murano for Madrona.  We spent some quality time in the marketplace, and then sat and knit by the fire and the horse lamp (and the Chuck Close).  Another random trip highlight was stopping at Burgerville on the way up and on the way home – because of the usual goodness of Burgerville, and because of the crazy future touch screen sodapop machine at this location (in Woodland, WA).  Raspberry Coke Zero, mmmm.

Hotel Murano for Madrona Hotel Murano for Madrona

And then there’s something I can’t fully talk about yet, but… last year, when Star, Vivian, and I went to Black Sheep fiber festival, we brainstormed up a plan for a collaborative project, and then we were all so busy we never got it going.  Well, on this recent trip, the spark returned and we’re all really trying to make it happen this year!  Here’s us at Black Sheep, filled with new project excitement energy!

Vivian + Star! Star + Me!

Me + Vivian! Me + Vivian + Star!

So that’s all about that… besides all the mini-trips I’ve been taking, I also spent some fun times showing visitors around Portland recently.  We tried to pack as much awesome Portlandyness as possible into one full day, so we did: Genie’s for a late breakfast, Movie Madness, Multnomah Falls (below), Kennedy School, Ground Kontrol, and Hopworks.  Playing tourist for a day is fun!

Multnomah Falls

A couple other things I wanted to mention – I was recently a featured crafter on Think Crafts! so that was neat.  Even more exciting though, I was interviewed on Stash and Burn podcast!  I talked with Nicole for about a half hour, about all kinds of things… Remixed, my other patterns, color, TV spoilers, etc… You can listen to the podcast through iTunes, or stream it directly on the website (the interview starts after about 20 minutes).  Yay!

me on Think Crafts! me on Stash and Burn!

So, the traveling combined with some assorted teaching and other stuff has meant a brief pause on Remixed work, but I did spend all day yesterday working on that eighth pattern, so it’s on its way!  Now that I’m feeling more confidant that it’s going to work, I can reveal that it’s a design for your hands – more than that will be shown soon enough, once I have a decent enough prototype to photograph.  It’s a tricky pattern concept… I’ve made 4 prototypes so far, and still working out major problems to get the shape right…

I think that’s all for catching up.  I actually have another overnight trip planned soon, one which will involve lots of photos!  And something I’m trying to find the time to really focus on lately is getting my studio in functioning order (instead of a storage room that I can barely walk through), so I may post some studio stuff in the near future, we’ll see how that goes… Oh yeah, lastly, a quick reminder that you still have almost a week left of my birthday month sale – save 30% on any 3 or more of my patterns!

Filed under: photos,podcasts,portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 4:59 pm

February 14, 2012

Remixed pattern #7: Gentle on My Mind

Remixed is nearing completion – this is the second-to-last pattern in the collection!  A bonnet or hood style hat, for any gauge, custom fit to any head size:

Gentle on My Mind cover

Gentle on My Mind is started sideways, the top section being worked to your head size (from the bottom of one ear, up over your head to the other ear), with sideways stitches left along the back edge…

Gentle on My Mind

…to be knit across, and then the rest worked down, with short rows and decreases making the curved head shape in back.  Then a sideways garter stitch edging is knit across the bottom, and braids or i-cords are added (or no tails is also an option, like on the sample above).

Gentle on My Mind

After tons of sketching and swatching and thinking, below is the first prototype I knit up, in striping tweeds, and it turned out pretty much exactly how I wanted!  That hardly ever happens with something this complex.  It was worked at an extra loose gauge, so it’s not super warm, but I love it:

Gentle on My Mind

This orange+white stripy one is my favorite for showing off the multi-directional construction, but unfortunately I decided to experiment with making a smaller size, and it didn’t work out so well… It sits back too far on my head, so I doubt I’ll be wearing it much, but oh how I do love the stripes!

Gentle on My Mind

One of my favorites of my samples is the last one I made, to try out an oversized version.  I paired an extra large sizing (used 20 inches as my starting measurement, instead of the standard 15 inches adult size – all this custom sizing stuff is explained in the pattern) with some extra bulky yarn, making a big, squishy, cozy hood!

Gentle on My Mind

It can be pulled forward or pushed back, and tied for extra warmth and/or to pull it up and down as needed.  Love it!!

Gentle on My Mind Gentle on My Mind

While technically any size can be made in any weight yarn, the specific size/shape does depend a bit on yarn weight.  The sample below, in a sport weight, was made in the standard adult size, but the gauge made for a more shallow front part…

Gentle on My Mind

…so the whole bonnet sits back further on the head and is more snuggly fitted.

Gentle on My Mind

Whereas the bulky recycled spun cotton sample below was also made in the standard size, but the front turned out much deeper, making for a bit more of a hood-type bonnet.

Gentle on My Mind

I use and recommend Socktopus’s shadow wrapping method for the short rows in this project, so I included a photo tutorial for that, the way I do it, which is slightly different from the way she explains it.  I discovered this technique while designing this hat and it’s totally my new favorite way to work wraps!

Gentle on My Mind

I wouldn’t call this pattern hard, but it is a bit complex, so the pdf includes lots of photos of each section and everything you should need to see and know to understand what you’re doing.

Gentle on My Mind

Many thanks to my fabulous testers for being so quick that I was able to release this pattern a day earlier than planned!  I got some happy positive feedback, which I’ll share with you because I can’t resist…  “It was easy to understand, and kept me on my toes… just what I like!” … “You were bang on – the hat was great to knit.” … “Thanks for such a wicked cool hat pattern.” … “This very interesting construction is so addicting”.

I’m super happy with how it turned out, so I was very glad to hear that others like the construction too – I made six samples and never got bored with the pattern!  (In fact, I think I may be making more, we’ll see…)

Gentle on My Mind

Like all the other patterns, this one will be available alone once all the ebook patterns have been released to pre-orderers.  But remember, the current price of $16, for all 8 patterns plus recycled yarn making tutorials, will be raising to $20 once that happens.  Just sayin’.  Plus, you have about half a month still left in my birthday month sale, so you can save 30% if you add 2 other patterns to your Remixed order!  Okay that’s all, happy knitting!

Filed under: hats,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 8:20 am

February 2, 2012

Remixed pattern #6: Freak Out!

It’s here!  A custom fit, any-gauge, basic balaclava…

Freak Out!

…which can fold up into a warm ribbed hat:

Freak Out!

And you may be able to fold it up different ways for different styles of hats:

Freak Out!

The other sample I made, my first prototype for figuring out the design specifics, had no negative ease, and I learned that negative ease is very important because this one is waaaay too big!

Freak Out!

It sort of fits Pete, but still too baggy for good visibility.  Anyway, this one shows a couple different ways of crocheting the hole edges with contrasting yarn for some extra freakiness!

Freak Out! Freak Out!

I’d been planning on designing a ski mask pattern for about 5 years now, ever since I joined ravelry in 2007 and started designing.  If you’ve been following me for awhile, you may remember my old ravatar that I finally stopped using a couple years ago (the photo below on the left)…

mask1.jpg mask3.jpg

Long ago, before I started writing patterns, I used to sell some things I knit, and I made a few of these stripy masks – the two below and a crazy crocheted one, too.  All these masks were semi-inspired by the SUPER creepy masks from the 70’s that you’ve probably seen around the internet at some point… I did a balaclava round up on Threadbanger a few years back, and included a few of those vintage ones there.

mask #2 mask011.jpg

So, when I started planning Remixed, and I wanted to include many different kinds of accessory designs, I finally came back around to my plan of turning those improvised masks into a pattern!  Freak Out! is actually constructed totally differently than those old masks I made, but you know, same concept.

Freak Out!

This mask is made from the top down, measuring your gauge as you go to calculate your stitch count number (same as Wild is the Wind and Buttonhead), with eye and mouth holes placed by trying it on as you go, to get the perfect fit.  (If you’re gift knitting, the pattern includes sizing notes to get a good fit for the recipient.)  The ribbed neck is made long enough to fold up into a hat, and the crochet edges are added last.

Freak Out!

The crochet edging can be made contrasting and extreme for a major design feature, or subtle, like in the stripy mask below.  The pattern is pretty beginner-friendly, as it’s mostly just stockinette, increases, and ribbing, and the simple crochet.  There are photo tutorials for the crochet, instructions for all techniques, and process photos throughout.

Freak Out!

The stripy one was knit in a recycled spun yarn – I unraveled a striped sweater, kept all the different colored yarn pieces tied together as they were in the sweater, then I spun the yarn, and plied it with thread:

recycled spun yarn

As always, this Remixed pattern is currently available to ebook pre-orderers (on ravelry here), until the full book is finished and released, at which point it will be for sale alone.  This is the sixth, of eight total patterns!  But wait, there’s a new piece of Remixed news…

I’ve decided to raise the price of Remixed when it’s finished.  Pre-orders will continue to be $16, but the price will go up to $20 when it’s done, or when all 8 patterns are released.  This is my first big ebook project, and I kind of underestimated the bulk of the collection… $20 still makes for an average cost of $2.50 per pattern, and that’s not even taking into account the yarn-making tutorials, so I think this raise is more than fair.  So, pre-order now while you can get it at the low price!  ;)

Freak Out!

As for “when it’s done”… that’s unknown for now… I’d hoped for by the end of February, but these last few patterns are eating up more time than expected.  (I’m having some issues with Gentle on My Mind and am about to start knitting a sixth sample to work out the kinks!)  So, at this point, that seventh pattern is scheduled to be released on February 14th, if all goes well, and the eighth pattern will hopefully be a couple weeks after that, though that pattern isn’t exactly coming along quickly either.

Quality is the most important thing, right?  My biggest concern is my being completely happy with the final patterns that I release, even if that means more waiting time, I think it’s worth it.  That’s the biggest benefit of staying independent – full control over the quality of my work.  So then, I expect finishing the ebook, with the tutorials and layout design, plus tech editing and everything else, to take the release date to the end of March at the soonest.  But, if you pre-order, then you’ll already have all 8 patterns while you wait for the complete book, so I hope waiting won’t be too hard… Thank you for your patience!

Filed under: hats,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 2:57 pm

February 1, 2012

Pattern sale for all of February!!

I’m turning thirty this month, you guys!  To, um, celebrate (?), I’m having a sale on all my knitting patterns for the whole month!

Betiko - mystery pattern version Flippable

Buy any 3 or more of my patterns at the same time, through my website (including quick knits ebooks) or through ravelry, and enter the coupon code “thirty” in the cart to get 30% off the whole order!

This includes Remixed ebook pre-orders as well!  (Be sure you add all the patterns to your cart before checking out, so that when you enter the coupon code, it shows the sale price there in the cart.)

infinity moebius scarf thing Wild is the Wind

Oh yeah, something un-related to this, but related to the month of February… I just saw this photo-a-day challenge thing through tumblr today, and decided to give it a shot (hah, shot, get it? oh yeah!).  I’ll be posting the photos on my tumblr each day, probably, or maybe sometimes on instagram, we’ll see… anyway, could be fun!

Skoodlet! Custom Tritop!

That’s really all I have to say for this post… but I’ll be posting again very soon since the sixth Remixed pattern is about to be released (it may even already be up as you’re reading this!).

Any suggestions for things I should try to do during this last week-ish of being in my 20’s?!

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,personal — leethal @ 3:06 am
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