August 28, 2012

UK adventures are approaching fast!

I’m going to the UK!  Really soon!  The summer flew by, as it often does, and now September is just about here and I’m getting on a plane in one week!


We’ve been preparing all summer – we bought raincoats and backpacks, lined up a house sitter, I’ve been working ahead like crazy in order to take the time off, etc – but it hadn’t really actually hit me until last night that we are really going.


Pete’s parents are taking us on a 3 week long adventure throughout England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland; last night they sent us the official itinerary and all of the sudden it was real!  It’s really happening, whoa!  So, the main point of this email is to ask you, my dear readers…

Aberfoyle, Scotland near Loch Lomond

Where should we go??  I mean, the cities are planned out, but I need yarn shops, record stores, vegetarian-friendly restaurants, smaller museums that we might not know about, other sights off the beaten path, etc…


The places where I know we will be spending a day or more are:  London, Bristol, Criccieth, Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and York.  I know there will be day trips to Bath, Brighton, and lots of other in-between places… we don’t know specific plans, which is making it more exciting for us!  We’re just along for the ride, ready for amazingness!


These photos here were all taken by me 10 years ago when I studied abroad for the summer of 2002 at the University of Sussex in Brighton, and took lots of day trips to London and other nearby spots, and long weekend trips to Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh), Paris, Amsterdam, and Spain (Madrid and Barcelona).


Although I did spend that time in the UK, I was a pretty different person then – I wasn’t even a knitter!! – and I don’t remember tons of specifics, as my memory fades over the years… so my experiences back then aren’t going to factor into our plans for this trip a ton.  My #1 favorite place I visited back then was Scotland, so I am extremely excited to go back there!

Lomo shot!

If you want to see more photos from that time, I’ve just put a bunch of the best shots on flickr, from all the countries I visited.  As for photos this time, I’m hoping to be able to tweet/tumbl/instagram photos throughout the trip, but I don’t know how connected we’ll be most of the time… Oh, and that reminds me – blog comments are a fine way to tell me recommendations right now, but if you want to recommend anything after next Monday the 3rd, I might not be checking blog comments as much as email or twitter – so tweeting place recommendations @leethal is probably the best way to get them to me :)


Thanks for any knowledge you can pass on, and I will surely share tons of photos, stories, etc, with you when we return!  I even have some crafty projects planned for the skies and roads!

Filed under: personal,photos — leethal @ 12:25 pm

August 3, 2012

Mystery shawl knit-a-long!!

It’s beginning!  Well, it’s in the very beginning stages of beginning, but yeah, you can now sign up for the leethal mystery shawl 2012 knit-a-long!  Woooo!

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

The knitting won’t actually begin until October 1st, but if you sign up now you’ll get the week 0 pdf with all the yarny info you need to decide on yarns/colors… there are lots of options!  Shocking, I know!

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

The mystery shawl is for any weight yarn – make any size in any weight – and there are lots of different ways you can choose to work with color, from the most simple 1 color for the background, 1 color for the contrasting details, all the way to some various complex options involving 2 colors for the background and multiple colors for the contrasting.  The week 0 pdf goes into some details about the options without giving anything away about the design.  And you can catch some glimpses here of how there are small details of color over a solid background…

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

It’s hard doing a mystery photo shoot!  I decided to do a modeled shoot, to give the knit-a-long more leethal personality, but how do you photograph yourself modeling something without showing what the thing looks like?  Tricky, I tell you!  So one idea I came up with was breaking out my pinhole lens – the blurry shots (below 2 and the top one) are pinhole!  Fun stuff – I really should play with it more often!

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

So, a few more details are on the ravelry page, and my mystery shawl page includes yardage estimates, which are also in the week 0 pdf of course.  Also on that page, you’ll find 6 different mystery photos with the text like the one below, which you can download and use as placeholder photos on your ravelry project page.

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

As for the knit-a-long itself: the 5 pattern section pdfs will be released to knit-a-longers each Monday in October (starting the 1st); each following Friday, a spoiler pdf will be released with photos of how that week’s section looks (which you can choose not to open).  There will be a ravelry forum thread for each week, where you can be free to post photos and talk all about how it’s going, and there will also be a photo-free no-spoilers thread for questions.

Sign-ups right now are $5; when knitting starts on October 1st, the price will go up to $6, same as the final pattern price.  The complete pattern will be released on Monday, November 5th.

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

Something super exciting for Portland knitters – there will be an in-person home base for the knit-a-long at my favorite local yarn shop, Twisted!  Details will be announced very soon in the Twisted rav forums; I’ll be in attendance most weeks, if not every week, at the real life knit night, so I can answer questions, photograph your in-progress shawl for your rav page, and refuse to tell you if you’re right about future section predictions ;)  It’ll be so hard for me to be mysterious, but I’m looking forward to it so hard!

leethal mystery shawl knit-a-long!

If any yarn shops anywhere else want to host in-person knit-a-longs in your shop, the mystery shawl is available wholesale through ravelry’s in-store sales program.  The pattern works with any weight yarn, so you can pick out favorite shop yarns that would make good shawls – if you want to know if a particular yarn would be a good match, ask me and I’ll let you know!

Anzula yarn

Speaking of yarn… The Anzula sample I mentioned I was working on a couple weeks ago, in the above yarns, turned out beautifully!  The yellow and green are the main two colors, and there are small details throughout in the navy and caramel colors.  It’s a large size and it’s so cozy I want it to not be summer so I can wear it constantly!!

And I’m currently working on my final sample, a small size version in Black Trillium Merilon Sock yarn, in a subtle dye lot of the Star variegated colorway, with a recycled white silk (or unknown silk blend?) as the contrasting yarn – photographed below before unraveling the reclaimed sweater piece.  I am super loving it!  Warning about using indie dyed variegated yarns for this shawl: if using a variegated yarn for the main color, it needs to be very subtle, with no contrasty colors involved.  This skein of the Star yarn is perfect, but I’ve noticed that other skeins in the same colorway are sometimes much less subtle – still beautiful, but with darker purples and a more intense variegation.  Wonderful for other projects, but not for the main color of this particular shawl.  Point being, if you do choose to use any variegated yarn as the main color, buy it in person so you can look at the exact skeins and make sure they are quiet enough, in terms of contrasty-ness.

Black Trillium Merilon Sock

If you have a contrasty variegated yarn that you’d love to use, you can totally use it as the contrasting color in the shawl!  Just use a solid as the main/background color, something neutral or nicely matching with the variegated, and it’ll work out great, no problem.  So many options with this shawl, you can pretty much use whatever yarn grabs your attention.  And then you can head over to the ravelry group forum and share your yarn choices with everyone!  Yeah!

I can’t wait for cast-on day, and I know it’s far away right now, but it’ll come quickly I’m sure!  For now, thanks for your early sign-ups, since they help me out in this summertime slow period, and have fun picking out your yarns!  Yay!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,portland stuff — leethal @ 8:30 am
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