January 6, 2015

2015: Year of Making plans and other year-end/beginning stuff

Happy 2015!  Do you feel like now we’re officially in the future?  I do.  2015.  Damn.  Anyway, I have some things to share with you and tell you about!  I’ll start with the older news…  In late December, the 4 days after Christmas, I released a free pattern via social media.  (Here it is on ravelry.)

Insta-hat pattern part 2 #leethalinstahat :  Work one last k2 in established ribbing pattern, then begin new repeat pattern.    [Yo, p2, k2tog] around for 2-3 inches / 5-8 cm.   (Pictured is part 1.)

The bulky weight Insta-hat pattern was posted in 4 mystery parts, on instagram and tumblr (and linked from twitter and my ravelry group).  It was like a quick mini-mystery-knit-a-long for after holiday knitting stress times, and I think everyone had a lot of fun!  Yay!

Here are the 4 insta-hats I made.  Clockwise from top left: main sample, size small, before blocking; size medium sample, also before blocking; size large stitch count, small-ish height, after blocking and wearing a bunch; size large stitch count, extra l

There’s the finished hat – I made 4 samples because they were SO quick to make!  And I topped one with a pom-pom; the extra-long sized version works well both long and slouchy, and with the brim folded under for extra ear warmth.  This one was made with this recycled hand-dyed yarn I made many years ago.

Insta-hat extra large size with brim folded under Here is my hand-dyed #leethalinstahat, large stitch count, extra large height (for extra slouch), pom-pom on top!  It also works really well to fold the ribbed brim section under, making it extra thick and warm around the bottom, for a non-slouchy fit.  Y

If you want to make it now, just click the links given on my leethalknits webpage, or on the ravelry page.  All pattern posts still exist for you to use for free!

Insta-hat pattern part 4 #leethalinstahat :  After a yo from ending the last part, k1, place marker, and begin round 1 (marker is now the round beginning/end point - slip it after completing each round).          Round 1: [Yo, k2, k2tog] to end.   Round 2

And I have another free thing for you!  The 2015 leethal knits calendar is available for free download on leethal.net!  My new year gift to you :)

Leethal Knits 2015 calendar is now available for free download on leethal.net! This year's is all photos of knitting on the needles. Happy new year!

Last year’s post about my first calendar talks in more detail about the calendar in general.  This year’s is all photos of knitting on the needles.  And there’s a blank one that you can download to use with your own square-format photos.

2015 leethal knits calendar!

Moving along… Do you know about Year of Making?  I had sort of been aware of it, just from seeing instagram posts tagged #yearofmaking throughout 2014, but I didn’t know where it came from until I heard Kim Werker’s podcast interview with Miriam Felton, the creator of the concept.

Kim also released an ebook about Year of Making, which I bought and it’s great (like everything Kim makes!), so I recommend that for some making inspiration.  Check out the table of contents page down below to get an idea of what’s in the ebook…

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook cover

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook page

So, I decided to get on board for 2015, but loosely… I won’t be posting a photo of what I make every day on instagram, but I will try to put photos of each day’s making up in this flickr set.  I’ll instagram the good stuff, and I’ll probably put up some tumblr posts of bigger projects here and there.  I’ll just see where the year takes me!

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook page

Something I love about Kim’s experience with her first year of making is how she ended up getting really into making things she had never done before, like making soap, and painting.  I don’t have plans to learn any big new kinds of making, but I do want to get more into sewing this year, and maybe more drawing, and more spinning, and I’ll just see if anything else calls out to me!  (Above and below are pages from Kim’s ebook.)

Page from Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook

As for my “rules” for myself, for what I’ll count as a #yearofmaking thing… like I said, I plan to be very loose, not strict at all, so missing days is fine – when I’ve done year-long project things like this in the past, I tend to get stressed out about it as the year goes on, and I don’t want this to cause any kind of extra stress in my life.  I usually do some kind of making every day for my job, knitting on a design project, etc, so I mostly won’t count work-related making in this, although sometimes I might, depending on the specifics.

An allowance I’m going to give myself is that house projects can count as the making for the day; if I spend a chunk of time working on cleaning up my studio (which relates to being able to use the space for future making), or if I do some kind of house organizational/decor thing, which might not necessarily be “making” exactly, that counts for me.  I had a sort-of-resolution last year to get my studio in order, and it had ups and downs throughout the first half of the year, and then it just got out of control and ended 2014 worse than how it started.  So, studio sorting will be a not-so-fun year of making project for the beginning of this year, so that I’ll have the space I need to do sewing projects and fun stuff like that!

01/01 spun yarn

Another of my first projects, which I plan to start today, is to make a 2015 planner – I want to be more organized about my work this year, release more patterns, give myself deadlines, stay on track, so I’m going to experiment with an analog paper calendar book.  I bought a plain spiral-bound notebook, and Pete’s uncle gave me this great set of nice colored pencils for Christmas (thanks, Terry!), so I’m going to get to work drawing out monthly and weekly calendar pages.  Then I’ll plan my year of design, and it’ll be there on paper, much harder to move around than iCal fake-deadlines, which I always end up bumping as designs take longer than they should!

planner plans

One other random, making-related thing I want to show you… I made some photo books and I’m really happy with how they turned out, so I plan to make more!  I wanted some kind of print versions of all the digital photos we’ve taken over the years, on trips and stuff, and I thought it would be fun to make these books instead of just making old fashioned albums :-p

Instagram books homemade photo albums

I put the best of Pete’s and my instagram photos into yearly insta photo books; I’m going to start the 2014 edition soon.  The insta books include captions for the photos, so in the future we can look back at what we did each year.  And then the other 2 are photo books of trips we took, no captions or anything, just a physical book we can have on the shelf.  Now that I’ve made a few and I have templates, I can make more pretty easily, of older trips, and future ones!   (I used iWork Pages, same as how I make my knitting patterns, to make the PDFs, and then I had them printed by MagCloud, which does very affordable paperback book printing, as long as the page count isn’t too high, since the price is per-page.)

Okay that’s some making, and plans for 2015 making.  The first week of the year has been a little off, but I’m hoping it’s going to be a good one!  Let’s go!

December 18, 2014

Quick project tutorial: Record yarn bowls!

If you follow me on instagram, you may remember my excitement when I hit upon this idea many months ago:

Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It's not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!

(caption: Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It’s not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!)

A photo posted by Lee Meredith (@leethalknits) on

I had a broken record, so I made it into a bowl, but with a hole chipped out of it, and then I realized… I could thread yarn through the hole and use it as a yarn bowl!

Experimented a little more with the record yarn bowl idea - eeeek it's working!! Needs a bit more perfecting but I'm loving this idea! Thinking about both a blog tutorial and selling them around Portland... Fluevog store event is off to a great start! Fun to mix all my samples in with the fancy shoes. Come by before 9 if you're in portland!

So then I played around with the concept, made a bunch to bring to an event where I was selling things, but in the end decided it’s not something I’m going to make to sell as a regular thing.  Shipping would be annoying, and I wouldn’t be able to sell them for much since they do break pretty easily if you drop them, so they’re not like a long-lasting high-quality item (I sold them for $6 at the event, just a fun cheap impulse buy kind of thing).  They totally function as yarn bowls, but not to the same extent as nice ceramic bowls, since they are very lightweight and bounce around if the yarn ball pulls.

Record Yarn Bowl

What they are is a fun thing to make in 5 minutes for yourself and for knitting friends!  They are SO quick to make, and cheap if you have access to vinyl records no one wants to listen to (thrift stores, record store 50 cent or $1 bins, or sometimes records stores have free boxes in the front to give away crap nobody wants) – I imagine this being an easy project you can make a bunch of one afternoon, and bring them to your knit night to pass out for everyone as a fun holiday gift, or just for the heck of it!

Record Yarn Bowl

So, here’s what you need:

  • A vinyl record (one that’s too scratched up to listen to, or that no one would want – don’t melt anything good, it would make me cry!)
  • Scissors (big ones that are okay to use for this kind of thing, not nice ones obviously)
  • An oven
  • An oven-safe bowl
  • Gloves (things will only heat up to around 225 degrees, so knit wool gloves should be enough to protect your hands, while letting you use them) or oven mitts
  • Optionally, another bowl or two for shaping your yarn bowls into different shapes and sizes

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Before I make a bowl, I usually wash the record, with dish soap like a dish – it’s much easier to wash a flat record than to clean the bowl after it’s been made!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Heat up the oven to around 225 degrees (anywhere from 200-250 should be fine). Turn your oven-safe bowl upside down, and place the record on top, then put that in the oven:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

While it’s in there, put on your gloves and get your scissors ready…

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Leave it in for about 2 minutes, or until you see it melt down over the bowl.  Don’t leave it in extra long, as it may get too melty and fume-y.  If you take it out as soon as it’s soft, the fumes shouldn’t be bad, but of course keeping the room ventilated is a good idea!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

So, take it out, and immediately make your cut, to form your hole for the yarn to go through.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

There are lots of different ways you can do this – the simplest is as you see below, just a straight line diagonally into the edge:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once the cut has been made, it will already be starting to harden back up again (by the time I took that above photo, it was already hardened), so put it back on the upside-down bowl and back into the oven for another couple minutes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

When it’s re-softened, take it out and put it inside a right-side-up bowl (either the same one you’ve been using in the oven, or a different one), and form your bowl shape, and your yarn hole.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For the bowl shape, remember your yarn needs to fit in there, so it can’t be crazy wavy in and out (which is how the record will naturally want to bend).  For the yarn hole, if you made a cut like the one pictured, then spiral the strip into a tube.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For other kinds of yarn holes, just remember you’ll want to be able to get the yarn in and out, so make a hole with a slit or opening of some kind.  After the tutorial are lots of photos of different bowls I made while experimenting, so you can get ideas for different kinds of holes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once things are formed, just hold it all in place how you want it for about a minute, and then it should be hardened up and finished!  If you mess it up somehow when forming the shape, just stick it back in the oven for a minute to re-soften.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Here’s that finished bowl in action!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

You can also form bowl shapes around the outside of an existing bowl, if you want a different kind of yarn hole – I think this one was made that way, so it’s wider / more open:

Record Yarn Bowl

So that’s it, so easy and quick!  Now here are a bunch that I’ve made!

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

If you make some bowls, I would love to see them!  If you post a photo on instagram, @leethalknits to show me, or tweet @leethal, or add photos to my old leethal flickr group :)  Have fun!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,home stuff,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 11:10 am

December 16, 2014

New pattern set: Twist on a Classic mitts + What a Twist hat!

New bulky, QUICK patterns, just in time for last-minute holiday knitting!  This is technically one new pattern, plus one pattern re-release, but they are available together as a new matching set.

Twist on a Classic mitts What a Twist hat

Twist on a Classic (ravelry link) is a new pattern for fingerless mitts – they are fun and speedy to make, they are cozy in bulky yarn (but can also be made in lighter weights), they are custom fit to your hands, and they have a classic look that would be pleasing to any giftee ;)  But also, I recommend making a pile for yourself, as I have done since designing them – I’m wearing the red/orange pair right now as I type and I love them!!

Twist on a Classic mitts

What a Twist (ravelry link) is a re-release of my Pink Squish Hat pattern from Knitscene in summer 2013.  The pattern rights went back to me, so I made a leethal-style pdf, renamed it, and now you can buy the pattern directly from me.  It’s not a typical leethal pattern – it’s designed in a single weight/gauge (bulky weight, 13 stitches to 4 inches), and there are no modifications or variations offered – but, it is constructed in a cool modular way that makes knitting it really fun!  And it’s reeeally cozy to wear!

What a Twist hat

When I made plans to self-publish the hat, one thing that bothered me was that I wasn’t able to squeeze a hat out of one skein of the recommended yarn, I had to dip into a second skein, leaving almost a full skein left over.  So, I thought, how about I design a pattern that’s perfect for using up that almost-skein, for an item that pairs well with the hat?  So that’s what I did!  2 skeins of Quince & co. Puffin (or other similar bulky yarns) are the perfect amount to make a hat and a matching pair of mitts!

What a Twist hat Twist on a Classic mitts

They are fun to make together, since they use a lot of similar techniques, and they are definitely great to wear together, both being covered in bulky cables and garter stitch squishiness!

Twist on a Classic mitts What a Twist hat

So, you can get the patterns individually (from my site, hat/mitts, or on ravelry, hat/mitts) for $5.50 each, or you can get them together at a discounted set price – $8 for both.

What a Twist hat What a Twist hat

I don’t need to say much about the hat; it’s pretty straightforward, and I posted about it back when the magazine was released.  Several projects have been posted on ravelry, so you can see what other knitters had to say over there.  I made this new sample above with the contrasting crown cable, but I’m actually not into how that looks, so I recommend just using one color throughout ;)

Twist on a Classic mitts

But I will tell you more about the mitts!  They are made sideways, so they’re custom fit around your hand, and the cable is knit modularly with no picked up stitches, just simple short rows (no wrapping), with increases and decreases connecting it as you knit to the adjacent sideways sections.  The mitts are joined together with 3-needle bind-offs, and the thumbs are knit in the round.

Twist on a Classic mitts Twist on a Classic mitts

They can optionally be made with a contrasting color cable, which is a fun way to show off a small amount of a special yarn, like I did with my handspun sample…

Twist on a Classic mitts

…which are solid color handspun for the main yarn:

Twist on a Classic mitts

They were originally designed for bulky weight, but since they are custom sized around your hand, they can easily be made in any weight.  The pattern as written works well down to around aran weight (or anywhere from heavy worsted through all levels of bulky/chunky weights).  Here is my aran weight sample:

Twist on a Classic mitts

(That’s a recycled hand-dyed yarn, which slowly changes colors from orange to red.)

Twist on a Classic mitts

There are modification notes included for going down to lighter weights, and/or making longer mitts, and also for changing the placement/width of the cables, for if you’re using a lighter weight and want to expand the cable… I started a new pair today using a wider cable modification, again with a special handspun yarn as the cable panel:

Decided last minute to include some modification notes in the pattern I'm releasing tonight, which meant casting on another sample to test a mod idea - looking good!

An awesome tester knit up a mitt with the wider cable mod, and the longer length mod, which you can see on ravelry.  The way the pattern works, if you are a somewhat experienced knitter, once you make one pair normally so that you understand how the parts all fit together, you can pretty much make them any weight, any size, custom cables if you want, etc.  But of course, you can just follow the pattern exactly as written and not have to think about mods!  Lots of options!

Twist on a Classic modified mitt in progress

They are worked continuously from beginning to end – if you make the single color version, you never break your yarn, including for the 3-needle bind-offs and other finishing steps, so you only have 2 ends to weave in.  If you make a contrasting cable, then you’ll just have the 4 extra ends to weave in from the cable.

Twist on a Classic mitts

The pattern is written for 2 lengths, and then there are the mod notes included to go longer.  The shorter length (only for bulky weight) knits up SO quickly – they take me about an hour per mitt, and I am not a fast knitter!  The longer size is for nice long mitts in the bulky weight, or shorter length mitts for the aran weight range, like my red sample.  They are still a very quick knit, even in the lighter weight.

Twist on a Classic mitts

The pattern includes full instructions for all techniques used (cast-ons, bind-offs, sideways edge techniques, cables), and process photos to help you along.

Twist on a Classic mitts

I love every pattern I design, but something about these makes me a little extra excited, how they are SO quick and fun to knit, and have such a simple look that can be really plain and classy, or totally wild and wacky, depending on yarn choices.  I love them!!

Twist on a Classic mitts

I hope some of you are able to take advantage of the release date and whip up a few pairs for last-minute gifts!  If you do, please snap a photo and throw your projects up on ravelry – seeing your versions is my favorite part!!

Twist on a Classic mitts

Happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knitting,quick project,self-publishing — leethal @ 7:30 am

November 13, 2014


It’s that time, knitters!  The 2014 Gift-a-Long (or GAL) has just begun!!  The GAL includes a massive sale (293 designers, 3822 patterns total) through Nov 21st, and knit-a-longs (/crochet-a-longs) through the end of the year, with TONS of opportunities to win prizes!  There are 1866 pattern prizes that will be given away to winners throughout the GAL, which you can win by participating in the group, posting your works in progress, playing the games, etc.  (If you like the numbers, check out the stats page, with a giant infographic about the participating designers and stuff.)

GAL 2014 pattern collage

I have 20 accessory patterns in the sale – you can see them all here.  There is a mix of older and newer, some less popular patterns that I love and think can make great gift knits, and some popular old favorites.  The sale is 25% off all the patterns (that’s all 3822 of them!) with the coupon code giftalong2014.

Wobble Bass Junction Wizzö Barry in yellow

Rumours long loop stripy cowl ten 10 yard cuffs! Krewe cowl

ALL patterns by me (and all participating designers) are eligible to knit for the GAL, including patterns from outside publications (like my designs for Knitscene, Twist Collective, Holla Knits, etc), and ALL paid (not free) patterns are eligible for prizes.  So if you already have one (or more) of my patterns that you haven’t gotten around to making yet, this can be a push to get to it – knit it now, post it in the GAL group, and hopefully you’ll win a prize!  The only rule is that you can’t have already cast on before now – GAL things don’t need to be finished before the end date, but they do need to be started after the start date (Nov 13th).

So, check out the GAL ravelry group for all the details, KALs, games, and other fun stuff!  And now, part of being a participating designer is promoting each other, so we each got connected up randomly with another designer to interview (and more to tweet about, pin on pinterest, etc, so my social media will be all GAL-ified for the next few weeks!).  I was hooked up with Katherine Rollins, designer of some beautiful accessories featuring lots of colorwork and fun ruffles.

Gathered Dusk Path of the Peacock


What’s the first thing you ever knit?
A: Do you mean finished? The first thing I remember trying to knit was a Kaffe Fassett design from the book, “Glorious Knits.” I was a teenager pretty new to knitting and I hate to say that I worked one multicolored repeat but never finished the jacket! The first finished projects happened late in high school and college. I knit huge traditional Icelandic Lopi sweaters for almost everyone in our family!

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever knit (or, one of your favorites, if you can’t choose 1 absolute favorite!)?
A. When I finally learned sock knitting in 2007, I got hooked. I love socks!

Is there a knitting technique that you haven’t tried yet that you are really wanting to explore?
A. I haven’t tried Mosaic knitting but I am intrigued.

Is there a technique you’ve recently tried for the first time and LOVED?
A. Lace! I need to explore it more.

What’s your favorite yarn you’ve ever used?
A. Okay this is a hard question. I haven’t explored near enough yarn to answer fully. My taste runs to luxury yarns but my wallet doesn’t always follow! I loved using Kashmir by The Woolen Rabbit. But I have enjoyed knitting with Knit Picks Capra and Capretta yarns. I have a Wollmeise skein and a Madelinetosh skein in my petting box. I need to use them but haven’t decided on a pattern.

Is there any local yarn in your part of the world (North Carolina) that you love and recommend that people check out?
A. There is a really fun cotton yarn made one state over in Virginia, Wolles Yarn Creations. The yarn has long color changes. I knit a Holden Shawlette from it and I hope to design a shawlette for it one day.  The other local yarn that has come on the scene recently is Silver Spun from Feel Good Yarn Company. It is an intriguing combination of cotton, silver, and lycra. I want to design some sporty socks with it.

What’s the one thing you wish you were knitting right now?
A. That changes from moment to moment! I would like to be knitting right now either a shawl or a blanket of my own design. Coming up with the right design, now that is the trick!

Evening Tide Ruffled Ascot

Thanks for the interview, Katherine!  (Click the photos to go to the pattern pages!)

Mt. Hood Snow Cap

So, I considered doing a quick round up of some of my favorite designs/designers here for the end of this post, but then I thought, there are so many, I won’t know when to stop!  So instead, I’m going to keep it local – here are my neighbor designers here in Oregon:

Star Athena (I love so many of Star’s designs – a few favorites are the Pendleton CowlMt. Hood Snow Cap {pictured above – I have plans to make this for myself and embroider snow on Mt Hood with thick white wool}, Galanthus, Interval, and Lebowski); Shannon Squire (tons of beautiful designs, including Mosaic Mason Jar Cozies which could be an excellent gift knit {pictured below}, and I really love the Tytonidae Cowl and the Mesh Leaf Cowl); Larissa Brown (lots of fabulous designs – I especially love Lichen, Layer Cake Blanket, and Cane Sugar Mitts); Marnie MacLean (so many fantastic sweaters, really gorgeous shawls – a couple favorites are Foothills Shawl and Estival – and she has some beautiful crochet patterns as well!); Michele Bernstein (I want Thrumbelina on my feet right now!); Birch Hollow Cottage (adorable kid stuff and toys); Carol E. Herman (love the Topiary Fingerless Mitts); Galzanne Knits (some really nice cowls and hats); and Sheila O’Keefe (the Snowflake Coaster is such a perfect gift knit!).

Mosaic Mason Jar Cozy

If you want in on the fun, go join the group, check out the designer list (you can browse through the designer names quickly here, but check out the thread for photos so you can discover new designers!) and buy all the patterns you want during the sale period right now!  But remember, you can knit not-on-sale patterns for the GAL, and posting in the group can win you awesome prizes!  Yay!  Happy knitting!!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,lots of links,portland stuff — leethal @ 5:00 pm

December 18, 2013

leethal 2014 photo calendar!

I’ve been pretty into Instagram since I got my iPhone early this year, and I’ve been wanting to figure out ways to display my favorite shots.  The other day I thought, how about a calendar?  So I made one!

I made an Instagram calendar!

I love how it turned out: simple, functional, a lovely display of some of my favorite instas.

2014 instagram calendar

So I decided I should share it with you!  I turned the calendar into a pdf, with four versions.  You can go to my leethal.net wallpapers (and other downloads) page and download it with my photos…

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

…or without any photos, so you can plug in your own square-format photos.  And both options come in the lighter text (as above) or the darker text (as below).  Note: the lighter text in the photos of it hanging in my kitchen looks barely-visible, but that’s mostly to do with the lighting in there; it’s actually plenty visible, I think.

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

If you want to put in your own photos, you’ll need an application that can open and edit pdf files, to place your photos on the pages.  Or you could do it analog – print out the calendar as is, then print out your own photos, and glue them on there.

2014 instagram calendar

To make the calendar, you’ll need a photo printer (or a trip to Kinko’s or something), nice letter size* photo paper/cardstock to print out the pages (I used Red River Paper GreenPix, which I highly recommend, but unfortunately it’s only available in 4×6 inch size and rolls right now), a paper cutter (or scissors and the ability to cut super straight), and a hole punch.  Print, cut down the center dotted line, punch out the grey dots, and hang!

2014 instagram calendar

*The pdf is sized for US letter size paper (8.5×11 inches) but if you use a different paper size and print it fit to page, centered, it should work fine, just with some extra white space that you can trim off as needed.

2014 instagram calendar

Happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,home stuff,photos — leethal @ 10:00 am

December 17, 2013

Block puzzle tutorial!

A couple years ago, I made a gift for Disney princess loving Alicia, using wood blocks and pages from thrifted books.  I photographed the steps, and then forgot to blog it!  So here is how I made it – it only takes a few hours, so you have plenty of time to make one for a kid gift this season (I’d love to make one with something other than princesses, like baby animals, or cats, or pretty much any kind of animals…).

Or, you could make one bigger with more pieces (and/or harder by mixing up the blocks, as explained below) for an adult version, with like photos of yarn, or photos from a trip you took together… oh shoot, I’d never thought of that until right now – now I want to make a trip photo puzzle!!

Princess gift block puzzle

So, you need wood blocks (I got these at Michael’s), pictures to use (my princess pictures came from some cheap thrift store books), a paper cutter (or scissors if you’re careful, in which case you also need a ruler), Mod Podge and a brush for the Mod-Podge-ing, newspaper or something to protect your work surface, and optional Sparkle Mod Podge if you want a glitter finish.

Princess gift block puzzle

I started by making a template for the pictures; I used the cardboard packaging from the wood blocks, cutting the piece of thin cardboard to the size of the blocks all together in a rectangle:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Then I used the template to cut out my pictures to that size:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

So now I had pictures of the exact size of the blocks all touching:

Princess gift block puzzle

I used four pictures, to make the puzzle a bit easier than if all six sides of the blocks had pictures, since she was pretty young when I made this.  Pictures on all sides of the blocks (six pictures total) would make for a harder puzzle.

Princess gift block puzzle

I carefully measured and cut the pictures into squares the size of the blocks (if you’re using a paper cutter, you should be able to measure directly on the cutter – if you’re using scissors, then you’ll need to measure with a ruler).

Princess gift block puzzle

Be careful with your measuring and cutting so that you don’t accidentally cut the wrong size for some reason (I don’t remember why this happened!) and ruin your picture, so that you have to find another princess picture to replace it:

Princess gift block puzzle

So, once I cut a picture in both directions, I had a puzzle picture like this:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Now I Mod Podged those squares of pictures onto the blocks:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Here’s another decision you can make.  I wanted the puzzle to be easy for the young kid, so I kept the first puzzle in order, turned each block the same way, and glued on the second picture in the same order, so that once she solves the puzzle for one of the pictures, she can then flip all the blocks in the same direction to see the next picture, then the next, then the next.  If you want a more challenging puzzle, you can scramble up the blocks so that you have to solve each one separately.  There are actually two more levels of difficulty – you could either flip all the blocks the same direction, then glue the pictures on in random order, all on the same sides, or you could glue them on random places and random sides, so the puzzles for each picture all start from scratch.  Just make sure you glue one square per picture onto each block.

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Repeat for each picture until all the squares are glued on:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Because this was a gift for a frilly little girl, I chose to add sparkles to the whole thing at the end:

Princess gift block puzzle

I don’t remember exactly, but I’m guessing I covered five sides with the sparkle Mod Podge, let them dry overnight, then sparkled up the sixth side the next day.

Princess gift block puzzle

Finished sparkly puzzle:

Princess gift block puzzle

Tah dah!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,tutorials — leethal @ 10:56 am

December 16, 2013

Knit gifts of the past!

In continuing to catch up with blog posts that should have been done long ago, I want to show you a bunch of things I’ve knit for gifts over the last several years that never made it to the blog!  Many times, I’ve knit a thing, photographed it, meant to blog about it soon, and then just never gotten around to it… you know how it goes, life gets in the way.  So here we go, alllll those gift knits that never got shown!  Starting with the most recent, Pete’s xmas gift last year:

Pete's Harris Tweed hat

Pete wanted a warm hat with a bill, to keep the rain off his glasses.  I didn’t want to design a hat with a bill, so I went pattern searching, and this design – Colorado Cadet / Newsboy Cap by Cheryl Andrews – seemed the best match for exactly what he wanted.  I bought this Harris Tweed yarn in York last fall (at Ramshambles), with intentions to use the black skein for something for Pete, since he’s a big fan of the Harris Tweed brand.  This hat ended up needing more than 1 skein worth, with the bill and folded-under brim adding yardage, so I added some of the other two skeins I’d bought for myself – a speckled brown kind of color for the crown, and a teal blue for the underside of the brim, and also for the braid to add a bit of extra interest there.

Pete's Harris Tweed hat Pete's Harris Tweed hat

I think it turned out great, and Pete loves it (although Portland is rarely cold enough for him to wear it; he gets overheated really easily, unlike myself – I wear wool hats constantly all winter long!).  The pattern makes the bill work without any plastic/cardboard/etc piece in there, which is cool.  This was my first time with a few different techniques: a hemmed brim, a welt, and the herringbone braid.  I made this hat a bit taller than the pattern, so it would cover his ears and be warmer.

Pete's Harris Tweed hat

Next up, my mom collects elephants, mostly of the small, hard variety, but I thought adding a large, soft version to her collection would be fun!  So I used the pattern Garter Stitch Elephant by Phylis Tucker as a guideline, and bulky yarn (a few strands of worsted-ish held together), and made this weirdo wonky guy.

Mom's weird elephant guy

He looks like a perfectly normal stuffed elephant from certain angles…

Mom's weird elephant guy

…but then from other viewpoints, he looks like some kind of anteater/elephant hybrid thing.  Oh well, he has personality.  I think she named him, but I don’t remember what it was.

Mom's weird elephant guy Mom's weird elephant guy

The other wonky toy I’ve made was a gift for Eloise, (ravelry creators) Jess‘s & Casey‘s little girl, when she was born.

Eloise's Bird+Egg

It’s a Which Came First? by Anna Hrachovec, but made to look like a blue bird instead of a chicken.  Sort of.  To the best of my lacking toy-making abilities.

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Eloise's Bird+Egg

I think the egg looks great, and then the bird hatches, and he’s a little funky looking.  Personality?

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Here’s a shot of the pieces before sewing them together:

Eloise's Bird+Egg

Another one from far back, 3 years ago to be exact, I made this scarf for my mom for a xmas present.  The pattern is Spitcurl Scarf by Staceyjoy Elkin; it’s one of those patterns I saw and just wanted to make to find out how it’s made.

Spitcurl Scarf Spitcurl Scarf

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, in soft, washable Malabrigo Rios and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK.

Spitcurl Scarf

Another mom gift, this one was for Pete’s mom for xmas 4 years ago.  We did it as a joint gift – Pete picked the pattern (Kerry by Rodger Murry, no longer available) and the yarn (Malabrigo Twist, yumm) – and I knit the hat.


This was my first time knitting with Twist and it was love at first stitch.



Lastly in the other-people’s-patterns category, I knit this scarf for Pete back in 2008 – Counterpoint Scarf by Jennifer Crawford, in Alpaca with a Twist Highlander.  It was my first (and only) time doing illusion knitting, and I love it; I’ve always planned to revisit the illusion concept someday in my own designs… Maybe 2014 will be the year for that, we’ll see!

illusion knitting piano scarf

I’ve also knit a few gifts from my own patterns that never got blogged, so here are those.  First, a pair of Either/Or mitts for my brother Matt:

Matt's Either/Or mitts

I used a striping pattern for these that’s different from all six of my pattern sample mitts, and I love how it looks!  Three colors in blocks, in the short fingerless mitts version of the pattern:

Matt's Either/Or mitts

They are man-sized, modeled by Pete, in a machine-washable yarn (Lion Brand Wool-Ease) so Matt can wash them easily.

Matt's Either/Or mitts

I knit this picture frame for my dad using my Quick Knits Cabled Frame pattern, but making each section longer for a larger frame.  It’s shown here with a placeholder picture (a page of a magazine).  It’s backed with layers of cardboard so the photo can slide in and out easily.

Cabled Frame for Dad

Lastly, I first started working on the Coloring Book designs in early 2012, to figure out what yarns I needed and stuff; when I decided to make a cowl for Pete’s mom last year out of an assortment of yarns bought throughout our UK/Ireland trip, I thought the draft version of what would become the Color by Number pattern would be a perfect fit.

Travel cowl gift knit

So, this is sort of a Color by Number custom cowl, but it’s way before the actual pattern was finalized, and there are lots of improvised bits – mainly, the cabled panel up the one side, and the scattered boxes with cables and twisted stitch patterns inside.

Travel cowl gift knit

With the gift, I included a diagram of where each yarn came from.  They are from York, London, Edinburgh, Holyhead in Wales, Dublin, and Galway.

Travel cowl gift knit

Modeled shots:

Travel cowl gift knit

Travel cowl gift knit Travel cowl gift knit

Travel cowl gift knit

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!  Although I wish I’d given it wood buttons instead of plastic.  Oh well.  It worked nicely to throw in some stitch patterns in some of the boxes, so feel free to use that idea with your own Color by Number projects if you like it!

Travel cowl gift knit

Okay that was a long post.  Better to group together all these old knits into one giant post than to never blog about them at all, right?  I have a couple other completely different gift-themed blog posts coming up this week.  Next will be a tutorial, and then I’ll be giving a gift to you for the holidays :)

Stay tuned, and I hope you are well as this season flies by!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knitting — leethal @ 2:33 pm

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving sale weekend: Print Pattern Packages (with digital downloads) on sale!

Remember when I used to sell full-color printed booklets of my patterns through MagCloud (and also self-distributed to yarn shops)?  Maybe you don’t, but yeah, I did used to do that… it was a lot of work and not many people were interested, so I stopped, and now I only sell a couple of collections in print format.  (And I use a distributor now for wholesale, because I pretty much sucked at that whole self-distributing thing.)

A side effect of this change in my methods is that I ended up with a pile of these nice quality print patterns sitting in my studio!  What to do?  Well, for about a year, they just sat, sadly, with no purpose in life.  But I want them to find good homes!  So, the biggest sale weekend of the year seems like a good time to address this issue, eh?  Especially since packages of pretty patterns could make great gifts for the knitter(s) in your life!

leethal print pattern set!

So I’ve gathered up all these print booklets, sorted them into sets, and listed them on etsy… except if you’re reading this on Wednesday or Thursday, they aren’t there yet.  They will go live as close as possible to midnight on Thursday night (west coast time), at discounted sale weekend prices!  They will stay at the discounted prices until Monday night around midnight, at which point all the sets that remain un-claimed will go up to their normal prices (which are still discounted from what the patterns would normally cost – all pricing details are explained at the end of this post).

Betiko - mystery pattern version ten 10 yard cuffs! big skoodlet! Twisted Ankles!

But wait, it gets better!!  Each print pattern will have on it a slip of paper with a download code, for the pdf pattern through ravelry (but it still works fine if you’re not a ravelry member).  Some of these print patterns are older versions which have been revised in the last year or so; the pdf downloads will be the newest, bestest versions, so you’ll have both the pretty printed booklet for your shelf, and the digital file to refer to if anything in the old version is confusing, or just to have a backup copy in your rav library, etc.

spiral hat Brimming with Color! haka! Ocean Breezes!

There are a bunch of patterns in print form – for some of them, I only have 1 or 2 copies, and for others, I have a ton of them, so they show up in many of the sets.  For most of the sets, only 1 exists – one set has 2 in stock, and another has 3; once they’re gone, they’re gone!

I’ll link to every pattern right here and now, so I don’t need to link them up every time they are mentioned.

Pattern links:

And: Etsy shop link to buy these print pattern packages.

leethal print pattern set!

There are a few small sets… I have 3 copies of this Quick Knits pattern package (above), which includes the Quick Knits best-of book, with 12 patterns using under 20 yards of yarn, and the Ten 10 yard Cuffs pattern, with 10 different buttoning cuff patterns in varying degrees of difficulty.  This package is a great learning tool for new knitters, or a perfect gift for someone with tons of small leftovers they want to use up!

leethal print pattern set! leethal print pattern set!

There are two different 3-pattern sets.  Haka/Ten 10 yard Cuffs/Skoodlet is a fun little package for adventurous beginner level knitters – Haka and the cuffs are easy, with the cuffs possibly teaching some new techniques, and then Skoodlet is a step up into the more intermediate range.  And then the Skoodlet/Betiko/Junction set is for the more advanced knitter – 3 bigger patterns which are customizable, fun to knit, and great to wear!

leethal print pattern set! leethal print pattern set!

There are two different 4-pattern sets as well.  There’s that same fun adventurous-beginner level package from above, but with Double Scoops added on, which is also a fun pattern for knitters ready to advance, or just wanting to make a fun little accessory.  And then a 4-hat package – Haka, Spiraling Stripes set, Ocean Breezes, and Custom Tritops set – which is a fun introduction to leethal hat patterns; all four hats are constructed differently from each other!

leethal print pattern set!

And now we step up to some 6-pattern packages.  Above is another great adventurous beginner kind of package, with Ten 10 yard Cuffs, the Haka hat, and the Brimming with Color hat all being very beginner-friendly, and then 2 more hats – Mr. Pointy and Spiraling Stripes set – both on the slightly more simple end of the leethal pattern spectrum, and Skoodlet being a great pattern for stepping into intermediate territory.

leethal print pattern set!

This one is a leethal short rows collection – 6 patterns which all make use of short rows in varying ways!  This would be a fun introduction to my design style for someone unfamiliar with my sideways edge techniques.  You get the Junction modular triangle shawl, Betiko customizable crescent shawl, Terrapin modular twisted stitch hat, Custom Tritops modular hat collection, Spiraling Stripes sideways-knit hat set, and Swerve modular sideways-cuff fingerless mitts.

leethal print pattern set!

And here is a 7-pattern set for hat lovers – a wide variety of different kinds of hat patterns.  There’s the Haka earflap hat, Terrapin twisted stitch hat, Custom Tritops versatile set, Mr. Pointy ziggy-zaggy fitted hat, Brimming with Color bulky slouch hat, Ocean Breezes wavy cloche or beret, and Spiraling Stripes customizable swirly hat set.

leethal print pattern set!

This one is kind of a world of leethal collection, with 7 different leethal accessories… Twisted Ankles cabled legwarmers, Swerve fingerless mitts, Ten 10 yard Cuffs, Double Scoops headband/earmuffs, Skoodlet hooded cowl, Haka hat, and Spiraling Stripes hat set.

leethal print pattern set!

Another leethal variety pack, with 8 patterns – 5 hats, and 3 other fun things.  There’s Haka hat, Spiraling Stripes hat set, Brimming with Color hat, Custom Tritops hat set, Ocean Breezes hat, Double Scoops earmuffs/headband, Skoodlet hooded cowl, and Ten 10 yard Cuffs.

leethal print pattern set!

The mega hat set includes 8 hat patterns – the 7 in the hat lovers set above, plus Wobble Bass, to add some sideways cables to the mix!

leethal print pattern set!

And lastly, this is the package pictured at the top, the ultimate leethal accessory collection!  You get all the leethal classics (okay I don’t know what qualifies as a leethal classic, but some of my all-time favorites are included here!) – Betiko shawl, Skoodlet, Double Scoops, Shapeshifter, Spiraling Stripes hats, Haka, Ten 10 yard Cuffs, and Twisted Ankles.

A couple things you might like to know…

Each pattern will come with its own separate download code, so if you want to split up your package and gift patterns to different people (or gift a few and keep the rest for yourself!), that will totally work fine!

Sale weekend prices are $2 less than the digital version of each pattern would be on its own, all combined (so if there are three patterns, and they each cost $6 normally, then the package price is $4 times the 3 patterns = $12 total).  The normal (still discounted) price that remaining packages will raise to after Monday will be $1 less than the normal pattern prices.  So for a 4-pattern package, the price will go up by $4; for an 8-pattern package, it will go up by $8.  All sale and post-sale prices are given in the etsy listings.

Shipping is the same for all packages – $2 within the US, $5 to anywhere else (see the etsy listings for more details).

I think that’s all there is to know!  Head to my etsy shop on Friday and get what you want while you can!  (Just so you know, there are a few pdfs listed in my shop, so the listings which don’t say print patterns are not print patterns.)  I am hoping to find good homes for all of these patterns over the weekend; I have no idea what to expect, so if you really want something it’s best to act fast in case they start selling out right away!

Thanksgiving '09!

Happy holidays!  I plan to eat way too much food tomorrow (mmmmmm stuffing and mashed potatoes!), and then avoid all stores all weekend – no Black Friday madness for me, no thank you!  If you do go out shopping this weekend, try to support local shops as much as you’re able to!!  :)

Filed under: books,gifts,hats,knitting,leethal store,self-publishing — leethal @ 3:53 pm

November 1, 2013

Quick (gift-able) Knits ebook and the Indie Gift-a-Long!

A couple of exciting things!  First, you can now (finally!) get my best-of leethal Quick Knits book collection in digital form!

leethal Quick Knits Ebook cover

This book of 12 of the most popular leethal Quick Knits patterns has been out in print booklet form for awhile now (you can get that for $12 over here, or maybe at your local yarn shop!), but I’ve just now gotten the book into e-format, so you can get a pdf of all 12 of these selected 20-yards-or-fewer patterns for $11.  Just in time for quick gift knitting!

pen tube bookmarks! Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

The items range from functional and practical (like the pen tube bookmark, the guitar pick pouch, the drink sweaters, the picnic wrapper), to cute and not-so-practical (like the various wearable flowers and leaves, the light-switch cover)…

Drink Sweaters! April's quick knits club stuff!

…to fun and silly (like the old timey moustache and the superhero mask).  Many potential gift items, as well as patterns which may teach you new knitting techniques on a small, non-intimidating scale!

Old Timey Moustache! Superhero Mask!

So, there is a thing happening which is what pushed me to finally get this ebook together, since the Quick Knits were a perfect fit for gift knitting… and this awesome gift-focused sale and knitting event is about to begin!


Have you heard about it yet?  A TON of indie designers are teaming up to offer a huge selection of patterns at 25% off November 1st – 15th (with coupon code giftalong, GMT), and then you, the knitter, get to knit-a-long (or crochet-a-long) your new patterns for gifting (or for yourself!), share your progress, and have a chance to win lots of great prizes!  All the info is in the ravelry group over here.

The whole thing kicks off today, Nov 1st, and you have all the way till the end of the year to finish your knitting, but the more projects you post in the threads, the more chances you’ll have to win!  Oh and, only participating designs (the ones being offered for 25% off now) are eligible for the gift-a-long-ing.  (Side note:  I’m trying REALLY hard to release my upcoming collection before Nov 15th, so that I can include those designs as gift-a-long options, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it.  Wish me luck!)

Here are my leethal designs you can choose from (also listed in the gift-a-long thread here!) which will be 25% off with giftalong coupon code now through November 15th:

another pattern mosaic

So that’s the new Quick Knits ebook (normally $11), Ten 10 yard Cuffs, which are also super quick gift-able knits, and 7 accessory patterns which can knit up fast and make good gifts!  If you like bulky cables, you can choose Lemmy (shown below), or Twisted Ankles, or the Haka hat+cowl set


If you want to choose your own gauge, using a bulky weight for extra fast knitting, or a finer weight if you prefer, you can choose from Either/Or (shown below in the full mittens option), Wild is the Wind hat, Gentle on My Mind hat/bonnet/hood, or Wobble Bass hat.  Many of these are gender-neutral, and all of them can be customized based on yarn choice and other options, to best suit your giftee!


So, take advantage of that coupon code – browse through the forums (or the Pinterest boards!) and check out all the other awesome designers participating!  And then get knitting!  Yeah!

November 26, 2012

Holiday gift knitting! (plus mega sale, today only!)

It’s been a busy month!  With all these new patterns, I want to offer a sale on this cyber Monday, so you can collect whichever ones you like with some major savings!  (Like my newest Flying V’s, and Junction, which still has yet to be blogged officially, pictured below.)

Flying V's Junction

So, today only, add as many leethal patterns/ebooks to your cart as you want (through ravelry or my site), and enter coupon code leethalmonday to save 40% off your entire order!!

This code will work for the whole Remixed collection (knocking it down from $20 to a mere $12 for all 8 patterns!) and all the quick knits ebooks, Game Knitting, the Flying V’s collection, etc…

Flying V's

And since it is now indeed the holiday season, I will go on to point you to my many patterns which might make for good (quick) gift knitting!  All of my any-gauge patterns can be made as a quick gift knit if you choose a chunky yarn, like Wobble Bass, which looks very nice in bulky yarns (pictured here in worsted) and is a great gift for a hat-wearing person of any gender:

Wobble Bass

(Note:  I’ll link to the ravelry pages for all the patterns throughout this post, since it’s a little easier and is probably preferred by many, but you can also find all the patterns on my website, and buy them through there with the coupon code if you prefer.)

Any-gauge mitts include Either/Or and Rumours (both from Remixed), which are both quick in chunky yarns:

Either/Or Rumours

Any-gauge cowls include Flippable and Parallel Lines (another Remixed pattern)…

Flippable infinity moebius scarf thing

…and hooded (or optionally hooded) cowls Shapeshifter and Skoodlet both work excellently in bulky or super bulky yarns:

Shapeshifter! big skoodlet!

Custom Tritops and Wild is the Wind (from Remixed) can both be made not just in any weight, but also as either fitted or slouchy styles (both shown here in slouchy), though if you choose to make either super quick in bulky yarn, the fitted style is probably the better choice.

Custom Tritop! Wild is the Wind

Other Remixed any-gauge hats include Gentle on My Mind, shown here in an oversized super bulky version, and Freak Out! (a hat with a surprise hidden underneath!):

Gentle on My Mind Freak Out!

I also have some simpler bulky weight patterns, like Brimming with Color and Haka, which is the ultimate quick knit hat, in either super bulky yarn or 3 strands of worsted held together – perfect for one-night gift knitting!

Brimming with Color! haka!

And Twisted Ankles are cabled legwarmers knit up in bulky weight:

Twisted Ankles

And then there are my official quick knits patterns – those hats and other accessories might be quick compared to shawls and sweaters, but these projects below are QUICK!  There are the Ten 10 yard Cuffs:

ten 10 yard cuffs! cuff501

Lots of good potential gifty items in my quick knits ebooks, like these Drink Sweaters and Pen Tube Bookmarks

Drink Sweaters! pen tube bookmarks!

…and the Guitar Pick Keyring Pouch and CD Gift Case, which are together in the same ebook:

April's quick knits club stuff! April's quick knits club stuff!

And then there are my older quick knits patterns, compiled into 3 volumes – these Pinwheel Earmuffs and Cabled Frame are from vol. 2, the Garter Strip Light-switch Cover is from vol.3

Pinwheel Earmuffs Cabled Frame Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

…and these Stiffened Chevron Bookmarks and holiday-themed Wee Gift Bag below are from vol.1.  Browse through ravelry or my site to see all my quick knits patterns (47 of them!).

club #2: Bookmarks Nov quick knits club patterns

Lastly, if you need to stick to freebies, I have some of those as well!  My new hat Scant knits up quickly, especially if you choose a chunky yarn.  Cassady and Buttonhead are also simple knits for any gauge, and the Buttony Chevron Cuff is super quick and fun:

Scant in handspun Cassady! Buttonhead! 08orangeon

And then there are these Gradient Mitts and leethal Mary Janes, both in bulky yarns for quick gift knitting.

knit mitts booties1.jpg

Hope I gave you some good options if you are trying to pack in lots of knitting over the next month!  You should be able to whip up several of these in time, no problem!  Happy holidays, and happy knitting!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knitting,quick knits — leethal @ 5:00 am

January 27, 2012

Pendleton scrap blanket (and matching pillow)!

Awhile back, Susan blogged about a blanket she made with scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, I thought it was fabulous, and Pete completely fell in love with it.  He’s been a bit Pendleton obsessed since he started getting really into men’s fashion a couple years ago… So we started taking trips over to the store and grabbing good looking scraps whenever we found them.  And then when the holiday season started, I took a couple secret trips by myself and gathered enough material for a giant blanket gift!

Pendleton blanket

I never scored like Susan did, with the super cheap precut sample cards, but I got mostly the thick, blanket quality wool pieces, so our double layered wool blanket is thick and heavy and WARM!  My blanket ended up costing more like $40-50, with all the by-the-pound thick scraps (as opposed to Susan’s amazing $12 creation, which is more what I was hoping for when I decided to go ahead with the project), and it took several days of work, with my limited sewing experience, but it was so super worth it all!  Once of my favorite things I’ve ever made!

Of course, most of you don’t have access to Pendleton wool scraps, but this same basic project can be done with recycled wool clothing (like plaid shirts and skirts) from thrift stores, or with felted sweaters!  So, I’ll tell you how I made mine…

Pendleton blanket

I started by cutting all the pieces in blocks to make strips of all different widths.  I cleared my living room floor to spread the project out and plan out the blocks as I cut.  After I took the above photo, I decided to make it a bit bigger, so I added more blocks to each strip.  Then I stacked each strip in order, and lined them up so I’d know how they were meant to be sewn together:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

I sewed each pile together into the strips, just as I’d laid them all out before, with a basic straight stitch, right sides facing.  As I finished sewing each one, I laid it back out on the floor, to keep everything in order:

Pendleton blanket

Then I ironed all those seams open on the back of each strip:

Pendleton blanket

I used the wool setting, with maximum steam…  Here are the seams before and after ironing:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

The strips after ironing:

Pendleton blanket

So then I sewed all the strips to each other.  Starting at one end, the first to the second, then the second to the third, and so on, until the whole thing was one big piece.  Careful to keep the ironed seams flat when sewing over them:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

Here’s the whole thing after that step:

Pendleton blanket

The next step, of course, was to iron all those seams, completing the top layer of my blanket:

Pendleton blanket

Then I made my lining layer.  I didn’t have any one piece large enough for the lining, but I did set aside a few of the largest scraps to piece together for the back side.  Once the top layer was complete and I measured it, I figured out exactly how to put the large pieces together to make a block of exactly the same size…  There’s a screenshot of my iPad app where I worked out the measurements, just for fun:

blanket planning Pendleton blanket

(All those numbers are inches; after it was finished, the final blanket measurements ended up being a bit over 6 feet by a bit over 5 feet.)  I sewed those together and ironed the seams, and then I had my lining:

Pendleton blanket

I laid out the lining with the top layer on top, right sides facing…

Pendleton blanket

…got the layers all smoothed out the best I could, and pinned the edges together:

Pendleton blanket

Then I sewed all around the edges, leaving about a foot open to turn it back right-side out.

Pendleton blanket

After sewing, I trimmed some parts where the edges didn’t line up perfectly, and clipped the corners to minimize bulk.  Then I turned it right-side out, ironed the edges well, and hand-sewed the part that was left open.

Pendleton blanket

Lastly, I sewed around the whole thing, about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge:

Pendleton blanket

I thought about different options for connecting the layers – tying or quilting or something – but with my lack of experience with this kind of crafting, and with how much I loved the blanket as it was, I didn’t want to risk messing it up.  It functions perfectly as is, so I don’t see any reason why the layers need to be attached…

Pendleton blanket

So there it is!  Pete’s giant Pendleton blanket!  I made it for him, but it happens to be huge enough to keep both of us warm at the same time – I’m sneaky like that!

Pendleton blanket

Some more beauty shots…

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

It’s hard to tell the thickness and weight of it by the photos, so just trust me, it’s big and heavy!  I love it so much!

Pendleton blanket

And then, there’s more!  With some of the extra scraps, I made a pillow to match, before I started sewing the blanket, to kind of practice.  I wanted to make sure I knew the best way to sew and iron the seams before starting the blanket, so I cut these extra scraps, to fit a cheap Ikea pillow…

Pendleton pillow

…sewed them together…

Pendleton pillow

…ironed the seams…

Pendleton pillow

…and sewed on the two overlapping pieces for the back:

Pendleton pillow

And tah dah!  Pillowcase!  This project took about a half hour, so I definitely plan on making more of these!

Pendleton pillow

On the pillow:

Pendleton pillow


Pendleton pillow

And the back side:

Pendleton pillow

So that’s everything, except for one last note.  Throughout all the steps…

Pendleton blanket

…Banzo had to claim the wool as her new spot.  And now, of course, it’s her blanket.  I may have made it for Pete, but we all know who it really belongs to!

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

I’d love to see if anyone uses my process to make a blanket from recycled clothing fabrics!  Just be careful if you make one with sweater pieces – the stretchiness will make the seams buckle if you don’t figure out how to best sew them (I know from experience as a self-taught sewer, and have never really figured out the best way to avoid buckling).  Sewing with the woven wool was still tricky, as the different scraps had varying amounts of stretchiness.  I had to figure out how to hold the 2 pieces with different tensions to make the seams even… But I made it work in the end.  Yay!

And just so you know, I’m writing this post curled up on the couch with the blanket over my legs, and the kitty curled up at my feet.  We are both very snuggly and warm!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,home stuff,portland stuff,tutorials — leethal @ 12:46 am

December 1, 2011

Shop news – discounted items plus sales going to charity!

Oh my, it’s already December!  I have a bunch of leethal shop news!  The main thing is that (as you know if you follow my blog) I have pretty much transitioned completely to knit design, and away from all the old stuff I used to make and sell.  I have tons of things in my shop from the old days which I would really love to clear out, so I’ve discounted lots of the items, and I’m also adding an extra big incentive:

Through December 18th, 25-40% of all leethal shop sales will be donated to Heifer!  You can learn more about this organization on their website; their “mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. … With gifts of livestock and training, [they] help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.”

The exact percentage depends on the item – at the top of each category page within my shop, you’ll see whether those items are 25% or 40%.  I’ve also added a bunch of new items to the shop and made some other updates…

This isn’t new, but it is relevant to the season – I have a bunch of these connect-the-dots holiday cards available:

connect-the-dots holiday cards

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

I have added a bunch of photo greeting cards for the first time – these are all made from 100% recycled/reclaimed materials (reclaimed blank greeting cards and envelopes, and 100% recycled high quality matte photo paper).  There are a few different single cards:

photo greeting cards photo greeting cards

And two different sets of 3 cards – crafty photos and flower photos:

photo greeting cards photo greeting cards

I’ve also added two buttoning cowls to the accessories – these are both made from recycled sweaters (one is 100% cashmere), vintage buttons, and other recycled/vintage materials, and they are both discounted from their original prices (they were originally for sale through Trillium):

buttoning cowl buttoning cowl

And more old items that have been newly added – knit kits!  Some ninja mitts kits, 2-color hat kits, and one spiraling stripes hat kit; all include hand-dyed recycled yarn, and the pattern(s), and the spiraling hat kit also includes a couple of recycled paperclip stitch markers.

leethal knit kit leethal knit kit

These were all made for Trillium also, long ago – most of the kits I made back then (pictured below) sold, but these few that didn’t are now discounted for you!


I also had made a skein of handspun awhile back that never made it up for sale, but now it’s there!  I named it Soft as Chalk (a Joanna Newsom song title) because it’s made from all super soft wool, spun into a smooth single.  I also discounted the skein of handspun art yarn that’s been there for awhile, Rainbow in the Dark.

handspun handspun

And the last newly added items – buttons are back!  They are the same buttons that used to be there, but I had to take them down when I ran out of button-making supplies… Portland map buttons, respect the needles / tame the yarn, and shoot film / shoot polaroid / shoot medium format sets.

recycled portland map buttons needlesyarnbuttons.jpg

Some things that haven’t changed, but you know, they might make good gifts… recycled printed shirts – for knitters:

printed shirt printed shirt

…and other designs.  All printed onto reclaimed shirts, in professional screen printing inks, totally washable.  There are a couple of kids size shirts as well!

printed shirt shirt061.jpg

And in the accessories category, there are a few cuffs remaining, like this velcro one, all made from recycled fabrics…

recycled t-shirt cuff recycled t-shirt cuff

and several hats!  Some kids sizes, some adult sizes, all made from recycled materials, at discounted prices!

kids pointy eared hat floppy ears tie hat! stretchy monster hat!

Percentages of sales of connect-the-dots stitch sets, clock kits, and photo prints all go to Heifer as well!  I’m leaving town to visit family for the holidays, so orders must be placed by December 18th… not only will the charity donations end then, but the shop will be significantly changing and many items will be gone for good!


A quick unrelated note – the fifth Remixed pattern went up today!  I probably won’t be blogging it till next week, so I just wanted to tell you now!

Filed under: gifts,leethal store,leethal.net — leethal @ 9:09 pm

January 25, 2011

Ten minute no-sew recycled t-shirt bag!

Tutorial time!  I got a gig teaching a recycled t-shirt project at the library a few months ago, with a request for a recycled tee bag – the only bags I’d made from tees in the past had required sturdy sewing, and I didn’t want hand-sewing to be the only thing holding the bottom closed in a class version of the bags, so I started brainstorming about some kind of hand-sewing-friendly or no-sew bag idea…. and here’s what I came up with!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags! No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

The simplest version of these bags is great for smaller tees, or the more light-weight kind of girl-tees – just turn the bottom of the shirt into a drawstring and tie it closed!  As you can see, even with a not huge tee, this will still leave a significant hole in the bottom of your bag, but for purposes like grocery shopping, this size hole shouldn’t really matter…

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

But to make smaller holes, just make more than one of them!  Here’s a bag bottom with 2 holes:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

And now for the actual tutorial – for this one, with the step-by-step, I will be making the bottom with 3 holes.  So, start with a t-shirt that you don’t wear anymore, or a fun one you found at a thrift store.  Besides a tee, you’ll also need scissors and a safety pin.  That’s it!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut the sleeves off, but try to make a somewhat straight line, and go in a bit from the seam – these lines will be the sides of your straps:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut some strips from those sleeve pieces – about half an inch wide, the length of one time around a sleeve is good, and as many strips as the number of holes you’ll be making in your bag bottom. (I’ve made bags with 1, 2, and 3 holes, but I haven’t tried more than that.)  Pull the ends of the strips to stretch them out and make them curl in:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut the neck out to become your bag’s opening – the way you cut this can depend on your tee’s picture (if there is a picture), and also the shape you want your bag.  Just make sure you cut a big enough opening to fit things through, for a functional bag:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

You could make it rounded, V-shaped, or squared like this one:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now the top/straps part is done, time for the bottom.  Snip slits in the hem part of the tee bottom – as many slits as you want holes.  3 slits, below, is for 3 holes, for a single hole, like the yellow one at the top, just cut one slit, and for 2 holes, snip 2 slits.  The slits should be equally spaced from each other, but the spacing doesn’t need to be exact – I just eyeballed my slit placement, no measuring:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now stick a safety pin through the end of one of those strips you made, and start running it through the hem, through one of the slits:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Run it through to the next slit (or all the way around and back to the beginning, if you’re making a single hole) and pull the cord so it’s centered-ish:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Tie the hole closed as tightly as you can, and tie a tight knot:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now repeat those steps for the remaining sections, one slit to the next, tie tightly.  This is after the second hole is closed:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

For an ultra sturdy bag bottom, tie one cord strand from one hole together with one strand from the hole next to it, tightly, and repeat for each strand (as many of these knots as the number of holes you have; ignore this step if you’re making a single hole), so that the holes are all tied to each other.

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now, you can choose whether you want the t-shirt cord ties hanging down at the bottom, or hidden on the inside.  To hide them inside, bring them through the center, then tie bows on the inside so they don’t fall back through.  Or, tie bows on the outside if you prefer (or you could just cut the cords short and skip the bows):

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

My finished Sonic bag!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

The 1-hole version of this project takes more like 5 minutes, but the more holes you have, the longer it takes (by a few minutes) – it’s my favorite kind of project: 100% recycled materials (in this case, just the tee and nothing else!), minimal tools, quick+easy, and a super useful finished product!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

I made these for everyone in my family as extra bonus xmas gifts – my mom just told me she’s been using hers all the time and they are stronger than she would have expected.  I even used my family’s bags to wrap their gifts in, to save on paper wrapping waste and because it looked fun!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

I failed to show you this idea before the holidays, but you can always save it away in your memory (or bookmarks) for your next gift-giving occasion.  I hope you love this project as much as I do!  Now go and make lots of them so you’ll never be without a reusable shopping bag again!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 3:56 pm

January 20, 2011

Gifts from the past: Printed Shirt and Oven Mitts

Hah, these gifts from the past posts were supposed to happen before xmas, not a month after! Oh, me… Anyway, I grouped a couple of gifts I made using printing on fabric.  This is a freezer paper stencil printed shirt I made for my dad, on a thrifted long sleeved tee:

dad's shirt

I just freehand drew everything on the freezer paper, using google image search for reference pictures to draw from, cut it all out, and printed it on with screen printing ink.  Easy and fun project!  (Super basic kid-friendly freezer paper stenciling tutorial here, and super elaborate semi-photo-realistic stenciling tutorial here!)

dad's shirt

And this was a totally different kind of printed gift – my brother Matt is super into both cooking/baking and computer coding, so I printed a binary message on some oven mitts with stamps:

binary oven mitts

When I made these, I was in California at my parents’ house for the holidays and didn’t have access to my supplies or shops (or car), so I got what I could with the resources I had – these basic mitts which had square quilting to help with the stamped grid design, and a weird typewriter style set of number/alphabet stamps.  (Couldn’t get just 1 and 0 stamps, so I had to buy a whole alphabet set!)  And then I used fabric paint for the ink… I used the leftover fabric paint to teach my brothers how to freezer paper stencil (oh look, callback to the above project) and they all made awesome t-shirts!  I used the internets to translate a message into binary, then painstakingly stamped each 1 and 0 into the correct spots to spell it out.  I’m pretty sure it says “I like to bake bread.”

djstencil.jpg bensshirtback.jpg

These are a couple more printed gifts that I already blogged years ago, but they fit with the theme so there they are again!

I really am going to try to blog more, have lots planned, it’s just hard getting into the flow of it.  Lots going on around here! Fun stuff! You’ll hear about it all soon enough!

Filed under: clothing,gifts,printing — leethal @ 1:20 am
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