June 5, 2009

a landmark and lots of reflection

a couple days ago i realized that i missed my 1 year anniversary of being self-employed – kind of a big deal, pretty freaking awesome!  i honestly didn’t think i’d make it a year without getting some kind of part-time job or taking work i didn’t want, but i did it!  so, in traditional blog-related anniversary fashion, i made a massive (2-part) photo mosaic of images taken from my blog posts over the last year…

first year of self-employment, part 1

first year of self-employment, part 2

it was fun reading back over all i’ve done! that’s a smattering of worky things, designs, fun (craft-related) events/outings, etc…  so i’ve been doing a lot of reflecting the last couple days, and it’s funny that it seems my state of mind now isn’t too far away from where it was a year ago.  i’m so happy that i’ve made it here, but this whole freelancey self-employed career is just as scary now as it was then!  it’s also amazing and exciting and totally worth the stress and constant working and any other downsides!  but yeah, i’m still just doing a few solid things that i know will bring me a little rent money, and the rest is up in the air, just like it was a year ago.  the big difference is now i know i made it this first year, so i don’t see any reason why i can’t make it another!


moving on, diane is doing a craftypod giveaway for my ten 10 yard cuffs ebook!  to win, you just have to comment on the post with your thoughts on ebooks – there are some interesting comments so far.  i feel similarly to a lot of people – i love to hold a book in my hands and flip through the physical pages, but buying ebooks saves paper, ink, other resources, shipping, and money, so it’s a trade off.  as a self-publisher, pdfs are soooo much easier to sell than anything physical that i have to mail out (especially knitting pdfs thanks to ravelry!!), and they save me so much time and money that i can sell them so much cheaper and everyone benefits.

cuffs pdf cover kit book cover

i do make a physical version of the cuffs book, but only for the kits – i give the option of getting a kit with a pdf instead, but i don’t give the option of getting a real book instead of an ebook alone.  this is mostly because of my own resources (time and money) but also because each book i make up uses paper (even if it is recycled paper) and ink and i try not to be wasteful.  but, it’s all very hard for me to make decisions like this (ebook vs real book) because of my love for real books, so i totally understand the people who say they don’t buy digital.  i think it’s this major adjustment we’re all going to have to slowly get used to because it just makes sense (economically, ecologically) for both self-publishers and buyers to go in the digital direction.  and as far as publishing companies go, well that’s a whole other subject, but i think more and more writers will go in the self-publishing direction, and therefore end up going digital.  generally speaking.  what do you think?

and then this topic leads to another of diane’s recent posts – how to kill your favorite website.  this is a fantastic post about the financial demise of craftstylish, as it followed many other craft publications in its inability to successfully monetize and keep up its awesomeness.  you should go read the post – it’s a tough subject and diane did a great job of concisely breaking it down.  basically, this world needs to evolve, because what used to work just doesn’t anymore.  as for what you, the reader, can do, i’ll copy diane’s conclusion here: “For now, when you watch TV, read websites, or flip through magazines, consider asking yourself these questions: ‘Who made this? Did I get value from it? And if so, how can I support the people who created that value?'”

craftstylish tutorials mosaic!

and she inspired me to create yet another mosaic, this one featuring my favorite craftstylish projects from my 8 months of tutorials over there.  and i’ll quote her again because she said it best: “I think it’s good to point out: all this content was brought to you by them. There’s no way I could have created the time to make so many how-tos if they weren’t paying me for them.”  so true.

so now that i’m going in this new direction for my own career path – trying to be a bit more self-sufficient instead of relying on the continued success of outside sources (like i was doing with craftstylish), i do plan to devote some time once in awhile to quality tutorials here on do stuff! but, of course, this is part of my “job” and unfortunately it does all come down to money (hey i may live in a cheap apartment in portland, but rent and food still cost money).  i think it’s obvious that this blog’s purpose is, in part, to help crafters and potential shoppers become aware of my stuff and patterns for sale.  but i don’t plan on ever putting ads on my blog and i hope that i’m able to make ends meet doing what i’m doing, so that i can afford the time to put valuable content here for you to enjoy, cost free!  (one thing i did just add while working on my site redesign is the little share this page! button at the bottom of each post. sharing any of my posts that you like, via twitter, facebook, email, or a ton of other methods offered, is an easy and free way that you can help support me!)

double take

which leads me to yet another craftypod topic, from the latest podcast which i just listened to – craft blogging: what should you write about? the part that spoke most strongly to me was about writing your passion.  when i first started brainstorming about making a zine, which then branched off and became this blog, i was so excited to think up the concept/title do stuff! because, as silly as it sounds, that it my passion!  doing stuff!  my whole life i’ve always hated the idea of boredom – i’d get angry at my brothers for saying they were bored – i’ve always had a million projects going on at once (even as a little kid), multi-tasking whenever possible.  so instead of just starting a craft zine/blog, i wanted to start a “stuff” zine/blog, so i’d have the freedom to write about any stuff that i like to do!  sure, i’m passionate about knitting and knit design, and crafting in general, but i’m also passionate about photography, and i also have bursts of passionate phases in printmaking, cooking/baking, sewing, web design, dyeing+spinning, art, music, beading, home decorating projects, and who knows what else in the future!

me with mug me out shooting respect the needles. tame the yarn.

so, i created do stuff! and sometimes i lose sight of the point.  so i need to remember my passion: doing stuff!  i can’t let myself blog so often about things i’m selling (i try really hard to keep that down to a smallish percentage of my posts) and i need to remember to blog more often, in general, because there’s always some fun stuff going on in my life!  it may not be craft related, which is why i might not think to blog it, but if it’s doing stuff related and i’m into it, then hey, it’s blog material!  so i’ve come up with a few different blog topics that i hope to make regular quicky posts – things that i can get up here without so much time and writing required, so that i’ll be posting more often, and with more variety.  i’ll leave the topics a secret for now, but you’ll start seeing them soon!

Filed under: craftstylish,lots of links,personal,photos,self-publishing — leethal @ 9:17 pm

June 1, 2009

lost in code-land!

ohmygosh i feel totally out of touch with the world.  a little while back i started planning a website redesign, kind of vaguely, and then about a weekish ago i started teaching myself css. (the current version of leethal.net, as well as leemeredith.com and my other sites are all just plain html, no style sheets.)  that resulted in sucking myself deep into code-land for the last several days!  i’ve totally got a good solid grasp of css now, all self-taught, so i would go at things kind of backwards and have to find the right path to figure out what i needed…. so i’ve spent hours at a time trying to figure out one little element, then i jump with joy when i figure it out, hah!


days of designing, trial and error, codecodecode, and i’m so so so so happy with how the site is looking!!  all the elements of leethal.net will be one cohesive website, with easy navigation, and there will be some new pages and a brand new section which is a project i’m super excited about!  it’s still a couple weeks from all being done, but i can’t wait!  pardon my rambling, it’s this code-land i’m in, it’s hard to focus in here!

new blog menu

you can see a peek of the design that’s coming here in my blog – i’ve updated some colors to match (don’t worry, there will still be tons of orange!), put borders on the pictures, and the menu bar has a new look!  let me know if anything is weird or buggy.  editing the css for the blog is a little trickier since someone else wrote it to begin with and there are some mystery parts that i don’t understand.  i think i made it work though (if you happened to click over to my blog sometime around noon today, you may have seen a messed up in-progress version with no header or something)….

circle lace cuff

moving on… my last craftstylish post ended up being a free cuff pattern – one of the designs that didn’t make it into the set. it’s a little weird, but it’s a fun lace pattern, if you’re new to lace (like me). i’ll knit a size large version sometime soonish because i think that’ll look better that this small version…

circle lace cuff circle lace cuff

i was so excited to see this craftstylish post about other people’s versions of my skirt pattern!  my favorite picture is the second one on this post, with the crafter and her mom both wearing their skirts!!  so awesome!!


ok, back to code-land, since i can’t get my head off the site… hey can i ask you all a few questions that could help me with my design?  any feedback you could give would help me with some of these decisions….

  • how do you feel about outside links opening in a new tab?  example: you’re on a leethal pattern page, and click to see the pattern on ravelry. is ravelry opening in a new tab ok, or annoying?
  • do you like/prefer buttons over text for “buy now” “add to cart” etc?  if the font size/color is different to set it apart, is that enough, or are buttons much better?

hmm i can’t think of any more questions.  thanks!!  back to coding i go!

Filed under: craftstylish,knitting,leethal.net,random stuff — leethal @ 5:21 pm

May 19, 2009

craftstylish celebration month tutorials and more

oh hello there world. i’ve been so out of everything lately, it’s been a weird last couple of weeks.  pete had a semi-emergency surgery a week ago and has been home recovering since, so i’ve been working less than usual, and things like blog-reading and twitter-following almost not at all, so i’m pretty detached.  we’ve been watching lots of tv shows (the wire, party down, x-files for nerd nostalgia…) and movies and i’ve been knitting away on cuffs and brainstorming/planning some future projects.  so, speaking of cuffs, you may remember that several weeks ago i said i’d hopefully have them done in a week-ish… well yeah, that was crazy of me to think that could happen, first of all, and then i got slowed down by other things, but now i’m finally on my way to hopefully releasing the whole thing by this weekend, for real.


one thing that distracted me a bit was finding out that craftstylish has decided to go in another direction (or something) starting at the end of the month and none of us bloggers will be doing tutorials anymore.  which means a couple of things for you, dear do stuff! readers… i’ll have more time to work on my blog/website, now that all those hours per week are freed up, and if i have any fun tutorial ideas now i can post them here instead of there, so hopefully do stuff! content will be more frequent and more exciting!!  (for me, it means a less fun thing – scrambling to figure out ways to scrape rent money together, which has led to some quality brainstorming time and i’m sure will all be for the best in the long run because now i have some plans i’m super excited about!)

fabric CD case

so, my last 3 craftstylish tutorials… out of order because this one – fabric cd cases – is my favorite!  i’d originally planned for this project to be for mother’s day, which is what mine was made for, and then show my wedding case as another example, until i realized at the last minute that it would be posted after mother’s day! so i wrote it up focusing on the wedding angle (so lucky i had that wedding case to show!) and just mentioned that it could be for other purposes, even though that’s so silly because of course it could be used for anything/anyone – any gift occasion or for yourself, as well as for music or video cds/dvds instead of photo discs. duh. but, you know, it’s wedding month, so i had to steer it in that direction.

fabric CD case fabric CD case

for my mom’s gift, i filled that case with music cds because she has a new-ish job which has her driving up to several hours a day all over southern california, and no ipod hook-up in her car.  oh and also, my mom has great taste in music, so i knew i could give her a bunch of my favorite cds and she’d love them!

fabric CD case fabric CD case

the case is completely hand-sewn, with a hand-knit i-cord tie.  i really (surprisingly) enjoyed hand-sewing this project – now i want to do more sewing by hand!  i get so frustrated with my cheap sewing machine so often, i love that hand-sewing puts myself in control, like with knitting!

monogrammed napkins monogrammed napkins

last night, my last tutorial post went up: monogrammed napkins with recycled sheets. i love working with thrifted sheets, all the great patterns and colors! i had a hard time thinking of wedding projects, so this is a simple one, but i love how they look!

recycled greeting cards

before those 2, i started off celebration month with greeting cards made from recycled materials.

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

basic concept, but i was happy to show how easy it is to print on grocery bag paper, something i love to do, and also to make custom envelopes with recycled paper.

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

i had fun decorating my different card examples (one for mother’s day, one for graduation, and one thank you) and i took way too many photos and had to cut it down tons for the post. so these are some that i couldn’t fit in…

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

so that’s it for now.  hey, if you’re free tomorrow evening and live in portland, my wool jewelry class still has ten spots as of right now, at the albina library (ne pdx).  it’s free, i provide the supplies, all you need to do is register, should be fun! oh oh i just thought of one other thing i can show you!  check out the hat i knit for pearl for her 1st birthday!  recycled cotton, so soft!

pearl's 1st birthday hat pearl's 1st birthday hat

Filed under: craftstylish,hats,knitting,personal,printing,tutorials — leethal @ 12:57 pm

May 2, 2009

recycled tee skirt on craftstylish!

teeskirt6 teeskirt5

this week’s craftstylish tutorial was a special one to me – i designed this skirt a couple years ago for myself, and i loved the design concept (super easy, no pattern, custom fit, crazy comfy) but i loved it so much that i wanted to hold off doing a how-to… it’s silly, but i just felt like this one was better than the recycled skirt series i did here on my blog last summer, so i didn’t want it to blend in with those, so i saved it.  then i figured craftstylish having earth-friendly projects month in the springtime was the perfect chance to show my design to a bigger audience, so there it is!

orangeandred1 orangeandred3

but here on do stuff! i’ll share a little more with you… my first version of the skirt, that red and orange one, was a bit different, as you can see in those photos.  i’m not sure exactly how i made the panels since it was undocumented years ago, but i do know that i cut the diagonals in different directions, instead of all in the same direction. so if you want a more twisted, asymmetrical kind of design, when my tutorial says cutting the diagonal line in the same direction on each one. It doesn’t matter what direction, as long as all four are cut the same (in my case, they were all from top right to bottom left) – ignore that and cut them in different directions. then when you’re deciding on the panel order, lay them out on the ground together and see how you want to piece them together for the coolest looking lines.

teeskirt3 teeskirt4

i had fun twisting and twirling for our photo shoot! and being silly…

teeskirt2 teeskirt7

so this skirt was kind of a continuation of my recycley skirt how-to series from last summer – which were part 1: t-shirts, part 2: sheets, part 3: sweatshirts.  i also did a post about trying to make a sleeve skirt, which i plan to try again this season and post a better how-to if it works out. so, i’ve made a new category for skirts since this is an ongoing topic for me, so you can see all of them.

oh hey and speaking of bloggy things – i’ve (finally!) gotten my links page a little bit up to date, although it still needs more work.  i had pretty much completely ignored my poor links page since i first started do stuff!, over 2 years ago, but i got motivated a few nights ago to give it some attention, and now there are a ton of blogs and sites added, some new categories, and hopefully i’ll continue to keep it updated now.

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 2:12 pm

April 25, 2009

newish projects and knit design pattern reveal!

hey have you been keeping up with craftstylish this month?  lots of great earth-friendly crafts… here are mine!

16orange2 (top3)17purple1

first, make a vest from an old pullover sweater, with different embellishment ideas…

18white11 (top2)orange3

like crocheting into the knit fabric:

14white8 white2

and embroidery with recycled cotton:

11purple6 12purple7

this one has hand-stitched knit tape stuff i got at knittn kitten:

(no)progress11 10orange7

and a super weird pocket:


and that other one has slightly less-weird pockets:


that’s a lot of photos, but there you go.  next up, recycled fabric scrap cuffs!

14 (top)16

with examples of other ones i’ve made

(top2)19alloldcuffs (top3)18yellow2

and last week’s was a handband from an old t-shirt:

headband13 (top2)headband11

with examples of other versions:

(top3)headband33 (no)headband25

and some more photos…

(top1)headband11 headband32

(no)headband23 (no)headband14

and now that you’re caught up with craftstylish projects… something new! if you were curious about that designing photo a couple posts ago, it’s getting closer, so it’s time to reveal what’s to come! i’m working on a set of knit cuff patterns, a mini-ebook type thing, and hoping to have it all done in about a week (but it could definitely end up taking longer). so i’m showing you 4 of the designs here and now, then i may reveal a couple more later in the week before they are all released… the first one is my favorite!!

cuff501 cuff507

cuff304 cuff301

cuff601 cuff605

cuff101 cuff103

i love designing on a tiny scale like this, and since my chevron cuff got a pretty good response over on ravelry, i got motivated to get going on this project.  there are more elements of the whole thing that i’m really excited about, but those details are to be announced later…   i hope more of you out there like knitting mini-projects!

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 12:31 pm

March 31, 2009

a couple tutorials

quicky post before my friend gets into town… just want to show you the last couple of tutorials i did for craftstylish.  my last button post was a super fun, kid-friendly project – pipe cleaner button displays!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

as i said in the post, this is a craft project to bring out your inner-child-crafter. I felt like I was rediscovering what it was like to make things for fun as a little kid, with nothing but the simple bendy pipe cleaners, a pile of buttons, and my own imagination!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

i made 4 different versions while playing around with this project, and had a really fun time doing it!  hope you try it and have fun too!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

and then today’s post blends the button theme with the new crafting green theme – recycled cotton art yarn, with buttons and beads spun in!

recycled cotton art yarn recycled cotton art yarn

you can also do the project with wool (or other fibers) instead of cotton, like this yarn i made awhile back, which became this hat (rav link)…

recycled wool art yarn

this is a great spinning project if you just want to get used to using a spindle or wheel before making actual handspun. if you are already a spinner, this will be super easy, since all you’re doing is twisting recycled yarn, so it’s a good relaxing kind of project while watching a movie/tv. if you have never done any spinning, and you have access to a wheel (a friend’s or a local yarn store’s perhaps) then this would be a good way to see if you like it…

recycled cotton art yarn

i can’t wait to knit up this yarn and see how it looks! i love it!!

recycled cotton art yarn

and, because i have a feeling this week is going to fly by and i won’t be posting again till it’s over – don’t forget handmade nation this weekend! they just added a third screening on sunday!  i’m so so so excited about the whole crafty weekend!  hope to see you there!

Filed under: craftstylish,portland stuff,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 1:51 pm

March 27, 2009

stuff dump – buttons and knitting

hi! it’s been quite a busy week around here! i just wanted to post a bunch of randomness to keep updated around here… so first of all, my button post for last week on craftstylish was 3 different scarf remake projects – making boring fringed scarves into different styles of buttoning scarflets…

scarf button recon project

scarf button recon project scarf button recon project scarf button recon project

i scored with some supersweet vintage buttons lately!  this whole stash came from scrap and a cool vintage stuff store on hawthorne and 14thish…

vintage buttons!

i love the woven fabric ones!!

vintage buttons! vintage buttons!

susan’s powell’s event was fun – i made a super cute button hair clip!  i’m excited about the bolt event tomorrow – hope to see you there!!

makinghairclips4 clips

and it’s always cool to see projects from the book in person!

bookprojects10 bookprojects1

bookprojects6 bookprojects2

i haven’t showed you much knitting lately… here are a couple recent hats i’ve finished which are part of the mystery project i showed other sneak peeks of here and here (at the bottom)…

bob newhart cables hat bob newhart cables hat

experimental houses hat experimental houses hat

my old bff from college in san diego is coming to visit next week, then it’s handmade nation weekend (#craftgasm for those of you on twitter!) so i’ve been trying to get all caught up on deadlines and stuff for the next week+.  i think i’m doing ok, but as always there’s tons of stuff i want to try to fit in and no time.  but i did somehow manage to squeeze in a little knit stitch design, which i hope to post later tonight or tomorrow…

blank film cuff

Filed under: craftstylish,hats,knitting,portland stuff — leethal @ 8:19 pm

March 16, 2009

yay button month!

i had been excited about susan beal‘s new book, button it up, since she was writing it, and now it’s out and my review over on the threadbanger blog just went up!  to celebrate the buttony goodness of the book, craftstylish has been having button month all march!  so many fun projects!  i was already totally addicted to vintage button collecting, and now that i’m going through my stash at lightning speed with my projects, i’m feeling obsessive about shopping for more!  i need to happen upon a jar full of em at a thrift store or garage sale, that would be freakin awesome!


so, my first project for the month was a free knitting pattern for this buttony chevron cuff! combining two loves (knitting and vintage buttons) is the best! the pattern is written to work for any needles/yarn and you can choose your cuff width. (ravelry link)

02bothdone 10cottoncuff

next was one of my most ambitious projects – the gridded button portrait:

gridded button portrait gridded button portrait

can you tell who it’s a portrait of when it’s far away (in the photo below)?

gridded button portrait 08gluing

if you can’t tell, you’ll see over in the tutorial. as i explained on craftstylish, i was really into chuck close in college and i did a couple different self portraits inspired by his style (this one with markers and this painting). i was excited to try this gridded concept with buttons, and i think it worked out fantastically! someday if i happened upon a massive stash of vintage buttons, i might do a bigger one, like a whole door or something!

vintage fabric+button wall art

and then last week’s post was how to make wall art with vintage fabric and buttons. i love showing off bits of cool fabric as wall art, and i think adding some vintage buttons to the mix turns it into something special!  the green one is my personal favorite:

vintage fabric+button wall art vintage fabric+button wall art

but i like them all! now i want to make a bunch more and fill up the whole wall!!

vintage fabric+button wall art vintage fabric+button wall art

so you should totally check out all the button projects over there, but a few of my favorites are susan’s shrink art buttons, linda’s woven button coaster, erika’s beautiful button pillow, and diane’s singleton buttons.  i still have 3 more button projects coming up, and i’m sure everyone else will have more great ones, so keep checking back!

button it up!

and now for some buttontastic eye candy from susan’s book! here are a couple of my favorite projects:

button it up! button it up!

and you know how i love cuffs!

button it up!

(check out my threadbanger review for a few more pictures)

March 7, 2009

catching up… 2 things now

well this post was supposed to happen on monday, but i woke up monday morning with a horrible cold – i’ve been sick more in the last few months than any other winter, no good!  i was couch-ridden through wednesday, then thursday and yesterday were spent slowly catching up on work that should have been done early in the week… still not all the way healthy, and still not caught up, but i’m getting there.


so, i just wanted to show you my craftstylish project posts for february, since i didn’t show you as they went up… february was pet month, so my projects were all kitty related!  the first one being the heatable catnip blanket, inspired by kristin roach’s heatable catnip pillow.

(no)banzo03 (no)banzo07

then next was a how-to for the kitty castle and scratching post that i showed photos of here awhile back…

cat castle tubepost04 banzo on her castle

then i made a litter rug from a towel:

(2)08 (top)09

and last, i ran out of ideas for the cat herself, so i showed you how to make a kitty hat! with ideas for other ways of embellishing the face too…

(no)doneon3 (top)doneon2

(no)doneon1 teethversion

some of my favorite february pet projects by other bloggers included kayte terry’s supercute mouse toy, cal patch’s recycled sweater pet bed, and diane gilleland’s awesome collapsible travel dish!!

so that’s what was meant to go up last weekend. i have other stuff to share, later, but for now i’ll leave you with newer news. i had my first online video appearance yesterday, on the threadbanger podcast! simple project (felted pullover to cardigan) – heather mann and i worked together to do a couple video tutorials a little while ago, and this is the first to get released. heather’s is rad, so hopefully they’ll put that one in a podcast soon!  if this embedded video doesn’t work, go here, or it’s also on youtube.

as is normal, i kind of hate how i look in the video, but eh, i think the tutorial turned out well, so that’s the important thing.  i think if we ever end up doing more of these i’ll get more comfortable in front of the camera and i won’t be so awkward.  apparently my camera-awkwardness could be interpreted in other ways, since someone on youtube commented Lee Meredith is so high in the video! lol!  haha.

December 22, 2008

quicky gift idea – before and after photo

this is a gift i gave my parents a couple years ago, pre- do stuff!, and when i saw it here at the house i thought it would be a good project to share. i’m sure i saw the idea somewhere else, but i don’t know where. you could either make it in a photo editing software program like i did, or you could build it with 2 photos by cutting them into strips and gluing them onto a sheet of cardstock.

straight on

i used two photos of my brothers – the first when they were about 2, 4, and 6, and the second one current (i would have used photos of all four of us, but i’m the only one in my family who takes photos, so there were no current ones with me in them). i split each of them into about half inch sections, and pasted them together in the photo editing program with the strips switching between the two photos.

before after

then i just printed it out on photo paper and carefully folded in accordion-style on the lines between the strips. i glued (or 2-sided taped) the ends onto the blue paper and put the whole thing in a frame with no glass that i got free from my old job. (if you have any connections with someone who works in a place that sells frames, you might be able to score a free no-glass frame, maybe.)

from above

so that’s it, pretty simple, but super cool effect in real life (hard to capture in photos with bad lighting). and i’m thinking if you’re in portland and were saving some of your shopping till the last minute, you might be in need of some diy gift ideas that you can make with things you already have in the house!

photo light lit blue photo light lit red

if you want to see another photo gift project idea, check out my latest craftstylish post!

Filed under: craftstylish,photos,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 1:18 am

December 19, 2008

experimental sleeve dyeing!

i’m sitting on my parents’ couch right now in southern california, sick with a stinkin’ cold, blah, so i haven’t had the energy to get some things done that i wanted to have done by now.  but i think i do have the energy to write this belated post.  last weekend was my experimental sleeve dyeing with recycled sweaters post on craftstylish…

sleeve dyeing dyed recycled shetland wool

so i wanted to show you some other examples of the sleeve dyeing and how it knits up and stuff!

dyed recycled shetland wool dyed recycled shetland wool

this yarn that i dyed up for the tutorial is shetland wool, and i couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!! i love it so so much, i want to figure out the perfect project for it. it’s 192 yards and i want a pattern that will use it all up, and show the colors at their best… any thoughts?

dyed recycled shetland wool

and now for some other examples… this sleeve:

sleeve dyed for beret

is the one that became this yarn, and then this hat:

merinolongstripes2.jpg mewearingberet3.jpg

and then this sleeve became this hat:

sleeve dyed for mr. pointy blendy1.jpg

this yarn is becoming this scarf, but i don’t have a photo of the sleeve…

longstripesyarn3.jpg sleeve dyed scarf progress

and then the other one from the craftstylish post:

green sleeve dyed green ball

that one will probably become a hat (of course!).  so yeah, hope you like the tutorial.  like the title says, it’s meant to be experimental.  the fun thing about this technique is you never know quite how it’s gonna turn out.  and it’s so much fun to watch it knit up!

mirroredsybil.jpg twistedbobby.jpg

so it sucks to be sick, but it’s nice to hang out here at the house with my parents and my old animal friends. those are my two kitties, sybil and bobby, who both look really different! sybil has gotten way bigger – i guess she must have just gained weight, but it looks like she grew. is it possible for a cat to grow bigger when she’s like ten years old? and bobby is 16ish, so she is just looking older, thinner. but she is still super sweet and purry and plays like a kitten when she feels like it, with plenty of energy.


and then there’s spud, who’s around 14, which, for a dog his size (over 100 lbs), is like 120 in dog years, ish. so he can’t really see, or hear, or walk, but he still wags his tail like crazy when i pet him and is super sweet as always. this trip is probably the last time i’ll ever see him, so that’s sad, but he seems happy, so that’s good. sorry to bring the mood down.  all those photos are of the animals a couple years ago, when i still lived around here – i’ll post new photos of how they are all looking now probably in a couple days, to flickr.  anyway, that’s all for now.  have a good weekend, and good luck to everyone who’s trying to craft last-minute gifts like i am!

Filed under: craftstylish,knitting,personal,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 8:30 pm

December 13, 2008

simple mary jane style booties, part 2!

update 4/14/09: i made some slight changes to the decreases in the pattern, which are in italics (some k2tog’s have been switched to ssk’s).  the ravelry pdf, and download links here and on my pattern page have all been updated.

pattern news! first, the patterns bar of my patterns + yarn page is up to date now, with haka added at the top as well as the free pdf download for the mary jane booties, so you can get all my patterns directly through that page now.

simple mary jane style booties simple mary jane style booties

so the big news is that i finally slightly redesigned the booties a little to make them fit better, so the pdf download of the pattern is the new version.  the only change really is that i added 2 stitches to the whole slipper, so the side comes up higher on the foot, and the whole thing stays on better.  also, i added more info about gauge and how the booties really work best if you use several strands of yarn for a super thick fabric.  i think some people’s sizing issues were a result of too-fine yarn, so this is pretty important.

simple mary jane style booties

speaking of sizing issues, knitter elisa was extremely awesome and commented on the original booties post with some very detailed changes she made for her particular feet, which are wide size 10/11, so i’m going to repost that comment at the bottom of this post for easy access.  if anyone else makes successful adjustments for their feet, that would be great if you wanted to post a comment here, so other knitters could use your advice.

simple mary jane style booties

other exciting booties update: to go with the redesign and pdf release of the slippers, they are on craftstylish with a detailed how-to for making the bottle cap buttons!!

bottle cap buttons! bottle cap buttons!

some useful links: mary jane style booties ravelry page, and download the pdf directly.

it just occurred to me that some might prefer to see the new version of the pattern here on the blog instead of downloading the pdf.  since i’m putting this all out there to the world for free, i’m just going to cut and paste the whole pdf text.  but please do only use this pattern for personal knitting/gifting, and charity knitting is fine with me.  here it is!

Whereas many slippers patterns are meant to be felted for a dense fabric, these are knit with extra bulky yarn on size 11 needles, making a super dense knit fabric, with no need to felt.  I like using up fuzzy yarn for comfy slippers – I recommend one strand of a fuzzy yarn with 2 or 3 strands of non-fuzzy.  They may be pretty silly looking, but they will keep your feet toasty!

sizing:  written for sizes small(medium, large) which are approximately shoe sizes (US women’s) 5-7(8-9, 10-11) – the booties stretch, and exact size will depend on exact gauge and yarn stretchiness.  (see the do stuff! blog post about this pattern for size adjustment suggestions.)

yarn:  super bulky or several strands held together (equivalent to about 4-5 strands of worsted).

gauge:  4.5 sts per 2 inches.  (a little more than 2sts/inch)

you need:
1 pair size US 11 straight needles
1 set (4) size US 11 double pointed needles
a crochet hook
a tapestry needle

note: updated 10/21/09 to add some stitch count numbers in italics.

cast on 18 stitches (leave at least 1 foot tail)
knit 4(6,6) rows
k4, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k4 (16)
knit 1 row
k3, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k3 (14)
knit 1 row

start strap section:
cast on 12, knit across (26 stitches)
knit 3 rows
bind off 12, knit to end
knit 1 row (14)
knit 1 row
cast on 12, knit across (26 stitches)
knit 3 rows
bind off 12, knit to end (14)
(end strap section)

knit 2(4,6) rows
k1, make 1, k12, make 1, k1 (16)
knit 1 row
k1, make 1, k14, make 1, k1 (18)
knit all onto dpns – k7 onto 1st needle, k9 onto 2nd needle, k2 onto 3rd needle
cast on 4 (so that there are 6 sts on 3rd needle), join around, and knit 2 rounds. (22)

start toe decrease section:
(1st needle – k2, ssk, k3) (2nd needle – k7, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all – 6 sts) (20)
knit 1(2,3) rounds (20)
(1st needle – k2, ssk, k2) (2nd needle – k6, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all – 6 sts) (18)
knit 2 rounds (18)
(1st needle – k2, ssk, k1) (2nd needle – k5, k2tog) (3rd needle – knit all – 6 sts) (16)
knit 1 round (16)
(1st needle – k1, sk2p) (2nd needle – k4, slip 1 from 3rd needle to 2nd, k3tog) (3rd needle – knit all – 5 sts) (12)
(1st needle – ssk) (2nd needle – k2tog, k2tog, slip 1 from 3rd needle to 2nd, k2tog) (3rd needle – k1, k2tog, k1) (7)

cut yarn, thread through all stitches with a crochet hook, pull tight, tie, and weave in ends.
use the cast on tail to sew up the back, and weave in ends.
sew the straps over on the other sides and add a button, bottlecap, or whatever you want for embellishment.

a few notes:
you can use whichever cast-on methods you prefer; i use a long tail initially, and a single cast-on for the strap and toes.
the buttons are purely decorative – the straps are sewn down because it’s easy to get the slippers on and off with them.  if you wanted functioning buttons, you could add buttonholes at the ends of the straps.

and now for elisa’s redesign for her feet:

First, I cast on with 20 stitches and follow the large pattern. I have wide, size 10/11 feet and using only 16 stitches makes the area sort of above my arch too narrow (the six rows right after the strap). I also had to totally re-write the toe portion. I’m not entirely sure what I was doing wrong, but I always ended up with a super-pointy toe that was badly crooked (because of the knit all on the third dpn, which was one of the sides for me.)

When I knit onto the dpns, my first and third needles are the two uppers of the slipper, while the second needle is the sole. I’m not sure if this has to do with how I knit onto the dpns or what. But this is how I make the toe, if other people are having problems with offset toes:

knit onto dpns. k7 onto 1, k7 onto 2, k6 onto 3 (remember, I start with 20 stitches. If you’re working from 16, k2 onto the third needle and then cast on 4, like in the original instructions.)

join around and knit 2 rounds.
1st: k2, k2tog, k3. 2nd: k7. 3rd: k3, k2tog, k2.
knit 3 (1, 2, depending on size) rounds.
1st: k2, k2tog, k2. 2nd. k7. 3rd: k2, k2tog, k2.
knit 2 rounds.
1st: k2, k2tog, k1. 2nd: k7. 3rd: k1, k2tog, k2.
knit 1 round.
slip one stitch from 2nd onto 1st and 3rd, ending up with 5 stitches on each dpn.
k2tog, k1, k2tog on all three dpns.
knit 1 round.
cut yarn, thread through and pull tight, as in original instructions.

thank you so much elisa!!

and a note about my yarn choice for these booties – i’m guessing most knitters have some silly fuzzy/furry yarn in their stash from their early knitting days like i do.  i dug out some of this fuzzy reject yarn (no idea what it is, label is long gone) and combined it with an unearthed bulky acrylic and a strand of dk-ish unknown recycled to get my superduper thick fabric, and the booties are so soft and comfy.  i like to use yarns i don’t care too much about for slippers, yarns that can be thrown in the washing machine, since, especially with a kitten in the house, there’s a definite possibility of stepping in something.  so, a nice alpaca/angora/cashmere yarn would be even softer and nicer, but i prefer the silly fuzzy soft option that can be machine washed to the extra soft, be careful where i step, and hand-wash only option.  dig out that forgotten fuzz and make some slightly-ugly but way comfy house slippers!

Filed under: craftstylish,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 9:12 pm

December 11, 2008

craftstylish tutorials and other updatey stuff

polaroid christopher walken print

once again, i’ve fallen a bit behind in letting you know about my craftstylish tutorials… yesterday was my semi-photorealistic 3-shade freezer paper stencil how-to!  this is a pretty crazy project – the result of having an idea pop into my head one day and then going for it.  the tutorial uses the christopher walken stencil, because it’s guy gift week over at craftstylish, but i especially love the polaroid camera print!  (it’s this camera)

print blurred carving stencil

it looks more photorealistic when it’s a bit blurred.

me wearing shirt finished close-up

and then on saturday there was my custom embellished shirt project – i love this one!  i used printing, machine top-stitching, and i changed the buttons, and then i talked about other ways to embellish a shirt, like applique and embroidery.

close-up on me finished shirt

the point of this project is to inspire you to embellish a shirt in a personal, customized way for yourself or your giftee, rather than to give you a step by step tutorial so you can make exactly what i made.


and lastly, my custom clock tutorial shows you how to take apart an old clock and install your own photograph, or whatever you want.  i gave that one to my mom for her birthday and she loved it – proof that it’s a great gift to make!!

trilliumyarn12.jpg trilliumyarn04.jpg

in other news, the trillium etsy shop now has 5 of my knit kits up!  including two of my absolute favorites.  if you have a hard time finding the kits, they are listed in the gifts section.

this month is going by SO fast i can’t even believe it.  two craft shows done, only one to go.  the 100th monkey show last weekend went pretty well – it was a different kind of feel, being at night with live music and more of a party mood.  the artists stood around in front of our stuff instead of sitting behind our tables, and the whole thing kind of made me more socially awkward than usual (and i am usually pretty awkward, by the way).  i’m afraid sometimes my awkwardness comes off as maybe rudeness or unfriendlyness, but really it’s just that i’ve always been so shy and these shows are extremely stressful for me.

and speaking of stress, i’m looking forward to going to visit my family in california for a week, i think it’s just the escape i need.  there is a ton of really exciting stuff happening or soon to be happening, but the more excitement in my life, the more stress.  i’m hoping to get this free knitting pattern i’m working on done in california, plus maybe finish up some knitting projects that have been sitting around for months, and maybe even read a book!  crazy!

November 24, 2008

frame tutorial and some other things i made


craftstylish tutorial of the week: multi-photo frame!  i really love this one, it turned out exactly how i wanted it!  don’t you love it when a project comes out of your head and becomes a finished product just how you pictured it? yeah!

12.jpg 13.jpg

also, a couple new handspun yarns in the shop! it was my first time spinning since we got kittyhead. i had been dreading it because i imagined she would go kitty-crazy and pounce at my hands and the fiber and it would be disasterous… but, no! nothing like that!  she was totally cool about it!  she just watched the wheel go round and round for awhile, then got bored and went to sleep.  (she’s also fine now when i knit too, unless she’s in super crazy mode, but mostly she leaves me and the yarn alone, yay!)

scraptastic alpaca striping single

so there’s another “scraptastic” yarn, which will knit up super fun, similar to this one (knit by me) and this one (knit by lynne).  and a self-striping single, which i plan to do much more of – this one has some sections that are pretty variegated, and some more solid.  i think it’ll knit up pretty cool looking.

oh and getting back to garbanzo for a minute, want to see the kitty castle i built for her?! i made two separate parts – a scratching post with a flat top that she can sit on:

kitty post kitty post

and a 2-room house thing made with 2 boxes partially covered with carpet samples, with a hole inside connecting the two and multiple holes on the outsides for playing.  she loves this one!!

cat castle cat castle cat castle

they are both made with all recycled materials – the carpet samples are from scrap, as are the tubes making up the inside of the scratching post, and the boxes are from a printer and from my halloween costume.  put them together with a bunch of hot glue and some staple gun action, and it’s a kitty castle! hooray!

banzo kitty post

Filed under: craftstylish,home stuff,leethal store,yarn — leethal @ 6:45 pm
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