August 10, 2009

Sock Summit Weekend!

masked me wih monkey rav party woo fun times

Yeah it was a fun weekend!  I didn’t take tons of photos, but those are a couple highlights… Walking around the luminary panel room before it started, I was stopped by the friends of that sock monkey and asked to pose for a picture for something ravelry-related.  It just so happened that I had my mask in my bag (because I’d forgotten to bring it to the ravelry party the night before as planned), so since that’s my ravatar, I went for it and slipped it on!  I’ve now learned the the monkey was traveling from Northern Ireland!

And then the other shot is of Star at the rav party demonstrating our awesome new dance move we invented!

star with socks convention center flowers

Ok so moving back to the beginning of my Sock Summit adventures… As I mentioned in my last post, I went over on Friday for the book signing – got books signed by Barbara Walker, Judith MacKenzie McCuin, Clara Parkes, and Cookie A.  They were all super nice and friendly (though I couldn’t say anything more than “Hi… Thank you.” to Barbara Walker).

I hadn’t even been planning on going over on Friday, but I was following the #socksummit tweets all day Thursday and wanted to be a part of it all!  So glad I did!  Besides the authors who signed my books, I also got to sort of be part of a conversation with Meg Swansen (Elizabeth Zimmermann‘s daughter) – she is SO friendly and nice and cool!  And I met Amy Singer who recognized and hugged me!  Knitters are so awesomely friendly, yeah!

Then I started wandering around the marketplace, and Star found me and told me all kinds of crazy stories from the teacher dinner and other festivities – famous knit designers are full of silliness!!  So rad that Star got to be a part of that!  And she scored a pair of socks knit (and worn) by Barbara Walker (pictured above) – insanity!  That other photo above is just somewhere inside the convention center that reminded me of the Bellagio in Vegas – not Sock Summit related, but I only took the one Star sock photo that day.

rav party yum

So then on Saturday I headed back over to the marketplace and hung out and saw some people, then we hopped on the MAX which took us straight to the ravelry party! (Such great planning to find a fabulous venue that happened to be a perfect MAX ride away from Sock Summit.)  The rav party was so great!!  As you can see above, delicious (free) food – all vegetarian, 4 different dips/spreads, plus yumm cookies – and (much cheaper than expected) Deschutes including Green Lakes Organic!

I was so happy to get to meet Jess and Casey and tell them in person how much ravelry means to me and my design career – hope I didn’t come off gushy, but I really don’t think I could be anywhere near where I am if it weren’t for their awesomeness!  And by the way, they are all (MH too) super awesome in real life!

We had a fantastically silly time, staying all the way to the end to help clean up a bit.  We really wanted it to turn into a dance party towards the end, so we just did, even though it wasn’t really spreading beyond our little group.  Didn’t take tons of photos like I’d planned to because I was having too much fun, but Star laughing below and that dance move at the top pretty much sum up the night!  Those ravelry folks sure know how to throw a party!  Thanks rav team!!

rav party laughing rav party blurrred star

After that, then the after party too, it was tough to get my tired self back to the convention center for the luminary panel yesterday, but I managed to get there early enough to buy one souvenir (wanted much more, but could only allow myself one thing) before the marketplace closed.  Got stuck over with a bad view of the panel, but besides that, it was amazing!  Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, Deborah Robson, Anna Zilboorg, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, and Nancy Bush, addressing topics like the changing knitting business, self-publishing, copyright/respecting intellectual property, and Elizabeth ZImmerman.

luminary panel: my view

I thought it was really interesting hearing about how the business of knitting has evolved from being about the finished product to now being about the process, with value on the designs/ideas and intellectual property rather than finished items.  This is all obvious when you think about the knitting world, but it’s a conversation I’d never really heard before.

I (so stupidly) didn’t think to bring knitting with me (I know, what the hell?) so to occupy my hands I took note of quotes I liked.  I saw today that Blue Garter did the same, so I’m actually combining what she wrote down and what I wrote down for the first one (read the other good ones on her post)…

Just as the bird’s wing evolved to fly, the human hand evolved to manipulate.  An idle hand is not a happy hand.  We really need to use our hands; they’re not happy if they’re not doing something. -Barbara Walker

If knitting were widespread, we probably wouldn’t have wars. -Cat Bordhi

In the context of starting an independent business: All you have to know is the one next step. -Deborah Robson

Responding to the question “How did you end up in this business?”  I was brainwashed. -Meg Swansen

I had no income, which is kind of liberating, because if you haven’t got anything, then you’ve got nothing to lose. -Lucy Neatby

When asked what was the most important knitting thing she learned from Elizabeth Zimmerman: You are in charge of your own knitting. -Meg Swansen

and my favorite… Question: Do you think that was easier or harder because you’re a woman? Answer: I don’t know. I’ve never been a man. -Meg Swansen

Such amazing women!  I feel SO lucky to have been there – even if there is another Sock Summit, I’m sure that panel will never exist again.  Oh, and it happened to be the 99th anniversary of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s birth, so the event ended with all 1000ish people singing happy birthday and eating cake and tarts!  Sock Summit = amazingness to the max!

Anyone wondering how my socks are coming along?  Well I’m just about to the toe:

my sock my first sock

You may have seen that first shot (taken on Thursday) in my Threadbanger Sock Knitting roundup – I love how the green lightening bolts look on the heel!  Well I’m so close on this first sock, but I’m having to break it up with work knitting, so I don’t know when the second one will happen…  If only I was like Barbara Walker and was fine with only 3-4 hours of sleep each night, I could get so much more done!!

Filed under: knitting,lots of links,portland stuff — leethal @ 11:54 pm

August 2, 2009

My own personal Best of Portland!


10/22/2011: I’ve been living here in Portland for over twice as long now as when I wrote this post, so perhaps an update would be nice, eh?  Most of the places I loved back then, I still love (or at least like) now, but I’ve made many new discoveries, and some things have changed… as noted, new things and changes to the list are italicized or crossed out.

I’m superduper excited that Sock Summit is happening right here in Portland – not being a sock knitter myself, I wouldn’t have enough of a reason to travel if it were elsewhere, but since it’s here, I’ll get to attend the luminary panel, the ravelry party, check out the marketplace, and be a part of the fun!  For any readers who are traveling here this weekend, I thought I’d take this opportunity to make a list of my own personal favorite Portland spots!  We have so many (SO many) favorite spots in this amazing city, it’s hard to condense it, so I’m including multiple choices in different areas for some categories.  These are all places that are seriously worth making it to while you’re in town!

wwkip day

As for navigating – Portland is divided into 5 quadrants (yes, 5, I know) – SE (my hood!), NE, SW, NW, and North – and all addresses have the quadrant in the street name, making it easy to figure out where things are!  Also helping make for easy navigation is the grid system – most of the city has numbered streets running north-south, starting at the river, and counting out.  So, if an address is something like “3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd” you know it’s in the SE quadrant, and the number means its nearest number cross-street is 37th (37 blocks away from the river) – making it super easy to find even if you have no idea where that is!  Just find Hawthorne on your map (I use old fashioned paper maps – if you have a gps thing, then this whole navigation explanation is irrelevant anyway) and follow the numbered streets till you hit 37th.


By the way, I am totally east-ist, so most of these spots will be on the east side of the river.  Also, I don’t eat meat, so all the food places have great veggie options, but they all have plenty of meat too!  Portland is fantastic about food diversity – most everywhere you go has plenty of choices for all eaters!  And, designing hats hasn’t exactly made me rich (yet? hah!) so all of our favorite spots are way on the cheap side or have great affordable options!


leethal’s Best of Portland:
Note:  new places added 2 years later (in October 2011), are italicized, and anything I wrote then which is no longer true (or no longer existing) is crossed out.

Non specific locations:

  • My favorite Portland beer: Hopworks7 Grain Stout is brewed with Stumptown espresso beans, the Deluxe Organic is great, as is every beer they have to offer (Hopworks on tap around town will say HUB)way too much good beer in Portland, I can’t choose a favorite anymore!  I still love Hopworks, but I love so many, so if you’re into trying local beers, I recommend heading to Hawthorne Hophouse or another beer spot with a huge local brew selection (Hophouse has half off flights on Mondays!)
  • Best Portland Coffee: Stumptown – this isn’t a personal preference thing, it’s just a fact.

*The border between SE+NE and SW+NW is Burnside – if an address is on Burnside, it’s either E Burnside or W Burnside.  So these spots are in the middle of the east or west sides, between north and south.


I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Zinester’s Guide to Portland, which you’ll find at any Powell’s location, or any bookstore that carries zines (which means any Portland bookstore that’s not a national chain) for about $4 I think.  We grabbed one of these for our first trip up here, and I don’t even know what we’d have done without it – it does a great job of getting you oriented (explaining the quadrants and neighborhoods, etc) and lists tons of great places with reviews.

juniors bday breakfast

Portlanders – please feel free to list some of your personal favorites in the comments, so travelers can have more variety in recommended spots!

redux on burnside

And in other Portland news – I dropped of a huge box of leethal stuff at Twisted last week!  These 7 handspun skeins:

beaded sky yarn day13yarn02 day15yarn05 day20yarn05 day22yarn108 day23yarn204 scraptastic alpaca

…plus 11 bracelet mini-kits in all different colorways! I’m so excited to have my yarn for sale now in my favorite local yarn shop!  If you’re visiting PDX for Sock Summit, definitely don’t miss Twisted!  Not only are they super supportive of local designers and yarnies, but they have the nicest staff ever, an awesome tea bar with custom teas like the Dr. Horrible blend, and if co-owner Shannon’s Hazel happens to be in the shop, you’ll get to meet one of the sweetest tiny people in the whole world!

knit bracelet kits day06yarn203

Oh and speaking of Twisted, I’m teaching a Skoodlet class there in October!  And then lastly, speaking (a second ago) of handspun yarn, 4 more yarns are now up in my shop, including 1 skein of spun recycled (pictured above)!  Ok that’s all.

laughing planet chairs

Let me know if you visit any of my favorite spots!  I’d love to know if I introduced you to a new place that you love!  I might be adding more to the list if I think of any I forgot… if I do, I’ll put them in italics so you know they’re new.  Oh and if you want to know about any of the photos, just click through to the flickr pages.  Yay Portland!

Filed under: lots of links,portland stuff,yarn — leethal @ 7:54 pm

July 28, 2009

some cool stuff!

Just a few things I want to share with you…


First, Amanda of Bread and Badger‘s new ebook: Crafting a Modern Press Release, for sale in her etsy shop!  I was lucky to get to take a press release workshop with Amanda through Trillium a few months ago, and now everyone can learn from her PR experience and success with the ebook.  If you are a small business owner, this is a great resource, and makes the maybe-scary term press release much more friendly and manageable! (That’s Amanda above with one of her mustache mugs!)


I was super excited to hear about the launch of The Creative Life – the new website project by crafty superheroes Kim Werker and Betsy Greer!  A fabulous blog for those of us who work independently in creative fields, reading the dialogue that’s been taking place is inspirational, comforting, and so much more! It’s hard to pick just one bit to quote from everything that’s up so far, but I’ll just give you this piece from the first post:

Our hope is to start a giant conversation with you about all sorts of things that boil down to this: What’s it like to strike off on your own into a creative field, where do you find support and community when you do it, where do you turn when it seems everyone in your life thinks you’re crazy? We’re not into compiling top-10 lists or giving advice on how to find an accountant. We’re very much into striving toward waking up each morning feeling at peace with the tasks we have to accomplish and the comfort of knowing there’ll be food on the table.

I recommend scrolling down to the bottom and reading the posts in order (bottom up) to understand what’s going on.  And comment to be part of the conversation!

craft leftovers

One of my absolute favorite craft sites/shops, Craft Leftovers, is having a fabulous summer sale through the end of the month!  Really, fabulous, go see for yourself!!

me with kanzashi

And I’ll leave you with me looking silly holding my Kanzashi flower, made with the help of Kanzashi In Bloom author herself, Sister Diane, at Twisted the other day, yay!  It’s a fun craft – different from the kinds of things I usually make, so mine has its own creative personality (some may call it messy or amatuerish, I call it fun and cute!).  I love the wood button, really makes it work!

Filed under: books,general crafts,lots of links,random stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 9:15 am

July 23, 2009

Introducing leethal quick knits!

Finally, that new thing I’ve been hinting about for awhile – leethal quick knits!  The new section is a major pattern resource, containing links to around 70ish free patterns, which will continue to grow as I add more, and my brand new club!!

I’m so excited about the club!  It will be monthly, at least for now; it’s in its beta phase, so you can just get a 1 month membership for the August package, then in the future there will be multi-month memberships.  As you can see on the site, each month’s package will include:

  • a 15 yard mini-skein of recycled hand-dyed yarn
  • a 10 yard mini-skein of spun recycled yarn
  • quick knit pattern exclusive to the club
  • any crafty bits called for in the pattern (e.g. buttons)
  • extra mystery leethal goodies and/or bits of crafty fun

As for the exclusivity of the patterns – my plan is to group club patterns into sets for sale after 3+ months pass.  So, club members are the only knitters to have access to the patterns until after 3 or more months, at which point non-members will be able to purchase them.


The August membership is for sale until August 5th, and packages will be mailed out on the 18th.  I’ve started planning the pattern and yarns, and it’s all a secret, but I will tell you something about the colorways – if you like the colors in my new site design, you’ll love one of the club yarns!  See the club page for more details, and as it says there, things could change in future months as I see how it goes.

A note to bloggers:  To encourage word-of-mouth club promotion, I will be giving membership discounts if you promise to blog about your club package once you receive it.  Comment here or email me for details if you’re interested!

Then there’s the leethal quick knits patterns page, with all patterns I’ve designed that use no more than 15 yards of yarn – including free, for sale, and published outside of leethal.

circle lace cuff

But the most exciting to you might be the link list page – around 65ish links (and ever growing) to patterns by other designers that use less than 20 yards!  Most are free (I only have 1 for sale actually) but I want to add more for sale patterns when I find more, to encourage supporting independent designers, so let me know if you know a good pattern I should add!


Patterns are divided into accessories, useful stuff, toys and decor, silliness, and crochet – I know it’s called quick knits, but I am not anti-crochet!  If you’ve released a design that uses less than 20 yards, you should see if you’re on the list!  I didn’t contact any designers because it would take waaay too long and I figured everyone would be happy to be linked…


I tried to be a bit picky when choosing patterns to put on the list – I want it to be a quality resource, so I didn’t add every single under 20 yard pattern I found.  (Though I’m sure there are lots I didn’t find at all, so let me know if I missed any!)  I think it’s a great collection, a lot of interesting/cool/funny stuff that I would totally knit!  Hope you enjoy!!

Filed under: knitting,lots of links,quick knits,yarn — leethal @ 6:30 pm

June 16, 2009

knitting, fairness, fiber, and more knitting

how was your wwkip day?  not that we don’t all knit in public all the time, but it’s always fun to have an excuse to go knit with a friend over coffee + ice cream (in my case) instead of staying in and working all day like i normally do on saturdays.  i met my awesome buddy star at pix for an americano and some fabulous blood orange ice cream – no shots of me knitting since i was working on a supersecret project!  (but there is this super awkward one the barista guy took when he misheard star asking me to take one and thought we wanted him to, haha)

pix on worldwide knit in public day pix on worldwide knit in public day

we got to talking about designer fairness issues, a subject that was going around on knit designers’ blogs a few months ago after annie modesitt bravely addressed a major problem with vogue knitting’s designer contracts.  unfortunately, the subject came up because of a potential problem star might have with a design contract, reminding me that i never wrote about the subject here like i’d planned to.  basically, if you are a knit designer, aspiring to be one, or are a buyer of patterns in any form, i encourage you to read one or all of the posts by annie modesitt, ysolda, or knitgrrl. (these are just the ones i’ve read – let me know if there are more good ones.)

personally, i am more and more confident that self-publishing almost exclusively is the route i plan to continue taking as a designer.  i may someday submit a design to a magazine, if i have a pattern i think would be a good fit, but if/when that happens i will be reading my contract thoroughly and i will not be signing unless i’m ok with everything.  and i’ll know that there’s still a chance something will happen with my pattern that i’m not happy with, because sadly, that’s just the way it goes, it seems to me.  (usually this means it gets edited down to fit the layout, but it could be worse.)

if you are a new designer, aspiring to get published in a magazine or book as soon as the opportunity arises, i urge you, please, read those posts and don’t accept any contract that isn’t fair to you.  by signing a contract that doesn’t value your work, you would not just be hurting yourself, but you’d be making it harder for all other designers to get fair treatment.  with magazines fighting to stay in print, paying more attention to their websites as marketing tools, trying to cut corners whereever possible to stay afloat, we really need to make sure we’re not sacrificing our own well-being as designers to help them.  i want the magazines to survive as much as any other knitter, but designers deserve fair treatment dammit.  like ysolda saysThe only way things are going to change for everyone is if we stand together.

one last way to look at it, if you don’t understand why it’s important for designers to be treated fairly… imagine a knitting magazine minus the patterns… well, that’s just ridiculous… how about, think about what you like about knitting magazines and knitting websites out of everything there is (patterns, articles, book reviews, ads, etc) – now think about what percentage of the value for you comes from the patterns… now read this excerpt from annie modesitt’s post:

Designers earn just a hair more now for a pattern than they did in the mid-80’s. Factor in cost of living, and we’re earning less than we did 20 years ago. Add to this the latest slap in the face – 90% of internet sales revenue will go back to the magazine – and we, as designers, realize exactly how much we’re valued. T E N P E R C E N T.

not cool. right? right.


ok moving on to fun fiber-related stuff… black sheep is friday!!  i’ll be heading to eugene with caitlin, star, and kate, and i’m suuuper excited!  it was a great time last year, and i got tons of fibery goodness!  this year, i’m bringing less cash and buying only a few specific things i have in mind, but even though my spending it limited, it’s just so fun to look at all the pretty fiber and yarn… mmmmmmm… and then there’s the animals! yay!


and lastly, for this knit-tastic post, i made this hat for a birthday present for my brother ben:

birthdayhat8 birthdayhat5

ok that’s all, just wanted to show you.  i have a feeling i won’t be posting for a little while because pete’s parents are in town so we’ll be hanging with them a bunch doing fun portlandy things.  if you see me at black sheep, say hi!

Filed under: hats,knitting,lots of links,portland stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 8:39 pm

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

May 3, 2009

Updated: 2 years of weekly diy roundups!

the last year has gone by so quickly (but it’s felt long at the same time, as time always does) – tuesday was the 1 year anniversary of my first threadbanger weekly diy roundup post, which i’ve done every single week since then.  so i decided they should all be in one place together, for you and for myself, so spent hours last night while watching tv making this huge linked, dated, numbered list.  all 53 (1 per week, plus friday’s #53), categorized to give it some order.

update: #109 bike projects on 5/28/10 was my last roundup for threadbanger, so now this is a full list of all my weekly roundups!

the categories aren’t perfect, many posts could fit into multiple categories, but this is the best i could come up with.  i figured knitters/crocheters would like to see the free pattern posts in one place – but, as you can see with the asterisks, some of those have some non-yarn projects, and some of the roundups in other categories have some knit/crochet patterns mixed in.

then the plan is to keep this post updated – every month or so i’ll add the new ones, so if you like roundups you can bookmark this post and watch as it grows!  [yeah that didn’t happen, but the list is complete now!]

knit/crochet (*some non-knit/crochet items):



projects using a material:

techniques/projects using a technique:

assorted other category:


**several knit/crochet patterns

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,threadbanger — leethal @ 3:04 pm

April 11, 2009

coffee photos, non-profits, websites, books (aka stuff!)

i have non-crafty things totally in the spirit of doing stuff! that i want to talk about, which don’t have pictures, so i’m going to stick a few old black and white film photos in here because of my excitement about my recent discovery that you can develop film with coffee!! can you believe it?! my mind was so seriously blown when i came across that photojojo post!  so these were developed the old fashioned chemical way (by me in my bathroom), but i hope to be showing you coffee-developed photos sometime soon! (you can see other people’s coffee photos here.)

castro face

have i mentioned before that pete is starting a non-profit?  it’s still in the way beginning planning stages, but we’ve brainstormed about it quite a bit, and i’ve just gotten the simple place-holder webpage up!  it’s called 2 cent solar, and you can read a bit about it at  (not taking donations yet because it’s not started yet, but i’ll definitely keep you updated!)  the basic logo is also a place holder – we’ll probably be putting a call out to graphic designers to donate their skillz and make a logo, so let us know if you might be interested…

castro window

ok this is something i should have done years ago, but i tried once and couldn’t figure it out, gave up for awhile, transferred my domain names away from yahoo to a more easily manageable place, finally got around to trying again and finally figured it out! oh yeah, “what’s it?” you ask…  well is now, it no longer takes you to  which means this blog is now instead of the old (so long!) etc.  all old links with the coloredlights in the middle will still work, so you shouldn’t need to change your rss feed or bookmarks or anything, but i’m really happy that new links won’t have to be so long and annoying anymore!

sausage factory wall

so i wanted to ask you all a favor, since i’m not so savvy with this domain server kind of stuff (clearly)… could you let me know if you happen to come across any issues, broken links, etc, in any of my sites?  i fixed all of ours (mine and pete’s) so nothing transfers to coloredlights anymore like they all used to.  the other thing is that i think they should all work either with or without the www but maybe that might be a problem on some browsers or computers, so if you can’t get to any sites without the w’s, let me know and i’ll make sure to always use w’s when linking.  here are all of them, just for fun…,, (and,, the newest (and,,, and, my original website i started in college.  we have a lot of websites!

indie publishing

another thing i’ll just mention here because i’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and maybe some readers out there have advice or anything else to share…  i’m starting to plan a self-published book!  i got myself indie publishing at powell’s the other day (image from concretehermit), i’ve started to shop around local printers a little (if you know of a portland printer that does full-color books, i’d love recommendations!!) and i’m pretty excited about the whole thing!  i do want to get issue #2 of do stuff! finished and released before putting too much effort into the book though…

open book

and speaking of books… one big thing i’m planning to start here on do stuff! is book reviews!  i have an ever growing list of books in my current collection that need to be raved about (and even some with giveaways!!) so i want to start doing reviews regularly, like one every 2 weeks ish, starting possibly today or tomorrow.  so, if any rad books happen to magically end up in my mailbox, i’d definitely do something bloggy with them, hint hint if any authors/publishers happen to be reading hehe…  so many awesome craft books have been coming out lately, i can hardly keep up with them all!!

Filed under: books,lots of links,personal,random stuff — leethal @ 11:49 am

April 7, 2009

oops this is still a massive post…

wow, the last week was so overwhelmingly awesome, i don’t even know where to start.  so i’m going to break it up a bit, to avoid a massive post that you can’t get through… so here’s part 1: fun times with amazing people!

kim and betsy at the kitten rachel's gift!

friday morning the weekend of crazamazingly crafty fun times (all because of the handmade nation premiere) started with superyummy breakfast at cadillac cafe with rachel (in from austin), kim (in from vancouver bc), sarah+josh, susan+pearl, betsy (in from north carolina), teresa (and her incredible art necklaces), diane, and pete.  it was so great get to meet the non-portlanders who i only knew online before.  rachel gave pete+i that adorable painted doll set, in the embroidered sack – cutest things ever!! i love them so much!

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so, if you’re on twitter you’re probably well aware of this… a few weeks ago some of us were geeking out over our excitement about the weekend and kim first uttered the word “#craftgasm” and there it was.  rachel designed a logo, i carved it into a lino block, printed up enough patches for everyone, and carried them with me all weekend to pass out, mostly to twitter nerds, but also to anyone else that entered our craftnerd circle.

patches patch+buttons01

by the end of the weekend, my patch was surrounded by rad buttons!  those top three are ones i made way back when i was still at my day job – they are a quote digibudi said on the craftypod episode men who craft; i doodled them on scrap paper at work, then turned the doodles into buttons when i got home.  they say “fish need to swim,” “birds need to fly,” “humans need to create.”  then the bottom 2 were picked up at the museum after the panel (which i’ll get into in my part 2 post) and the “do!” button was made at the diy table at crafty wonderland on sunday – “do!” as in “do stuff!” yeah!!

kitten on my kitten stash! cat beads

anyway, after breakfast we all headed over to knittn’ kitten and took over the store!  you can see kim and betsy posing in awesome smock finds at the top, and then banzo the kitten sniffing my finds from the kitten!  i didn’t mean to get so much, but things kept jumping into my basket!  all those big spools of fat thread are for handspun plying, and you can see me discovering that that stripey fabric will make a rad skirt in diane‘s photostream.  my favorite find was that little bag of weirdo cat beads – the two blue ones will definitely become a pair of earrings, and i’m not sure what to do with the red one, but i love love it!!


after the kitten, rachel, kim, diane, and i were off to check out cool cottons and kinokuniya!  i was able to resist buying anything (there weren’t as many knitting books as usual, so that helped me resist), but over lunch we poured over rachel’s amazing find and now i want to buy that one!!  then we went up to kim’s room at the ace hotel downtown – holy crap the ace is awesome!! wow!

acehotel13 acehotel18

check out the fire escape route above – screen printed on fabric with stitching and a button! there was rad artwork everywhere, and i was lucky to get to see 2 different rooms since michaela and jennifer joined us at the screening and i got to go up and see michaela+greg’s room.  i love all the little details all over the hotel, so great!  and not only is there a stumptown inside the hotel, but, as you can see below, there’s even a photo booth! everything i love!  we shot a strip with us craftstylish gals, in which i was the frontmost person, making my head huge (like an orange on a toothpick)!  (when i get a digital copy of it up on flickr, i’ll link to it here.)

jennifer with our photo strip acehotel23

so then most of day 2 was spent hanging out and having crafty fun times at susan’s house.  it was so so awesome to be in a room full of crafters of all kinds (not just knitters like i’m used to, not that there’s anything wrong with knitters, of course!) all working on their own projects, and helping each other, and talking and laughing… it was a great day!!  below you can see betsy with her toast (!) needlepoint project (which gave heather the desire to crossstitch on toast!) and a crochet lesson…

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we were so happy to present diane with her group gift of the tie quilt she found a few weeks ago…

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…and there was a little tweeting of course.  (that’s 3 iphones in one photo!)  and i always love spending time with the perfect pearl (and caitlin too of course), below.  besides everyone i’ve already mentioned, garth and kacy and patrick and michelle and her little girl and heather‘s little ones joined us too… i hope i’m not forgetting anyone, there were so many rad people!

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day 3 started with a vanilla ginger pear filled waffle at the waffle wagon on division, where star got to join a bunch of us for a bit.  it was fun to be out in the sunshine (we have sun in portland!) and the food was delicious indeed.  (personally though, i prefer the waffle window on hawthorne – in my humble opinion it’s just as yummytastic for half the price, but that’s just me.)  how lucky i am to live within walking distance of both a waffle wagon and a waffle window! i love you, se portland!

daythree01 daythree02

then i headed to crafty wonderland to check out the goods, make a button, and get a crafty surprise from the new machine!!  i got to hang with betsy before she left town, and talk to some other twitter friends with tables, and meet faythe levine and jill bliss.  what a weekend!!

daythree03 daythree07

ok to conclude, i’m going to borrow a quote from diane’s blog/zine (hope you don’t mind, diane!)

When you’re in a group of real-live people, and a spontaneous joke happens, or a great conversation, that’s a 3D moment.  There are so many unique sensory elements involved: the sights, sounds, and smells of the place you’re all in, plus the facial expressions and voices of the other people. There’s your emotional state, and the emotions of the other people. There’s the energy of the group as a whole, and the feeling of connection. All these elements make for vivid, memorable experiences.

i hope there’s another huge craft event happening in portland soon so everyone comes back!!

you can see everyone’s photos in the flickr group diane created for the weekend! if you took any, be sure to add them to the pool!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,personal,photos,portland stuff — leethal @ 10:25 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)

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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 15, 2009

i’m on cut out + keep!

well i still can’t believe they asked me to do this, but i’m the latest crafty superstar over on cut out + keep (along with crafters like jennifer perkins and natalie zee drieu)!  all my projects over there are originally from either here on do stuff! or craftstylish; an assortment of five different types of crafty tutorials (knitting, sewing, printing).  the projects got added one at a time throughout the last week… here is a screen shot i took when i noticed the rotating bubble on top said my name!

cut out+keep superstar

ok i feel weird talking about myself so much like this, so moving on…. there are a bunch of crafty superstars i wasn’t familiar with before, with some awesome projects! check out joan of dark’s decode hat (i love that the bobbles are randomly placed!), katie marcus’s deep v top, lady wurlitzer’s carrier tidy, and i remember loving this record album mail organizer the first time i saw it on sarah mccoll’s blog.  good stuff!

if you are new to my blog, coming from cut out + keep, or anywhere else, welcome!  i’m sorry i’m terrible at replying to comments, but i want everyone to know that i read and appreciate every single comment i get (here, via email, via ravelry, etc), so if you don’t hear back from me, know that i really do thank your for your feedback!

one extra thing, since this is such a short post… i just want to say how much i love twitter!  in the last few days, i’ve gotten help with finding an accountant for taxes, advice on making quiche, tons of links to great things (a constant flow, always), many laughs, motivation and inspiration from all the awesome people (tweeple?) i follow!  if you don’t tweet and you’re curious about it, i definitely recommend giving it a try.  it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me!!  (and, by the way, i’m just getting set up with tweetdeck, so now i’m able to follow a whole lot more people!  until now, i’ve had to keep my follow list super minimal in order to realistically keep up with everyone…)  yay twitter!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,random stuff,tutorials — leethal @ 9:21 pm

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.

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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:

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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…

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(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.

February 15, 2009

buildup post: bingo, hair, bday, astoria, film…

it’s been a super eventful week, and i have lots to share, so i’m gonna shove most of it into this post, and i’ll try to keep each thing brief so it doesn’t drag on too long…

bad movie bingo!

first of all – bad movie bingo has an official website!  when i first posted about our game i had planned to just have it for sale through pete’s site, but then on monday i impulsively bought and and built the site!  it’s simple, but i think it does the job.  and the list of recommended movies will keep on growing!

this week was our annual week of fun, or something – our 4 year anniversary was monday, then my birthday was wednesday, and then v-day yesterday… so we always try to do lots of fun stuff or go somewhere, and this year was great!  pete’s “weekend” is always wednesday/thursday so we got to hang out around portland all day on my bday and then we took a day trip to astoria on thursday!  but, i’m getting ahead of myself, back to monday… besides building that website, i also did this:

hairdyeing1 hairdyeing2
hairdyeing4 hairdyeing5

resulting in:

myhair1 myhair2

except not quite… the color in those photos is exactly what i was going for, but in real life (or in most lighting conditions) it’s hot pink.  oh well.  i get lots of stares from kids and babies, and the kitten loves it.  next time i’ll go a shade darker and hopefully it’ll turn out how it looks in those photos.  but i’m having fun with it!  not what i wanted, but i did want something new and different, and that’s what i got!  oh and, there’s another sneak peek in those pictures at the knitting pattern i’ll be releasing in a few days!

so then, on my bday, we had a great day – cricket cafe for breakfast (i highly recommend my favorite breakfast ever from there: hash browns topped with veggie sausage, veggie gravy and olives+mushrooms or your favorite veggies/etc) and then we saw coraline 3d!  so great!  amazing art!  i’m so glad we had the chance to see it in 3d!  then there was some good thrift store shopping and zine shopping at microcosm.  and then we met up with a bunch of rad friends for (tofu) hot dogs and trivia at zach’s!  want some linkage?  thanks homero+david, caitlin, elif, vivian, emily, and all our blogless friends (kate, woods, simon, patrick…) – and we missed you star!!  it was a great bday, filled with fun times, good friends, yummy junk food, and cheap beer!

astoria46 astoria19

next: astoria! on thursday we finally drove out to the (almost) coast for the first time!  we mostly just walked around and i took tonnnns of photos (see the 60ish digitals i’ve put on flickr here), and we stopped into a bookstore where i found an awesome natural dyeing book from ’83 for only $4!  and we ate some super delicious mac n cheese at a rad little coffeeshop with stumptown coffee!


and we walked all over the place and i took photos…

astoria09 astoria07

astoria36 astoria34

astoria29 astoria23

astoria44 astoria43

and then when we couldn’t walk anymore we went to the fort george brewery and pete got me a stout sampler (feb is stout month!) and we got to hang out with shannon and opal, that was fun!  then we invented a new game: speed scrabble! no rules, no points, just fast.  we created new and exciting words like nuntv (a cable channel with nothing but nuns) and kantcore (super into the philosopher kant).

astoria49 astoria57

so then another cool thing about the day was that i shot some film! i hadn’t done that in so long!  i shot a few polaroids, nothing worth showing, and partial rolls of 35mm b+w in my canonet and 120 color in my holga.  so i have a question for portlanders… anyone know of a photo lab (preferably in southeast) that develops medium format film?  ideally, i’d love to find a lab that’s not crazy good quality (and therefore expensive) but that does medium format c-41 for cheap-ish, and if it also sells b+w developing chemicals that would be fantastic.  so that’s another question, anyone know a place i can get photo chemisty in portland (east side)?  once i find all these things, hopefully i’ll start shooting more film again!

oh and lastly, i’ve been playing around with stop motion a little!  i got myself a wireless remote for my d80 and i did some fun experimenting the other day, but it’s not ready to share yet.  i will show you this little video i made of the river waves on the astoria coast:

Filed under: lots of links,personal,photos,portland stuff — leethal @ 1:22 pm

November 16, 2008

my other blogging – tutorials and more!

hey i’ve fallen behind on showing you my craftstylish tutorial posts!  so i’ll go back and tell you about the last 3 that i haven’t mentioned here…


a few weeks ago i explained how to make my short-rows wavy hat with multiple yarns striping, both with 2 row wide stripes and 1 wedge wide sections.

03-1wedge.jpg cottonwaveshat4.jpg

then last weekend my tutorial was for an all-recycled journal/sketchbook


the how-to was just how to make the book, i left the cover decoration up to the creator – i covered mine with decoupaged vintage book pages:


and lastly, today’s was for a collaged table with a built-in game board!


here are some shots of my coffee table – i made it a couple years ago, so i’m happy to have written the tutorial now so it gets seen by people outside of my living room…

trivialpursuitfinished.jpg 10trivialpursuitgamecloseup.jpg

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old books have weird pictures!!

and while i’m linking you over to blog posts i’ve written elsewhere… i’m still doing weekly diy roundups every friday on threadbanger – the latest one was one of my favorites i’ve ever done! a roundup full of way creepy cool ski masks, with lots of free patterns!  these are the masks i made a few years ago when i went through a mask phase:

my ski masks!

in addition to the roundups, i’m now doing cool website alerts every week now – my last couple were one of my long-time favorites, craft leftovers, and one of my new favorite blogs, dollar store crafts.

if you want to keep up with all my various blog posting, i usually tweet when posts go up – my twitter name is _leethal_.  yay twitter!

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