August 15, 2016

New Full Body Trio pattern: Chilli!

My Full Body Trio of any-gauge, versatile garment patterns is now complete!  Tionne the pullover sweater and Lopes the convertible short-sleeved cardigan / skirt were joined by Chilli the buttoning tank top.  (ravelry link)

Chilli

Like the other two patterns, it’s custom fit to your measurements in any yarn weight; this one is meant to be made in a warm-weather yarn for a summery top, but it could be made as a vest too. This one is by far the easiest and fastest knit of the three trio patterns!

Chilli Chilli

The pockets are optional, and you can choose to use one color or multiple colors on your top – the pockets would be much more subtle if made in the same color as the body.

Chilli Chilli

It’s not quite as versatile as the first two designs with how it can be worn (see how the other two can be worn on their blog posts: Tionne and Lopes), but it can be buttoned in different ways to make different styles:

Chilli Chilli Chilli

Chilli Chilli Chilli

Chilli Chilli Chilli

My pocketed sample is in Nettle Grove by Plymouth Yarn, a sport weight made of cotton, linen, silk, and nettle fiber – it’s perfect for a summery top, very cool!  It was great to work with, it’s fully machine washable and dryable, and it softens up a ton once washed, making a super comfy fabric.

Chilli

My solid color, pocketless sample was made with triple-stranded Louet MerLin sport weight, making a bulky weight, which was knit somewhat loosely on size US 11 needles.  Even though it’s a fat gauge, it’s still a totally wearable warm-weather top, as the linen blend breaths well and doesn’t feel too heavy.

Chilli

I started with a prototype in some recycled cotton, and I ended up changing the top part completely, so it’s not a sample of the whole thing, but it works to show you pockets made in the same color as the body, and sewn on at a rounded angle instead of a straight line:

same-color pockets on a Chilli prototype same-color pockets on a Chilli prototype

For another glimpse at my design process, here’s a sketch I made while planning it out, with my original color choices plugged in; I later decided on the light green instead for a more summery look.  But colors like this, with lower contrast, would be a nice, more subtle look.  This sketch doesn’t show the cabled neckline how it ended up, that part came later in the design process.

Chilli sketch with color idea

And here’s a closeup of how that neckline turned out, working to shape the neck by pulling the fabric down, without any change to the stitch count:

Chilli

The garter stitch top part is worked flat, sideways, modularly with stitches left along the bottom edge for later, and then the body is worked down to the bottom, in the round in stockinette, and it’s finished with some ribbing at the bottom.  The pockets are added last, so you can wait to decide at the last minute whether you want them or not, or whether to make them in a contrasting color or not.

Chilli Chilli

There is very little finishing: sew down the pockets if you made them, sew on the buttons, and you’re done!  Techniques used are pretty simple: cabling without a cable needle is easy with the basic cables used, the buttonholes are made like crochet chains (but not using a crochet hook), and a cable cast-on and cable bind-off are used so the edges around the armholes match.

Chilli

I know it’s getting a bit late in the season to start a summer top, but depending on where you live (and what gauge you choose) you may be able to finish one in time to get some wear out of it this year still!  Or take your time and have it ready to wear by next spring ;)  You can get the whole trio mini-collection (the price makes it the same as buy 2 patterns get 1 free!) and make one of the warmer sweaters first, then cast this one on next year.  (ravelry link)  Anyway, I’m so happy with this trio, but don’t expect me to be designing any more garments anytime soon, I plan to stick with accessories for the foreseeable future!  Glad to have dipped my toes into garments a bit though, and I love all three of these designs!

Tionne sweater! Lopes! Chilli

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios — Lee Meredith @ 12:13 pm

April 21, 2015

New Full Body Trio pattern: Lopes!

Lopes, the second garment pattern in my Full Body Trio mini-collection (after Tionne), has been released!  (On ravelry here!)  If you follow me on social media at all, you saw plenty of peeks a couple months back when I was making the first sample – I was posting all kinds of close-ups on instagram, revealing things like the sleeves (and the fact that it was an item that had sleeves), the seed stitch edge, the drop-stitch wedges…

Ahh seed stitch, I do so love how it looks but hate the act of knitting it. Which makes it good for just the edge :) Sigh. I'm no good at garment design yet. My sample was sized SO wrong - there are eight of these panels of 26 rows, and for correct sizing there should have been 16 rows instead. The heartbreaking thing is it would have been WAY quicker to knit if I'd fig

#leethalPAD day 14: Jagged. Ziggy-zaggy drop-stitches in my upcoming pattern sample. This was my first time hiring a sample knitter for a pattern sample (shout out to awesome knitter Chantal, who I don't think is on Instagram) and it was very exciting to Sleeve #1, done!  I think I'm pretty darn happy with how this is looking! (Upcoming leethal Full Body Trio pattern.)

But the BIG REVEAL when the pattern was released last Thursday night was that it’s a cardigan that can also be worn as a skirt!!  TAH DAH!

Lopes! Lopes

It’s a springy/summery, drapey, flared, airy, swingy wrap cardigan, with short sleeves which can be turned in and laced closed, turning them into the functional pockets of the wraparound skirt!

Lopes Lopes

I made a video showing you how it works and some different ways it can be worn:

That was fun!  (Many thanks to Pete for whipping up that background music for me!)

Lopes! Lopes!

So, here are things about the pattern…  It’s written for any yarn weight/gauge, though nothing heavier than worsted is recommended, and working at a loose gauge for maximum drape is ideal.  (I made a prototype to figure out shaping/construction/size stuff, in bulky weight, and it is totally ridiculous and unwearable.  Part of it is that the sizing is all wrong, so that all got fixed in the pattern, but the bulky weight is really not a good fit for this item.)

Lopes! Lopes

The samples were made with Hazel Knits Lively DK, the beautiful Sedge colorway (which very much shifts colors depending on light!), knit at a very loose gauge (size US 8 needles on the shorter sample, US 7’s for the longer sample), and it was a fantastic yarn fit.  Hazel Knits is an awesome yarn company, local-ish to me in the Pacific Northwest (based in Seattle), and they do dye-to-order if they don’t have the color you love in stock – turn around is two weeks (or less!) on custom dyed orders – there are so many gorgeous colorways, it was really hard for me to choose just one, but I really love the Sedge so I made a good choice!

Good mail day!! That's @hazelknits DK in colorway Sedge <3  Can't wait to start knitting with it!

Lopes is custom sized to your body, using your own measurements, and you can make it shorter or longer, as you prefer.  You’ll need to make a good gauge swatch, take a few measurements on yourself, then fill out a worksheet with some math (very easy with a calculator app) to find your custom pattern numbers.  (This is the same as how Tionne works, except Lopes is much simpler than Tionne, fewer sections and fewer numbers to find.)

Lopes Lopes

The measurements of the piece are based on the measurements of your upper body, so the cardigan fits nicely around the back/shoulders, and around your waist, so the skirt fits.  The fronts of the cardigan are therefore usually wide, overlapping quite a bit, for a double-breasted kind of wrap style sweater.

Lopes Lopes!

The cardigan flares out a lot, which makes it nice and swingy and fun to wear…

Lopes! Lopes!

Lopes!

…but, as you saw in the video above, you also have the option of using ribbons/laces to cinch it around your body for a more form-fitting look.

Lopes!

Lopes! Lopes!

The piece flares out with short row wedges, worked with a drop-stitch pattern – the fabric is already meant to be light and airy, so the dropped stitches make it more so, and the garter stitch borders add some texture.  Of course, the skirt is designed to be worn over another skirt layer, or opaque leggings, or as a beach coverup, etc.  Even if the fabric wasn’t see-through, it would still be scandalous to wear it without something under, since it’s open in the back!

Lopes! Lopes

That wraparound, open-back design makes for a very comfy, moveable skirt, as you can see in the shot below where I guess I’m being a dinosaur?  Photoshoots are silly.

Lopes! Lopes

The sleeves/pockets are in garter stitch, giving them nice stretch while functioning both ways, and they have braided cables running down the centers, matching the braided cables along the bottom edge.  And eyelet holes around the bottoms, for lacing up the pockets.

Lopes!

They are worked last, out from live stitches left in the body, in the round with short row shaping.  Here’s a closeup of the sleeve cable joining the body:

Lopes

(Side note:  I had originally designed this with plain garter stitch sleeves; the idea to add the cables came to me as I was knitting up the sample, and I’m SO glad it did!  Test knitters agreed that the sleeves are one of the best parts of the pattern.  Love them!)

Lopes Lopes

The short sample has very short sleeves, which makes the pockets not very functional, only meant for putting my hands in; the longer sample has sleeves about an inch longer, making the pockets more functional, but they still can’t hold very much.  If you want really functional pockets for holding stuff, it’s recommended that you go about another inch or so longer than these sleeves.

Lopes Lopes

As you see, the sleeves can be worked in a contrasting color for a nice effect, especially when worn as pockets (I think).  These sleeves are Hazel Knits Lively DK in Low Tide (the leftover yarn from my Warren hat – those skeins are big!) – I love the subtle variegation just on the sleeves.  I think the whole piece is best in a solid/semi-solid, but that contrast works very well to my eye!

Lopes Lopes!

And you can play around with some other color pop ideas like I did in my longer sample – the beginning and ending edges are in a contrasting dark grey color (Anzula Cricket in Elephant), and the last panel is in a contrasting lighter green yarn (Anzula Cricket in Key Lime).

Lopes Lopes

As for yardage, my shorter sample used just under 3 skeins of the Lively DK – approx 730 yards / 670 meters total, and my longer sample used 3 full skeins plus all the contrasting bits, totaling up to approx 1100 yards / 1000 meters used.  I normally wear a size large; you can see my very approximate yardage estimates for all yarn weight and sizes here.

Lopes! Lopes

Let’s see, what else about the pattern?  Oh, buttons!  Buttons are always fun, of course.  Let me show you mine!  My yellow button came from an amazing little button shop in York, England.  I’d been saving it for just the right project, and I think it’s a perfect fit here!

Lopes!

And the second button there was found in my stash – I don’t know where it came from but I’m assuming a bag of old buttons from a thrift store, or from Knittn’ Kitten, since that’s where most of my random stash buttons came from.  There’s a deer on it!

Lopes

The back side buttons on this sample are yellow as well, also random stash finds.

Lopes!

The other sample features antler buttons, bought at Paxton Gate in North Portland.  Love them!!

Lopes!

Lopes

This sample is special, by the way, a first for me as a designer – I hired a sample knitter to make it!  Local knitter Chantal knit the whole body of the piece, and I just added the sleeves and did the finishing.  It was so weird and cool to have an almost finished pattern sample handed to me!  Hours upon hours of work that I didn’t have to do myself.  Not that I didn’t love knitting Lopes, because I really do love this pattern and I (mostly) enjoyed making the first sample, but, two in a row?  With tons of other deadlines and work projects on my mind?  The pattern would have been delayed a month probably if I’d done it myself, not because that’s how long it took, but because I’d have had to wait till I finished other deadline projects first before finishing it… Anyway, that made me feel like I took a new step as a professional designer, and Chantal did a great job, so hooray!  Thanks Chantal!!

Lopes!

And many thanks to my test knitters as well, but super especially to Megan, of the Stockinette Zombies video podcast!  (She shows her Lopes test knit in this episode, keeping the fact that it’s a skirt a secret since the pattern wasn’t released yet – thanks for that, Megan!)  I had a too-tight deadline for testers on this project, since I was eager to release it asap, and Megan is the only one who actually finished it 100% so she’s awesome.  (Don’t worry, other testers tested all the parts of the pattern, and the pattern was also tech edited – thanks Ashwini! – so it’s been fully checked and is up to my quality standards!)

Lopes Lopes

Okay now I’m going to get into a lot of detail about the design process for Lopes, so if that doesn’t interest you, just check out the pattern on ravelry and thanks for reading this far!  ;)  Here we go…

Lopes!

For my first garment pattern, Tionne, I blogged all about how I first got the design idea, and my design process… once I had that design concept in my head, I decided I wanted to do a trio of garment patterns, so I started casually thinking about other garment ideas, and the idea for Lopes just came to me.  I don’t have any kind of story about it; I don’t even remember how I first thought of it.  I just had a thought one day, something like, what if I made a really simply shaped, flared piece, in three panels, and there are sleeves which can fold in and become pockets, so it can be worn as a cardigan and a skirt?  Hmmmmm… and then eventually Lopes was born!

Lopes!

Oh but, my original design concept was for the three parts (the two sides and the center, between the sleeves/pockets) to all be the same width across, and I stuck to that all the way through completing the first sample, which is why this happened.  When it was done and blocked, it was WAY too big.  Horrible fit.  I was in denial the whole way though until it was completely finished, partly because the gauge stretched A LOT with blocking, and I’d measured my swatch without stretching it so much, so that was my fault and it really did get much larger than I expected it to… and part of my denial was just not wanting to frog and re-knit because I was in a big hurry to get it done and out to test knitters.  So, when it was almost done, only partially blocked, with the needles still in one half-done sleeve, I took some quickie photos to send out with my call for testers, and I really did think the fit was going to be okay at this point:

Lopes first fail

Looking back at these shots now, blech, it’s so obvious to now-me that the fit isn’t okay.  The sleeves are so droopy, for one thing.  Anyway, then I finished it, wove in all the ends and everything, and blocked it completely.  And then I did another quickie placeholder-photos shoot.  It was during this shoot that I reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was NOT OKAY and something needed to be done.  As you can see, I tried playing around with making it look cool as it was, but it just wasn’t working.

Lopes first fail Lopes first fail

At that time was when I re-did my original math based on the actual post-blocked gauge, and posted this panic-y instagram, when I was still thinking the pattern was okay as it was, but that the whole thing should have been smaller.  After lots more measuring, calculating, etc, I realized that actually that wasn’t true, and most of my sample was actually okay as it was (yay!) but the pattern needed to be re-written.  It just wouldn’t work for all three sections to be the same width.  So I re-did all the worksheet/numbers stuff, re-wrote parts of the pattern, and figured out how to go about fixing this sample.

I decided I could make the whole thing sized correctly by significantly shrinking the two center panels, and the sleeves; I tweeted about this and Kirsten suggested the excellent idea of grafting first, cutting second, so I could make sure the new sizing was good before doing anything permanent.  That turned out to be a REALLY helpful idea, because I did indeed need to unravel and re-graft the first panel!

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

So I grafted, un-grafted those stitches, re-grafted, it was good the second time, so I cut and unraveled.  Unfortunately, even though I was trying to be super careful, I cut the wrong strand (I thought it was the right strand! It was hard to tell what was happening!) and made a new hole next to the grafted stitches, so I had to graft that closed too.

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

For the second panel, I cut first, grafted second.  So then the center section was the correct size, fit to my body.

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

The other major re-do was to completely frog both sleeves, graft up the armpits several stitches to make smaller holes, and re-knit them.  Here it is after the first was finished, for comparison; of course, the bigger one is post-blocking, and the smaller one is pre-blocking, knit with kinky frogged yarn.  But I made the sleeves MUCH smaller, which really gave the entire sweater a much better fit!

Lopes surgery project

 So that was that – I re-blocked the center and the sleeves, and it fit perfectly!  Phew!  I was so relieved when I tried it on and it actually fit right, unlike the first time when I tried it on and kind of convinced myself that it was okay before finally admitting that it was not.  And the pattern got all fixed up and written to work for all sizes, and to fit right for everyone!  Hooray!

Lopes!

So, overall, even though it was an annoying process, I learned a lot, I ended up with the best possible pattern/sample, and it all turned out for the best!

Lopes!

Okay I think that’s everything I have to say about Lopes.  The third garment pattern in the Full Body Trio (Chilli) will probably be coming near the end of the year; I’ve got to spread out these garment patterns, they are exhausting for an accessory designer!  There will be some exciting non-garment things coming soon, though!  Happy knitting, everyone!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios,skirts — Lee Meredith @ 3:39 pm

February 3, 2015

Third Dark Trio pattern: Andrew!

The leethal Dark Trio is now complete! (ravelry link)  Andrew is a pair of fingerless mitts with elements of good and/or evil, your choice:

Andrew mitts

I made an animated gif to show Andrew in action!

AndrewAnimation165

They have illusion knit pentagrams and/or stars (your choice) on each hand…

Andrew mitts

…and eyes on the palms.

Andrew mitts

From the pattern:

The eye on your palm can have good or evil meanings.

Hold an eye outwards towards someone looking at you with malice, to ward off the evil eye – there are many cultures with beliefs about the evil eye, and with eye symbols meant to protect from it.  Several cultures even combine hands with protective eyes, like the Hamsa hand symbol used throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Or, hold your hands up to your eyes, palms out, to become disguised as Tenome, a creature from Japanese mythology with his eyes in his hands, or The Pale Man, a terrifying monster from Pan’s Labyrinth.

Or, for fans of specific shows, your palm eyes can turn you into the Seer from Once Upon a Time, or a Sister of the Sibylline from Doctor Who, if you wear your mitts on the wrong hands to put the eyes on the back sides.

Andrew mitts

Oh, and they also happen to be comfy, functional fingerless mitts for everyday wear!  I’ve been wearing them a ton – the garter stitch and slip-stitch panels make them nice and cozy.

Andrew mitts

My sample pair is in awesome Knitted Wit Welterweight Rambouillet, which I LOVE a lot (it’s the same yarn used in my purple Wobble Bass hat).

Andrew mitts

This pattern is designed for sport weight yarn, and includes four sizes, ranging from women’s small to men’s large.  The other sample is the largest size, in Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sports yarn:

Andrew mitts

This is an intermediate level pattern – it’s not hard to knit, but there is a lot going on, and you’ll need to read your knitting and keep track of the different segments (be able to tell knits from purls, and see which part is the slip-stitch panel versus the illusion knit panel, etc).  It’s worked in the round, all in one piece.  The eyes are made with twisted and slipped stitches.

Andrew mitts

The illusion knitting is just knits and purls.  I’d knit an illusion piece years ago, a piano scarf for Pete (pattern: Counterpoint Scarf by Jennifer Crawford), and it was fun and easy, but this was my first time designing with it.  It was fun!  Maybe there will be more of it in the future, if I come up with any other ideas…

Andrew mitts

I’m just finishing up putting Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew all together into an ebook, so if you buy the Dark Trio you’ll be able to download each individual pdf and/or the ebook with all three patterns (which will take up less memory than the 3 separate pdf files).  This trio goes well as a set, if you want to be fully decked out with the scarf, hat, and mitts at the same time.  (Unlike my other trios, which include multiple neck items so they can’t be worn at the same time, unless you’re into that kind of layered look!)  I should do a quickie photoshoot of us wearing all the items at the same time :-p

Jonathan Us dorking around during the Warren photoshoot - this pattern is now released! (Click profile link or search Warren on rav.) There's an evil version - perfect for your favorite metalhead - and a chaotic version, free of the satanism ;) Andrew mitts

Now that this trio is complete, I’m on to finishing up other incomplete collections – first up will be the final shawl in the Betiko Collection, and then the second pattern in the Full Body Trio!  After that, I’m planning a brand new mini-collection which I’m REALLY excited about, but I’m also really into those two upcoming designs, so lots to look forward to!  This is a glimpse of a swatch of pattern ideas for the lace Betiko shawl:

Swatching out a bunch of different lace ideas to see what works best for the final design in my Betiko Collection! Lace is a challenge for me since I don't design in it normally, but I'm loving it!

A note to you blog readers: I’ll be raising the price of the Betiko Collection (both the full collection and the individual patterns – see all on ravelry here) after that final pattern is released in a couple weeks, since each pattern is actually like 2 complete patterns and they are so much more complex than most patterns.  Prices will probably go up just a little, but for now you can still get all 4 patterns (which is really like 8 patterns) for $16 before it goes up.  (And if you bought Betiko by itself at any point, from back before the collection was a thing, then you can use coupon code betikoknitter to get the $6 you paid off the price of the collection.)  Just wanted to let you know!

Happy knitting, all!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 12:26 pm

January 15, 2015

New Dark Trio pattern: Warren the evil hat of chaos

The second pattern in the leethal Dark Trio is here!

Warren hat

Warren is a hat that can be made as either the evil version

A peek at the Dark Trio pattern coming later this week! There will be an evil version + a chaotic version, for those who don't want satanic symbology on their heads ;)

…or the chaotic version.

Warren hat

Both versions with chaos arrows pointing outwards from the crown centers (inspired by the symbol of chaos):

Warren hat

The evil version is a large size – fitted on a large head, or slouchy on a smaller head.  I designed it with metalhead guys (such as my husband) in mind, so it’s sized for a man, but not only does it still look good slouched on a lady head, but the pattern also includes detailed notes on adjusting the gauge to modify your size.

Warren hat

This version features satanic symbology around the hat body – this symbol to be exact – done in twisted stitches (written and charted).

Warren hat - evil version

The chaotic version has random-looking twisted stitch lines all messy around the bottom (also written and charted), and then a reverse stockinette stitch body up to the crown.  The pattern gives instructions for working the body inside out as all knit stitches for easier knitting (if you’re not a purl person).  This version is given in small and large sizes, again with notes for adjusting gauge to modify size.

Warren hat - chaotic version

The crown arrows are made with twisted stitches and decreases, and then a centered double decrease brings each arrow in symmetrically; the crown is also written and charted.

Warren hat

The hats are made with DK weight yarn – my chaotic sample is in gorgeous Hazel Knits Lively DK, Low Tide colorway, and the evil sample is in Berroco Vintage DK, Douglas Fir colorway, which is perfect for gift hats since it’s machine washable and dryable.  (Unlike a lot of my patterns, this isn’t an any-gauge pattern; it’s meant to use DK, or to use sport or light worsted weights for modified sizes.)

Warren hat

As you can guess, I designed this hat with my metalhead loved one in mind, but it’s also a good hat for fans of horror genre stuff, and shows like Supernatural, Buffy, etc… I imagine there are probably lots of people who’d like satanic symbols on their heads, right?  There’s Pete doing his best sulky metalhead pose…

Warren hat Warren hat

This pattern can be purchased by itself (on leethalknits or ravelry), or in the Dark Trio collection* (on ravelry here) – right now that will get you Warren and Jonathan the goat scarf, and the third pattern, Andrew, will be released and delivered to your inbox in a couple weeks!

Warren hat

As usual, many thanks to my awesome test knitters – you can see a few of their versions on ravelry.  If you make a Warren hat, be sure to post photos on ravelry so we can all check it out! :)  Happy evil knitting!

Warren hat

*A note to EU knitters:  I’m sorry that because of the VATMESS horribleness I don’t have a way to sell you the trio collection right now, just solo patterns.  Hopefully something will be sorted out soon to make ebooks work through loveknitting (how single patterns get to you, in order for taxes to be paid to each country), or something else… for now, I can try to work out manual collection prices for you somehow, if you email me, like if you buy all three patterns of a trio individually, I can partially refund the extra cost (which might need to have a chunk taken out, for tax/fees).  I haven’t planned anything out like this since I’m really hoping it’s not a long-term thing that I’ll need to deal with.  Anyway, that’s that, single patterns should work fine, but not the trios (or any other collections), for now.

Filed under: hats,knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 10:49 am

November 26, 2014

New pattern: Jonathan!

It’s time for another pattern and the beginning of yet another new trio!  Jonathan (ravelry link) is a 2-color brioche scarf (written especially for brioche beginners!), very gender neutral…

Jonathan Jonathan

…and it can be made extra big and/or extra colorful if you want…

Jonathan

…and there are HIDDEN GOATS!!

Jonathan

Goooaaattttsss.  Goatsgoatsgoatsgoatsgoats.  Three different goaty goat heads!

Jonathan Jonathan

(There are non-goat cables also.)

Jonathan

I recommend wearing it while visiting your local goat friends.

Jonathan

There’s a little guy with little horns and a beard, a longer-faced guy with long, twisty horns, and a four-horned dude with small bottom horns and curving top horns.  I made a goaty mosaic just for fun, to show the different goat styles.  These goat cable patterns were adapted from an awesome original non-brioche goat cable design by Cyn, available for free on her Half-Assed Knit Blog.  Many thanks to Cyn!

goat cables!

This is the first pattern in a new trio – the leethal Dark Trio (on ravelry here).  It will be 3 different gender-neutral accessories, each with some kind of hidden evil!  First, you get evil hidden goats in Jonathan, and then Warren and Andrew will come within the next couple months!  (All will have not-so-evil options, and the evil will be subtle, kind of; don’t expect like a big 666 across your forehead or anything like that!)

Dark Trio image

So, more about Jonathan!  You can choose how wide you want your piece by picking your yarn weight accordingly – worsted weight will make a nice standard, wide-ish scarf (around 8-9 inches).  The navy+grey sample is in aran weight (Berroco Remix).  Use a bulky weight for an extra wide wrap-style item, like my bulky sample, which is in Cascade Eco+ held double for the main color, with lots of different bulky yarns used for the changing contrasting colors (it’s about 13.5 inches wide).

Jonathan

I made a swatch in sport weight (Brown Sheep Lanaloft), with the non-goat cable pattern, and it ended up about 7.5 inches / 19 cm wide, a decent scarf width, if you like your scarves more narrow.  So choose your weight as you like!  Anything goes!  I mean, anything goats?  Sorry.

Sport weight swatch of part of my upcoming brioche pattern!

Then once you choose your yarn and start knitting, you can pick from the three different goat patterns, plus the non-goat pattern, which can all be used in any order.  The navy+grey sample has goat #1, goat #2, goat #3, then a wee bit of the non-goat pattern at the top until the yarn ran out.  The bulky sample just has goat #2 on the end, then the non-goat cable pattern for the whole rest of the piece, until the main color yarn ran out.

Jonathan Jonathan

There are very detailed instructions for how to do 2-color brioche, so if you’ve never done brioche before, even if you don’t know anything about it at all, you’re all set.  The pattern breaks everything down for you, and there are photos to help.  (I will quote one of my test knitters: First time with brioche, and I’m loving it! When I first saw it I thought, “there is no way I’m going to be able to do that” but it is reading fine, and the pics help too, and I’m really enjoying the knit :) it’s almost relaxing!)

Jonathan Jonathan

And then there are photo tutorials for the cables as well; the cables in brioche are basically the same as normal cables with a cable needle, you just work the stitches in the brioche stitch pattern.  The cable patterns are all written and charted, so you can use whichever is easier for you.

Jonathan

Of course, you can get different looks depending on the kind of yarn you use – brioche is naturally squishy, but my navy+grey sample actually has minimal squishiness because of the nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen fiber blend.  Still looks nice, just not so springy.  The bulky sample is super squishy, both because of the fiber content (mostly all wool) and the bulky weight worked at a tight gauge.

Jonathan

Check out the scarves made by my fabulous test knitters – they used a variety of different weights and yarn types.  Thanks test knitters, you are the best!!

Jonathan

If you have a metalhead loved one in your life, or just someone who loves goats, or scarves, you still have time to knit some goats before Christmas!  And speaking of the holiday season, since everyone has sales on the brain right now, through the end of Thanksgiving weekend (until the end of the day on Monday, December 1st) you can get 25% off this pattern with the coupon code holidaybrioche (on my site or on ravelry).  This discount is only good for the individual pattern (the trio price is still the best deal, if you’re going to want other evil patterns!).

Jonathan

And I’ll leave you with this guy’s face.  Happy holidays, knitters!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 8:19 am

November 4, 2014

New pattern: Tionne! (my first sweater pattern!!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

I’ve done it!  After 7 years of designing knit accessories, I’ve upped my game and released my first garment pattern!  (Find Tionne on ravelry here, or on my website here.)  It’s a stripy asymmetrical pullover sweater, which can be worn in any direction!

Tionne sweater!

Aaand, it’s for any weight yarn, custom sized to your body, by measuring your gauge, taking measurements of yourself, and filling out a worksheet to find all your custom pattern numbers.   (If this part scares you – it’s 2 pages of easy-to-calculate math, all adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing; if you have a calculator app, and you go through it slowly and carefully, you’ll be fine!  It’s super important to get accurate numbers, so you can’t just wing it… but you can do it, I believe in you!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

Tionne features a stretchy, garter stitch, solid color cowl neck on one side, which can be flipped around to be the waist instead, making the striped, wider side into a huge cowl neck, with a fitted waist:

Tionne sweater!

The striped side has an eyelet pattern, so that you can use the eyelet holes to scrunch it up with ribbon, or even sew some buttons on and use the eyelets as buttonholes, so the stripy neck can be styled in different ways.  (Or it can simply fold down around the shoulders, like in the top photo.)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

The sample is in Hikoo Kenzie worsted weight yarn (on the lighter side of worsted) – I am completely IN LOVE with this yarn!!  It’s a blend of New Zealand Merino, nylon, angora, alpaca, and silk noils.  It is soft but durable, tweedy, with a subtle halo and I just want a pile of it in every color to use it to knit all the things!  (Seriously.  Love it.)

Tionne sweater!

Here’s what this wacky sweater looks like flat:

Tionne sweater

Oh and there’s a short sleeved variation included as well!  My first prototype was a short sleeved one; some changes were made to the pattern after I made this one, but you get the idea.  It’s in bulky yarn (knit loosely), which I don’t really recommend for a short sleeved one – it works, but it’s a bit cumbersome for something with no arm coverage.

short sleeved Tionne short sleeved Tionne

This is a variety of bulky yarns, for some stash-busting action.  The awesome pink and orange neons are Space Cadet Elara, as is the grey in the middle – the leftovers from my giant Mikkey cowl.  The beige is Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky, the dark blue is a random handspun I had in my stash, the neon green is leftovers of the handspun used to make this Unbroken hat, and the grey at the bottom is some leftover Austermann Natura from my Maurice cowl.

short sleeved Tionne

For a better example of the short sleeve variation, Sarah – The Sexy Knitter – test knit this version and took awesome photos!  Here is her fabulous many-colored short sleeved Tionne:

Sarah's Tionne

And now, some details about construction…

I kind of love grafting - it's easy, and it's like magic! How do you feel about grafting?

The sweater is worked partly flat, partly in the round, using short rows combined with increases & decreases, provisional cast-ons, and grafting, to make for a totally modular construction, with no picked up stitches or sewn seams.  The six sections are all connected as you knit, with 4 seams to graft with kitchener stitch at the end (only 2 for the short sleeved variation), making it completely seamless.

Section 1 – sideways garter stitch – is connected seamlessly to section 2 using my sideways edge cast-on technique (simple short rows + increases as you knit, to avoid picked up stitches and make a smooth join):

Tionne sweater

Here’s a detail shot of where sections 3, 4, and 5 all come together, with a grafted bit there in the middle:

Tionne sweater

The sleeves are knit in opposite directions, but the cuffs are identical, so they will fit comfortably, with exactly the same number of garter stitch rows around.  The first sleeve is worked flat, side to side (starting with Judy’s magic cast-on to work outwards in both directions, ending by grafting it together), and the second sleeve is worked in the round down to the cuff, then uses what I call a sideways-edge bind-off technique to work the cuff sideways around (grafting it closed).  The second cuff is worked with a stockinette stripe in the middle, to match that detail on the first cuff:

Tionne sweater

There is a very simple slip-stitch faux-seam where the colors switch, to deal with stripe jogging, for the parts worked in the round:

Tionne sweater

The pattern includes a detailed schematic, a diagram showing how to measure yourself, 16 process photos showing how the piece is constructed (on their own pages, so you don’t need to print them if you don’t want to), photo tutorials for the crochet provisional cast-on and Judy’s magic cast-on, and step-by-step instructions for grafting the different sections (some in stockinette, some in garter).

Tionne sweater!

Want to know the backstory of my design process?  I had no plans to design a sweater anytime soon, at the beginning of this year, but then in March I took a trip to my local Japanese bookstore.  One book caught my attention instantly, because of the piece on the back cover (below, left), and when I started flipping through it, there were several more eye-catching items that looks fascinating to me…

Japanese knitting book Japanese knitting book

And then I reached this page, below.  I think I audibly gasped when I saw that page.  That sweater shape, I became obsessed immediately.  I bought the book, to take the inspiration home with me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that sweater shape.  I loved the cabled design in the book, but the basic shape of it, that’s what I couldn’t stop thinking about…

I spent days thinking about how it was made with all straight lines, no shaping really, and because of this, even though I had zero experience with garment design, and I had only even ever knit ONE real sweater before, I thought I could maybe, possibly, use that shape concept as a jumping off point to come up with a sweater design of my own.  With the parts coming out in different directions like that, the shape seemed a perfect fit for the techniques I’ve developed over the years, which modularly connect knitted sections worked in different directions.

Japanese knitting book

And the other aspect that made me obsessed with the idea was how the shape looked like it could be flipped upside down – the sweater in the book wasn’t meant to be, but if the two sides were both wide enough to fit around the waist, then it seemed like it could work that way!  And if the two wide sides were different, like one worked sideways, and the other worked around, one with negative ease, and the other without, different lengths, etc, then you’d end up with two completely different sweater styles when wearing it the two different ways.

So days were spent obsessively thinking about this, working it out in my head, how the parts would all work, and I had to try it out somehow!  So I dug through my craft stash and found parts of old reclaimed sweaters, cut them to size, and sewed them together into the shape I had in my head.  It was a seriously wonky piece, but I wanted to see if it would even work at all, and also see how the proportions should be and stuff.  And it worked!

original proto-prototype of Tionne sweater

So I used what I learned from that, and wrote it all out into a knitting pattern, while it was fresh in my head.  While trying on the proto-prototype and examining it, I realized that if the sleeve parts were left off, it could still work.  So I decided to use some bulky yarn and big needles, and try out the pattern with a short sleeved variation, quickly – I needed to test it out while it was fresh, and my obsession hadn’t worn off.  I dug through my stash and grabbed all the bulky yarns that would work together, using neutrals for the main colors and brights for the contrasting.  And I knit my prototype!  And it worked!  The pattern needed some adjusting here and there, but overall, it worked.

short sleeved Tionne

Okay so that point is when I knew I had taken this obsessive inspiration to the point where it needed to go before I could let myself get back to my regularly scheduled work – for about a week (maybe 2?), I’d basically let myself put everything else on hold while I followed that process through to having a complete pattern draft.  Now that the pattern was designed, I could plan ahead, and let it sit for awhile; I could come back to the pattern draft later and know what I was talking about.  (If you’re like me, you might sometimes jot down or sketch ideas that strike in a moment of excited inspiration, then go back to them several months later and have NO idea what you were talking about.  So, if I’m really into an idea, I make sure I write down coherent thoughts/plans/diagrams/etc so I can follow them later.  Writing out the entire pattern is ideal for my future self!)

Tionne color decisions

So, planning ahead.  I thought hard about how I wanted my official sample to be – I decided on worsted weight, and after swatching a square with some that I had on hand, I landed on the Kenzie.  I ended up spending an entire month deciding on colors (such a hard decision!) – I even photoshopped a bunch of my top color combos into a sketch of the design (or what I sort of thought it would look like, since I hadn’t actually knit it yet), to help me decide.  Final color choices ended up being Malbec and Boysenberry (that’s top center in the grid above).  I got the bag of yarn around mid-May; by this time of the year, I was unable to even think about the sweater design, while my focus was on Adventure Knitting and other design responsibilities, so the yarn sat there for quite awhile…

I can't wait to finish up my in-progress design samples so I can cast this on!

Until I was finally able to cast on in early September!  I revived the pattern, refreshed my memory on the whole concept, and started knitting!  I made this sweater as quickly as I possibly could (since I’d originally wanted to release the pattern in early fall, but it was already too late for that, sadly), getting the pattern all perfected as I knit it, finishing it by the end of the month.

Officially back to work on my first sweater design! Had to put it on hold for months for adventure knitting; I finally cast on the sample last night!

And it was awesome!  And I was so happy!  So then I had it test knit throughout October, by some fabulous test knitters – see their projects on ravelry! – and that was my first sweater design process!  Bam!

Tionne sweater!

Oh so then throughout the year, since I had this plan to release my first garment pattern, I did lots of brainstorming about other future garment ideas… and I came up with two more ideas that I’m super excited about!  So, Tionne is the first pattern my in leethal Full Body Trio (on my site here).  Lopes and Chilli will come next year; this will be a spread out trio, many months between each pattern release.

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

The future two designs will both be versatile, wearable in different ways, like Tionne is.  If all goes according to plan, neither will be a pullover sweater like Tionne, they will both be other kinds of garments.  I’m hoping that if you like Tionne, and you like my general design style, you can be confident that you’ll like at least one of the future patterns, hopefully both!!

Tionne sweater!

Something else I love about this pattern: it’s almost entirely garter stitch worked flat and stockinette worked around, so very little purling – only 2 of the 6 sections involve purling, the other 4 are entirely knit.  And there is no shaping, it’s all just straight lines.  So, even though there are weird construction techniques used, all the long rows of plain knitting make this an excellent multi-task knit!  Once you get each section set up and know what you’re doing across/around the rows, it’s easy to knit mindlessly while focusing your attention elsewhere.  I knit a chunk of the middle section in a movie theater, while watching Snowpiercer!  (I’d never knit in a theater before, it was VERY exciting.  I think I might have even mentioned that already on the blog, but it was so exciting I had to tell you again, hah!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

I really hope a bunch of you get inspired to make a Tionne in really different kinds of yarns.  The Kenzie works excellently, so I highly recommend it if you want a sweater that looks like mine… but if you have a different kind of vision, go for it!  I think it could look rad in a lightweight yarn worked super loosely, for a transparent kind of look – like the looks of this sweater, or this sweater, or this sweater.  If you do end up making any kind of Tionne, be sure to post your project on ravelry so we can all see it!

Tionne sweater!

That’s Tionne!  It’s weird, but I love weird!  I hope you do too!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 5:57 pm

October 16, 2014

Third pattern in the Bulk Trio: Mikkey!

So I released this pattern earlier this year, at the tail end of winter, but it was very silly timing because it’s a WARM piece of knitting, a great fall/winter knit… so I held off on blogging about it until it made more sense to say… Hey, check out Mikkey!  (on ravelry here)  A cozy, thick, squishy, double layered cowl!

Mikkey!

The stitch pattern is made with slipped stitches, one color worked at a time – it’s reversible and looks totally different on the two sides:

Mikkey!

The pattern is for any gauge, best suited to yarns in the aran to bulky range, so you’ll get different looks with different weights.  The grey+neons sample at the top is bulky; the above yellows+greens sample is aran; the red+aqua sample below is worsted held triple stranded, for a super bulky kind of weight.

Mikkey!

You can choose from different sizes as well as weights, making it more or less wide, and as long as you like.  The three samples shown represent different widths and lengths; widths+lengths can all be mixed and matched as you like (for example, the grey+neons sample is very wide, but the shortest length option – you can make it wide and longer, or short and less wide, etc).

Mikkey!

This sample was made in awesome Space Cadet Elara bulky weight yarn (colors: Dark Skies, How Dare You, Tickled) – 3 skeins grey, 1 full skein orange, and 1 partial skein pink (exactly 290 yards / 265 meters used in main color, 190 yards / 175 meters used in contrasting colors); size US 13 (9mm) needles.  It’s SO squishy and cozy!

Mikkey!

The red+aqua sample was made with Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, held triple stranded (Red, Lakeshore) – 2 full skeins each color (250 yards / 230 meters per skein, so approx the same as 333 yards / 305 meters of super bulky weight yarn total); size US 15 (10mm) needles.

Mikkey!

And the yellows+greens sample below was made with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino heavy worsted (Filigree, Terrarium) – approx 75 yards / 70 meters of the dark shade, 35 yards / 30 meters of the light shade, and Jill Draper Makes Stuff Adirondack aran weight (Antique Gold, Straw into Gold) – approx 90 yards / 80 meters each color; size US 10 (6mm) needles.  The combination of soft, single ply, subtly variegated merinos + more wooly, plied solids worked REALLY well here!

Mikkey!

There are two versions of the pattern – a simple color version and a more advanced switching colors version.  The simple color version looks good on its own, and it works very well to change colors in wide color blocks throughout, like you see in the sample above.  The switching colors makes diagonal lines, zig-zagging around the whole thing, as the main color and contrasting color switch back and forth:

Mikkey!

This version is best with just one main and one contrasting throughout, to avoid things getting too busy, but one of the colors could be a variegated or self-striping (the other a solid) if you like.

Mikkey!

And then there’s the construction!  This is a double-layered cowl that doesn’t twist at all, made with straps running through holes to join the one end to the other.  (It’s actually the same construction concept as Superduper, so you can check out the diagrams over there if you want a visual of how it works – scroll down here.)

Mikkey!

You can get different looks depending on how you wear it – which sides are facing out, straps in front or back, etc…

Mikkey!

Folding the inner layer out a bit reveals the inside pattern, so both sides of the stitch pattern can be seen at once:

Mikkey!

The straps are made long enough that they can be pulled through the holes to one end or the other, making the layers the same size, like above, or different length loops, like below.

Mikkey!

You can pull the layers so the inner loop is snug around your neck, for extra warmth, the outer loop hanging down:

Mikkey!

So that’s Mikkey!  Super versatile, both in how you make it and how you can wear it.  This pattern is definitely suited to making a few different versions for your winter accessory collection, since they can be made to be so different from each other!

Mikkey!

Mikkey is the third pattern in my leethal Bulk Trio (on ravelry here), which also includes Lemmy and Wizzö (wondering about the names?) – so you can save by grabbing the whole trio for $12; each pattern alone is $6.

Mikkey!

This pattern isn’t a very quick knit, but the other two can knit up very quickly, if you’re on the lookout for quick gift knits!  The ebook for the Bulk Trio is just about to be released later today (the three patterns have been out for awhile, but I slacked on getting them grouped together into 1 pdf) – so you can save space on your computer/ipad/etc by using that single file with all 3 patterns instead of the 3 separate pdfs.  Same patterns, just condensed a bit.

I hope if you make yourself a Mikkey that you post a project with photos on ravelry!  I love to see your leethal projects!!  Happy gift knitting season!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 12:34 pm

February 21, 2014

New Bulk Trio pattern: Wizzö!

It’s Wizzö!  It’s super easy to knit, and SUPER fun to wear!!

That quick look video (on youtube here) shows you tons of different ways you can wear it, by buttoning, lacing, or tying it together, using the eyelet holes which line all the edges of the piece and allow for basically infinite wearing configurations!

Wizzö Wizzö
Wizzö Wizzö

I actually released the pattern way back at the beginning of last week, but I wanted to wait to blog about it until I finished all the wearing how-to videos, which I have now done!  So, that quick peek video above shows you all the ways, but you can watch the six tutorial videos to really learn how they all work.  And the pattern itself includes some photos and written descriptions of each of the six basic different styles.

Wizzö

Here is one of the tutorial videos, and you can find all six of them on the Wizzö webpage over here (scroll down).

As for the knitting, this is definitely one of the simplest pieces I’ve ever designed, but I don’t want anyone feeling ripped off so I included three different fully written sizes – smaller and larger bulky versions, and a “super extra bulky” version, which is on size US 36 (20mm) needles (the sample is with triple stranded bulky weight) – as well as fully customizable any-gauge.

Wizzö Wizzö

So, the pattern is essentially written for 4 sizes, those three sizes/gauges completely written out for you to follow, with zero math or decision making, to make pieces exactly like the three samples, and then the custom size which can be in any gauge (worsted or heavier is recommended).  For a custom piece, you’ll decide all your sizing measurements and do a tiny bit of math to figure out all your custom numbers.  You can also customize the pre-written sizes as you like; detailed notes are included for making any kind of custom sizing decisions you want.

Wizzö Wizzö

But, if you want to make no customizations at all, you can totally ignore all that and just make one of the sample versions, and then it’s a mega easy, beginner-friendly project!

Wizzö Wizzö

The bulky samples are in beautiful Fable Fibers Memoir bulky yarn, a brand new yarn released on the same day as this pattern!  This yarn is truly gorgeous and a great pleasure to knit with, I absolutely loved using it in these pieces!  The colorways are a semi-solid Lagoon, and a variegated Fairy Garden, and they both look fantastic in the twisted rib stitch pattern.  Seriously, awesome yarn.

Wizzö Mmmm I am LOVING how this @fablefibers variegated colorway is looking in the squishy twisted rib stitch pattern.

The @fablefibers yarn is knitting up beautifully! Wizzö

Wizzö is the second pattern in my Bulk Trio, the first being Lemmy, and the third will be released in about a week!  It’s in testing right now, and you can see a few peeks of the 2-color stitch pattern here and here and here.  I will reveal that it’s another neck accessory.  Bulky weights work nicely around necks, so I just went with it.

Wizzö Wizzö
Wizzö Wizzö

So you can grab it alone (here on ravelry), or get the whole trio (three patterns for the price of two!) to get Wizzö and Lemmy now, and Mikkey next week (here on ravelry).  The way this winter is going for most of us, you probably still have plenty of time to knit up multiple bulky neck accessories and wear them before the cold season is over!  Yay wool!  ;)

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 12:18 pm

January 29, 2014

Pattern updates and other news!

Newsy stuff time!  (No, not Newsies stuff, although I am all for seizing the day and carrying banners and whatnot.)  First off, Portlanders, my Coloring Book sample knits are currently on display at Twisted!  You can check it out through Sunday, and I will be present for meet+greeting, question answering, etc on Sunday during the “Super Ground Bowl Hog” party from 4-6!

Coloring Book Coloring Book

(Side note to other yarn shop folks – the print book is available through Deep South!  Just, you know, making sure you know.)

I’ve recently finished a bunch of pattern updates!  As I’ve talked about before, I made over my pdf template about a year ago, so I’ve spent the last year slowly going through my old patterns and re-formatting, editing them so everything is consistent, blah blah blah, and also, page counts are drastically cut down (hooray for those who like to print out their patterns!)… I’ve now uploaded the new pdfs for Junction (on rav)…

Junction

Ocean Breezes (rav), and Swerve (rav).  The patterns are essentially the same, but the updates are meant to be easier to follow, some wording has been improved; they are just overall better now, so there you go!  There is actually one other old pattern which has been more heavily updated, but that one will be talked about next week because it goes with another thing… vague enough?  You’ll see soon!

(Side note: Junction, and also Barry, will be available at Stitches West in the Anzula booth, with the samples there for you to check out!  Fun!!)

Ocean Breezes Swerve mitts in Chroma

There are still several leethal solo patterns remaining in my old pdf style – Custom Tritops, Terrapin, Mr. Pointy, Double Scoops, Brimming with Color… – so if you own any of these (digital versions), hopefully within the next few months you’ll get an updated version… it’s a pretty time-consuming process, but eventually they’ll all be updated.

And then there are my free patterns!  I uploaded SIX new free pattern pdfs last week!  Most notably, I made a brand new pdf of Scant, which had previously only been available directly on leethalknits.com – it’s still there, but it’s now also available as a pdf download there and through ravelry.

Scant in handspun

Also updated to my fancy pantsy new pdf format (okay it’s not really that pantsy, but it is new & improved)… the scrap-buster-tastic fun modular scarf/cowl Orthogonal (on rav)…

Orthogonal!

…and my super oooold free patterns Leethal Mary Janes (rav), Gradient Mitts (rav), Big Bulky Bucket Hat (rav), and Waving Chevron Scarf (rav):

booties1.jpg knit mitts

buckethat5.jpg waving chevron scarf

In other update-y news – a couple weeks ago, I completed a big update to my leethalknits info page, with the shop list (sort of) up to date.  (I don’t know who orders wholesale print patterns in real time, I just get lists of shops every few months, so it’s never completely up to date necessarily.)

(And, for any LYS people who might be reading this, my wholesale page is now totally up to date also, with my downloadable pdf 1-page line sheet to help break down my print patterns.)

Lastly, what have I been working on lately?  Well, mostly, my upcoming two Bulk Trio patterns!  I’ve been posting peeks on instagram:

Done and blocking!! Upcoming design in my Bulk Trio, sample in worsted weight Shepherd's Wool held triple stranded... Indie-dyed bulky weight sample coming soon! This is a fucking BIG accessory project but it's looking damn good and it will hopefully be finished tonight! Phew!

Above is the first one, which I’ve been working on for a couple months now – the first sample is done, the pattern is pretty much done, but I’m waiting on yarn for the second sample… For the third trio pattern, I forced myself to keep it really simple (for me) and it’s coming along very quickly!  These peeks below don’t give much away because I’m keeping it pretty secret until it’s released.  So now I’m really working on the two patterns simultaneously, and I don’t know which one will end up released first; they’ll probably be back-to-back, bam bam bulk bulk!  You can pre-order them both by grabbing the Bulk Trio (on ravelry), which will get you Lemmy immediately.  (All three patterns are flexible gauge, working for weights in the general bulky range.)

Wearing upcoming design prototype out on errands, pre- washing, blocking, photographing. Can't resist, it's so snuggly! That green Burly Spun I showed you a little while back ended up not working for that project, so I went to buy some new yarn for it and decided to step outside my usual color comfort zone! #nofilter  (This is an upcoming design for the Bulk Trio, and I LO

So that’s all that.  Happy knitting everyone!

December 9, 2013

Year coming to end announcements and future pattern release stuff…

Wow this season has gone by fast, hasn’t it?  It’s been below freezing here in Portland for the last several days, so it’s really feeling like autumn times are over and we are full on into winter, regardless of what the calendar might say.  I am hard at work, dividing my time between multiple design projects, some holiday gift projects, some personal projects I really wanted to get done for the chilly season (like this!), and I’m trying to give myself a bit of time here and there to relax, after having really overworked for that last month before releasing Coloring Book.  Things would be a lot harder to get done if I didn’t take care of myself and caught a cold, and this is the time of year that tends to happen.

Anyway, yeah I’m being a bit rambly, I know.  The thing is, I feel guilty.  I took on too much work this year, especially within the last four months or so, and I’ve fallen pretty far behind.  I need to let you know where things are at, since I am unable to stick to original release schedules.  I’ll go through the list…

Bulk Trio!

Bulk Trio.  I released the first pattern, Lemmy, back in September, at which time I’d planned/hoped to get the second pattern in the set out before the end of the year, and then the third pattern early next year.  I’m actually pretty close to on-schedule, but the next pattern won’t be before the year is over; it should be very close to the beginning of January though.  I’m basically done with the design, have begun the first sample, and just need to knit the three samples, build the pdf, and have it test knit.

Here's an in-color peek at the stitch pattern I'm using for my new design, in super bulky triple-stranded worsted weight. So squishy!! I spent all day yesterday swatching failed 2-color reversible stitch pattern ideas, finally gave up for the day, then at night an idea struck out of nowhere, and it was PERFECT!! You get a b&w secret shot for now, but I can't wait to reveal it sometime so

Here are peeks at the stitch pattern!  I won’t tell you yet what it is… you already know it’s an accessory that’s ideal for bulky yarns.  As for the third pattern in the trio, that’s already been started as well, so I’m hoping it can be released before the end of January.  (Bulk Trio is on ravelry here.)

Yarn for Lerro shawl

Betiko Collection.  Here is where the guilt starts to weigh on me.  I’d originally said, back when I released Biratu in May, that the colorwork shawl and lace shawl would both be released later this year… that’s not going to happen, and I’m really sorry about it.  The slip-stitch colorwork design is well on its way – the first sample, in beautiful Anzula Squishy sock weight yarn (above), is in progress, the design is coming along, and I’m super happy with it!

Snow day coincides with knitting day! That's the best! Taking a break from this new project in beautiful Anzula yarn to swatch out a couple other ideas that I'm too excited to try!

Like Biratu, there will be two versions, the more complex and the any-gauge simplified.  I’m hoping it can be released by early-to-mid-January, by the time I finish both samples, and the pattern, and have it test knit.  The final Betiko Collection shawl, the lace one, will be my next design, so I’m hoping for mid-February for that one.  (Here’s the collection on ravelry.)

Remixed cover image

Remixed.  This last item in the list is the major guilt-crushing weight on my shoulders… I still haven’t finished the Remixed recycled yarn making ebook.  It has been an absurdly long time since the final pattern was released (Either/Or in March of 2012, cringe), and I haven’t forgotten the book, really, I’ve just had to prioritize other things, over and over… and now I’m kind of humiliated about it, but my plan is to take a chunk of days this month to be my Remixed days and work on nothing else until it’s done.  I did take some quality time to work on it last spring and made some great progress, but then I had to put it aside again.

Side note:  After the book is released, around the beginning of the new year, the price of the whole collection will raise.  It’s currently $20 for all 8 patterns plus the future yarn-making ebook; it will be going up by at least a few bucks once it’s complete, so grab it now if you want it ;)  (Remixed on ravelry here.)

Remixed patterns

As I’ve transitioned over the last couple years to designing full time, my vague goal for this year was to basically take on as much work as I possibly could and try to grow enough that I could realistically see myself continuing to be able to design full time… if that makes sense.  And I succeeded at that, at the taking on new work and putting out as many patterns as I possibly could and growing, but the cost was this falling behind.  Adventure Knitting took MUCH longer than planned/expected, and threw off my schedule for summer/early fall, and then Coloring Book grew into a much bigger project than it was supposed to be.  I have absolutely no regrets, as I’m so darn happy with how both of those projects turned out in the end, and I hope that no one is mad at me for mis-judging my time lines and falling behind.  I will be catching up and finishing everything up there on that last before I take on any new work!!

Something else I’m kind of always behind on is blog posts… lately, the only reason I take the time to blog is to announce a new pattern, and I wish I had the time to blog other fun stuff.  So I’m planning to just take some time this week, as breaks between sample knitting, to blog about a few things that should have gone up months ago, but better late than never… So you can look forward to those throughout this week.

Coloring Book print book

A fun announcement: Coloring Book is now available in print book format!  It’s through Magcloud, and when you order it you’ll also get a free pdf download – so it’s not the same as the ravelry ebook + individual patterns in your rav library, but an ebook version of the print book.  It also may be available soon at your local yarn shop!  (You don’t get an e-version that way, but you also don’t have to pay shipping!)  If you happen to be associated with a yarn shop, I’ll point you over to where the print book is available wholesale through Deep South :)

Coloring Book print book

Something else fun: there’s an interview with me over on the BagSmith blog, about my Superduper cowl in their yarn, and about life as a designer and stuff like that in general.  The interview was done with Mari in person, so it’s much different from email interviews, in which I have full control over how answers are worded and stuff… I do not have full control over what comes out of my mouth if I’m put on the spot! Hah!

Yesterday we went to this crazypants Alpenrose Dairy Christmas village thing and saw donkeys and pigs and kittens and goats and lots of bizarre old timey-ness. #latergram 1223

And I’ll leave you with these holiday shots and a reminder that I have lots of patterns that could make excellent last-minute gift knits, like items from my best-of Quick Knits book, bulky Haka hats/cowl, super bulky Lemmy cowl, bulky Twisted Ankles legwarmers, and lots of any-gauge hats which could be made quickly… I hope your holiday season is going well!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios,Remixed,self-publishing — leethal @ 4:12 pm

September 9, 2013

New pattern: Lemmy, first in new Bulk Trio!

Just as the weather is (sort of) starting to drop, here’s a big, squishy, warm, quick and bulky knit for you!  Lemmy (ravelry link) is written for any gauge, but it’s ideal for super bulky weights, or aran-bulky yarns held triple stranded.  The ends have big fat i-cords, which can be threaded through the eyelet holes in different ways, making it wearable in lots of different kinds of cowl and wrap configurations, fun!

Lemmy

This is the first pattern in a new leethal Bulk Trio (ravelry link), three patterns which will all work excellently with bulky and/or super bulky yarns!  The second and third patterns (Wizzö and Mikkey) will be released in a few months, probably around December and January, no set dates but definitely during the winter season.  So, if you pre-order the trio, you’ll get Lemmy right now, and you’ll get the second and third patterns automatically delivered to you as soon as they’re released.

Bulk Trio!

Lemmy is a cabled cowl/wrap (and it can be made as a scarf or headband as well) with eyelets throughout the cable design, allowing the i-cords to weave through it in different ways.  There are two different widths, which can vary greatly depending on your yarn weight /gauge, and it can be made in pretty much any length you want, as you can keep repeating the middle section as many times as you like (regardless of gauge).  The i-cords can be made in a contrasting color, for an optional design feature, like you see in my white sample here.

A few pattern details:  The whole pattern is written, and the middle (repeat) section is also charted.  There is a photo tutorial for triple stranding your yarn as you knit, to make things as easy as possible!  There is detailed sizing info, and I think the pattern is adventurous beginner friendly – there is only one simple (2 over 2) cable, and the pattern is pretty basic, nothing crazy happening.  You just need one circular needle in your size choice, and you can knit the i-cords on the circular (so you won’t have to buy multiple different kinds of needles in crazy super bulky sizes; you can also use straights plus a pair of double points for the i-cord if you prefer).

You can see a preview of the first few pdf pages on the webpage here!

Lemmy

It can be made wide and short, for a cowl like my green sample, wide and large like my big white sample, kind of medium width and long-ish like my orange sample, which can be worn in lots of different cowl and wrap styles.  Or, you can venture outside my sample pieces and make it narrow and extra long for a long scarf, narrow and short as a headband, or however you can envision your ideal version!

My wonderful test knitters made a wide variety of different types, like a small one in bulky weight on size US 11 needles measuring 8×24 inches, a long scarf in super bulky weight on size 15’s measuring 7×96 inches, and lots that are similar measurements to mine but with different gauges, for different looks.  (Thank you test knitters, you are the best!!)

This pattern is great for making multiple times with totally different kinds of finished objects, especially because it can be a SUPER quick knit in the extra super bulky weights!

Lemmy

As for my samples, first, there’s my orange one, which is in aran weight yarn (it’s Cascade Eco+ which is labeled as bulky weight, but it totally looks/feels/acts like an aran weight, so I call it aran) held triple stranded.  I used size US 19 needles for a somewhat loose gauge of approx 3 sts per 2 inches / 5 cm (after blocking), and I used almost the whole skein (478 yards, so it’s approx the same as 160 yards / 145 meters of super bulky weight yarn).  The finished measurements are 52 inches / 132 cm long, 13 inches / 33 cm wide; I worked 4 middle sections total (the first, then 3 more repeats), and the smaller width.  You can see more photos on my rav project page.

Lemmy

Lemmy

Lemmy

Lemmy

My white sample (which was my first prototype, with the contrasting i-cords) was knit in Patons Classic Wool Roving held triple stranded on size US 36 needles, for a gauge of approx 5 sts per 4 inches / 10 cm; almost 3 full skeins, which are 120 yards each, so approximately the same as 120 yards / 110 meters total of extra super bulky weight yarn.  The extra long i-cords were made with Lamb’s Pride Bulky, also triple stranded, almost the full skein for super long cords.  This is the smaller width option (which is actually very wide because of the gauge), and I worked the middle section twice (so the first time, then 1 more repeat); the final measurements are 51 inches / 130 cm long, and 16 inches / 41 cm wide.  You can see more photos on my rav project page.

Lemmy

Lemmy

Lemmy

Lemmy

My green sample was made with Brown Sheep Burly Spun super bulky weight yarn (single stranded) on size US 13 needles, for a gauge of 2 sts per inch / 2.5 cm – I used one whole skein (132 yards / 121 meters), knitting the second i-cord until the yarn ran out, which was about 10 inches longer than the standard recommended i-cord length.  This one is the wider width, and just 1 middle section worked (zero repeats), for final measurements of 31 inches / 
79 cm long and 14.5 inches / 37 cm wide.  It can’t be worn in so many different styles like the others, but it makes a great cowl!  You can see more photos on my rav project page.

Lemmy

Lemmy

Lemmy

So that’s Lemmy!  Happy September, hooray for fall knitting time!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 12:42 pm

April 10, 2013

Final Short Stripes Trio pattern: Robin the shawl!

The pattern was actually released a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until I completed the whole ebook to do the blog post, and now I have!  So, not only is the third Short Stripes Trio pattern out – Robin – but the whole set is also now all together in an ebook.  The 20 page ebook (which you’ll get when you purchase the whole trio, along with all three individual pdfs) is condensed, one techniques section for all three patterns, fewer pictures, so it’ll take up a lot less space than the three separate pdfs (for tablet/ebook reader storage, that kind of thing).  And to celebrate the completion of the Trio, how about a promotion?!

3 color Robin

Now through the end of next week (April 19th), you can essentially preview the trio by buying any one of the three patterns, checking it out, deciding if you’re into it, then if you decide you love it and you do indeed want the whole set, you can get that $6 spent taken off the price of the Trio!  And it’s valid for previously purchased trio patterns as well!  Meaning, for example, if you bought Maurice a couple months ago when it was first released, then you saw Barry and Robin and thought, ah crap I shoulda bought the whole trio, now here’s your chance!  You can use this preview sale to get the price of that Maurice pattern taken off the price of the trio.

peek at Barry long loop stripy cowl

So, here’s how it works… assuming you’re using your same ravelry account and/or email address to purchase the trio that you used for the first pattern, just add the trio to your shopping cart (through ravelry or my site), and enter the corresponding code into the coupon code box:  mauricegibb if you bought Maurice, barrygibb if you bought Barry, or robingibb if you bought Robin.  If for some reason this code doesn’t work (maybe you weren’t logged into ravelry when you bought the first pattern, or some other reason), simply send me a quick email at leemeredith at gmail dot com and tell me your rav username or email that you used to buy the first pattern, and I’ll send you a working coupon code for $6 off the trio.

Robin in worsted

So that’s that, now on to Robin the shawl!  I’m so happy with how this design turned out!

3 color Robin

It’s for any gauge, but it’s the same pattern regardless of your yarn weight, no swatching needed or math or anything complicated – you just start working at the bottom point, and go up and out and out and out until your shawl is the size you want, or until you run out of yarn!

Robin in worsted

You can make any size with any yarn weight, in either 2 or 3 colors, and you can get different shapes based on when you decide to finish and bind off, anywhere from a pretty much symmetrical curved triangle shape to a very asymmetrical curvy triangle.  The pattern goes into detail about how to get the shape you want, modifications you can make to use up every last bit of yarn, and different ways you can finish, etc…

Robin

But don’t let any of that scare you because it’s really a simple pattern once you get the hang of it!  Just lots of basic short rows in garter stitch, so you don’t even have to work the wraps together with the wrapped stitches.  And a simple yarn over increase pattern along the sides.

3 color Robin

There are some techniques used (with full photo tutorials included) for carrying your striping yarns along the back side of your shawl neatly, so you don’t have to weave in all those ends.  Once you learn the techniques you’ll want to use them in all your stripy projects!

Robin the shawl

The two samples I made are in:  Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (which I have completely fallen in love with!!) worsted weight (MC is Lime Green, CC is Milk Chocolate) – it used up most of the 2 full skeins, about 457 yards/418 meters total (244 yards/223 meters green and 213 yards/195 meters brown)…

Robin in worsted

…and Sandnes Garn Alpakka, which is either sport or DK weight depending on where you look (MC is blue #6554, CC2 is pink #4611), and Brown Sheep Lanaloft sport weight (Celery).  It used approximately 550 yards/503 meters total – 357 yards/326 meters in the blue MC, 68 yards/62 meters in the green CC1, and 125 yards/114 meters in the pink CC2.  So that was 3 full skeins of the blue main color, right up to the last little bit, just barely over one full skein of the pink, and under one skein of the green.  And so you know, the only reason I used a different yarn for the green was that I bought the 2 colors in the alpaca yarn, planning to do another 2 color shawl, then I did some more work on the design and decided to have there be a 3 color version, and since i wanted to get started right away I found the coordinating green in the same weight in my stash – I know I should have waited to go back to the shop to buy another color in the same yarn, but alas, I was impatient.  I’m fine with how it looks, but I just wanted you to know there’s not some designer-y reason I used the other yarn, so there’s no need to copy me with that ;)

3 color Robin

As usual with my any-gauge designs, I had my fabulous testers make versions in all different weights and yarn types, so you can see lots more samples by checking out the ravelry projects – including Valérie’s bulky self-striping version, Kristin’s and Jenifer’s and Lacey’s versions with variegated yarns, Maria’s aran weight version with a self-striping handspun yarn, and Maiya’s gorgeous madelinetosh fingering weight version!  (That’s not all of them, just some which are significantly different from my samples – thank you to all my wonderful test knitters!!)

3 color Robin Robin in worsted

I think that’s all I have to say about Robin – if you are making one of your own, or any of the three Short Stripes Trio patterns, it would be great if you want to post it in the leethal knitters rav group knit-a-long thread!  I can’t wait to see more versions in all different yarns and colors and personalities, yay!

3 color Robin

Oh one last note… of course I had to name this design Robin, but it’s kind of a bummer name because there are so many Robins in the ravelry patterns database (in pattern names and designer names), so people are sometimes having issues linking up to my Robin, both in rav projects and in forum magic linking.  Rav seems to find it easily if you type in “robin leethal” instead of just robin, or “robin-13” since that’s the url name… okay that’s really all I have to say now :)  Happy knitting!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,pattern Trios,self-publishing — leethal @ 11:54 am

March 22, 2013

East Coast Trip!! Wooo!

Okay so, Robin is out, the third pattern in my Short Stripes Trio (and it’s my first pattern ever to make it into the ravelry hot right now top 5, so it’s been a very exciting couple of days), but I’m here today for a different reason.  I will be blogging about Robin in detail in a couple weeks, because…

3 color Robin Robin in worsted

Robin in worsted 3 color Robin

I’m taking a trip!  To New York!  And Boston and other east coast cities!  Pete has had a job for about 2.5 years now which has involved accumulating a ridiculous amount of flyer miles and hotel points, so he is cashing them out to fly us for free to the east coast, and stay for 8 nights in NYC and Boston for free!!

washington square park

So, we’ll be hanging out in NY for about half the time, and spending the other half both in Boston and traveling a bit to Providence, and hopefully Portland, Maine, for a day each.  Our plans are still fairly loose, especially with the details, like meals and shops to visit, etc, so any recommendations would be appreciated!!  Of course I want to visit lots of yarn shops, but since this is a fun trip with Pete, I’ll try to keep it down to just the absolute best shops, and priorities for both of us are used records and books, good vegetarian food, and cool sites to see.

little italy restaurant

The last time I was in NY was 9 years ago with my mom (when I took these photos), and I loved it so much I actually had plans to move there after college, but those plans fell through, and everything worked out for the best, but I’ve wanted to go back to visit ever since!  And I’ve never been to Boston, or Providence, or Portland, or anywhere else up in that region, so I’m supercrazy excited to explore it all and have east coast adventures!

manhattan bridge

So, I’m way behind on all the preparation stuff.  We have a house sitter lined up, and I’ve released my new pattern, but other than those things crossed off the list, everything else is still to-do!  I have big plans to make a couple pairs of leggings (using this awesome tutorial by Cal Patch!) and legwarmers (from recycled sweaters), and maybe even a new skirt… but we’ll see what I can squeeze into my weekend hours before we head out way too early on Monday morning!  Wish me luck!

Filed under: pattern Trios,personal — leethal @ 4:01 pm

March 7, 2013

Barry the hat! My 100th pattern! (and a celebration sale!)

Pattern #2 of my leethal Short Stripes Trio is out!  Barry the hat is for any weight yarn, with lots of options, variations, and modifications, so you can make it your perfect dream hat…

Barry in yellow

And hey, guess what, Barry was my 100th pattern added to ravelry!!  So that’s exciting!  So, I want to have some kind of sale-ish thing to celebrate, but since I just had a coupon code sale for my birthday less than a month ago, I’m going to try something different this time.  Let’s work together to get more project photos up for my patterns!

You put up a ravelry project page for any of my patterns, with at least 1 photo, or add a photo to a previously photo-less project page, and I will send you a personalized coupon code for 25% off any/all of my patterns!  But wait, it gets better!  Put up two projects with photos, the discount code goes up to 35%!  Three projects, and it goes up to 45%!  Whoa there!  That’s as high as I’ll go, but if you do put up more, then I’ll send multiple codes (so five projects = one 45% code and one 35% code) and then you can save one for later, or pass one on to a friend!

Ohmygosh and there’s still more!  To encourage good photos, I’ll be handing out some additional larger coupon codes for my favorite photos – this will depend on how many there are to choose from, but I plan on choosing my top 3-5 to receive free pattern codes (something like first place gets $12, second place gets $9, third place gets $6).  So shoot your things in natural lighting (if possible) and try to get it in focus and all that fun stuff ;)

This deal is only good for a few days – get your projects up by Monday night (west coast time) and you’ll get the codes.  I’ll send out the coupon codes on Tuesday (via ravelry message) – I should be able to see all the photos go up on my designer end, but if it’s Tuesday night and you haven’t received your code, you might want to shoot me a message to make sure I saw your project.  The discount codes themselves will stay valid for a long time (through the end of the year).

Barry in self-striping and tweed

So that’s that, now on to Barry!  Barry, like Maurice, has lots of variation options, but in different ways.  Barry is written for any gauge, and it’s custom sized to your head by trying it on (or measuring it) while you work the first part sideways.  So there’s no gauge swatching necessary, and you can pick out any weight to make any size!

Barry in self-striping and tweed

You can close up the sides with buttons, or by sewing up the seam, and you can choose whether to use the same colors as main and contrasting yarns throughout the whole hat, or switch which is which, or even incorporate more than 2 yarns if you want to!

Barry in garter stitch

The standard hat is slouchy, but the pattern includes modification instructions for a shorter, non-slouchy size if you prefer:

Barry in superbulky

There are also full instructions for making the garter stitch variation, like the red and blue one:

Barry in garter stitch

This hat is worked modularly with short rows, no picked up stitches, and no seaming if you make the buttoning version.  A yarn-carrying technique is used which prevents the need to break the contrasting yarn and weave in a zillion ends, so the pattern includes a step-by-step photo tutorial for that, as well as instructions for other techniques used.

Barry in self-striping and tweed

The hat is a bit on the complex side, as far as hats go, but it’s not hard, as long as you trust the pattern, read the notes, and just take it one step at a time.  It goes quickly since the first section takes the longest, and it grows bigger as it moves along, and then the second section rows get shorter as the hat grows, so it speeds up and then you decrease in for the crown and it’s finished, bam!  It really is a fun knit!

Barry in yellow

If you want to know details about each of my samples, they are all in the ravelry project pages – the main yellow sample is in wonderful Anzula For Better or Worsted; the self-striping+tweed is Classic Elite Liberty Wool and Berroco Blackstone Tweed (but I don’t recommend using these exact 2 yarns together because the weights differ too much – see project page for details); the garter stitch sample is Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist; the short bulky sample is Brown Sheep Burly Spun and handspun.  Also check out my fabulous test knitters’ versions in the project pages, great hats!

Barry in garter stitch

Which reminds me, even though all my samples are a little bit on the girly side, this hat design is totally gender neutral, as you can see with Maiya’s fantastic Barry for her man, love it!!

Oh yeah, and you can wear the buttoning version different ways by unfastening some of the buttons (do the same with the seamed version by leaving a slit at the bottom when you sew it closed)…

Barry in garter stitch Barry in yellow

Barry in yellow Barry in yellow

Barry is part of my Short Stripes Trio, along with Maurice, and I’m currently working on Robin, so if my in-progress prototype goes well then I’ll start posting some preview shots (on twitter/instagram/tumblr) soon.  (The whole trio is $12; each pattern solo is $6.)

Barry in yellow

If you are knitting any of the Short Stripes patterns, come post about them in the knit-a-long thread of the leethal rav group!  Okay, that’s all I can think of to say about Barry.  I hope you like it!  Happy knitting!!

Barry in garter stitch

Filed under: hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,pattern Trios,self-publishing — leethal @ 8:09 pm
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