February 24, 2012

Pacific Northwest travels and other stuff and things

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks!  I’ve taken several overnight trips for various purposes, to places as exciting as Seattle and as boring as Salem.  I went up north to Washington with my buddies Star, Vivian, and Marcia, for the purpose of going to Madrona fiber arts retreat in Tacoma, but I think hanging out in Seattle was the real highlight of the trip!


We spent the night at Marcia’s sister’s fabulous cabin-like house in the Wallingford neighborhood, made dinner and knit and talked around the fire.

Seattle trip Seattle trip

Then in the morning we took a walk to the Fremont neighborhood…


…where we ate a delicious breakfast at Silence-Heart-Nest

Seattle! Seattle!

…and then stopped by the Theo Chocolate factory store!  Free samples of spicy sipping chocolate, oh wow, so good.


We walked back to the house along the water…

Seattle! Seattle!

…and saw some fun sights.


Then we headed down to Tacoma, to the Hotel Murano for Madrona.  We spent some quality time in the marketplace, and then sat and knit by the fire and the horse lamp (and the Chuck Close).  Another random trip highlight was stopping at Burgerville on the way up and on the way home – because of the usual goodness of Burgerville, and because of the crazy future touch screen sodapop machine at this location (in Woodland, WA).  Raspberry Coke Zero, mmmm.

Hotel Murano for Madrona Hotel Murano for Madrona

And then there’s something I can’t fully talk about yet, but… last year, when Star, Vivian, and I went to Black Sheep fiber festival, we brainstormed up a plan for a collaborative project, and then we were all so busy we never got it going.  Well, on this recent trip, the spark returned and we’re all really trying to make it happen this year!  Here’s us at Black Sheep, filled with new project excitement energy!

Vivian + Star! Star + Me!

Me + Vivian! Me + Vivian + Star!

So that’s all about that… besides all the mini-trips I’ve been taking, I also spent some fun times showing visitors around Portland recently.  We tried to pack as much awesome Portlandyness as possible into one full day, so we did: Genie’s for a late breakfast, Movie Madness, Multnomah Falls (below), Kennedy School, Ground Kontrol, and Hopworks.  Playing tourist for a day is fun!

Multnomah Falls

A couple other things I wanted to mention – I was recently a featured crafter on Think Crafts! so that was neat.  Even more exciting though, I was interviewed on Stash and Burn podcast!  I talked with Nicole for about a half hour, about all kinds of things… Remixed, my other patterns, color, TV spoilers, etc… You can listen to the podcast through iTunes, or stream it directly on the website (the interview starts after about 20 minutes).  Yay!

me on Think Crafts! me on Stash and Burn!

So, the traveling combined with some assorted teaching and other stuff has meant a brief pause on Remixed work, but I did spend all day yesterday working on that eighth pattern, so it’s on its way!  Now that I’m feeling more confidant that it’s going to work, I can reveal that it’s a design for your hands – more than that will be shown soon enough, once I have a decent enough prototype to photograph.  It’s a tricky pattern concept… I’ve made 4 prototypes so far, and still working out major problems to get the shape right…

I think that’s all for catching up.  I actually have another overnight trip planned soon, one which will involve lots of photos!  And something I’m trying to find the time to really focus on lately is getting my studio in functioning order (instead of a storage room that I can barely walk through), so I may post some studio stuff in the near future, we’ll see how that goes… Oh yeah, lastly, a quick reminder that you still have almost a week left of my birthday month sale – save 30% on any 3 or more of my patterns!

Filed under: photos,podcasts,portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 4:59 pm

January 27, 2012

Pendleton scrap blanket (and matching pillow)!

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

Pendleton blanket

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

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

The strips after ironing:

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

Here’s the whole thing after that step:

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

blanket planning Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

Some more beauty shots…

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton pillow

…sewed them together…

Pendleton pillow

…ironed the seams…

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton pillow

On the pillow:

Pendleton pillow


Pendleton pillow

And the back side:

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

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

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

January 19, 2012

Happy 2012! Here’s what’s up in leethal land…

How’s your 2012 going so far?  Mine is off to a slooooow start, but I feel like it’s just about to start taking off!  I wanted to jump in here after my long delay with kind of a catch-up post, with some stuff I’ve been up to so far this year, and random bits and news and things I wanted to share with you.

no-sew tee projects

First, Portlanders: I’ll be teaching a couple of free Library classes on making my no-sew recycled t-shirt bags, plus other things with the t-shirt leftover scraps (like the cuffs above), which you can see some more photos of over here.  The first class is this Saturday (the 21st) at the Capitol Hill branch, and the next one will be on February 18th at the Albina branch – check out my info page here for details and library links.

black sheep black sheep

And then a bit of leethal news – I wanted to let you know how much I ended up raising for Heifer… $110!!  Thanks to all who bought stuff in December, you are awesome!

Heifer thank you

And now moving on to what I’ve been up to… One thing I did on an impulse a few days ago, a kind of mixing things up for the new year new project-ish thing…. I started a tumblr!  I figure, I’ve always been terrible at little posts here on do stuff! – I’ve gone through phases of trying to regularly post small things like recipes, thrifty scores, mixes, etc… but it never sticks and I always go back to my long posts.

my new tumblr

So, I thought, how about I break it up?  Keep this blog as it is, but really try to do more tutorials and valuable content, and stick all that little content over on the tumblr.  I’m thinking of it as a halfway point between this blog and twitter – the posts will be more permanent than tweets, but much less of a big deal than the leethal blog.  My plan is to rarely even mention knit design over there, or even crafts in general – all valuable crafty content will be for here on do stuff! (so if that’s all you care about, you don’t need to follow both) – and to just use tumblr for silly personal stuff, assorted photos of things I’m doing, movies, books, music, food… we’ll just see where it goes, I don’t even know what to expect!

new (used) DVD stack amazing bow!

And now speaking of movies and music… I have a couple long term project updates.  Remember a year ago, when I decided to try to watch 365 movies in 2011?  Well, I did it!  JUST!  I watched my 364th and 365th movies on New Year’s Eve and just barely succeeded.  The list is a little embarrassing, but remember, I watch most movies while working, so I can’t give 100% attention to the screen, meaning I make silly choices a lot of the time, especially if I know I’m working on a pattern that needs some focus.  The questionable movies on the list weren’t really watched, they were just kind of background noise.  You understand, hehe.  Anyway, it was a fun project, but I’m happy to not have to count movies anymore and be more free to get sucked into TV shows whenever I want.  (So much TV to catch up with!  First up, probably Downton Abbey!  Not that I didn’t watch TV shows in 2011, but I just had to space them out and couldn’t keep up with everything.)

our record collection!

And my other project… well, you probably remember back in the summer when I went through that massive record organization project.  Chronological order!  Damn, it was a ton of work, and it was nerdy fun to do, but it was so not practical.  Cataloging and sorting our collection like that made Pete and I much more active about collecting records, like too much so, but hey, Portland has amazing shops that need our support, right?

our record collection!

So, once they were all organized, the collection started rapidly growing larger, and it became overwhelming, the thought of adding all the new LPs in their chronological spots.  So they just accumulated, and at the beginning of this year, the motivation kicked us and we spent a couple days immersed in re-organizing once again.

our record collection!

This time, alphabetical!  Sigh of relief!  So much easier to add new stacks where they belong and keep it all in order!  And, if you compare the photos of our collection from July and the current shots, you’ll notice how vinyl has almost completely taken over our shelving unit.  Love it!

our records! our record collection!

Another random fun thing I wanted to mention is that Pete has gotten suuuuper into Pinterest since joining a couple days ago.  If you have any interest in men’s fashion, or neat nature/science photos, you may want to follow his boards.

Pinterest screenshot

And then the last thing I wanted to mention… even though it annoys me that there’s no iPad app or functioning website and everything is through the iPhone app, I still like the idea of instagram and I’ve started using it a bit more.  I’m _leethal_ over there if you’re an instagrammer (instagrammar?)…

snow in portland! snow in portland!

Okay I think those are all the things I wanted to mention.  Happy 2012 all!

Filed under: home stuff,movies,music,personal,photos,portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 7:00 am

December 23, 2011

What’s to come and some random bits…

Hope you are having a good holiday-ish week!  I am hanging at my parents’ house in Orange County for a couple weeks, hoping to get tons of knitting and ebook photo editing done, between silly times with my brothers and California adventures with my parents…  Just wanted to kind of check in here since not much leethal stuff is going on, but will be in the near future!

Remixed pattern #6 is basically done – just needs to be tested once I finished laying out the pdf.  Giving my testers a break for now, for gift knitting times, so it’ll go out to them next week, then be out to Remixers in another week or so, beginning of January:

Freak Out! Freak Out!

It can be super extra terrifying if you choose:

Freak Out!

But it can also be folded up into a hat for normal everyday use.  See more photos of the stripy one and the bulky one on ravelry.  It’s for any weight yarn, worked top down, to get the eye and mouth placement just right.

Freak Out! Freak Out!

And then the seventh pattern is just about done as well!  Gentle on My Mind is a bonnet style hat, which can be made with or without i-cord tails, and works excellently with stripes…

Gentle on My Mind Gentle on My Mind

This is my first prototype, and was made with normal short row wraps.  After completing it, I discovered Socktopus’s shadow wraps method, which is so freaking awesome and a perfect fit for this pattern!  So my other samples are using that, and that will be the recommended technique in this pattern…

Gentle on My Mind

Below is my second sample, in several different handspun mini-skeins and leftover bits (plus a couple stripes of Malabrigo Twist thrown in there)… I love the front part, and I like the back of the head, but the middle is kinda weird, oh well.  It’s a sample without the i-cords (more photos are on ravelry).

Gentle on My Mind

Right now I’m working on another striped sample – 2 contrasting recycled solids – which I am super loving!  So, this design should be ready for testing in a couple weeks, and then just one Remixed pattern left in the collection!

Besides the designing and knitting, I’ve been making lots of recycled yarns for the ebook.  This one is the yarn used in the stripy mask – a striped wool unraveled sweater yarn, plied with thread:

recycled spun yarn

Here are a couple of navajo plied recycled striped yarns – the left is cotton, the right is wool:

recycled spun yarn recycled spun yarn

And from the same sweater as that wool navajo plied, a sleeve became this stripy yarn, plied with an angora blend:

recycled spun yarn

So that’s what I’ve been working on – well, the work work I’ve been doing… I’ve also spent lots of time working on gift projects, or one main gift project, which you can see a peek at through my twitter.  It will be blogged at some point soon!

A couple other things I wanted to mention here…  I’ve been saving all my coffee cans for the last couple years, since I made this cubby, in case I might want to make another one, but now I have something like 16 or 18 saved up, and nowhere in my house to put another one, so I’d love to give all the cans to a crafter who doesn’t drink coffee and wants to make a cubby.  Anyone in the Portland area want them??  Comment if you’re interested and I’ll email you…


And this one last thing – thought there might be some readers out there who might be interested in this:

craft show flier

The casting agent happens to be an old co-worker from my day job in California many years ago… weird connection to my current world (that day job had nothing to do with craftiness).  So I just wanted to throw that up here… not exactly my thing (I don’t have that necessary tv personality) but it sounds pretty awesome!

October 24, 2011

Class, interviews, and knit shawls!

Oh gosh, stuff has been piling up.  First, for Portlanders, I’m teaching a class on my sideways edge cast-on, and sideways bind-off (used in Betiko and Wild is the Wind), at Twisted on Tuesday November 29th.  See all Twisted class info here.  If you like the idea of the technique, but can’t wrap your head around it, here’s your chance for some hands-on help!


Complete info from the Twisted schedule:

Sideways edge cast-on and bind-off workshop
$30 With Lee Meredith
Learn how to knit a sideways edging (perfect for a brim or cuff) while casting on stitches along the edge at the same time, avoiding the need to pick up stitches or sew seams later.  Then learn the reverse – add a knitted on sideways edge to a piece while binding off the stitches at the same time.
Date/Time: Tuesday, Nov 29, 5-8pm
Materials:  Any yarn of your choice (a weight that you like working with best, something smooth and easy to work with), needles sized to match – a circular needle is recommended (everything will be worked flat, but the flexible cord will make it easier to see what’s happening), and a stitch marker.

game knitting

So that’s that, now onto non-Portland-specific stuff.  A couple things from awhile back that never made it to the blog (till now!)…  I was interviewed for the Knit Picks podcast, for their ebooks episode, about Game Knitting and also about how I started designing, etc.

I also did a blog interview over on je suis une monstre – head over there to read all about how I quit my day job to be a designer, my design process, and lots more…

Betiko - mystery pattern version

Tara of Blonde Chicken finished her Betiko knit-a-long and blogged the gorgeous finished Betikos – love them all!

Freewheelin' prototype

And now to let you know what I’m currently up to – I know the next Remixed pattern, Freewheelin’, is supposed to be due soon, but it’s taking more redesigning and reknitting than planned… The yellow bulky sample which was supposed to be the final (or close to final) version of the pattern just wasn’t good enough and I ended up working out yet another new update (I’ve redesigned this pattern so many times, ohmygoodness the hours I’ve spent, sigh).  So then I tried a super bulky sample of the new version…

bulky Freewheelin'

…and I’m super happy with it!  So now I’m on the final step of knitting up a worsted-ish weight sample, my last test and my main sample piece, and when that’s done the pattern will go out to testers and then finally out to Remixers.  So that’s what’s going on there.  This pattern really got away from me and took on a life of its own… the other Remixed patterns I’m in the beginning stages on should be quicker, fingers crossed.

in-progress Freewheelin' in-progress Freewheelin'

And lastly, a heads up that I’m planning on starting another round of twitter trivia soon!  If you follow me on twitter, look out for daily trivia questions for a chance to win a pattern coupon code each day!  Yay!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,lots of links,podcasts,portland stuff,Remixed — leethal @ 3:32 pm

July 28, 2011

Sock Summit (sale), and stuff, yeah!

So, here in Portland, starting today, the second Sock Summit is happening, which is so super awesome, but I still feel a wee bit out of place in the whole scene since I tried to knit a pair of socks last time the Summit happened, 2 years ago, and they haven’t gotten much farther than you see in that photo taken then… I am just not a sock knitter.

my first sock

But hey, I want to do something to celebrate this event, so, since I don’t design socks, and I don’t design anything in sock weight yarns, but I do design things for any weight yarns – buy one of my any-gauge patterns, get one freeeeee!

Custom Tritop! betiko

Enter coupon code socksummit in your shopping cart, with at least 2 of these patterns, and you’ll get one free: betiko, custom tritops, shapeshifter, skoodlet, game knitting (not the same, but you can definitely game knit in any weight yarn), the mystery knit-a-long hat (scroll down for more on that), and ten 10 yard cuffs (not actually any-gauge, but easy to adjust, and great for using up sock yarn leftovers!).  I wouldn’t exactly recommend using sock yarn for some of these (like skoodlet), but it’s possible to if you want to!

cuff507 Shapeshifter!

As for those of you actually here in town for Sock Summit itself, you can see a trunk show of my designs down the street at Twisted!!  And they’ll have all of my patterns, double scoops knit kits, and connect-the-dots stitch sets on sale for 10% off during the weekend!  (This photo is from my last trunk show at the same shop, last year.)


Twisted is a must-visit shop if you’re in town for Sock Summit, so be sure to make it there!  Along with my trunk show, they are also having shows for Star Athena, Imperial Stock Ranch, and Larissa Brown (that one’s mostly at Twisted’s booth at the Summit).   Another shop I strong encourage you to visit is Urban Fiber Arts – an excellent new-ish shop in northwest which focuses on local stuff – tons of locally spun and dyed yarns, plus lots of spinning stuff as well!  We have so many great shops here, so hopefully if you’re visiting you’ll be able to take a day to yarn shop hop around town!

As for my part in the Summit, you’ll find me wandering the marketplace tomorrow (Friday), before I’m taking a class on natural dyeing with Kristine of A Verb for Keeping Warm (excited!).  I’m bummed that there’s not a big panel discussion like there was last time, because that was a major highlight; and we’re all sad that ravelry isn’t playing a part this time (that ravelry party last time was one of the funnest nights of my life, no exaggeration!).  But, hey, I can’t complain that this amazing knitting event is happening right here, a 10 minute drive from my house! Yeah!

mystery hat, revealed!

Moving on, I do have a couple other things I wanted to mention…  The mystery hat knit-a-long is coming to an end – the final pattern won’t be up till Monday, but I have posted some photos of the hat on flickr and ravelry.  I won’t put the fully spoilery photos up here, to avoid spoilers for anyone who’s still in the midst of the knit-a-long, but you can click over to my ravelry projects to see them all.  I made samples in sport weight (with buttons), in worsted weight (guy-size, with no buttons), and in bulky weight (with buttons) (those links are to flickr photos).

mystery hat, revealed!

There’s another pattern that will be released on Monday that I am insanely excited about – it’s a secret, but what the secret is has already been revealed on ravelry, so I’ll just point you over there for now… I can’t wait till Monday!!  Eeeeeek!

future design prototype!

I have also been hard at work on several other patterns… re-visiting this one that I mentioned awhile back, for (hopefully) an early fall release, and working on a few future ebook patterns.  Here are a couple peeks at those, above and below – once I finish the three that are close to done (third here), my plan is to release the ebook for pre-orders, which will come with those three patterns!  More on that as I get closer!

future design prototype!

Okay that’s not even everything I have going on, but it’s enough for now!  Back to work for me, and maybe I’ll see some of you at Sock Summit!!

Filed under: contest/giveaway,hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,portland stuff — leethal @ 3:36 pm

July 20, 2011

Trunk show this week, and lots of buttons!

Hey Oregonians!  I’m going to be hanging out and having a one-night-only trunk show in Silverton (which I think is about 20 minutes east of Salem) on Thursday (tomorrow) night from 6-8, at The Purl District‘s Pints and Purls knitting night, which is at Seven Brides Brewery.  Knitting and good beer – 2 of my favorite things!  It seems like a pretty awesome local knit night, so I hope you can make it if you’re in the area!

I’ll have with me lots of samples of my designs, and my print patterns for sale.  Aaaand a bunch of these:


I finally replenished my button making parts supply after running out over a year ago, and have spent a chunk of the last couple days remembering how fun button making is!!  I’ll have these to give away at the knit night Thursday, at Sock Summit (coming up soooon!), and anywhere else I might go, and I’ll also be including them with orders of anything in my shop (that isn’t flat).


I’ll soon be making some to finally put up in the shop (it’s been saying buttons will “be back soon” for way too long!) – I’m not sure exactly what they’ll be yet, but I’m excited to play around with some ideas.  For now, these recycled magazine/catalog/book leethal.net/do stuff! buttons are so much fun – I love that every one is unique!

Buttons!! Buttons!!

Here are all the ones which were sent out yesterday to be stuffed in Cooperative Press‘s giveaway bags at Sock Summit!  I’m so excited to be a part of those!


And I made a few just plain do stuff! ones too (below)… Tomorrow I’m planning on hitting a thrift store or two in search of cool old books (but not too cool for cutting up) with crafty illustrations or lots of colorful photos, perfect for buttons!  Anything you want on a button that might be neat for my shop?  Let me know!


So, those are the two things I wanted to tell you about for now.  It’s a busy week, and going by so quickly!  Our weather is nice and gloomy here in Portland, but if you’re in one of the regions with the crazy heat wave, hope you’re doing okay!  Drink lots of water!

Filed under: portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 11:09 am

June 23, 2011

Trivia fun, plus film photos!

First, I put up the answers to that first batch of trivia questions, as comments after the blog post, so you can check that out if you were curious about the answers… I’m especially proud of the pop culture mashups.  My personal favorite is The Bee Geesus and Mary Chain – saying that out loud never gets old!  I also love Yo La TenGo-Go’s and Aimee Mann or Astro-man?

Zach's Shack

So now I’ve started posting my second batch of trivia on twitter – one question per day, around noon-ish (west coast time).  The first person to reply with the correct answer each day wins a $2 off coupon code for my patterns, which will work through my website or through my ravelry patterns shop.

Zach's Shack!

I want to have a non-twitter, more permanent place that you can see what the categories are, with more details, so here they are!

Category 1 – Ten Degrees of Television: I’ll describe a tv show which connects through an actor to the next and previous shows.  I’ll say who the actors are during each question, so the question will usually start by mentioning the actor who was also in the previous day’s show, and end by mentioning the actor who will be in the next day’s show.  And, of course, the question will give more info and clues than just TV actors’ names!

So, today’s question (which I just posted before typing this) was: “Bryan Cranston was father Hal in this Fox comedy which aired from 2000-2006; Grandma Ida was played by Cloris Leachman.”  And yesterday’s question ended with “…Bryan Cranston stars as chemistry teacher Walter White.”  So tomorrow’s question will start with something about Cloris Leachman… all connected!  With posting one question each day, the connections kind of get lost, which is why I wanted to post about the category here – so if you miss the previous day’s question, you can always go back into my twitter feed and find it in case it might help.

Zach's Shack

Category 2 will be Ten Degrees of Movies:  Each answer is the name of a movie – each movie is connected through an actor to the previous and the following movie.  Same as the connections in the TV category, except I won’t be telling you the connecting actors!  Movie actors’ names are more well known (generally) than TV actors’ names, so you get to figure them out in this round.  However, the answer to each question will just be the movie’s name, and the actor connecting to the previous day’s movie will just be extra awesome points.  I’ll give you a virtual high five or something.

This is the same category as round 3 of my first batch of trivia, so scroll down to the comment that starts “round 3 answers” and read the questions and answers, with the connections in parentheses, if you want to better understand how this category will work…


The 3rd category will be Colorful Mashups:  I will describe some kind of imaginary movie remake or other kind of project, which mashes up two different elements as pop-culture-mashups, or before+after.  Here’s an example of one in which both are music-related: “The Swedish indie rock band well known for their 2006 hit single Young Folks time travels to open for the legendary singer from The Beatles, who plays some of his solo songs like Imagine” – the answer would be Peter Bjorn and John Lennon.

Again, this is the same kind of category as Music Mashups in the first batch, so check out the comment that begins “and the last of the answers – Round 4” to better understand how that works.  The only difference is that one was all music, and this one will be different things – some movies, some actors, some music, etc.  There will be a theme throughout however, which is hinted at in the category name…

Portland neighborhood

My last category when I hosted trivia was an audio round – I played the beginnings of songs and players had to say the band and song name.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to use this at all in the twitter trivia… I may give song names and you say the band, but I don’t know how well that would work, so I’ll more likely skip it altogether.  We’ll see.

So that’s that!  Follow me on twitter around noon each day to play along, and I’ll be posting the whole batch of questions here on the blog like I did last time, once it’s all been played.  Oh, one note – like last time, I’ll allow one win per person, per category.  So, if you win one, then you can start playing to win again when the next category starts – and of course, keep on playing for fun the whole time!

Bryce canyon!

To add something visual to this wordy post, these photos you’ve been seeing are from the batch of film I had developed a few days ago – I’d been saving up some rolls, since I had rolls in cameras and was waiting to finish them off, thinking I’d finish them much sooner.  So some of the rolls had been sitting around for several years!  Some were shot spread out over the last couple years, on various day trips, and on our honeymoon road trip, and a little bit on our recent road trip down through California (more on that later!)…

Japanese gardens

grand canyon!


There were 3 rolls of 35mm (shot on my Canonet QL17 and my Argus C3 Matchmatic, two color and one b+w) and 3 rolls of medium format – one shot square format on my Holga (color), one on my grandma’s old square format Kodak Duaflex II (b+w), and one on an old Ansco box camera (b+w).


at our wedding!


Click on the photos to see some info on flickr – many details are unknown because I’m bad at keeping track of things over the years.  Most of these roll had been severely heat damaged and/or were very expired… and then the Holga just always get major light leaks when I shoot it square format.  Everything came out though, nothing was damaged beyond repair like I had feared!


Japanese gardens

somewhere in San Francisco

The black and white shots at the booth, at the top of this post, were taken at Zach’s Shack, where we play trivia and where I hosted this trivia live – see, it’s all connected!


at our wedding!

Japanese gardens

Portland neighborhood

A fun note – when we did my Buttonhead photoshoot at the Rhododendron garden I was actually shooting with some of those prop cameras, and some of those shots were in this batch of film!  The camera I’m posing with in these shots is what was used to take these photos:

at the Rhododendron garden

at the Rhododendron garden

at the Rhododendron garden

at the Rhododendron garden

Filed under: contest/giveaway,personal,photos,portland stuff,trivia — leethal @ 2:33 pm

April 18, 2011

Keeping busy over here!

Oh hi!  I have been busybusy, and obviously not with blogging, but hey, let me tell you what’s up!  Well, first though, I want to make sure you know that if you’re in Portland, you can take a class with me on Thursday to learn how to self-publish patterns!  Head to Twisted’s class schedule (click the pdf link on that page) for details – the class is on 4/21 5-8pm and costs $30.  Sign up now if you want to join us!!  (It’s mostly just on digital self-publishing, but my print patterns are much more photogenic.)

leethal patterns

I have been working on a bunch of designs, but some are supersecret so I can’t show you yet… I can show you a couple though… this is my first example of a pattern I’m working on for self-publishing through me and through Knit Picks (which is why it’s in KP yarn) – it looks super simple, but it’s a squishy reversible fabric which will look crazy cool when striping between 2 yarns (several more samples will be knit before release)… plus, it’s any gauge and can be worn a ton of different ways:

buttoning reversible cowl buttoning reversible cowl

And then… I have my first little bit to show you from my upcoming ebook that I’ve been working on a little here and there whenever I can squeeze it in.  The ebook will be on how to make different kinds of recycled yarns, and patterns to go with them – below is the first thing I’ve knit up for a book design from recycled spun yarn!  I’m working on a couple other designs, and have many more sketched out… Once I have a bit more to show you, and you can see some actual finished items, I plan to start selling pre-orders for the book, probably with some kind of bonus extra something since the release date will be uncertain and probably not till late this year.  Anyway, I’m so happy to finally show you something at least!

recycled spun yarn knit with recycled spun yarn

What else has been taking up all my time, you may wonder?  I’ve been busy with some fun freelance product photography gigs!  I shot 13 of these incredible felt scarves by LeBrie of PenFelt:

PenFelt scarf PenFelt scarf

It’s the best when I get to shoot items that I love; doesn’t even feel like work!  Aren’t these scarves gorgeous?

PenFelt scarf PenFelt scarf

These are just a small assortment of my favorite shots… head to PenFelt’s etsy shop to find what’s for sale at the moment.

PenFelt scarf PenFelt scarf

There are also a few more of my choice shots in my product photography set on flickr…

PenFelt scarf

And then, just before that bunch, I shot a huge batch of product photos for Trillium, which meant tons of different products by all kinds of different crafters and artists, all made from mostly recycled materials!  These tops were probably my most favorite items to shoot, made from reclaimed skateboards!  By Board Games:

Trillium product photo

Again, these are just a few of my favorite shots, out of 64 items total…

Trillium product photo Trillium product photo

Of course I have to include this one!

Trillium product photo

So, if you want to check out Trillium products, there’s the etsy shop, but the Ebay World of Good shop has even more items and is a little more up to date.

Trillium product photo Trillium product photo

Of course, if you happen to be in Portland, I highly recommend stopping by the brick+mortar shop!  It’s a bit out there if you live close-in, or North/NE/West (it’s actually super close to me) – it’s on SE Foster at 91st, right near the 205 freeway, worth a stop if you’re in the area.  Tons (like, maybe literally tons!) of super cheap recycled fabric pieces!  (Upholstery fabric sample squares and stuff like that, $1 per pound if I’m remembering correctly.)

Trillium product photo

Trillium product photo Trillium product photo

Fun stuff!

Trillium product photo Trillium product photo

So that’s what I’ve been up to… lots of shooting and knitting – and movie-watching while knitting, of course!  I’m doing well on my 365 movies in 2011 project so far!  (Watched my 121st film last night, on the 107th day of the year.)  Which is great, since we’re planning a trip for later in the year, which will mean probably about 2 weeks with few or no movies watched, so yay for being ahead!

Filed under: knitting,personal,photos,portland stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 12:27 pm

March 4, 2011

Old patterns made new!

I’m in the process of reformatting all of my patterns so that they all share the same stylesheet (fonts, layout elements, wording of certain parts, etc) – thanks to Knitgrrl’s book for calling my attention to this – and I’ve finished the main 4 that I was most eager to get updated.  Skoodlet, Ten 10 yard Cuffs, Mr. Pointy, and Spiraling Stripes Hats are now freshly styled, partially rewritten, and looking much better I think!

PDFcover PDFcover

I also knit up and included a new example of the Skoodlet – it’s in a bulky yarn (Lamb’s Pride) and an extra large size for a gigantic hood!  And I LOVE the vintage buttons I found and how they look against the grey!  I also reshot the rainbowy example since I didn’t much like those old photos of that one:

big skoodlet! Skoodlet!

Mr. Pointy and Spiraling Stripes Hats were two of my very earliest patterns – Mr. Pointy is a pretty basic pattern compared to my new stuff, but I still like it, and there are some gorgeous versions knit up in handspun which you can check out on ravelry.

PDFcover PDFcover

The old version of Spiraling Stripes was actually the first pdf I ever built, and it was kind of terrible so I let it hide away…. But now, with some new photos, a bunch of rewriting, reformatting, etc, I am super happy with the hat set and want to make sure you know about it!  6 different hat patterns, and tons of variation ideas and instructions for different hat styles and ways of striping.

spiraling stripes hat!

I also did a new photoshoot with some of these old hats – you can see here the slanted brim above, and the straight brim and brimless versions below, as well as different kinds of stripes and fits.  I think this hat set coordinations well with my Custom Tritops set – between these 2 pattern sets, you’d be set for unlimited one-of-a-kind hats for a lifetime of knitting!

spiraling stripes hat! spiraling stripes hat!

I also completed a minor redesign of my main patterns page yesterday – not a big deal, but I think it’s a little easier to browse through all my patterns+ebooks now.

Ok that’s all for now… it’s some busy times around here lately… March’s quick knits club will be out on Monday, and I’m doing a crazy thing for the first time ever next week!  I’m hosting trivia night at Zach’s Shack here in southeast Portland on Wednesday night!  My guy has been a trivia host regularly for over 3 years now, and I’ve always kind of toyed with the idea of trying it sometime… and that time is 5 days from now!  I’m totally nervous and super excited at the same time!  I’ll probably blog later with how it went and I’ll share some of my favorite questions and/or categories (the way Zach’s trivia works is: 4 categories, 10 questions per category – and I’m really excited about some of my categories!)… Ok that’s all for reals now.  Happy Friday!

Filed under: hats,knitting,leethal.net,portland stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 2:30 pm

November 30, 2010

Printed Patterns and a Twisted Trunk Show!

Big announcement about my knitting patterns!  They are now available as printed booklets!  Super nice quality, full color, printed by MagCloud, available for you to order directly…

my trunk show stuff!

…and hopefully sometime soon, available at your local yarn shop!  Now that the printed patterns have been designed and made, I’m going to start wholesaling them to all the coolest shops.  Have a local shop where you think my patterns would fit nicely?  Let me know!  (Or, let them know!)  If I can get your help with putting together a list of stores, with actual personal recommendations (much better than blind web searching!) I’ll be on my way to spreading these patterns across the country!  (world? we’ll see!)

As for getting your hands on some patterns right now, before that spreading across the country thing happens… MagCloud is having a holiday sale through the end of December!  Save a bit off each pattern and maybe pick up some presents for knitters on your gift list?

Oh and, an awesome feature of MagCloud is that you can preview the entire booklet there on the site – so you can see the whole pattern, front cover to back cover and everything in between, before deciding whether to buy.  Just like being able to flip through the pattern in a shop!

magcloud preview

Want to know what kicked my butt into finally getting this huge task done?  (It took me about 4 days straight of layout design and pattern editing!)

I’m having my first trunk show this week!  At my most favorite yarn shop – Twisted!  Yay!

my trunk show stuff!

All those patterns and all those sample knits will be displayed at Twisted (with 10% off patterns!), along with a few Double Scoops kits and connect-the-dots stitch sets as well, from this Wednesday (tomorrow) until next Tuesday (the 7th).

The trunk show reception party time is Friday (Dec 3rd) from 6-8, so that’s when it would be most fun to come by, hang out and knit with me and my Twisted buddies, ask any questions you might have about the patterns, and check out the knits!  Oh, and there might be some kind of fun raffle thing going on…

Ocean Breezes! spiral hat

But hey, there’s another event too!  My show happens to be overlapping with the awesome Blonde Chicken‘s one-night-only handspun yarn visit!  On Monday from 5-8 Tara will be there with her yarn, and I will definitely be there to check out said yarn and hang out, so that would be a good second chance for you to be able to see my show, and see hers at the same time, and hang out with us all!  Yeah!

Shapeshifter! Swerve fingerless mitts!

So, if you’re in Portland, I hope you can make it in, take a peek at my patterns, new and old, and perhaps we can knit together a bit.

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,portland stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 8:30 am

October 5, 2010

Time to hit the road… and Celebrate!

So we’re leaving super duper early on Wednesday morning, and I’ve been working all day today on 4 hours of sleep… it’s now 1am and before my energy is drained completely I just need to get this one last post out there to you… I’ll be checking email (and comments) once in awhile, but I’ll basically be out of touch from the world until the 21st.  I’ve been really super appreciating all the great roadtripping recommendations, even though I’ve been so beyond busy getting everything done that I haven’t been replying, sorry about that!!

framed song lyrics

Anyway…  my brain isn’t fully functioning, so I’m going to mostly let the photos do the talking from now on…  October’s club ebook is out now!  (on ravelry here)

october club ebook cover

Inspired by my wedding crafting, but not wanting to do a wedding theme, I made all the projects relate in some way to celebrating – with friends over wine…

Drink Sweaters!

… or beer, with these drink sweaters (cabley, knit-tastic versions of wine glass charms for drink identification)…

Drink Sweaters!

…or celebrating out at a special event or just dressing up for fun, because it doesn’t have to be a super special occasion to wear a lapel flower!

Lapel Flowers!

They can also be worn as brooches, or you could turn them into hair accessories too I’m sure…

Lapel Flowers!

The non-knit craft project this month is frilly crocheted shoes, which are my wedding shoes.  As you can see, they can have all kinds of different styles depending on how you lace them up (well, these two aren’t super different, but you get the idea).  Tonight, after I’d already finished and released the ebook, I discovered another way of lacing them that I like even better, using the ribbon more as a drawstring instead of criss-crossing it; I’m sure there are tons more possibilities!

Frilly Crocheted Shoes! Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

This is what they look like before weaving ribbons through:

Frilly Crocheted Shoes! Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

This project is a 4-page photo tutorial of how to turn old flip flops into the new shoes – once you get to the point where the crochet starts, you can come up with your own stitches for your shoes, if you are experienced with a hook.  This is the first crochet design I’ve ever written out, and I wrote the whole thing more as a tutorial rather than a pattern…

Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

The final extra goodie in this month’s ebook is a set of 7 of my favorite song lyric cards that I made to frame for these wedding decorations/favors.  I included the title and author of each font in the included lyrics, so you’ll be able to find and download any fonts that you especially like, choose your own personal favorite song lyrics, and make your own lyric art!

framed song lyrics

These picture frames will be another project for another blog post… after the trip…  Have a good October, I’ll be back in 2 weeks!

oh wait, one more thing.  I keep forgetting to mention this!  Portlanders, I am teaching a self-publishing class at Twisted on the 28th!  This is going to be very similar to the class I taught at Summit of Awesome, except I won’t be trying to relate it to sewing and other craft patterns (which I did very badly since that’s not my area of expertise!).  If you are starting to design knitting or crochet patterns and want to try self-publishing pdfs, but have no idea how to start (or what that even means), then this class should get you on your way!

Ok, now, for reals, I am getting some sleep and heading out! Bye!

September 5, 2010

Some run-on sentences, food, more food, and stuff…

Wow hey, how’s it going?  Things have been kind of nutso around here!  Mainly, my camera broke a week before a huge freelance photography job was due, my buddy Alex saved me by loaning me hers for several days, and I was able to get the work done (barely), plus another photo job, but had also managed to pile too much on my plate in general for the last couple weeks, so I’m basically behind on all of it.

My hat test knitters are being very patient with my delayed responses to their emails; I have high hopes that the first issue of my new club is going out on Monday as scheduled, but fear that it may be late.  I want to submit a design idea to a publication with a deadline later this week, but doubt that will happen at this rate.  Blergh.  But, I keep looking ahead to the light at the end of the tunnel… photography jobs turned in soon, club released, hat pattern set finished, maybe actually get wedding invites sent out one of these days…

But hey, a couple rad things… I’ve been eating bits of food from the yard for the last couple weeks!  Yum!  Two weeks ago were the first ripe strawberries (below), and then 4 or 5 more since then (though they seem to be getting smaller with every one).


Today I ate my 3rd ripe cherry tomato – ohmygod tomatoes fresh from the garden are the best tasting things in the world!  I would seriously rather eat those cherry tomatoes than candy or chocolate or ice cream or cookies…….. Can’t wait till more start ripening!  And it’s looking like once the big tomatoes finally start ripening, they’ll probably ripen one after another all around the same time – since I’m the only tomato lover in our house, I may be experimenting with making salsa or pasta sauce or other things I’ve never made before…

tomatoes! tomatoes!

The cucumbers are the only things that aren’t looking so well.  (These photos above and below were taken almost 2 weeks ago, by the way.)  The leaves are getting more discolored, and when I talked to the woman at the nursery she said it sounded like maybe I was overwatering, but I fear that maybe I’m actually underwatering, since I don’t have any kind of irrigation system and just water with a hose… I just don’t know.  I got some kind of organic spray she recommended for pests and diseases and stuff, but I can’t tell if it’s helping at all.


Moving on to something else exciting… Pete has finally started a new project he’d been planning for awhile – metalheadpete.com is now a Portland restaurant review blog!  Description from his about page:  i am a metalhead. i love cheap veggie food, which is one of many reasons I love living in PDX. but i find that food review sites consistently don’t tell me what i want to know about it: does it have a cheap veggie option? i am also a lacto-ovo vegetarian, not a true vegan (although i eat vegan food and like it).  in my book, a cheap veggie options means that my significant other and I can go there, and spend $10 on food and be reasonably full. That’s $10 on FOOD, not drinks. so there you have it.

bagdad tots

I got him all set up with a wordpress blog (still needs some tweaking, but it functions), and contributed all the photos (and will add more to the photo-less reviews once I take them), and he already has 11 reviews up!  Many more in the works, too – it’s making going out to eat more fun, now that we’re always analyzing ways to get the most food for the cheapest total, taking photos, ranking it, etc.  And all the reviews are categorized by location – quadrant, then street – for easy browsing… so far, it’s almost all southeast, but as we do more, they’ll expand further I’m sure.

dream salad

And then, in between crazy workyness, I’ve been starting and preparing to start some big wedding-related craft projects.  These are all assorted doilies and vintage lace I’ve collected from thrift stores (and a few from Knittn’ Kitten) throughout the last couple months:


I’m thinking I’m going to plan another make-a-long, and I’ll spend the whole 24 hours working on my dress and other related things, since I feel like that’s the only way I’ll be able to squeeze it in.  I’m thinking September 18th – you in?!  (for the make-a-long, making anything you want, not wedding stuff, of course!)

And I seriously owe you a photo-of-the-day post… it’s been so long, actually, that I may split it up into a couple, later this week I hope!  First, you’ll be seeing my first next generation club ebook soon!  In fact, if you want to see sneaky peeks while I work on the designs, just follow me on twitter!

Filed under: home stuff,personal,portland stuff,random stuff — leethal @ 1:37 am

July 25, 2010

My Edible Garden! Soon to be actually edible!!

Oh my gosh you guys, I am SO freaking excited that tomatoes have just appeared on my plants!  Look look look!!


A little (semi-embarrassing) background info from a couple weeks ago… I was trying to be super good, learning how to grow things successfully, reading about how to prune tomato plants, and I misunderstood some things because I don’t know what I’m doing yet (hey, this is my learning year, misunderstanding is to be expected), and I WAY over-pruned.  Once I realized what I’d done wrong, I feared I’d seriously damaged the plants and either killed them completely or majorly affected the time it would take for tomatoes to start appearing.  So when I saw these three tomatoes today while watering – 2 on the middle-sized plant, one on the biggest plant – I was ecstatic!

tomatoes! tomatoes!

And then, the pickling cucumber plant I added (into this planter) less than 2 weeks ago…

pickling cucumbers!

…has three of these little future-cucumbers appearing already!  Yay!!  Extra exciting after learning a bit about pickling, and getting eager to try it out!  (By the way, all these photos were taken super close-up with a micro lens – all these little future-foods are bitsy right now!)

pickling cucumbers! pickling cucumbers!

Aaaand, the carrot seeds I planted at the same time are starting to sprout!  Hooray for carrots!  Yumyumyumyum!

future carrots!

Lastly for the foody goodness… the California Wonder pepper plant I added at the same time as the cucumber is flowering – not doing quite as well as the other guys though.  That blackness around the bases of the stems is worrying me… the photo on the left was taken the day after planting it – all green – then the new photo on the right was taken today:

pepper plant! pepper plant!

Then there’s my herbs!  The yard came with a pretty stocked herb planter when we moved in – healthy looking sage, oregano, some dying thyme, and what I think is tarragon, but I’m not sure since there’s no tag and I’ve never cooked with tarragon so I don’t know what it smells like… what do you think?

tarragon? tarragon?

And just yesterday I discovered some mint in another part of the yard, so that’s rad… then soon after we moved in I planted some rosemary and sweet basil.  A few weeks ago, the sweet basil seemed to have been totally killed by the horrible cold streak we had in June, but now it’s come back to life!  Then I added African Blue basil at the same time as the cucs and peppers, which I totally love!  I don’t want to put any effort into anything that’s not edible, so when I saw that I could have a basil with pretty flowers as a bonus, I went for it!  Side note – the photos below (left = today, right = just after planting) are a great demonstration of the difference between shade vs. harsh direct sunlight:

basil! basil!

One last thing from my yard – these narrow planters are empty now (were filled with dead things and weeds, which I got rid of yesterday) and I could totally use them for something new, but what?  Any suggestions for things I don’t already have, small enough to fit in here (width is around 8ish inches), not too late in the season to plant?

extra narrow raised beds

And some extra bonus photos, snapped for fun while walking around Lents Park awhile ago…

Lents community garden! Lents community garden!

These are some awesome looking plants that I liked – no idea what they are:

Lents community garden!

Lents community garden!

Lents community garden!

Ok I’m done!  Happy gardening!

Filed under: home stuff,photos,portland stuff — leethal @ 9:52 pm
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