November 23, 2011

Remixed pattern #4: Rumours

The fourth (out of 8 total) Remixed pattern is now out to pre-orderers!  Rumours fingerless mitts:

Rumours pattern cover Rumours

Before I go on, I just want to say now, so it doesn’t get buried in the post – now that half the patterns are out, I thought it would be a good time to start a Remixed knit-a-long!  Head over to the ravelry forums to vote on which pattern you’d like to knit along (or for a more casual any-pattern Remixed knit-a-long) and to share your knitting progress!

Rumours in sport weight

Okay so, Rumours!  They can be made with any weight yarn, and are custom fit to your hands.  Above is my pair in recycled sport(ish) weight yarn, and below in bulky weight:

Rumours in bulky

There are a few different options and variations you can choose from – like the 2-color version:

Rumours in bulky

And there are two different top hand designs.  The lace chevron design (below) is a bit too complex to work with bulky yarn, as it takes too many rows and stitches for a heavy weight gauge, so there’s a second, simpler hand design which you can see on the mitts above.

Rumours

They are made top down, starting by working the top hand part sideways (using the sideways edge cast-on) and stopping when it fits perfectly around your hand.  Then the thumb is started separately, joined with the hand, and the rest of the mitt is worked down through the wrist, using color coded stitch markers to keep track of the different twirling stitch designs and yarn-over lines:

Rumours

There’s no one thing that’s hard or really complicated, but there are a lot of twisted stitches, decreases, yarn-overs, and triangles of garter stitch texture, all kind of swirling and flowing into each other… as long as you pay attention to what you’re doing and read the pattern well, they knit up pretty quickly.

Rumours

One little detail I like – the twirling stitches turn into the bind-off in a nice flowing way:

Rumours

And a cool thing for iPad users (which isn’t specific to this pattern or anything, I just got excited because the iPad is still new and exciting to me)… There’s a box in the pattern for filling in your numbers (row counts, stitch counts, etc) while making your first mitt, so the second in the pair will be identical – I used the Goodreader app to make an annotated copy and fill in all the spaces on the pdf, so cool!  I know, iPad nerding out, doesn’t really have to do with this pattern or anything, but whatever, I just wanted to share…

Rumours pattern on iPad Rumours in sport weight

Want to see my design process for these?  I started out with some serious swatching, trying to reach a top hand part design that I was happy with… finally all my sketchy swatching led to the lace chevron design:

Rumours design process...

So then I cast on to turn that design into the top of a mitt, with my only plans for the rest of the piece being some kind of garter stitch thumb part, and some kind of swirling, yarn-over holes, and garter stitch element for the wrist.  And then I wanted to finish it off with a sideways edge bind-off cuff bit… Here’s what that whole thing turned into:

Rumours design process...

So then I moved on to my second attempt, giving it an actual thumb piece, and making the swirls more extreme, designing the whole wrist part as I knit it… and sticking with that sideways cuff bottom bit:

Rumours design process...

After that was done, I decided to let that cuff bottom part go, it just wasn’t working – but the design I used on that bit in my second prototype ended up turning into the second hand design of the final pattern, so I think it worked out well!  And then the final design stayed pretty similar to the wrist in that second prototype, just a few changes made to which bits are garter vs. stockinette.  The final change was that I brought the garter thumb gusset over into the hand a bit instead of being a straight line… And the final design was born:

Rumours Rumours Rumours

Yay!  I’m super happy with it, I hope you like it too!

(For readers who don’t know – this pattern is part of my Remixed collection, which is available for pre-order now.  It’s $16, there are 4 patterns so far, and there will be 8 total, plus yarn-making tutorials.  Order it now to get the first 4, and then each of the remaining as they are finished – see the webpage for more details.)

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 4:02 pm

November 7, 2011

Remixed pattern #3: Freewheelin’

This one sure took awhile to get perfect, but oh boy, I think it was a success!

Freewheelin cover Freewheelin'

Freewheelin’, the third pattern in my Remixed ebook collection (out to pre-orderers now, and to be available individually once the ebook is complete, next year), is a cable-tastic rounded shawl, and can be knit up in any gauge from around DK weight up to a super bulky (down to sport weight should work, for a smaller shawl).

bulky Freewheelin' bulky freewheelin' bulky Freewheelin'

It can be made pretty much any size you want, by just stopping when it’s as big as you like, or when your yarn runs out.  The blue one, in a worsted-ish recycled yarn, is knit all the way through all 6 sections of the pattern (so it’s as large as you can get in worsted); the bulky red one was bound off before the third section was complete, for just a few cable repeats.  The more sections you make, the more it’ll curve around and inwards:

Freewheelin'

The big blue one is so curved that it can be easily worn wrapped about with no shawl pin (like in the top photo)…

Freewheelin' Freewheelin'

…and because it’s so big and the fabric is so drapey, it can be tied around as well, which I quite like:

Freewheelin' Freewheelin'

You can see how with fewer sections worked, it’s still curved, but in just a U-shape.  This red one was made with a light worsted-ish weight angora blend recycled yarn, held triple stranded, making it a super bulky weight, knit pretty densely on size US 11 needles.

bulky Freewheelin'

My favorite way to wear this one is twisted around, or wrapped and closed with a shawl pin, though it can be worn in cape-like styles as pictured above.

bulky Freewheelin'

I have a third sample as well, though it was an earlier prototype and has some major differences from the final design.  There are a different number of increases per section, making it a not-as-curved shape, and making the cables run into each other differently in some parts.  But it can still serve to show you how Freewheelin’ will look in a chunky weight commercial yarn (Cascade 128), worked almost all the way through section 5 for a large size:

Freewheelin'

Optionally, you can bind off in a contrasting color for a simple slightly-decorative edging.  This option allows you to work right up through the last possible row in your main yarn, and not have to worry about leaving enough yardage for the bind-off.  The bind-off recommended (and explained) in the pattern is Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off, which makes for a nice squishy edge row in the contrasting yarn.

Freewheelin' prototype

The pattern is made up of repeating cable segment patterns, which travel and twist into each other as you move from one section to the next.  Most cable segment patterns have yarn-over increases built into them, making the shape of the shawl.  You keep track of all segments as you work by using a color-coded stitch marker system.

Freewheelin'

All pattern parts are both written and charted.  Personally, I think it’s a lot easier to make using the charts, but I had testers work successfully from both formats.  The pdf also includes photo tutorials for cabling without a cable needle, a 4-page essentials-only section for printing, if needed, and all cable charts together on one easily printable page.

(A tester, Sadie, pointed out something cool about the cable chart page: Did you know that if you print it on standard sheet of paper and then fold it in half, you can read all the cables you need for the first half of the shawl on one side, then turn the halved sheet over and read the other side for the yellow-middle section and the rest of the other side?! It’s ingenious. It meant I could take this reasonably complicated knitting pattern on the move and even knit on the bus with it.  I didn’t even think of that folding feature while laying out the page!  Perfect!)

bulky Freewheelin'

If you are intimidated by the look of this complex piece, well, one of my testers did recommend I include a disclaimer “not for the faint hearted,” but really, they all agreed that after the first couple of sections and getting used to the cables, with the stitch markers keeping track of everything, this pattern gets pretty darn addictive and hard to put down!  There’s a bit of discussion in the leethal ravelry forums about this pattern being “a highway to divorce” haha!

stitch markers

I want to give a HUGE thank you to my fabulous testers for this one – I gave them a ridiculously tight knitting deadline (one week!), since I wanted to get this pattern out to Remixers asap, and they all got their shawls knit on time with excellent feedback for me.  Monica, Sadie, Carole, and Kristin, you are all truly awesome!  (They are also proof that you can totally get this knit in plenty of time for holiday gifting, hah!)

future design prototype!

And lastly, I’ll show you my very first prototype of this design, which is super different from the final design; though the individual cable patterns are pretty much the same, the shape is all different (it doesn’t curve up, it’s just kind of a half-oval shape).  It was made with exactly one skein of Manos del Uruguay worsted weight wool (138 yards), and can be worn as a cowl (or neck warmer, or whatever you want to call it), closed with a shawl pin.  If you want to see a sample of Freewheelin’ made with exactly one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca worsted weight yarn (215 yards), check out Kristin’s project page.  See, this can be a one-skein project if you want it to be!

future design prototype! future design prototype!

Check out Freewheelin’ on ravelry, or on my Remixed webpage to pre-order your copy of the ebook and get your hands on this pattern right now!  In case you haven’t yet read it elsewhere – the Remixed ebook is $16 and will include 8 accessory patterns total, all either for any weight yarn or with very flexible gauge requirements, starting with Parallel Lines, Wild is the Wind, and this one.  Pre-orderers will receive each of the remaining 5 as I finish them (working on a pair of fingerless mitts at the moment!), and then the final ebook, with lots of tutorials on making your own recycled yarns, will be released next year (no official release date, just as soon as I finish it and it’s the best it can be).

Follow me on twitter for glimpses into Remixed designs as I work on them, and follow this blog and/or the ravelry group for updates whenever new patterns are released!

Filed under: knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 12:23 am

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!

mittscuffprogress

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

October 6, 2011

Remixed pattern #2: Wild is the Wind

My second Remixed pattern is out!  To all who pre-order the ebook, Wild is the Wind, a customizable, any-gauge hat:

Wild is the Wind Cover new hat design!

Knit it with any weight yarn, fitted or beret style, slouchy or not, buttons or none, pointy or smooth-topped, custom fit to your head, worked top-down with a modular sideways brim.  (Here it is on Ravelry)

Wild is the Wind

It’s not hard, but by the end you’ll be an expert at twisted stitches!  The body is simple and addictive (I could knit the swirly top part over and over and never get bored with it!) and while the brim is definitely trickier (or slower at least), testers have agreed that once you make it through one chart repeat it clicks and gets much quicker and easier as you continue on.

Wild is the Wind

The custom stitch counts and measurements are calculated using your gauge (which is measured directly on the hat after you’ve knit the top part), the brim design is charted, and the pattern includes photo tutorials for my favorite way of doing twisted stitches, detailed instructions for all steps, and a 3 page condensed printable pattern section with a black and white version of the chart.

Wild is the Wind

Notes are included for adding slouch to either style of hat, so you can make a hat fitted in front and long and slouched in the back, or a smaller beret style, or pretty much whatever shape you want.  The garter stitch brim bottom is nice and stretchy for a well fitting brim.

Wild is the Wind Wild is the Wind

My three samples were all knit with recycled yarns.  The grey is a strand of worsted-ish weight wool/rayon/angora/cashmere blend, in the beret style with a bit of slouch, no point, no buttons.  The blue is a merino/nylon blend worsted weight held triple stranded (using this method), fitted style with no point and buttons.  And the yellow is a spun recycled yarn I made – a wool reclaimed sweater yarn, an unknown green yarn, and 2 strands of thread, all plied together for around an aran weight – in the fitted style with a pointed top and buttons.

Wild is the Wind

One note included in the pattern that I wanted to give more details about here – I mention that for the beret style you shouldn’t use yarn heavier than about a worsted weight.  Well, I learned that from first attempting to turn that super bulky blue into a beret and ending up with this:

Wild is the Wind beret fail Wild is the Wind beret fail

Hah!  The brim is 10 stitches wide no matter what your gauge, so a heavier yarn equals a wider brim, and a heavy weight beret with a super wide brim equals ridiculous looking.  So that’s the thing about that.  But then I just frogged it all back to the top part and made it into a fitted style and the super bulky worked great for that.

Wild is the Wind

My musical backdrop isn’t very visible in the hat photos, maybe it wasn’t a great idea, kinda pointlessly busy, but oh well.  I’m trying different music-themed backgrounds for all the Remixed patterns… but I may end up just reshooting everything together for the final ebook, we’ll see.  Anyway, this is the background for my Wild is the Wind hats:

album backdrop

A big thanks to my test knitters for all their help with this one!  Check out their versions in the ravelry projects to see more style options – slouch, different weights, contrasting color brim, etc.  I really love how the design turned out, and I’m super happy with the final pattern – I hope some of you have fun knitting it!  Yay!

Filed under: hats,knitting,Remixed — leethal @ 1:50 pm

September 26, 2011

Remixed!

You know how I’ve been mentioning since the beginning of the year that I’m working on an ebook?  Well, it’s a long process but there’s finally something ready to put out there into the world!  In the spirit of kickstarter campaigns, and other community supported projects, and because the knitting community is awesome, I’ve released the ebook for pre-sale.  Pre-order the book, get each individual pattern as it’s finished, starting with Parallel Lines right now!

Parallel Lines Cover Wild is the Wind Cover

Your pre-orders will help me to be able to focus on the ebook and get it out as soon as I can, and I think it’ll be fun for all to get each pattern, one every few weeks, like little gifts in your inbox, right?

The ebook is called Remixed, and it will be all about knitting with recycled yarns – how to make your own yarns, using thrifted/unwanted sweaters, and patterns that will work excellently with these yarns.  The reason the patterns work well with recycled yarns is that they are all super versatile, making them great for yarns of weird weights, or limited yardage, etc, which makes them perfect also for using up random single skeins or any other yarns you might have that are looking for a project.  Because of the flexibility, you can make the patterns over and over, differently each time, by changing up the yarn type and choosing different optional elements.  By remixing the designs, you might say.

remixed yarn

There will be 8 accessory patterns – the ebook is $16 and after the complete book is out, each pattern will be available individually for about $4 (some may be $1 more or less).  All the yarn-making tutorials will be exclusive to the ebook, which is sure to be long and packed with info, and will of course be formatted for easy reading on your computer screen or ebook-reading device.

infinity moebius scarf thing

Parallel Lines is the first pattern, which you’ll get right now when you pre-order (through my site or through ravelry) – it’s a moebius loop scarf, with a simple reversible slip-stitch pattern, some easy short rows, for any yarn weight and any width you like.  A quick thank you to my awesome test knitters for all their helpful feedback on this one!

Wild is the Wind

In about 10 days you’ll get the second pattern – Wild is the Wind hat (one, two, three on rav), which is currently being tested in all different yarn weights, sizes, and styles.

Wild is the Wind Wild is the Wind

A couple weeks after that, Freewheelin’ will be the third pattern – below are glimpses at my first and second (in-progress) prototypes, but I’m still making changes.  The final design will be differently shaped, and a wee simpler than the blue one, for easier (more enjoyable) knitting/pattern following.  It can be made with any weight yarn, and as big as you want it; the blue one shows the size it is when made with 1 skein of worsted weight yarn (Manos del Uruguay wool), but if you keep knitting, it’ll turn into a full size shawl.

future design prototype! bulky yellow cables

And then, as they are ready – I’m aiming for every 2 weeks, but some may take longer – you’ll get each of the remaining patterns.  One of them may be free for a limited time, but besides that, and perhaps the occasional twitter giveaway, the only way to get the patterns before the book is out will be by pre-ordering.

Without giving too much away, here’s a super vague list of the other 5 patterns:

  • fingerless mitts
  • a scarf which is meant for using up lots of bitsy yarn scraps
  • a crazy mystery accessory
  • a not so crazy mystery accessory
  • something meant for wild art yarns

So, that gives you a little bit of an idea of what you’ll be getting; if you like these designs that you can see now, that probably means you’ll like most of the Remixed patterns.

remixed yarn remixed yarn

I can’t give you a date for when the final ebook will be released, but I can tell you that I doubt it will be possible to get it out before the end of the year.  But, the good news: these patterns are great for gift knitting, and you’ll for sure be getting several of them in plenty of time to get them knit up by holiday season.  Most, if not all, of the individual patterns should be out to pre-orderers before the end of the year, and the complete book, tutorials and all, will be out as soon as I can complete it.  My top priority with this project is quality, so I hope you’ll understand if it takes me longer than you would like it to – it should all be worth it in the end!

remixed yarn remixed yarn

Throughout the pre-sale period (from now until the final book is released) I will be doing random giveaways for pre-orderers, whom I’ll call Remixers because that’s easier and more fun.  The giveaways will average around one every 2 weeks, I’ll be posting about them in the ravelry forums, and giveaway prizes will vary.  Winners may get a skein of recycled yarn, or other crafty goodies, or a free pattern, or their choice of something from my shop… Or other fun ideas I come up with!

remixed yarn

Also in the leethal ravelry group, I’ll be posting regular updates about new patterns and all Remixed-related news.  It would be awesome if Remixers want to share their projects from the ebook patterns, and post anything else you want to about Remixed.  I’m crazy super excited to be finally putting this out there, and I hope you have fun with the way I’m doing it one pattern at a time.

remixed yarn

I first starting brainstorming and outlining this ebook concept well over a year ago, made definite plans which I announced on the blog in February, which is also when I started the prototypes for both of the first two designs (Parallel Lines in handspun and Wild is the Wind in an unknown commercial yarn), but I’d planned to include all kinds of recycled yarns – “yarn” made from sheets, t-shirts, plastic bags, etc.  Now that I’ve been finalizing everything, my plan has changed so that this book will be only recycled sweater yarns, and (if all goes well) it will be followed by a second book with all those crazy yarns, and then after that, a third volume with hand-dyed recycled yarns.

infinity moebius scarf thing

So, that’s the plan.  If you are into it, awesome, and I hope you’re able to pre-order Remixed, because each and every order will really help me to make this ebook the best it can be, and get the patterns done as quickly as I’m able to.  So far, I love absolutely everything about this project – the recycley-ness, the musical aesthetic, the any-gauge accessories… it’s all really close to my heart and I hope that my love for it shows through in the work I put out to you!  And I hope you love it, too!

Filed under: hats,knitting,Remixed,self-publishing,yarn — leethal @ 3:34 am
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