March 16, 2009

yay button month!

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


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

02bothdone 10cottoncuff

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

gridded button portrait gridded button portrait

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

gridded button portrait 08gluing

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

vintage fabric+button wall art

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

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

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

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

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

button it up!

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

button it up! button it up!

and you know how i love cuffs!

button it up!

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

March 15, 2009

i’m on cut out + keep!

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

cut out+keep superstar

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

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

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

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

March 7, 2009

catching up… 2 things now

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


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

(no)banzo03 (no)banzo07

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

cat castle tubepost04 banzo on her castle

then i made a litter rug from a towel:

(2)08 (top)09

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

(no)doneon3 (top)doneon2

(no)doneon1 teethversion

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

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

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

January 8, 2009

free pattern: waving chevron scarf!

wavingchevronscarf03 wavingchevronscarf02 wavingchevronscarf16

this one has been in the works for quite some time, i’m so happy to release it!  super simple, it’s a basic garter stitch scarf with some increases and decreases forming the waving shape and chevron point, and 3-color striping to make it pop!

wavingchevronscarf14 wavingchevronscarf01 wavingchevronscarf13

this sample uses 3 shades of malabrigo worsted merino and size us 10 1/2 needles, but the pattern is written for any yarn weight, needle size, gauge – you just cast on as many stitches as you want for the width and knit until it’s long enough.  i can’t wait to see some knit up it super bulky or super fine yarns for a totally different look!

wavingchevronscarf10 wavingchevronscarf07

of course, you can also modify the striping pattern – try a self-striping or variegated yarn, or use a single solid for a simpler scarf, or try big color chunks instead of 1-row stripes.  the only thing i wouldn’t recommend is 2-row stripes because that will create a defined right side and wrong side, which i made sure to avoid in designing the scarf.  by striping between 3 colors, 1 row each, you get completely equal sides on your scarf.

wavingchevronscarf11 wavingchevronscarf12

because of the wavy shape, this scarf is actually really comfortable (and cute, i think) as a headband!  as a blindfold, it’s just silly, but the malabrigo is so soft, i wanted to be wrapped in it!  (photoshoots are fun!)

scrap scarf wavyscarf.jpg

those are my first two versions – the one on the right was my original construction of the design concept.  stockinette stitch and 2-row stripes made for a clear right and wrong side, no good, plus curling.  it also uses k3tog decreases instead of sk2p, causing holes along the chevron point (not visible in that shot, but they’re there).  so, i did some rewriting, and started knitting the one on the left with scrap yarn.  that’s the exact pattern i ended up with, but once i decided it was right, i put that one aside and knit it in the malabrigo for the pattern sample.

if you want to make a leftover scrap-busting scarf, gather all your tiny balls (5-20ish yards is fine) and knit the pattern exactly as it’s written, striping 3 colors at a time, switching to a new ball every time one runs out.  i love how it’s looking!


as for getting your hands on this free pattern pdf, it’s on my patterns + yarn page, along with all my other patterns of course, and it’s on ravelry here.  you can click here to download it directly from ravelry (no need to be a member, but you should be!) but be sure to check out my other patterns if you haven’t already!

and, since this is a free one, here it is right here on the blog in case you prefer it that way!

When switching between 3 yarns, just carry each color loosely along the edges.  You’ll be knitting with one yarn, while the other two each hang from the two sides.  At the beginning of each row, bring the new yarn over the old, always the same way for a neat edge.  Be sure to untangle your yarn balls every couple of rows or you’ll end up with a huge mess!


y = yarn (or color)
kfb = knit front and back (increases 1)
pm = place marker
sk2p = slip a stitch, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over (decreases 2)
k = knit

Here’s the pattern:

(y1):  cast-on (example scarf is 26 stitches)

row 1 (y2): kfb, pm, sk2p, k to last 1, kfb
row 2 (y3): knit all
row 3 (y1): kfb, k to marker, sk2p, k to last 1, kfb

Repeat rows 2 and 3, switching yarn with every row so you will rotate y1, y2, y3, y1, y2, y3.

Repeat until there are no stitches between the sk2p and the last stitch (kfb).  That’s one section, now you’ll bring the chevron back over to the other side by switching the odd and even rows.  So, starting with that last pattern row, this is what you’ll do:

(odd row): kfb, k to marker, sk2p, kfb
(even row): knit all, removing the marker
(odd): knit all

Now start back at row 1 of the pattern (but ignore the y#, just keep rotating 1,2,3,1,2,3).

Keep repeating the whole thing, so the chevron waves from one side to the other, until the scarf is as long as you want (the sample scarf has 8 sections). Finish at the end of a section – knit the row in which you remove the stitch marker, then bind off the following row.

Weave in the ends, and block as needed.  I lightly wet blocked the sample by spraying it with water and laying it flat on a towel overnight.

i can’t wait to see your versions!!

Filed under: knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 4:08 pm

December 22, 2008

quicky gift idea – before and after photo

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

straight on

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

before after

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

from above

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

photo light lit blue photo light lit red

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

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

December 19, 2008

experimental sleeve dyeing!

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

sleeve dyeing dyed recycled shetland wool

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

dyed recycled shetland wool dyed recycled shetland wool

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

dyed recycled shetland wool

and now for some other examples… this sleeve:

sleeve dyed for beret

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

merinolongstripes2.jpg mewearingberet3.jpg

and then this sleeve became this hat:

sleeve dyed for mr. pointy blendy1.jpg

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

longstripesyarn3.jpg sleeve dyed scarf progress

and then the other one from the craftstylish post:

green sleeve dyed green ball

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

mirroredsybil.jpg twistedbobby.jpg

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


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

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

December 13, 2008

simple mary jane style booties, part 2!

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

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

simple mary jane style booties simple mary jane style booties

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

simple mary jane style booties

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

simple mary jane style booties

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

bottle cap buttons! bottle cap buttons!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and now for elisa’s redesign for her feet:

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

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

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

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

thank you so much elisa!!

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

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

December 11, 2008

craftstylish tutorials and other updatey stuff

polaroid christopher walken print

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

print blurred carving stencil

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

me wearing shirt finished close-up

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

close-up on me finished shirt

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


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

trilliumyarn12.jpg trilliumyarn04.jpg

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

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

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

November 17, 2008

a fun project for fall!

my new cardigan! my new cardigan!

i actually made something for myself!!  i felt this major urge to craft something not for sale, not for a deadline, not for a tutorial, so i made this cardigan.  but now i want to give you a brief how-to anyway, since i really love how it turned out.  so there are no progress photos, but i took close-ups and i’ll just go through the simple steps…

you’ll need: a pullover sweater – find a wool one that’s too big for you, and wash it in the machine to felt it a bit.  hopefully now it’ll be fitted, but not too tight, and felted enough so it won’t unravel when you cut it.  then you’ll also need another felted sweater to cut up, and a bunch of buttons, and some yarn, needles, thread, good scissors, the crafting regulars.

start by cutting the pullover straight up the middle to turn it into a cardigan.  it doesn’t have to be exactly centered, in fact you can choose to make it super asymmetrical (like my orange one).  try to cut it perfectly straight through the knit stitches though; this way it’ll look almost like a finished edge.

now cut out pocket shapes from your other sweater, whatever shape you want.  i took the oval pocket idea from a jacket i saw someone wearing – i love how it looks but it wasn’t easy to sew, and they aren’t aligned evenly on the two sides.  go for regular square/rectangular pockets if you want it to be super neat.

also cut a strip of fabric from the other sweater to be the button band – it should be as wide as you want, and as long as or longer than your sweater.  sew this onto one side of the sweater opening with a zig zag stitch, right sides facing.  since the sweaters stretch a bit as you sew, i cut my strip too long on purpose, then i cut off the excess when i sewed up to the top; better than ending up with a piece too short.

cardigan close-up cardigan close-up

sew the pockets on with a zig zag stitch.  i then stitched around the holes to prevent messy edges when they get stretched out with use.  even on a felted sweater, if you’re going to be stretching out the edges, they may start to unravel, so some kind of stitching is a good idea.  i used wool yarn, but you could do the same thing with embroidery floss, or machine sewing.

cardigan close-up cardigan close-up

next i sewed on the buttons.  i chose 7 different vintage buttons, all some kind of wood.  it was easy for me to sew them on evenly because of the stripes on the sweater – if you don’t have stripes, make sure the buttons are equal distances apart.  if you want, you could sew strips of the other sweater fabric on both sides, for the buttonholes and the buttons.  this would be a good idea if the sweater is too tight.

next, cut the buttonholes in the button band on the other side, making sure they align with the buttons, and they are big enough, but not bigger than they need to be.  cut them carefully, straight along the knit stitches of the sweater – embroidery scissors work well for this.

cardigan close-up my new cardigan!

now hand-stitch around the buttonholes with thread to prevent them from unraveling or getting stretched out.  if you want, you could make the buttonholes with your sewing machine instead, but i like this hand-stitched look better on sweater wool. (click on the images to see them bigger for a better close up.)

lastly, add some decorative stitching down the button band seam – again, i used yarn, but you could use embroidery floss if you prefer.  i also did the embroidery at the top, just for fun.  add whatever other embellishing you want, have fun with it and be creative!

my new cardigan! my new cardigan! my new cardigan!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 8:31 pm

November 16, 2008

my other blogging – tutorials and more!

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


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

03-1wedge.jpg cottonwaveshat4.jpg

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


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


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


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

trivialpursuitfinished.jpg 10trivialpursuitgamecloseup.jpg

13trivialpursuitbwwithcolor.jpg 14trivialpursuitmolecules.jpg

old books have weird pictures!!

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

my ski masks!

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

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

September 8, 2008

how to make freezer paper stencil prints with scissors!

first, thank you everybody for all the supernice comments on my last post and my engagement flickr picture and stuff! in case anyone else is curious, yes i probably will make my wedding dress, or at least recon a vintage dress in some way. it will be a crafty occasion i’m sure!

kid friendly freezer paper printing 10

so, remember the shirt i was wearing in my sweatshirt skirt post? wanna know how to print it? i meant to show you awhile ago, because it’s a kid-friendly project so it would have been good for summertime, but now it can be for back-to-school clothes instead. first i’ll give a little background story…

back at the beginning of august i taught a freezer paper stencil class at the 100th monkey studio, and i taught the only way i’d ever done it – with x-acto knives to carve the stencils. there was a young girl in the class who’d never used one before, but wanted to try, so i taught her how, and she did a fantastic job! check it out:

student's print student's print

but, i felt the need to give extra supervision for safety (it would have been horrible if she had cut herself!) and luckily it was a small class, so i could watch her most of the time. i was scheduled to teach the same project for the studio’s girls empowerment camp the following week though, and i knew i’d have to come up with some non x-acto options. i thought of the first method when i saw the studio’s huge assortment of paper punches! the woman working there tried out this idea at that first class, with the leaf print, and then i did more playing with punches with my circle skirt… (that tutorial was blogged on threadbanger)

student's punched print freezer paper stenciling - punch method

but i didn’t want the empowered girls to be limited to the punch shapes, so i played around with scissors stencil cutting. and without further ado, here’s the tutorial!

cut (or rip) a piece of freezer paper (must be freezer paper – with wax on one side only) to cover the area you want to print on. draw one or more simple shapes that you’ll be able to cut out with scissors, on the paper side.

kid friendly freezer paper printing 1 kid friendly freezer paper printing 2

my design was inspired by lotta jansdotter, from her book lotta prints:

lotta's skirts

now cut out your shapes carefully, making minimal cuts to get to the shapes and between shapes. be sure not to accidentally cut out anything that shouldn’t be cut out (hope that makes sense).

kid friendly freezer paper printing 3

now iron the stencil onto your fabric (wax side down, iron on high heat), starting with the center, carefully working your way out to the edges…

kid friendly freezer paper printing 4 kid friendly freezer paper printing 5

make sure you iron the cut parts down so they are touching, so you don’t end up with stenciled lines connecting the shapes.

kid friendly freezer paper printing 6

now paint in the stencils by dabbing in up+down motions around the outlines. if you paint side-to-side you risk painting under the stencil and getting paint in the parts where the cut edges are touching.

kid friendly freezer paper printing 7 kid friendly freezer paper printing 8

once you’re done painting, you can pretty much peel off the stencil whenever you want – i usually wait 5-10 minutes; i know some people wait till it dries completely, but i’m way too impatient for that!

kid friendly freezer paper printing 9

tah dah!

freezer paper printed shirt freezer paper printed shirt

and proof that this is a projects kids can do! (with adult help with the iron, of course!)

kid's print kid's prints

those are by 3 of my girl’s empowerment camp students. the dog is based on her real-life dog, hence the insistence on black paint, and for the cats, they painted on faces after the paint dried. i think the girls all loved the project! so if anyone has kids with boring back-to-school clothes that need some personalizing, i hope this helps! or, if you’re an adult who has a hard time with an x-acto knife, this is a super easy no-knife method, and great for simple, lotta-esque designs!!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,printing,tutorials — leethal @ 6:01 pm

August 31, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 3: simple sweatshirt skirts!

turquoiseskirt1.jpg orangeskirt.jpg

oookay this one has been on hold for awhile, so i’m happy to finally bring you the sweatshirt edition of my recycled skirts series! and to make up for the pause between projects, this one is actually 2 different designs! if you have a blank sweatshirt (or you don’t mind the image being upside down) you can make the skirt on the left (above), where the bottom of the sweatshirt becomes the waistband of the skirt. if you have a sweatshirt with an image you like, you can make the skirt on the right with the band around the bottom…

redskirt1.jpg blueskirt.jpg

for the sweatshirt bottom as waistband version, it’s best to choose a sweatshirt with a still-stretchy bottom band, and the best results will happen when the band fits your waist well so you don’t have to take it in. the turquoise sweatshirt i used did not fit these recommendations, so i did have to bring it in at the waist, with resulted in a weirdly-shaped skirt which i will probably only ever wear over pants to hide the weirdness. the above examples had better fitted bands, and i made them into the most simple version, which is just chopping the sweatshirt across under the sleeves, leaving you with a mini-skirt. i’m not the mini-skirt wearing type, but i like the red one over pants, and i plan to add something along the bottom of the blue one to make it longer. anyway, if you are into short skirts, that’s the super easiest version.

turquoiseskirthowto1.jpg turquoiseskirthowto6.jpg

if you want it longer, it’s not much more work, still super simple. chop the sleeves off straight up from the body…


…so you have a vest-like thing like this:


then chop the top straight across so you have this:


now you can flip it upside down and try it on as a skirt. if the waistband fits you well, awesome! if it’s too big, like mine was, you’ll have to bring it in somehow. depending on the thickness of the fabric, and on your sewing skills, you could try putting it elastic or a drawstring. i sewed the sides in as pictured, and it didn’t work out great… i think it would have been better had i come in even more and sewed down further at less of an angle.


as for the bottom, you can choose to leave the slits, or sew them closed. i chose to stitch them closed with embroidery floss as pictured below (click the image to see it bigger). and, a close-up of a good, stretchy waistband with no bringing-in required. (oh, a side note, if you want to know more about the circle printing i did on the turquoise skirt, i did a threadbanger post about it over here.)

turquoiseskirt2.jpg redskirt2.jpg

so if you have a sweatshirt with an image on it, it’s not much harder, and you don’t have to worry about the size of the sweatshirt or the stretchiness of the band. as long as the sweatshirt body, measured across the middle, will fit around your hips/butt area, it’ll work.

orangehowto1.jpg blackskirt.jpg

the first step is the same as the last design, chop the sleeves up the sides:


then, also like the last one, chop the top off, but this time be careful to cut as high up as possible, just under the collar, because of the image.


now it looks like this, and all you need to do is sew the sides in to fit your waist…


turn the skirt inside out, pull it on, and pin it evenly on the sides so it fits well.


you could use safety pins to pin all the way down your sides while wearing it to get a perfect fit. or you could do what i did, which is to pull it off, pin along the edges to hold the sides together, and mark with chalk where to sew. the photoshopped dotted line represents how my chalk line should have looked for a better fitting skirt. (you can see in the bottom picture how the black skirt is shaped better than the orange, that’s how it should be sewn, like the black one.)


after you sew the sides up, you can fold the top under and sew a hem if you want. it won’t unravel or anything without a hem, but i think it makes for a more fitted waist, so i sewed hems on mine.


oh yeah, by the way, i have no connection to florida, i just like the alligator (/crocodile?) guy and, of course, the orange. got the sweatshirt at a yard sale in wisconsin for 50cents…

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,personal,skirts,threadbanger,tutorials — leethal @ 10:38 am

August 11, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 2: vintage sheet double wraparound!

wearingskirt2.jpg wearingskirt1.jpg

ok time for my next skirt tutorial! this concept came to me when i was thinking about wanting to make skirts with vintage bedsheets but how some of them can be pretty see-through… so i thought, double layered would be cool… and the double wraparound idea was born! this sheet is a little silly, but the design worked out well, so now i can make more skirts with sheets i like better…

so you take your sheet and cut/rip it lengthwise to the length you want your skirt, then lay it flat across the floor. (if yours is as wrinkled as mine was, you might want to iron it!)


now: measure around your waist where you want the skirt to sit. divide this number in half, giving you a. measure across the length of the sheet strip. take this full length measurement and subtract a x 4. now divide that number by 3, giving you b. make marks on the sheet starting at the top a from the edge, then b over from that first mark, on the bottom, then across a on the bottom, b over on the top, a across the top, over b on the bottom, and then the remaining width on the bottom should be a. don’t worry about following those written directions, i made a diagram!

skirt tutorial

the easiest way to mark the points is to fold the sheet lengthwise and just make sure you’re marking on the correct side, like this: (i used green sharpie, but it’s probably better to use something that’s actually meant for marking on fabric…)


now just cut between the marks and you’ll have 4 panels that’ll fit together to make your skirt. the 2 sheet edges don’t flare out, so choose which end you like better to be the front/outside and use the other end panel for the opposite side. sew all the panels together, and you have a double wraparound skirt!


a note about sizing/adjustments…. my b measurement was 5 1/3 inches, which worked well for the amount of flare (a-line angle) it gave my knee-length skirt. the design might look a bit crazy if the flare angle is much more than mine, and if you’re thinner than me then it probably will be, depending on your sheet + skirt length. if you’re making a longer skirt, b can be bigger, and if your skirt is shorter then b should be smaller – you’ll want to look at the angle of flare when you make the marks and see if it looks ok. if the angle is too much and you need a smaller b, try dividing by 4 instead of 3 – if the new b makes for a better angle, mark your fabric the same as the diagram but add an extra b flare at one of the edges, so you’ll have a triangle of scrap fabric left over. make sense? if b is still too big when dividing by 4, try dividing by 5, and making both end panels flare out on both sides, leaving two scraps.

and for the closure…. i used buttons because i had just been sorting my button stash and wanted to use some, but it would be super easy to do a tied closure. because of the double wrap design, the inside end is right behind the outside end, with one layer of fabric between. so, to make a tied closure, you’d just snip a buttonhole in that in-between piece right where the two ends line up, and attach ties (fabric strips, ribbons, whatever you want) to each of the end corners. when putting on the skirt, bring the inside tie through that hole, and tie with the outside, yay! (if you want to use buttons like mine, there is one hidden button on the inside holding the inner panel closed. i marked where to put all the buttons and buttonholes by wrapping the skirt around me how i wanted to wear it and safety-pinning where they should go.)

skirtflat1.jpg skirtbuttonscloseup.jpg

oh yeah i almost forgot to mention – after sewing the panels together, i hemmed the top and bottom edges. i left the inside edge raw because it’s hiding and i’m lazy (not lazy, just always rushed). the outside edge was the original sheet hem. if you like the deconstructed look, sheets have nice raw edges so you can just leave them alone.

after the skirt was complete and i tried it on, i found that since the buttons are lined up along the side edge, i could wear the skirt backwards if i wanted to…


and when playing with different skirt positions i discovered that i really like how it looks with the seam down the middle!


ok i hope this tutorial made sense, it’s a little weird. the basic concept is easy – 4 a-line panels, the tops each measuring half of your waist. if you have an a-line skirt that fits you well, feel free to ignore all my equations and stuff and just use that skirt as a template to make your own pattern! just trace the skirt flat on the sheet 4 times to make your 4 panels, it should work well… ok have fun finding and recycling some rad vintage sheets!

wearingskirt3.jpg wearingskirt5.jpg wearingskirt4.jpg

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 12:06 pm

August 3, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 1: asymmetrical scrunchy t-skirt!

t-skirt t-skirt

yay, it’s the first of my many-part series of how-to’s for skirts made from various recycled things! i’m going to try to do one per week, and there will be 4 or 5 or maybe even more different skirt projects, woo!

i’m starting simple with this t-skirt – you just need one t-shirt and some basic sewing ability. oh yeah, i should add, about all the designs: i am not at all a skilled sewer, so every project i do that involves sewing will be friendly to low experience levels. you’ll basically need a machine and the knowledge to use it and that’s all, nothing fancy! ok here we go!

first, pick out a shirt. to make sure your skirt will fit how you want it, measure around your butt/thighs area to get your largest skirt-area measurement. my measurement is 44in, and i wanted my skirt to be comfy-fitting, not too snug, so i made sure my shirt measured at least 22in across or a little more, meaning it would fit around me fine without having to stretch too much. you will be sewing the shirt in a bit, so if you want it extra loose, it should be about 4 inches bigger than you are. t-shirts do stretch, of course, so depending on your specific shirt’s stretchiness and your fitting preference, your shirt of choice could measure less than you do. i chose this rem shirt that was pete’s from high school – he almost gave it away when cleaning out his closet, but i held onto it to make it something new, yay!

t-skirt how-to 1

now you need to chop off the sleeves. instead of cutting along the seams, just cut straight up following the body of the shirt. i used a rotary cutter, but scissors will work fine.

t-skirt how-to 2

now your shirt should look like this (front side):

t-skirt how-to 3

now chop off the top, straight across, to cut off the collar part and open up the whole thing.

t-skirt how-to 4

slip on the soon-to-be skirt and hold it together where it fits comfortably. pin in place down the sides so that the two sides meet the edges asymmetrically. the way i did this: when i tried on the skirt i pinned only the top pin on each side, then carefully took it off. i put it flat on the ground and put the pins in as shown in the picture, the left side going down further than the right side. then i (very carefully) slipped the skirt back on to make sure it fit well. (use safety pins if you don’t want to poke yourself when trying it on.)

t-skirt how-to 5

now sew along where the pins were – wrong sides together!! the dotted lines are over the stitching, which you could barely see in the picture. then cut through both layers one inch out from the seam, represented by the solid line.

t-skirt how-to 6

on each side, fold the one inch flappy parts outwards and sew them down along the edges, forming tubes on either side of the seams about 3/4inch wide. do not sew these parts closed on any end! when the flaps get narrow at the bottom, just keep sewing parallel to the center seam until you hit the end of the flap. (i only have a photo from after i put in the drawstring, but you get the idea.)

t-skirt how-to 10

cut drawstring pieces at least as long as up the seam tubes and back down. i used t-shirt pieces – when you cut strips of t-shirt fabric about 1/2in-1in wide and stretch them out they make great cord for this purpose. you can even use strips cut from the sleeves you cut off if you want the same color.

t-skirt how-to 7

on each side of the skirt, pin a safety pin to the end of the drawstring and thread it up one tube and back down the other side.

t-skirt how-to 8

now just pull the strings to cinch it all up and tie in a knot or a bow – you can do this while wearing the skirt to get it cinched just right. this picture is from my first version of this design (which is shown below), with contrasting thread so you can see what’s going on better. it’s always good to use zig-zag stitch on t-shirt fabric, but since you’re scrunching up the sewn parts of this skirt it’s not super important in this case.

t-skirt how-to 9

i have this vision in my head of making this same skirt design except crazier – with like 7-9 scrunched drawstring parts, all different lengths, with one going all the way to the bottom! someday when i have a little free time i’ll try it out. you could also make this skirt with the drawstring only on one side, and just sew the other with right sides together for a regular seam. if you make a skirt based on this design idea, i’d really love to see a picture!!

t-skirt (first version) t-skirt t-skirt

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 5:43 pm
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