July 6, 2017

COLOR SQUARED (my book!!)

My book is out! You can buy it! And color it! It’s fun!

Color Squared

So here’s the concept: every image page (50 of them) is a grid with numbers 1-5, and blank and x. Blank (zero) through 5 are lightest through darkest. x is the background. You color (or draw, or stamp even) however you want, to reveal the image and make a cool looking picture! Here are six more versions of the cover image all done with different coloring methods:

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

The book includes an intro/instructions section, which has recommendations and tips for tools to use, color choices, etc, and steps for a bunch of different coloring methods with pictured samples of each of them, using cropped-in book images like the ones below. And there’s a practice page of mini-grids for you to try out methods first before putting ink to a full page picture. (If you go to the amazon listing and click the cover, you can look inside and scan through some of those intro pages to get a sense of it.)

Color Squared

You can complete a picture (not including the background, which can be colored any way you want) with three to six colored markers—which are a range of light to dark—or with a single drawing pen, or you can kind of mix and match by using drawing methods with colored pens or fine tip markers, or use a black pen then go over it with colors. You can also use tiny stamps, or pencil erasers as stamps. I made some self-portraits to use as avatar images and stuff, to show some different methods. Here are (left to right) a black pen continuous lines method (with color added), a black pen drawn circles method, a three-color layered method with lines, and a stamped method with different sized stamps carved from pencil erasers:

Color Squared style self-portrait

And here is a book image colored with a bunch of different methods:

Color Squared

Want to see the process of a couple of the methods? Here ya go:

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

That’s one of the continuous lines methods. For all of these methods (there are five versions) you’ll draw lines through all the 5 boxes, then you’ll go down through each number and add lines in that number plus all the boxes that already have lines (so, through the 4 boxes and 5s, then through the 3 boxes, and 4s and 5s, and so on) so by the time you’re done, the 5 boxes have lots of lines, making them the darkest, and the 1 boxes each only have one line, making them the lightest.

Here’s the most abstract of all the methods:

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

Color Squared Color Squared Color Squared

For that one, you’ll draw shapes around groups of the same number, then color the grouped shapes lightest to darkest. Same as this:

Color Squared

And some coloring method videos! Here’s another of the continuous lines methods:

One of the three-color layered methods:

And a four-color layered method:

And here’s the halftone dots done with a brush tip marker (it’s the same concept as that stamped dots self-portrait above, dots ranging small to large):

For all colored images, seeing the picture is easiest when you hold it away from your eyes or step away from it, and/or squint a little. The pages of the book are made to tear out cleanly, so your favorite pictures can go up on your wall, where you can step far away and see them best! The special tear-out pages are paired with a spine that unfolds open like this, so the pages lie flat while still attached:

Color Squared

As for what to use to do your coloring/drawing, markers that can make both wide and thin lines are perfect, so this means either dual tip markers (fine point & brush or chisel tip) or markers that start wide and come to a point, so you can use the angled side to make wide strokes. You’ll use the wide option for filling in boxes with solid color, so when marker shopping, make sure you don’t choose a chisel tip that’s too wide—PrismaColor chisel tips are like this, significantly wider than the book grid boxes. The markers I used in the book (or for my own book testing), which all work well in different ways, include PrismaColor dual brush/fine point tips, Tombow dual brush/fine point tips, Blick dual brush/chisel tips, and Crayola Super Tips (these work well and are mega affordable, so I recommend getting the box of 50 of these and then supplementing with some pricier individual markers if you’re able to).

markers used for Color Squared markers used for Color Squared

And then for the pen methods, there are so many kinds of nice drawing pens out there; I tried a bunch of different ones and they were mostly great. I recommend getting a variety of thicknesses, at least one .5 mm and one 1 mm. .5 mm is pretty standard; I think Sharpie pens and others that don’t specify a size are around that. Sharpie pens are great, and easy to find at places like Target. 1 mm is wider, sometimes a kind of brush tip pen—these are good for a few of the methods. The books tells you what sizes are best for each method. A finer point, like .2 mm is good to have too, for a few of the options.

My drawing pen collection just grew by six more. Do you have a favorite pen??

And the final category of tool is stamps, if you want to try that out. It’s probably my least favorite to do, but it looks cool. You can use stamps either like colored markers, using ink colors ranging lightest to darkest, or you can do the method shown up there in the self-portrait, one color ink with different stamp sizes. Here’s a closeup of six different ink colors, used with little letter stamps:

Color Squared

How about some background on my book process! Going way way back, to college, about fifteen years ago, I learned about the work of Chuck Close and was super into it. I made a lot of self-portraits in college, and I made a few inspired by Close. First, for a drawing class, with markers and circles drawn in a giant grid:

Color Squared inspiration

(These both show up better as you get farther away from them.) And the second one, for a painting class, with acrylic paint and kind of a double grid:

Color Squared inspiration

These are both BIG pieces. This is all I did with this concept, but I loved it. I think I kind of held onto it in the back of my head for all those years. In 2015, I was beginning to realize that my career as a knit designer was not continuing on in a way that was sustainable, I was beginning to brainstorm other things I could try. Sitting in a movie theater one day—May 24th, to be exact (I kept the ticket stub)—watching Mad Max: Fury Road… my mind tends to wander during action movies, anything with long scenes of little to no dialogue… an idea popped into my head and I fixated on it. The idea was color-by-number posters, in that style. The poster is a big grid with numbers, and the back of the poster has some instructions and a few different ways you can choose to color or draw it in. I think the poster idea was a natural way to think of it first, because the only way I’d done the art in the first place was large wall pieces, so I was thinking large.

I can't show you the project I'm working on but I can show you my pretty pretty tools!

I got started kind of playing around with the idea, still thinking posters, making some test images. This was a slow process, mostly just thinking about it. It was Thanksgiving day 2015 that I colored my first test image, and once I started coloring them and playing with different grid sizes, the idea evolved into a book. I realized it made much more sense as a book than as individual posters. So I kept on playing with test images until the idea was more sorted out, and then in early 2016 I was able to get myself an agent! That was exciting. Once I had an awesome agent, she guided me on how to make a good proposal. I spent several months of early 2016 making a proposal, and then she sent it all around, and the most exciting thing ever happened: more than one publisher was interested! That was a thrilling week of my life, just over one year ago from now. The book ended up being sold to Clarkson Potter and they have been absolutely fantastic to work with and I couldn’t be happier with how the book turned out!! It evolved a ton from my original proposal, but I think everything was for the best and the final product is awesome!

The images are all kind of nostalgia-themed, mostly objects you’d find at a thrift store, or vintage shop, or antique mall, or my house. There are also some images thrown in that are just like reminiscent of the 70s/80s/90s and/or childhood experiences, for any time period; I think it’s a good variety of images. All the book images started out as photographs I took; I then converted them into the grids using a series of manual steps, making artistic choices with each step. Meaning, these aren’t just computer generated grids. I created each of the 50 grid images, choosing every single box number myself, to create the best looking picture.

Color Squared

The back of each page has the answer key image, in a plain black and white grid, so you can flip through the book and see what images are included. But then when you start coloring one it, you can not look at the back, to keep it a mystery until it’s revealed! Once you’ve completed a picture, hold it away from your face, or prop it up and step about ten or more feet away from it, to see it really come into view!

Color Squared

Oh and, if you’re super crafty, you can even use the book grids as cross stitching patterns! This took me forever, and I’ve only finished the image, still have to fill in the background, but it worked well! I did it by choosing a number/color to stitch first, making dots with a sharpie pen every spot that number appears, then stitching every dot spot; repeat for each number.

Color Squared

Okay that’s it for now. I have a book related thing I’ll show you soon, and maybe I’ll do a follow-up post with other people’s feedback and colored pictures. There are already a few instagram posts up! Use #colorsquared if you post about it anywhere, so we can all see your work!

You can buy the book wherever is your favorite place to buy books—it would be great if you support your local bookstore. If they don’t carry it, ask them if they can order it for you, they probably can and maybe they’ll even decide to order an extra copy to put on the shelf! Oh and, word of mouth is like the most important thing with this kind of book, so tell your friends if you like it! Yay! Thanks! Happy coloring! :D

Filed under: books,Color Squared — Lee Meredith @ 1:11 pm

April 12, 2017

Book review (& giveaway!): Mosaic & Lace Knits

For years I’ve thought, someday I want to design something that combines slip-stitch colorwork and lace. I’ve done tons of designs with slipped-stitch colorwork, also called mosaic knitting, although I sometimes see mosaic used as something slightly different than most of my slip-stitch designs so I don’t usually use that term, but I’m not really sure what the rules are… anyway! I’ve done a few designs with lace too, and I kind of combined colorwork with lace in Adventure Knitting 2; the only time I’ve really used slip-stitch colorwork and lace (ish) together is Transversal, which does it pretty simply. SO, when I heard Barbara Benson had a book coming out that’s entirely exactly that, I thought it would be something you (my followers) would be totally into! It’s right up my designer alley, but since I’m kinda phasing out from designing this year, I might never actually design something like this, so now someday I can knit something for fun instead, from this book!

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

Mosaic & Lace Knits is a collection of 20 shawls, cowls, scarves, hats, and other accessories, plus an instructional section with the basics of knitting slip stitches, how to read the charts, how to work mosaic in the round, and tips and tricks. It’s full of big, beautiful color photos of all the projects and closeups of stitch patterns.

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

The difficulty level of the patterns varies; there are some simpler patterns in which the mosaic and lace are worked separately, and then you can progress to more complex designs with mosaic and lace worked together.

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

A few of my favorite designs are: Your Princess is in Another Castle (so squishy!)…

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

The Pinwheel Market Bag…

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

The Punctatus Mitts…

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

And the Rhipis shawl. So cool how the same motif is kind of imitated in mosaic and in lace, for very different but cohesive looks.

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

I also love Fractured Helix, the cover shawl.

MOSAIC & LACE KNITS: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitc

The publisher was so generous to send me a review copy, and also offer a giveaway to a lucky reader! If you want to win a copy of Mosaic & Lace Knits for yourself, leave a comment here sharing either which project from the book you’re most excited to knit, or what two yarn colors you’d like to pair up in a mosaic lace project. I’ll choose a winner at random a week from today — make sure you receive comment replies in your inbox, or check back in to see if you won!


Filed under: books,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 8:00 am

December 15, 2016

Book review: Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook


I’m so excited that the publisher sent me a review copy of the Knitted Cable Sourcebook, because it instantly became one of my favorite knitting books! I’ve been a fan of Norah Gaughan for years, because her designs are amazing. This new book may seem like just an awesome cable pattern stitch dictionary, which it is…


…but it’s way more than just that! In addition to 152 cable stitch patterns, written and charted, she explains each cable, how they relate to each other, her design process of how one cable design evolved into another, and other notable tidbits, like reversibility and mirroring. Super helpful stuff for incorporating the cables into improvised projects, or substituting one cable for another.


The designs go from very basic all the way up to crazy complex, some charts taking up a whole page or spread. The categories include: ropes, braids, and horseshoes (narrow columns); adding breadth (wider columns); expanding (wide columns or panels); finding motifs (different patterns that grew out of one); drawing (elaborate drawings made with cables).


One of my favorite things is the stockinette stitch equivalent system. Every pattern in the whole book has an “SSE” number – how many stockinette stitches would achieve the same width as the cable – so that you’ll know which cables can be substituted for each other, or so you can more easily design or improvise projects using the cables.


And lastly, the item patterns! There are 15 sweater and accessory patterns, all of which use cable patterns from the book, but can be switched out for other cables using that SSE system, so cool!!


These are just a few of my favorites, but because they are designed by Norah Gaughan, I basically love every single design in this book.


If you get easily bored, this sampler-style sweater is perfect for trying out a bunch of different cables at the same time:


I think this cardigan is the project I want to knit (and wear!) the most of all. SO COZY!


So yeah, love this book! Yay!

Personal side-note: I am phasing out of my career as a knit designer, which means I’m looking forward to a future of being able to knit other people’s patterns, for fun, instead of 100% of my knitting time being work knitting. I have big plans, so many sweaters, yes!!

Filed under: books,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 12:26 pm

September 8, 2016

Book review: You Can Knit That by Amy Herzog

Prolific sweater designer Amy Herzog has a new book!  I reviewed her last one, Knit Wear Love, over here; I don’t know how she’s working so quickly to have another already.  Impressive!  Anyway, this one is called You Can Knit That: Foolproof Instructions for Fabulous Sweaters, and the publisher sent me a copy for review so I’m happy to share it with you:

book cover

This book is more of a standard knitting pattern book (no multiple gauge/weight options like the last book had) but with tons of tips and instructions for general sweater-making to make the process super accessible to all knitters.  After chapters on Before the Knitting (swatching, planning, understanding patterns), During the Knitting (sizings, mods, shaping, etc), and After the Knitting (blocking, seaming, finishing), the sweater patterns are divided into sections based on sleeve type/construction: Vests, Integrated Sleeves, Drop Shoulders, Raglans, Yokes, Set-In Sleeves.


All patterns have twelve adults sizes, and there are tons of different styles, something for everyone!  Well, not ALL the patterns have twelve adult sizes; each chapter begins with a mini-sweater pattern, a kid size sweater using the construction of the chapter, so you can learn it on a smaller scale if you want to, before making a full sized garment.  I love this mini-vest – I would totally wear it myself!


And here are some of my favorite designs… Maypole in Yokes:


Downy Cardigan, in Set-In Sleeves, looks SO COZY I wish I was wearing it right now!


I would wear this Collegiate Cardi (also from Set-In Sleeves) so hard:


The Rigging Sweatshirt from Integrated Sleeves looks super comfortable!


This seems like a great sweater book for the knitter who either hasn’t yet made a sweater, or maybe has made one from a not-great pattern and didn’t have a positive experience.  This book will really walk you through everything you need to know, and give you a clear, well-designed pattern in your choice of style.  There are definitely a few I hope to make in the future!

Filed under: books,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 10:49 am

April 28, 2016

Book review: The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

I’m so happy to be launching the blog tour for Wendy Bernard’s brand new book, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary: 150 new stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth & in the round.  As designer, I love a good stitch dictionary, which this definitely is, but it has plenty of awesomeness packed in for non-designers as well!  Besides the 150 stitch patterns, which you can use different ways for different projects, there are also customizable project patterns for every type of stitch pattern, into which you can plug your favorites of the stitch patterns from each chapter.


Wendy Bernard’s first book in this series was Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary from 2014; this new book adds all those new stitch patterns and projects, and also incorporates some reader feedback to improve on the ideas of the first book.  So the new book shows more views of the reversible patterns, and shows when stitch patterns look slightly different in the top-down and bottom-up versions, etc.  There are chapters on knit & purl, ribs, twisted, slipped & fancy, cables, lace, and mosaics, with all the stitch patterns both written and charted, in the different ways they can be knit.


For the blog tour, I was given a stitch pattern to share with you!  This is the Fuji Rib pattern, which uses a cool technique in which a stitch is slipped up and over multiple stitches – very easy to do but makes an interesting look/texture in your knitting.  I’ve used this type of stitch technique in a couple of patterns in the past, it’s fun!  Anyway, here is the stitch pattern!


Fuji Rib FLAT

(multiple of 14 sts + 1; 18-row repeat)

Pkok: Slip third st on left-hand needle over first 2 sts and off needle; k1, yo, k1.

ROW 1: *K1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 2: P1-tbl, *k1, p1-tbl; repeat from * to end.

ROWS 3 AND 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

ROW 5: *[K1-tbl, p1] 3 times, pkok, [p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 6: P1-tbl, *[k1, p1-tbl] twice, k1, p3, [k1, p1-tbl] 3 times; repeat from * to end.

ROW 7: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, pkok, k1, pkok, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 8: P1-tbl, *k1, p1-tbl, k1, p7, [k1, p1-tbl] twice; repeat from * to end.

ROW 9: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, k2, pkok, k2, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1-tbl.

ROW 10: Repeat Row 8.

ROW 11: Repeat Row 7.

ROW 12: Repeat Row 6.

ROW 13: Repeat Row 5.

ROW 14: Repeat Row 2.

ROWS 15–18: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Repeat Rows 1–18 for Fuji Rib Flat.



(multiple of 14 sts; 18-rnd repeat)

Pkok: Slip third st on left-hand needle over first 2 sts and off needle; k1, yo, k1.

RNDS 1–4: *K1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 5: *[K1-tbl, p1] 3 times, pkok, [p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 6: K1-tbl, *[p1, k1-tbl] twice, p1, k3, [p1, k1-tbl] 3 times; repeat from * to end.

RND 7: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, pkok, k1, pkok, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 8: K1-tbl, *p1, k1-tbl, p1, k7, [p1, k1-tbl] twice; repeat from * to end.

RND 9: *[K1-tbl, p1] twice, k2, pkok, k2, p1, k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to end.

RND 10: Repeat Rnd 8.

RND 11: Repeat Rnd 7.

RND 12: Repeat Rnd 6.

RND 13: Repeat Rnd 5.

RNDS 14–18: Repeat Rnd 1.

Repeat Rnds 1–18 for Fuji Rib in the Round.


And then the book includes the pattern for this Fuji Rib Wrap, using the stitch pattern; but you can plug in a different stitch pattern from the book if you prefer.  I love the unusual styling in the photos, but the wrap is just a big rectangle with buttons, so it can be worn lots of different ways besides the way it’s shown here.  You know how much I love knits that can be worn in different ways!


And, in addition to the customizable patterns like this one, at the end of each chapter, the book also includes a Designing from Scratch section at the end, with formula-style patterns for socks in two directions, caps in two directions, and triangular shawls in two directions, all of which can be made with your choice of stitch patterns from the book.

The publisher has arranged a giveaway for you!  Wait but not just the book… Blue Sky Alpacas, the lovely yarn company who provided all the yarn in the book, is throwing in two skeins of yarn for the lucky winner!  So leave a comment, telling us what kind of project you’d like to plug stitch patterns into, or something else that excites you about this book, and I’ll choose a winner at random a week from today (end of the day on Thursday May 5th).  Important: make sure you receive replies to comments in your email inbox so that you will learn if you’re the winner and can claim your prize! :)

Follow the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see more stitch patterns from the book!

5/2: Yarniacs

5/5: Mason-Dixon Knitting

5/9: Craft Sanity

5/16: Knit Circus

5/18: AboutKnitting.com

5/23: Craft Gossip

5/11: WEBS

5/28: Blue Sky Alpacas

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 8:00 am

March 4, 2016

Knitlandia by Clara Parkes, blog tour: Paris (complete with giveaway!)

If you are any kind of yarn lover, you probably know who Clara Parkes is.  She has been working in the industry, writing and reviewing yarn and other things, since the early internet days, the pre-ravelry (gasp!) days, and has been traveling around the world going to yarn-related events and festivals, visiting shops, shooting TV shows, you know, the usual knitter stuff, for all that time.  Her latest book, Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, is a series of stories about these adventures.  I started reading my copy on a plane a few weeks back, seemed the right setting to dip into it!

Started reading this on the plane; seemed fitting. Good stuff!

I’m so glad I got to see Clara at Powell’s on her Knitlandia book tour – if you ever have the chance to see her speak, do go!  It was a fun time indeed.  She read a chapter from the book – the aforementioned TV show filming story (about Knitting Daily), and she talked a bit about the industry and stuff.  She explained that part of why she wrote this book, a travel memoir that happens to have a knitting tie-in, was so that knitters who get weird reactions from friends and family, when they travel to a fiber festival, or want to stop in at a yarn shop abroad, can show them the book as a reference.  “I’m not weird!  This is normal, see?”  That wasn’t a Clara quote, just me quoting what you can say to your weird-look-giving friends when you show them her book.

Clara Parkes at Powells

The best part about seeing Clara speak at Powell’s?  She brought a small bag of her homemade Claramels (caramels made by Clara) and played a game of knitter trivia to give them away – I wanted one SO BADLY and I luckily got picked for the final question and won one!  The question was about something that happened in the first chapter of the book, and the answer was Julia Roberts; thankfully the answers were multiple choice and easy to guess, since I skipped around in the book and hadn’t yet read the first chapter!

Knitlandia book with Claramel

Moving on to the actual book… for the blog tour, I was assigned the Paris chapter, which is great since I have fond memories of my brief trip to Paris way back in 2002, when I was studying abroad in England for the summer.  I was only in France for 4 days, but I packed in a lot of sights and had a great, memorable time; here is one of my favorite photos I took there:


Unfortunately, I was not yet a knitter at the time of my Paris trip, so I have no yarny stories for you.  But Clara does!  An excerpt from Knitlandia:


I’D PROMISED THEM no yarn stores, no fiber festivals, no chasing down that elusive sheep farm someone said might be in the next town. No endless waiting while I fondled, took notes and pictures, and transformed a perfectly fine family vacation into yet another business trip.

My nieces grew up having to share me with yarn. They learned early on that any time with Aunt Clara would likely mean a festival, or a mill visit, or at least one lengthy stop at a yarn store. And, always, some form of work deadline.

In 2013, Hannah had just turned seventeen and Emma was about to turn fifteen. My brother—feeling flush, or perhaps finally realizing how quickly they were growing up—had announced plans for a grand European tour that summer. Together with my mother they would visit Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. And their first stop would be Paris.


That’s all you get here, but I assure you, there will be yarn, eventually.  The photos above and below were taken by Clara on her Paris adventures – the shop below is L’Oisive Thé and Clara mentions their instagram in the book, which can be found here.  The chapter, like the book, is kind of more about travel and life than actually about yarn, and it deals with things like nostalgia, growing up, memory, connection between the past and the present, comfort and discomfort (and finding comfort in yarn)… I really enjoyed reading it.  And if I’m ever in Paris again, I will definitely seek out this lovely sounding shop!


I was excited to read the chapters of Knitlandia that I have a personal connection to – the Portland chapter about Sock Summit, and the Columbus chapter about TNNA.  I’d almost forgotten just how huge Sock Summit was!  I’m so glad to have a record of it in this book, as foggy memories came rushing back while I read it.  And the Columbus chapter was fun, since I’ve been a part of those experiences a couple of times, ice cream and all.  The chapter is more about North Market and Jeni’s than about the conference, so here’s a photo I took to give you a visual for when you read it:

north market

I think if you’re a hardcore knitter, you’ll like this book, and if you’re a reader of travel memoir type books, you’ll like this book, even if you’re not a knitter.  Her writing style is so fun and friendly, pulling me in so I want to hear all about her experiences with yarn, and with life in general.


And hey, there’s a giveaway!!  Comment here and tell us about a knitting related trip, or a yarn shop you visited while on vacation, or any other knitting + travel experience you’ve had!  Pictured above is a yarn shop I visited while on vacation in York, UK – I always try to stop in local yarn shops when I travel!  One lucky winner will be chosen at random a week from today (Friday, March 11th) around noon west coast time to receive a copy of the book; be sure you get comment replies in your inbox, or check back here to see if you’ve won!

Check out the other Knitlandia blog tour stops!

Feb 22: Knit and Tonic

Feb 24: My Sister’s Knitter

Feb 26: Mary Jane Muckelstone

Feb 29: Knit Circus

March 2: Yarniacs

March 7: Tin Can Knits

March 17: Marly Bird

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 8:00 am

October 28, 2015

Book +kit review: The Modern Natural Dyer

Hey I’m today’s stop on the blog tour for this beautiful new book! I have been excited about The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar since I first heard about it – Kristine is the founder of A Verb for Keeping Warm, the naturally dyed yarn company and shop in Oakland.


Like the shop (I had the opportunity to visit several years ago – excellent place!) and AVFKW yarn, this new book is absolutely gorgeous! The photos of all the dye materials and hand-dyed fibers and fabrics make for a book I just want to keep flipping through for the visuals, and then it’s of course packed with all the info you need to know to start natural dyeing.


Every type of dye material gets a photo spread showing what it looks like, and what colors you’ll get on different kinds of fibers – so many awesome colors you can get out of nature, especially in the yellow-orange range, which you know I love!!


I took a natural dyeing class with Kristine a few years back – a short lecture intro class – and basically came away feeling overwhelmed and like I probably wouldn’t find the time or motivation to take the next step and actually try anything I learned about. But this book gives me new inspiration, and a new feeling that I CAN manage to take that step, now that it’s all broken down in so much detail for me here.


Not only did I receive a review copy of the book, Kristine was super generous and sent me a dye kit as well! I chose the indigo kit because I am totally in love with all the indigo projects in the book – the A Verb For Keeping Warm website has this kit and three others: dye with flowers, madder, weld, logwood, or cochineal. All the kits are for specific projects in the book, so they include not just the dye materials but also the items to dye, and anything else you need, like thread, to complete the project.


The indigo kit I got is for the Waves Bandana project, so it includes two white bandanas for me to dye – a perfect way to try out indigo dyeing for the first time before I use it on something bigger. The bandana project is an introduction to bound resist dyeing – the fabric is wrapped, or bound, so the dye doesn’t touch certain places. I love how the bound fabric looks as it’s being dyed!


Pretty much everything I need is there in the jar. The kit should be enough for me to dye several medium sized items, so I’ll be pulling a few things from my closet to dip in there after the bandanas!


Indigo can be used on both cellulose-based and protein-based fibers, but they react differently, and it seems fabrics like cotton and linen are an especially good fit. I have a plain cotton dress that might be the perfect thing!


The book includes many different kinds of indigo projects – it teaches using indigo with different types of fabrics/fibers, dyeing with other natural dyes along with the indigo to get different colors, creating variegated yarn, bound resist dyeing, pole wrapping (that is a COOL looking technique!), stitch resist dyeing, and folding & clamping.


One of my favorite projects is this Fishbone Dress, made with the stitch resist technique. You sew the fabric in bunched up lines, then dye it, to create those fishbone looking stripes – so cool! Plus, I love the idea of dyeing already-existing clothes to make them special, like this basic linen dress:


Okay so here’s the best part of this blog post: giveaway! One very lucky reader will receive the book and one of the kits of your choice!!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment here saying what item you’d love to natural dye (it could be an item of clothing you already own, a skein of yarn to knit into a shawl, some linen fabric to sew into a shirt, etc). I’ll do a random drawing a week from today, Wednesday November 4th, and I’ll reply to the winner’s comment. Make sure you receive replies to blog comments in your email inbox, or check back here next week to see if you won!

Update 11/4:  Giveaway is now over – congrats to commenter fasdy on her win!!  You can find the book and the awesome kits all for sale on A Verb for Keeping Warm’s website here!

If you want to see lots more peeks into the book, and at different kits and projects, follow the rest of the posts in the blog tour!
Oct 20  STC Craft
Oct 23  DIY Network
Oct 26  Mason Dixon Knitting
Oct 28  Leethal
Oct 30  Mary Jane Mucklestone
Nov 2  Very Shannon
Nov 4  Make Something Blog
Nov 9  Heather Ross
Nov 11 Tolt Yarn and Wool
Nov 16  Made by Katrina

Filed under: books,contest/giveaway — Lee Meredith @ 1:12 pm

April 13, 2015

Book review: Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

I am not much of a sweater knitter – I’ve only knit a few sweaters, in my 10+ years of knitting – but I am slowly trying to change that, trying to learn more about garment shaping and design, and making myself some awesome wardrobe additions, with the limited for-fun knitting time that I have here and there between work projects.  So, when the publisher (STC Craft) offered to send me a copy of this book for review, I was super excited – seems like a perfect book for learning more about different types of knit sweaters!

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting Sweaters Ever in Styles You Love to Wear is a book of super customizable basic sweater patterns, or “meta-patterns” – I love the illustrations showing the different versions of each pattern in simple line drawings, shown here on the back cover:

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

There are 8 basic meta-patterns – pullover, cardigan, vest, cowl (neck), tunic, wrap, tank, and bolero/shrug.  Each pattern is written for 3 different gauges, each gauge being a different style version, and they are all written for 12 sizes.  The patterns are all given in kind of spreadsheet format, neatly organizing all the numbers by gauge and size, and then each meta-pattern has a fill-in-the-blank worksheet version, where you can fill in all your specifics for the sweater you want to knit.  Great way to present these customizable patterns!

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

Each meta-pattern has three styles (each in a different weight/gauge), but there are a total of 8 different styles represented, so each style is only used in a few of the meta-patterns.  The styles are: vintage, casual, sporty, bohemian, modern, romantic, classic, and avant-garde.  Here are the three pullovers, in romantic, modern, and classic:

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

A big part of the point of this book is to learn which styles/elements you like best, so you can make your perfect sweaters that you’ll love to wear the most.  And I learned something about myself!  Based on style elements, the styles I love the most in theory, or that I love the most to look at and think about design and stuff, would be avant-garde first, and elements of modern and bohemian.  But in the reality of the actual sweaters, thinking about what I’d most love to actually have and wear, the versions I felt an instant I-want-that! connection with while flipping through the pages were actually classic, casual, and sporty!  I would wear the crap out of this texture-tastic classic pullover:

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

And, oh man, this casual cardigan, yes!  So comfy!!  (I also gravitate towards browns…)

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

And the sporty version of the tunic pattern – love it!!

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

I like a lot of the other styles too, but I’d want to mix and match elements probably.  Here’s the vest in avant-garde and modern styles – I really like the switching stripes in the modern one:

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

One of my favorite things in the book is the pages explaining the different styles – mood boards for each one, and detailed descriptions, including fibers, fabrics, colors, and examples.  Since all the meta-patterns don’t include versions in all the styles, these notes can help you to actually create a version of any meta-pattern in any of the styles!  Or a mixture of a few styles.  Like, using the weight/gauge from one style, but making adjustments to the fit, texture, fibers, etc, to add elements of another style, for a totally personalized version.

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

There’s lots of great technical info too, about fit, sweater knitting generally, using stitch patterns, changing up necklines, sleeves, etc.  Overall, totally my kind of knitting book, with all the customization and personalization, excellent stuff!

Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog

So yay sweater knitting!  Now I just need a bunch more hours in the day so I can find the time to knit some of them.  Someday… There are several versions in bulky and aran weights, so maybe I’ll start with one of those so it’ll go more quickly!  Anyway, I’m glad to have the book in my library now so it’s there when I want it :)

Filed under: books,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 8:00 am

January 14, 2015

Blog tour: Talitha Kuomi’s Artistic Differences book

I’m so happy to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Talitha Kuomi‘s new book with Classic Elite Yarns, Artistic Differences (on ravelry here).  Yesterday’s post was on Julia Farwell-Clay’s blog, and tomorrow’s will be on Picnic Knits – follow all the stops to check out all the patterns in the collection!


I was a big fan of Talitha’s work on The Fiber Factor back in 2013; I LOVE her winning design for the first challenge – Nigamo – and I was way into her whole style and way of designing for all the challenges.


So, of course I also love her design approach for her new book.  For each design, there are two different versions, knit differently, and/or sized, finished, or styled differently, making each design into a rocker style and a boho style.


There are several designs in this collection that I like a lot; today I’ll be showing you the Osci hat:


Talitha turns a very simple twisted rib hat design into two totally different looking cool pleated hats, the fitted boho version and the slouchy rocker version.

The pattern includes five different sizes, and the boho and rocker versions are made in different heights, with different numbers of pleats.  So not only are there the standard boho and rocker styles, but you could also play with the sizes to get an even more custom style; for example, a medium sized rocker hat vs an extra large size (for extra mega slouch) would make for more different looks.  You know how I love options!

7278bt 7308bt

Classic Elite has set up a blog tour sale so that today only (Wednesday Jan 14th) this Osci pattern PDF is discounted through ravelry – 10% off automatically (no coupon code needed).


Aaaand they are giving away one copy of the pattern to a lucky commenter!  Comment on this post about the pattern – which version do you like best, boho or rocker?  I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday the 16th at noon (west coast time).  Also, on Friday, check in with Classic Elite’s blog – one commenter over there will win the grand prize: a free printed book (+ the ebook download) and the yarn to knit the project of their choice from the book!

Filed under: books,knitting — leethal @ 6:00 am

January 6, 2015

2015: Year of Making plans and other year-end/beginning stuff

Happy 2015!  Do you feel like now we’re officially in the future?  I do.  2015.  Damn.  Anyway, I have some things to share with you and tell you about!  I’ll start with the older news…  In late December, the 4 days after Christmas, I released a free pattern via social media.  (Here it is on ravelry.)

Insta-hat pattern part 2 #leethalinstahat :  Work one last k2 in established ribbing pattern, then begin new repeat pattern.    [Yo, p2, k2tog] around for 2-3 inches / 5-8 cm.   (Pictured is part 1.)

The bulky weight Insta-hat pattern was posted in 4 mystery parts, on instagram and tumblr (and linked from twitter and my ravelry group).  It was like a quick mini-mystery-knit-a-long for after holiday knitting stress times, and I think everyone had a lot of fun!  Yay!

Here are the 4 insta-hats I made.  Clockwise from top left: main sample, size small, before blocking; size medium sample, also before blocking; size large stitch count, small-ish height, after blocking and wearing a bunch; size large stitch count, extra l

There’s the finished hat – I made 4 samples because they were SO quick to make!  And I topped one with a pom-pom; the extra-long sized version works well both long and slouchy, and with the brim folded under for extra ear warmth.  This one was made with this recycled hand-dyed yarn I made many years ago.

Insta-hat extra large size with brim folded under Here is my hand-dyed #leethalinstahat, large stitch count, extra large height (for extra slouch), pom-pom on top!  It also works really well to fold the ribbed brim section under, making it extra thick and warm around the bottom, for a non-slouchy fit.  Y

If you want to make it now, just click the links given on my leethalknits webpage, or on the ravelry page.  All pattern posts still exist for you to use for free!

Insta-hat pattern part 4 #leethalinstahat :  After a yo from ending the last part, k1, place marker, and begin round 1 (marker is now the round beginning/end point - slip it after completing each round).          Round 1: [Yo, k2, k2tog] to end.   Round 2

And I have another free thing for you!  The 2015 leethal knits calendar is available for free download on leethal.net!  My new year gift to you :)

Leethal Knits 2015 calendar is now available for free download on leethal.net! This year's is all photos of knitting on the needles. Happy new year!

Last year’s post about my first calendar talks in more detail about the calendar in general.  This year’s is all photos of knitting on the needles.  And there’s a blank one that you can download to use with your own square-format photos.

2015 leethal knits calendar!

Moving along… Do you know about Year of Making?  I had sort of been aware of it, just from seeing instagram posts tagged #yearofmaking throughout 2014, but I didn’t know where it came from until I heard Kim Werker’s podcast interview with Miriam Felton, the creator of the concept.

Kim also released an ebook about Year of Making, which I bought and it’s great (like everything Kim makes!), so I recommend that for some making inspiration.  Check out the table of contents page down below to get an idea of what’s in the ebook…

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook cover

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook page

So, I decided to get on board for 2015, but loosely… I won’t be posting a photo of what I make every day on instagram, but I will try to put photos of each day’s making up in this flickr set.  I’ll instagram the good stuff, and I’ll probably put up some tumblr posts of bigger projects here and there.  I’ll just see where the year takes me!

Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook page

Something I love about Kim’s experience with her first year of making is how she ended up getting really into making things she had never done before, like making soap, and painting.  I don’t have plans to learn any big new kinds of making, but I do want to get more into sewing this year, and maybe more drawing, and more spinning, and I’ll just see if anything else calls out to me!  (Above and below are pages from Kim’s ebook.)

Page from Kim Werker's Year of Making ebook

As for my “rules” for myself, for what I’ll count as a #yearofmaking thing… like I said, I plan to be very loose, not strict at all, so missing days is fine – when I’ve done year-long project things like this in the past, I tend to get stressed out about it as the year goes on, and I don’t want this to cause any kind of extra stress in my life.  I usually do some kind of making every day for my job, knitting on a design project, etc, so I mostly won’t count work-related making in this, although sometimes I might, depending on the specifics.

An allowance I’m going to give myself is that house projects can count as the making for the day; if I spend a chunk of time working on cleaning up my studio (which relates to being able to use the space for future making), or if I do some kind of house organizational/decor thing, which might not necessarily be “making” exactly, that counts for me.  I had a sort-of-resolution last year to get my studio in order, and it had ups and downs throughout the first half of the year, and then it just got out of control and ended 2014 worse than how it started.  So, studio sorting will be a not-so-fun year of making project for the beginning of this year, so that I’ll have the space I need to do sewing projects and fun stuff like that!

01/01 spun yarn

Another of my first projects, which I plan to start today, is to make a 2015 planner – I want to be more organized about my work this year, release more patterns, give myself deadlines, stay on track, so I’m going to experiment with an analog paper calendar book.  I bought a plain spiral-bound notebook, and Pete’s uncle gave me this great set of nice colored pencils for Christmas (thanks, Terry!), so I’m going to get to work drawing out monthly and weekly calendar pages.  Then I’ll plan my year of design, and it’ll be there on paper, much harder to move around than iCal fake-deadlines, which I always end up bumping as designs take longer than they should!

planner plans

One other random, making-related thing I want to show you… I made some photo books and I’m really happy with how they turned out, so I plan to make more!  I wanted some kind of print versions of all the digital photos we’ve taken over the years, on trips and stuff, and I thought it would be fun to make these books instead of just making old fashioned albums :-p

Instagram books homemade photo albums

I put the best of Pete’s and my instagram photos into yearly insta photo books; I’m going to start the 2014 edition soon.  The insta books include captions for the photos, so in the future we can look back at what we did each year.  And then the other 2 are photo books of trips we took, no captions or anything, just a physical book we can have on the shelf.  Now that I’ve made a few and I have templates, I can make more pretty easily, of older trips, and future ones!   (I used iWork Pages, same as how I make my knitting patterns, to make the PDFs, and then I had them printed by MagCloud, which does very affordable paperback book printing, as long as the page count isn’t too high, since the price is per-page.)

Okay that’s some making, and plans for 2015 making.  The first week of the year has been a little off, but I’m hoping it’s going to be a good one!  Let’s go!

October 30, 2014

Book review / interview with Cirilia Rose!

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

I’m so excited to share Cirilia’s new book with you!  Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A modern knitter’s guide to discovering and exploring style, by Cirilia Rose, will be officially released on November 4th.  I was sent a review copy (woo! and further disclosure: I’m friends with Cirilia) and I’ve very much enjoyed reading it and admiring all designs, wishing for the free knitting time to make my favorite pieces!

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

I got to see the sample knits at a sneak peek show thing she did at Stash in Corvallis over a year ago, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the book ever since.  So many beautiful knits!  (You can see them all on ravelry here.)  In addition to the 25 patterns, the book also includes several fantastic essays on style, with topics like Think Like a StylistSubstituting Yarns, and Looking for a Come-Up (AKA Thrifting).

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

I’ll flip through a few of my favorite items here for you…

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

But this is a quick book review because we need to get to the fun part – Cirilia answered a bunch of interview questions for us!  Some book related, many not so much.  Let’s go!

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

The Magpies section of your book is all about special single skeins – what’s the most recent extra special skein of yarn you added to your collection? And/or a single skein purchase that stands out in your memory?

Zealana just made a yarn called Cervelt. It’s made out of red deer down from New Zealand and is exclusively available at String in NYC. I have a single ball of it and I’ve been joking that I’m going to go out for dinner and just leave that instead of paying. Designing a special one ball project is on my to-do list, actually.

The Nomads section is about traveling, and wearing your knits out in the world; you also give a helpful list of styling recommendations for traveling – I love the tip about bringing an oversized sweater or cowl to function as a blanket/pillow as well as its intended purpose. Any non-style travel tips that add comfort or ease to long days of transit or hotel stays?

I am a creature of habit so I always pack my own tea and toiletries. I’ve also gotten pretty into the habit of doing a little Lisa Eldridge style beauty routine on longer flights, and in my hotel rooms, I think my skin is pretty happy about this. I also always pack knitting, reading material and workout gear but…sleep usually wins.

You talk a bit in the book about your experience as a stylist – any funny embarrassing moments on a photo shoot set that you’d like to amuse us with?

Yes. Oh goodness, yes. The first time I styled a man it was for Norah Gaughan’s men’s collection for Berroco. I didn’t understand men’s pant sizes at ALL and the poor guy couldn’t even pull them up. He was a good sport (and a total babe), but I was really, really embarrassed.

I love the way you talk about color – recommending that knitters step outside their comfort zones when choosing yarn colors. Do you have a favorite color or color combo of the moment, this season, that you find yourself wearing constantly?

I’m really loving black these days, actually. It makes it easy to get dressed and since I’m living in a city it helps me ward off unwanted attention. I once read that people who wear black lead colorful lives, and I definitely agree. That said, I’m liking really clear royal blue, vivid and weird oranges and interesting pastels, especially when they lean neon. They all look great with black!

Is there a color you always thought you hated when you were younger, and then something made you change your mind?

Orange has really wormed its way into my heart, partially because of Norah’s love for it and partially because it’s such an underdog in the knitting world. It’s consistently a low seller alongside yellow and brown. I love it, especially when I think of it in food terms (something I recommend in the book). It has a piquancy that is addictive.

Can you tell us about a favorite store in another country that you wish would expand to open a branch in your city?

Yes! Tiger, an incredible Danish dollar(ish) store.This has become my favorite stop in Iceland. Where else can you find pastel marble Easter eggs, radiant orchid headphones, crocheted nylon baskets, sequined cat masks, novelty yarn and a four-pack of toothbrushes all for the cost of a pizza?

When you were in high school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist. And I think that’s pretty much what I am, in some form. I research, report and distill, I just didn’t think it would be about yarn!

What’s the first cassette tape and/or CD that you ever bought or picked out for yourself?

Probably something superbly 90s like Smashing Pumpkins or Luscious Jackson. I still love a 90s vibe, I’m glad it’s back in fashion.

What’s your favorite TV show to binge watch while knitting, that you’ve watched all the way through more than any other show?

Well, the usuals, Freaks and Geeks, Gilmore Girls, Buffy, Firefly, My So-Called Life, etc. My favorite show that no one ever seems to know is a British comedy called Peep Show. I also adore Parks and Recreation. I can’t pick a favorite character, they’re all amazing. So much heart, and whoever names the characters did such a great job, they rival Strangers with Candy in that realm.

What’s the most recent movie that you saw and loved?

I really enjoyed Drinking Buddies, which is part of the whole mumblecore movement. It felt natural and heartbreakingly accurate about how hard relationships can be. I also LOVED Under the Skin, even though I spent most of it in fetal position and that was in the theater!

What’s the most recent book that you read and loved?

I’m not an amazing reader, as much as I’d like to be. Sustained attention isn’t my strong suit, sadly. Pretty Good Number One went very quickly for me and made me even more excited to go back to Japan one day (I lived there for the first two years of my life). I’m in the middle of #GIRLBOSS and I’m really liking it. She echoes a lot of what I have always said, namely to not wait for opportunities to fall in your lap.

What’s the most recent knitting pattern or project that made you gasp when you saw it?

The sweater that my friend Carolina Swallin made for our machine knitting class. She used to design for H&M and she has her own line of incredible accessories but she really blew it out of the water. All of Stephen’s Crazy for Color collection. I saw Fox Paws by Xandy Peters in person at Rhinebeck and got pretty sad that I never have time to knit for myself!

A link was recently circulating amongst knitters, to a list of all 118 sweaters that appeared in Twin Peaks – do you have a favorite Twin Peaks sweater?

Anything on Audrey Horne.

I love your cat, Goldstar, who shows up often in your instagram feed – can you tell us about a particular move that he charms you with?

Goldstar is actually a not-so-dainty lady and I have been head over heels for her since day one. She is abnormally cuddly and will tolerate nearly any amount of snorgling. One of her funnier habits is being so relaxed she falls off the couch or my lap mid-stretch. The poor thing is a total klutz and I love her for that.

I favorited your Bjork swan costume on ravelry before we ever met, over six years ago – love it! Since it’s October, what’s your favorite costume of a past Halloween (besides that one)?

Oh man, that was in the early days and fairly last minute! I should reprise it and do a better job. I pick extremely dorky, unrecognizable costumes. I’ve been Jane Goodall, Emily Litella and Bob Ross. This year my boyfriend and I are going as Harold and Maude. I just realized I’m kind of stuck in the 70s! I’m okay with that.

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Thank you so much, Cirilia!  That was fun!  (Side note – I feel so bad about misgendering Goldstar, especially since I have a lady cat with a gender-neutral name who gets mistaken for a boy cat often.  Ooooops!)  Bob Ross is a brilliant Halloween costume idea!

Links time!

Filed under: books,knitting — leethal @ 12:49 pm

October 3, 2014

Book review: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

Book review time!  First things first – the generous publisher sent me a lovely review copy of this book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual by Gretchen Hirsch, which is why I’m blogging about it.  That doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome book!  Oh, it is!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

What immediately caught my eye was the artwork – so great!!  The book is A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940’s and 1950’s, and the artwork and overall graphic design of the book are just perfect.

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

But that’s just a bonus – the book is PACKED with sewing (and style!) information.  Not at all just a pattern book, the first 125 pages are chapters on…

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

…vintage style (detailing different varieties of styles from the past, inspiration, etc), fabric & supplies (breakdown of different fabric types, tons of info about tools and notions), working with woven fabric (SO MUCH info about seams, necklines, waistlines, hems, pockets, stitches, and more!), working with knit fabric (again, so much info about stuff you’d need to do with knits), 20 pages on fitting (so much detail there!), and patternmaking (all you need to know to actually draft the patterns).

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

So, I’m not much of a sewer – I’m self-taught and have never really used patterns.  For the last couple years I’ve really been wanting to find the time to teach myself how to sew from patterns… and this book seems like a fantastic resource to help me learn!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

There are great little illustrations throughout, and photo tutorials to show complex steps, details, etc.  It seems like a fabulous resource even for advanced sewists who know what they’re doing, with all these very specific techniques included (so many different specific types of seams, for example).

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

And just tons of helpful info and tips – I was pleased to see this page, as I hate the idea of wasting time on a muslin that’s useless after its initial purpose is served.

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

And then we have the patterns!  The Wardrobe section of the book includes 10 patterns, each with at least 1 variation, usually more, making 34 different items.

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

There are lots of basic staple type items, and some more complex pieces.  I love this wrap dress!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

A simple pattern like these great cigarette pants includes variations for: 40’s style wide-leg pants, pedal pushers, flared shorts, sailor shorts (so cute!), and jeans.  So once you get the hang of that one pattern, you can make a ton of totally different items!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

This fitted cardigan is a variation of the pin-up sweater pattern – love it!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

The a-line mini-skirt looks like a basic enough project that I might need to try it as one of my first ever sewing-from-a-pattern projects!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

The pattern instructions have illustrations for any complicated steps, along with the written steps.  Love the vintage style of it all!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

Side note:  One of my favorite people, Jasika Nicole, posted on tumblr about how excited she was when this book came out, because she’s a huge fan of Gertie patterns – “Gertie is my favorite vintage sewing enthusiast and her patterns are wonderful.”  Since then, she’s posted 2 photos of items she made from patterns in the book.  She mentioned that the 40’s sleeveless blouse pattern “instructions were a little wonky” so the more complex pieces might really be for more advanced sewists (like her!) but her top turned out adorable in the end!  I will probably be sticking to the simpler of the projects until I get some experience under my belt, but if you know what you’re doing, you can make some awesome clothes with this book!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual


Filed under: books,clothing — leethal @ 4:21 pm

December 11, 2013

Pom-Poms! book and pom-pom wreath project!

I made a thing!

Pom pom wreath project!

A little while ago, the publisher sent me a review copy of this book, Pom-Poms! 25 Awesomely Fluffy Projects by Sarah Goldschadt and Lexi Walters Wright.  The holiday season inspired me to make the pom-pom wreath!  Fun!

Pom pom wreath project!

I got out the book, my Clover pom-pom makers, a fork to try out the fork method in the book, my own hand to try out the finger wrap method in the book, scissors, and a big pile of old yarn.

Pom pom wreath project!

I didn’t end up loving the fork method – I think it’s good for super teeny tiny pom-poms, but I was trying to make small, dense ones and it didn’t work so well.  But I liked the finger wrap method for small ones!  The book goes into lots of different kinds of pom-poms, like how to make them with coffee filters, paper, cupcake liners, and how to make different color patterns with yarn.

Pom pom wreath project!

Most of the book is projects using pom-poms, so if you get addicted to making them you’ll have lots of ways to use them.  I really like the bouquets (like the one pictured on the cover), the garlands, the various jewelry items, the hedgehogs (also on the cover), and the wreath, of course.  I might make more projects in the future, but my hands are killing me after making all the pom-poms for the wreath today!

Pom pom wreath project!

I made them in all different sizes, using my two official makers and my fingers and the fork, in different yarn types and different thicknesses.  Then I cut out a circle of cardboard, and glued them all on:

Pom pom wreath project!

I really like how it turned out, yay!

Pom pom wreath project!

It will live on the inside of our front door, with a suction cup wreath hanger (crossing our fingers it doesn’t fall down after a few hours).

Pom pom wreath project!

Fun way to use up some unwanted yarns!

Filed under: books,general crafts,home stuff — leethal @ 4:17 pm

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving sale weekend: Print Pattern Packages (with digital downloads) on sale!

Remember when I used to sell full-color printed booklets of my patterns through MagCloud (and also self-distributed to yarn shops)?  Maybe you don’t, but yeah, I did used to do that… it was a lot of work and not many people were interested, so I stopped, and now I only sell a couple of collections in print format.  (And I use a distributor now for wholesale, because I pretty much sucked at that whole self-distributing thing.)

A side effect of this change in my methods is that I ended up with a pile of these nice quality print patterns sitting in my studio!  What to do?  Well, for about a year, they just sat, sadly, with no purpose in life.  But I want them to find good homes!  So, the biggest sale weekend of the year seems like a good time to address this issue, eh?  Especially since packages of pretty patterns could make great gifts for the knitter(s) in your life!

leethal print pattern set!

So I’ve gathered up all these print booklets, sorted them into sets, and listed them on etsy… except if you’re reading this on Wednesday or Thursday, they aren’t there yet.  They will go live as close as possible to midnight on Thursday night (west coast time), at discounted sale weekend prices!  They will stay at the discounted prices until Monday night around midnight, at which point all the sets that remain un-claimed will go up to their normal prices (which are still discounted from what the patterns would normally cost – all pricing details are explained at the end of this post).

Betiko - mystery pattern version ten 10 yard cuffs! big skoodlet! Twisted Ankles!

But wait, it gets better!!  Each print pattern will have on it a slip of paper with a download code, for the pdf pattern through ravelry (but it still works fine if you’re not a ravelry member).  Some of these print patterns are older versions which have been revised in the last year or so; the pdf downloads will be the newest, bestest versions, so you’ll have both the pretty printed booklet for your shelf, and the digital file to refer to if anything in the old version is confusing, or just to have a backup copy in your rav library, etc.

spiral hat Brimming with Color! haka! Ocean Breezes!

There are a bunch of patterns in print form – for some of them, I only have 1 or 2 copies, and for others, I have a ton of them, so they show up in many of the sets.  For most of the sets, only 1 exists – one set has 2 in stock, and another has 3; once they’re gone, they’re gone!

I’ll link to every pattern right here and now, so I don’t need to link them up every time they are mentioned.

Pattern links:

And: Etsy shop link to buy these print pattern packages.

leethal print pattern set!

There are a few small sets… I have 3 copies of this Quick Knits pattern package (above), which includes the Quick Knits best-of book, with 12 patterns using under 20 yards of yarn, and the Ten 10 yard Cuffs pattern, with 10 different buttoning cuff patterns in varying degrees of difficulty.  This package is a great learning tool for new knitters, or a perfect gift for someone with tons of small leftovers they want to use up!

leethal print pattern set! leethal print pattern set!

There are two different 3-pattern sets.  Haka/Ten 10 yard Cuffs/Skoodlet is a fun little package for adventurous beginner level knitters – Haka and the cuffs are easy, with the cuffs possibly teaching some new techniques, and then Skoodlet is a step up into the more intermediate range.  And then the Skoodlet/Betiko/Junction set is for the more advanced knitter – 3 bigger patterns which are customizable, fun to knit, and great to wear!

leethal print pattern set! leethal print pattern set!

There are two different 4-pattern sets as well.  There’s that same fun adventurous-beginner level package from above, but with Double Scoops added on, which is also a fun pattern for knitters ready to advance, or just wanting to make a fun little accessory.  And then a 4-hat package – Haka, Spiraling Stripes set, Ocean Breezes, and Custom Tritops set – which is a fun introduction to leethal hat patterns; all four hats are constructed differently from each other!

leethal print pattern set!

And now we step up to some 6-pattern packages.  Above is another great adventurous beginner kind of package, with Ten 10 yard Cuffs, the Haka hat, and the Brimming with Color hat all being very beginner-friendly, and then 2 more hats – Mr. Pointy and Spiraling Stripes set – both on the slightly more simple end of the leethal pattern spectrum, and Skoodlet being a great pattern for stepping into intermediate territory.

leethal print pattern set!

This one is a leethal short rows collection – 6 patterns which all make use of short rows in varying ways!  This would be a fun introduction to my design style for someone unfamiliar with my sideways edge techniques.  You get the Junction modular triangle shawl, Betiko customizable crescent shawl, Terrapin modular twisted stitch hat, Custom Tritops modular hat collection, Spiraling Stripes sideways-knit hat set, and Swerve modular sideways-cuff fingerless mitts.

leethal print pattern set!

And here is a 7-pattern set for hat lovers – a wide variety of different kinds of hat patterns.  There’s the Haka earflap hat, Terrapin twisted stitch hat, Custom Tritops versatile set, Mr. Pointy ziggy-zaggy fitted hat, Brimming with Color bulky slouch hat, Ocean Breezes wavy cloche or beret, and Spiraling Stripes customizable swirly hat set.

leethal print pattern set!

This one is kind of a world of leethal collection, with 7 different leethal accessories… Twisted Ankles cabled legwarmers, Swerve fingerless mitts, Ten 10 yard Cuffs, Double Scoops headband/earmuffs, Skoodlet hooded cowl, Haka hat, and Spiraling Stripes hat set.

leethal print pattern set!

Another leethal variety pack, with 8 patterns – 5 hats, and 3 other fun things.  There’s Haka hat, Spiraling Stripes hat set, Brimming with Color hat, Custom Tritops hat set, Ocean Breezes hat, Double Scoops earmuffs/headband, Skoodlet hooded cowl, and Ten 10 yard Cuffs.

leethal print pattern set!

The mega hat set includes 8 hat patterns – the 7 in the hat lovers set above, plus Wobble Bass, to add some sideways cables to the mix!

leethal print pattern set!

And lastly, this is the package pictured at the top, the ultimate leethal accessory collection!  You get all the leethal classics (okay I don’t know what qualifies as a leethal classic, but some of my all-time favorites are included here!) – Betiko shawl, Skoodlet, Double Scoops, Shapeshifter, Spiraling Stripes hats, Haka, Ten 10 yard Cuffs, and Twisted Ankles.

A couple things you might like to know…

Each pattern will come with its own separate download code, so if you want to split up your package and gift patterns to different people (or gift a few and keep the rest for yourself!), that will totally work fine!

Sale weekend prices are $2 less than the digital version of each pattern would be on its own, all combined (so if there are three patterns, and they each cost $6 normally, then the package price is $4 times the 3 patterns = $12 total).  The normal (still discounted) price that remaining packages will raise to after Monday will be $1 less than the normal pattern prices.  So for a 4-pattern package, the price will go up by $4; for an 8-pattern package, it will go up by $8.  All sale and post-sale prices are given in the etsy listings.

Shipping is the same for all packages – $2 within the US, $5 to anywhere else (see the etsy listings for more details).

I think that’s all there is to know!  Head to my etsy shop on Friday and get what you want while you can!  (Just so you know, there are a few pdfs listed in my shop, so the listings which don’t say print patterns are not print patterns.)  I am hoping to find good homes for all of these patterns over the weekend; I have no idea what to expect, so if you really want something it’s best to act fast in case they start selling out right away!

Thanksgiving '09!

Happy holidays!  I plan to eat way too much food tomorrow (mmmmmm stuffing and mashed potatoes!), and then avoid all stores all weekend – no Black Friday madness for me, no thank you!  If you do go out shopping this weekend, try to support local shops as much as you’re able to!!  :)

Filed under: books,gifts,hats,knitting,leethal store,self-publishing — leethal @ 3:53 pm
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