December 11, 2016

Knit kits! And other stuff! Yeah!

Kits! I now have kits! Just barely in time for last-minute holiday gifting, they are mostly small quick knits…

kits! kits!

All kits are with recycled yarn, some of it hand-dyed, and everything else you need except the needles. There are five different kit types. First, light-switch plate cover (pattern info):

kits!

I just knit up a new one in this tweedy yarn, love it!

kits! kits!

A kit comes with enough yarn, the pattern on cardstock, and a switch plate. Some of the yarns are self-striping, and some are speckley variegated.

kits! kits!

The other two small kits are for pen tube bookmarks (bookmarks that hold a pen on the outside of the book/sketchbook, pattern info) and lapel flowers (pattern info). All the small kits come with a leethalknits I’m a baller pin, just for fun.

kits! kits!

The pen tube bookmark kits come with enough yarn, and a button.

kits!

kits! kits!

And the lapel flower kits come with three tiny balls of yarn, enough to make one flower, and a pin back.

kits!

kits! kits!

And then there are some bigger kits. The cuff kits include eight balls of yarn, each with two buttons, so you can make eight cuffs from the Ten 10 yard Cuffs pattern collection.

kits!

Each kit is packaged in a recycled tennis ball container, and includes the pattern as a high quality booklet with lots of photos of the ten cuff pattern options.

kits! ten 10 yard cuffs!

And lastly, Double Scoops ice cream earmuffs kits! (I used to sell these on my website a few years back.) Each kit includes four mini balls dyed to look like ice cream flavors, a coffee-dyed yarn for the waffle cones, and a larger ball for the lining.

kits!

The earmuffs look like this, but your flavors will be different, and your straps will be the color of the lining:

kits!

There are three kits in the shop, with different flavor options, so you can choose your favorite!

kits!

In other news, the final hat for the VIP club is being knit right now, Jalouse! And I just sent out a new treat for club members, connect-the-dots holiday cards. Pictured below is a couple of cards made by pasting the connect-the-dots print outs onto reclaimed blank greeting cards. If you join the club before the end of the year, you’ll get all six hat patterns, 20% off all my patterns, and the treats!

leethal VIP club hat #6 connect-the-dots holiday cards

Some of the VIP hats could make good last-minute holiday gift knits – the new one is for bulky weight, Provocateur (below, left) is for worsted or aran weight, and Vanguard (below, right) is for any weight, pictured here in bulky:

Provocateur Vanguard

Mokia is for any weight and has tons of options so you can definitely knit up a quick version – below left is an aran weight textured one, and right is a bulky weight cabled one:

Mokia Mokia

Some other patterns that could be fun gift kits are Incenter and Directrix from In Triplicate! The full 9-pattern In Triplicate collection is only available till the end of the year!

Incenter, by Lee Directrix, by Lee

Here are some other patterns of mine that could be perfect for quick gift knits… Twist on a Classic are super quick bulky fingerless mitts, made with stretchy sideways garter stitch and a perpendicular cable, all modularly constructed:

Twist on a Classic mitts

Haka is a fun and easy bulky hat, which can be made with or without the cables:

cabled Haka hat

Lemmy is a larger item but can be made with super mega bulky, like this sample made with three strands of bulky weight held together:

Lemmy

Barry is for any gauge, so it can be made very quickly, like this bulky sample:

Barry in superbulky

All my Remixed patterns are for any gauge, so they can be made pretty quickly; pictured below are samples of Wild is the Wind, Rumours, Rejuvenation, and Either/Or, all in bulky weight:

Wild is the Wind Rumours Rejuvenation Either/Or

Siskiyou isn’t so super quick, but it’s worsted weight so it’s not too bad, and is good for a giftee who likes trees:

Siskiyou hat

For a more specific gift, Warren was designed for the metalhead (or fan of supernatural/evil kinds of stuff) in your life, and Andrew can be made with or without secret hidden pentagrams:

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

Lastly, I have a new fabric design up on Spoonflower! It’s a repeating pattern of interlocked k‘s, hand-drawn:

fabric from my pattern design!

It’s a pattern I designed for my intro to Typography class a few months ago; the final design was filled in, but I scanned it when it was just the outlines, and put it over a yellow background. And I’ll leave you with this in-progress shot of projects from that graphic design class – I’m about a month away from starting the official graphic design program, exciting!

When my teacher saw my rough draft last week he said "I apologize in advance for how much your hand is going to hurt next week." It's now next week and I accept his apology. Still so much more to go!

Happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,home stuff,kit creations,knitting,leethal store,quick knits,yarn — Lee Meredith @ 2:27 pm

November 25, 2015

leethal patterns printed on things!

Edited 12/7 to remove Thanksgiving weekend sale stuff.  Society6 and Redbubble continue to have holiday season sales, which are shown along the tops of the webpages.

leethal patterns printed on things

Brand new leethal thing!  You can now get some of the stitch patterns I’ve designed printed onto stuff!  So far there are 6 patterns that I’ve converted into seamless tiling designs; you can get all the patterns printed onto a ton of different things.

leethal patterns printed on things

I’ve made a page on leethal.net (you can also get to it from the top of the blog, under “shop”) where you can see what’s available on which sites, and see all the patterns.  You can get fabric (also wallpaper and giftwrap) on Spoonflower, and fun stuff on Redbubble and Society6.

leethal patterns printed on things

The 6 designs I have available now are (left to right, below): Siskiyou trees (2 different trees) in Knitted Wit yarn, Haka cables in Knit Picks wool, Adventure Knitting 3 forest sloth lines in Jill Draper yarn, Flying V’s colorwork in 5 colors of Knit Picks wool, Adventure Knitting 3 lake axolotl textured zig-zags in Anzula yarn, and Mikkey slip-stitch pattern in bulky neon yarn by SpaceCadet.  (Links are to the ravelry pages so you can see yarn info and stuff.)

printed cards

I put all the tiling patterns up on my wallpapers page so you can download them to use as desktop/phone wallpaper backgrounds.  The tiling jpgs have credit text on them, but they are pretty large so they won’t repeat many times, and if you use them as a phone wallpaper that text shouldn’t show at all.  They look cool as home screen backgrounds – I have the Siskiyou trees as mine right now!

pillows from Redbubble vs Society6

Redbubble and Society6 have lots of the same stuff (greeting cards, mugs, phone cases, pillow cases, tote bags…) but sometimes I made it so things are printed differently on the 2 sites, like the pillows and tote bags are all printed so the stitches are bigger on Redbubble, smaller on Society6, and sometimes the mugs and other things are different too.

stuff from Redbubble stuff from Society6

Some other stuff is available only on one site or the other – notebooks, postcards, leggings, t-shirts, scarfs, and more only on Redbubble; clocks, art prints, shower curtains only on Society6.

leethal patterns printed on things

I did a bunch of research to make sure the quality of everything seems good.  A couple of things that got not-great feedback from multiple people (or that I didn’t like the look of) I did not make available, so everything that is available should hopefully be good quality.  Everything pictured here is what I ordered for myself to check it out – it’s all great!  A couple of patterns printed a bit dark on some items, so I’ve lightened them up a little.  I got the large (15oz) mug from Society6, so that’s why it looks extra big, it is!

leethal patterns printed on things

The pillow was especially pleasing – it’s a really nice, thick, canvas-y kind of fabric and the printed pattern looks fantastic on it!  I got the Society6 pillow, but I think the Redbubble pillows are basically the same, and I believe the tote bags are printed on the same kind of fabric, so they will be equally good-looking.  (I got the smallest size, just the case; I got a cheapo pillow at Ikea and it fits perfectly.)

stuff with leethal patterns

The spiral notebook is cool – I got lined pages, but you can also choose graph paper if you want (awesome!) and there’s a pocket in the back; the cover is card stock (not hardcover) but it seems pretty nice, and the price is relatively low on the spiral notebooks, so yay for that!  There are hardcover journals too, for a fancier option.

leethal patterns printed on things

And then I got all 6 patterns printed onto Redbubble cards – some greeting cards, some postcards.  Good quality, prints look excellent, greeting cards include brown paper envelopes, and they all have my name as the artist on the back, so that was a neat surprise.  Redbubble has these 4×6″ cards, plus 5×7.5″ greeting cards, all available individually; Society6 only offers 5×7″ stationery cards in sets of 3, 5, or 10, not individually, but a better deal if you want 5 or 10 cards.  The Siskiyou trees would make a great holiday card!

leethal patterns printed on things

And then, Spoonflower!  They have a ton of different fabric types – I got these test swatches on the Cotton Poplin and it looks great.  A couple of the patterns (Haka cables and Flying V’s) printed too dark, so I’ve lightened them up a bit.

leethal patterns printed on things

I sewed the 8×8″ swatches into little mini project bags – they don’t fit much, but they are so cute!

leethal patterns printed on things

If you use a fabric of one of my patterns to sew something, I would LOVE to see it!  Please comment here, or tag me on instagram or twitter :)  And if you REALLY love any of these patterns, you can cover a wall with them – I love looking that the wallpaper previews, they look so cool!

leethal patterns printed on things leethal patterns printed on things

I had so much fun making all this stuff – I’m really hoping it sells a bit just so I’ll get to make more designs in the future!  I have lots of ideas for more, including other design ideas besides tiling patterns, and if there are any of my patterns that you would love to have printed on stuff, let me know and maybe I’ll include them in the next batch!  I want to do a batch of handspun/hand-dyed fabrics, and I want to do some bigger, non-repeating knit design images, and there are more ideas rolling around in my head that can be a surprise…

Filed under: gifts,home stuff,leethal store — Lee Meredith @ 12:59 pm

March 12, 2015

Interviews, studio photos, and nerding out with sales analysis…

Want to see me being awkward on camera?  Well, now you can!  I was video-interviewed for Kimberly Golynskiy’s (aka 80 Skeins‘) travel-knitting blog, Around the World in 80 Skeins.

80 Skeins interview screenshot

She visited me at my home here in Portland, and then I took her out on the town to a food cart dinner and my neighborhood knit night (pictured below). She was awesome and her blog project is SUPER awesome – throughout the year she’ll be traveling to places like New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Peru… the list goes on and on, those are just some especially exciting ones.  I’m really looking forward to following all her journeys!  Anyway, you can read/see her post about me here, and watch the video interview!

Knitting and drinking with @80skeins at Tuesday knit night! (IPA and bulky design prototype.)

Oh and speaking of interviews – I did a couple of blog interviews last November that I don’t think I ever posted here.  So if you’re interested: Eclectic Closet interview post, and Front Porch Knitting interview post.

Somewhat related:  My studio had gotten so overwhelmingly cluttered and disorganized over the last couple of years; I’d go through phases of spending chunks of time on one area, but then piling new stuff up… I just am terrible at maintaining order.  So, when Kimberly set up the visit, that was the kick in the butt I needed – some outside force beyond just me wanting to get it in order, an actual reason to clean things up.  Here are some embarrassing before shots I took around the beginning of the year:

2015 unfucking 2015 unfucking

So, with a mission to get it looking photogenic for the visit, and channeling motivation from years of following Unfuck Your Habitat on tumblr, I spent the better parts of about five days on it, and here’s how it looks now…

2015 unfucking

Because of all the STUFF I have packed into this small room, and how colorful all that stuff is, it kind of always looks messy even when it’s not.  But if you can look past the colors, you’ll see clear table tops!  Ooh yeah!

2015 unfucking

Everything in its right place.  So satisfying.

(Note: You can go to my tutorials page to find links to tutorials for the coffee can cubbies shown above, as well as many projects that were shown in photos of my living room area in the 80 Skeins blog post.)

2015 unfucking

And I even did some small extra projects, like hanging Interweave calendar pages that I’d had sitting around for like 3 years – you can see them above the window on the right in the above photo, and here’s a better shot of them:

I finally put up these old Interweave calendar pages in my studio! It had been on my I'll-get-around-to-it-someday list for years!

Because one thing I’m terrible at is putting yarn away where it belongs, I’ve devised an elaborate yarn storage system so everything has a place, and I can try really hard to put it all away right away in the first place, instead of tossing it onto a table top or an overflowing box on the floor.  So, full and almost-full skeins/balls go in the colored shoe cubby spots hanging there in the closet, and in the more decorative yarn-holders you’ll see in other shots; big partial-balls go in that white hanging unit in the closet below, with the drawers, smaller partial-balls go in the white tube-ish things in the center of the photo below, and then little tiny balls for scrappy future projects go in CD spindles which you can see in a couple of the photos, to the left of my record player.  And I have a container for tiny scraps near my ball winder, since I save EVERYTHING because I am a crazy person.

2015 unfucking

I have a nice selection of craft books in the studio which I may want to access in here, while working or doing other craft projects – stitch dictionaries, knitting technique books, sewing project books, general craft project books… and then I have many shelves full of other craft/knitting books in the library.  I still have several bags and boxes full of stuff that needs to be sorted through, but it’s a space in which I can actually do projects now!  Empty floor space, clear table tops, access to sewing machine, etc, etc!  Functional studio!

2015 unfucking 2015 unfucking

And working at my desk is so much nicer now.  When it was messy around the whole room, I’d be able to focus on my computer and ignore everything around me, but it would be a lingering source of stress all the time… or something.  It’s just a much more pleasant workspace now!

2015 unfucking

Another mini-project I did awhile ago – swatch pin-board thing above my turntable!  It’s just the 3-pack of round cork trivets from Ikea.

2015 unfucking

With nothing pinned up:

01/23 studio cleanup

I also did some unfucking in the library, including doing this zine display project inspired by a photo that I’d reblogged on my tumblr awhile back.  This is not nearly all my zines – notably, my collection of Croq issues is left out of this display, in their own space on the shelves.

library

I love this little room so much, so cozy and book-filled!

library

library library

Another big project I did recently is my 2014 bookkeeping for taxes.  Being inspired by Bristol Ivy’s stats charts in her Stockinette Market reports, and also by some talk in the ravelry designers forums, I decided to make some charts of my own sales numbers.

This is probably of no interest to most blog readers, but I figured lots of designers, aspiring designers, and maybe other crafty business types, might be interested, so I’m sharing!

First, my design gross income breakdown.  This is everything I do related to knit design, so it does include knit teaching, but it does not include the freelance gigs I had in advertising last year which were not related directly to leethal or my knit design.

sales stats

The above chart in more detail:

My total design income

  • 74% online pattern PDF direct sales (self-published patterns, direct to customers, almost entirely through ravelry / my website)
  • 11% wholesale print patterns & books (sold and distributed to yarn shops by my distributer)
  • 5% wholesale to companies for kits/clubs (patterns sold digitally wholesale, to be included in kits, clubs, etc)
  • 4% teaching
  • 3% online wholesale pattern PDFs (sold to yarn shops through ravelry in-store sales)
  • 2% print books sold directly to customers (sold through MagCloud or in person)
  • 1% third party pattern design income (magazine royalties, sales through sites like Knit Picks and Twist Collective, etc – I had no new third party patterns in 2014, so these are all old pattern sales)

Of course, this is specific to 2014, and the full year on average; it varies month to month.  In years where I release a pattern (or multiple) through a third party publisher, that percentage may go up quite a bit… but overall, most of my design income does come through direct online sales of self-published pattern PDFs.  My patterns don’t tend to be great sellers in yarn shops, for whatever reason.  I never know if that means I should try harder to market to shops, so that number might go up, or if I should focus all my energy where my patterns already do best, and just not worry about wholesale.

Now moving on, a breakdown of that 74% above.  This is only direct digital sales, not wholesale or print books, etc.  First, collection sales versus individual pattern sales; then a breakdown of those collections, categorized by type of collection:

sales stats

Collections are defined (by me, for my purposes) as a collection of patterns which can be bought altogether, and also each individual pattern can be bought separately.  “Small collections” are no more than 4 patterns – so these are my trios and the Betiko collection – and “big collections” are Coloring Book and Remixed.  (Not included are a few patterns that are sort of technically ebooks, but that I consider to be big patterns with multiple options, and the different patterns/items cannot be bought separately, like Flying V’s.)  And then, “ebooks” are my big ebooks which cannot be bought as separate patterns – these are my two Adventure Knitting books, and Game Knitting.  This category’s percentage is so huge because my Adventure Knit-a-Long is grouped in there.

And then I categorized all my individual patterns sold by type and did some analysis on what’s most popular.  The total sales per type has a lot to do with how many of each pattern type I have available, which is why I made the second chart.  For the second chart, I divided the sales total by the number of patterns I have of that type, to get the average total sales per pattern, to get a better sense of popularity of different types of patterns.

sales stats

For example, I have a lot of hat patterns – 25% of my total sales of individual patterns come from hat patterns, but I have more hats than anything else.  When I divide the sales total by the number of hat patterns I have, the sales average per pattern drops down much further, instead of being so close to cowls and shawls, which means hat patterns are not actually so popular.  Shawls, on the other hand, are the other way around, their per-pattern average shoots way up above all other pattern types, so the shawl trend seems to still be strong, for now at least.

Lastly, I did a quick basic chart of my annual pattern sales since I began selling pattern PDFs in 2008.  This says some valuable things, I think.  Mainly, that if you’re a new designer, in the first couple of years, know that my experience is the norm, of sales getting higher year after year, as we have more and more patterns in our catalogs.  For me, even though I did quit my day job in 2008, in those first years most of my income came from other things – freelance writing, photography, teaching, selling of handmade items – and over the last few years I’ve been focusing more and more on selling patterns and little else.

sales stats

That 2013 peak is a result of a couple things: I released some popular collections that year (mainly, Coloring Book, and my Short Stripes Trio, which has been by far my most popular of all my trio collections), and I had a huge giveaway which gave my sales a giant bump in the fall.  In 2014, my only really successful release was the Adventure Knit-a-long; nothing else gave me a big bump (and I also had fewer total releases than 2013) – but my 2014 dot is higher than where it would be if you were to ignore 2013 and go along the same pre-2013 line, so the 2013 bumps helped a bit even if 2014 went down from the previous year.  So there’s kind of evidence that just chugging along and not having any really huge successes, but regularly releasing patterns and keeping at it, can result in a slow & steady upwards climb; in order to make a big jump, you do need something big (or a combination of big things) to make that happen, but that big jump won’t necessarily mean too much for the future (although it sure is nice at the time when it happens!).  That was a bit rambly, hopefully it made some sense.

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

So there’s that!  In more current design news, I’m way behind schedule, but I’m really hoping to have my second Full Body Trio pattern done and released by the end of April, which will be in the Hazel Knits yarn pictured above (fingers crossed that everything goes well!) and then I have a collection planned that I wanted to get out before this summer’s Adventure Knit-a-long… which may push that KAL later than I’d wanted.  Last year it was in August, and I wanted it to be earlier this year, like start around July 1st, but that just won’t be possible if I try to do this other collection before.  So chances are, I’ll aim for releasing that collection around June (or possibly spread throughout May-June, not sure yet), and then Adventure KAL will be in August again.

And I am just sucking at the whole #yearofmaking thing.  I’ve taken some photos here and there that I need to sort through and upload… and I think the whole studio unfucking was a big deal, in my world of making, since now I can use it for future making!  Here’s a shot of the one and only zentangle drawing I did, after I bought a book a couple months ago – I bought a new pen the other day though, so maybe I’ll do more soon!

1/26 doodles

Phew!  What a couple of weeks it’s been!  Yesterday I noticed that my blog wasn’t loading, and it seemed to have completely disappeared from my website admin panel, so that 24 hours or so was kiiinda super stressful, thinking my entire blog had been deleted somehow!  But, obviously, it was not; my web host found some permissions issue, which they promptly fixed and all is well!  On top of that scare, in the last few days I’ve had a flat tire (then had to buy 2 new tires), a broken shower (that I wasted hours trying to fix and then had to call a plumber in the end), and early symptoms of a cold, blech, but I hope after a weekend of rest (and KNITTING) things will be back to normal soon enough :)

Filed under: home stuff,personal,photos,self-publishing,year of making — leethal @ 5:05 pm

December 18, 2014

Quick project tutorial: Record yarn bowls!

If you follow me on instagram, you may remember my excitement when I hit upon this idea many months ago:

Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It's not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!

(caption: Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It’s not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!)

A photo posted by Lee Meredith (@leethalknits) on

I had a broken record, so I made it into a bowl, but with a hole chipped out of it, and then I realized… I could thread yarn through the hole and use it as a yarn bowl!

Experimented a little more with the record yarn bowl idea - eeeek it's working!! Needs a bit more perfecting but I'm loving this idea! Thinking about both a blog tutorial and selling them around Portland... Fluevog store event is off to a great start! Fun to mix all my samples in with the fancy shoes. Come by before 9 if you're in portland!

So then I played around with the concept, made a bunch to bring to an event where I was selling things, but in the end decided it’s not something I’m going to make to sell as a regular thing.  Shipping would be annoying, and I wouldn’t be able to sell them for much since they do break pretty easily if you drop them, so they’re not like a long-lasting high-quality item (I sold them for $6 at the event, just a fun cheap impulse buy kind of thing).  They totally function as yarn bowls, but not to the same extent as nice ceramic bowls, since they are very lightweight and bounce around if the yarn ball pulls.

Record Yarn Bowl

What they are is a fun thing to make in 5 minutes for yourself and for knitting friends!  They are SO quick to make, and cheap if you have access to vinyl records no one wants to listen to (thrift stores, record store 50 cent or $1 bins, or sometimes records stores have free boxes in the front to give away crap nobody wants) – I imagine this being an easy project you can make a bunch of one afternoon, and bring them to your knit night to pass out for everyone as a fun holiday gift, or just for the heck of it!

Record Yarn Bowl

So, here’s what you need:

  • A vinyl record (one that’s too scratched up to listen to, or that no one would want – don’t melt anything good, it would make me cry!)
  • Scissors (big ones that are okay to use for this kind of thing, not nice ones obviously)
  • An oven
  • An oven-safe bowl
  • Gloves (things will only heat up to around 225 degrees, so knit wool gloves should be enough to protect your hands, while letting you use them) or oven mitts
  • Optionally, another bowl or two for shaping your yarn bowls into different shapes and sizes

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Before I make a bowl, I usually wash the record, with dish soap like a dish – it’s much easier to wash a flat record than to clean the bowl after it’s been made!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Heat up the oven to around 225 degrees (anywhere from 200-250 should be fine). Turn your oven-safe bowl upside down, and place the record on top, then put that in the oven:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

While it’s in there, put on your gloves and get your scissors ready…

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Leave it in for about 2 minutes, or until you see it melt down over the bowl.  Don’t leave it in extra long, as it may get too melty and fume-y.  If you take it out as soon as it’s soft, the fumes shouldn’t be bad, but of course keeping the room ventilated is a good idea!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

So, take it out, and immediately make your cut, to form your hole for the yarn to go through.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

There are lots of different ways you can do this – the simplest is as you see below, just a straight line diagonally into the edge:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once the cut has been made, it will already be starting to harden back up again (by the time I took that above photo, it was already hardened), so put it back on the upside-down bowl and back into the oven for another couple minutes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

When it’s re-softened, take it out and put it inside a right-side-up bowl (either the same one you’ve been using in the oven, or a different one), and form your bowl shape, and your yarn hole.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For the bowl shape, remember your yarn needs to fit in there, so it can’t be crazy wavy in and out (which is how the record will naturally want to bend).  For the yarn hole, if you made a cut like the one pictured, then spiral the strip into a tube.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For other kinds of yarn holes, just remember you’ll want to be able to get the yarn in and out, so make a hole with a slit or opening of some kind.  After the tutorial are lots of photos of different bowls I made while experimenting, so you can get ideas for different kinds of holes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once things are formed, just hold it all in place how you want it for about a minute, and then it should be hardened up and finished!  If you mess it up somehow when forming the shape, just stick it back in the oven for a minute to re-soften.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Here’s that finished bowl in action!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

You can also form bowl shapes around the outside of an existing bowl, if you want a different kind of yarn hole – I think this one was made that way, so it’s wider / more open:

Record Yarn Bowl

So that’s it, so easy and quick!  Now here are a bunch that I’ve made!

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

If you make some bowls, I would love to see them!  If you post a photo on instagram, @leethalknits to show me, or tweet @leethal, or add photos to my old leethal flickr group :)  Have fun!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,home stuff,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 11:10 am

December 18, 2013

leethal 2014 photo calendar!

I’ve been pretty into Instagram since I got my iPhone early this year, and I’ve been wanting to figure out ways to display my favorite shots.  The other day I thought, how about a calendar?  So I made one!

I made an Instagram calendar!

I love how it turned out: simple, functional, a lovely display of some of my favorite instas.

2014 instagram calendar

So I decided I should share it with you!  I turned the calendar into a pdf, with four versions.  You can go to my leethal.net wallpapers (and other downloads) page and download it with my photos…

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

…or without any photos, so you can plug in your own square-format photos.  And both options come in the lighter text (as above) or the darker text (as below).  Note: the lighter text in the photos of it hanging in my kitchen looks barely-visible, but that’s mostly to do with the lighting in there; it’s actually plenty visible, I think.

leethal 2014 calendar pdf page

If you want to put in your own photos, you’ll need an application that can open and edit pdf files, to place your photos on the pages.  Or you could do it analog – print out the calendar as is, then print out your own photos, and glue them on there.

2014 instagram calendar

To make the calendar, you’ll need a photo printer (or a trip to Kinko’s or something), nice letter size* photo paper/cardstock to print out the pages (I used Red River Paper GreenPix, which I highly recommend, but unfortunately it’s only available in 4×6 inch size and rolls right now), a paper cutter (or scissors and the ability to cut super straight), and a hole punch.  Print, cut down the center dotted line, punch out the grey dots, and hang!

2014 instagram calendar

*The pdf is sized for US letter size paper (8.5×11 inches) but if you use a different paper size and print it fit to page, centered, it should work fine, just with some extra white space that you can trim off as needed.

2014 instagram calendar

Happy holidays!

Filed under: gifts,home stuff,photos — leethal @ 10:00 am

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

January 31, 2013

Pattern sale, tumblr, and studio organization!

Hey guess what!  February is my birthday month, so I’m inviting you to celebrate with me by offering a 31% off coupon code!

Junction

Enter the code leethals31 (that’s “leethal’s 31” without punctuation) into the coupon box in your shopping cart, on ravelry or leethalknits.com, and get as many patterns/ebooks as you want for almost a third off!  This code will be valid at the start of February 1st, through my birthday on the 11th.

Flying V's

Moving on… I made a couple of proclamations over on my tumblr at the beginning of the year, and I wanted to address them both here.  First, I claimed that for 2013 I’ll be posting a tumbl-a-day.  I have stuck to it for most of this month, but not completely… as the days went by, I found that some days I had something personal to post about, or something knittingrelated, and those were all good, but other days I didn’t have anything to post, so I’d just waste a bunch of time looking for something to reblog.  This ends up being a bad thing for multiple reasons – the time wasted, and the littering of my tumblr with reblogs, which I want to mostly avoid doing.  So, no more strict post-a-day plan, I’ll just try to post things over there when I have something worth posting.

tumblr

I do like using tumblr, as a kind of halfway between a tweet and a full on blog post over here, and I think I’ll continue with the posting of pattern sneak peeks (like I posted last night!), so if you want to see those you might want to follow me over there.  And, I do plan on doing some monthly tumblr based projects, like I mentioned in that first tumbl-a-day proclamation post… I’m going to try listening to and posting a record a day in February, so we’ll see how that goes.

tumblr

If you want to help give me things to post about over there, you can ask me a question.  Also, if you know of any of those photo-a-day projects for an upcoming month (in which you’re told what to photograph each day), let me know – I did one of those for a month last year and it was fun!

my studio in its current state

So then, the other thing I announced at the beginning of the year was that January would be the month that I finally get my studio in actual proper, functioning, usable order.  I have made some progress, but damn, it’s been a busy month.  I actually have a chunk of time set aside for this afternoon/evening to get it as far along as possible before the month is over, but it’s far from finished.

my studio in its current state

These photos were taken 20 minutes ago.  In my defense, I have done a lot of more internal organizational work, like figuring out where certain things can live, projects which aren’t really visible behind all the clutter.  A couple months ago, there wasn’t close to enough room for all my yarn, but then I got some new yarn organizing systems set up and now all my yarn has a place to live!  Even all the small leftover balls.  Organization feels so good!

my studio in its current state

I’ve lived in this house, with that room as my studio space, for over 2.5 years now, so it’s embarrassing that it’s always been used as basically a storage space, with rarely a surface clear enough to work on.  The thing is, the room is significantly smaller than my studio room in our old apartment, and I’ve accumulated a ton more crap stuff over the last 3 years or so… Doing my old quick knits mail-out club encouraged me to buy lots of random crafty stuff, and then doing Remixed encouraged me to buy lots of sweaters to unravel, and this and that, and excuses excuses… basically, I am cursed with hoarding tendencies and I just have too much stuff to easily organize it in that one small room.  But I’m doing my best, really.

my studio in its current state

My old studio space was never really organized either, always a work-in-progress, just like this one… until we bought a house and moved.  About a month before we bought our house, I was told the Oregonian wanted to include me in a story about studio spaces, which would mean them sending a photographer into my space.  I used it as a motivator to get my room in order for the first time ever, succeeded, was featured in the paper, then immediately packed everything up to move!

Oregonian article!

During all the house buying and moving chaos back then, I managed to take photos of the studio before packing, but I never got around to editing and posting the photos… until last night!  I got them all sorted, edited, and up on flickr;  so here and now, I’m showing you these photos of my old space, because I always meant to, and so that they might motivate me to get my current space as functional!

my old studio!

Got pretty good light in that room!

my old studio!

(Coffee can cubbies tutorial is here.)

my old studio!

Gotta have a record player in any decent studio space ;)

my old studio!

Some areas looked messy, but they were actually in order.

my old studio!

Thrifted wine rack (I think?) as yarn storage/display.

my old studio! my old studio!

Reclaimed CD cases (from my old photo lab day job – I didn’t go through all those discs myself!) as yarn storage.  And Ikea plastic bag storage units as yarn storage.

my old studio! my old studio!

I’ve been sewing at the kitchen table for the last couple years… I can’t wait till I have space to actually craft in my craft studio!

my old studio!

Yeah, I like Ikea.  I’ll leave it at that… there are more shots on flickr if you want to see more.  I do have more to post about, but it can be for a later day… For now, you can be expecting the new stripy pattern release next week!  I’m aiming for Wednesday morning… it’s a fun pattern, I’m excited about it!  Yay!

Filed under: home stuff,knitting,random stuff — leethal @ 5:41 pm

January 27, 2012

Pendleton scrap blanket (and matching pillow)!

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

Pendleton blanket

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

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

The strips after ironing:

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

Here’s the whole thing after that step:

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

blanket planning Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

Some more beauty shots…

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton pillow

…sewed them together…

Pendleton pillow

…ironed the seams…

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton pillow

On the pillow:

Pendleton pillow

 

Pendleton pillow

And the back side:

Pendleton pillow

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

Pendleton blanket

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

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

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

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

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

January 19, 2012

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

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

no-sew tee projects

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

black sheep black sheep

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

Heifer thank you

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

my new tumblr

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

new (used) DVD stack amazing bow!

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

our record collection!

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

our record collection!

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

our record collection!

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

our records! our record collection!

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

Pinterest screenshot

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

snow in portland! snow in portland!

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

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

September 23, 2011

Food adventures from my garden!

Now that food-growing season is coming to an end here in Portland, I want to share with you the goodness that came from my yard this year!  My most favorite thing is that the cucumbers were successful, and I tried making pickles for the first time!

refrigerator pickles!

This was my first harvest, in August – 2 pounds, which was exactly the amount needed for one batch of this refrigerator dill pickles recipe.

first cucumber harvest

So I went shopping, got a giant bunch of fresh dill, and went to work making pickles.  It was pretty darn quick and easy – definitely the most time-consuming part was picking and washing and chopping all the dill.

refrigerator pickles!

And then, the next afternoon, bam!  Pickles!  And oh my goodness, there were delicious!!  I highly recommend trying refrigerator pickles if you are intrigued by the concept (and like pickles) but don’t want to get into all the canning stuff.  The only thing is, you have to eat them within about 2 weeks… but that’s not a problem for us – yumyumyum!

refrigerator pickles!

I was so excited about making my first batch of pickles, I made an iPad comic to celebrate!  hehe

my first pickles!

My second batch of cucumbers was ready for picking a few days ago, and while it wasn’t quite as many as the first, and there were a couple bitsy ones, this was the first time my garden grew a big, long cucumber that actually looked like a cucumber!  This harvest ended up being just about exactly 2 pounds as well, perfect for another batch of pickles!  Yay!

second cucumber harvest spicy refrigerator pickles!

This time, I got experimental.  I used the same recipe as a starting point, but I decided to try making spicy pickles!  I added 4 jalepeños and 3 serrano peppers, all sliced.  I used a package of fresh dill instead of a straight-from-the-farm bundle, to make it easier, and this time I didn’t chop the dill at all.  The other major difference was that I cut the cucumbers into spears instead of slices.  I did everything else identical to the recipe.

The result… is SPICY!  But delicious!  I am a bit of a wimp with spice; I like spicy foods, but only medium-ish level.  These, I can just barely handle, with water.  Next time, I think I’ll try them with just the jalapeños, or with only 1 serrano and 3 jalapeños or something like that.  After sitting overnight, when I jarred them up, I put together one jar with hardly any peppers in it, and the other with lots of them, so as they sit longer, the one will probably get hotter and the other jarful with probably stay the same.  Anyway, definitely a successful food experiment!!

spicy refrigerator pickles!

Moving on to other gardeny goodness… eggplants!  The plant seemed pretty healthy all season, getting bigger and leafier and bushier, and growing lots of lots of flowers… most of which died and fell off.  I only actually got 2 eggplants, but they were very exciting!  Something about walking into my backyard, and then coming back inside with an eggplant in my hand… it’s just cool.  (I’m still very new to this whole gardening thing!)

garden eggplant garden eggplant

The first one was made into one of Pete’s and my favorite treats – eggplant fries!  Yummmm!  There are lots of recipes out there for these – this is the one I use.  All I have is a silly iPad photo I took while they were still on the baking sheet, because then I had to nomnomnom and couldn’t be bothered with taking a decent photo:

eggplant fries!

And then the second eggplant turned into my dinner last night – cooked together with tofu, a few fresh garden tomatoes, and some garlic chives.  Add a bit of sweet red chili sauce and sriracha, and yummmmy!

eggplant tofu dinner eggplant tofu dinner

The tomatoes have been awesome, of course!  The Sweet 100’s are definitely the yummiest… the Juliets have been growing huge (bigger and rounder than they’re supposed to be), but the flavor is kinda blah.  Not bad, just not very flavorful.  So I don’t think I’ll do those again.  The Early Girls have mostly been growing pretty small; this first one I picked, in the photo, was the biggest by far, but they are yummy and great on sandwiches and stuff.  I made this salad one day with some of all 3 types, goat cheese, and a basic homemade balsamic vinaigrette – it was ohmygosh so good!

first big tomato! tomato-tastic salad!

There have been a few strawberries here and there, but mostly those haven’t been doing great this year.  The lettuce all died (I think because I planted it way too close together) and the basil died (I think because I picked off too many leaves for dinner one night).  Overall, good garden year for me, better than last year for sure.  Yummm yard-fresh veggies!

Filed under: home stuff,recipes — leethal @ 2:38 pm

July 12, 2011

Analog Music!

Hey did you know I like records?  If you follow me on twitter, you’re probably sick of hearing about it, but my many-weeks-long project of reorganizing our collection is just about done now, so I’ll be shutting up about it after this.  I was planning to post about my collection, along with some crafty things you can do with records that are no good for listening to (thrift stores are full of those!)… but then it all just got too massive, so that crafty post will come later.  For now, read on if you like music on vinyl!

our records!

So, I just realized a couple weeks ago, while in the middle of my reorganization project, that it’s been exactly 10 years since I started collecting records!  At the end of my first year of college I started thinking it would be cool to have a record player, and then during the summer of 2001, between my first and second years of college, I found this record player on ebay for $12 and immediately started buying records.

my record player

During those first couple years, I didn’t live near any good record stores or thrift stores, so I was mostly buying new indie music on vinyl, not much old stuff.  But then I moved to a cool neighborhood for my last year of college and started digging through the rows of records at my local record stores, fun times!  I was pretty picky back then, though, and my collection grew very slowly…

our records!

Then a year later, in 2005 when I started dating Pete, we got really into record shopping together, and have been ever since!  We’re not always active about it – we’ll go long chunks of time without going to a record store, but then we’ll get back into it and go digging through albums whenever we have the chance.  Right now, because of all this record sorting that’s been going on, we’ve gotten obsessively into it and have found some awesome albums over the last month!  Our favorite shops in Portland are Everyday Music and Crossroads, and we also love Music Millennium, and thrift stores!

record

So, here it is – our entire LP collection:

our records!

Ordering it all chronologically involved days of sorting them all into stacks by decade/year, filling our entire living room floor with piles of vinyl…

piles of records

Which, of course, meant I had to grab that opportunity to sort of recreate an image from one of my all time favorite movies:

high fidelity

Not perfect, but it works:

me with my records

So, do you want more detail about my massive undertaking?  Probably not, but I’ll give it to you anyway!  I guess if you didn’t care about my records, you’d have stopped reading long ago… Anyway, I started out by cataloguing everything into a google docs spreadsheet.  Here’s a tiny glimpse of that:

a glimpse...

Then I used this list to group all the LPs into stacks of 50’s, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s…

piles of records

Then I went through group by group and sorted them into individual date piles, and finally shelved them in chronological order, alphabetically within each year.

our records!

The giant spreadsheet of every record we own is way too much fun, by the way… Want to know what we have tons of?  There’s more Bob Dylan LPs than anything else (15), with The Beatles and Elton John tied for second at 12 each.  Third is David Bowie and Joni Mitchell tied at 10 each, followed by Frank Zappa, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Beach Boys with 9 albums each, and then 8 LPs by Bee Gees.  John Lennon is the person represented most, with those 12 Beatles records, 3 solo by him, 4 by John Lennon and Yoko Ono together.  (I have 3 by Yoko alone as well.)  A couple you might be amused by include my 6 Glen Campbell records, and 5 Carpenters (feel like I should have more, I love them so much).  Ok I’ll stop now!

our records!

And then there are our 7″s…

our 7" collection

We rarely buy these anymore these days, but I used to be waaaay into them!  They are all catalogued in the spreadsheet, but I haven’t yet organized them – they’re just grouped into vague sections for now.

our 7" collection

Lastly, I made some record “bookmarks” – to mark the place when we take out a record to play it.  I have my old record player in my studio, so I take groups in there sometimes, hence the multiple bookmarks.  Plus, they’re fun to make out of ridiculous album covers:

record bookmarks our records!

I hope I didn’t bore you too much, but I just spent so much time with this project over the last several weeks, I had to share!  I’ve been pinning some of my favorite records that we own, so you can follow that if you’re interested.  I just love records so much – the covers as art forms, the vinyl for the analog listening experience, everything.  And now that they are organized, I will definitely be listening to them more than I had been!

me with my records

Filed under: home stuff,music,photos — leethal @ 3:46 pm

July 6, 2011

This year’s garden, as of early July!

I noticed a quick spurt of overcast sky a few days ago and took advantage by photographing my garden!  I planted most (from starters) 3 weeks ago, and most are doing very well!!  With the hot, sunny days we’ve been having this week, they’ve actually grown quite a bit since I shot these – it’s so much fun to see them every day, how much they’ve changed from the day before…

my garden, early July 2011

It’s my second year attempting to grow food, and last year resulted in mostly fail (due at least partly to the terrible weather last summer); I am still very much learning and don’t expect major success, but things are looking healthy so far at least!

So, let me give you a tour.  Starting at one end, with this planter – 2 tomatoes and some garlic chives over there in the corner:

my garden, early July 2011

There’s an early girl tomato plant, a sweet 100 cherry tomato, and then I’d thought I could squeeze 3 tomatoes into this planter, but I didn’t want to hurt them by putting them too close, so I stuck the chives there instead.  (The upside down boxes are to try to stop some neighborhood cat from using this planter as a litter box! Dumb cat!)

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

Next is the cucumber planter:

my garden, early July 2011

I have 1 burpless, 1 pickling, and 1 slicing…

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

They are already doing extremely well compared to my cucumber experience last summer – I have high hopes that I’ll get to try some picking this year!

my garden, early July 2011

Next to that one are these two big pots (all the planters and pots were left in our yard by the previous owners) – I have an eggplant and one more tomato in there:

my garden, early July 2011

The eggplant seems healthy, though I don’t really know how it’s supposed to be looking at this point… and this tomato plant – juliet grape tomatoes – is crazy super leafy, especially around the bottom.  I might try pruning a little once I see where the flowers are starting to pop up.

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

And lastly are these 3 narrow planters:

my garden, early July 2011

The long one is full of mostly lettuce – “gourmet blend” – and I know it’s closer together than it’s supposed to be, but I had very limited space to work with, and the lettuce came in a box of 6, so I just put them all in there:

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

One of the above pots used to be filled with tons of oregano, sage, and tarragon, and a tiny bit of thyme, from the previous owners – I was keeping it until I decided it was a waste of a nice pot for me, since I rarely used any of the herbs last year and I didn’t see that changing this year.  So, I took out most of them (left a couple bags of them free on the corner for neighbors to take), and attempted to transplant some of the oregano (since I do use that occasionally) and the tiny bit of thyme that was living.  That was a few weeks ago, and they are both still living, so I guess the transplanting worked!  Those 2 are on the sides of this planter, and I put a new sweet basil plant in the middle:

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

And then my strawberries!  These two strawberry plants (quinalt and another variety I don’t remember) in the small planter popped back to life from last summer and have been doing okay, but not great.  And then I added one more, a bigger plant (tristar), in the same long planter with the lettuce:

my garden, early July 2011 my garden, early July 2011

Does anyone have advice for growing strawberries?  My main problem is that they’re ripening when they’re still bitsy:

strawberries!

Most of my ripe strawberries are the size of large blueberries.  Might I be giving them either too much or not enough water?  Or maybe there’s a problem with the soil?  I really don’t know what I’m doing, so any tips would be much appreciated!  Thanks!

So that’s my garden so far… I can’t wait till I get to start eating the tomatoes!  And I may get to have a whole salad from my own yard, if all goes well!  If I do end up experimenting with pickling, I’ll let you know how it goes!  Ok that’s enough excitement for one post!

Filed under: home stuff,photos — leethal @ 5:28 pm

June 17, 2011

thrifty find, part 2: Painted Table!

Almost 2 years ago, I blogged that I found this table at the Goodwill Bins (outlet store) for 3 bucks, and that I had plans to do something to it… I said that hopefully “in a few weeks I’ll be showing you after photos!”  A few weeks, hah!  Well, after spray painting it yesterday, here’s that after post, better late than never!

spray painted side table!

The original table, straight home from the thrift store:

new (used) end table

The top part and the legs were screwed on, so I took the pieces apart, and spray painted each…

spray painted side table!

…then put them back together…

spray painted side table!

…and bam!  New table!

spray painted side table! spray painted side table!

I love it!  Yay!  The hardest part of the whole project was deciding what colors to use.  First I couldn’t decide between doing the whole thing one color, or multiple colors, and then after deciding 2 colors would be good, I had to choose which two… I finally just grabbed these two and went for it – and I’m happy I did!  I think they match the house well.

spray painted side table! spray painted side table!

I did a bunch more spray painting at the same time – some small shelves mostly, and I have more I wasn’t able to get to.  So once all those are finished and up on the walls, I show them to you for more spray painting inspiration!  Fun stuff!

Filed under: home stuff,thrifty finds — leethal @ 2:37 pm

May 11, 2011

May’s quick knits club ebook: Eat!

It may not feel like spring here yet, but I’m already daydreaming about growing some food in my yard this year and cooking up some awesome fresh veggie-filled meals!  So, this month is all about food!  An eating-utensil-holder for picnicking or any other portable eating needs, a coaster or potholder depending on what size you make it, an apron made from a recycled shirt, and a little zine I made to share with you meatless things I like to make on my George Foreman grill…

May's club ebook cover

My favorite thing about the patterns this month is that both of them are completely modular, not even requiring so much as a picked up stitch!  No sewing or seaming of any kind, no breaking yarn partway through, etc.  When you’re done knitting, it’s done!

may's club - eat!

This Picnic Wrapper pattern has you start at one i-cord tip, work through the entire pattern, close up the side with a 3-needle bind-off as you work, then end at the tip of the other i-cord!  It works in a way that holds in whatever utensils, napkins, etc that you need to carry, grasping them in there securely with a pocket and one i-cord tie on the inside, then the flap side wraps around the whole thing and ties around into a convenient little bundle:

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The Blocky Coaster/Potholder pattern is a log-cabin-ish design, which will give you a different look if you choose to switch solid color yarns (like my potholder) or use one self-striping yarn for the whole thing (like my coaster).

may's club - eat!

The coaster is the official “quick knit” version, using approx 15 yards of worsted weight, and the potholder uses much more.  The pattern is given in 3 forms: worsted weight coaster and worsted weight potholder, like the 2 samples, and any-gauge/any-size, written with variables and some very basic math.

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The square is felted (/fulled) to thicken it up, and smooth out the bumps.  It’s knit up using lots of simple short rows – if you’ve made a Betiko, it’ll be very familiar to you.  Sideways edge cast-ons along the sides of the first few sections, then sideways edge bind-offs for the two thick side sections, all in garter stitch:

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The tutorial is a photo-filled explanation of how I made this pocketed apron from a recycled button-down shirt:

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

The collar of the shirt becomes the top pocket of the apron, and the shirt back’s bottom is the bottom edge of the apron…

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

I am no expert sewer, not even close, so mine is a bit messy, but if you have experience, then you could probably make a pretty awesome version using the same concepts.

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

And lastly, I made up this little folding zine that you can print out – there’s this colored one, and also a colorless version if you want to save printer ink.  It’s a bunch of things I like to make using my George Foreman grill, which is one of my favorite appliances, and one that I think is mostly associated with meat, so I thought people might like to learn about how great it is for non-meat-eaters as well.  But, of course, you can use lots of the “recipes” with other ways of cooking if you don’t have a GF grill.

meatless grilling mini-zine page from inside May's ebook

The ebook this month is a whopping 19 pages long!  $5 for this book alone, or $7 for a 2-month membership (next month is the last of the club!) – grab it on my site or on ravelry here.

Hey, I would love some theme ideas/requests for the last month!  I have a bunch of barely-developed ideas that I’ve come up with over the last almost-2-years doing quick knits, but nothing that I’m super excited about for the last ebook… Comment with theme ideas if you have any, or just with pattern concept ideas, and I could even do some kind of “by request” theme with different ideas that don’t necessarily have to relate… just a thought…

Which reminds me, it was a member who put the food theme idea out there – she suggested recipe cards, which I had been planning on doing at first, but then I guess the zine idea took over and those didn’t happen.  Thanks Ellen for that idea!!  Aaaand, it was a twitter follower who gave me the idea for the utensil holder pattern, but, sadly, twitter does not make it easy to search through old @ messages, so I can’t find who it was that gave me the idea – I’m sorry!

Ok that’s all, happy knitting!

Filed under: home stuff,knitting,quick knits,recipes — leethal @ 4:46 pm
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