December 13, 2017

leethal recycled yarn!

I’m selling skeins of yarn again!

leethal recycled yarn leethal recycled yarn

They are recycled yarns, which I’ve unraveled very carefully (minimal knots, usually 1 per skein), washed well, and sometimes spun together. There are plain skeins, which are all wool or wool blends — the white one has some camel hair and the grey has a little cashmere!

leethal recycled yarn

leethal recycled yarn leethal recycled yarn

leethal recycled yarn

There are more than one skein available of almost all of these so you can grab multiples if you want to make something big. They are all priced based on yardage (which relates to time it takes me to unravel and skein, etc) with some variation for different fiber types (some sweaters are harder/take longer).

leethal recycled yarn

And then there are spun skeins!

leethal recycled yarn leethal recycled yarn

These are different recycled/reclaimed yarns and threads spun and plied together. Each of these has different colored yarn chunks, to make self-striping yarns.

leethal recycled yarn

Above is all 100% wool; one strand light green, the other striping colors—it’s bulky weight, or heavy aran.

leethal recycled yarn

This one is so soft! One strand is assorted wools and wool blends, in long striping colors, and the other is white 58% nylon, 36% angora, 5% lambswool, 1% spandex—it has a nice halo from the angora. It’s around aran weight (or heavy worsted).

leethal recycled yarn

This one was made from a strand of 100% wool yarn, striping colors, plied together with three threads (of unknown fiber content) in blues and variegated colors. It has a kinky, textured look because of how it was plied; it’s a worsted weight, or heavy worsted.

leethal recycled yarn

And lastly, a yarn for knitters who might be allergic to wool: one strand is 100% cotton in striping colors, the other is 55% silk, 20% acrylic, 15% angora, 10% nylon, in white. It’s around aran weight, or heavy worsted.

leethal recycled yarn leethal recycled yarn

I love the spun yarns so much! Where colors change, the other strand wraps around to hide the ends, making fun little blobby bits which look neat when knit up. They are quicker to spin than actual handspun yarn, but they are still totally handmade, spun and plied together by me on my spinning wheel, and it does take awhile (so they are priced according). These skeins are each totally unique so whatever you make from one will be super one-of-a-kind and special :)

These yarns have been up on etsy for a little while, since September; I instagramed/tweeted but never blogged or sent out a newsletter to let you know about it. September 23rd was the exact release date, which was the Saturday before I started fall term on Monday. I’d meant to blog about it asap but then fall term was total insanity. Five classes and no free time at all, so I never got to it. Sadly, this post is probably too late for holiday shoppers now, but if you get some xmas cash, now you know about it! ;)

kits! kits!

kits! kits!

Oh and btw also in my etsy shop are cute little quick knits kits which are also with recycled yarns, some of it hand dyed. I just renewed some listings so there are lots of color options. Make pen bookmarks, light switch plates, lapel pins, cuffs, and ice cream earmuffs!

Making Recycled Yarns ebook cover

And a last note: love recycled yarn but would prefer to make it yourself? Well just let me point you to my ebook with everything you need to know about it! It’s on my site, ravelry, and also in the etsy shop now.

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,Remixed,yarn — Lee Meredith @ 2:56 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

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):


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!

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


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.


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.


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


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


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:


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 4, 2016

Upcoming teaching and other stuff!

I can’t believe it’s November already! I am deep into my school term (did you know I’m going to school?!) and suddenly it’s the holiday season already, whoa! I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming things…


First, if you’re in the Seattle area, I’ll be at Knit Fit! again this year, November 12-13. I’m teaching Making a Triyang Modular Shawl (above) and Recycled Yarn Making (below), both on Sunday, and I’m hosting Game Knitting night on Saturday night, to Princess Bride (see below for more about that!).

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

If you’re near Corvallis, I’m teaching at Stash on Sunday, November 20th, exciting! I’ll be teaching my No-Pattern Hat Knitting class, which teaches you how to make hats custom fit to your head in any gauge with three different construction methods…

My hats

…and then I’m also hosting a Game Knitting night there, to Empire Records (a personal favorite)!

Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

So at this point, you may be thinking, what is a Game Knitting night?! I’ve hosted them at Knit Fit! three times (2012-14 and then they did one without me present last year as well) and they are so much fun! I tell everyone about the Game Knitting concept (as you can read a bit about here) and then we all watch a movie together while calling out whenever a list item happens and making something happen there in our knitting projects. Something happening in the knitting could be a cable twist, an eyelet hole, a switch between knitting and purling, a short row turn, a color change, or anything else you can think of! Here are the items I’ve knit at Game Knitting nights (two were using short rows, and one was using eyelet holes):

Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

Game Knitting at Knit Fit! Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

Up above there is the movie list for 10 Things I Hate About You, and below are the first two years, Say Anything and Singles (they all had a Seattle theme):

Game Knitting at Knit Fit! Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

And here are a bunch of participants’ knits at the end of the night on the first year:

Game Knitting at Knit Fit! Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

Game Knitting at Knit Fit! Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

Game Knitting at Knit Fit! Game Knitting at Knit Fit!

So if you’re basically anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, I hope you can join us for one of those upcoming Game Knitting nights!


In other teaching news, a very exciting gig just got announced for next year: I’ll be in Nashville in July for the Super Summer Knitogether (aka SSK) with The Knit Girllls, along with Ann Budd, Jillian Moreno, and David Schulz. I am ridiculously excited about this whole thing eeeeek!!

Arleta School Holiday Bazaar

And something for Portland: I’ll be sharing a table with a couple of awesome crafty friends at the Arleta School Holiday Bazaar on December 3rd. I’ll have some of my old stuff I used to sell, which is still pretty cool I think so if you missed out back in the old days you could score some rare leethal goods :-p And I’ll also have some patterns and books. And there should be tons of fun stuff and it benefits a great school so I hope to see you there!

Filed under: knitting,portland stuff,teaching — Lee Meredith @ 3:12 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

August 15, 2016

New Full Body Trio pattern: Chilli!

My Full Body Trio of any-gauge, versatile garment patterns is now complete!  Tionne the pullover sweater and Lopes the convertible short-sleeved cardigan / skirt were joined by Chilli the buttoning tank top.  (ravelry link)


Like the other two patterns, it’s custom fit to your measurements in any yarn weight; this one is meant to be made in a warm-weather yarn for a summery top, but it could be made as a vest too. This one is by far the easiest and fastest knit of the three trio patterns!

Chilli Chilli

The pockets are optional, and you can choose to use one color or multiple colors on your top – the pockets would be much more subtle if made in the same color as the body.

Chilli Chilli

It’s not quite as versatile as the first two designs with how it can be worn (see how the other two can be worn on their blog posts: Tionne and Lopes), but it can be buttoned in different ways to make different styles:

Chilli Chilli Chilli

Chilli Chilli Chilli

Chilli Chilli Chilli

My pocketed sample is in Nettle Grove by Plymouth Yarn, a sport weight made of cotton, linen, silk, and nettle fiber – it’s perfect for a summery top, very cool!  It was great to work with, it’s fully machine washable and dryable, and it softens up a ton once washed, making a super comfy fabric.


My solid color, pocketless sample was made with triple-stranded Louet MerLin sport weight, making a bulky weight, which was knit somewhat loosely on size US 11 needles.  Even though it’s a fat gauge, it’s still a totally wearable warm-weather top, as the linen blend breaths well and doesn’t feel too heavy.


I started with a prototype in some recycled cotton, and I ended up changing the top part completely, so it’s not a sample of the whole thing, but it works to show you pockets made in the same color as the body, and sewn on at a rounded angle instead of a straight line:

same-color pockets on a Chilli prototype same-color pockets on a Chilli prototype

For another glimpse at my design process, here’s a sketch I made while planning it out, with my original color choices plugged in; I later decided on the light green instead for a more summery look.  But colors like this, with lower contrast, would be a nice, more subtle look.  This sketch doesn’t show the cabled neckline how it ended up, that part came later in the design process.

Chilli sketch with color idea

And here’s a closeup of how that neckline turned out, working to shape the neck by pulling the fabric down, without any change to the stitch count:


The garter stitch top part is worked flat, sideways, modularly with stitches left along the bottom edge for later, and then the body is worked down to the bottom, in the round in stockinette, and it’s finished with some ribbing at the bottom.  The pockets are added last, so you can wait to decide at the last minute whether you want them or not, or whether to make them in a contrasting color or not.

Chilli Chilli

There is very little finishing: sew down the pockets if you made them, sew on the buttons, and you’re done!  Techniques used are pretty simple: cabling without a cable needle is easy with the basic cables used, the buttonholes are made like crochet chains (but not using a crochet hook), and a cable cast-on and cable bind-off are used so the edges around the armholes match.


I know it’s getting a bit late in the season to start a summer top, but depending on where you live (and what gauge you choose) you may be able to finish one in time to get some wear out of it this year still!  Or take your time and have it ready to wear by next spring ;)  You can get the whole trio mini-collection (the price makes it the same as buy 2 patterns get 1 free!) and make one of the warmer sweaters first, then cast this one on next year.  (ravelry link)  Anyway, I’m so happy with this trio, but don’t expect me to be designing any more garments anytime soon, I plan to stick with accessories for the foreseeable future!  Glad to have dipped my toes into garments a bit though, and I love all three of these designs!

Tionne sweater! Lopes! Chilli

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios — Lee Meredith @ 12:13 pm

August 5, 2016

Third VIP club 2016 hat pattern: Vanguard!

Before I show you Vanguard, a few things… scroll down past this text to the picture if you just want to see Vanguard :)

This post is very belated; as I’m posting about the third club pattern, the fourth hat is currently in the mystery-knit-a-long stage. Things have been hectic, but also, I feel like the blog is less important these days, to the point of maybe being so completely unimportant that it can kind of be phased out completely…? I’m not quite there yet, but we’ll see how things go. For now, I’m planning on basically just using it as a space to show some extra photos of new patterns, and to talk about design process in some cases. I’ll be trying to keep new pattern posts shorter than they’ve often been in the past.

So with that said, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be catching up on pattern posts: after Vanguard there will be Chilli, my new Skykomish cowl from Stranded, and Silencio when the mystery is revealed, and then I’ll probably do a small life-update post (if you follow me on social media, you know I’m in school now!). The best way to keep up with leethal stuff these days is your choice of twitterinstagram, or facebook (which is mostly just select reposts from instagram).

VIP club hat #3

Vanguard! It’s currently available with the leethal VIP club; if you sign up now you’ll get four patterns plus two more later in the year. It’s on ravelry here.


Vanguard is an any-gauge, modular, garter stitch, custom-fit hat, meant to make with some kind of basic colorwork (self-striping or variegated yarn, stripes, or color blocks).


The pattern includes details for how to work with stripes or color blocks.


The hat is custom sized based on the first section; there’s no need to make a gauge swatch before you start knitting!


The design started out based on an early failed prototype which became Barry (rav link), a few years back. That prototype was way too big, weirdly shaped, didn’t work at all, but I took some elements and wrote a new pattern that became Barry, and then I went back and took other different elements from it and rewrote it into a totally different new pattern that became Vanguard! Here are Barry and Vanguard side by side:

Barry in yellow Vanguard

Barry in self-striping and tweed Vanguard

Both are started with a point, working sideways, increasing up and across until you get a good size for a custom fit to your head, and then they go off in different directions from there.

Vanguard Vanguard

I ended up making two different sport weight samples in two different gauges – a standard kind of gauge on size US 4 needles (above left), and then a very loose gauge on size US 8’s (above right and below). I did the standard gauge one first, and it totally worked fine, but then I started thinking about how much I love my super loose-gauge sideways garter stitch Unbroken hat (rav link), and even though that one is worsted, the yarn has a similar tightly-twisted feel to it as that variegated sport weight yarn… so I thought a loose-gauge version would have a similar feel to it, super stretchy and comfy. So I made another one, and I was right, I love it! It provides just a wee bit of warmth, perfect for a bad hair day kind of hat, when I don’t really need the warmth.


Those two samples are in Socks that Rock Mediumweight by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, which has tons of variegated colorways that would work great!


That striped sample is in two aran weight wooly yarns I bought in Scotland: Aran 100% Wool by New Lanark Wool & Textiles and Scappa Aran by K1 Yarns.


The self-striping sample is Liberty Wool by Classic Elite (worsted weight).


And the color blocked sample is in two bulky weight yarns: two colors of Groovy by Dream in Color, and one color of Chunky by Malabrigo.


You can see lots of different looking Vanguards on ravelry, knit by VIP club members. This is a really fun hat to knit, all garter stitch, lots of short rows, each section is smaller than the previous section so it goes by faster and faster as you knit it!


Filed under: hats,knitting,leethal VIP club — Lee Meredith @ 12:39 pm

May 12, 2016

Remixed: Making Recycled Yarns ebook, including Rejuvenation hat pattern!

Look what’s here!  It’s the final piece of my Remixed collection (on ravelry here), the long-awaited Remixed: Making Recycled Yarns ebook, which is included with that collection (with 8 any-gauge accessory patterns) and also available by itself (on ravelry here).

Making Recycled Yarns ebook cover

I think it’s worth the wait; I ended up putting a lot more into it than originally planned, it just kept growing, and I’m really happy with how it all turned out.  It will teach you everything you need to know to turn old sweaters into new yarns:

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

It’s 43 pages long, has over 200 detailed photos, and goes into detail about how to deconstruct and unravel different kinds of sweaters, and how to handle and use your yarn in lots of different ways.  The whole thing is written in a casual, friendly tone, as I talk you through how I’ve handled different kinds of sweaters and processes, giving you tips from my years of experience.  The ebook was professionally edited, by Robynn Weldon, so it’s top quality and error-free.

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

(The recycled yarns above were used to make my Freewheelin’ cabled shawl and my Either/Or full mittens.)  There’s a bunch of info about exactly how to look for sweaters to recycle at thrift stores, to get usable yarns that you’ll like; what the deal-breakers are, what to pay attention to, etc, including a shopping checklist.

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

There’s detailed info on how to deal with your recycled yarns: measuring yardage and weight, splicing, working with multiple strands, adding to your yarns…

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

And then there’s a whole section on spinning recycled yarns!  If you have a spinning wheel, you can do so much with recycled yarn-making.  Plus, since you’re spinning yarn which is already yarn (not turning fiber into yarn), it’s SO easy and you basically don’t need to look at your hands, so you can do things like read subtitles at the same time.  Anyway, below is a recycled yarn I made on the left which I then spun and plied together with another similar red recycled yarn – one of them is a wool/angora blend and the other is a merino/cashmere blend, so they plied together to make a ridiculously soft new yarn:

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

Here is a recycled wool yarn that I spun and plied with three different strands of threads and lightweight yarn (it was used to make a Wild is the Wind hat sample):

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

The ebook goes into making self-striping yarns, like this one made from a striped sweater, spun and plied with thread (it was used to knit my Freak Out! mask/hat):

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

And there’s a tutorial on how to chain ply (aka Navajo ply) recycled yarns, like I did with this cotton yarn, turning a striped sweater into a self-striping bulky yarn (used to make one of my Gentle on My Mind hat samples):

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

Another self-striping chain-plied yarn I made, shown before and after spinning, from a wool striped sweater (used to make a pair of Either/Or fingerless mitts):

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

And then here’s a different self-striping yarn I made from that same striped sweater yarn, plied with an angora recycled yarn (used to make my striped Wild is the Wind hat) – the ebook explains all the details.

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

There’s also a bit about making accessories out of parts of partially-deconstructed sweaters, like I did with these two items:

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

And there’s a new pattern included in the ebook!  I wasn’t planning on adding a new pattern to the Remixed collection, but I felt so bad about the long wait for the ebook, I thought a new pattern might help everyone to feel better (mainly myself, to ease the guilt feelings).  So, I kind of remixed my Scant top-down hat pattern, using that same construction and crown pattern, adding a brand new (sideways modular) brim.

Rejuvenation Rejuvenation

The hat is called Rejuvenation (on ravelry here), and it’s only available with the new ebook / the full Remixed collection, but it is included for you as a separate pdf file as well, for easy knitting.  It’s named after an album by The Meters:


This sample happens to be made from the two yarns recycled from the sweaters that those two accessories above also came from – a wool/cashmere blend, which was held triple-stranded to make a bulky weight for the hat, and bulky multi-colored yarns in very short lengths to make the scrappy-striped brim:

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

The pattern is for any weight/gauge, no swatching needed, custom sized, and it works very nicely with the brim in a contrasting color or not.  It would work with stripes/multi-colored yarns in either the body or the brim; it’s a simple enough design that it’s very versatile with what kinds of yarns you can use.  My other sample is all in one yarn, a spun recycled yarn, approximately aran weight:

There's a new hat pattern included in my Remixed yarn-making ebook! Rejuvenation uses the same measure-as-you-go top-down construction as my Scant pattern, with a brand new modular brim, which can be folded up or down. You could say it's a remix of an old Rejuvenation

Here’s what the yarn looked like; it’s the same yellow wool pictured above, spun and plied with a red angora-blend recycled yarn:

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

The hat can be worn different ways, brim up or down, spun around on the head in different positions.  You can see more photos and also read more details about the specifics of my samples on their ravelry project pages: bulky striped-brim sample, and plied yarn sample.

Rejuvenation Rejuvenation

So that’s an idea of what’s in the ebook.  You can find the table of contents and a preview of the first few pages here on my site, if you want to see exactly what’s included.

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

I’m hoping that it inspires knitters who never considered making recycled yarns, and helps make the process clear and manageable for everyone, all info needed in one easy-to-follow pdf.  If you want to try out making recycled yarn, but you’re overwhelmed by the messy expanse of free online tutorials and forums, this ebook is a way to get everything in one place, learn all the steps of recycled yarn-making from the beginning, read lots of detailed tips and info that will help you along the way, all illustrated by clear photos and lots of examples.

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

If you do use the ebook to make your own yarn, I’d LOVE to see it!  Use #remixedyarn on instagram, etc, and it would be awesome if you’d post your yarns in the leethal knitters! ravelry forums!!

Filed under: hats,knitting,Remixed,self-publishing,thrifty finds,yarn — Lee Meredith @ 12:58 pm

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


5/23: Craft Gossip

5/11: WEBS

5/28: Blue Sky Alpacas

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

April 19, 2016

Second VIP club 2016 hat pattern: Omnia!

Omnia mystery hat

Here is Omnia (ravelry link), the second hat in the VIP club 2016 series of hat designs!  If you are a VIP club member, you have the pattern and have maybe even knit it already; if not, you can join the club right now, receive this pattern (and Provocateur) immediately, and get four more hat designs – all with different constructions! – throughout the year, every other month.  Also, mega discounts on ALL my patterns!!  Click here to join!


Omnia is constructed from the top down, in the round, and it can be made in sport or worsted weight yarn, with different kinds of striping patterns making it look really different.  Above is a brown merino recycled yarn (approximately sport weight) with narrow stripes of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool.  Below is the same Spincycle self-striping yarn by itself:


Here it is in Plymouth Galway Sport wool yarn, with four colors striped in 3-row wide stripes throughout the whole thing:


Here’s a sample in worsted weight leftover scraps, lots of Malabrigo and assorted other yarns (they are all listed on my rav project page here if you’re interested):


This subtly-striped sample is in two colorways of madelinetosh tosh merino worsted weight yarn, both of which are variegated and share a shade of teal, making the stripes really blend together:


And my final sample is in Black Trillium Pebble Worsted (leftover from my Liy sample), with the 1×1 ribbing modification option included in the pattern.  Normally, just the brim is ribbed, but you can choose to make the whole hat ribbed for a slightly different look:


Close up of the ribbed fabric:


Another way to customize the look of your hat is the wavy bottom edge: if you make the brim very short, you’ll get a very wavy bottom edge, like the sample below, but if you want your bottom less wavy you can knit the ribbed brim for longer and the wave will be less dramatic, or disappear completely if you go extra long.


As for sizing, this hat comes in three sizes for the sport weight gauge, two sizes for the worsted weight gauge, and three height options for every size (and then you can always add extra height to the bottom if it’s not long enough at the end).  All of my sport weight samples are the medium size, a perfect fit on my 22″ circumference head.  The above and below samples are both the short height, for a fitted hat.


The below sample is the medium height, for a bit of slouchiness.  If you want lots of slouch, the long height will give you that!


And then the worsted weight sizing is a bit versatile – the sample below is the smaller size, which fits my head snugly, in the short height.  It’s shorter than I’d like, and I may go back and add some more height at the bottom so I’ll wear it more, but I wanted to show it to you as is.  While this size stretches to fit me, it would be more comfy on a smaller head size:


My ribbed sample is the larger worsted weight size, for a comfier fit on my head, in the short height:


And my scrappy sample is the larger size, long height, for super extreme slouchiness!  It’s so long that I can fold up the ribbed brim at the bottom and still have plenty slouch, which is how I’ve been wearing it:


Here’s a look at the top-down construction, starting with a very small circumference and increasing out, shown here with the magic loop method:

Omnia in progress

As for techniques, this hat is just increases and decreases, not much to it technique-wise, but it does use an uncommon increase method, the centered double increase.  I added a video tutorial and photo+written step-by-step tutorial to my website to go with the pattern – click here to find them.

screenshot of cdi tutorial

I also added a new video tutorial for weaving in the ends as you knit, which will come in very handy if you’re making your own stripes!

screenshot of weaving in end tutorial

Especially with a hat like the one below, with stripes in all different yarns, if you weave in all those ends as you knit around you’ll have very little finishing work when you’re done.  On this one, I carried the main color turquoise yarn down over the stripes, and weaved in the ends of each new color as I knit:


As for design inspiration – my VERY old design Waving Chevron Scarf (ravelry link) uses the same concept of making wavy chevrons by moving the decreases back and forth, with just one chevron making the scarf:

waving chevron scarf

Ravelry user graphica made a gorgeous blanket version of this scarf (she has very detailed notes on her rav project page), repeating the pattern several times across, brilliant!  I used that concept, redesigned the stitch pattern with different kinds of increases and decreases to work better in a hat, and turned the idea into Omnia!


I had lots of fun playing with different kinds of stripes in all my samples.  The striping pattern I used for the four-color hat below was designed so that I’d never have more than two yarns attached at a time, so I wouldn’t have to worry about four yarn balls getting all tangled up.


Here’s how I did it (copied from my rav project page): I striped 3-row stripes, with 5 stripes of each color, overlapping with different colors at the beginning and the end of the 5 stripes.  So I started with (green, white) twice, then I switched the white with blue and striped (green, blue) three times, so now there were 5 stripes total of green and the striping pattern was established, so all I needed to do was switch each color to a new color whenever 5 stripes were completed.  I switched out the green with orange and striped (orange, blue) twice; now there were 5 stripes blue so I switched out the blue for white and did (orange, white) three times, so there were 5 stripes orange… once it’s established it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening.


I actually knit this pattern nine times total (not counting partially frogging and reknitting); the Spincycle sample was completely knit and blocked, and it ended up not fitting – it was an early prototype and I hadn’t figured out all the sizing yet, so that ended up being the small size – so I frogged it, rewashed the yarn (pictured below), and started over.  This pattern was tricky to figure out the details, and I went into it thinking it was a pretty simple design, which is part of why I didn’t do enough swatching to figure things out in the first place before knitting complete hats.  That’s bad design planning on my part, I could have saved myself a lot of hat-knitting time by doing better planning in the first place.

yarn used for VIP club hat #2 samples

I knit two earlier prototypes to figure out the details which both ended up not being usable as samples. The first one, below to the left, in Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool self-striping worsted weight, was my first try at all the ideas, and ended up being very different from the final pattern.  It’s still unblocked because I’ll be frogging it to reuse the yarn; but I learned a lot from the trial and error of knitting it!

Omnia early prototype Omnia early prototype

My second try (above right) was in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Long Print LP, which is perfect for this pattern but discontinued, sadly; it’s pretty close to the final pattern, smaller worsted weight size, close to the long height, but it’s different enough to not be an official sample, although I probably won’t frog it because it is wearable.  (Both of these ran out of yarn around the bottom and were finished off in stripes of other yarns at the bottom.)

Omnia Omnia

If you want to see lots of different kinds of striping patterns besides my samples, VIP club knitters have lots of projects up on ravelry!  LOVE the variety of these projects!!


The Spincycle Dyed in the Wool is such a great fit for this pattern, making for a really cool look, so different from normal stripes.  If you’re in Portland, I got my skein from my newest very local-to-me SE yarn shop, Starlight Knitting Society, where you’ll find a nice selection of this yarn!  My one skein made the full hat above, with enough left over to make the narrow stripes in the hat below:


So that’s Omnia!  If you make it, please be sure to post your project photos on ravelry so we can all see what kinds of stripes you make!!  The next VIP club hat is coming in June, so you’ll learn the details about it on (or around) May 24th.  I hope you have lovely spring weather and lots of colorful flowers wherever you are!

Filed under: hats,knitting,leethal VIP club — Lee Meredith @ 1:41 pm

April 12, 2016

New pattern: Route 99!

Have you seen that there’s a brand new online knitting magazine? It’s called Stranded, and I have a pattern in the first issue!

Route 99

This is Route 99 (ravelry link), a fingering weight, modular, slip-stitch-colorwork, vintage turban style hat.

Route 99

These beautiful photos are from Stranded (copyright Andi Satterlund), which has 6 patterns, 2 tutorials (a knitting one by me, and a non-knitting craft tutorial), an interview with Cirilia Rose, and other fun knitting-related articles and content. The whole thing is $16, and it’s only available for one year so get it while you can! It’s here on ravelry.

Route 99

My main sample is the large size, knit to accommodate the model’s fabulous hair, so it’s a bit too large on me, but you can see here how it can be worn different ways with the panel in different places around the head:

Route 99 Route 99

Because of how this one is too big, I think it actually looks best on me with the panel in the back, turning it into a kind-of-bonnet style look:

Route 99

The yarn used, Spud & Chloë Fine fingering weight wool/silk blend, is a perfect fit, with the silk adding a bit of drape for the scrunched-in shaping.

Route 99

My first prototype sample can show you how the pattern looks in a more fitted size (this is size medium), in a different kind of yarn (100% wool Made in America Yarns Wayfarer), and in a different kind of colorway:

Route 99

Again, how it can be worn in different ways…

Route 99 Route 99

And also how it looks with different kinds of hair! Below are from my first round of photos, back when I first made this prototype about a year ago:

Route 99 Route 99

Which brings me back to the design process… The hat was inspired by looking at Art Deco designs, and combining the stitch patterning ideas with an idea for a turban-style hat, like styles that were popular in the 20’s and 30’s, and again in the 60’s and 70’s.

Route 99

The construction is using the same modular concept as my Unbroken hat design (below left), but with different shaping/ratios so that the panel really cinches in the body of the hat, making the turban shape. The modular sections are joined with short rows, increases, and decreases, so there are no picked up stitches, and no seaming.

Unbroken hat! Route 99

The stitch patterning is entirely made with slipped stitches and cables, so you’re only ever using one yarn at a time.

Route 99

There are three sizes – small, medium, large (measurements are given in the pattern) – but the circumference and the height are made independently, which means you can mix and match your circumference size with a different height size if you want to. The samples shown are large/large and medium/medium; if you have a bigger head circumference than I do but you don’t want your hat to come down quite as much as the orange one does on the model, you can make the large circumference with the medium height, for example.

Route 99

I thought this hat would be a good fit for Stranded’s warm weather issue, which has a road trip theme, because it’s not a super warm hat – it’s perfect for just covering up a bad hair day, keeping your hair in place while driving with the windows down, or throwing in your bag in case you need a little warmth after the sun sets. It’s also a great summertime knit since it’s a small project in lightweight yarn.

Route 99

I also contributed a tutorial to this first issue of Stranded, on cabling without a cable needle, which I definitely recommend using when making this hat!

A few quick technical things:

  • I strongly recommend using the crochet provisional cast-on technique shown here (click for tutorial & video).
  • It is very highly recommended that your darker color is the MC, lighter color CC.
  • The pattern only gives the gauge in the stitch pattern; so that you can estimate if your yarn/needles will be a good fit, my stockinette stitch gauge in the same yarn/needles was 27.5 sts and 34 rows per 4 inches / 10 cm.
  • Markers are used throughout the pattern to keep track of everything; sometimes they are placed and then not mentioned again – they are there to either keep track of pattern repeats/segments, or increases/decreases which always happen on the other side of the marker from the rest of the row stitches.
  • The whole pattern is written and charted; the cable crosses are all written out for using a cable needle but it will go much more quickly if you cable without one (well, it won’t go quickly no matter what, but you know, it’ll be really extra slow if you’re using a cable needle for all those little cables).

Route 99

So that’s Route 99! This pattern is really outside my usual design boxes, with its lightweight colorwork, but I am SO happy with how it turned out and I REALLY love the hat. It’s not a quick or simple knit, it takes awhile – Stranded describes it as “approachably complex” – but I think the time and effort is worth it for the finished object. I hope you do too!

Filed under: hats,knitting — Lee Meredith @ 7:30 am

March 15, 2016

New pattern: Custom Triyang!

The final pattern in the Triyang collection is the Custom Triyang pdf, only included with the full collection, for obvious reasons.  (On ravelry here.)

Custom Triyang mockup

Custom Triyang includes the original Triyang pattern rewritten in a way that allows the plain (garter stitch or stockinette stitch) sections to be combined with the sections from Twou, Vire, and Liy.  (Ravelry links: Triyang, Twou, Vire, Liy; blog posts: Triyang, Twou, Vire, Liy.)

Custom Triyang mockup

The three complex patterns are all designed with the same stitch/row counts for the parts that match up, so they can easily be mixed and matched.  These mockups are photoshopped examples using the different samples I knit of each separate pattern, to show approximately how it would look to combine the sections.  Check out the versions made by knitters on ravelry to see lots of different actual examples!

Custom Triyang mockup

You can combine different kinds of stitch patterns in one solid color throughout for a subtler mix-and-match look, like one single yarn with a lace section, a cabled section, and a garter stitch section.  I had fun with color for my sample!

Custom Triyang!

This is the custom sample I made, which starts with mixed-weight stockinette stripes for the bottom section 1 – bulky yarns (three different yarns: Patons Classic Wool Roving, Quince & Co Puffin, and Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky) striped with fingering weight (Knit Picks Palette).  Instructions for this option are included in the pattern:

Custom Triyang!

Then I switched to Universal Yarn Deluxe Chunky for the rest of the piece, working the middle section in the colorwork pattern from Liy, a 2-color slip-stitch pattern with big eyelet holes:

Custom Triyang!

I used the Vire pattern for the top section, for big, squishy, bulky cables:

Custom Triyang!

This shawl, in bulky weight, is HUGE, like wearing a blanket, so cozy!  Like the other collection patterns (besides the original Triyang pattern), the length is determined by the weight/gauge, if you’re using any of the Twou/Vire/Liy pattern sections for the top or bottom parts.  But, if you’re just mixing and matching garter stitch, stockinette, and/or a middle section from any of the patterns, then you can make any size with any weight.

Custom Triyang! Custom Triyang!

This is a tiny mini-sample, made with stockinette for the bottom section, the Vire cabled middle section, and garter stitch for the top section:

Custom Triyang!

So that concludes the Triyang collection!  The whole collection is modular, made with increases, decreases, and short rows, no picked up stitches, minimal yarn breaking (none at all if you’re using one single color throughout), designed so that the sections all fit together cleanly and lay flat even when different kinds of stitch patterns are mixed and matched.  It’s definitely recommended that you use yarns that will block out, helping everything to smooth out, but as long as you work it all as written there shouldn’t be any major bunching up, pulling in, etc, between the different sections.

Custom Triyang!

I’d LOVE to see your Custom Triyangs, so please post photos in your ravelry projects to share them, and you can post in the ravelry group as well!  Happy springtime!

Filed under: knitting,Triyang collection — Lee Meredith @ 11:55 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
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