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

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

February 15, 2016

First VIP club 2016 hat pattern: Provocateur!


The first leethal VIP club hat mini-mystery-knit-a-long happened early this month, beginning on February 2nd and (the mystery) ending last Tuesday the 9th.  The KAL continues a bit, as knitters can still post their projects to the forums, since a one-week KAL is so quick, but there’s no more mystery.  The hat, Provocateur (ravelry link), looks like this!


It’s constructed sideways, knit flat, with short rows making the crown shaping, decreases along the bottom and staggered increases making the bias design, with cables flaring down diagonally from their starting points squished together at the top.


It’s designed for worsted-aran weight yarns, with three different gauges making for three heights.  My grey sample (below) is the largest gauge, using Cestari Traditional Collection 2 Ply aran weight yarn, for the tallest/slouchiest height; my orange sample (above) is the medium gauge, using Harrisville Designs Highland worsted weight yarn, for a semi-slouchy height.


There are three different circumferences given, which vary depending on gauge/height (all details are included in the pattern), but you can also customize your circumference by stopping at any time, making it custom fit to your head by trying it on as you go.  Both of my samples are worked to the medium circumference row count, which is a medium circumference in the orange (medium-gauge) sample, and a kind of large or medium/large circumference in the grey (large-gauge) sample, for an extra loose, slouchy hat.


The whole pattern is written and charted, so knitters can work from whichever is easier for their brains.  The project starts with a provisional cast-on (instructions included), and ends with a 3-needle bind-off to seam the two edges together, which creates a pretty much invisible seam in the garter stitch, as you can see below.


I have tutorials for cabling without a cable needle here on my website, which will make the project go much more quickly!  The cables are basic – 2 front stitches twisting left over 1, 2, and 3 back stitches – but there are seven cables on every single right side row for awhile.  The rows go more quickly in the second half, as the cables hit the bottom edge and there are six, then five, then four, then three cables per row.


I recommend using either the shadow wraps or the German short rows method for the short rows – I have tutorials for both on my website here – because of how you’ll need to sometimes work wrapped stitches into cables.  I used shadow wraps on one sample and German short rows on the other, and they both worked well for me.


It’s meant to be worn this way, with the seam over the right ear, so that the cables shoot down from the top in front, and then are spread out in the back which helps the back slouch down nicely.  I am REALLY happy with how this pattern turned out – one of my favorite hats I’ve designed!


This pattern will continue to be a part of the leethal VIP club, going out to all new members, throughout the whole year.  Five more hat patterns will go out to club members, one every other month – they will all have different kinds of constructions, and different techniques and stuff.  Provocateur will be released for individual sale a year after its initial release, so in February 2017.


Check out all the awesome Provocateurs on ravelry to see what it looks like in different kinds of yarns, colors, sizes, etc.  I love them all!  And sign up for the club (on ravelry here) if you haven’t already, to get this pattern immediately and then the other five hats in time to join the knit-a-longs.  This first one has been so much fun!!

Filed under: hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,leethal VIP club — Lee Meredith @ 4:59 pm

January 1, 2016

Happy 2016! Now I can reveal the leethal VIP club!

I brainstormed this idea late last summer I think, got super excited, and then was bummed I couldn’t actually do anything about it because I wanted it to be a full calendar year thing, and now hey, it’s the start of the calendar year!  The time is finally here!!  Introducing my BIG 2016 THING:


So here’s the deal.  If you sign up to be a club member, you get…

  • 6 hat patterns spread throughout the year (as mini-mystery-knit-a-longs, in the ravelry group)
  • 20% off ALL my self-published patterns ever released
  • 50% off all brand new patterns self-published in 2016, for the first week
  • extra club member treats in your inbox

The whole shebang is $20, for the full year membership.  Or rather, the 2016 membership (no matter when you sign up, it ends at the end of the year).  Sign up through ravelry, or my website, but be logged into ravelry so that the discounts will work.  I’ll give all the fine-print details below (also given on the webpage, and included in the club pdf that you’ll get when you sign up).  But before I do that, there is already one club treat you’ll get immediately!


The first club treat is this vintage knitting coloring book calendar, with drawings of photos from vintage knitting magazines, mostly of the 60’s and 70’s.


I made the drawings by tracing the outlines of the photos on a lightbox, turning them into these coloring book style line drawings.  The knits are perfect for coloring!


Print out the 6 pages (2 months per page), and color them in, either all at once or as each month arrives.  I did these pages with colored pencils (top page) and markers (page below):


And there’s a bonus!  I had one extra drawing that didn’t really fit with the rest, as it had a more 40’s kind of vibe (the photo was from a 1951 knitting booklet), so I made it into a free-to-all 1-page calendar pdf, downloadable from my downloads page here.

IMG_8100-1200edit 2016freecalendar-tn copy

Other club treats throughout the year may include things similar to this (coloring or coloring-adjacent kinds of activities), and/or tutorial-type things like mini craft projects, recipes, mini-knitting-patterns… I have lots of vague ideas but the extras will basically be things that I get inspired to make in the moment.  If one day I suddenly have an idea for something fun I want to share, there’s an extra for you!  Spur of the moment inbox goodies!


By contrast, the hat patterns are pretty well planned out already.  The 6 hat patterns, released at the beginning of every other month throughout the year (the first Tuesdays of February, April, June, August, October, December) will all have different constructions from each other, and they will use a variety of techniques.  Cables will be reoccurring, but not used in every pattern.  Yarn weights will vary; most likely, none of these patterns will be fully any-gauge, but some will have multiple gauge options, or be adjustable based on gauge, or have some other variations/options.  These will be more straightforward patterns than I often write though, meant to be fun quick projects without too much extra thinking required.

The first hat, to be released February 2nd, will use worsted weight yarn (my yarn is pictured below).  There is already a ravelry page up, since that’s required in order to be able to sell the club membership (which is technically sold as an “ebook”), but normally the hat pattern pages won’t go up until their release days.  I will give yarn requirement info to club members (and post it on the club page) a couple of weeks before release, so that everyone can get ready to cast on right away when the patterns are released.


On each hat’s release day, the pdf will be released without photos, for a mini-mystery-knit-a-long, for the first week.  The whole pattern will be there, just no photos.  The knit-a-long will happen in the leethal knitters! ravelry group.  After one week, the pattern (and ravelry page) will be updated with photos.

To keep the mini-mystery-KAL’s mysterious, there are placeholder pictures on the club page you can use as your top project photos, and there will be new ones added with each hat release as well (please don’t put a photo of your hat at the top for that first week); there will be spoiler and spoiler-free KAL threads for each hat’s week of mystery.

The hats will only be available to club members throughout the year, not individually.  In 2017, the patterns will continue to be available as a collection/ebook, at the same price as the club, but without the membership discounts and extras.  1 year after the original release date of each pattern, it will be made available for individual sale.


And now for some details about the discounts.  (There are a few more fine print details on the club page, so if you have a question, or if you run into an issue, it might be addressed there.)

You must be logged into ravelry at time of club membership purchase (and future pattern purchases) for the discounts to work.  If you don’t have a ravelry account, it’s free to get one, and you don’t have to use it for anything else, just be logged in and the discounts will happen automatically.

The 20% off all my patterns includes all self-published patterns, ebooks, and collections, purchased through my website or ravelry.  The discount will automatically be applied (no coupon code needed).  The only patterns this doesn’t include are by third party publishers and collaborations, so Meridian by Twist Collective, Unbroken by Holla Knits, Galax by Interweave, etc, and the In Triplicate patterns (because they are in a collaboration).

The 50% off new patterns is for the first week of release, and only applies to brand new patterns which were not previously available for pre-order.  After 1 week they will be 20% off like all other self-published patterns.  The discount will automatically be applied (no coupon code needed).

The half off doesn’t include patterns that could be pre-ordered before 2016 because it just wouldn’t be fair to everyone who already pre-ordered the patterns – this means the Triyang collection shawls, and the third pattern in the Full Body Trio.  Patterns which were previously released by a third party, and are newly self-published may or may not be eligible for the 50% discount, depending on specifics – it will be announced either way at time of re-release.  Basically, if it wasn’t available to purchase previously, and I’m under no pricing obligations to a third party, the discount will apply, but there might be outside reasons why it can’t, so if I’m able to discount a pattern to club members, I will.

Note to blog readers:  Things in my life have been changing a bit lately, and I’m not sure exactly how 2016 will go, which means I might not have a lot of design time beyond the 6 club hats.  I have plans/ideas for two collections (a smaller one and a bigger one) that I really want to release in 2016, but I can’t guarantee they are going to get done.  So, my point is, don’t expect the half off discount to have tons of opportunities to be used throughout the year… I’m hoping for around like 10 patterns besides the hats, but I might be overly hopeful about that.

The discounts will not work with gift pattern purchases.  This means 2 things.  1) If you are a club member, and you use ravelry’s “send as gift” button to gift a pattern to another knitter, your club discount will not be applied.  2) If you gift the club membership to another knitter, they will get the hat patterns and the treats, but the discounts will not work for them.  However, in that case, the discounts will work for you, and you are free to use them.

There will be no limited-time sales offered on my patterns throughout the year, with one possible exception of the holiday gift-a-long, but only new 2016 patterns will be offered in the GAL sale (if I do it), so only patterns which members had the chance to get at 50%.  I’m kind of burnt out on sales, so I’m opting to skip them this year (no birthday sale, etc) and do this club system instead.  Of course, the 50% discounts are limited-time, but tied into the release of a new pattern, which is already being promoted and talked about and stuff.  Anyway, we’ll see how it all goes.


And a few other club details.

Hat knit-a-longs and other club chatter will all happen in the leethal knitters! ravelry group.

Use #leethalVIP with any club stuff posted to social media! (And if you want to pin it, there’s a custom-for-pinterest image on the webpage!)

Everything (new hat patterns, pattern updates, information about what yarn you’ll need, extra treats) will be sent to members through pattern updates, with notifications sent to email inboxes and ravelry message boxes (you can turn off the notifications from going to your email inbox from within any of the update notification emails, if you check ravelry often and don’t want them in both places).

I think that’s enough for this word-heavy post.  Post any questions you might have about the club in the comments here, or, better yet, in the ravelry group so everyone can read the answers there.  I’m really excited about this whole club situation; I am absolutely LOVING the first club hat design and can’t wait to share it with you!  I’ll blog the club patterns here each after the mystery week is over, and of course show them off on instagram and stuff.  Sign up now to maximize your membership and get your calendar right away; oh and, if you color your calendar pages and show them off, be sure to use #leethalVIP because I’d love to see your coloring!!  Happy new year! <3

Filed under: hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,leethal store,leethal VIP club,self-publishing — Lee Meredith @ 12:01 am
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