May 4, 2019

It’s Me Made May and I am Ready! (Or, my first full year as a garment sewist)

Oh hi blog! Since I only pop in here once in awhile, I’m going to start with a little life catch-up, then I’ll get on to garment sewing! Wait but FIRST, I have been blogging a little bit, for my work! I did a post for my work blog that I’d been meaning to do here on my own blog for YEARS and had never found the time to do: all about my UK-Ireland trip sweater project! Check it out!

travel sweater with labels

And I did a pretty in-depth Kool-Aid yarn-dyeing in the microwave tutorial, which is a different method from all the old blog tutorials I did years ago.

kool-aid dyed yarn

It’s now the beginning of May, so I’ve been working at Knit Picks for over SEVEN months wow! I still feel kinda new. BUT, my position changed halfway through that time, so I am relatively new to my actual job. The good news is I like my new position a lot better than the first one! Yay! My company is awesome because they paid attention to me and a co-worker who started at the same time as me, watching our strengths, and decided that hey, she would be a better fit in a different position and I would be a better fit in her position as book designer. And it’s true! So I’m designing print books now instead of emails & web graphics and I feel more confident in my work, happier with the workflow, and just all-around like I’m better and the job is better for me. Yay! I just finished the first batch of books that I fully designed, which will be out in the summer. The set of books coming out very soon was the first round I was in charge of, but the positions were all kind of mid-transition, so it was all hands on deck. Another designer did the covers and title treatments, and another helped a ton with photo selection and layout, so while I had a huge hand in those books, they were a team effort. Luckily, my team is great! But I’ll be really excited when the first all-me books come out in a few months! (Maybe I should add, don’t be TOO excited—I’m working within a set template, on a very tight timeline, so my creative freedom isn’t wide with these books. I’m actually super cool with the restrictions; since I don’t need to make design choices about everything, because most of the basic layout stuff is already decided for me, I can put a little extra time into fun design details, and, more importantly?, put plenty of time into proofreading, fine-tuning, and trying to make the books as perfect as possible for knitters to use! But yeah, they won’t actually LOOK very different from all the other Knit Picks pattern books.)

Taku sweater

So, I started my job at the beginning of October; I was so overwhelmed by the huge life change of working full-time in an office that I had little weekend energy and I didn’t sew anything for the first couple of months, and didn’t knit very much either really. I finished that Norah Gaughan sweater above, which I’d started in June, and I started another sweater that I still haven’t finished yet:

Spiral pullover

In November, I got started thinking about gift projects, which I didn’t really start until December, and I finished them by the end of January, so all my creative time and energy was spent on those until February. Here are a couple of those gift knits.

gift knits

And then February was the month from hell. On February 2nd, Banzo died, unexpectedly at only ten years old. I was so completely heartbroken and devastated (still am) that I could barely sleep or eat in the days after it happened, and my body reacted to all that by getting the worst cold I’ve had in years. So then I was heartsick and body-sick through most of the month … and just to top it all off with a cherry on top, the month ended with learning we had rats living in our attic. I did knit a lot that month, therapeutic stockinette in pretty colors. I got most of the body done in February, and then finished it at the end of March:

Gaugeless Cardigan

Finally in mid-March I gathered up some sewjo and made a dress. For some reason, the thing I was motivated to make was a summery caftan dress, so I had to style it up warm to be able to wear it in early spring.

Mojave caftan

That weekend was the first of seven in a row now that I’ve made one item per week! This weekend will be the eighth if I make one of the things I want to make soon… but I JUST picked up my freshly up-and-running new old Bernina Record so I’ll be practicing on that this weekend and might not actually complete a project. We’ll see! (In the background there is my cheapo Singer which is what I used to make everything you see in this post!)

sewing machines

Anyway, here are the things I’ve made each week lately: that first dress above was Mojave in a thrifted sheet. Then I made a flannel LB Pullover.

flannel top

Zinnia skirt in a thrifted sheet. My first pleats!

pleated skirt

One Hour Top in a thrifted knit sheet. (First time using a twin needle.)

simple top

York Pinafore in reclaimed corduroy and a fabric scrap for the pockets, both from Scrap.

pinafore with patterned pockets

Another Mojave in a thrifted flannel sheet with a couple of Connecting Threads bits.

flannel caftan

And lastly, last weekend I made an LB Pullover dress hack in a thrifted duvet cover. Whew!

bright big dress

But hey, that’s just the last two months! My garment sewing journey began in earnest one year ago, when I decided I wanted to wear something that matched my graphic design portfolio for my graduation portfolio show. I’d been using a sewing machine since I was… 6, 7, 8? Not sure… and I’d done clothing re-construction projects and simple improvised garment sewing, but I’d never actually used a pattern until the summer before that (July 2017) when I sewed my first Dress No.1.

simple dress with patch pockets

After that, I made another Dress No.1…

simple dress with elephant stencils

…and I also made some leggings using a self-drafted pattern.

leggings with craft stencils

I kept planning to get more into using patterns and making cool clothes, but I just kept not having the motivation to devote time and energy to the learning process; there were always too many things on my plate. But then, I was using these hand-drawn patterns in my portfolio, which I thought would look so cool on fabric, so I had the idea of sewing something with the fabric to wear and I got obsessed and HAD to do it! It was the motivating factor I needed to finally learn how to make clothes! Because I wanted to make something that looked good—not improvised, not scrappy, using a pattern more complex than Dress No.1 … so I needed to teach myself how to do it. And find a pattern to use, starting from scratch, not really knowing anything about the sewing community and indie patterns, etc, etc. This happened to be around the beginning of May that I started brainstorming this idea. So I stalked the #memademay instagram hashtag to start collecting patterns I wanted to make. I use Pinterest to keep track of patterns (this is the only thing I use pinterest for anymore!), so you can browse the patterns I want to make, the ones I now own, interesting free ones, vintage ones I like, and sewing tutorials & inspiration.

pinterest screenshot

So right away, after deciding to do this thing, I started practicing using patterns, first by sewing an Endless Summer tunic, which was a pattern recommended by a friend as an easy beginner-level pattern (it’s quite a step up from Dress No.1 though!)—my first one was a bit messy but pretty good for how much I was still learning:

first tunic

And then I played around with this Mix and Match Wrap Dress pattern… the first half I made was way too big, so then I made another half in the smaller size and it fit fine but was still kinda weird… but all that was good practice!

two-part wrap dress

And I made a self-drafted Boxy Tee as more sewing practice. Funny thing about this: I made the pocket to exactly fit my phone, and then like a month later I got a new phone, and of course it’s bigger and doesn’t fit! I still like it though.

multi-sheet fabric top

And then I pretty much just went for it with my chosen pattern and nice Spoonflower fabric! Eek I should have made a wearable muslin first, but I was short on time and heavy on confidence. I went very slowly, and it all turned out well! My chosen pattern was the River top, and here is my portfolio top, in action at my portfolio show:

portfolio top

It worked! Here’s my matching portfolio, front and back laser-cut wood covers (stained with turmeric):

portfolio covers

So that was it, I now knew how to use a pattern, and I had bookmarked a ton of patterns I wanted to make, and I’d started collecting fabric (from thrift stores, mostly), so I was officially a garment sewist! I made another River as a dress from a thrifted curtain:

white and blue dress

And I made two more Endless Summers: the first two I made are basically only for wearing around the house in the summer…

two tunics

…and then I made a flannel one that I LOVE and is one of my fave things I’ve made so far (all three of these are from thrifted sheets):

plaid flannel dress

I made another fun Boxy Tee:

rainbow tee

And I played around with the Mix and Match Wrap Dress some more, making two more halves. I still don’t have a complete wearable dress that I like, but maybe someday I’ll break out the pattern again and make something good from it!

two more dress halves

Another River dress from a flannel sheet that I LOVE (I think flannel is my favorite kind of fabric!):

plaid flannel dress

And an Akita top from that same sheet.

plaid flannel top

I made another Akita top that did not work very well and is for around-the-house wear only, and I attempted an Akita dress hack that I did a terrible job of drafting the bottom on and I need to just chop it into a top or tunic and then finish it so I can wear it… maybe I’ll do that this weekend!

two tops

I used the free York top pattern to try set-in sleeves for the first time:

top with sleeves

And I made a simple tank top to match the wrap skirt I made long ago:

tank top

Side note: I grabbed this pattern at JoAnn because the basic tank top, basic dress, basic pants all seemed like good things to have. I am not used to using big-4 patterns and I think I was supposed to add seam allowance and didn’t, so it turned out way too small (I added the panel in the center to make it fit, which I like, so everything worked out!), so I need to be more careful about that in the future… but then another weird thing is I can’t find this pattern anywhere online, to link it—all I can find is one ebay listing. It doesn’t exist on the Simplicity site, the JoAnn site, or anywhere else. I don’t understand how big-4 patterns work! So weird.

tank pattern

During this same time (basically all last summer, into early fall), I also made a dress from t-shirts that was an idea I want to develop more… it may turn into a blog tutorial or a free pattern download or something! So you get a sneaky closeup photo of that only—it’s a surprise!

t-shirts sewn closeup

That last stuff was made right before I started my job and lost my momentum. I jumped back on the machine in December when I decided to make a shirt for Pete for a gift! I got a bit ahead of myself… I bought the Negroni pattern to make his shirt, but then I had this plan to make a shirt for myself first to learn how it worked, so I bought the Archer pattern for myself…

shirt collar

I read a bunch of tutorials and stuff, learning how things like collars and sleeve plackets worked, but I really learn best by doing (can you tell?) so I started making myself a sleeveless Archer to make a collar, yoke, buttonband, as practice. But hey, guess what, there are different ways to make shirts! Turns out, basically every single element of the Archer shirt is different from the Negroni shirt—yoke, collar, buttonband, sleeves… completely different constructions. So I mostly made mine anyway, but since it was December and my shirt was sleeveless I still haven’t gotten around to finishing the hems and buttonholes…

two shirt collars

And I just went for it with his, but in a silly flannel fabric for the test run. And then I plan on making him a good one in nice fabric in the future. But it worked pretty well! The only major problem is the sleeves are WAY too long!! That’s an easy fix for the next one I make.

pete's flannel shirt

The yoke and the sleeve plackets were both SO COOL and magical to make! Crazy sewing origami-esque trickery.

flannel shirt closeups

Those projects taught me about flat felled seams, which was a game-changer, since I don’t have a serger. I did flat felled seams in my recent York Pinafore, LB Pullover projects, flannel Mojave. So much nicer than zig-zagging or pinking!

seams closeups

So those two shirts were so intense and I learned so much that I kind of burned myself out again, which leads us back to the top of this post when I finally gathered my sewjo back up a couple of months ago! Yay! And now it’s full-circle back to Me Made May, and I’ve sewn enough in the past year that I’m attempting to wear a handmade GARMENT every single day in May! I’ll be posting my outfits in small batches over on instagram.

a bunch of handmade clothes hanging

Handknit garments count, but I haven’t made very many of those. By the end of the month, I’ll probably be wearing some of my older reconstructed and improvised garments. Some of these, I want to re-reconstruct, fix them up now that my skills are built up. Like making nice, even hems on the old t-shirt skirts I made way back, and add pockets!.

tee skirt

Something else I’ve been doing since I really started sewing clothes is collecting fabric from my favorite fabric stores: thrift stores! Duh. Sheets can make awesome garment fabric, with great yardage! Of course, lots of thrift store sheets are too worn & pilly, or bad fiber contents, or just plain ugly, etc etc… there are lots of times I find zero good fabrics at a store. Then sometimes I’ll hit a jackpot shop and leave with like five awesome pieces of fabric. Sometimes it’s in the form of actual fabric, like with the selvedge still on, but actually that can be riskier than a sheet because sheets (and curtains) have tags that tell you the fiber content and washing instructions. I’ve bought a few pieces of fabric from actual fabric stores (that LB Pullover flannel came from JoAnn, and I have nice pieces from Bolt and Fabric Depot [RIP] that I’m saving for the right projects), or Ikea, but most of my stash came from thrift stores, Scrap, and then a bunch of free scores from work (I’m in the same building as Connecting Threads!).

fabric stash

I do plan on getting more from Spoonflower; that’s pretty pricey, so I like the idea of mostly using extremely inexpensive, reclaimed fabrics from thrift stores, and then putting that savings into treating myself occasionally with Spoonflower yardage.

spoonflower fabric swatches

Something else I’ve been brainstorming about is ways to use fat quarters (also Spoonflower swatches). I’ve gotten tons free from work, and I love treating myself to a couple of awesome fat quarters from places like Bolt, donna and toots, and Cool Cottons, or shops I find while traveling. But I need ways to use them! If I try one of my ideas and it works well, that might be another blog tutorial in the future.

pattern piece

That’s a shot of a pattern piece I printed on papers from graphic design school… for years, I brought home all full-size sheets that were blank on one side, knowing I’d find a use for them! Yay PDF patterns! Okay I need to stop writing and start trying out my new Bernina. May has already knocked my sewing energy up a notch and there are so many things I’m excited to make!!

Filed under: clothing,personal — Lee Meredith @ 2:49 pm

November 1, 2018

Ch ch ch ch changes…

Ohmygosh hi! I’m thinking about blogging again! My life has changed so much over the last few years, and at this point there are basically two paths this old blog could go down… it could just stop, and be nothing but an archive of past posts, or I could try to revive it as something like what it started as in the first place, over eleven years ago: a personal blog for sharing all sorts of projects and things, whatever I feel like writing about. I’d like it to be that!

So, as often as I feel like it, I plan to post here for fun: personal knitting and craft projects, garment sewing (the new thing I’ve just recently gotten into!), occasional tutorials perhaps, maybe food things sometimes, maybe I’ll show you graphic design projects sometimes, who knows. Whatever I feel like writing/posting about, here’s the place for it. Whenever I want to use more words than an instagram caption!

River dress!

So that’s the plan for the future—as for the past, if you follow me on social media, you probably have some idea of what I’ve been up to, but I’ll go ahead and tell you, all here in one place, and in a bit more gritty detail… a timeline, ish:

I was trying to design knitting patterns full-time, for many years, and it was going well, mostly a little better each year, until 2015… it just stopped getting better. Sales were dropping, I was struggling to make ends meet, and I finally came around to accepting that it didn’t matter how hard I worked, it was becoming impossible for me to design patterns for a living. I could switch gears to pursuing teaching as my main gig, or get a part-time job at a yarn shop, or something else within the knitting/designing world to keep on designing… I started really thinking seriously about what I wanted to do. Who I wanted to be when I grew up.

To be honest with you here, because why not, late 2015 / early 2016 was a REALLY hard time. When that realization hit me, that there was no amount of effort I could put in to make my knit design career work the way I wanted it to (meaning, pattern designing being the main way I spent my time and earned a living) I had major feelings of failure, many panic attacks, and lots of sad times. My life as I knew it could no longer go on, on this path I’d been on for a decade. I didn’t know what I was doing, with my whole life. The past ten years felt wasted. It was a shitty time. It was November 2015 to be exact, when this hit; I started crying over pizza with Pete at Rudy’s that night and couldn’t stop. There were lots of days when I started crying, but I also started seriously brainstorming about what the heck to do. For the past ten years I’d kind of gone where life took me, my career just finding itself, or something, which is probably part of the problem of why it failed? But now it was like I hit a wall at the end of that path and I was completely discombobulated, and needing to find a totally different path.

Oh, this is complicated and blurry; I’d already started thinking about doing things other than knit design earlier than this. I wasn’t totally deluded. Sales had been getting weaker for like another year before that, or showing signs of no longer getting better. The truth is, I was never making close to a living wage, my whole knit design (etc) career, so I’d always kept going with the expectation that if I worked my butt off things would keep getting a little better each year, and eventually I’d be earning maybe barely a living wage? But when I could see that it wasn’t continuing in the slight upward slope needed to keep going as I’d been going… I was aware that I needed to start rethinking things. But until late 2015, I’d been thinking along the lines of adding new streams of income to knit design, not changing paths completely. I’d started thinking about offering layout services for other designers’ patterns, because that was something I’d always enjoyed doing for myself, and I thought I was decently good at it. But, I was using iWork Pages (Apple’s version of Word), so even though my patterns looked okay, I didn’t feel like I could charge for a professional service using an unprofessional program. If I wanted to pursue this, I needed to learn InDesign.

So I started looking into learning graphic design, for real, beyond the self-taught design work I’d been doing for myself for my whole knit design / leethal career. I found out that my local community college had a really great intensive 2-year program, but what I thought I wanted was just a few classes. I just wanted to learn the programs—InDesign and Illustrator—enough to be able to fill in the blanks with online classes and practice. I could just do online classes, sure, but I didn’t think I’d learn as well as with a real life class. So I went to the info session about the PCC program, in the summer of 2015, and it seemed really cool, like a great program and like a really good fit for my interests and strengths. They tried to discourage people from doing it, saying how hard it is and how many people don’t make it past the first classes. It seemed really fun and interesting to me, but it would be such a big chunk of my life, I still didn’t want to commit to the whole program. Anyway, after it all broke in November and my life became sadness and panic attacks, and I knew I needed more than just a side gig option, but rather a whole new career, I decided that program would be a good life decision. The way the program worked, I had to take some classes as prerequisites at some point in 2016 and then the actual program would start in winter 2017, so in the spring I registered for some summer classes and I was on track.

In the meantime, my brainstorming about what I could do that wasn’t knit design led to my book idea! I started playing around with the idea in 2015, got an agent, and then worked with her on my proposal throughout the first few months of 2016… I got the deal with Clarkson Potter in spring and then spent the second half of 2016 going back to school and creating my book at the same time! It was busy and good. Exciting stuff.

I was still designing patterns a bit during this time, but it was no longer my main focus. I worked on finishing the designs that were already in the works throughout 2016, and I did my VIP club hats throughout that year, then released the Two Texture Trio during my first full-time school term in winter 2017—that was a BUSY quarter!—and I designed a pair of mitts for Stranded in spring of 2017. And that was that. No more knit designing. I’ve since re-knit and released Flit as a self-published pattern, and I will be releasing a couple of Stranded patterns and re-releasing at least one of my very old patterns as a newly updated design. So I’m not like retired from knit design 100% but I have no plans to design any new patterns. I’m not that sad about it; I have 174 patterns in my ravelry shop, I think that’s enough :-p

So, I did school, it was hard and good, and I graduated in June of this year. I spent a couple of months freelancing, job-searching, and working on personal projects. And I did a bunch of fun volunteer design work:

Volunteer graphic design work

I designed several for-fun graphics (scroll down to Printable Designs! to see them) that I stuck up on print-on-demand sites in case anyone was interested. These sites make the designers very little money, like I’ve seriously earned maybe 20 bucks from all my designs combined that I’ve put up in the last six months. But I like all the designs I made so I wanted them to be available to anyone else who wants them. They are also on my site as free downloads to print out on postcards or use as a desktop wallpaper or whatever.

Oh same deal with Spoonflower fabrics—I really love designing patterns (I even put a surface design page on my website in case anyone wants to license designs!), so I’ve put some of them up on Spoonflower as fabrics, and I’ve sold none, but they’re there in case anyone’s interested, and for myself to maybe buy some. Basically, since graduating, I had fun doing some personal projects that earned no money, which helped me get over any lingering feels of wanting to be self-employed anymore. It’s just no longer my path. I really enjoyed some of the freelancing but it’s also pretty stressful, and would be much more so if I needed to have enough jobs going at once to earn a living wage doing it.

Surface design!

So, I was looking at both part-time and full-time jobs, thinking that if I found a really great part-time job I would keep pursing the freelancing, and I do love working from home, not commuting, so there seemed to be strong pros to both a part-time and a full-time job… I applied to around 30 jobs total and heard nothing back from most of them; the graphic design job market in Portland is intense! One job application required a photo of me with my favorite vegetable (they never responded).

self-portrait with broccoli

And then I found a full-time job! Yay! But weird. I’m working in an office for the first time ever in my life. I’m working a structured 40 hours a week which leaves me with tons of time that I’m not working, and I’m basically not doing any work from home anymore now, aside from the possible occasional freelance gig I want to take on, and random knitting pattern updating I still plan to do, and some personal projects I still have in the works or rolling around in my head, but these things have no deadlines. Point being, I’m not constantly working or thinking about work like I have been for my entire adult life, and it’s pretty cool! I can sit and watch a movie and knit a just-for-fun project with no deadline and not feel guilty because I should be doing something else. A couple weekends ago, while Pete was working, I spent the day seeing a movie downtown and then walking around the city, all the way to southeast Division, in the perfect sunny fall weather, just enjoying the day and not thinking about work. It’s so nice! And then I just get a paycheck deposited into my account every two weeks, that’s unrelated to how many people decide to buy what I create. After so many years of my income being dependent on how popular my creations were, and how many people decided they were worth actually paying for (not just hearting on instagram)… I am not missing that at all.

It’s weird to talk about money, but I think it’s good to share these things sometimes. My situation has always been really privileged/lucky in that I had parents helping me through college, so no student loans, and then the whole time I had my self-employed career I had a partner with a steady income and some savings who could help me out when there was a slow month here and there, and cover enough joint expenses that my income could be pretty darn low and we could get by. If I’d been single, I always would have had to have a part-time job or some other steady stream of income, the whole time I was designing patterns. I think it’s important to know that if you’re trying to make it work doing something creative full-time, it’s freaking hard, if not impossible… if you look to me as someone who succeeded in doing it, well, the truth is that I didn’t. Not really. So there’s absolutely no shame in needing a part-time (or full-time) job to fill in the gaps from a creative self-employed pursuit that isn’t making enough to pay the bills. I really did think for years that if I worked hard enough it could be enough; I think the myth of meritocracy was so deeply embedded in my subconscious, I just kept working nonstop for years expecting it to be enough… anyway, I’m happy with where I am now but I had some really hard times, so hopefully my honesty might help some of you feel less alone or something?

But now I have a great job! I’m the new digital graphic designer at Knit Picks. I’m using all my knitting world experience from my pre-graphic-design-school years, combined with my new skills. It really makes those ten years feel less wasted! Not that they were actually wasted in any way, but that feeling, man, it’s rough. So I’m designing the Knit Picks emails and website graphics, working on other assorted graphic tasks like product tags and labels, helping proof the catalog and books, and possibly really fun future projects… and then also helping out with other Knit Picks tasks like naming yarns! Designing yarn colorways! Sharing my expertise on the podcast! Fun stuff.

If you’re wanting to see my work, the emails are all by me now (though some bits are using established styles/formats, but I’m still putting them all together), and a few graphics on the website are by me, with more coming soon as updates happen. A weird thing about this job is that because I mostly do web graphics, I’m mostly working in Photoshop, which is what I used the least in school. It’s frustrating at times, but I am already so much better in Photoshop than I was before! Oh I’m also on a PC, so that’s a big adjustment too, but I’m pretty used to it already; not as annoying as I expected it to be. So yeah it’s been just barely a month but I think I’m adjusting pretty well!

a snippet of a Knit Picks email I designed a snippet of a Knit Picks email I designed (and photo styled)

Another fun job thing is that I get to go help out with the Knit Picks booth at Stitches SoCal this weekend! It’s not part of my graphic design job, but the company is so small, people can kind of pitch in with things outside of their jobs, and they needed an extra person to help with the show so I’m going! I’ve never been to a Stitches before, so I’m excited about it! If you’re going, come to the KP booth and say hi!

And then as for the future of this blog… I have been getting really into garment sewing lately, so I’ll save that whole subject for another post, soon hopefully! And there are some random crafty things I’d like to post about, just to share, and to have a record for myself. I think now that this blog is no longer existing for my business, I’m just going to use it for whatever would be fun for me to write about, for myself and for anyone who’s interested! I might also go back and blog about some patterns from the past few years that I never blogged at the time when they came out. We’ll see. I figure I won’t be super regular, but maybe do a post once or twice a month or so. So hopefully I’ll be seeing you again soon!

Oh one more thing: I’ve set up my mailing list account to send out blog posts as emails, in case you want to keep up with me that way. If you’re on the mailing list and you’d rather not receive the blog posts, just unsubscribe (I don’t plan on sending out any other emails, just the blog posts). If you want to subscribe, the signup is at (which is in need of a major update, so I haven’t really been linking to it lately—ravelry is better for browsing patterns). Okay yeah that’s all!

Filed under: graphic design,personal — Lee Meredith @ 8:40 am

May 28, 2015

What’s new this spring

Hi readers!  I am excited to tell you that I have a new page on my website: print patterns!  An assortment of my most popular patterns (kind of a random selection actually, based on things like formatting, not just on popularity) are now available in high-quality printed format; you can see them all on that page, where you can link to the pattern info pages to learn more about the patterns, and click over to buy them through MagCloud.

Print patterns!

When you buy a print pattern there, you’ll also receive a digital copy of the pattern (not the ravelry digital version in your rav library, just a pdf of the print pattern, but that way you can get started right away!).  The pricing of the print patterns there is the same as my print patterns sold in yarn shops; if you want to save on shipping, you can always ask your local yarn shop if they carry my patterns ;)

And speaking of yarn shops, if you happen to own or work at a yarn shop, the other big website update I just completed is my wholesale page.  It’s now all up to date, with a current downloadable line sheet, and previews of all available patterns.

So those are my announcements of what’s new right now… as for more exciting new pattern type news, I have been working hard on many things, including this year’s Adventure Knit-a-long!!  But you’ll learn more about that very soon (like, next week!) so I won’t say anything else for now.  Lots of other things I’ve been working on lately are supersecret, so I don’t have much to show you for now.

#leethalPAD day 22: Page. I actually took this shot last night, then was tired and forgot to post it, oops! Sketchbook page where I'm keeping notes on a bunch of design swatches to figure out the best details for this construction. #leethalPAD day 18: Stitch. I broke out my macro lens! Working on a big construction swatch for my next collection!

I just got this Ikea cart thing (way discounted, woo!) and filled it with my in-progress / soon-to-be-in-progress projects, meaning yarn which has a planned purpose and needs to be knit up asap.  I have A LOT of knitting to get done in the next few months!  Ah, who am I kidding, the next few months, I have A LOT of knitting to get done like always and forever.  So many exciting project ideas, so little time!

yarn in my new Ikea cart thing

So, I’m hard at work on Adventure Knitting.  I have a collection in the works, which includes that stripy project in the corner up there, which is not supersecret – I’ve posted some insta peeks at that one (below).  That collection was originally meant for a spring release actually, but due to timing issues, and more thinking on it, I decided it’s actually a better fall collection anyway, and I don’t want the Adventure KAL to be so late in the summer like it was last year (when it happened in August).  I’d rather push the KAL to earlier in the summer, then release the collection after that, when we’re thinking ahead to cooler weather, so yeah, that collection is something to look forward to a bit later in the year…

Mmmm handspun undyed alpaca and assorted hand dyed recycled yarns, all dug out of old stash from back when I used to spin & dye lots. Looking good!! Working on a design while hanging out on PSU campus, listening to Songza's "whip-smart women of the 90's" playlist (pretty good), on the first bare-legs day of the year.  Good day!  Hope you are having a happy Friday :)

And then I’ve been working on several secret things, one in the so-not-leethal yarns pictured below!  And another in a secret yarn I can’t show you, but it is fabulous and I can’t wait to show you eventually.

Currently working on a design prototype in this - solid black and off-white, fingering weight. WHO AM I? (That might have been the first time I ever bought solid black yarn in my whole life.)

And then there’s a collaboration project in the works which is VERY exciting – I’m working with awesome Portland designers Star Athena and Shannon Squire, local yarn dyer Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and our photographer friend (and sometimes designer) Vivian Aubrey.  This is actually the idea for which the seed was planted several year ago between Star, Vivian, and I – I blogged about it briefly here back in 2012 – but it got put on hold for years, and then evolved.  We’re really excited to have brought Shannon and Tina of Blue Moon on board, and the ball is officially rolling!!  Here is an epic pile of Blue Moon yarns:

Just spent the most glorious 2 hours with @bluemoonfiberarts, @starathena, and @shannonsq around this table of about a hundred colors, scheming away about something.

As for more personal life update stuff – I was down with a horrid flu for the last few weeks, so things have been slowed down a bit.  There were a few days, two weeks ago, when I felt like my body was trying to kill me and I couldn’t even knit, and then I was well enough to knit simple things but not really do anything else, for like a week… and I’ve been kind of slow and blah for about the last week.  Yesterday and today I’m finally feeling just about normal, so yay for normal!  (I think my furry buddy was a bit worried about me when I was really sick.)

Two days spent too sick to even knit :(  This little one has been so nice today, I think she can tell how miserable I feel.

Here in Portland, the weather is turning, the weeds are going crazy, and I’m trying to enjoy the nice bits and not think of the uncomfortably hot days ahead… I got this beautiful poppy plant for the front yard which makes me happy to look at everyday, and I’m growing tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries in the back yard (and the wild blackberries, which involves mostly cutting them back, and keeping a small-ish patch to harvest).  I made granola yesterday for the first time, and it went really well – had my first warm weather season breakfast this morning: yogurt, blueberries (store bought for now), banana slices, and granola, yum!  (I’m a very seasonal breakfast eater – oatmeal everyday October-ish, through May-ish, and then cold cereal/yogurt topped with granola, berries, and other yummy things in the warm/hot months, one thing I love about summer!)  Anyway, to sum things up, the weather is super nice right now, the yard work needing to be done is overwhelming and awful, but berries are good, and flowers are pretty.

I fell in love with this Iceland Poppy while running errands at Home Depot, had to bring it home with me. Now it's being pretty in our front yard. Granola success! Since this was my first time making it, I kept it pretty basic - lots of slivered almonds, some sunflower seeds, some craisins, maple syrup and honey... Slightly modified from a basic online recipe. Next time I'll try personalizing it mor

So that’s all for now… you can look forward to Adventure KAL news very soon!  Happy springtime!

Filed under: knitting,leethal store,personal,random stuff,self-publishing — Lee Meredith @ 11:39 am

April 1, 2015

Glad it’s April 1st, no foolin’

Happy April!  I have a few things to blog about to start off the month… firstly real quick, I just want to let EU knitters know that you can now, once again, purchase my patterns through ravelry (or my website), including collections/ebooks, yay!

Next, I made a word list for a photo-a-day challenge for this month!  Feel free to repost this image anywhere you want to share:

leethal photo-a-day April 2015

I’m doing the whole challenge (planning to take one photo each day, each based on that day’s word), and you can challenge yourself to the whole thing as well, or you can just pick and choose some words that sound fun to you, or participate only on days when you feel like it, or whatever works for you!  Post your photos (tagged #leethalPAD) on instagram, tumblr, twitter, flickr, or anywhere else you like.  I’ll be posting mine every day on instagram, twitter, and flickr, and probably some of my favorites on tumblr.  This was today’s photo for April 1st, Sky:

#leethalPAD day 1: Sky. Snapped on the walk home from breakfast; I'm so excited about @PortlandMercado, opening up in 10 days!

Moving on… I have a question for you: have you ever had a weird issue with my blog, like a virus type thing (a window popping up that looks sketchy, etc)?  I just had a report that someone was sent a link to a specific blog post of mine and her Windows computer crashed, after first showing a popup window that she clicked on, and she was told by a computer repairman that my site had some kind of Windows-specific bug… Anyway, I am definitely not asking you to start clicking around, especially if you’re on Windows, because I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone else, but I’m just asking that if you have already experienced any weirdness, please let me know (email me at leemeredith at gmail dot com), so your input can help me get to the bottom of whatever this is.  (I’ve already done a lot of searching and scanning my site and blog and haven’t found anything wrong yet.)  Fingers crossed that I can find the problem and fix it and no one else will have any bad experiences on my site!

Speaking of website stuff, I completed a minor update of  It’s a little better for mobile now, I think, just some minor changes to the layout, and I’ve switched out a lot of the rotating background photos (in the top left-hand corner) for newer shots, so you can hit refresh a bunch to see some of those (there are 18 randomized images).  I also changed the all patterns page to no longer include the quick knits pattern thumbnails – there are so many patterns now, and I figured those can just be separate on their own page. 2015 minor redesign

So, I’m really happy to be starting a new month – March was really weird for me.  A lot of the time I thought the month was cursed.  A lot of stupid little bad things happened (like: needing new tires after having a flat, wasting a bunch of time+money trying to deal with a stupid plumbing problem and then needing to hire a plumber anyway in the end, my site being down a bunch, fearing my blog may have been lost forever, and then that possible blog hack issue, a big power outage, major ant problems in our house, blah blah blah) but actually some really awesome things happened between all the bologna.  So, I’ll share with you some of the positive highlights from my March!

upload A crater lake shot by Pete. #Repost @petebanjos with @repostapp.・・・@leethalknits in mid-shoot. There was still a bit of snow as you can see ...

Pete and I took a completely spontaneous overnight trip to Crater Lake last weekend!  I haven’t started sorting through my real camera photos yet (I took a ton, of course!) but here are two instagram shots above.  It was WARM but with tons of old snow – the best part was that the road from the main parking lot to the viewpoints was closed to cars for the winter, but plowed and open to people walking.  And we got there early since we stayed in a hotel somewhat nearby, so we walked a mile to the big viewpoint almost totally alone, and got to see the majestic views with no cars around and hardly any other people.  This is a major national park, which almost all the time is either A) open to cars and filled with people and tourist traffic, or B) completely closed all winter except to skiers and snowshoers, due to normal winter weather (at least, that’s what we gathered, I could be wrong, but I think the road we were on is not normally plowed during the winter).  So this insanely warm winter we’re having allowed us to have this rare experience of seeing this amazing natural sight in a way that hardly anyone ever gets to.  We felt SO lucky and happy that we made such an impulsive decision to take the trip!

Here's my dad looking out at Thor's Well. Such a fun day - thanks my parents! We saw three whales (!!) and tons of tide pool creatures, and seals from afar, and a giant puffin convention! Spending the day along the Oregon coast - the highlight has been seeing awesome creatures in the Newport tide pools, including some with blue glowing bioluminescence and many giant starfish!

And then, the days just before that trip with Pete, my parents came to visit, and we took them on a day trip to the Oregon coast (Newport area, then down to Yachats) – my highlight of that day was the tide pools at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse just north of Newport.  We went to see the lighthouse, but we didn’t know about the tide pools!  Such an amazing surprise!  I also have yet to sort through my photos from that day, but you can see a starfish above, and here’s a video of bioluminescence in the wild, soooo cool!!

My parents got into town this afternoon and we immediately took them to Pip's! My ginger molasses soy latte was amaaaazing!! Parents' last Oregon meal before heading back to California - breakfast at Jam, an old favorite! Yummmmm

We also took my parents to Corvallis (on the way home from the coast), up Mt Hood to hike to Mirror Lake, to the International Rose Test Garden, and (because it’s a required element of any trip to Portland) out for lots of awesome food!  Above is Pip’s Original Doughnuts and breakfast at Jam.  We packed so much fun times into 2 1/2 days!

@Yarniapdx wins for best signs! #rcyc2015 #rosecityyarncrawl rose city yarn crawlers

Earlier in March, I spent two days shop hopping with some new knitter friends for the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl – my first time doing that!  (I’ve had trunk shows for the crawl before, but never had actually participated as a crawler.)  I visited several shops out in the suburbs that I’d never been to before, and they were all really excellent shops!  Great job, Portland metro area!  I look a little silly in that selfie group shot above, but I think everyone else looks cute, so there you go.

I did this color workshop thing today (unrelated to the yarn crawl) and made this color collage, then mixed polymer clay to match the colors in the collage - it was really fun! #yearofmaking color workshop

And then, after a half-day of crawling, I took a color theory workshop that was super cool.  I made a color collage and mixed polymer clay colors to match the colors in the collage – all those colors were made from mixing bright fuchsia, bright cobalt blue, zinc yellow, and white clay.  It was lots of fun!

Betiko collection is complete! Find Zulo on ravelry or my site (profile link). You all liked that spirally photo of the final sample so much, that inspired me to make this as the collection graphic - thanks for all the hearts! Sleeve #1, done!  I think I'm pretty darn happy with how this is looking! (Upcoming leethal Full Body Trio pattern.)

As for work stuff, the March dumbness wasn’t just with home/life and website stuff, I also had some major frustration with knit design stuff.  Above is the happy bits – I’m so happy to have released the final design in the Betiko collection, and I love how Zulo turned out and everything, and I’m totally loving my upcoming design that I worked on throughout the month (pictured above right).

Using this silly mug my mom gave me because today I am Jane.

But, that upcoming design gave me lots of trouble… I spent a weekend going through some intense sweater surgery – ripping, cutting, grafting, re-knitting – and went through several major pattern rewrites throughout the month.  Three nights within one week I was up working till around 3am, to stay on top of my self-imposed deadlines.  All that trouble getting it just right was worth it, because I LOVE the final sample now that it’s fixed, and I’m REALLY happy with all the pattern rewrites and the final(ish) pattern.  It’s being tested right now, and I’m planning on a release date of April 16th if all goes well.

So, hooray for a fresh new quarter – after the weird, up-and-down, mostly not-great March I had, I’m feeling optimistic about this new month and ready for great things!

Filed under: knitting,,personal,photos,portland stuff,random stuff — Lee Meredith @ 2:48 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.


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


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

February 9, 2015

Epic week of celebration (and sales)!!

First things first, my knittas, there is a lot going on this week and TWO different days are calling for sales!  My birthday is on Wednesday (Feb 11th), so I’ll have my traditional birthday sale, same as the last few years – but of course the percentage goes up each year!

Betiko - mystery pattern version Biratu shawl Tionne sweater! Jonathan

Enter coupon code lees33 to get 33% off any of my patterns/ebooks on Wednesday Feb 11th – the sale runs midnight to midnight west coast time.  (Through ravelry or my website.)

Barry in yellow Krewe cowl Wizzö Mikkey!

This is valid for all self-published patterns, ebooks, collections, including the Betiko Collection which will have the fourth pattern released later this month, and the price will raise then.  (I’m so sorry I’m not able to offer this discount to knitters in the EU, I wish things were different!  If you want a collection/ebook, email me at leemeredith at gmail and we can work something out to make it happen.)

Crafty Beach Weekend!

And then 2 days later, it’s Galentine’s Day!  Last year, I impulsively did a twitter Galentine’s giveaway thing – I’d just released a new pattern, so I tweeted that if you bought the new pattern, I’d gift a copy of it to your friend as a Galentine’s Day gift.  That was a last-minute quickie thing, but then I loved the idea and held on to it for this year!

send as a gift

So, for Galentine’s Day on Friday (Feb 13th), for 12 hours, from 7am to 7pm US west coast time (10am to 10pm east coast) if you buy a pattern on ravelry for a gift for a friend (you must use the ravelry “send as a gift” option), then I’ll gift that same pattern to you!  Ebooks/collections are eligible – gift any of my self-published patterns/ebooks to a friend, you’ll get the same thing for yourself.  Then you can knit it together!

TNNA 2013! pix on worldwide knit in public day

Again, this won’t work neatly for EU knitters, since you can’t “send as gift” through LoveKnitting, but we can make this work!  If you’re in the EU, we can do it the other way around – you buy the pattern for yourself normally (in the time frame above), then send me a ravelry message or email (leemeredith at gmail) and tell me the username or email address of your Galentine friend, and I will gift it to them, and tell them it’s from you.

Star and me designated resting area...

(I’m having a hard time finding photos with gal friends – I rarely take group photos when out with people.  I more often take photos of things like food or knitting when hanging with lady friends.)

v-day card 2005

What a week this is!  Beside those two things later this week, this evening will be exactly 10 years since my first date with my now-husband.  Our first date included a coffeeshop (Gypsy Den in Costa Mesa), dinner at Native Foods, and a weird orange county sports bar for drinks (I don’t know why; we didn’t know many places to go in that part of the world).  There happens to be a new-ish location of Native Foods here in Portland (Clackamas, actually, but close to where we live), so we’re going there for dinner tonight, and then maybe to a weird bar afterwards for the memories :-p

147_4701-01 p033

It’s been an amazing 10 years, and I am so glad that I replied to a MySpace message from a guy I knew a little in college who wanted to go on a date.  I told him something like “I don’t really date, but I’ll hang out with you” because I’d had a few bad date experiences, and in my introverted awkward mind I thought life would be easier if I didn’t define things as “dates” or something like that.  So our first date wasn’t really a date, but it was a fun time talking for hours and hours.  Our second date started with him surprising me when I got off work (I was a barista at a Border’s Cafe at this time in my unfocused life, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in art) on Valentine’s Day, with a couple of burned CDs of music we’d talked about and a homemade card (above), and I took him to my favorite pizza place, where I’d worked in high school, and then we awkwardly watched a movie at my parent’s house, where I was living at the time.  I’m aware I’ve used the word awkward multiple times in this paragraph; it was an awkward time in my life.

120peteleaningdoubleex 154_5427-01

Anyway, that was ten years ago; now we live in a city we love, in a great house we own together, with the best cat ever, and I’m self-employed doing what I love, and life is great!!  Happy ten years together <3  All these photos here were taken within the first few months we were dating, in 2005.

art old fisheye us halloween05.jpg

Filed under: personal,photos — leethal @ 12:38 pm

March 25, 2014

Stuff and things going on with me…

Hi!  Things have been busy busy, as usual, and I just wanted to kind of catch up with you over here on the blog.  If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you may have seen a lot of these updates – most of the photos in this post are straight from instagram… Here are things!

There are a couple new interviews with me that you can read if you’re interested in my design process or other random things I talked out – one on Tin Can Knits, and another on Infinite Twist.

Unbroken hat!

Do you know about the Holla Knits knit-a-long that’s happening right now?  It’s kind of amazing – you automatically get one free pattern of your choice per Holla Knits item that you finish for the KAL, and then you also get entered into drawings to win bigger prizes at the end.  You can knit any Holla Knits garment or accessory (which includes my Unbroken hat, above), and the lists of pattern prizes are here.  The KAL runs through May 2nd, so you still have plenty of time to join in!  (The action happens in the ravelry group over here!)

Just shipped out TWO trunk shows to LA shops for the upcoming LA Yarn Crawl, along with fat stacks of promo postcards. LA crawlers, look out for my stuff!

If you’re in the LA area, I will have TWO trunk shows up at shops during the LA Yarn Crawl!  A Coloring Book show at Needle in a Haystack, and a general Leethal Knits show at Knit Culture (with coupon giveaways!).


I released a new pattern, like 3 weeks ago, but I’m waiting to officially blog it until I finish the Bulk Trio ebook of all 3 patterns together, which should have been done by now but it’s not yet.  So, soon, that will be done, and then I’ll tell you allllll about Mikkey!


I worked a really exciting and weird freelance gig doing crafty things for a commercial – I can’t show or tell you anything about that yet, but that’s a major reason I got off track on other things and you haven’t heard from me for awhile.

Currently knitting up a prototype of a sweater that I designed. Whoa. This is a BIG deal to me; I kind of thought I might try designing a sweater like in another couple years, but then this idea just happened and now I'm knitting it!! (The hot pink stripe

I designed a sweater!  This was one of those things where I had multiple in-progress designs that were supposed to be higher priority, but… I got this idea and I just couldn’t let it go!  I think it had something to do with getting my mind off everything else while working on that commercial, it like opened my mind up to new ideas that I wasn’t really supposed to be thinking about, but the inspiration struck and I spent some time driving to and from that gig and thinking about the sweater, and then I didn’t want to leave it with just notes to get back to in six months that I might not ever get back to because the energy may pass and never return… So I wrote up the pattern, and knit up a prototype version and the pattern is basically done now!  It’s a classic leethal-style any-gauge, custom made to your measurements design, so I made the prototype in a quick bulky gauge to try it all out.  My plan is to knit up the official sample in worsted weight over the next couple months, while focusing on other higher priority designs, and then once that’s knit I’ll get it out to testers, give them plenty of time, and plan on releasing the pattern around late summer / early fall.

Finished my bulky sweater prototype! The design is for any weight, so I'll be making the main sample in worsted; wanted to work everything out in a quick gauge first to kind of make sure it would go as intended, and it totally worked! This is a mystery sh

I spent a few days completely designing a hat that I was really excited about, and then when it was finished it turned out to be UGLY.  Damn.  So I threw that out the window.  (That’s it below – looked great in progress, but the finished piece was a huge failure.  Alas.)

Garter stitch + slip stitches in beautiful @infinitetwist handspun!

I’m slowly still working on the colorwork shawl for the Betiko Collection, and feeling crazy guilty about how long it’s taking, as I keep getting distracted by other things… but it will be released eventually.  It’s more of a spring design anyway  ;)

bechdel fest drawing

In non leethal knits things… I started a new tumblr, which will be a media-watching project starting soon-ish (maybe April 1st, or maybe a bit later, not sure yet) – Bechdel Fest.  Right now, you can check it out to see content related to the underrepresentation of women in film and television (and also of POC) as I just kind of set it up for the project.  When I start, I will be watching only movies and TV shows either made by women or featuring female main characters, for a month or so – see the about page to read the details of the project.  (It doesn’t actually have to do with the Bechdel Test, that’s just a punny name for the project/blog.)

Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret Waitresses, the - Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul Belle and Sebastian - This is Just a Modern Rock Song New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies

Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell Kinks, the - Kinks-Size Le Tigre - Feminist Sweepstakes Nina Simone - The Best of Nina Simone Mountain Goats, the - We Shall all be Healed

Speaking of projects, my 500 records in 2014 plan is going pretty well – I’m currently up to 119 (once I add the two I listened to this morning).  Pretty good!  And I’m having fun listening to more vinyl, getting more in the habit of putting on records, and I love how the flickr set is looking!

Rainbow records!!

It’s Pete’s spring break right now, so we’ve caught up on some movies in the theater – I really liked Frozen!  We had a friend stay at our house, which motivated some house projects, like our rainbow record shelf above, and getting our library room in order, so that’s neat! I can’t think of any other updates so now I’m just telling you things randomly :-p  So okay that’s all for now!

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,lots of links,movies,music,personal — leethal @ 9:01 pm

July 3, 2013

Obligatory TNNA summer 2013 recap post!

The weekend before last I spent 5 days in Columbus, Ohio for the industry trade show of the year for all things fibery and needley.  We had a time.

TNNA summer 2013!

I roomed with the fabulous Andrea Rangel (who is pictured above and is the best at colors – check out this palette she rocked one day.)  And I booth-shared with the awesome Alexa of Tin Can Knits; we had tons of fun:

TNNA 2013! TNNA summer 2013!

Our booth was in the Deep South Fibers cluster, so we were booth-neighbors with lots of great people, yay!  Like Hilary Smith Callis (pictured below, adorably giggling about posing with the issue of Knitscene in which she was the featured designer!) and Carina Spencer, posing with me below, and lots more lovely people I don’t have photos of, like Carrie Sullivan of Irish Girlie Knits (my birthday twin!), Juju at Loop, Olga Buraya-Kefelian (one of my all time favorite designers of ever), Woolly Wormhead… the list would go on but I’ll stop there because that’s who was immediately next to us…  It’s great being around all these other designers once in awhile, since they are kind of like my co-workers but we all work alone in our homes with only twitter to connect us (basically, usually).

TNNA summer 2013! TNNA 2013!

So, my booth!  I started out with the hanging spray-painted frames on the back wall:

TNNA summer 2013!

Then I hung lots of photos along the side wall, with mini-clothespins (closeup):

TNNA summer 2013!

Then I built a ceiling!  I ran wire from bar to bar across the top, then more and more wire from wire to bar and wire to wire, and so on, until I had a spiderweb-esque mesh ceiling.  The photo to the left there is after I’d already started taking it apart a little at the end, but you get the idea.  Then, from the ceiling, I hung trays:

TNNA summer 2013! TNNA 2013!

And I put things on the trays, using them as mini-tables, instead of having a big table.  And I hung lots of samples along the tops of the side and back walls.

TNNA summer 2013!

So my business cards, postcards, buttons, and lots of smaller sample knits, were all on the tray tables.  It was a bit unwieldy, functionally-speaking… people were afraid if they walked into the booth and bumped into the trays everything would fall; but that wasn’t true, I made sure they were very stable.  Overall, it didn’t turn out perfectly, but I was pretty happy with the booth setup :)

TNNA summer 2013!

Here’s me standing in it, photo by Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches!

Here is our whole booth, with Tin Can Knits on the right:

TNNA summer 2013!

Besides the actual trade show booth stuff, TNNA weekend also involved lots of eating (not just ice cream), a bit of drinking (Columbus has some good local beers!), and tons of talking!  Alexa and I were pretty darn into our truffle mac n cheese at Barley’s!

TNNA 2013!

Click to enlarge the photo to the right below to read all the amazing flavor options at Jeni’s!  My personal favorite out of the EIGHT flavors I tried throughout the weekend (that’s only 4 servings – my favorite thing about Jeni’s is that you get 2 flavors in a small size) was Queen City Cayenne, yum!

TNNA summer 2013! TNNA summer 2013!

Much fun was had at the Grass Skirt tiki room with the ravelry crew (where I took this photo of Mary-Heather, Jess, and Ysolda being supercute).  And, after all the mac n cheese and ice cream, I was happy to fill up on veggies (and a local beer, of course) at a pretty good greek place.  Good job, Columbus, I like you!

TNNA summer 2013! TNNA summer 2013!

I also hung out with lots of other designers and yarn-type people I didn’t photograph – some people I met last year at TNNA, and I met loads of new people.  Yarny people are the greatest!  Everyone is the best!

So then on Monday I broke down my booth and packed it all back into the suitcase it came in, but it was much harder to close this time!

TNNA summer 2013!

I brought home all the yarn I could possible fit!  There’s some secret hidden yarn I can’t show you yet, and lots of glorious Anzula!!  Enough Cricket and Squishy to make into two shawls (one 2-color and one 3-color) – these yarns will eventually become the samples of the colorwork shawl in the Betiko collection!

brought home from TNNA 2013

And then lots of bits of awesome yarns for future use – Imperial Yarn, Fibre Company, Sincere Sheep, and Cestari are pictured below, all so lovely!  There were a few others I talked to but have nothing to show now (notably Phydeaux, Space Cadet, Sweet Georgia, Cephalopod, Briggs and Little) – yummmm yarrrrrn.  And I didn’t even walk the entire floor or spend much time seeking out yarn, since I was focused on my own booth.  It’s overwhelming how much there is to see!

brought home from TNNA 2013

Lastly,  I treated myself to some new clothes for TNNA – I really love this dress (found at Village Merchants, my most favorite secondhand shop), so yay, because good dresses (for affordable-on-an-indie-designer’s-budget prices) are hard to find, man!  I think I scored this for about $12, with the original tag still on, so possibly never worn.  Oh how I love a good deal, so I had to share with you ;)  And another shot of me in my booth, to round things out, all covered in knitwear (too much air conditioning works out well when you want to show off your wooly samples).

TNNA summer 2013! TNNA 2013!

That’s TNNA!  Good times!

Filed under: knitting,lots of links,personal,photos,random stuff,thrifty finds,yarn — leethal @ 6:04 pm

June 7, 2013

I’m in Knitscene Accessories 2013!

Hey you guys, I have a pattern in a magazine!  Woo!

That’s a montage from their webpage of just a few of the 33 patterns in Knitscene’s new Accessories 2013 issue, and there’s my pattern!

Pink Squish Hat

It’s called Pink Squish Hat, and it’s a bulky cabled hat knit modularly in four sections, all connected with short rows, no seaming or picked up stitches!  It starts with the sideways cabled brim, then the body is knit in the round, then it switches directions again for the top sideways cable, then back to round to close up the crown.  Both sideways cables are closed up with buttons, tah dah!

Pink Squish Hat

It’s pretty neat to have a pattern in a real knitting magazine.  Not something I’d pursued before, but I read the submission call for this issue, with words like modular, bulky, and cables, and it was calling to me!  I brainstormed this up, put together my very first official magazine submission, and was accepted!  Exciting!

Pink Squish Hat

I love the photos of my hat in the magazine, and the issue as a whole is fabulous!!  So many great designs!  I’m tempted to list my favorites, but the list would be too long, so check out all the patterns if you haven’t already.  Some great interesting modular pieces, lots of variety, excellent stuff.

Pink Squish Hat

The official sample is in Quince & co Puffin bulky yarn, which I LOVE.  After I finished knitting up that hat, it was such a super quick and fun knit that I went stash diving and knit up another one for myself to keep!

Brown squish hat

This brown version is in Brown Sheep Lanaloft Bulky, which doesn’t show the cables quite as well as the Puffin, but it worked in a pinch.

Brown squish hat

Sorry about the quickie phone photos here.  I was actually preparing to leave town for eleven days in about an hour, when I found out this issue was released for pre-order, which is why I didn’t blog about it sooner.  I had knit this second sample months ago, but hadn’t sewn on buttons yet, so I threw it in my suitcase and found these buttons while traveling in Bellingham, Washington (at NW Handspun Yarns), sewed them on in the hotel room so I could wear the hat… planned to get some photos of it in Bellingham, but rain and forgetfulness prevented that from happening, sigh.  So I just snapped these real quick so I could blog it… anyway, you get the idea.  It’s the same hat as in the good photos above, in brown ;)

Instagram from Bellingham trip Instagram from Bellingham trip

So yeah, things have been hectic – that trip was to Rochester, New York, for a 3-day long family thing, then from there to Bellingham for a week, where I did some working in coffee shops, lots of walking around and not working… I have yet to edit all the photos I took, but I did post instagrams all throughout the trip – here are a few.  Above, PDX airport on my way out, and a view of Bellingham from the train on my way back home.  Below, the Canadian coast out the train window just after crossing the border (on a day trip from Bellingham to Vancouver, BC) – those birds in the sky are bald eagles! – and our fave dinner spot of the trip, Boundary Bay Brewing co.

Instagram from Bellingham trip Instagram from Bellingham trip

And if you’d like to see a glimpse at how much of my Bellingham time was spent, goofing off with Pete’s co-workers (Pete was there for a work trip, I was tagging along), here is a video for you to enjoy.

Okay, back to work for me!  I’m hoping to post again in a couple days with a superfun announcement about a project I’ve been working on!!

Filed under: hats,knitting,personal — leethal @ 3:43 pm

March 22, 2013

East Coast Trip!! Wooo!

Okay so, Robin is out, the third pattern in my Short Stripes Trio (and it’s my first pattern ever to make it into the ravelry hot right now top 5, so it’s been a very exciting couple of days), but I’m here today for a different reason.  I will be blogging about Robin in detail in a couple weeks, because…

3 color Robin Robin in worsted

Robin in worsted 3 color Robin

I’m taking a trip!  To New York!  And Boston and other east coast cities!  Pete has had a job for about 2.5 years now which has involved accumulating a ridiculous amount of flyer miles and hotel points, so he is cashing them out to fly us for free to the east coast, and stay for 8 nights in NYC and Boston for free!!

washington square park

So, we’ll be hanging out in NY for about half the time, and spending the other half both in Boston and traveling a bit to Providence, and hopefully Portland, Maine, for a day each.  Our plans are still fairly loose, especially with the details, like meals and shops to visit, etc, so any recommendations would be appreciated!!  Of course I want to visit lots of yarn shops, but since this is a fun trip with Pete, I’ll try to keep it down to just the absolute best shops, and priorities for both of us are used records and books, good vegetarian food, and cool sites to see.

little italy restaurant

The last time I was in NY was 9 years ago with my mom (when I took these photos), and I loved it so much I actually had plans to move there after college, but those plans fell through, and everything worked out for the best, but I’ve wanted to go back to visit ever since!  And I’ve never been to Boston, or Providence, or Portland, or anywhere else up in that region, so I’m supercrazy excited to explore it all and have east coast adventures!

manhattan bridge

So, I’m way behind on all the preparation stuff.  We have a house sitter lined up, and I’ve released my new pattern, but other than those things crossed off the list, everything else is still to-do!  I have big plans to make a couple pairs of leggings (using this awesome tutorial by Cal Patch!) and legwarmers (from recycled sweaters), and maybe even a new skirt… but we’ll see what I can squeeze into my weekend hours before we head out way too early on Monday morning!  Wish me luck!

Filed under: pattern Trios,personal — leethal @ 4:01 pm

October 4, 2012

Our trip to the UK + Ireland!

As you know if you’ve been following the blog, or twitter, or instagram, or tumblr… Pete’s awesome parents just took us across the pond for most of September, traveling in a big loop through southern England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and northern England.  I could write a separate long blog post on every single day of the 20 day long trip… but I don’t have the time for that and you don’t have the time to read that, so instead…

Trinity College

I scrolled through the 5000ish photos I took, picked out a couple from each location that caught my eye, edited those and stuck them on flickr, and will take you through the trip very quickly in a whirlwind adventure blog post right now.  Then, over the next several months I’m sure, I will sort through and edit all those photos (probably cutting the 5000 down to around 500 maybe, we’ll see), put them up on flickr as I go, and tumbl individual photos that I want to share beyond flickr.  We instagrammed a bit while traveling, so I’ll link to some of those shots here as well.  I’ll also be blogging a few more specific trip-related things, like the Tourist Sweater I’m making (at which point I’ll talk about all the yarn shops I visited!), at some point in time.

So, if you are interested in more photos and stuff beyond this, follow my tumblr and/or flickr and see bits and pieces spread out over time…

our London hotel

And off we go!  We started in London, arriving early in the morning for one extremely sleep-deprived weird first day, then 2 full fun-packed London days.  We squeezed in the British Museum, V&A museum, Tate Modern, National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, Harrods, Liberty (where we had a very fancy afternoon cream tea), Savile Row, briefly explored lots of different areas, curry lunch in Camden, dinner at a pub, I’m surely forgetting other highlights but yeah, tons of London fun was had.


V&A museum

(I love taking self-portraits in interesting reflective surfaces, so there will be more of these as we go on…)


On the fourth day we started by taking a train to Oxford, where we explored the town, loved it, and ate lunch in a pub a bit off the beaten path, where they offered a vegetarian version of sausage & mash!  As a non-meat-eater, I didn’t think I’d be able to try many traditional foods on this trip, so I jumped on the chance here, and it turned out to be delicious (thanks to good quality veggie-filled fake sausage, which wasn’t trying to imitate real sausage too closely and therefore be gross).

Oxford pub vegetarian sausage & mash!

Then we started our rented car adventures part of the trip and drove through the Cotswolds, stopping in the towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden, then eventually ending up that night in the country outskirts of Bristol where we were staying for the next few nights.


I made these maps of each day that we traveled the most, or through the most places… color coded for different travel modes: red is car, pink is train (orange will be bus, blue will be ferry).  They are not super accurate, but I had fun making them.  So here’s day four, Oxford/Cotswolds day:

Day 4

Day five was Bath – Pete and I were just along for the ride and didn’t think we had much interest in Bath, but we were both surprised to love it!!  The town was great, and the Roman Baths turned out to be extremely interesting and cool!  Two thumbs up to Bath!



The next day was spent in Bristol, which we also LOVED!  Having just one day and wanting to see as much as possible of this city, we decided to do a hop on hop off guided bus tour – cheesy and touristy, yes, but it allowed up to see and learn a ton in one day!  We ended up doing these tours in a couple other cities as well, when time was limited, and it works out well, I totally recommend it  ;)


Bristol highlight: we didn’t know it was Banksy’s hometown until we noticed that wall and had a minor flip-out moment!  We saw a couple more Banksy pieces in the art museum, but the street art was the coolest to see in real life!

Banksy in Bristol Banksy in Bristol

Day seven was Wales day – we drove from Bristol, across the water to the southeast Wales, then diagonally, through 2 different national parks, and past about a million sheep (yay!) up to the northwest.  Those little white dots below are sheep…


Day 7

We stayed in Criccieth that night, then drove about an hour further north the next morning to Holyhead at the northwest tip of Wales, and took the ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin!

We spent that day and the next exploring Dublin – the highlight being Trinity College Library, the Book of Kells and all the other amazing old books!  One of my favorite things was the flower patterns in the French Book of Hours, which you can see a couple pages of here – those pages are not big; those flower designs are super intricate and beautiful!  No photos allowed inside the library, but Pete kinneared this one with his phone.

Trinity College Guinness in Dublin

Trinity College

On day ten we took a train straight across Ireland to Galway.  We loved Galway!!  Loved it.  There was a highlight involving yarn that I’ll tell you about later; another highlight was all the street musicians scattered all throughout the town playing all different traditional and non-traditional instruments and music.  The harpist was playing a lovely cover of Mad World by Tears for Fears!  <3



After Galway, we spent another half-day in Dublin, then on day 12 we headed up to Belfast for a partial-day.  We took the guided bus tour in Belfast to see and learn as much as possible with our wee bit of time in the city, it was great!  The bummer was that this was the day I started to feel a cold coming on, so with the cold+rainy weather we called it a night early, but not before spending a good several hours in the unhealthy weather, not good.

Belfast Belfast

The next day we took the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, Scotland, then a bus to Ayr and a train to Glasgow.  We got to see a lot of the beautiful west coast of Scotland on the bus, yay!

Day 13

Once in Glasgow, we had lunch and tea at a cafe then walked through a big chunk of the city to the modern art museum, in the cold rain.  This is what killed me; upon arrival at the museum my health was shot and the cold hit me full force.  We saw the museum, walked back to the hotel, and I sadly watched tv for that half-day and the entire next day, since I woke up the next morning much worse.  That was the saddest low point of the trip, considering how much I loved Glasgow when I was there ten years ago and how excited I was to go back.  This is in the museum:

Glasgow modern art museum

On day 15 I was partially recovered from the brutal cold, so after traveling to Edinburgh in the morning I was up to exploring the town a bit, before calling it a day in the afternoon and resting up so I wouldn’t get worse again.  We managed to squeeze lots of Edinburgh amazingness into those few hours – LOVED Edinburgh!!  I even got to visit Ysolda briefly while yarn shopping and see her new studio, and I also had some shopping fun at Avalanche Records and Armstrong’s Vintage, and Pete got an extra special souvenir.




The next day was Scottish Highlands bus tour day!  I love Scotland so much!  We saw lots of hairy coos, including Hamish in Kilmahog, tons of amazing views, multiple castles, and we took a boat around Loch Ness!


Loch Ness

The tour went northwest, up along the lochs to Inverness, then down southeast back to Edinburgh.  The only thing I wish had been different is that I’d wanted to spend a bit of time exploring the towns we passed through.  Since we traveled so much distance and spent a couple hours on Loch Ness, we didn’t get to spend time in any other towns or anything, we just had rushed meal stops and we didn’t even stop at all in Inverness, just drove through.  I’d love to take a Scotland trip sometime in my future life and spend time in lots of towns all over the country!

Day 16

The next day we took a train down to York, along a big chunk of Scotland and northern England coast, which was beautiful!  Saw lots of coastal sheep and cows!

Scotland coast

Day 17

York turned out to be another of our absolute favorites!  We knew nothing about York and didn’t have any particular interest in it, but we ended up being so happy to spend a day and a half there, it was fantastic!  Everything was walkable, which is always great, the medieval-ness of it all was so cool (winding narrow streets, the whole town surrounded by medieval walls, etc), the sinking buildings (that’s Shambles street below), everything, we just loved it.  But that’s not all!  There are more craft shops in York than almost all the rest we saw throughout the whole trip put together!  Seriously!  Multiple yarn shops, many craft shops with yarn and other stuff like embroidery, needlepoint, etc, bead shops, buttons shops, they just kept popping up every time we turned a corner!  So I’ll talk more about those when I post separately about yarn shops… There was also a great little record shop, lots of handmade stuff and things in cute stuff shops, vintage clothes, basically everything we love!  So yeah, York was our kind of town!



On day 19 we headed back down to London, where we stayed our final 2 nights in a fancypants hotel in the middle of the city, right next to the tower of London, with a rooftop bar and amazing views!  (We stayed most nights at little b&b type places out of the main cities, so this was an exciting change.)  Our last full day was supposed to be spent in Brighton, but we collided with a hurricane traveling through England, so we decided spending a day outside in a coastal city might be a bad plan…

So we spent an extra day in London, getting drenched in hard rain, drying off, then enjoying the late afternoon and evening in the dry eye of the hurricane, when we walked around the Notting Hill neighborhood (loved it!) where we did a little shopping, ate one last Indian dinner, saw the lit up London Bridge from the river docks, and had drinks in the schmancy rooftop bar.

London view London view

Here’s Pete and his wonderful parents in front of the bridge on that last night, all wearing Wobble Basses!  Oh so many thanks to them for taking us on this incredible adventure!

Wobble Basses at the London bridge

And I’ll leave you with a couple tea shots:

Tea at Liberty in London tea


Filed under: personal,photos — leethal @ 2:34 pm

August 28, 2012

UK adventures are approaching fast!

I’m going to the UK!  Really soon!  The summer flew by, as it often does, and now September is just about here and I’m getting on a plane in one week!


We’ve been preparing all summer – we bought raincoats and backpacks, lined up a house sitter, I’ve been working ahead like crazy in order to take the time off, etc – but it hadn’t really actually hit me until last night that we are really going.


Pete’s parents are taking us on a 3 week long adventure throughout England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland; last night they sent us the official itinerary and all of the sudden it was real!  It’s really happening, whoa!  So, the main point of this email is to ask you, my dear readers…

Aberfoyle, Scotland near Loch Lomond

Where should we go??  I mean, the cities are planned out, but I need yarn shops, record stores, vegetarian-friendly restaurants, smaller museums that we might not know about, other sights off the beaten path, etc…


The places where I know we will be spending a day or more are:  London, Bristol, Criccieth, Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and York.  I know there will be day trips to Bath, Brighton, and lots of other in-between places… we don’t know specific plans, which is making it more exciting for us!  We’re just along for the ride, ready for amazingness!


These photos here were all taken by me 10 years ago when I studied abroad for the summer of 2002 at the University of Sussex in Brighton, and took lots of day trips to London and other nearby spots, and long weekend trips to Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh), Paris, Amsterdam, and Spain (Madrid and Barcelona).


Although I did spend that time in the UK, I was a pretty different person then – I wasn’t even a knitter!! – and I don’t remember tons of specifics, as my memory fades over the years… so my experiences back then aren’t going to factor into our plans for this trip a ton.  My #1 favorite place I visited back then was Scotland, so I am extremely excited to go back there!

Lomo shot!

If you want to see more photos from that time, I’ve just put a bunch of the best shots on flickr, from all the countries I visited.  As for photos this time, I’m hoping to be able to tweet/tumbl/instagram photos throughout the trip, but I don’t know how connected we’ll be most of the time… Oh, and that reminds me – blog comments are a fine way to tell me recommendations right now, but if you want to recommend anything after next Monday the 3rd, I might not be checking blog comments as much as email or twitter – so tweeting place recommendations @leethal is probably the best way to get them to me :)


Thanks for any knowledge you can pass on, and I will surely share tons of photos, stories, etc, with you when we return!  I even have some crafty projects planned for the skies and roads!

Filed under: personal,photos — leethal @ 12:25 pm

July 25, 2012

TNNA! plus some new things…

First, exciting news, I have a new Quick Knits print book of an assortment of 12 of the most popular patterns!  They all use no more than 20 yards of yarn, and they come in a 16 page high-quality printed booklet for $12.  When you buy through MagCloud, you’ll also get a free pdf download of the book, great for iPad or other device viewing!  (rav link)

Quick Knits best of book

Besides that brand new pattern collection, I also now have print versions of my Terrapin and Flippable patterns (for sale on MagCloud here), and I’ve updated all of my print patterns so that they all come with a free pdf version of the booklets when you buy through MagCloud.  (Note that these are pdf versions of the print books, not the same pdfs that you would buy through ravelry or my site – same patterns, different formatting, and they won’t go in your rav library.)

Terrapin Flippable

These brand new patterns are now also available to Portland locals at Twisted, and will very soon be in Richmond, VA at Rag & Bone!  If you own or work at a yarn shop and might be interested in my patterns, check out my wholesale page with everything you need to know!  If you think my patterns would be a great fit at your favorite local shop, tell them to check out my stuff at, or let me know the name of the shop and I’ll get in touch with them!  Okay that’s done, moving on now…


Jeni's day 2

So, I’d been meaning to get those new print patterns set up for quite some time, but the thing that finally made it a top priority was TNNA – I went to this biggest convention of the year for the first time (back in June)!  I wanted to have my print patterns and catalog all up to date, so yeah, I did that, plus new business cards (and my new website, of course!), and then I headed to Ohio and my mind was blown with how many people I met… by the end, I was the most exhausted I’ve ever been, in an awesome way!

short north

If you follow designers and other yarny type professionals on twitter, or blogs, or where ever you do your following, then you’ve surely heard of TNNA – it’s an industry-only convention, where yarn companies, designers, etc, show off their stuff and yarn shops place their orders… unless you go as a designers without a booth, like I did, in which case it’s more for just meeting a million people and passing out business cards and wholesale catalogs whenever possible.

short north

I did lots of walking around Columbus (which I liked a lot!), hanging out with tons of designers who I either knew online and met in real life for the first time, or just met for the first time period, and we’ve since become internet buddies, talking shop.  It’s indescribably great to talk with big groups of people who all do generally what I do, which is a completely solitary job, about all different aspects of being a designer – and I do have good designer friends here in Portland but it’s different when it’s a wide variety of lots of different kinds of designers… Anyway, it was great.

Travonna coffee

I just brought my little point-and-shoot camera since I knew photography was off-limits inside the convention and I didn’t want to have to carry around my normal camera if I couldn’t even use it most of the time… So I ended up taking very few photos, sadly, the best ones all seen here.  This is the North Market across the street from the convention center, where the ice cream could be found, and other good food.

north market

I got new shoes just before (which was bad news, of course, since I was still breaking them in and they killed my feet by the end of the second day, so I had to wear my super dorky running shoes for 2 days which I brought as back-ups in case I might need them), and I finished embroidering my plain black bag on the plane there:

looking down

Alex and Stephanie had the coziest booth in all the land, so we took breaks there as needed, especially the last couple days as the exhaustion got more severe.  Here’s Stephanie (Tiny Owl), Alex (Dull Roar), Stacey (Fresh Stitches – with birds in her hair!!), and me, squeezed onto the blow-up sofa:

designated resting area...

Of course I had to go to Jeni’s each day (just once per day though, not a big deal!) and since their small size can be 2 different flavors, I got to try 8 flavors – I think my favorite was the goat cheese cherry, but the lemon blueberry was fantastic, and the black coffee, and the juniper lemon curd, and the pistachio honey…..  There’s Cirilia in the background, who was so busy actually working that she barely got to hang out, bummer (but I’ll be seeing her at Knit Fit! in Seattle soon!):

Jeni's day 2

The Craftsy party was a definite highlight – an insane claustrophobic highlight!  In this crowd shot, you can see Daniel Yuhas in focus in the center there – I met him for the first time in Columbus, even though we live in the same city!

Craftsy party!

Here’s Jess having a super adorable Marilyn Monroe moment over a vent:

Craftsy party!

I like taking photos of people taking photos… here’s Mary-Heather (Rainy Day Goods) and Sarah (Sexy Knitter):

Craftsy party!

And Sarah and Alex, yeah it was a silly fun party:

Craftsy party!

There was lots of hanging out and knitting at night, of course, and laughing, and trying to stay awake… Alex doing one of those things and Sarah doing the other:

laughing at the Hyatt

Other highlights:

I didn’t get any photos with her at all, but on the first day there I met up with the awesome Jaala and did an interview for Knitcircus!  You can read the article here (pdf), in which I’m labeled a “ninja innovator”!  Love it!

I shared a cab with Lisa Bogart, who just released the book Knit with Love – she’s super nice so you should check it out!

I had a great roommate experience with Jessica, who has a fun blog and podcast, so you should check those out!

Since I took so few photos, I got permission to grab a few from friends… Here’s Stephanie and me wearing her fabulous deer hat, taken by Katy (and there’s another cute shot of us on Hilary’s blog).

Hilary (The Yarniad), Sarah (in her incredible Lady Sybil Jumpsuit!), and me, taken by Alex, at the brew pub where I got maybe the best mac n cheese I’ve ever had:


TNNA ended up being so much about the people, that I haven’t even mentioned the yarn!  Oh the yarn!  Yummm how I do love yarn.  I met lots of nice yarny people, and made note of many companies I’d love to work with at some point.  One of them was Anzula, who offered me some gorgeous yarn for my next design!  They were super nice and their yarn is beautiful and I am now knitting this into a sample for my upcoming mystery shawl knit-a-long!

Anzula yarn

Mmmmm yes I love it!  Oh and what was that?  Mystery shawl knit-a-long?  Yup, you heard me right!  The actual knitting will begin on October 1st, but more details and sign-ups will be released very soon!

Filed under: knitting,personal,quick knits,random stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 2:35 pm

June 15, 2012

One day my log will have something to say about this.

Way back on leap day Pete and I took a 2 day trip up through Washington, guided by an itinerary of Twin Peaks related stops.  It was awesome!


Besides all the Lynch nerdery involved, it was also a fun way to see tons of gorgeous places all over the great pacific northwest.  I love Oregon oh so much, but wow, Washington is kind of amazing.  More of that later, as I take you chronologically through our journey…

Shore off Kiana Lodge

There are tons more photos on flickr; these are a few select favorites to show you the highlights.  So yeah, we started at the beach where Laura Palmer’s body was found – the log was pretty spectacular!


Shore off Kiana Lodge

The Kiana Lodge, which was probably the most major Twin Peaks location, used as the Blue Pine Lodge and the interior of The Great Northern and other interiors as well I think, is right on that beach…

Kiana Lodge

And it’s all kinds of cool, and some pretty Lynchian creepiness as well…

Kiana Lodge

Kiana Lodge

The buildings were all closed but we peeked through many windows…

Kiana Lodge

Kiana Lodge

Kiana Lodge

Kiana Lodge

Kiana Lodge

So then we headed over to our hotel, which was just around the corner from the lodge (and across a bridge from Bainbridge Island) – the big building on the left of this photo (that’s the log on the right):

Shore off Kiana Lodge

Over there where we stayed, the owls are not what they seem


Coffee table top in the hotel lobby:

log table

That night, we took a short drive across the bridge to Bainbridge Island and checked out Churchmouse yarn shop there, then had dinner at the buffet in the casino next to the hotel.  We considered playing blackjack, in the Twin Peaks spirit of One Eyed Jack’s, but there was a minimum bet more than $1 and we didn’t feel like throwing away money… yeah, gambling isn’t our style ;)  We did loose a few dollars in the nickel slots though; see, we’re not total party poopers!  Anyway, the hotel lobby area is overlooking the shore, so we had our breakfast the next morning by the window:

hotel breakfast view from our Hotel

Then we got on the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle…

ferry to Seattle

Which was amazing!  But… oh wow so cold!

ferry to Seattle

ferry to Seattle

ferry to Seattle

Once back on land, we drove straight through Seattle and out into the wilderness, then into a small town for lunch and pie

Double R Diner

…at the Double R Diner!  Er, Twede’s Cafe actually:

Double R Diner

Twede's Cafe

Double R Diner

Black as midnight on a moonless night:

Black as midnight on a moonless night.

Twede's Cafe

Then we drove through the small town roads and took in all the Twin-Peaksyness of it all…

Twin Peaks zone

…imagining that the teens were up to no good, of course (they were walking on the railroad tracks!)…  We even witnessed a local cop slyly passing a note, along with a secret handshake, to the clerk at the local creepy thrift shop (the secret part probably being in our imaginations, but the rest was totally true!).

Twin Peaks zone

Giant log:

Giant Log!

And up the road awhile, we arrived at Snoqualmie Falls, also the exterior of The Great Northern:

Snoqualmie Falls

Holy wowzers, it was majestic!!

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

After taking in all that awesomeness, we hit the road again for a quick drive over to our next stop – and we passed by this bridge (pretty sure it’s this one)…

Twin Peaks bridge

…and some more picturesque scenery.

Twin Peaks zone

Then we turned the corner, and were at the Sheriff’s Department

Twin Peaks sites

…which overlooks the sawmill:

Twin Peaks sites

Twin Peaks sites

We needed a bit of a rest after a long day, before hitting the road back home to Portland, so we stopped off at the Roadhouse!

The Roadhouse

Sadly, the inside is nothing like what you’d think/hope, but it was still cool to have a beer at the Roadhouse, if you’re a big nerd that is.

The Roadhouse

And that was that, some more beautiful Washington nature and we were on our way home.

Washington out the window

It was quite the 2 day adventure!  If you live in the northwest, you should totally copy the trip; even if you’re not a huge Twin Peaks nerd, I still recommend some of the stops.  Amazing stuff, really.  Like I said, check out flickr if you want to see more – I took over 800 (!!) photos total, which is why it’s taken me three and a half months to edit them and blog the trip.  I narrowed it down to a mere 174 on flickr though!


And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (because we have a Doug Fir tree in our backyard)…  Got to find out what kind of trees these are. They’re reeally something.

Twin Peaks zone

Filed under: personal,photos — leethal @ 10:00 am
Next Page »
Proudly powered by wordpress 5.1.13 - Theme by neuro, customized by leethal