May 12, 2016

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

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

Making Recycled Yarns ebook cover

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

Rejuvenation Rejuvenation

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


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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

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

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

Rejuvenation Rejuvenation

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

from Making Recycled Yarns ebook from Making Recycled Yarns ebook

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

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

January 16, 2014

Reconstructed hooded cardigan, with cuff tutorial!

New cardigan!

I started this project back in October of 2012, worked on it a little bit then, a little bit last spring, and then picked it back up and finished it over the last couple of weeks, finally!  Hooray!  I’m so excited to show it to you now!

New cardigan!

I got this ill-fitting but beautiful hand knit cardigan at a thrift store (4 years ago – wow time flies!), knowing I’d someday fix it up and make it wearable:

original sweater original sweater

Once I had my vision, deciding to use a heavier weight yarn for additions (around aran weight, versus the original sweater in maybe sport weight, I’d guess), and picking out this recycled sweater yarn (the same used in these either/or mittens), I got to the deconstructing.  I carefully removed all the edgings, one step at a time, and picked up stitches to knit on my new edgings.  On some parts I could use the actual live stitches, and on others I picked up stitches from sides.

sweater reconstruction close-up

It was all improvised, but I’ll tell you what I can, based on my crap memory and examining the piece now…

The first edging made was along the bottom – I unraveled those stitches, picked them up, decreased across to get a good stitch count in my heavier yarn to match up, and knit 1×1 rib for a few inches.

sweater reconstruction close-up

Then I picked up a chunk of stitches along the back of the collar, and began knitting those (also in 1×1 rib – all of my additions are 1×1 rib), picking up an extra couple of stitches every time I reached the end of a row.  So this resulted in short-row shaping, making the back of the collar the widest.

sweater reconstruction close-up

Once I had picked up down through the yoke, a couple stitches at a time like this, I picked up all the way down to the bottom on each side, ending the short row shaping for now.  I picked up the stitches closer together than I probably should have; I wanted the collar and front panels to be squishy and not pull in.  In the end, I see that I could have significantly reduced my picked up stitches along the fronts, and it still wouldn’t have pulled in, but it’s okay.

sweater reconstruction close-up

So then I knit around all these stitches (oh so many!  It took like an entire episode of a show to knit 1 row, as I’m extra slow in 1×1 rib) until the narrow front parts were a couple inches wide.  Then I made the triangle pockets on each side, using short rows:

sweater reconstruction close-up

After the pockets were done, I headed back up to the top and made the hood, shaped with short rows and decreases.  It turned out weird, and I learned from my mistakes for next time.  I like it enough to not frog and re-knit (omg the thought of taking it apart now that it’s all finished is awful) but it’s definitely not the best hood ever.  But hey, it functions!

New cardigan!

Basically, I decreased 4 stitches on every other row, because it was starting out so huge, so I thought that would be good, but I should have decreased 2, that would have made for a much nicer shape.  Lesson learned, and passed on to you.

New cardigan!

Once I finished the hood shaping, I knit back down to the bottom, and worked one last full row all the way around, then bound off.

One final row, then I bind off 289 1x1 rib stitches and am done with this long-term project! So excited to show it to you soon!

To finish the pockets, I folded them over to make a straight line with the edging above, and sewed them along the bottom.  I thought this would be it, but then they looked weird and needed to be stabilized, so I sewed them shut a couple inches on the tops and a couple inches on the bottoms, and now they are perfect!  Love them!

sweater reconstruction close-up

Lastly, the cuffs.  I actually took process photos so I can give you a full on tutorial for the cuffs!

Cuff tutorial step

Recycled sweaters are like snowflakes, every one is unique (not really), so this is how I did mine, but if you try to do the same, you’ll need to adjust according to your sweater’s specifics.

Cuff tutorial step

First, I tried unraveling the cuff from the edge, but, sadly, my particular hand knit sweater was knit from the cuff up, so it wouldn’t unravel.  Most recycled sweaters will unravel starting at the cuffs, so it will usually be much easier than this was.

Cuff tutorial step

Since I couldn’t unravel it, I grabbed my scissors and chopped it off, a few rows above where I wanted to pick up the stitches – I didn’t want to cut right up to the row I was going to pick up, and risk cutting too much, but this was kind of an unnecessary step, as I just ended up cutting again.  I could have picked up the stitches first, then cut once.

Cuff tutorial step

For your cuff project, you can either unravel all the way down to where you want your cuff to start, or cut it mostly off with scissors, then unravel the last couple rows, as that should normally work, with most sweaters.

Cuff tutorial step

I picked up my stitches, cut the rest off, picked off all the little bits of yarn stuck in there from cutting it, and had the stitches on the needles ready to knit – small needles, sized to match the original sweater yarn (not my heavier yarn).

Cuff tutorial step

Here is where I actually made a mistake with this cuff.  I made my first cuff over a year earlier, and had forgotten the details, so I slightly messed up on my second cuff.  I knew I had to decrease around, to get the stitch count down to match my bulkier gauge, so for the second cuff I decreased around during the very first round:

Cuff tutorial step

But this resulted in the cuff pulling in a bit at the join.  Damn.  Oops.  For the first cuff, I’d done it the right way: first, knit all stitches for one round in the new yarn, onto the bigger needles to match the new yarn.  Then, on the second new-yarn round, decrease around as needed to get a good stitch count in the new gauge.  This will prevent the join from pulling in.

Cuff tutorial step

Once the stitch count is right, work around (in 1×1 rib or the cuff stitch pattern of your choice) until it’s as long as you want it.  My cuffs are about 5 inches, around three times as long as the original cuffs on the ill-fitting cardigan.  Much better!

New cardigan!

So that’s that!  I chose not to put in buttonholes, since I wasn’t sure how the fit would be and I figured I could add closures later to fit best.  It works well closed with a shawl pin like you see at the top, or with 1-inch round pins like this:

New cardigan!

But I do plan to add some kind of permanent closure at some point; I’m thinking maybe a buckle of some kind, or toggles… we’ll see.  It’s fine for now!

New cardigan!

At the time when I first started this project, I began contemplating the idea of writing an ebook/collection of sort-of-patterns for this kind of thing – tutorials for taking apart reclaimed sweaters and knitting on new parts to make them into awesome new items.  The patterns would be better than this (this was an improvised experiment – if it was meant to be an actual design, the hood and other elements would be better!) and there would be lots of different kinds of projects, and different elements that could be mixed and matched together (like, pick your favorite pocket type, and collar type, etc).  Anyway, I currently don’t have solid plans to make this project happen, but I am still considering it for the future.

If this is something you’d be interested in, please let me know!  Either by commenting on this blog post, or by commenting over on the ravelry project page.  If there does seem to be a significant amount of interest, then I will start thinking about it for real and planning it.  Thanks!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,thrifty finds,tutorials — leethal @ 5:25 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 17, 2011

thrifty find, part 2: Painted Table!

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

spray painted side table!

The original table, straight home from the thrift store:

new (used) end table

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

spray painted side table!

…then put them back together…

spray painted side table!

…and bam!  New table!

spray painted side table! spray painted side table!

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

spray painted side table! spray painted side table!

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

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

June 9, 2011

June’s quick knits club: Thrift! (last club ebook!)

Well here it is, my last club ebook!  The quick knits club has run its course and has now come to an end, with a theme that seemed to fit since it’s an element in pretty much every club ebook: Thrift!

June's quick knits club ebook cover

Everything has to do with items you can find at thrift stores… The first, embellishments that can be sewn onto clothes to hide small stains, holes, or logos, or just to liven up something that’s a bit more bland than you’d like.  From the ebook: “If you find a shirt or skirt that fits perfectly, in a color you love, with an unsightly blemish, this embellishment might be all that’s needed to turn it into your new favorite piece! I used mine to cover up the logo on a shirt and make the whole thing more interesting, and to brighten up a boring skirt.”

June's quick knits club ebook! June's quick knits club ebook!

There are two patterns for the Bobble Star Embellishments – one with smaller bobbles and longer stems, and the other with larger bobbles, shorter stems, and a larger center part.  And then there are notes for adjusting the number and length of the stems, and how I made that crazy one with 9 stems in all different lengths.

June's quick knits club ebook!

And then the other pattern is something you can knit with the actual thrifted materials themselves – make super-bulky recycled “yarn” out of either a sheet or t-shirt(s) and knit it up into a Bulky Teardrop Towel:

June's quick knits club ebook!

And hanging in action in my kitchen:

June's quick knits club ebook! June's quick knits club ebook!

Each of the patterns have tutorials to go with them – for the embellishments, I explain how to sew the stars onto clothes, either by hand or machine…

June's quick knits club ebook! June's quick knits club ebook!

And I show you how to make sheet yarn…

June's quick knits club ebook!

…and no-ties t-shirt yarn, which can stripe between different colors with no knots or ends to weave in.

June's quick knits club ebook! June's quick knits club ebook!

The tutorial in this ebook is nature plates – clear glass plates are almost always found at thrift stores, so here’s a way to turn those into awesome custom dishes:

June's quick knits club ebook!

You could use the same concept with hand-cut stencils or other flat found objects; I used leaves from weeds in my yard.  Maybe someday I’ll have our weed problem under control and these plates will serve as a reminder of what used to be.  (Yards are a lot of work!)

June's quick knits club ebook!

And then lastly, there’s a link list of tutorials I’ve done online that are great for thrifted materials, which happens to be a pretty big chunk of my tutorials, since I do love thrifting!  As I said in the ebook, thrift shops are my main source for craft materials in general, and when coming up with club ideas, always trying to use recycled materials whenever possible, I generally hit thrift stores before craft stores.  For the first generation of the club, the recycled yarn always came from thrifted sweaters, and the extras usually would be thrifted as well, so I’m happy to have wrapped up these almost two years of monthly club projects with this theme!

So, you can grab this ebook on my site or on ravelry, and you can buy any of the other 9 club ebooks separately, plus all my old club patterns in ebook collections – volume 1, volume 2, and volume 3.  (All my quick knits patterns are on ravelry here.)  I’m excited for the club to be behind me, so I can move on to focus on my big ebook now!  But, I may be putting out free quick knits patterns once in awhile if I think of any good ideas.  We’ll see…..

Happy thrifting, and happy knitting!

Filed under: knitting,quick knits,thrifty finds — leethal @ 3:24 pm

July 20, 2010

thrifty finds: Best of my Recent Acquisitions!

Pete has a new obsession, I mean hobby, for the last couple of months – men’s fashion!  His used-to-be comicy blog has turned into a record of his clothing finds, all scored at thrift stores all over town (and outside town), most of which I’ve accompanied him to, where I’ve scored some finds of my own!  So these are some of my favorites from the last month or so, collected here for your own thrifting inspiration!

Starting with crafty stuff, this granny squares book is pretty darn sweet, and while I don’t really care about that little knitting book, I LOVE the yarn+needles charm that came with it!  It will be turned into a necklace for sure:

book(s) and charm!

Some of the nice cotton blend loops to go with my vintagey potholder loom I scored at a craft swap awhile back… and a big chunk of houndstooth fabric – maybe big enough to make an awesome dress, if I can figure out how to make a dress…

loom loops! fabric!

Sweaters to unravel and dye, as always:

sweaters for unraveling!

I started collecting lace for a home decor project I’m planning, but now I’ve been brainstorming about a different project that some of this might be used for…


I love collecting awesome glasses and mugs!  This is another recent find


Pete’s always looking for games for trivia mystery prizes, and scored these the other day – I am so keeping pop culture trivial pursuit and celebrity taboo! And, has anyone heard of/played huggermugger?  Looks maybe fun…


And onto the clothes!  I love this wraparound dress – it’s a size smaller than would normally fit me, but it magically fits perfectly, and it has pockets! wooo!  And then this weird-ish summer cardigan thing – not good for most weather, being super warm angora but short sleeves, but it’s soft and cabley and has crocheted buttons and I couldn’t resist!

wraparound dress! summer sweater!

These two tops are both dress-like but too short for me so I wear them with jeans or with a skirt underneath… giant purple houndstooth is rad and that grey+black one totally looks like yarn and/or cables!

houndstooth top! yarn-ish dress!

And one of my best thrifty finds of all time: dug up at the Bins, meaning it cost probably around $3-4 (pay by the pound)…

coat! coat!

Check out the label on this coat!  Made in England, in the 30’s?!  Awesome, perfect-fitting houndstooth wool, sure to be worn every day next winter!

coat tag

And those are just my favorites!  Happy thrifting!

Filed under: thrifty finds — leethal @ 11:51 pm

May 10, 2010

From Thrifty Finds to Crafty Lamp!

A couple of years ago I came upon a bag of granny squares at the Goodwill bins!  Score!  No two colorways alike, they were obviously handmade, the start to a project that was never finished:


I washed them, then they sat there for 2 years, waiting waiting waiting for a project… and then I got a paper lantern style lampshade for $1 at a yard sale the other day, and this idea came to me!


It’s weird, but I love it!  I wove through the edges with some yarn leftovers and a blunt needle, tied them around, and pulled the squares all straight into 6 columns.  (A little more complex than that, but I didn’t take any step-by-step photos.  I feel like my methods were probably not the best way to get the final result – if you want to recreate the look yourself, the best results would probably come from actually crocheting the pieces together, or at least sewing them.)


It looks pretty cool with the light shining through!

atnight1 daytime2

I haven’t completed a crochet project in years (need to get back to that skirt now that the move is over), but I do love crochet, so I’m happy to represent granny squares in my new home, even if I didn’t hook them myself!


Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,thrifty finds — leethal @ 7:51 pm

January 11, 2010

thrifty finds: Sweaters and more sweaters!

Last week I took a trip to Value Village and scored a cart full of sweaters!


I couldn’t resist these two beautiful fair isle yokes, though I was so excited by their obvious hand-knitted-ness that I didn’t look/feel close enough to realize they’re not wool.  After machine washing and drying, I’m assured they are acrylic, but eh, they still look great!  I’m thinking about doing some reconstruction to the cardigan – changing the buttons, doing something to the collar and waist, which pulls in too tightly… And the collar on the green pullover is coming apart, so something needs to be done with that.


These two were a perfect pair – one is a 40% angora blend, the other merino/cashmere, both in gorgeous shades of red.  The darker angora one has a fabulous huge cabled neck which will become something for myself (you’ll see soon enough)!  Unfortunately there’s a problem with the big cabled merino one – and there’s a lesson in this for unravelers out there:  I checked the arm, body, and shoulder seams in the store, as usual, and the shoulders were serged (somewhat common) but the rest were not, so it was ok… well, while starting the frogging process, I discovered that the arms are serged onto the body as well (not common!), which means the whole body is un-froggable from the armpits up.  Bummer!  So I had to take a scissors to it and chop across the chest, which is never fun, and now I need to find a way to make use of that whole top part… oh well, at least it’s a huge sweater so I still got plenty of beautiful yarn from it!


And this one… ugly, I know, but I was weirdly drawn to it… I have some reconstruction thoughts and we’ll see how it goes.  Maybe it’ll turn into a tutorial of some kind.  Or maybe I’ll wear it with the shoulder pads and faux-chenille collar, hah!

There were more than just these – a couple more for unraveling – as well as a couple of sheets to add to my matted stitch sets options, and an awesome mug with my name on it!  Yay!

Filed under: thrifty finds — leethal @ 12:37 pm

September 2, 2009

thrifty finds: End Table!

new (used) end table

Took a trip to the Goodwill Bins today and scored this awesome Mid-Century Modern style end table!  It’s not high quality – faux bois laminate type surface, a bit wobbly – but it was $3!!  Three dollars!!

Pretty beat up, but I’m hoping this will be my before post and in a few weeks I’ll be showing you after photos!  Not quite sure what I’ll be doing to it yet, maybe spray painting it either orange or green… I’m not at all experienced with furniture recon projects, so I’d love any ideas or advice anyone might have!

new (used) end table

The Stats

  • Where: The Bins
  • What: 50’s modern style end table
  • Total Damage: $3

Want to see some other furniture scores from the Bins since we’ve been living here?  The best is my sewing table, for $10:


And both the shelving units on my desk are from there (probably around $3-5 each):


Our old loveseat was a Bins find for $15, and now lives at David‘s apt.  I also got a drafting table top for $8; sadly, the great adjustable legs wouldn’t fit in my car and I had to leave them behind – I use the table top on a keyboard stand for craft shows.  Yay the Bins!

On a side note, the reason I was looking at furniture today was that Pete will be moving most of his side of our shared studio to his new studio space next week, which will give me way more space!!  This is super awesome because while my half-room was fine when we first moved in, I’ve accumulated sooo much more stuff since then (thanks to said Bins!) and it’s impossible to keep it organized!  So I’m planning out some new shelving and drawers and I’m going to get it all super duper organized – I can’t wait!!

Filed under: home stuff,portland stuff,thrifty finds — leethal @ 8:26 pm

June 7, 2009

thrifty finds: stripey sweater and cupcakes book!

a couple weeks ago i decided to take a saturday afternoon walk, and found a garage sale on craigslist to head towards, in search of buttons or sweaters to unravel.  didn’t find either of those, but i did score vegan cupcakes take over the world for a dollar!

vegan cupcakes book free sweater

then on the walk back home, i happened upon a free stuff box containing this stripe-tastic sweater!!  the colors called my name, of course, and i assumed it wouldn’t happen to fit me, so i’d use it for some crafty purpose, but look!  it fits me perfectly!! heck yeah!

free sweater

the stats

  • where: walking around my neighborhood
  • what: cupcakes cookbook and rad me-sweater
  • total damage: $1

this is the first in a new category of posts! yay!  in the spirit of doing stuff, i plan to start sharing awesome things i find at thrift stores and garage sales, because spending a tiny bit of your hard earned cash on used things to give them a new life is much better than spending a lot of it on new stuff, where your money might go to evil things like sweatshop labor and malls.  (if you have the cash though, it’s a great thing to spend it in local indepedent shops, craft fairs, etc, of course, especially in the current economy.  support things that are awesome in any way you can!)

Filed under: thrifty finds — leethal @ 6:09 pm
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