Today’s Gift-A-Long interview is with Lee Meredith of Leethal Knits. Lee is known for her interesting construction techniques and the sense of fun she brings to her designs. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
How did you get started designing?
I learned to knit in college, taught a basic knit stitch by a roommate, and then self-taught from there on, improvising everything I made for a few years. When I discovered Knitty, and Ravelry launched, in 2007, I started playing around with writing things down, and the first pattern I ever wrote was published in Knitty in Fall 2007 – I was hooked on designing from that point on!
What inspires your designs?
Everything – I get seeds of ideas from things I see in everyday life, or ideas pop into my head out of nowhere (or out of something I saw that was in my subconscious maybe), and I build up the ideas into designs.
Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
The design idea almost always comes first, then I try to figure out what kind of yarn would be the best fit. Or I can picture it looking really different in different kinds of yarns, so I make multiple samples to show it different ways.
What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I always try to make them fun to knit! That’s kind of most important to me – if I don’t want to knit it myself, then I don’t want to put out a pattern and expect other people to knit it. Most of my designs are very customizable, and/or can be made a lot of different ways (any gauge, or other options to choose from), so you can use the same pattern many times to get different finished items.
What is your favourite type of item to design?
I don’t really have a favorite item; my favorite is variety in my knitting, so I like to knit (and design) lots of different things!
Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Maybe Hikoo Kenzie – that’s my most recent yarn love discovery, and there are so many great colors, so I could have lots of variety with my palette. I love Imperial Yarn Columbia, and pretty much all other wooly squishy yarns like that!
What’s your “comfort knitting?”
I try to have a simple project on the needles at all times – right now I have a sweater and a cotton tee, both of which are very long-term projects that I pick up once in awhile and then let sit for months at a time while I focus on designs. I am usually somewhat comforted by whatever design I’m knitting on, even if it’s stressing me out for other reasons, the act of knitting itself is comforting!
Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I really love my Wobble Bass hat, but it’s a very low seller. I also really love the hat I designed for Twist Collective – Meridian – which has only ever been made by a couple knitters. My cabled shawl, Freewheelin’, is one of my favorite designs, but I think it scares most knitters because it’s been liked a lot of times but not very many have made it.
Which three GAL designs are top of your list to cast on?
Unfortunately I have no free time to actually cast any on right now, but several designs from GAL designers have been in my queue for awhile – three are: Mt. Hood Snow Cap by Star Athena, Waneka by Annie Watts, and Gaugeless Sweater by Elizabeth Felgate.
Continental or English?
I learned with English, tried Continental a few times, but it wouldn’t stick. So I’m a thrower.
What’s the best thing about knitting?
Hah, everything! Making something awesome by simply pulling loops of yarn through loops of yarn!
What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Don’t stress out about it, it’s only knitting, it should be fun!
Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
To stick to my goal design schedule as much as possible. This year I released a lot fewer patterns than I’d hoped to, because I let a few things get kind of out of control and take way too long, so next year I will try much harder to keep designs under control, simpler in a lot of cases, and stay on track!
View all of Lee’s patterns here. All photos are copyright Lee Meredith, Leethal Knits. All images used by permission.
What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!