Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Iced Coffee recipe

A brief detour from knitting to talk about iced coffee.  I. Love. Iced. Coffee.  Phew, feels good to say that out loud.  However, I'm terrible at making (regular) coffee and until recently have had to resort to going to coffee houses for my iced coffee fixes.  I then learned that my husband, Mr. SpiderKate, is AWESOME at making both regular and iced coffee.  I don't know how I didn't learn this sooner, which just goes to show that even after knowing him for almost 6 years (married almost 4) that I'm still learning things about him!  I think he's tried to keep this secret to himself so he wouldn't get roped into making coffee for me all the time or as he puts it "contributing to my addiction".  Well, he's been making both kinds of coffee for me and I think he's gotten a little tired of my "can you please make me coffee this morning" routine (okay, it might be a little more whiny than I'm portraying it here) and decided to tell me his secrets.  Today I share with you Mr. SpiderKate's recipe for Kate's perfect iced coffee.

Step 1: Brew coffee stronger than normal by using 1/4 cup of coffee grounds and filling water to 2 cup mark (on 12 cup coffee marker).  Reference: for regular coffee we use 1/4 cup coffee grounds and fill water to 3 cup mark.


Step 2: Fill cup with as much ice as possible, top with 2 splenda, and then add cream.


Step 3: Pour hot coffee into cup, mix with straw and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Updated list...finally

Remember this list posted here and here?  Well, I have an update (drum roll please)...

1.  Rose lace stole
2.  GAP-tastic cowl
3.  Sweetheart socks
4.  Einstein coat
 
That's right, I finished up the GAP-tastic cowl in the beginning of July.  This project fell victim to "I only work on it at knitting group" and then it fell victim to "I want to finish this so I can start something else". On a side note, I need to get better about blogging about projects when I finish them and not months later.  In my defense, Mr. SpiderKate just took the photos the other day so it's not entirely my fault.  The Einstein coat is still hanging over my head BUT I have worked on it and will talk about it in another post (it's not done).  
 
Project info: 
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Chunky (2 skeins) in colorway S M Gold (207)
Needles: size US 10 24" circular needle
 
Modeling the GAP-tastic cowl
The GAP-tastic cowl was a nice relaxing knit.  So, what mistakes did I make.  Well, when I first cast on I ended up with a twisted join, which was funny because as I was joining I remember thinking "oh I've never had a problem with joining" and then boom - I joined incorrectly.  Then I cast on again, joined and started knitting only to realize I was off by one stitch in my cast on and of course I don't realize this until I've knit a couple of rounds.  Off by one stitch?!?!?!  And you know that I checked and double checked my cast on number!  Okay, maybe I should have triple checked the count.  Do I rip and start again? Nope!  I decided that it wasn't going to bother me and to just go with the flow.  The cowl is a simple seed stitch, so the only problem created by being off by one stitch was what I call a "seam" look at the start of the round, which I didn't think would be as noticeable with my variegated yarn.  I'm not sure my choice of yarn was the best because (to me) it looks like the colors "pooled" a bit, but it doesn't bother me enough to rip it.  I should probably remain this cowl "go with the flow cowl" since none of the "mistakes" ended up bothering me.  
 
That's my story with the cowl and I'm sticking to it.  This cowl has also had the unfortunate side effect of making me want to knit more cowls which means I might have a renewed interest in buying worsted weight yarn....shhhh don't tell Mr. SpiderKate ;o)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Helical Hat Finished

Finished hat
I just realized I never posted about my Helical Hat!  Oops!  I've been distracted lately and more forgetful than normal.  I'm not sure what is going on as I'm not normally very forgetful - maybe it's just "summer" brain.  Speaking of the never ending summer - this is my first Texas summer and it sure has been hot.  I knew it was going to be hot, but it's just weird that it is still this hot and football is on TV.  I'm use to football starting and the temps being in the 70s not in the 100s! At the end of the week the high is only suppose to be in the low 90s; I'm definitely looking forward to that.  Okay, on to the knitting.

Inside of hat
The helical hat is a fun, quick project.  I believe I already talked about the tubular cast on in a previous post, but let me just mention again that it is a really nice cast on for 1x1 ribbing.  I'm talking nice as in it looks very professional.  Probably the most difficult part of knitting this hat was the crown decreases.  I call this difficult because I did mine keeping with the helical knitting instead of switching over to just one color and having a solid colored crown.  I had no problems keeping the different colors separated while on the circular needle, however that wasn't the case once I switch to DPNs.  The DPNs made everything go crazy for me.  The yarns were all tangled not only around each other, but around the needles as well.  It made me crazy!!  I kept untangling and untangling and untangling and you get the point - a lot of untangling. 

View of top of hat while flat
I was also delusional about how big this hat was turning out.  I was thinking that this would be a great hat to give to my nephew since I haven't knit him anything yet.  Well, while my nephew does have a big head, he doesn't have a man sized head.  This hat is definitely fit for an adult and preferably an adult male or someone with more hair than me. 

View of brim and inside of hat while flat

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The shawl that took a week

Homemade cappuccino
 Coffee.  I've been drinking coffee like it's going out of style.  And it's all because a lot of things are going on in the SpiderKate household. I think I mentioned in a post back in June that some exciting things were going on that I couldn't talk about, well I'm glad that I didn't bring it up because it didn't end up working out.  We had been trying to buy a house and it had proved to be quite the undertaking.  Basically we ended up under contract for a house and after going back and forth about repairs and etc it didn't work out - the sellers were overwhelmed as were we.  I was somewhat disappointed that it didn't work out, but we didn't give up.  The end result is that in the next couple of weeks we found another house, put in an offer, had an inspection and are now set to close in the middle of September!  Going through the experience with the first house really taught me a lot about the process and I felt better prepared when we put in the offer on the second house.  Mr. SpiderKate and I are excited to be moving into a place of our own.

Live Oak Shawlette
In other news, I finally wrote up the pattern for En Fuego Shawl and recruited test knitters.  I'm pretty happy with how the pattern turned out and am grateful that knitters have volunteered to test knit it.  The test knitting is set to be done by end of September and the pattern released shortly after that.  Honestly the test knitting process couldn't be going any better.  The feedback I've received so far has been very helpful and the pattern is looking better and better.  

Shortly after I had the test knitters set up, I decided to cast on for the Live Oak Shawlette by Romi Hill.  My goal was to finish this shawl in one week, but I fell short by a couple of days.  I think that I could have easily finished it in one week, but with setting up the test knitters, apply for a mortgage and etc it made it difficult for me to give it all my attention.  The hardest part of this shawl was probably the BO - but only because of the number of stitches and the type of BO.  The stretchy bind off is a double edge sword for me - I love it and I hate it.  I love that it gives a very stretchy edge, but I hate how long it seems to take since it essentially involves working each stitch twice as you bind off.  I ended up doing half one night and the other half the next morning.  Oh and the blocking!  This piece is not for the faint of heart or those that don't block pieces.  This shawl definitely needing blocking to bring out the leaf edging.  Half way through pinning out the leaves, I realized that I wasn't going to have enough pins to pin out each side of the leaves individually so I ended up having the pins do double duty.  Basically I ended up using one pin to pin out the sides of adjacent leaves.  Overall I'd rate this shawl advanced beginner, though Knitscene rated it intermediate.  

Look at those leaves!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cupcakes :o)

I was going to update about knitting, but I didn't finish my Live Oak Shawlette as planned.  What did I do instead of finishing my shawl? Well, I made cupcakes after I finished dinner.  Mr. SpiderKate requested that I make a cake, but I wanted cupcakes so off I went.  Tonight I give you Joy of Cooking Four-Egg Yellow Cake cupcakes with Quick Orange Icing.  The recipe was pretty straight forward to follow and I ended up with 24 cupcakes.  And yes, they were/are delicious!





Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Green Lizard

The lizard who lived
When Arthur was out on the balcony/porch this morning I noticed him staring intently at the tree near the railing.  Of course I had to go out and take a look because that could only mean one of two things - either he is crazy or he's staring at some bug/lizard/animal type thing.  Arthur's sole purpose (besides sleeping in 100 degree heat on the balcony) is catching bugs/lizards/etc.  He's already caught two lizards, one of which lived and the other did not.  The first lizard that he caught (and lived) he brought inside.  Yeah, that was an interesting morning for me.  I was not happy to have my cat bringing in a lizard friend to play with, but I was able to rescue that lizard.  The second lizard wasn't as lucky since by the time I checked on Arthur on the balcony the lizard had been played with too much.  I was sad about that lizard, so I've been more vigilant about checking on him while he's been outside.  I guess this was my long way of saying that this morning Arthur was staring intently at a lizard and there is no doubt in my mind that he would have lured him onto the balcony and caught him.  After shooing Arthur inside I grabbed my camera to capture a photo of the little lizard who lived.

Tune in tomorrow for a knitting update! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Arthur!

I was going to write a post all about how I finished up my helical hat and started and new project, but instead I'm going to post a picture of our cat Arthur.  This little guy is just too cute for words.  For some unknown reason he kept going and sitting in the corner this afternoon.  Maybe he's done something bad and I just haven't found it yet...


Ok, I can't resist talking about some knitting. This evening Mr. SpiderKate tried to help me take some pictures of my new shawl, but it turns out that red lace is kinda hard to photograph.  I think we got some okay ones, but I'd like to get some better ones.  I'm working on a rough draft of the pattern and will probably use some of the pictures we got tonight in the posting for test knitters.  I thought I'd have pattern draft ready by today and could post for the testers today, however that didn't work out.  Here are some of the photos we took:



The shawl is actually quite large at ~63" wide (wing span) and ~24" down the spine.  The lace really opened up after the blocking.  I wished that I realized how tough red was going to be photograph before I knit the shawl.  Though, I guess I'm not sure I would have changed my color preference.  I knew I was going to name the shawl En Fuego Shawl and red really seemed to fit with that name.  I guess the yarn and color just spoke to me.  I'm also thinking about knitting it in a fingering weight yarn to give another option.  If I did that, then I know I would decrease some of the chart repeats because otherwise the shawl would be huge.  I wouldn't call this a beginner lace pattern - probably more medium to advanced.  The only reason I lean towards that is because of how fine the yarn was that I used, though it could certainly be knit in a heavier lace weight.

Monday, August 8, 2011

All done...well almost


I cast off for my shawl today.  I was avoiding it all day.  I found things to do to prevent me from casting off.  All those phones call I've been meaning to make? Well they suddenly became very important.  Then I had to go to the grocery store to get some items for dinner.  Oh and I hadn't talked to my mom since Sunday so then I had to call her to catch up.  By the time I got off the phone with her it was time to make and eat dinner.  Have two glasses of wine with dinner? Well why not!  It's not like I was planning on knitting anything difficult tonight.  All the while my shawl was just staring at me.  I could feel it daring me to pick it up and cast off.  Can shawls emit feelings?  I'm pretty sure that this one did.  Well, after my two glasses of wine wore off I picked the shawl up to start casting off.  389 bound off stitches later and I have finally finished my shawl.  The only things left to do are weaving in the ends and blocking.  Hopefully nothing pops up that prevents me from those two items ;o)