Monday, April 22, 2013

Q & A

Back in March, Nat of Knit by Nat nominated me for a Liebster Award.  What is a Liebster Award you ask?  It's a way for bloggers to nominate fellow bloggers who are lesser known.  Kinda like a "word of mouth" game.  Or something like that.  I'm not going to nominate anyone here (though there are plenty I could!), but I thought I'd take part in some aspects of the award.  One is to list 11 facts about yourself and the other is to answer the 11 questions posed to you by the person that nominated you.  I really meant to do this back in March, but March was really crazy for me that I never got around to it.  So, here goes!

11 Facts:
  • My confirmation name was Helen, after my grandmother. I had to search pretty hard to find a Saint Helen.
  • I have a Masters degree in Chemistry. I specialized in organic chemistry to be exact.
  • I met Mr. SpiderKate outside of our college gym.
  • I had a puking incident involving spaghetti sauce as a child and haven't liked it ever since.  I'm slowing outgrowing it.
  • The very first time I took the car out after getting my license, I woke up the next morning to my dad asking me what happened to the hubcaps.  My first thought was "what are hubcaps".  Yup, someone stole my hubcaps on my first outing with the car.
  • My middle name is Rose.
  • I'm the oldest of three and fit the oldest child profile to a tee.
  • My mom named me Katherine because she thought it was a strong name.  The back up boy name was Kevin.  I don't think, as a boy, I would fit the name Kevin.
  • I listen to the Kidd Kraddick Show every weekday.  I listen to almost the whole show.  I knit a lot while listening.
  • I consider myself a morning person and a night person.  (I know, it doesn't make any sense!)
  • I'm a nervous traveler.  I like to be really early to the airport.

11 Questions:
1. Would you rather take 3 hour flight or 25 hour road trip?
Tough one....probably the 3 hour flight.  If I didn't have to drive a lot, then definitely the 25 hour road trip.
2. What is your favourite blog post you've done?
I can't think of a favorite.  Probably any involving knitting with my mom & sister. 
3. What is your idea of a perfect Sunday morning?
Coffee coffee coffee. And knitting. In bed.
4. What do you wish you knew how to do better?
Knittingwise - colorwork & knitting garments.  Lifewise - I wish I had a better understanding of cooking; baking I not so much.
5. Coffee or Tea?
Coffee & tea.
6. If you had enough room for one project in your luggage to bring on a trip, what would it be?
7.  What time of day are you most creative?
8. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
I don't think I could be anyone else besides Kate. 
9. Chips or Chocolate?
10. In a room full of strangers, do you stand on the side lines, mingle politely, or become the life of the party?
Mingle politely.
11. If you got a dozen roses for your birthday, what colour would you want them to be?
This is the easiest question - assorted colors. I love getting the full rainbow of colors.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mollie Makes crochet along

It's time for another crochet along via Park Avenue Yarns! This one is running from April thru May on two crochet patterns featured in Mollie Makes Issue #22.  These two patterns are out of a lovely book called Crochet Boutique by Rachael Oglesby, one is for fingerless mitts and the other is a button clutch.  I also picked up a copy of the book from the Barnes & Noble online store for $3.50!  Since I am a B&N member, I also got free express shipping on this order and for $3.50 for the book, this was a deal that I couldn't pass up!  Unfortunately it's not still listed for $3.50, but you can get it for $6.95 last I checked on B&N.  

One thing I noticed was a slight difference between the Mollie Makes version of the pattern and the book's version of the pattern.  The difference being where the book called a single crochet, the magazine called a double crochet as well as other instances like this.  Well, Mollie Makes is a UK magainze and used UK terminology for crochet.  But, since I thought that maybe there was an error, I ended up emailing the author, who very graciously replied with an explanation and a link to the difference in UK crochet terms versus US crochet terms.  I don't know why, but  didn't occur to me that US and UK crochet terms might be different.  At least I know now!  

I'm crocheting my fingerless mitts using Araucania Tolten.  I really wasn't sure if I was going to like working with this yarn - it just doesn't have that squishy, good feeling when you first touch it - but working with it really brings out it's awesomeness.  It is soft to work with and is soft to wear.  My only complaint is that it's sorta difficult to "feed" the yarn when crocheting, but that might be more related to how I "feed" the yarn when I crochet.  (When I say "feed" the yarn, I'm referring to pulling the yarn out of the cake and using it to crochet.)  

These crochet up fast!  Even for a slow crochter like myself, I made each of these in about an hour!  I really love the fit of these mitts as well - not too long, but not too short.  I often find myself making fingerless mittens that go pretty far down my arm, which I love, but then it can be difficult figuring out how/when to wear them.  These mitts stop right around the wrist, making them the perfect accessory to wear with just about anything - coats, long sleeves, etc.

My mitts ended up being a combined weight of 44 grams, so just under half a skein for a pair.  You can get two pairs of mitts from one skein of Tolten - not too bad if you ask me!  I haven't made my second pair yet because I'm working on crocheting the clutch now.  I will definitely make the second pair as soon as I'm done with the clutch.  I also see these making good, quick gifts to give people.  I will probably end up making a couple of pairs to have in my go to gift pile!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Yes, I needed to use all those exclamation points in my title because I'm really excited to share my latest design, Avebury.  Avebury is a part of the Malabrigo Quickies program.  A big thank you to Malabrigo Yarn for their support!!!  Alex wrote a lovely post about the pattern here, which I am thankful for as well.

Avebury is normally priced at $5.50, but it's on sale right now for $3.50 with a coupon code.  You can find the coupon code in my Ravelry group (Kate Schuyten Designs) or in Alex's blog post on Malabrigo's site (linked above).  The coupon code is good until the end of the month.  

I'm also doing a yarn giveaway, so that you can knit your very own Avebury!  I'm giving away three skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Rios in the exact colors I used to make the hat: Paris Night, Indiecita & Teal Feather.  To enter the giveaway, head over to my Ravelry group (Kate Schuyten Designs) and leave a comment in the yarn giveaway thread.  Comments will remain open until midnight next Thursday April 11th, 2013.  On Friday morning I will lock the thread and the winner will be announced.  Winner will be picked via random number generator.

This design has been in the works for a long time.  I went through many iterations of this hat before I got the design details just right - I'll post about the other hats this weekend/early next week, but for now we'll stick to the final version.  Avebury is a brioche hat that is knit in the round.  It can be knit as either a solid hat or with two different colors.  I think that it really shines when knit with two colors, but love the solid version as well.  The pattern includes a mini brioche stitch guide as well as references for further instructions on brioche stitches. 

The brioche pattern is easy enough that I think beginner brioche knitters can knit it, though I would suggest starting out with the solid version to get a hang of the technique.  Think of the solid version as the beginners version and the two color version as the advance option.  The great thing about the two color version?  The other color is NOT carried in the round i.e. no floats!  Rounds are knit by alternating the main & contrasting colors.  The trickiest part is making sure to leave the other color in the right spot at the beginning/end of the round (instructions are included on where to leave the yarn).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A tale of two cowls

In the beginning of February I wrote a post about how I had started to crochet and was embarking on my first big crochet project.  Well, to say that I just started to crochet isn't entirely accurate.  I knew some crochet before, but it wasn't a part of my normal crafting routine.  Now I can officially say that it is part of my crafting routine.  I've jumped in and there is no turning back now!

My first big project was the crochet along at the store on the Tornado Twist pattern by Elizabeth Trantham.  This pattern is available on Ravelry here as well as a leaflet available at your LYS (though maybe call ahead if it's a far drive and you want to be sure they have it).  Spud & Chloe has it listed here as well as a link to locate a local retailer.  Park Avenue Yarns has copies, so that is where I picked mine up from.  Let me just say that this pattern is a lot of fun.  I mean it, fun.  

If you know even a little bit of crochet, then you can do this pattern.  It really helped me become familiar with the different crochet stitches - single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc) and double crochet (dc).  The hardest part of the whole thing was making the beginning chain (you have to make a reeeaaaaaalllllyyyy long chain) and then joining it in the round without twisting.  The second hardest part was keeping track of your last stitch of the previous round as well as the first stitch of the current round.  I solved that problem by using locking stitch markers to mark each, respectively. Really, that is all there is to this cowl.  

My first cowl was done using the following colors, which made a cowl very similar to the one pictured in the pattern:
Ravelry project page: Tornado Twist
A - Sidewalk
B - Wildberries
C - Lipstick
D - Dolphin
E - Green Bean

At the end of the cowl, I figured out how much of each yarn was used/left remaining and got together with a friend/fellow crocheter, Cyndi, who knit a purple version of the cowl and we switched colors.  We didn't quite have quite enough to do a one for one swap, but needed to purchase an additional gray color (Sidewalk).  The biggest difference was then my purple cowl would have a cream color & a gray color and no periwinkle (Dolphin) color.  Her cowl ended up with all the periwinkle (Dolphin) color, which she would use at the main color.

Here are my colors for the second version aka the purple version:
Ravelry project page: Tornado Twist Take 2
A - Sidewalk
B - Wildberries
C - Dragonfly
D - Snorkel
E - Popcorn

Cyndi ended up ahead of me while crocheting the second one (even though I had started before her - she's a really fast/awesome crocheter!!), so she was the first to figure out that the swap wasn't going to work exactly as we planned.  We were both going to run short on some colors.  I ended up omitting quite a few rnds as follows: Rnds 21, 27, 29, 38 & 39.  The only other modification was a change in Rnd 23.  That rnd called for half double crochet, but I did single crochet instead.  Despite these changes, the overall finished dimensions of both weren't that far off.  My first cowl had a diameter of 29.5" and a width of ~10.5".  The second cowl (purple cowl) had a diameter of 28.5" and a width of ~9.5".

I love this pattern so much that I'm even considering doing a third!  How crazy is that!  I just love how simple it is and really love the result.  I wore my first one almost everyday after I blocked it.  It was getting to be embarrassing - I started telling people to expect me in it because I just could not stop wearing it.  I had planned on giving this second one to my sister, her favorite color is purple after all, but I'm not sure I can part with it.  

Monday, April 1, 2013


Last week I was out of town on a vacation with Mr. Spiderkate and another couple that we are friends with.  We left on Saturday 3/23 and returned on Saturday 3/30.  We spent the week at a resort in Cozumel, Mexico and it was amazing!  Just really good to get away and relax.  It was also nice to sleep without cats bothering me in the middle of the night.  

I didn't get as much knitting/crocheting done as I would have liked, but that's okay.  I brought three projects with me, so I was being pretty optimistic at to what I would get done.  I did end up finishing up my second Tornado Twist (it's currently blocking and will get its own post soon) AND I started the Texelle Shawl towards the end of the trip.  The Texelle shawl is one that's been in my queue for awhile now, so it was good to get it started.  Anyhow, I'll leave you with some photos from the trip!

Arthur was glad we came home; he needed a lap to sleep on!