TWiP: Blues and Greens

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I managed to surround myself in all of my favorite colors this week, if this mosaic is any indication. Oh, and school is out! Yay!

Speaking of things that are my favorite colors, I have some knitting calling my name. How about you enjoy this week’s pictures, while I go spend some time with that cardigan in progress? 🙂

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

📷 = taken with my Canon DSLR
📱 = taken with my Samsung phone

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram 📱: Happy Saturday, Instagram! I think I’m going to finish this #sayitwithflowersmandala today😊

365 📷: 2016 170/366 – I can’t remember the last time my kids were on the Wii together. It’s kind of nice to be hanging out here in the same room on a Saturday afternoon. It’s such a rarity these days!

Instagram 📱: Voila! 😊

Instagram 📱: So messy to make, but kinda worth it. #strawberryjam

Sunday

Instagram 📱: My new #crochetmandala looked lonely, so I hooked up a couple of buddies for it 😊. These are going on my desk at work. When I get a desk. And a job.

365 📷: 2016 171/366 – We spent Father’s Day hanging out with my Dad & the rest of the family, and then Aidan & Eamonn tossed the gigantic frisbee around the front yard. [Taken at my parents’ house.]

Monday

365 📷: 2016 172/366 – Starting from scratch with my latest knitting project. Despite having invested 60 rows into the original, I unraveled it. It’s going to be a lot better (and significantly less expensive) in this new yarn: Berroco Weekend on sale (vs. Berroco Remix full price)

Tuesday

365 📷: 2016 173/366 – Things are growing in the lily garden.

Wednesday

365 📱: 2016 174/366 – Last day of school picnic! So glad summer is here 🙂 [Taken at Eamonn’s school.]

Thursday

365 📷: 2016 175/366 – I’m pretty sure I am going to live to regret this blank canvas I’ve left on the refrigerator…

Instagram 📱: Progress. #junesfavoritecardigan take two 😊

Friday

365 📷: 2016 176/366 – Well, this is embarrassing.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2008, 2014, 2015)

25-2008 TWiP at PDC This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

New Knitting Pattern: Porthole Cardigan!

Porthole Cardigan a baby and doll sweater to knit from Polka Dot Cottage Porthole Cardigan a baby and doll sweater to knit from Polka Dot Cottage

Almost a year ago, I published my first baby-sized sweater pattern, and it is consistently one of the most popular items I sell. The process of designing that sweater taught me that new ideas are so much simpler to try out on tiny-sized pieces! Whereas an adult cardigan can take me a month to knit, I can work up a baby sweater in less than a week. Two days, if I devote a lot of time to it.

So when I came up with the idea of a sweater with a patterned slip-stitch round yoke, I knew that a baby sweater would be the best way to work out the kinks of my design.

I knit up three of them last fall (you can find the details here) and then promptly lost interest in knitting anything else at all, let alone getting a pattern written and published. So the idea languished until I needed a baby gift recently, and now -finally- I can share the Porthole Cardigan pattern with you!

05_porthole_03_ul

The first few of these cardigans were knit for my nieces and one of their dolls, so I really had girls in mind at first. However, the aforementioned baby gift needed to be gender neutral, and having now knit the gray sample, I do believe it really could go either way. In the right colors this could be plenty boyish.

The pattern is sized for babies and toddlers, Newborn to 4T, and there are also two bonus sizes: 15-inch doll and 18-inch doll, meant to fit Bitty Baby and American Girl dolls, respectively.

05_porthole_05_ul

I was originally picturing a cardigan for myself when I first thought of this design, so an adult size may be forthcoming. Just not soon. Like I said, it takes me a month to knit an adult sweater, and I’ve already got a just-started cardi on the needles. Maybe it can be this year’s “September Sweater.” ☺

Porthole Cardigan a baby and doll sweater to knit from Polka Dot Cottage

Now, don’t let the colorwork on the yoke scare you. If you can knit stripes, then you can easily do this. It’s not like Fair Isle or other stranded colorwork where you work multiple strands of yarn at one time. With this method, you are only ever knitting one color at a time! The pattern is created by strategically choosing not to knit certain stitches, and simply slipping them from left needle to right needle unworked.

If you would like a demonstration of this method, just let me know. I’d be happy to whip up a little YouTube video.

Porthole Cardigans

If you have any questions, please let me know! And if you find an errors in the pattern, please do let me know that as well, so I can fix them. I chose not to send this one off to testers because I had knit so many of the sizes myself already.

You can get more details on the pattern download page, or you can grab it now:

Porthole Cardigan - Just the Pattern!
Porthole Cardigan - Just the Pattern!

No tutorial, just the 8-page pattern PDF.

Price: $3.99

The Porthole Cardigan pattern is also available in print, or from Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.

Happy Knitting!

TWiP: Visually Satisfying

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I like this week’s mosaic. Sometimes they aren’t particularly colorful, but this time is really satisfying in that regard. My favorite aquas and minty greens make an appearance, with a few pops of red for visual interest…

It was a nice week. Here’s hoping for an equally nice weekend!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

📷 = taken with my Canon DSLR
📱 = taken with my Samsung phone

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram 📱: Aaaand we have lily liftoff. Four of them popped open this morning.

365 📷: 2016 163/366 – I am regretting only geting a tiny jar of this candle when we were in Ocean CIty. It’s soooooo delicious. I keep thinking I’m going to set my nose on fire for the amount of time I spend sniffing it!

Sunday

Instagram 📱: What a beautiful #sundaymorning! There’s such a nice breeze blowing, and the neighborhood is quiet. As long as the insects continue to leave me alone, I could be content to sit here reading and breakfasting all morning 😊

365 📷: 2016 164/366 – It’s just not a weekend without a bit of tuna on an everything bagel…

Instagram 📱: A little #knitting in the sun on this beautiful evening🌞

Monday

Instagram 📱: I am kind of crazy for this candle right now. I bought a little jar in Ocean City last month and it’s already almost gone! So I asked @surfs_up_candle_ where I could get a big jar locally, and she led me to @the_rebecca_collection, and as of this morning I have a lovely-smelling candle to burn and a nifty gift shop to return to sometime. 😊

365 📷: 2016 165/366 – The dining room is in a state of flux and has been for a few weeks. I forget what the table top looks like…

Tuesday

365 📷: 2016 166/366 – I hope this isn’t the start of a pattern, but just like yesterday’s photo, today’s is an image of something that really needs to get done around the house. In this case: weeds in the pavers.

Wednesday

Instagram 📱: I’ve just torn my house apart, looking for my notes on the first 3 Porthole Cardigans I knit last fall. No luck. All I have is this copy from the one I just made. I hope I didn’t have any crucial revelations with those first three, because if I did, they are likely gone forever. Ah, the joys of #patterndesign! #pdc #pdcportholecardigan

Instagram 📱: I need to buy more yarn to finish this cardi, and it’s more expensive than I expected. Now I have to decide if I’m going to love this sweater enough to justify the price, or if I should start over with something cheaper. It’s times like these I wish I was independently wealthy😉

365 📷: 2016 167/366 – It pains me to give up on a project this far in, but I have decided that while I love this sweater pattern, and I love this yarn, I don’t love them both together enough to justify what it would cost to finish knitting it. So, I’ll be unraveling it soon, repurposing the yarn for another project, and re-starting this pattern with something more appropriate for my needs.

Thursday

Instagram 📱: That sweater that was causing me angst last night? I made a decision to start over with different yarn. Yarn I don’t currently have. So in the meantime, I’m starting a new #crochetmandala from @byhaafner ‘s awesome #mandalastocrochet book. This one is the #sayitwithflowersmandala 🌼

365 📷: 2016 168/366 – My 2nd nephew just graduated from high school. In a few months it’s off to the Army. Congratulations, Joe ☺ ♥ [Taken at my parents’ house.]

Friday

Instagram 📱: Good morning, Instagram☕ I’m sleepy today. If I could sit here and peacefully #crochet and sip my #morningcoffee for the next few hours, I totally would.

365 📷: 2016 169/366 – Finally made it to the farm for some strawberries. I left them out for munching, but I think there will be enough left to use in some kind of delicious baked good yet-to-be determined.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2008,2015)

24-2008 This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

Cold Brewing Coffee and Tea

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

The other day, as Aidan and I were preparing a couple of mason jars full of Morning Blossom iced tea (an herbal blend I’d purchased at a fiber festival and brewed this week in the refrigerator), I handed him a half empty bottle of agave nectar and said, “we should go to the farmer’s market and get some local honey for our cold brewed tea this summer.”

I heard it as soon as I said it. The kid was right: I am a hipster.

I guess I need to own it at this point, and what better way to start than by sharing my cold brewing methods with you?

I’ve been doing coffee like this for a few years. In fact, I blogged about it a while back, but I’ve since gotten my method down to a science, and it’s time to re-share. Plus, reader Peggy asked me for my iced coffee recipe the other day and got me in the mood to talk about it 😜

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

New to me this year is tea. I’ve tried to make my own refrigerator iced tea in the past, and have not been a fan. I’m glad I tried again recently, though, because now it seems my palate is ready for it.

I should say: this is how I make these drinks to satisfy my own taste buds. Your mileage may vary. Please consider these recipes a starting point. Feel free to vary the brewing times and the ratios of coffee or tea to water until you find your own sweet spot.

The Basic Recipe

  1. Add tea leaves or coffee grounds to water.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for several hours.
  3. Strain and enjoy.

Iced Coffee

I nearly always use decaffeinated coffee when I make cold-brew, since it is often after 7pm when I drink it, and I don’t want to find myself staring at the ceiling at 3 in the morning 😉

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

The Recipe

  1. Fill a mason jar (or coffee press) with coffee grounds and water, using 2 TB of coffee for every 8 ounces of water.
  2. Stir well, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Pour mixture through a coffee filter into a fresh jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To Serve

  1. Fill a glass halfway with ice.
  2. Fill 3/4 full with cold brewed coffee.
  3. Fill the rest of the way with milk.
  4. Add sweetener, if desired.

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot CottageCold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

I have used several different kinds of milks with this method, my current favorite being cashew milk.

Our sweet syrups of choice are made by Dave’s Coffee. I like the mocha flavor and my kids like the vanilla. They’re pricey, but they tend to last all year for us (and we really, really love them) so I splurge.

I put just a dribble in my glass, while both of my kids pour about half of the bottle in theirs. (I kid, but they do go kind of overboard, using a tablespoon or two of the stuff, which is why we always run out of vanilla long before the mocha is used up.)

You can use all kinds of sweeteners in here, although the liquid kinds blend in much more easily than granulated sugars (since there’s no heat to help it along). Honey, agave nectar, and Starbucks flavored syrups are all good choices.

Iced Tea

Right now, iced tea is a real novelty for me. I have never liked the stuff, and I only recently realized why – the iced teas I’ve tried in the past have all been super sweet. I’m not a big fan of super sweet.

Now that I know, I’ve started making iced tea myself, and sweetening it minimally or not at all.

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

The Recipe

  1. Fill a mason jar with tea leaves and water, using 1 tea bag (or 2 tsp of loose tea) for every 8 ounces of water.
  2. Refrigerate for 6 hours.
  3. Remove tea bags and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To Serve

  1. Fill a glass halfway with ice.
  2. Fill the rest of the way with cold-brewed tea.
  3. Add sweetener, if desired.

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

I started out using a splash of agave nectar to sweeten my teas, but I’ve since transitioned to no sweetener at all. I like it better that way, plus it makes it zero-impact in terms of carbs (which, according to my doctor, matters [being over 40 is such fun]).

Recently, in the name of marital harmony, I attempted to convince myself that I could exchange my morning coffee habit for a morning tea habit. (I live with a husband who detests the smell of coffee).

My attempt to brainwash myself has been less than successful, but it has left me with a nice little selection of teas with which to cold brew. So far, I’ve liked almost all of them, and the ones that I haven’t liked as much have been flavors Aidan enjoys, so they are not going to waste.

Here are the ones we’ve tried so far:

As you can see, I like to use low/no caffeine options for the teas, too, since I never know when I’ll be sipping a glass before bed.

Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage Cold brewed coffee and tea at Polka Dot Cottage

Do you cold-brew your Summer drinks? Have any methods/flavors/recipes to share?