Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lily of the Valley Vest

Sometimes a project can make me insanely happy. Knitting this vest, playing around with the stitch pattern and tracking it down became an obsession for me during June. As our world is so interconnected, we can find amazing inspiration from all over the world. I fell in love with the German version of the Lily of the Valley lace stitch pattern, after seeing the gorgeous garments ( and ), and shawls using this lace pattern ( Lily of the Valley Rosea shawl by Alla Borisova, Raspberry Dream Stole by Dagmara). I found the original pattern motif in a book from 1983 I bought on Ebay ,( pattern here: ) which is in the book: . As I don't usually knit shawls or dresses, I set about adapting the lace fabric into a vest. Swatching clued me in to the irregularities of the lace pattern as originally designed ( stitch count in one rep goes from 19 to 47), so I tweaked and modified and swatched and re-charted the design to get it to lie flatter in the linen yarn and be easier to knit. Calculating the cast on number was tricky, so I went with my numbers for the Floral vest in the same yarn, and was pleased to find this lace to be roughly the same gauge. Width of each repeat turned out to be a wonderful 5 inches, so aiming for 40 inch sweater gave me 8 repeats to work with, a nicely manageable number. I made the first one a bit longer than my other floral vests ( 96 rows to the underarm instead of 80), and while I liked it, I think I prefer it shorter. I like where the leaves fall on my body., and it was really fun to knit. So, I had to make 3 of them in order to write up the pattern.

I finally published it today, deciding to make it a free pattern because it is only in one size. Hopefully others will enjoy knitting it as much as I did...and I think I might need to make one in black...If you want to knit it, the pattern is available here:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Apple Crisp ( gluten-free, vegan and sugar free!)

After a bit of tinkering and many experimental trials in the kitchen, I have come up with a delicious and not too dietarily indelicate recipe for Apple Crisp.

                  Gluten Free Vegan Apple Crisp,   May 27, 2016
This version is not very sweet and has a delightful texture. Serves 6, or heat individual servings in microwave for 30 sec. and top with vanilla ice cream. Heaven in a bowl!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
For filling:
5 Medium Granny Smith apples, cored and diced. Can leave peel on for extra texture
1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ginger, pinch of cloves

Mix together in an 8X10 or 9X9 baking dish

For topping:
Mix together:
1/4 cup almond flour
1  cup gluten-free  old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp chia seeds
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon

Melt 3 Tablespoons coconut oil in measuring cup (30 sec in microwave). Pour into topping mix and mix together. Spread this mixture over apples in baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes until top is lightly browned and apples are bubbling. Cool and serve hot, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days. Serves 6:    approx.     260 calories per serving.

I think I will make some right now...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seasons will pass you by...

Spring is coming around again, here in unpredictable Massachusetts. The urge to see greenery and growing things leads me to dream of gardens, and inevitably, to my mother, who was a passionate gardener for a lifetime. I revisited my photo archives recently to find photos of her gardens and the dramatic rock ledge beside the house, and found a few from last June. My mother loved her garden and enjoyed seeing what came up every spring. I  miss being able to drop in and see her and the garden. And I will always love blue flowers!
Campanula and ferns cascade in the rock wall

Dianthus in one of the raised beds

View of raised bed filled with alpines

Campanula flowering in the chinks of the rock

Lush flowers in the chinks of the rock 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Zigs and Zags

 I became enthralled with Chevrons last year, and have had a lot of fun knitting chevron sweaters and cowls recently. The knitting of course, has helped with grief, as whenever I am designing something intricate and complicated I must get focused on it for a while. The knitting is designed to be smooth sailing, once the basic idea is worked out.

 This sweater was a joy to knit, in my favorite colors. I wrestled with writing the pattern for six months, and had several lovely knitters test my instructions. Of course, I had to test them myself, so I knit  two more sweaters:

 Then the opportunity to design a cowl came along, as my Local Yarn Store, Fabric Place Basement, was having a "yarn tasting" and requested a pattern using Cascade Yarns. I chose some lovely yarn and made the cowl at the top of the page. Of course, I had to make one for myself in blue:
If you would like to make one for yourself, the cowl pattern is here Ziggy Cowl  on, and the sweater pattern is here:
 Raglan Cardigan       Happy Knitting!