Cooking · FO's · Knitting

Change is good

or so I keep telling myself. Change is one of the certainties of life.

Someone once said “There have been some minor changes and a little tweaking of the project”

I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about knitting but still… if the cap fits.

Child's Menet Cardigan

I started out with the intention of having this project more like a pinafore dress, but along the way I changed my mind….and changed it again.  I like the pinafore idea but with this stitch pattern and yoke design I just thought it wanted to be so much more.

Menet Red 3

There are limitations to using three different alternating colours when working seamlessly in the round. Namely that there is just not a good enough join where you change colours.  Each colour comes from three rounds down and although you twist the old and new colours together, the join just doesn’t have the integrity to it to hold the knitting together. Not enough to stand up to any stretching anyway, which is what you would get if this was a sweater. So after a lot of swatching I came to the conclusion that this had to be a cardigan or I needed to put buttons all the way down the yoke, at the back or the front, and then join in the round to knit the body. With this particular pattern I didn’t like the button idea, to me it just didn’t look right with the highly patterned yoke so I have gone for the cardigan.

Nemet – V2

Menet Red

I’ve written up the pattern and am just working one more sample as I want to get the button band just right.  I am also knitting the next one in a different yarn just to see if that makes a difference.  Picking up stitches through the yoke pattern and getting it just right to marry with the moss stitch button band has proved to be difficult, there are a lot more rows in the yoke than there are stitches in the button band and I want to be able to put exact button band instructions into the pattern, and have them right.  The only way to do this, although I have estimates, is to actually try it out again and perhaps again.

The chest sizes I have written up so far are from a 20″ to 30″ chest in two-inch increments. The pattern should cover ages of approx. 6-9 months up to 9-10 years.  I will be working on some adult sizes next week and giving that a go.

Menet Red 2

If you would like to have a go at test knitting this for me please do get in touch and as soon as I’ve made the pattern presentable I will contact you with the details.

The colour combinations for this are endless and for the next one I’ve chosen slightly less bright colours for the yoke with a cream body, but as I said there are endless possibilities and I have some darker more autumnal colours for the adult version as well as a lighter spring combination.  I can see my fingers will be very busy over the next couple of weeks as I have also promised to finish a UFO for a very dear relative of mine.

Still, lucky I have plenty of these on hand to keep me going then.  I changed this recipe from a gluten and dairy containing one and am so pleased with the result.

Gluten and Dairy Free Cupcakes

Orange and lemon cup cakes.  Gluten, dairy, corn and soya free, but they do contain eggs and refined sugar.

As I want my cakes to be as light and airy as they can without any grittiness, I used a version of Cybele Pascal’s gluten-free flour mix for these.  Rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. Cybele uses a super fine brown rice flour for her mix which we cannot get here in the UK, so I use super fine white rice flour or Chinese rice flour instead. You can easily get it in most Asian/Oriental food shops here, it comes in a white packet with red writing and a red elephant on the front.  I pay approx. £1.05 for 450g so it’s not very expensive considering and the flour is ground as fine as cornflour.

There is no way anyone would be able to tell that these are gluten and dairy free, no way.  They are just soft and light without the slightest amount of grit or dryness anywhere. Exactly the same as the gluten and dairy version.  They do have a lot of eggs in them though so you just can’t sub them out; unfortunately these do need the eggs to make them what they are.


Orange and Lemon Cup Cakes

Pre-heat oven to 170 C (338 F)

200g of dairy, soy free margarine (I used pure sunflower)

200g of caster sugar

4 free range eggs, medium

200g superfine rice flour, potato and tapioca starch mix (see above)

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp of gf Baking powder

(if you want corn free mix your own as I do: 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda)

Zest from 1 Orange

Lemon curd, or Lemon icing to decorate

Muffin tin lined with cases.  (I used natural, bleach free ones)


Mix the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly, the mixture will probably curdle but don’t worry. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and xanthan and fold into the margarine, sugar and egg mixture along with the zest.

Spoon into muffin cases until 2/3 full.  I got 14 out of this mixture so baked in two batches.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and then decorate as you will. I cut out cone shapes from the top and put in some lemon curd or jam and turned them into butterfly cakes but plan to put some lemon icing on the rest. You have fun with whatever icing etc. you wish.

Orange and Lemon Cup Cake

Cooking · FO's · Knitting

Make Hay while the Sun Shines

We have some summer here. We’ve been waiting a while. The weather man on the  local news said that it’s been seven years since we had such a spell of hot weather here in Devon. Seven years. I don’t know if he is right and I can’t be bothered to look it up and check, but it does feel nice at last to be able to walk around in summer clothes in the summer!

I am still on my cooking quest but have come to a temporary lull as I wait for some specialist ingredients to arrive. I’m trying out a different flour mix from Gluten Free On a Shoestring.  I have both of Nicole’s books and am awaiting the new one on bread to come out; even though I am yeast intolerant I understand that there are some yeast free recipes in there. All I can say is that her yeast free English Muffins are to die for, they have such a good flavour on their own but even better with jam or a poached egg. As a whole I don’t even bother with gluten free ‘bread’ recipes. Being a bit of a baker for years and making my own bread, bagels etc. the gluten free alternatives (even the ones I can eat) are enough to make me feel ill. The nearest I’ve come to a sandwich up until now are the gluten free flour tortillas from Jeanne’s – Art of Gluten Free Baking. These make great wraps and are the best I’ve found so far and, believe me, I’ve tried a few over the last 10 years I’ve been baking gluten free, first for my son and now for us both. I use lard in place of the butter and they come out just perfect, even better if you leave the dough in the fridge overnight and make them the next day. Try them, you won’t be sorry. Anyway, where was I? Yes, so, to make one of Nicole’s flour mixes you need pectin, not just any pectin but a particular kind. I’ve ordered this and it should be with me sometime this week. I have high hopes. I’ll let you know.

I did make this though

Coconut flan

You will find the recipe from the Real Food Forager. It is called the GF Coconut Multi-Fruit Tart, although as you can see I used only strawberries to top it as that is all I had. All I can say is that I had to fight to get a bit of this.

P1000126 Knitting then.

I promised to show you what I have been knitting and would I let you down? Well, yes I did last time – but not today. In the absence of a small child to model this you get to meet Agatha, don’t ask, I don’t know why I called it that, it just came to mind.


This is the first draught of the pattern I’ve called Menet.

Menet 106As I can’t stop playing around with things, I’ve decided to put some short sleeves onto this,

Menetand am knitting another in a different colour way to see if I like the sleeved version better.  I also have some lovely Wool/Alpaca mix yarn that I would like to try out for an adult version for the autumn.

The design is very simple and the stitch pattern easily remembered so it knits up pretty quickly. Menet is knitted seamlessly from the top down with minimal finishing. There is a button band at the back on the small sizes for ease of fitting (you can’t see in these photos), which is added at the end. This one is sized for a two-year old and took just less than four balls of yarn. The extra two colours used in the yoke could be knitted out of odd balls of yarn, only a few metres/yards are needed of each.

Keep your fingers crossed for the weather, tonight I’m getting the BBQ out for the first time in ages, it could put an end to the nice summer!

FO's · General ramblings · Knitting

‘Duffers’ – A Quick and Easy 19 row Felted Slipper pattern


This is the basic pattern with three basic sizes. For the larger, expanded pattern with many more sizes and wider width fittings, see the Duffers – revisited pattern (link on the side bar).

This pattern is now available for download at a cost of £ 1.00 through Ravelry. There is a direct link from my pattern page (the link to which is above the header) or from the bar on the left.  The children’s version is now available for £ 3.50, also from Ravelry or my pattern page.

Gratefull thanks to Sarah for the name suggestion, without which I would still be calling them ‘no name felted slippers’ or some such thing.

As I said, I have knitted about six of these as the patten now stands.  Part of me would not be happy until I had knitted about ten pairs at least.  If you do knit a pair and notice any errors please let me know.


You will need:

Yarn: Lana Grossa Feltro  50m/50g OR:  Any pure untreated wool that will felt. If you want to use a DK weight yarn (100m / 50 g) hold the yarn double throughout.

You will need about 150m (300m DK) for the single colour slippers and 100m each colour (200m each DK) for the two colour ones.

Needles: Size 8mm (or size to get you to the correct tension) straight or circular needles, the slippers are worked flat and then sewn.

Tension: In stocking stitch your knitting should measure 3 sts / 1” and 4 rows / 1”.  Use the size of needle which gets you closest to this measurement.

To fit sizes: Approx. UK3, UK 5, UK 7  (US4 ½, US6 1/2, US8 ½)  For the smallest size read the figures as given, the larger sizes are in parentheses.  If only one figure is given this refers to all sizes.  (If you need  size larger please see below in the comments for instructions)

Size before felting: Length Approx. 27cm (29 cm, 31 cm)  Height Approx: 13cm at front & 11.5 cm at back.