Menet v2

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

As you know I have been knitting two Menet cardigans for gifts whilst re-working the pattern to give an option for long sleeves. Well I finally finished them a couple of days ago, gave them a wash and then waited for the weather to brighten a little so I could take some photos. This morning, in between showers, there was a few minutes of vague brightness so I took advantage while I could. I would still have preferred it to have been a little brighter but what’s the chance of that here, I could be waiting weeks!

Menet with sleeves
Menet with sleeves

One Great Niece likes her colours bright and girlie. The other is too young to choose, so I chose for her. Menet with sleeves 1I love this turquoise. As I never go for particularly bright colours for myself, this gives me chance to knit in some different colours for a change.

Ready to be wrapped
Ready to be wrapped

Done, dusted and ready to be wrapped up.  Must be one of the earliest Christmas presents I’ve ever had ready! Along with adding the instructions for the long sleeves, I have also re-worded the pattern a little and jigged things about a bit which has improved the clarity of the instructions. I will be updating the file on Ravelry this afternoon, so if you have already purchased the pattern you will receive an update.  All new purchases will be sent the new updated file.

You would think that after moaning about knitting all those sleeves, I would give it a rest for a bit. Wouldn’t you? Well, my next project is a cardigan from Jared Flood called Ranger.  I’ll show you pictures when I have a little progress.  Guess what the pattern has you knit first? You guessed it, sleeves.  Obviously, I know that you don’t have to start with them just because they are listed first, and I did think about starting with the body.  But, then I considered the idea of getting them over to begin with – and ploughed straight in. So, more sleeves then!

I have also been trying out a (new to me) gluten free flour mix from Glebe Farm here in the UK.  It’s a very basic mix of just rice flour, potato starch and xanthan gum.  I bought some to try because although I love the mixes I use, I make all our baked goods gluten and dairy free now, for everyone in the house, not just the intolerant ones. It’s easier, and honestly, nobody really notices any difference. It’s also healthier but I won’t go into that now. So, I really need a cheaper, easier alternative for everyday baking saving the finer more expensive mixes for special bakes.  Doves Farm make a really good mix which I used to use but it has a lot of corn in there, so a no go for me now. I started with a cherry cake.

English Cherry Cake
English Cherry Cake

English Cherry cake. Recipe converted from one of Mary Berry’s. I used a little more flour than the wheat flour equivalent in the recipe but it looked promising when it came out of the oven.

Light and Fluffy
Light and Fluffy

Looked even better when I cut into it, although the cherries had sunk quite a bit.  The cake was light and fluffy, a little too light really which was probably why the cherries sunk.  It didn’t stay around for long, which was lucky as by the next day it was just a little dry but still good with a cup of tea. There was just a hint of a crunch with the rice flour as this mix isn’t super fine but it wasn’t unpleasant and it certainly didn’t deter anyone. I even gave a piece to someone who has never eaten gluten free before and  I think they thought I was having them on about it being free from.

Next up I used it for my new pastry recipe I’m working on. I wasn’t going to show you this today, but I couldn’t resist.

No matter how many different recipes I’ve tried,(and believe me I’ve tried more different recipes for pastry than one person should have to make in a lifetime)  I just couldn’t get a good – ‘almost behaves and tastes like gluten’ –  gluten and dairy free pastry. So in the end I decided to do some experimenting of my own.  I am still perfecting it so you don’t get the full version today I’m afraid but I am so pleased with it I’m going to give you a teaser.

Gluten and Dairy Free flaky pastry
Gluten and Dairy Free flaky pastry

I plan to make some sausage rolls with this over the week-end and get the final recipe written down properly.  I’ve made this twice now and both times it has behaved perfectly. It rolls out without breaking, and it bends, so no patching up cracks and NO hard edges. The batch in the photo above was so flaky that it left lots of crumbs on the plate that look like puff pastry crumbs.

Recipe soon.

Mindie

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Sunlight

All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.”

Tolstoy

The sunlight is beautiful today.  The light that we get at our latitude this time of year (when it’s not cloudy) has a beauty that just fills me with wonder.  In June on the solstice when the sun is at its maximum elevation, its angle to where I live is 62.54 deg. Today it is 30.62 deg, about half, but by the shortest day of the year, 21 December it will only be 15.8, roughly half again. If only we could have the beauty but it not be cold; can’t have one without the other though so it’s swings and roundabouts I suppose, you can’t have everything.

I am still knitting up another pocket sweater, all be it slowly.  As usual I have been sidelined by other things.

Hats
Hats

I’ve been knitting up some hats.  To be precise, I’ve been making up a tam pattern to match the Menet cardigan.  It all started with some gift knitting that I needed to do.  Mostly, each year I knit for my nieces daughters and other small ones in the family.  Last year I wasn’t well enough so this year I thought it best to start early – best intentions and all that. I did knit the test Menet cardigans in handy sizes so that I could pass them along when done and two went to good homes but not where I had originally intended them to go. So, on Thursday I bought some yarn to start knitting a couple more and realised that if they were to be worn before spring they needed sleeves.

If I was going to work out sleeves for two sizes, I thought I may as well do all sizes and add them to the pattern as in the Hathor version. I should have done it in the first place really, but at the time I was only thinking about warmer weather. I have yet to test the pattern but it will be available as soon as it has been edited for any mistakes and I have knitted one up for the pictures.  If you have already bought the Menet pattern, the sleeve addition will be available as a free update.

Menet Tam
Menet Tam

So you ask, how did I get from sleeves to hats. Well, my gift knitting always involves at least a hat or two. This year I will be making one of these minion hats (Ravelry link). Don’t ask – suffice to say it’s not for a child! I thought it would be nice to use up the extra yarn left from the cardigans on a hat and I suppose it went from there. I knitted up a quick trial sample, then another.

The brim is knitted flat, then joined and the rest is knitted seamlessly in the round. The slip stitch pattern must be flat as the colour changes stop the knitting from holding together well enough. The same reason Hathor and Menet are cardigans not sweaters.

The decreases for the crown swirl in a circular motion and the top of the hat ends in a long I-cord and bobble, which I couldn’t help adding purely because I thought it cute.

Bobbles
Bobbles

The hat is a tam shape which could be worn floppy or with some slouch at the back. As you can see, the test knit hats are drying in the autumn sun. When they are mostly dry I’ll bring them in for some gentle blocking. I’ve knitted these in acrylic, as they will go to my niece who needs them to be machine and dryer proof. The pattern is written and is just waiting for some tech editing and photos.

I did have a whole post written up about the benefits of chicken soup but that seemed more appropriate for a wet and gloomy day, something today is definitely not.

Clematis
Clematis

Mindie.