Friday's Feature -- Sis Gessner's Mandel Bread Recipe


A Mandel bread recipe.

Not just any mandel bread, but Sis Gessner's --from my house to yours. The recipe is in my new book, A Knitter's Home Companion.

Read A Baker's Handy Helper and Sis Gessner's Mandel Bread recipe today in the Lion Brand Yarn Comapny's Newsletter, The Weekly Stitch.


 Note: I will now be blogging regularly on Fridays. Post should appear by noon CST. I have added a Blog RSS for those of you who would like to follow that way. I am thing about starting a monthly newsletter with stories, pictures, pattern and recipe links. If you'd like to be on my mailing list, send me an email from the contact page.


Writing Yoga

“Just as the practice of yoga encourages you to hear and trust your inner voice, so too does the practice of keeping a journal. Writing every day can help you work past the distracting noises of the world so you can listen more closely to the voice that can be found deep inside you. Day after day, as your thoughts appear beneath your pen as it moves across the page, you’ll begin to hear your voice emerge out of the silence. That voice will teach you what you need to know in your yoga practice and your life.”
Bruce Black, Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal


Although Writing Yoga is meant to be used with yoga practice,and my understanding of yoga is limited, on Monday, intrigued by this “part memoir, part writing guide”, I started a yoga journal.  All week, following the larger, universal messages in the book’s journal practices, I have filled it with drawings, words, and memorable quotes. Starting my morning with reading and journal writing primed me for my other work. I felt better equipped to deal with the anxiety that sometimes seeps into my creative process.  And last night, Writing Yoga motivated my stiff middle-aged body to attend a Gentle Yoga class. Thanks to Bruce Black’s honest recollection of his first yoga class—one of the many tender, funny, and deeply personal experiences he shares in his book--before entering I knew to take my shoes off and leave them by the door.

I had planned to complete all the chapters and all the exercises before writing this post. But Writing Yoga isn’t that kind of book. It’s not a race. It’s a journey I want to take over time. There are chapters I want to read again, journal practices I’d like to revisit and new ones I hope to explore when I am ready.

Writing Yoga has earned a place by my studio reading chair. It is a great resource for anyone struggling to hear their own voice in a very noisy word. With Bruce Black as your guide, it’s hard not to feel confident of achieving that goal.



Bruce‘s blogs -- Wordswimmer,

Writing Yoga with Bruce Black,

Rodmell Press -- Publisher of Writing Yoga and other books about yoga, Buddhism, Taoism and Akido.


Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. A middle grade classic about a young girl who keeps journals "spy books". Try to get a copy with the original cover drawn by the author.


Yoga Socks


For a healthy, fiber-filled lifestyle. One of my favorite HYVEE checker recommended this recipe for Big Batch Bran Muffins. I plan to try it out this weekend, substituting tofu with lemon juice for the buttermilk.

Reuimel’s Mittens


They were knit in a soft tan and cream wool. There’s a left one and a right one--a refinement I left behind a hundred mittens ago. The cuff is ribbed with a two stitch cable. The top of the hand and thumb were decreased to form a triangle. The diamond stitch pattern is an interesting play of negative and positive, knit at 7 stitches to an inch. A simple folk mitten, they are more complex than any of my own creations.  And though they are a tight fit for my hand and rarely worn, they reside in the basket where I keep my everyday walk gear--hand knit mittens, hats, and cowls. Their presence adds a welcomed grace.

I found the mittens at the Crowded Closet, a thrift store in our town, run by Mennonites. A thin strand of the mitten’s wool held them together along with a small tag-like card completely written in what I thought was Cyrillic. Today, examining the tag more closely, I found some English words. Googling them, I learned the mittens were Estonian. Studying that informative little slip of paper with its official looking rubber stamp, and unique code of numbers, I was drawn to very last entry on the back side. Meister. Mactep. Although I could not translate it, I think I know what it means. Master--the knitter who made them. And beside it, inked in a confident blue scrip was just one name. Reuimel.


Of Interest --Related and almost related suggestions

Children’s Books

Winter is the Warmest Season, Snow – Lauren Stringer.

Lauren’s books are picture book winners. Look for her titles as well. And check out Lauren’s new blog.


Estonian mittens all around the world- Aino Praakli

I haven’t read this yet, but it came up on my Google search. Looks very interesting. 

Lativan Mittens: Traditional Designs and Techniques  Lizabeth Upitis

At one time, I owned two copies of this book. I have never knit any of the mittens, but I love looking at the piuctures and reading about them. One day, I will knit a pair. Or maybe just one.

Recipe: The Best Brisket Ever

What to serve on a cold spring night?

This recipe is from Art Ginsburg, a.ka. Mr. Food. I knew Art and his family when I was growing up in Troy, New York. I wished had known his brisket recipe years ago. It took scores of advice from the experienced, and the first few years of my marriage, to nail down cooking brisket. I had been a vegetarian, and back then, beef baffled me. Now brisket is what I make when I need something easy for dinner. I like to make it the day before, or early in the day. That way the brisket has time to sit, and the fat can easily be skimmed off the top. Try this recipe with potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

Note: I will now be blogging regularly on Fridays. Post should appear by noon CST. I have added a Blog RSS for those of you who would like to follow that way. I am thing about starting a monthly newsletter with stories, pictures, pattern and recipe links. If you'd like to be on my mailing list, send me an email from the contact page.



Spring and babies.

It began with the lamb. Wanda arrived on March 4th, very early in the morning. Mother Winnie, a mix of Romney and Border Leicester, belongs to my friend Suzanne. Wanda was just a wobbly few days old when I saw her. Now, at three weeks, Suzanne’s husband John believes that Wanda is herding their chickens.

Babies are next. In my circle of friends and relatives, two were expected later this spring, or so all we thought.

An email this morning brought the exciting news. Lilit Kaila, the first grandchild of my friend, Vicki, was born yesterday-- March 24, 2011. Lilli, as she is called,and her mom Miriam are doing well. “Beautiful and sweet,” report the proud grandparents. Congratulations to all.

With the second baby due next month, it’s time for my needles to get to work. For those of you who are welcoming babies into the world this spring, I’ve posted some ideas to help you.


On the Day You were Born- written and illustrated by Deborah Frasier

“On the day you were born the round planet Earth turned toward your morning sky, whirling past darkness, spinning the night into light.”

The perfect gift for babies and those who greet and love them.


Great Grandmother's Baby Bootie page 

I love to exclaim when presenting a pair of these booties to a new mother that “this is how Victorian ladies dressed their babies in the wilderness!” Sharon Haanes Bryant

Author/illustrator Sahron Byrant shares her family story and heirloom pattern.

Preemie Hats

For baby Lilli and other preemies, consider making preemi hats. Visit  The Preemie Project

for preemie patterns, where to donate them, and inspiration.


Dee W's Great Big Wok Full of Asian Noodle Soup

A great soup recipe—hearty and wholesome—a meal in a bowl. Vegetarian. Tofu can be traded for chicken breasts, if you like. Bring a pot to the home of a new baby.