I have a gluten allergy that makes my stomach hurt when I eat anything with gluten in it, especially whole wheat or processed foods. It isn’t Celiac (thankfully) but it is a pain nonetheless. I figured it out in about 2004/2005 and have worked since then to partially eliminate gluten from my foods, but not entirely. Since it isn’t a severe allergy, I can have some, about a slice of bread’s worth, per day. Most days I don’t eat bready at all, which is pretty neat considering this country loves everything with bread, meat, fried, or both.
Anyway, this year I have gotten around to baking and cooking gluten free. I gave away about 2lbs of ap flour to Penny, then went out and bought everything I might need to go gf. I found America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free cookbook at CostCo and it completely changed everything!
http://www.amazon.com/The-How-Gluten-Free-Cookbook/dp/1936493616
It goes from which gf products work best, why, and even how to mix my own ap gf flour. I did that today and made some banana cookies based on a recipe from Bake at 350 (omg go there and drool). I modified it to use gf flour instead of regular ap flour, and used a trick with the bananas from another ATK book that gets a ton of banana flavor without the excess moisture gumming up the works. As far as my baking at high altutide (we’re, what, 6000ft? ish), I just crossed my fingers….and then….
BOOM! NANNER COOKIES!!!

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They are so fluffy and they pack a sweet nanner punch of flavor. Look how well they rose! Normally I’d have flat, sad cookies. Num. I think I’ve eaten six of them so far and the fourth sheet is in the oven. To the baker go the spoils, friends, and victory is sweet.

Here is the original recipe from Bake at 350, and the only things I changed were:
*Substitute the same amount of your favorite gf ap flour.
* For the mashed bananas: freeze some brown bananas, about 3 or 4, and let thaw in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Keep all that liquid and simmer it to reduce it to about half the original amount. Add it to the bananas and mash, then measure out a cup for the recipe.

P.S. Nanners are what bananas turn into when they ascend to a higher plane of delicious.
P.P.S. I haven’t been paid or endorsed to talk about these methods or recipes. I did obtain (gratefully) permission to link to Bake at 350’s free recipe. It makes me deleriously happy to bake food I can eat without getting a stomachache! Thanks Bridget!

Around Christmas time, knitty came out with another fantastic Franklin Habit pattern, a plaid (yes! PLAID) scarf! I immediately printed it out, read the blog post, found some stash yarn (yay me!) and got to it. I have fond memories of knitting on it while watching  Brisco County Jr with B and while sitting next to the tree with a glass of pale yellow wine. *sigh*
Then I messed up on it, and after feverishly knitting for a week or so, I had a small hissy fit and stuffed it in a drawer. Everything had been going so well! I used stash yarn, even when I ran out of a color I used a new one, boldly transitioning into a color that didn’t “match” but nonetheless looked wonderful. I punched through that pattern in like 9 days. During the holidays. With kids. BAM.

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See those vertical stripes on the right? That's where I messed up. They're too short, although you can't tell in the picture.

Ugh! SO rather than throw it across the room after my own mistake (went too fast, didn’t think it through) I put it away for later. When I wasn’t mad. My journal entry says “I’ll get back to it soon”.
Aaaannnd, cut to 6 months later. Franklin Habit has a new article in the First Fall Knitty 2014 and I thought of that damn scarf again.
If I were to make another one, and honestly I might, I would not connect the cowl until I finished the final stripes/weaving. Then I would notice if it was too tight and could stretch it a bit as I wove, so it would fit better the first time. I didn’t do that this time, but I can fudge it. Like any good crafter, and like many crafty people before me, I’ll repeat to myself “I can fix this” as many times as I need to. ;-) I may have to frog it and start over…as in take the whole thing apart…sigh…I hope not. It would most likely sit in the drawer for another 6 months/years.

I dragged out Man’s Best Friend by Dimensions again. I read some neat sites and articles about different stitching methods to make it easier to transition between lots of color changes, as well as make it easier to count stitches as you go along. Normally, I will start in the dead center of the pattern and go from there, counting little sets of stitches as i go; it is fairly random and tedious. But one method I’m going to try is splitting up the pattern into columns that are 10 stitches across and use another method called “parking”. Parking is when someone is using lots of colors, but instead of stopping/securing an old color then rethreading a new color, the colors are all left on the piece and parked for later. Some people use multiple needles (one for each parked thread) and others use one needle. I have a wall of half stitches to do after finishing this section, so I think I’ll go for both of those methods. I won’t have to count so diligently and go cross eyed keeping all those greens in order. I hope it goes as quickly as those articles said it would! Here is my progress so far, I need to fill in that little white area with dark green, then I might backstitch the dog and grass. I have some french knot snowflakes to do too, but since those are delicate, I may wait until the end. It sounds fun to add the snow last and then see the scene really come to life! I want to backstitch each section (there are four) as I finish them. I think it will go by faster and encourage me to finish.

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I love labrador retreivers

I spent too much time on the forest background. I was stitching the half stitches (with the recommended 5 strands of floss! That’s twice as thick as the usual 2 strands! So that is tiring in itself) In a bad way, so I was wasting a lot of thread. No big deal because Dimensions will replace it if I need to order some. You can see on the back where I was using too much thread, then where I tried a different way. It’s slower going but much more effective. I also broke down and bought a hoop big enough for the whole thing and having that extra fabric tension is really helping. Whew! This project turned out harder than I expected, but now that I changed my game plan it is going well. Normally I don’t use hoops/frames at all.
More soon! I’ll post more pics of parking and columns when I get to it.

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P.S. For reference, this is what it will look like when I’m done:

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