the Saturday morning garden post











































We've been busy in the garden as usual this summer; it looks pretty and we've been able to show it off with a few parties. A VIP in our family turned one and the kids hosted 40 people in our back yard for a Very Hungry Caterpillar BBQ. It was so darn cute and was also very nice to sit back and enjoy a party at my house and do no work! The kids came early, set up, cooked, hosted, then cleaned up. Also, the week before, two dear friends celebrated a big decade birthday and 20 of us threw a potluck BBQ in our backyard. Tonight we are having 12 for happy hour before we go out to a Chinese restaurant. Since the garden looks so pretty, I'm really happy to entertain as much as I can during the summer.

For you veggie gardeners, I have some really great finds to share. New to us this year is the Fortex Pole Bean. Of all our years of growing green beans and loving them, my husband and I have voted Fortex #1 in flavor and growth habit, plus they are COMPLETELY stringless at ANY stage! They grow long, about 10", and straight, and can be picked very thin and young too. We will now only plant Fortex. Another new hit this year was an heirloom pickle called Homemade Pickle from Lake Valley. They grow to a perfect dill pickle size, about 5", are very prolific, crunchy and make perfect pickles. The pickle recipe I use year after year is Dan Koshansky's  Refrigerator Pickles. It's our favorite pickle and it could not be easier. If you like super crispy pickles, this is a great one. In my experience, it's best to use these as a seasonal treat and only make as much as you can eat in a month--after that they become too soft for us. We love this recipe for green beans too. Before I put the green beans in the jar, I break off the ends then blanch in a pot of boiling water for one minute, drain, submerge in ice water and drain. The cucumbers require no prep. We serve pickled cucumber spears and pickled green beans during happy hour or use them as a side dish for lunch. Even the baby loves them! We've been making pesto like crazy too and have started putting some away in the freezer for fall and winter soups. My favorite recipe is this one.  

What do you grow in the summer garden? I'd love to hear from the gardeners out there what varieties work best for you. I hope you are having a fun and restful summer at the same time! Thank you for stopping by, Kristen.

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silver birch hoodie and a discount



The newest knit off my needles is Silver Birch from Sarah Cooke knit in Rowan's superb Softyak DK. I love this pattern! It makes the cutest baby hoodie and is so much fun to make. This is my second Silver Birch as my grandson outgrew his first one, and I know I'll make another one next year when he outgrows this one. If you are new to cables or sweater construction in general, this would be a great first project. It looks complicated but it's not! I recommend this pattern to seasoned knitters and confident beginners. If you are ready to venture into the world of sweater construction and cables, this fantastic pattern will help you learn some very important basics, all on a tiny, beautiful sweater. You can do it!

The designer has kindly offered my readers a 25% discount on Silver Birch from now until Saturday, July 21. Upon check out, use the code, knitionary, click apply now, and the discounted price will appear. The price will be only $3 for this darling pattern! Thank you Sarah! 

Here's a little bit about the construction and why I love this pattern so much: Silver Birch is knit from the bottom up in one piece; this means NO seaming. The pattern begins with the ribbing at the bottom, knitting both fronts and back at the same time. You will follow the cable pattern and knit the body up to the sleeve separation. Here you will divide it into three parts, right side, left side, and back, now working one piece at a time. When those three pieces are finished you will use a three-needle bind off to make the shoulder seams to attach fronts to back. Next you'll pick up stitches around the armhole and knit in the round down to the cuff. The hood is worked next, picking up stitches around the neck and working stockinette until it's time to do a three-needle bind off for hood top. Lastly, for the ribbed button band, you'll pick up stitches around the right sweater front, up and around the hood, then down the left sweater front. If any of these techniques are new to you, head over to YouTube; there are dozens of helpful tutorials on each technique--techniques that are really quite easy and techniques you'll need to know to make a garment, so why not try them out on a tiny sweater? The cable pattern is an easy 16 row repeat and a seasoned knitter will have it memorized after the first repeat. If this is your first cable project, you'll be amazed at how easy cables are as this is a very intuitive cable pattern.

(use the code knitionary for a 25% discount, through Saturday, July 21.)


Softyak DK
I positively love this yarn. It's baby soft, easy to knit, and machine washable.
You'll love it too. Everyone gives it rave reviews. It is available at your
local Rowan stockist or online.


 I do not like to use double pointed needles for knitting in the round
--i.e. the sleeves in this sweater--
so I have invested in 12" circulars. I love the ChiaoGoos so much!

I love the baseball buttons! We are a baseball loving family (Go Giants!) and I know my son will love this for his baby.

the back



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