Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Raspberry Ruffles

Raspberry Ruffles
     The Man-of-the-House returned from running errands. He walked into the kitchen and carefully placed his bags on the farm table. “I just saw someone out front - picking our wild berries,” he spoke to the Lady-of-the-House. Familiar gestures were in gear. One arm waved in the direction of the mailbox.

vegetable centerpiece

    “She can pick what she likes. She’s welcome to it. I prefer the cultured varieties. No chance of poison ivy, thorn pricks - snake, spider, tick, or bee bites.”

     He corrected her. “The picker is a him.”

wild raspberries

     “Really? Interesting. Perhaps he’s picking for a wife or mother. A real gentleman.  Or . . . he likes berries as much as you do.” Connected to her smile was an eyebrow slightly raised. It was the eye on him. The other was on unpacking the bags. 

     Leaving that last remark alone the Man-of-the-House announced, “These are from the farm stand by-the-way. The zucchini looks good.”

     “It does. So does the butternut squash. Nice and fresh. Thank you.” Then, reaching into the last bag, she exclaimed, “Ooo, raspberries,” in slow melodious tones.  

     “Yeah” was the solitary note. But a knowing glance was exchanged. A hankering for raspberries is something they share in common, although, one doesn’t often put a hankering into words – at least not out-loud.  

Raspberry Jam
     Childhood memories are embedded in the taste buds of the Lady-of-the-House. Mom fixed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches routinely with grape. Raspberry was a once-a-year experience. On vacation at the seashore Dad drove out to an ordinary-looking-enough-house, a location mysteriously revealed to him by word-of-mouth, and brought home freshly made doughnuts – for one of the family’s breakfasts. The young girl can still see the grease spot on the brown bag Dad held in his grasp. Other than that gala event they never ate doughnuts.

     Overhearing grown-up gossip in the kitchen, she learned that the white powdered doughnuts were made by a beach-tanned baker who let his reputation go to his head but never his surfer’s waistline. He was generous with his filling of either rich custard (that Mom could testify he was boast-worthy of) or raspberry jam. The Lady-of-the-House has vivid memories of choosing the jam. She wandered out the screen-door and ate the summer holiday confection in private, in little bites, making it last as long as she could – a feat of accomplishment for any growing girl.  

raspberry cake

Raspberry Cake
     For the hankering of the Man-of-the-House his Lady made a cake. A warm summer memory of raspberry doughnuts hovered over her as she buttered and floured, mixed and measured. She spread fresh raspberries over two thirds of the batter in the pan, then spooned the remaining batter over the top to almost cover the raspberries. The cake came out but went back in the oven to bake several minutes longer because of its added moistness. It didn’t rise as well as she would have liked but the flavor of that mysterious baker’s jam-filled doughnut was captured.

raspberry cake cooking on rack

     The Man-of-the-House and his lady could not go away this year but they have learned to stop and take brief vacation-interludes at home. Enjoying the pleasant breezes of a remarkably mild summer they vacationed in a chair, each with a slice of raspberry cake served on pretty china. 

Raspberry Ruffles
knitted ruffles

Knitting Lingo

     While the Man-of-the-House puttered around in his own way, the Lady-of-the-House picked up her knitting needles - also a kind of brief vacation. A small project in the Fall 2011 issue of Love of Knitting magazine aroused the cuteness-factor in her and launched an attempt at something new – ruffles - in this case Raspberry Ruffles.

knitting a diaper cover

     The size 2 bloomers-with-back-interest is knit flat, top-down, front-to-back.

     Gold yarn is shown on the magazine page but she used up remnants in her stash – which is what a small project is good for.
     The crowded stitches inside the ruffle can be picked-up easily with a crochet hook, sliding the accumulated stitches off the straight end of the hook and onto a knitting needle. Here you can see the loops of the purl rows ready to be picked up for the ruffle.

     The ribbing at the leg has some yarn-overs for a lacy look. Elastic is in the waistband. 

     Into Grandmother’s Someday Box it goes . . . or until an invitation to the next baby shower.

knitted diaper cover with pink ruffles

     It is okay to look back at the good memories. The faithful also look forward. The American poet John Greenleaf Whittier puts this well:

“I dimly guess, from blessings known, of greater out of sight.”

a slice of raspberry cake that takes like a jam-filled doughnut

Hope you are enjoying the last weeks of warm summer breezes.
Karen Andreola


  1. The end of summer is a looking back and looking forward time for me. If I were queen of the calendar, the year would end in August and begin in September. Looking back with gratitude and forward with anticipation is a great blessing for God's child. I'm reminded of the verse that says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!" Thank you, Karen, for the reminder of God's faithfulness.

    We have a monster of a rose bush at our house in a bed near the road. We were in the yard one morning when a woman we had never met walked by to complain about the thorns on our rose. It turns out that she had "helped herself" to some roses when walking by one day. She, "hoped that was ok." She then went on to tell us that she had tried to pick them with her bare hands and had been bitten by the thorns. I replied with a vague, "Hmmmm..." We chatted a bit more, and then she walked on. My husband told me, with his own raised brow, that he had noticed that I didn't tell her not to worry about picking the roses. I replied that I would have been forced to say "It's ok that you stole our roses," and I didn't want to have that particular conversation, so I had chosen to say nothing. It really wasn't ok with me that she had stolen our roses. Had she knocked on the door to ask, we would have helped her cut them...thereby avoiding the theft AND the thorn pricks.

    My father has always used the term Fluffy Britches for little girls' diaper covers. I like the raspberry ruffles on the ones you made.

    Enjoy the day!


  2. I am not a huge raspberry fan, but the rest of my family is and would love your cake, I'm sure.

    We were unable to take a vacation this year either, but have been going to the park, sitting by the river, or going for a short drive.

    I hope you enjoy your summer breezes. We will have warmth for another few months.

  3. We used to live on the estate of Lord Balcarres in Scotland and there were the most heavenly wild raspberries that grew in the woods. Such memories of eating them while we walked the dog...

  4. I, too, enjoy berries. Raspberries and blueberries happen to be my favorites. Your cake looks delicious...I am sure the man of the house thoroughly enjoyed it :D m.

  5. I am the only one in our family that really likes raspberries - so I rarely make anything with them. But I feel I can just taste that yummy looking cake, Karen. What a nice treat for you and the Man-of-the-House. Hope you are enjoying the nice weather. Where I live it is still very hot and very humid but we think we can detect the slightest (only very slightest) dip in the temperatures of the breezes. Muscadine and scuppernong grapes are just about to come in here and we are looking so forward to that. Thank you for sharing the darling blooomers!

  6. My son would rather have something made with raspberries than just about anything else, including chocolate.

    Speaking of which, I made Depression Cake today (that chocolate cake made without eggs) and when cooled whipped up a quick chocolate butter cream frosting for it.

    Hubby had been wanting "something sweet" and was quite happy.

  7. What a sweet, refreshing post! Your little bloomers are just DARLING! :) Please pass a slice that cake with a spot of tea!! :)

  8. Mmmmm! Raspberry anything is a winner in my book. Your cake looks delicious, Karen! I wish my dh enjoyed them as much as I do -- I'd whip up a similar cake, but it isn't to be. Lovely knitting! Simply adorable (and I think I'll have to look up that pattern for my own sweet grandbaby). Blessings in HIM, Lisa :)

  9. What a lovely vacation at home! Your cake looks delicious. Something to dream about in winter...
    Isn't it perfect to enjoy berries when they are in season? The frozen kind or some sort of icecream in winter just are not the same.
    Hope there will be some more raspberries for you!

  10. Yum! That Raspberry cake looks lovely! I just love your raspberry ruffles too! What a great idea to add cute little knits for future gifts or grandchildren. My girls are teens now, but I often look at the cute little jumper patterns and long to knit them! You have just given me the perfect excuse!

  11. We absolutely love raspberries and as a matter of fact my son asked if we could please get some raspberry jam as I was using grape to spread on our homemade wheat bread (he is 4 and our number 4). But, the reason I am writing is because it would be my dream to make a pair of little pants like this for my little 15 month old Emily (our number 6), but I just don't have the skills or know-how. How long did that take you to do and could it be something I could learn before she is out of diapers? I homeschool 4 children ranging from age 16 - 4. Would love to be able to do something like this for my family as I have been reading, pondering on and listening to sermons/teachings on the Proverbs 31 woman.

  12. I remember wild blackberries with cream. The little ruffled bloomers are absolutely charming. I've googled, and the magazine is still for sale in case anyone else (like me) missed it:

  13. I learn from this post that the lady-of-the house must always be prepared. In every season busy with her hands making things to put away. The pink ruffles are sweet.

    I suppose I smiled the entire time over the conversation between he and she. Very quickly I was taken back to conversations between Michael and Carol.

    Isn't it time your readers had a third book in their hands? You only tease us with these sweet household conversations and swoony photos of raspberry cakes.

    Take Care~



  14. The cake looks delicious and makes me want to go search out some raspberries!
    The Raspberry Ruffles Bloomers are just darling!
    Thanks for stopping by "Fairacre".
    It's been years since we communicated via the post. So nice to hear from you. :-)

  15. I just used a leisurely thirty minutes to browse your older articles of this year. How sweet of you to take us on such a lovely journey through the seasons with pictures and words.
    It's always rewarding to come back to your posts. Thank you!

  16. Those little knitted ruffled pants are precious indeed!

    Even though raspberries do not grow native here,it does not lower them in fruit glory in my mind. I made a similar cake with raspberries last year, and I also made a batch of raspberry jam. After this post I am wondering why raspberries have taken a back seat this year.

    Blessings to your summer's end.

  17. Dear Karen,

    Raspberries in two different forms, but both as sweet! We are all berry lovers here~ There never seem to be enough to make anything with, besides stains on everyone's faces!

    I do hope that Grandma gets to dress someone tiny and feminine someday soon. . .



  18. I love the way you write of your life! I also really like those bloomers! I just finished a Fiddly Bits scarf. I'll put up a photo later this week on the blog. I might add pictures of some of the hats I've been knitting as well. They're piling up! God bless you my friend. I miss the days when these comments came to our inboxes. It was so much easier to respond to friendly notes.
    Laura Lane

  19. Nigel is to be congratulated! Your new header looks fabulous and captures wonderful parts of Mother Culture.