Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunday in Vladaya

This year the summer was short and cool, autumn began right with the first days of September and we've had no Indian summer yet. In comparison, last year was so hot, September was a summer month and it was pleasantly warm until the mid of November. That's the kind of autumn I like :) Today is rainy and the temperatures have dropped and are expected to continue to drop further during the week. And according to all forecasts, yesterday was the last relatively warm day of early autumn. So we grabbed our backpacks and went for a hike in Vladaya. The forest was still mostly green, with patches of yellow and red, the picturesque Vladaya river was full-watered and the sun was out most of the time. I wish I had remembered to take my Carotina gloves with me for a few theme pictures, but I totally forgot.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Camelia Sweater

Last autumn I knitted two Kim Hargreaves' Camelia hats in a self-drafted slouchy version. Gaby's hat was knit in a black cotton-viscose yarn, which I've bitched about ever since I tried knitting with it two years ago. But I've written about the limited yarn choices around and, despite the nightmare of a knitting process this yarn is, the knitting it produced for Gaby's hat is very light and drapey and I kept imagining it in the form of a late summer / early autumn sweater. So some three days ago I cast on Camelia sweater. I took the initial design, which is a clever play with the basics - knit, purl, k2tog and yo over 48 rows and doubled it along the same lines to 96 rows. According to my preliminary estimate I'll need two repeats of the chart for the body parts.

The yarn is as intensely distressing as ever, splitting and tousling, but I'm knitting on in my ridiculous tradition to cast on a summer sweater in autumn. I suppose there's some obvious psychological explanation for it, a desire to hold on to the just ended summer, but it doesn't matter. And maybe I'll even wear this sweater soon. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Carotina Fingerless Gloves

Pattern: Carotina Fingerless Gloves Free Download
Yarn: Alize Cashmira 100% merino, 50g
Needles: DPNs 3.5 mm
Time to knit: 3 days

Finally!, finally I'm finding a few spare hours to photoshoot and show you my new fingerless gloves. They came out very warm and comfortable and I'm pretty happy with them. I even wrote down the pattern and calculated it for bigger sizes too, because I know that my hands are smaller than the average women size. The pattern incorporates the twisted garter edging which I came upon last month - I think it matches nicely the entire pattern concept.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Further Dyeing Experiments

I know, I often grumble about the range of colors available in the local yarn shops. They stock about 80% Turkish yarn of decent quality and at very reasonable prices. But the colors - a few primary and a few derivative plain colors, such boredom. No variegated colors, no subtle tone changes. I know, look at the prices, but still ...
So I'm experimenting by combining different yarns or by dyeing my yarns. One of my most successful dyeing jobs was with Step drinks (the local equivalent of Cool-Aid) - the color variegation  came just impeccable and the mitts I made with the pure merino are so soft and comfy, that I inevitably compare all my handwear to them and so far nothing has come close to their perfection - beginner's luck, no doubt :)

I had about 60 g of Cashmira 100% wool in pink-purple, left from a tunic I made for Gaby three years ago and had the idea to make it into another pair of fingerless gloves. But not in this little girl's color (I forgot to take a picture of the yarn while dry, so it's wet and darker on the picture below):

 For this dye job I chose these three varieties of Step drink.

 While the yarn was soaking in a 1:4 solution of vinegar and water, I prepared the drinks in hot water.

Then I poured the drinks and cooked the yarn in the MW for 5 sessions of 2 min each with 2-3 min intervals between sessions.

When the yarn cooled, I washed it with Perwolle and softener and left it to dry. It dyed beautifully and with almost no bleeding, but the color was still in the pink-purplish range and I didn't like it after all.

 So I took out the yellow and red acid dyes for wool I had bought for another project and pot dyed the yarn again in these autumn-ish orange-brown colors. The color on the picture looks plain, but in real life it's a subtle combination of orange nuances - from yellowish to brown. I didn't take any pictures of the second process, but the new thing I tested was the method of distribution the dye. Instead of dipping the yarn in the hot dye, I placed the yarn in the pot and poured the orange dye on it - concentrated at some places and just a brush at others. Then I made second dose of pure yellow dye and poured it on some parts of the yarn. The idea was that although all the yarn ended in a single pot of dye solution, the yarn absorbs the main quantity of the dye before the water and the vinegar and the salt for the cooking process are added.

And here's my new work in progress - to the right is the swatch in the original yarn and to the left - my new fingerless mitt. I'm improvising a personal design (this is actually the third sample I finally chose).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Timeless Greece

Hi, I'm back from our divine vacation in Greece. This year we were in Nikiti, Sithonia on Halkidiki. Perfect weather, perfect accommodation, too short vacation time. For me, no doubt, it was the most relaxing time I've ever had on a sea vacation.

:: My  spot on the beach

:: The sea in Nikiti is to the west, so we enjoyed beautiful sunsets over the sea.

:: The amazing turquoise waters of the Sithonia coves.

:: The sand of Coviou beach looked like brown sugar

:: The ruins of the old Basilica Sofronious, 5th century AD.
It was quite an adventure to find it :)

:: Sunset over Castri Hill.

:: Treasure hunting. The children dived and searched for seashells all the time.

:: A view of the entire village from high above.

:: A cormorant fed on the hundreds of small fish in the shallow waters quite fearlessly right next to us.

Greece, we love you! We'll back again next year!