Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Charity Hats

This past weekend I knit two quick hats for charity, putting into use some remnants of YarnArt Merino de Luxe I had from other projects. The purple hat is Autumn in New York, a free pattern by Evelyn Leon, there's a KAL going on on Ravelry. The end result is a soft very beautiful beanie. Because the hat took only 37 g out of my 100 g ball, I'm tempted to knit another one or probably a slouchy version with one more repeat of the chart. 

Pattern: Autumn in New York by Evelyn Leon
Yarn: YarnArt Merino de Luxe, 37 g
Needle: 3.5 mm (brim), 4 mm (body)
Time to knit: one day

Here's the chart of the pattern I made, for easier reference:

The second hat is a repeat of a simple hat pattern I like a lot - the Waffle hat. It's meant to be a man's size, so it sits a bit slouchy on Gaby's head :). This second version proved how useful Ravelry and blog notes can be - I knit it, following my own instructions on my first Waffle hat, as written down on my Ravelry project page.

Pattern: Waffle Hat by Gail Bable
Yarn: YarnArt Merino de Luxe, 60 g
Needle: 3.5 mm (brim), 4 mm (body)
Time to knit: one day

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Pattern: Debardeur by Bergère de France
Yarn: Alize Lanagold, color 568 petrol green, 300 g
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4.0 mm body
Time to knit: a week, give or take

Although I knit and unravelled quite a lot, actually I knit the entire front twice, the process was very enjoyable and I'm satisfied with the result. It's a present for my father and I constantly wavered and reconsidered the size, I hope I've made the right decisions and it will fit him in the end.

The color on all of the photos is off, but nothing doing. It's darker and greener actually. The vest is still unblocked on these photos, which is probably visible, but I wanted to photoshoot it on the ground first and then wash and wet block it.

Because my yarn is much thicker than the prescribed and my gauge was completely off, I used only the chart for the cables and recalculated everything else to fit my own gauge and measurements, with only 3 repeats of the cable rapport.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Urvich - The Hidden Fortress

Last Sunday was a gorgeous warm October day and we thought it just the suitable day to go searching for the elusive Urvich fortress. Urvich was a medieval fortress during the Second Bulgarian kingdom, which was very important for the defense of Sofia (then Sredetz) and the last of the Bulgarian fortresses to fall under the Ottoman army.

Now the ruins of the walls, battle towers and churches lay scattered and overgrown with vegetation all over this part of the Lozen mountain.

A piece of battle tower, 7 m tall, still stands in the middle of nowhere amongst the thick vegetation on the hill:

Excavation works, still on going on the hill. The fortress is strategically situated in the cross-point of the three mountains near Sofia - Vitosha, Lozen and Plana.

The ruins of one of the medieval churches - St. Elias. The whole region was a mini-version of the holy mountain of Athos on Halkidiki in Greece - fortresses and churches and monasteries.

We also followed one of the paths, that leads to the still operating monastery of St. Nicolas:

And then we just walked along the path down in the forest by the river Iskar, so picturesque with the arcades of overhanging branches, that even my prosaic teenage son couldn't help but exclaim, that this place was so beautiful :))

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Pie

Lately I've been baking apple pies like crazy. It's the season of apples and the smell of baked apples and cinnamon is the most divine of smells in the kitchen. I like my fruit pies to contain lots and lots of juicy fruit, so here's the ultimate apple pie recipe I came up with today:


  • One 400 g pack of puff pastry
  • Two big apples
  • 80 g of sugar (more or less according to taste)
  • cinnamon
  • 20 g of flour

Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices. Mix the slices with the sugar, the cinnamon and a spoon of flour in a bowl. Roll out the pastry until it's about 4 mm thick. Measure and cut the excess width and length into thin bands. Spread the pastry into a suitable baking tin, fill in with the apples, arrange the grid of thin pastry bands and fold in the corners. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-30 min. Powder with sugar while hot.
The end product is a very juicy apple filling and sweet pastry crust, which combine together into a perfect cinnamon flavored bite.

Ябълков сладкиш

1 пакет хилядолистно тесто, 
2 големи ябълки, 
80 г захар (количеството варира според вкуса)
лъжица брашно.

Обелете и нарежете ябълките на тънки филийки. В голяма купа ги объркайте добре със захарта, канелата и брашното. Брашното се добавя, за да сгъсти малко сока, който пускат ябълките и да му придаде леко кремообразна форма. Разточете тестото до дебелина 4 мм, премерете формата за печене и изрежете излишъците на тънки ленти. Разстелете тестото във формата, изсипете ябълките, оформете от изрезките решетка и подгънете краищата. Печете в предварително загрята фурна на 200С за 20-30 мин до зачервяване. Поръсете с пудра захар.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Everything about this project was about color. I wanted to test a theory I had about creating a slightly nuanced yarn with distribution of the color variations in advance before immersing the yarn into the hot water. To my satisfaction the experiment was very successful and I am eager to try it again with other colors and even to try to duplicate it on several skeins for a bigger project.

Out of this ball of yarn with very limited yardage - only 240 yards in 100 g, all I could hope for was a neckerchief. I chose a shawlette pattern that called for less than 300 m. Maluka is a very well written pattern, generously provided by Bea Schmidt as a free download from Ravelry. For me - certainly not a beginner in knitting, but a beginner in shawl knitting, it was very easy and understandable, and she has even included photos of how to make for some of the stitches.

Pattern: Maluka by Bea Schmidt
Yarn: Alize Ecolana 100 g, 220 m, hand dyed
Needle: 4.5 mm
Time to knit: 2 days

Wet blocking - spread the shawl took the whole bed. I'll have to buy blocking blocks.

As I didn't have enough yarn, I had to compromise between length and width. Above is my first version of the shawl with only 23 (of 33) repeats of the border chart. The balance between the border and the body was perfect, but the shawl was too short to be wrapped around the neck, as I wanted mine. So I unravelled the body and elongated the border. And of course, now I had to make the body much more shallow for the yarn to suffice. I made the short rows with a step of four instead of two stitches and the final rows were knitted with a step of six stitches. As a whole I spent more time calculating the number of stitches each version of the shawl would be, based on the arithmetic progression the rows represent, then turning this number into grams and meters, than on actually knitting the thing :))). It's a good thing I adore mathematics :)))

These photos were actually taken in front of our building in two sessions - yesterday evening, when the sun had set and the light was not sufficient, and today, when it started drizzling just when we went out to take the pictures. (I had almost given up on publishing the shawl, the photos are of poor quality.) To my amazement, in only a few hours the leaves of the tree had reduced at least by half :(
It's a cold and rainy autumn day and I was reminded of this beautiful song from my teen years:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seafoam Cowl

The first of the new yarns is already a FO - a basic seafoam stitch cowl. No pattern, just 9 repeats of the 20 sts seafoam stitch rapport for a length of approx. 130 cm and as many rows as the yarn would yield, resulting in 20 cm width. Luckily, although the minimal repeat was 4 long rounds, I was able to finish the last repeat with yarn leftover of only 50 cm.

Pattern: Seafoam Cowl
Yarn: Alize Cashmira Batik, 100% wool, 100 g, 300 m
Needle: 4 mm
Time to knit: a day and a half

Last night I dyed the white Alize Ecolana in warm orange-red tones. It's already dry and ready to be wound into a ball and knit into ... probably another cowl or a scarf. I have an interesting pattern in mind ;)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Seasonal Stashing

Let me share with you my latest stash enhancements. There must be an inner need for knitting in me, crying out loud, because the less I knit - and I haven't knit much this last month, the more yarn I buy.
First - the greens, though the camera makes them look more like dark blues:

1) 300 g of Cashmira, color 598, 100% fine merino. This should become a cabled sweater, still haven't picked the pattern, but the color - deep pine green - was very tempting.

2) 300 g of Alize Lanagold, color 586, wool-acrylic mix. I bought it for a man's vest - I've had my eye on Debardeur for some time and always imagined it in petrol melange.

3) 100 g of Alize Cashmira Batik, color 3130. A spontaneous buy, I had even forgotten I had bought it too :)) Last year I had an idea to knit Lanesplitter in this yarn, but something else got in the way. Maybe I'll test the yarn in a hat or a cowl first.

4) 50g Alize Superwash, color 433. I haven't knit with this yarn, so I bought this small ball to test it. I'll sample it together with a viscose yarn I bought some time ago (in a momentary lapse of reason) for this shawl - Glitz at the Ritz. I actually meant to buy a proper glitzy yarn, like Angora Gold Simli, but when I saw it in the yarn store it was too glitzy for my taste.

And two yarns bought with a dye job in mind:

5) Alize Ecolana white 55, 100% wool. I'm planning Aidez with Ecolana, but first I'll test it on a scarf or a hat, hand dyed in advance. Or maybe I'll drop everything and just buy a pack of Ecolana and start Aidez first :)))

6) YarnArt Pure Merino, color 2557, 100% merino. This I want to dye in yellow-brown and to knit into Wildflower cardigan.