Friday, October 31, 2014

It's the Season of Pumpkins

I thought the children were too big to celebrate Halloween this year, but they proved me wrong :)
We had a jack-o-lantern, mummy sausages for dinner and a scary home movie (Oculus).

A few interesting pumpkin lanterns in the local stores:

Gaby even made herself a costume - the Tooth Fairy. I hope none of us will loose any teeth tonight :)))

And my pumpkin sweater is ready and drying. Photo session soon, hoo-hoo :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Midnight Dyed Cashmira

I played with the yarn dyes again this Sunday and dyed two balls of Cashmira Fine classical unbrushed pure wool. The original color was snow white number 55.

This time I experimented with four colors - red, blue, violet and purple. The color came very dark and mostly deep midnight purple with reddish-brown and blue nuances. It is actually darker than on these photos and the variations are not that noticeable, especially in the evening, but I think it's still interesting.

Next time I want to try mixing only purple and violet in much lighter tones, probably some blue too, but the red was a bit redundant.

I tried a small sample to figure out what to do with it. It's only 200 g, but the yardage is almost 1000 yds, so it might be enough for a small light cardigan or a 3/4 sleeved sweater.

Meanwhile winter stepped in and for two days we were covered in snow. Most of it melted today, but it's cold, the winter boots and jackets are already out, hats, scarves and gloves are inspected and distributed and new winter accessories are planned.

And the house smells of apple pies and cinnamon. This one I made today using a recipe from procurora's blog. It came out very delicious, light and juicy with apple pieces and walnuts inside and very crispy crust outside.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Toe-up Socks

I had a skein of brick 50 g Alize Superwash I intended to test, so I knit a pair of socks. This is only my second pair of socks and this time I wanted to try the toe-up method and to use up all of my yarn.

Pattern: Cabley Goodness Top-Down-Toe-Up Socksby Erin Case 
Yarn: Alize Superwash 50 g, color 433
Needle: 3 mm, 2.5 mm rib
Time to knit: 5 days

For these socks I used the magic loop method instead of DPNs and it worked fine, mostly due to the purl stitch, where I could hide the unevenness of my transitions from one needle to the other :)
The pattern is very well written and easy for a beginner like me, my only concern with these socks is that the heel is not reinforced and might easily tear.

Notes: My gauge was 25 sts x 35 rows, so I reduced the stitches by 0.78 ratio.
Cast on 8 sts and increased to 56 sts, knit in pattern for 45 rows, heel flap for 15 rows,
heel turn - knit 16, SSK, K1, turn,
slip, purl 5, p2tog, p1, turn and so on until all stitches have been worked.
Ended with 16 sts. Picked up 9 stitches each side of the heel flap for the gusset.
Decreased to 56 sts and continued knitting until I knit up the entire skein.
Rib 1x1 on 2.5 mm needle, invisible bind-off using this tutorial:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sophia Loren Riverside Pullover

Pattern: Sophia Loren Riverside Pullover by Kathleen Lawton-Trask
Published: Knitty, Deep Fall 2013
Yarn: Alize Cashmira 36 Brick (120 g), 1 Cream (70 g), 14 dark Yellow (70 g)
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4 mm body
Notes on my interpretation of the pattern

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blackberry Pie

I made this pie on Monday with blackberries we gathered along the track on Plana Mountain. This is the first time I'm making such dough and I know the pie doesn't look very professionally made, but it was quite delicious :)

Ingredients for the dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 125 g cold butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 8 tbsp of cold water

Mix all of the ingredients for the dough and knead until the dough is homogeneous. Divide into two balls. Spread the first ball into a 1/2 cm thick sheet, place it in the baking tin and leave it in the fridge to cool.

For the blackberry filling:
  • 200 g blackberries
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp softened butter

Place the blackberry filling in the first sheet, spread the second ball of pastry and cover the filling. Make a few openings in the upper sheet. Glaze with egg and milk. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Plana - Dolni Pasarel

Last Saturday we climbed Plana Mountain again, but this time from the other side of the mountain - the gorge of the river Iskar, which runs between Lozen and Plana mountains. The starting point of our track was the village of Dolni Pasarel, some 27 km from home and the final point - the Peyova Buka Chalet, and back along the same track.

A long Aesculapian snake gave me quite a fright. It was lying on the trail and I though it dead at first and almost stepped on it. Frightened by us, it quickly moved to a nearby tree and began climbing it, while hubby was chasing it with the camera.

This forested part of Plana must the kingdom of mushrooms - there were not only hundreds of mushrooms all the way to the chalet, but dozens of various species too. We almost regretted that we are not experienced in recognizing the edible from the poisonous ones, otherwise we might have had a mushroom soup for dinner.

The hills of Lozen mountain, seen from the slopes of Plana.

The Peyova Buka ( Peyo's Beech-tree) Chalet

A big beech tree, which might be the beech which gave the name to the place and the chalet

Vitosha, on the other side of  Plana, is seen from the ridge of the mountain:

We had our picnic lunch on these birch logs in the middle of a large and sunny meadow:

The enormous Iskar dam lake, seen in the distance: