Saturday, January 31, 2015

South Park on a Bleaky Day

Just a few photos from our walk in South Park today. The weather is dull, windy and rainy. We had to abandon our plans for sledging on Vitosha because of the strong hurricane winds that have been blowing yesterday and today in the mountains - there were uprooted trees in the park after last night's storm.

My Monte Rosa is almost ready. Here's an idea I came up with for finishing double-folded collars. Instead of casting off the stitches and then sewing the cast-off ridge to the body, I decided to use grafting, treating the back side of the stitches, picked up for the collar, as live stitches. The result is a smooth ridgeless finish:

This is the collar from the inside - green outside and yellow inside.

I still haven't attached the sleeves to the body, as I'm a bit at a cross-road. For some reason, unknown to me, I have changed the tension of my knitting on the sleeves and instead of 16 sts per 4", I've knitted them to 17.5 stitches per 4". Thus the sleeves are a bit tight. I could wet block them and hope for them to relax or I could reknit them, adding a couple of stitches for good measure. I'll sleep on this and decide tomorrow :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WIP: Monte Rosa

It looks like monte rosa, it smells like monte rosa, but it's not monte rosa :)))

I'm making a visual interpretation of Isabell Kraemer's monte rosa pattern. The original pattern is a long cardigan continuously knitted from top to bottom. However I'm at a stage of my knitting when I prefer cardigans, knitted in separate parts from bottom to top and then sewn together. I've noticed that my knitted clothes, especially cardigans, have better structure and are less deformed in the course of  wearing and cleaning (machine washing at low temperature and delicate cycle, no centrifuge) when knitted in separate parts.

The interpretation also features some of the modifications, made by other knitters, which I liked better than the original - shorter, more fitted cardigan with stockinette stitch side sections. I'm still thinking about the closing - zipper or buttons, but I'll cross that bridge when i get to it.
The green color is fairly true in these photos, but the yellow is much more subdued, it's actually mustard and the combination looks better in real life.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Hat and Half a Cowl

I knitted a new hat for me - I'm into beanies this year and most of my previous year hats are slouchies. I wanted to add a pompom too, but Gaby persuaded me that it wouldn't fit me. I don't know ...

Pattern: personal, nothing special, some spaced cables
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Classic, 70 g, dark green color
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4 mm body
Time to knit: a couple of days

Pictures taken in front of the Central Mineral Baths (now museum)

I had bought two skeins of yarn, intending to make a set with a cowl. I actually knitted half of it, when I grew cold to the idea. I have plenty of scarfs and cowls and I rarely use them, and I already have a green cowl that goes well with the hat. Global warming is acutely felt in our corner of the globe, where warm, autumn-like winters are becoming the rule, not the exception. Apart from a week of cold weather around New Year, the temperatures this winter so far have been well above 0C, more in the range of 5-10C and above. The snowdrops in front of our building are already in bloom! So I bought three more skeins, ripped the cowl and I'm using the yarn to make Monte Rosa. It's probably not the best yarn choice for the pattern, as it is dark and the cables are not very visible, but still, so far I like it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Plana. In Search of Alinski Monastery

Today we hiked Plana mountain again. The day was very bright, sunny and warm for January. This is the second time we start our hike from the village of Plana, in September we climbed Plana's top - Mt. Manastirishte. This time our destination lay in the opposite direction - to the south - the Alinski Monastery. We chose to start from the St. Kyprian Chapel, which stands alone and picturesque under a big lonely tree at the very end of the village.

These outer structures with a cross and bells are something I've only seen in Plana. Backdrop - the snowy peaks of Vitosha and

Mt. Manastirishte. The wind was strong and cold on the hill with the chapel

but we were headed in the opposite direction - to the south. The change in the climate of the southern hills of the mountain was fantastic - no wind, only sun and views.

The track took us to a ridge of Plana, where we could see quite clearly three mountain tops simultaneously - Rila's Musala to the south, Vitosha's Cherni Vruh to the west and Plana's Manastirishte to the north.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of the snowy ridges,

especially Rila- I'm so much in love with this mountain. Looking at this glorious chain of peaks makes my heart sing. So - most of the pictures today inevitably feature Rila in the distance.

The track was lonely, actually this is the loneliest trip we've made so far - we didn't meet a single person on the way. Probably because, unlike Vitosha, Plana is not at all marked - there were no signs or markings on the way, we didn't have a description of the route, just an outline on Google maps.

We must have taken the wrong turn, because somewhere here, near these large granite blocks, after an hour and a half walk, the track suddenly vanished. We walked a bit around, but didn't want to risk wondering through the woods without a track, so we decided to end the search for the track, have our picnic on the rocks and head back.

The view I had while drinking my tea.

Total silence and solitude, just a few small birds chirping in the pine-trees (Can you see the bird hanging upside down on the twig?)

Hubby posing as a shepherd. All he needs are some sheep :)))

Although we couldn't find the monastery, we had a glorious 3 hours walk in the snowy mountain. We'll be back here, probably in May and this time I hope we'll find the elusive monastery (some GPS tracking might be of help on Plana).

Monday, January 12, 2015

Zheleznitza in Winter

Yesterday we hiked the trail Zheleznitza-Bistritza, again. This is the most accessible and popular trail near Sofia and it was crowded (for a mountain trail)! I was astonished that so many people hike Vitosha even in winter. The day was quite warm and pleasant, but the trail was difficult to walk - the alternations of sunny days with cold nights and the previous arctic cold days had packed the snow on the trail into ice, and the warm sun yesterday melted the surface of the ice, turning the trail into a skating ring - there were lots of falling people, including each of us :))
The river has frozen on the surface

A panoramic view to Plana, Lozen and the Balkan mountains

The snow covered high ridge of Vitosha

The frozen small waterfall.
It's a pity the pictures show so little of the actual beauty of the place.