Monday, March 30, 2015

Instead of WIP

Last week I meant to publish a WIP post about Gaby's cabled tunic. But then I went down with a virus and didn't feel like blogging. But I made a solid progress on the tunic - so much so that last night it was all blocked, sewn and finished - in just a couple of weeks. I knit it almost at one go and it is very much what I had expected it to be - for good and for bad.
The good thing - it looks as I imagined it and it fits Gaby like a glove. The latter even amazes me a bit, because Gaby was away for four days, taking part in the final round of the National Olympiad in Chemistry and I had to rely on my own measurements for the fitting.
The bad thing - I've used this same yarn for her Currant cardigan and I know that it is thick and when heavily cabled it produces warm but too bulky and raised garments - a feature my slim and delicate daughter does not particularly like. She does wear her Currant cardigan a lot, almost every day during the winter at home, but the tunic was meant for school and the choice of yarn was probably wrong. Actually I bought the yarn last year meaning to knit a cardigan for Alex too, but he shies away form my knitting - boys are so much more conservative than girls :)

Anyway spring is almost here, so the tunic will be stowed away until next cold season and we'll see then what kind of wear it will get. I plan to make a proper modeled photo session of the tunic at the end of the week, when Gaby returns from the other Olympiad she qualified for this year - in Biology.

Meanwhile I'll be sampling and casting on my second version of Windsor Cardi. I bought today a sweater worth of cotton yarn almost the same color as my failed attempt from last summer and I intend to make it into Windsor and then rip the first Windsor (the problem with it was, that the three skeins were dyed differently and it showed) and to knit a summer sweater or cardigan for me, alternating the skeins. I can't get enough of this lovely green color!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Urvich on the First Day of Spring

When the day is nice and sunny and we want to grab a hike, but don't have much time or aren't prepared for a long journey, we usually choose a couple of routes - Bistritza and Zheleznitza, because we live so nearby Vitosha, or Pancharevo and Urvich - also not very far and easy walks. Not so easy it turned out - there must have been a major storm in the valley as there were dozens and dozens of broken branches and uprooted trees blocking the path and we had to find ways to get around them.
I've always thought there is something enchanted about Urvich - the place of the medieval fortress, situated between three mountains and guarding the road to Sofia. The first couple of times we went to Urvich we actually couldn't find the ruins of the fortress. And today we were in for a new surprise. We always thought that the trail in Urvich is a relatively straight one - curving and meandering, but moving to the direction of Kokalyane. So when we finally got to the end of the path on the bank of the river Iskar and climbed the nearby rock above the river we were shocked to see that right across, so far hidden by the rock, was the fortress of Urvich and the same bridge we crossed at the beginning of the path - we had made a full circle, the trail was circular! The confusing factor is that the trail runs between two hillsides and these continue all the way along the trail - a hill, surrounded by hills from all sides. We returned along the same path and climbed the hill to the archeological site of Urvich - the diggings have been covered for the winter, but there was an information board, which made the whole situation quite clear. Then we went to the monastery on the other side of the hill and had our lunch at a sunny table in the yard of the monastery.

Има нещо странно в Урвич

За четвърти път идваме на разходка в района и пак успяхме да се изненадаме. За днешния слънчев първопролетен ден искахме лесна и бързодостъпна дестинация, затова и избрахме отново Урвич. Паркирахме колата до снажния полугол трудовак и слязохме към реката.

Очаквахме пролетна разходка, но пътеката си беше зимна, на места с доста дебел слой сняг.

До разклонението за манастира беше лесно и разчистено от клони, но след манастира никой не беше минавал от седмици. Явно в района е вилняла сериозна буря - имаше десетки, може би дори стотици повалени дървета, счупени клони, изтръгнати от корен солидни дънери, които препречваха пътеката. Уж лесната ни разходка се превърна в трасиране на нови пътеки в опит да се заобиколят непреодолимите бариери на пътя.

Все пак стигнахме до края - брега на Искър и се изкачихме на хълма със заслона. И друг път сме идвали до заслона, но не сме се качвали на камъните над него. Този път обаче решихме да си изпием кафетата на теферич и гледки - и каква изненада! Срещу нас на отсрещния хълм се виждаше крепостта (по-точно вилата в средновековен стил, която е край руините на крепостта), а долу реката се пресичаше от същия мост, от който започва пътеката. След четири размотавания из околността едва днес осъзнахме, че маршрутът е кръгов и сме се завъртяли обратно до началото на пътеката, но от другата страна на реката. Защо не сме го видяли досега? На това място реката прави завой и скалата влиза директно във водата, не може да се заобиколи покрай нея и да се стигне до моста. От нивото на реката не се вижда мостът, вижда се само реката, която завива покрай скалата. Пътят през цялото време се движи в долината между две отвесни височини и създава усещане за придвижване напред, по посока на Кокаляне. Завъртането става постепенно и е доста дезориентиращо.

Върнахме се по стъпките си обратно и се изкачихме по хълма до разкопките на крепостта.

Напреднали са доста от последното ни посещение, а най-хубавото - сложили са чудесно информационно табло с карта на района.

Така вече става доста по-ясно къде сме се въртяли досега.

Реставрацията на църквата напредва. Може би ще се опитат да направят нещо подобно на Цари Мали Град, с почти изцяло възстановени постройки.

След крепостта се изкачихме и до манастира, където си направихме пикник на една от напечените от слънцето маси.

Поглед към края на пътеката от отсрещната страна. При по-ниски води би могло да се мине по камъните, но днес беше изключено, реката е доста пълноводна и има още да се пълни от топящите се снегове.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Burgundy Cardigan

Finally a photosession of my husband's cardigan. I took only 5 photos of him in the cardigan this morning outside in the cold and they all seemed overexposed (everything too white), so I abandoned the idea and tried to photograph him at home. When I looked at the photos on the bigger screen, they did not seem that bad, so I regretted I didn't properly shoot the cardigan in the snow - up close, the sleeves, etc. But it is what it is; hubby likes the cardigan, so that's what matters :)

Pattern: Burgundy Cardigan (personal pattern)
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Solid 538 colorway, 600 g
Needle: 3.5 mm, 4 mm
Time to knit: four months with long breaks

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bread with Emmer Wheat

I baked bread with emmer wheat -wild wheat which was traditional for this region in the past and which is becoming popular today with nowadays hype about everything bio and paleo. I used a mild recipe with only 50% emmer and 50% wheat flour.

  • 250 g emmer flour
  • 250 g white wheat  flour
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 7 g instant dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

I mixed the ingredients, kneaded the dough and left it to rise in the oven at 40C. The dough is brownish and the emmer flour is much coarser and darker than white wheat flour, the dough takes longer to rise.

After the dough had risen enough (for some 80-90 min), I cut it two, kneaded the balls and made two loaves, covered with sesame seeds. This is the second time I'm making this emmer bread and this time I placed the loaves in cake forms. The first time two days ago I baked them as I usually do on a flat baking dish and they spread flat and lost form, so I took precautions this time.

After another hour of rising in the form I turned the oven to 180C and baked the loaves for about 45-50 min.

The taste of the bread is very specific - the other members of the family liked it immediately, but I didn't at first - I've always preferred bread of white wheat flour, enriched with eggs and milk, so liking this more wild taste required for me some adjustment. But on the second day of my first batch of emmer loaves I was surprised to find that I actually liked it better than the industrial wholegrain bread I usually buy.

So I intend to continue my experiments in baking by researching some recipes for cookies with emmer flour and by trying spelt flour too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kirigami Greeting Card

Another kirigami handmade greeting card, which Gaby made for her father's birthday. I love the simple but elegant choice of colors. I should probably try to locate a shop in Sofia selling instruments suitable for kirigami and similar arts, as the cutter from the local stationary shop is of rather low quality and it shows.

And my latest project - a cabled tunic for Gaby. My inspiration for the cable - this knitted dress, but I intend to have only two columns of  the cable on the front and the back on stockinette stitch background. This is yet another weather inappropriate project I start just at the end of a season, so I suspect it will share the fate of other projects cast on late in the season and finished a year later. But we'll see ... :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

WIP: Burgundy Cardigan

I finally finished knitting my husband's burgundy cardigan today! According to my Ravelry notes, this project took me longer than four months and included two complete backs - after I finished the back and the fronts and assembled them together, I didn't like the baggy look of the cardigan, so I ripped the back and reknitted it with 10 stitches less; three fronts - the first was too narrow; and four sleeves - the first two were simple stockinette but I then decided that cabled would be better. Crazy, right :)))

Meanwhile winter is back - and with a vengeance. It's been snowing steadily for three days now and this is the most snow we've had this year. And I thought spring was due ...

The color of the cardigan is not at all red, but dark burgundy, quite like the wine, with shades of brown and purplish. Currently I'm mattress stitching the sleeves and after I attach them to the body all I'll be left with would be to find suitable buttons. And maybe wet block the cardigan. I did steam block it, but I'm still considering wet blocking it nonetheless.