Sunday, May 31, 2015

Alinski Monastery on Plana

Early this year husband and I hiked on Plana mountain and tried to find Alinski Monastery, unsuccessfully. I complained then about the lack of signs and markings and the low popularity of the tracks. We planned to return there in May and so we did yesterday - this time equipped with a googlesmap track and GPS. Everything was so different in May - hiking was so much easier than in the snow, the terrain looked much different and more beautiful with its lush greenery and plenty of wild flowers in bloom. Orientation, following the track was easy and we even found some markings. The trail is one of the most pleasant to hike and the seclusion of the place was actually one of the main attractions of the hike. In my mind yesterday's hike is one of the best we've ever had and we'll definitely return to the place again soon.

Mt. Manastirishe - Plana's top peak - in the distance

The terrain is fairly even, the tracks are in the open, which makes the trail excellent for hikes in spring and autumn.

The high snow covered peaks of Rila were visible in the distance almost all the time (not so visible on my wretched photos - the Olympus camera is down for good and I'm using the old Canon and remembering why we had to buy a better camera :)

The Alinski Monastery on Plana mountain was founded in XVI-XVII century. Now only the main church stands preserved, with murals dating from 1626. We are not religious, but the architecture and history of the place are truly impressive. It's a good thing the monastery is so isolated and difficult to find, to be spared vandalism and destruction.

We had our picnic on one of the meadows, covered with wild flowers and with a view to Rila. We are really lucky to be living near such beautiful surroundings.

St. Kyprian Chapel at the beginning / end of the track

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jirachi Cardigan

Finally a modeled photosession of my latest cardigan - Jirachi. Jirachi is a free Knitty pattern for a summer sweater by Karen Clark. I fell in love with the lace pattern, but the last few years of knitting proved to me that summer cardigans are much more wearable in our warm climate with only light chill in the morning and in the evenings, than summer sweaters. So I turned the lace pattern into a cardigan, replacing the rib with moss stitch to match the moss stitch diamonds of the lace. I've included some notes on my Ravelry page, but couldn't be bothered to write down the whole pattern.

Pattern: modified Jirachi sweater
Yarn: YarnArt Jeans, 280 g, color 63
Needle: 2.5 mm moss stitch border, 3 mm body
Time to knit: 19 days

Pictures taken in front of the Sveti Sedmochislenitzi Church, built in the 1900s through the conversion of an Ottoman mosque, built in 1528 upon the ruins of an early Christian temple from 4th-5th century, which on its turn was erected upon a pagan temple of Asclepius from Roman Serdica. I love it, when a place can trace its history back in time :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Flower Shop Puzzle

And the last of my Castorland acquisitions. It's a bigger puzzle - 1500 pcs. and the beginning was much more difficult, but in the end the size turned quite doable and the picture is pleasing to the eye. I'll miss the relaxed hours of puzzle assembly, combined with an interesting audiobook, it's addicting. But this week I'm back to knitting.

Puzzle: Flower Shop by Richard Macneil
Brand: Castorland, 1500 pcs.
Time to assemble: 4 days


And a peek to my new knitting process - the Sabrina cardigan. So far so good :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Yarn is Recyclable

While ripping my last year's Vogue cardi, I wondered if other knitters took advantage of the recyclable nature of our hobby and ripped FO and reused yarn as often as I do. And I don't mean ripping in the course of the process to perfect the knitting or to turn it into a different item. I mean ripping of finished projects - all ends are weaved in, the seams are sewn, the garment is blocked, and even worn once or twice or for years and then ripped and turned into something else.

Mostly for my own amusement I compiled a list of my own doings to the above effect :)

1. Alize Cashmira in purple, violet and pink, 100% wool
The original use of the yarn was for a tunic for Gaby and  matching wrist warmers. I ripped it as Gaby outgrew it, but she did wear it a couple of years.
I turned the purple Cashmira (adding one new skein) into my purple Pull Irlandais and I dyed some of the pink Cashmira for the Carotina fingerless gloves - two favourite items:

2. YarnArt Jeans in chartreuse, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic
The crocheted jacket was my first big crochet project while I was still learning to crochet (not that I am any more knowledgeable now :). I think I put it on a couple of times, but it was too plain for my taste so eventually I ripped it and turned it into a small crocheted shrug for Gaby (she does wear it once in a while but it's not a big success) and partially - in my long sleeved Elfe (also rarely worn):

3. Alize Diva colorway 167, 100% Microfiber
Another failed crocheted project - the lace was beautiful, but the pattern - four rectangles - made for a very uncomfortable cardigan. Gaby never wore it. The tunic I turned it into last summer is a hit, I've received many compliments for it:

4. Lanoso Alara colorway 12, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic
I liked my Mystic River cardigan, but actually wore it very rarely and wanted to try Kim Hargreaves' Edda. I still don't know if Edda will be more successful as I finished it at the end of last summer and haven't worn it much still:

These were the bigger projects I've ripped during the last years. But I quite regularly redo hats and scarfs, some - repeatedly:

5. Linate Multi Color in rusty pink, 60% acrylic, 40% wool
This yarn has definitely seen action. It was a puff stitch hat and scarf, then Kim Hargreaves' Starr, then a ponytail hat and lastly - a Rosebud set. I believe I never put it on this winter, I might consider redoing it into something else :)

6. Alize Lanagold Batik in rainbow colors, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
The yarn started as a crocheted shawl, which didn't last even blocking, then it was turned into a set of entrelac hat, scarf and gloves. The entrelac hat is a cool idea, but didn't look very flattering on Gaby, so I ripped the hat and scarf and used only the light colors for this pouch hat. All of these items have been put away now as "too childish".

7. Alize Lanagold in black, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
The ribbed hat relaxed too much after a year of wear, so I turned it into these legwarmers. You might have noticed me on my winter hiking pictures wearing these - legwarmers are very practical, as tthey not only keep your ankles warm, but protect your jeans from mud and your shoes from dust or snow getting inside.

8. Alize Lanagold in purple, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
Another entrelac hat, for me. It was my favorite hat for a year or two, but then relaxed and didn't keep me warm any more. It was not a success as basque hat - Gaby complained that the roomy hat didn't keep her head warm. The latest version with the pompom was her most worn hat this winter.

9. Alize Lanagold in purple, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
Another skein of the same yarn - it was a modification of a Kim Hargreaves' Flicker in ridged rib, which still lives as a cowl for the above Basque hat, almost never worn.

10. Ram Rainbow, 70% wool, 30% acrylic
I had almost a skein of yarn left from a cardigan for Gaby, which I made into the 16 cable hat. It was a failure - the multicolor yarn was too loud for a hat, the cables were lost and the slouchiness of the hat quite absent. The yarn serves me well as my first easy socks.

11. Alize Lanagold in red, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
These long Bella mittens looked beautiful, but proved unpractical. Three years later I turned them into a jumper for my friend's little dog.

12. YarnArt Merino De Luxe 50, 50% wool, 50% acrylic
The Robin hat - I didn't like myself in it, so - another jumper for Lizzy.

12. Alpacana, 35% wool, 25% alpaca, 40% acrylic
The yarn is warm and soft, but I seem to be unable to turn it into a hat, suitable for my head. Because the yarn is heavy both of the above semi-slouchy versions tend to fall to the front and cover my eyes. Next winter I'll redo it into a beanie.

13. Performance Cotton Gem, 100% cotton
I knit this Vogue pattern last spring and tried to wear it a few times, but I don't like it neither with dresses, nor with blouses. I'm ripping it now and planning this  Sabrina cardigan. I've bought two additional skeins of the yarn and it is going to be my next WIP.

14. Alize Bella, 100% cotton
And I've been eyeing this Gardenia blouse for ripping and turning into an ombre sweater for sometime. I've even bought the darker red Bella. But it's lower on my to-do list, as Ive got a few other projects in mind before it.