Thursday, March 31, 2016

WIP - Sea Nymph

Quietly I've been knitting away one of the new patterns by Drops Design - Sea Nymph. It's a fairly simple raglan summer sweater with stockinette body and lacy sleeves. I'm almost done with the body - I adore stockinette knitting in the round, the perfect TV knitting ever!

The original gauge is 21 sts and 28 rows and mine is 25 sts and 35 rows for a 10 cm stockinette square, so I made my own calculations for the pattern. Because of my much smaller gauge I decided to skip all the gymnastics in the pattern of casting on a certain number of stitches, knitting the lacy neckline and then adding evenly additional stitches before the beginning of the raglan increases. Instead I cast on the number of stitches I wanted at the beginning of the raglan (in my case 112 sts), so that based on my calculations I would get the desired number of stitches for the body and the sleeves at the end of the raglan increases. Miraculously, the calculations worked! I worked 50 rows of raglan increases and got 206 sts for the body and 74 sts for the sleeves. I intend to make the sleeves longer than in the pattern - at least 7/8 of the full sleeve length and to finish the sleeves and the body with the same lace pattern (A1) as at the neckline.

My yarn is a 50-50 cotton / viscose blend, bought last summer because of its rich red color. It's a Bulgarian yarn, the quality is average. I have previous experience with two other Turkish cotton/viscose yarns and this one is probably a bit better, but I wouldn't buy it again - the viscose thread, as with the other cotton/viscose yarns I've tried, gets easily tousled and the sweater will be difficult to maintain.
I'm not sure how I'll knit the sleeves. I started one of them in the round, but I don't have a suitable short round needle, so I'll have to try either magic loop or DPNs. I so hate knitting sleeves in the round, sometimes I don't understand why I am causing this to myself :))

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rainbow Socks

A new pair of socks for Alex, made from Kauni Artistic Rainbow, 8/2. I knitted them again toe up, using the recipe for toe up socks by Charisa Cairn and German short rows for the heel. I love their bright cheery colors and now I'm planning a cardigan with the rest of the yarn, but maybe for autumn, as it is already time for cotton knitting.

Pattern: Rainbow Socks
Yarn: Kauni Artistic Rainbow, 8/2, approx. 50 g, men's shoe size 43 EU
Needle: 3 mm
Time to knit: one week

And I had another go at the Leopard Cake, but this time I made all the corrections I had planned from last time - doubled the sugar (150 g), sprinkled it with crystal sugar before baking and reduced the cocoa in the lighter brown dough. It's so much better like this! Now I want to make the still too white dough yellow-orange and try adding egg yolks to the dough - next time :)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Manastirishte 2016

Today husband and I made a short hike to one of our favourite places - Peak Manastirishte on Plana mountain. Down in the city we've been enjoying spring weather and trees in bloom for three weeks now and I expected blossoming wild plum trees and grassy paths on Plana. But as we drove up to the village of Plana, the landscape changed and to our surprise, though Plana is a relatively low mountain, in the village and on the mountain winter had not given up its reign yet. The paths were very wet and muddy from the melting snow, there were plenty of amazingly beautiful purple crocuses and no trees in bloom. The day was sunny and the path - lonely, we had a very relaxing hike.

: The village of Plana in the distance and the much higher Vitosha in the background

: The snow covered ridges of Vitosha

:The willows are budding

:The muddy track and peak Marchin kamak in the distance

:Lots of small birds chirped and flew over the fields

:Three common buzzards circled in the sky in search of prey

:The old abandoned house on the crossroad to Manastirishte

:Peak Manastirishte

:Hellebores on the peak

:The chapel on top of the peak

:A queer collection of picnic furniture :)

:Crocuses on top of the peak

:The peak pyramid

:A field of crocuses and Vitosha in the distance

:Back to the village along the alternate path, which closes the circle

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Leopard Bread

And another really interesting recipe, translated from German (with the help of daughter and short and very clear video on how to make).

  • 250 ml milk + 2 tbsp
  • 1 vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25 g corn starch
  • 50 g butter
  • 375 g flour
  • 70 g sugar
  • 20 g cacao
  • 3.5 g dry yeast

The method of preparation is very different from what I've experienced so far and the resulting dough is very easy to work with. I added about 5 g of cacao to the light brown dough, but my cacao was very strong and there is almost no difference between the lighter and the darker brown dough. Next time I would add cacao only at the tip of the spoon.

Also, this bread is supposed to be sweet, but the quantity of sugar is not enough and it tastes more like neutral rather than sweet. I would at least double the sugar next time and also cover it with granulated sugar before baking.

Because the rolls are arranged irregularly, when cut the bread produces different patterns and each person can be served a different looking leopard slice.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tee Rose Apple Pie

Another apple pie, very juicy and tasty, this time with yeast dough. I found the recipe on a Bulgarian forum, translated from a Russian blog, adapted from a French blog, ...

  • 270 g flour
  • 120 g milk
  • 60 g butter
  • 7 g fry yeast
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5 small apples

Make the dough as usual and leave it to double its volume. Meanwhile peel the apples, remove the seeds and cut them into thin slices. Cut the dough into two and spread each half into a rectangle. Cut the dough rectangles into bands 1.5 - 2 mm wide and arrange the dough bands and apple slices into concentrated circles in the greased baking tin. Leave to rest and rise for half an hour, glaze with 1 egg yolk and milk, sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon and bake for 45 min in a preheated oven at 180-190 C. Serve cold with tea or milk.

Because of the plentiful of apples this pie is very light and juicy and has a very tasty sugary crust, I liked it!