Sunday, January 29, 2017

Polska Skakavitza Falls

Pictures from our hike yesterday to the breath-taking beautiful frozen waterfall of one of Stuma's small tributaries - Polska Skakavitza in the Zemen Mountains. We joined for the first time a new hiking group and were very pleasantly surprised how much we liked the guide and the hikers. The day was very sunny and the hike was absolutely marvelous - choosing this group and this route felt almost like winning the lottery :))

Monday, January 16, 2017

Three Penguin Hats - Revisited

Two years ago I knitted three hats with penguin charts and ear flaps. I even bought yellow and navy blue polar fleece for hat linings and then abandoned the whole affair. The hats had problems - the placement of the ear flaps on the first hat was wrong and gave too narrow an opening for the face. The tubular cast on was pulling the hat edge and did not look good with the fleece lining. The hats needed pompoms and embellishments. But the biggest stopper was the sewing of the linings. I had never sewed linings with ear flaps and was not sure how to design them and then the mere trouble of taking out the sewing machine and clearing some flat space for cutting out the fleece was sufficient to put me off for quite some time, like two years :)

So this last Saturday I took the hats out and repaired them. I undid the cast on edge of Gaby's hat and finished the raw stitches with I-cord. Added a big pom pom and plaits. Sewed yellow fleece lining and attached it to the hat, allowing for the yellow edge to form a contrasting contour to the hat.

My nephew's hat was the first one I knitted back then and I hadn't figured its ear flaps correctly. So I took out the entire lower part with the ear flaps and knitted it anew with the correct placement of the flaps and a wider opening for the face and again cast off the stitches with I-cord. For this hat I sewed a navy blue fleece lining and added a blue pompom.

This third hat happened by accident - it was meant for Gaby, but came out a bit small. Nevertheless I decided to finish it too, adding a yellow I-cord edge, yellow lining and a blue pompom. In the first picture above this hat is without the lining, as I initially planned to spare myself the trouble, but later today I decided to finish it properly like the other two and sewed and attached its fleece lining too.
I feel so satisfied having finished these hats and making them wearable. The blue hat will be posted to my nephew tomorrow, Gaby put on hers today for school and I only have to find a head to match the third hat :))))

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lamp Post Hat

The hat I knitted with the remaining 100 g of the bobbin merino, to make a set with the scarf. Although there is an actual Asherton hat pattern, I preferred to design my own hat, adding a touch of black merino for color. I named it Lamp Post Hat, because for some obscure reason it kept reminding me of the lamp posts in Sofia central park - Boris's Garden.

Pattern: Lamp Post Hat (personal design)
Yarn: Italian Bobbin Yarn, 100% merino, 100 g
Needle: 3.5 mm, 4 mm
Time to knit: 3 days

Pictures of lamp posts from my stroll in Boris's Garden today

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tre Archi Sweater

My latest most favourite sweater - Tre Archi by Louisa Harding, knit in the softest merino I've ever tried - Zegna Baruffa Cashwool. It is yet another one of those Italian wool bobbin yarns I've been ordering online lately. I've got two more colors of this yarn - dark green and asphalt and the latter is going to turn into another sweater for me too, probably soon.

Pattern: Tre Archi by Louisa Harding
Yarn: Zegna Baruffa Cashwool 8, dark bordeaux, 330 g
Needle: 3.5 mm, 4 mm
Time to knit: two weeks

Notes and modifications:
1. From the original pattern I used only the overall visual concept and the charts for the cables, but I chose to make mine a longer and fitted sweater. I knit the body and the sleeves in the round and made my own calculations for the stitches and rows. The arches for the body are placed low, so that the most narrow part of the cables would fall at the waist. Thus I started with 221 sts - 17 repeats of the cable and ended at the waist with 152 sts. Then I increased the stitches gradually on both sided until the armholes and split the knitting for the back and the front.

2. The original beginning with two rows of garter stitch curled despite my efforts to block it, so I carefully unravelled the cast on row and made the bottom end of the sweater symmetrical to the neckband. That should have been my logical choice from the beginning, I think this edge is much more beautiful and there's no danger of rolling up.

3. For the sleeves I cast on 60 sts, increased to 65 sts in the first knit row for 5 repeats of the cables, knitted in the round. This gave me 45 sts at the end of the cabled part. Then I gradually increased to 65 sts to the armholes, adding two new stitches every 10 rows. I sewed the sleeves to the body using mattress stitch.

I am absolutely thrilled with the result - so much my type of sweater - simple, elegant and feminine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chocolate Leaves

The icy weather, which hit Europe these last 10 days, has been keeping us home, the children are enjoying extended Christmas holidays and I am knitting like crazy and baking. Yesterday I saw a tutorial on how to make chocolate leaves and I couldn't help it but try it today. It is such an original idea and so easy to make. All you need is chocolate and leaves.

As leaves are a bit scant right now, I used four yellowing leaves from my small home-grown lemon grove. To make chocolate leaves you melt the chocolate, cover the bottom side of the leaves with the melted chocolate using a small brush and leave them to cool in the fridge. Then you carefully peel the real leaf and you get a stunning chocolate leaf to be used for various decorations.

I made four test leaves

and used the rest of the melted chocolate to cover a few of the honey biscuits I had just baked.
The recipe for the biscuits, because husband loved them so much:
  • 150 g butter
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 300 g flour
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • cinnamon, ginger, ground nutmeg
Beat the butter with the sugar, add the yolks, the the flour, the honey and the spices and mix. Make small balls from the dough, flatten them slightly and place in a baking tin, covered with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C.