Saturday, March 31, 2018

From Zheleznitza to the Blue Arrow Shelter 2018

A vertical walk through seasons was today's hike on Vitosha. The trail is fairly popular nevertheless not your walk in the park - it's uphill climbing all the time to the shelter and steep downhill descent back to the village.
Down in the village it was spring, though not as expressed as in Sofia, where we are at lower altitude. Up by the shelter was still winter, with snow and brutal cold wind, so my winter hat and gloves were very welcome. The transition from spring to winter uphill was fairly slow as it took us long to climb to the shelter. On the way back we took an alternative steep direct path and in less than 45 min we transported ourselves from deep snow and cold wind to warm sunshine, 22C and bird songs. It was somewhat bewildering and magical :)

There were lot's of big purple crocuses along the trail

And I couldn't resist taking pictures of my favourite Rila all the time. The visibility today was excellent.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sea Breeze Haruni

My third Haruni is ready and I am very happy and proud with it! It is intended as a present for the leader of the National Biology team, an incredible University professor and a very kind, warm and genial person. I know she wears shawls and I wanted to make something unique and beautiful for her. Haruni was almost my immediate choice as a pattern - I know it, I love it and it is easy and quick for me to knit. But the yarn? I was certain I wanted it to be hand-painted but my attempt at marbled pastels was not very pleasing for me.

Here's the finished Haruni, fresh off the needles, unblocked and in its initial colors. As I have the red Haruni I knit for Gaby a few years ago, I've positioned both on top of each other to illustrate the difference blocking makes for lace shawls. The new Haruni is knit with a bit thicker yarn (375 m / 100 g) compared to the red Cashmira Fine (500 m / 100 g) on 3.75 mm Addi lace needles, compared to 3.5 mm Addi for the red shawl and I also made two more repeats of chart A, which relates to larger charts B and C. So, though the unblocked new shawl looks the same as the blocked red Haruni, it is actually much, much larger, which was my aim (the teacher is a woman, much larger than Gaby and I wanted a shawl that would fit her comfortably).

I had about 60 g left of the yarn and I knew I wanted to change the color. I really didn't like the pale babyish tones I got from my dye job.

So I split the remaining yarn into two mini skeins and tried going into two directions - turquoise glazing or purple overdying. I made my dye solutions, then I dyed the miniskeins in a portion of the respective solution, proportionate to the weight of the miniskein to the weight of the shawl, so that if I liked the result I would know that the remaining part of the dye solution, applied in the same way to the shawl, would produce the same result.
I like both skeins, but the turquoise glazing was closer to my initial idea, preserving the purple and green undertones of the first dye job, so this is what I chose for the shawl. And I'm keeping the plum dye for another project as i really like the color of the second skein.

This is the size of the new shawl after blocking - the lace is open and it has grown significantly bigger than the red Haruni.

I LOVE the new color of the shawl - it is rich and subtle and interesting. I hope so much that the recipient will like it too.

Pattern: Haruni by Emily Ross
Yarn: Italian bobbin merino extrafine, 135 g, hand dyed
Needle: 3.75 mm Addi lace circular needles
Time to knit: 4 days

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stella Alpina Tunic

My latest sweater, probably the last for this winter season. It is an interpretation of a Drops dress design, which I made into a tunic sweater for my daughter. The original dress specifies the use of two different yarns - Drops Fabel (the color mix) and Drops Alpaca (the solid colors). However I decided to use my bobbin of red-orange Cashwool and to dye half of it in a color mix of red, yellow, orange and brown.

Pattern: Dress with star pattern border (loose interpretation)
Yarn: Cashwool 100% merino, 300 g
Needle: 4 mm
Time to knit: two months

As usual, I don't think I even read the whole of the pattern instructions, as I had an idea in my head and I made my own calculations to get it. The knitting took me long, as I had my doubts and hesitations and put the sweater aside for long periods of time.

The bottom part of the sweater is knit across with short rows, provisional cast on and then grafting of the first and the last rows to close the tube, or rather the truncated cone. The same technique is applied for the low part of the sleeves.

For the solid color parts of the sweater I used my description of the Bonus sweater - it was quite easy to adapt it for this tunic, as the yarn and gauge are basically the same.

After last week's high spring temperatures I thought I was late with this snowflake-y sweater, but the temperatures this week dropped so low and we've had so much snow and cold these days, that it is hard to believe that April is behind the corner. Spring is definitely late this year.

It was so cold when we took these pictures today that I had to hurry not to let Gaby freeze without her coat and hat. Definitely sweater weather!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Marbled Pastels

I got an idea in my head to knit another Haruni for a present - my third Haruni, I really love this triangular shawl. And I imagined it in light pastel colors, combined around turquoise. I googled color combinations and I really liked this marble, so I tried to recreate it.

The yarn is Italian bobbin merino extrafine, which I have used before. It is super soft, 4-ply not very twisted yarn - a characteristic, which makes it divine to wear, but it has also a tendency to pill.

I was very happy with the yarn in the pot, but as it dried and I began to knit with it, I've been having my doubts. The yarn was a bit crowded in my small dyeing pot - 200 g is a bit too much for it, and the colors came very light with lots of white in between.

It looks colorful in the skein

but the knitted texture is very colorless, the purples and pinks are almost indiscernible. And these are so not my colors :( I love warm colors, I'm a red - brick - orange person, these cold pastels are too babyish for my taste. So far I'm planning to knit the shawl and if i hate it - I'll redye it into a solid darker color, probably dark teal or turquoise.