Tuesday, May 29, 2018


My latest dyeing was inspired by the YouTube channels of two lovely ladies I've been following for several months - Rebeca's Chemknit's Tutorials and Jessica L'Heureux.

: After soaking the yarn for an hour, I placed it in my dyeing pot, where the water with citric acid was at the point of boiling. I had prepared three solutions of yellow, orange and red (which turned to be more magenta than red really, it came from an egg dyeing tablet, not my usual acid dye). I poured 2/3 of each cup of dye along the sides of the pot, trying to assign one third of the pot for each dye.

: After the dye had been exhausted I added the remaining 1/3 of each cup to fill in the gaps, trying to cover most of the yarn with dye.

: After all of the dye had been absorbed by the yarn, I took the yarn out of the pot and let it cool off for a while. In the meantime I added more citric acid to the pot and 1/4 cup of black dye.

: I made two knots in the dyed skein to provide some resist, took a deep breath and dipped the yarn into the black dye

: The result is this colorful skein, with some of the yellow, orange and magenta of the initial dyeing preserved due to the resist knots, plus the new colors from the black glazing - purple, green and brown.

: To me this speaks tropical and I love it! I'm eager to explore further the possibilities of this dyeing method.

: I've already cast on a pair of socks - Hermione's everyday socks, a free and very popular pattern on Ravelry:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In Cherna Gora Mountain, 2018

One of the best trails we've found not far from home - the 6.5 km chain of dirty roads from the village of Planinitza to Tumba peak in Cherna Gora mountain. It is almost level, very well kept and with gorgeous scenery in all seasons.

: Poppies are probably my most favourite flowers and I've been hoping to come upon a poppy filed some day. So when I saw these on our way to Planinitza we had to stop the car and go back and take pictures:

: The landscape in the western part of the country is mountainous, so it's peaks 360o

: Arguing about the species of a bunch of mushrooms by the track. Googles knows best :)

: Gaby was very enthusiastic about this yellow-bellied toad, as she had recently studied it in university. I didn't know they had such yellow bellies underneath.

: On peak Tumba

: We had our picnic near the peak and joked about the gathering white clouds and could they bring rain

: And as we were leaving back the rain came for a few minutes and soon was gone

: We watch it rain in the valley down but then wind blew the clouds above us and it was a true spring thunderstorm, with thunders, rain and even hail for about 30 min. We had our raincoats on, but our legs and feet got all muddy and wet.

: And then the rain stopped and the sun was again up and shining, the day was very warm.

: The wheat fields are so beautiful

Saturday, May 26, 2018

My Works In Progress Mid 2018

My current works in progress.

First - the Wisteria Sweater, which I have decided to frog and start anew a bit differently. The problem is that the yarn is very very light and I don't like the fit. There is no flow and drape, the sweater just stays like a puffy cloud around my body, and as I did not make it with negative ease, it actually looks unflattering and the end curls up, despite the garter stitch edge. As I'm totally in love with the yarn and the color, I don't want to waste it on a piece I'm not going to love. So far I'm considering two possibilities - a loose cardigan to put on a colder summer night or a very fitting sweater, like Kim Hargreaves' Temperate. But that will wait, so far I'm just freezing it.

The thing I'm working on actively this week is my mitered square blanket. It is progressing nicely, I've dyed the yarn for the next row of squares. I plan to make it as wide as it is now - 13 squares and to grow it in length until I get tired of it. I'm still not sure what I want it for - a lap blanket - then a row or two more would be sufficient, a cover for the balcony sofa - I'll need about 4 more rows for that, or an actual full size blanket - I'll need at least to triple its length for this purpose.

My third knit is a cowl I started back in the winter, using my Biker Chick imitation yarn. I had finished the cowl and actually worn it once, only to find that the yarn was too scratchy to be worn around the neck. In January I had about 80 g left from the super soft black merino from the Bonus sweater, so I started adding a second layer to the cowl. I'm not hurrying it, as winter is NOT coming any time soon :)

Me wearing the one-layer cowl on peak Tumba in December:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Speckled Space Socks

I'm having trouble with my Wisteria Sweater (more about this in another blog post) and in order to cleanse my palate, so to speak, I knitted a pair of socks. Socks are those small mindless knits that can totally recover one's passion for knitting and are such an instant gratification. Even in  this case, when I utilized a yarn I had dyed about two months ago not very successfully.

The yarn was my second attempt at rainbow speckled yarn - I soaked the yarn in warm water and citric acid, then placed it on wrap foil and sprinkled it with dry dye powder - red, yellow and blue. The theory is that the speckles of dry dye would stick to the yarn and where they combine all the colors of the rainbow would appear. However first I did not manage to sprinkle the dye evenly and then I made a very bad mistake - I was too impatient and I after I had microwaved it I brought the yarn to the sink to wash it before it had cooled down. As a result the dye residue, which is usually substantial when using dry dye, stuck to the still warm and acid yarn and made it look dirty instead of white with colorful speckles.

For more than a month the yarn just sat in my project bag, rejected and unloved. I knit a small sample, hoping that when knitted it would look better - but nope, it was still grey dirty. So eventually I overdyed it with yellow and then with orange. I thought I had played enough with it, so I finally cast on the socks I had planned for it - the Speckled Space Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry.

But I still didn't like the color of the socks, they looked like unappetizing mish-mash. Half-way through my first sock I had a mini crisis, wondering whether this wretched yarn was worth all that trouble. In the end I decided to finish the socks (which turned out a bit short because of the limited quantity of yarn) and then to glaze them or eventually overdye them. I dipped the finished soaked socks into hot and very acid red dye bath and let them absorb the dye. Now I finally love them - the darker speckles were preserved and the color turned layered and interesting. My husband liked them so much that he wants a pair of the same color for him too :)

Pattern: Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens
Yarn: Alize Superwash 50 g, 210 m
Needle: 2.5 mm
Time to knit: 6 days

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kladnitza - Borova Polyana 2018

And we are back on track :)
This Sunday, in between rainy Saturday and cold and gloomy Monday, we had a sunny and warm holiday and we made the most of it. We explored a new for us track from the village of Kladnitza at the southern skirts of Vitosha to Borova Polyana, a place we've been many times before, but always starting from the village of Bosnek. The track was beautiful and very easy and pleasant, though I don't think we'd have managed it if we didn't have maps and navigation, as this part of the mountain is a labyrinth of smaller and bigger paths and scarce information boards. We had a delicious picnic near the hunter's tower and headed back to the village, meticulously studying the various flowers on our way (that's what happens when you hike with a biologist :)