Monday, October 29, 2018

The Chocolate Color

Let me start with the ascertainment that ever since I started dyeing yarn, I've overdyed every beige yarn I've bought, as well as a beige cotton shop bought sweater I had :) Beige turns out to be a color I'm drawn to buy but not to wear - neutral drab colors are not for me, it seems.

A few months ago I came upon Hipster - a shawl pattern by Joji Locatelli and I immediately fell in love with it. I've been following Joji's podcast and admiring her creativity a lot, she's one of my main inspirations to start sewing again, as apart from a talented knitter and designer, she's also a fearless beginner seamstress.
So, when I was browsing my favourite online yarn shop for tweed for another project I came upon a sale of this beige Italian bobbin tweed and I grabbed 200 g of it for Hipster. But the moment it arrived I knew I had to overdye it (again!). I experimented with at least a dozen of small cuttings from the yarn, shifting it from tobacco yellow to dark purple, until I settled on chocolate. And I'm loving it. This is my current WIP, but more about it and the yarn in (I hope) a coming soon posting :)

And while I still had chocolate color on my mind I finally decided how to overdye the viscose yarn I had bought for my mother. The result of another sale purchase - 6 skeins of baby blue viscose-acrylic yarn, three for me and three for my mother, were waiting to be overdyed. The yarn is very soft, the color is nice, but neither mother nor I would wear this baby blue. I had been struggling for a week with the decision, having in mind, that unlike the wool, which is so easy to dye, viscose acrylic blends take dye differently and more difficultly. And of course they require dyes for cellulose based yarns. 

To ensure good cover of the blue, I dyed these skeins in two steps - first I dyed the three skeins solid brown, washed them and hung them to dry to ascertain that they had the color I wanted (wet viscose looks much much darker than dry viscose and I wanted to be sure). Then I dip glazed them in concentrated black for a more variegated final color.

I think they turned out quite nice, with deep saturated color. Because I dyed each skein separately, there are some variations between the skeins and as with all hand-dyed yarns it would be recommendable to be knitted with alternation.

I was curious, so I made two samples to check the gauge. The yarn is thin - 400 m / 100 g, so it could be knitted with a single thread or with two threads held together. I was leaning towards the thicker option, but in the end I like the single thread sample better. Of course, it's up to my mother to decide which she prefers.

Now I'm off to pack all the yarns I dyed for my mom lately and send them to her to keep her busy during the coming months.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Kladnitza, A Circular Trail, 2018

Our traditional late autumn hike along the low Southern slopes of Vitosha. We usually start from the village of Bosnek and walk to the Live Water spring and around, but this year we decided to start from Kladnitza and make a big circle in the area, passing through some of the places we hike, when we start from Bosnek, and return back to Kladnitza - some 17 km of pleasant fairly easy walking. A very picturesque and easy hike is the transition from Kladnitza to Bosnek, but as it isn't circular, it would require public transportation and the connections of these villages to Sofia are not that good and we were not convinced it would be worth it.

After a week of cold weather (the temperatures dropped to 5C during the week), this Saturday was warm and sunny, just the perfect day for a long autumn hike.

Peak Selimitza and the high Southern ridge of Vitosha

Rila back in the horizon

The plateau was amazing. I'm a sucker for these grassy high mountain sceneries:

The classic lonely tree on the hill

What a bonus - hay bales. I wish I had a FO for the perfect FO photosession :)). But here's Gaby posing with her FIFA sweater I knitted for her back in June:

Friday, October 26, 2018

Blue Burda 6849 Shirt

I sewed I new shirt and I'm so proud with it! The pattern is Burda 6849 from their Autumn / Winter 2015-2016 catalogue. This is a classic fitted shirt from their young fashion collection. It is my first experience with a Burda individual pattern, until now I had only sewed from their magazines.

The advantages of an individual pattern are the much more detailed instructions, the easier copying of the pattern pieces and the multilanguage book, which included two of the languages I understand - English and Russian, instead of only German, as is in the magazine, which is sold here. Still, the instructions were not clear enough for an inexperienced seamstress as I am, but thank God for youtube tutorials! I learned so much about shirt construction!

The fabric I chose for my first try (there will be other shirts from this pattern, for sure) is plain plaid cotton, very easy to sew. Gaby has plenty of plaid shirts in the red range of colors, so she insisted on a different color scheme. I was not sure of my choice of fabric when I brought it from the shop, but now, that it has turned into a shirt I like it and I think it suits her.

I made some small modifications to the pattern - mostly shortened its length and added arrows to the sleeves, as Gaby likes to wear them rolled up and buttoned.

Most of the seams are flat seam - something new I learned with this shirt. And I also made my own buttonholes.

I love the fitted look of this pattern and I do plan to sew many more shirts from it.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Autumn Colors

As the Indian summer is over and it's cold and gloomy and rainy outside, I am taking out my wool dyes and getting my knitting mojo back.This weekend I got to play with two new to me Bulgarian sock yarns. Until now I've only used the Turkish Alize Superwash 75% wool 25% nylon, 420 m / 100 g and I am quite pleased with it. But I'm always curious for something new.

The Performance yarns have the same technical description as Alize Superwash, but so far I'm happier with them than with the Turkish yarn, as far as dyeing goes. The yarn took the dye beautifully, preserving its shine and smoothness better that Alize Superwash. Of course, the major test - knitting, is still ahead, I'll be counting on my mother for reviews, as these skeins are a present from me for her.

I used one and the same method for both skeins - layering of colors on twisted hanks, using four colors for each hank, three of which were the same and done simultaneously - butter yellow, bright yellow and orange. For the fourth color I chose green for the first skein,

trying to imitate this tree in front of our building.

And for the second hank the fourth color was sort of chocolate brown - a mixture I made myself from yellow, red, blue and black. On these pictures the skeins are still a bit messed from the dyeing

and here they are reskeined, smoothed and ready to be sent. I love reskeined yarn, as it gives better idea of the distribution of the colors and how they would knit up in the future socks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Plana, Manastirishte Oct 2018

Our second hike to Manastirishte, the highest peak of Plana, this year. We love this trail so much, it's easy, open field hiking along a circular route. There are so many tracks in this low mountain, that with a GPS and a map you can always make your own trail and explore around, as we did this time. We had a very nice and relaxed 10 km hike in the warm October afternoon: