Monday, December 31, 2018

Denim Beanie

My last project for 2018 - a quick beanie, using a recycled yarn and a version of Copycat C.C. beanie I adapted for bulky yarn.

A few words for the yarn. I bought it at the end of 2011 and knitted a beanie, that was supposed to be slouchy, but I ran out of yarn - the ball was only 130 m. I did love and wear the hat for probably a month and then the brim loosened and the hat kept falling over my eyes, so I put it back in the yarn box for reknitting.

A year later, in the winter of 2013 I reknitted it. I used an additional yarn for the inside of the double brim and I made it in a different style. It was a very uncomfortable hat - neither beanie, nor slouchy, too heavy to drape and too big to stay put on my head. I tried to wear it a few times and it quickly ended back in the yarn box, awaiting new restyling.

And it stayed there for almost 6 years. A week ago, after I had finished the Copycat C.C. Beanie for Gaby, I took it out, frogged it and glazed the yarn in dark denim. I think the original color was too loud with the contrast from white to black, the new glazed yarn is more subtle and the colors are better pulled together, IMHO. And the tag and pompom add a more contemporary vibe to it. Now I hope I can wear it, finally :)

Pattern: Copycat C.C. Beanie, adapted for bulky yarn
Yarn: Lanoso Alpacana, wool alpaca acrylic blend, 130 m
Needle: 4.5 mm, 5 mm
Time to knit: 2 days

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas Socks

This year I decided to knit socks for my family and closest friends as Christmas presents.
I started early - Ravelry tells me that I cast on my first pair in March and finished it in April. There were periods when I felt like knitting socks and long months when my socks in progress were left untouched. The intended recipients of the finished socks also changed - as Christmas approached I realized that I neither had the time nor the inclination to knit all the socks I had planned, so my immediate family members - husband and children, were crossed off the list, as they receive socks knitted by me regularly during the year. And I'll definitely knit them more socks in 2019.

I love this picture, sent by a friend who truly appreciated her socks:

All of the socks I knitted this year were made out of sock yarn, hand dyed by me:

I've blogged about most of the socks in my Christmas pile, but the last two pairs. The latest is this gradient cherry color pair out of my recent sock yarn dyeing session.

Pattern: Flying North by Maria Montzka, 58 sts
Yarn: Alize Superwash, hand dyed, 60 g
Needle: 2.5 mm
Time to knit: 5 days

I like how these turned out and I believe the unobtrusive design compliments the gradient color transitions.

And a pair of men's socks, 64 stitches, my own design, afterthought heel. I dyed the yarn in a long skein, dipping it in denim blue (dark blue + black). To spice the stripes I added some light ribbing texture:

Pattern: Denim Socks (personal pattern)
Yarn: Alize Superwash, 75 g, hand dyed
Needle: 2.5 mm
Time to knit: unknown

For striping socks I prefer the afterthought heel, as it best preserves the nature of the stripes and mirrors the toes of the socks.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Belite Brezi, Vitosha

Just a couple of photos from today's hike on Vitosha. We climbed from the outskirts of Boyana to Belite Brezi hut, had our late lunch there and headed back to the car. The trail was all covered in ice and the walk was quite an exercise, trying to tread carefully and keep our balance. Still, it was nice to be outside, to breathe the fresh mountain air and have a long chat with husband and Gaby. But though I had my camera and my phone with me, both stayed put in my backpack, as I was afraid I could break them if I slipped and fell on the ice (which I thankfully didn't, not once).

Our last hike for 2018, I hope we'll have many and more in 2019:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Broken Violet

One of my favourite youtube channels for yarn dyeing is ChemKnits Tutorials  - I've learned so much from Rebecca Brown! Rebecca's signature yarn is Wilton's broken violet - evidently the compound Wilton's food dyes brake during the dyeing process, as some of the dyes, like the reds, bind quicker to the yarn than the yellows and the blues. The violet dye brakes very spectacularly from deep violet to bright light turquoise blue.

We don't have Wilton's food dyes here and from my experience chemical acid dyes don't brake, but I wanted to try the experiment with some egg dyes. Last Easter I bought a couple of packets of egg dyes, however only one of them contained violet, the others had only the three primary colors and green. Anyway, I brought a pot of water with the citric acid to boil and added to it the violet capsule and one red and one blue dye tablets. I wound a 50 g ball of superwash wool sock yarn into a skein, twisted it and presoaked it. The plan was to let the twisted skein absorb first the reds and then untwist it while still in the water and let the undyed part of the yarn take the blue. Well, our dyes are obviously different from Wilton's, so it didn't quite work like that and the dye looks more as a gradient rather than broken.

However, I liked the result and as I wanted to keep it as it was, I didn't let the yarn exhaust all of the the dye and took the skein out of the pot. While the skein was dripping I noticed that the drip water was blue. So I decided that the braking was possible, I just had more reds in the pot than blues.

I quickly grabbed a second ball of sock yarn and this time I wound it into consecutive double  thread 10 g skeins, a total of six connected skeins. As I thought I had mostly blue in the water, I added another red dye tablet and began gradually adding the miniskeins:

The braking of the dye didn't work as I imagined, the dye was even redder and what I obtained was a gradient again. I like it, however, and it is my current sock project. And again, I didn't exhaust the dye and again the dripping water was bluish.

I wound a third ball of sock yarn and, without adding any more dye tablets into the water and even without presoaking it (which wasn't probably such a good idea) I began gradually dipping it into the water. This time I did get to the blue:

The red in the pot was very little and it bound to the first half of the skein, while the rest of the skein turned blue. This time I let the skein exhaust the dye. However, this is my least favourite skein of the three, I don't particularly like the shade of blue on it and I am considering glazing it with black with some resist knots for richer coloring.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Double Photoshoot - Raspberry Heart and Copy.Cat C.C. Beanie

My last sweater for 2018 - Raspberry Heart, together with a hat I made with the remaining 100 g of the yarn - the immensely popular Copycat C.C. Beanie.

Pattern: Raspberry Heart (personal pattern)
Yarn: Pecci Filati Pacchero 16% alpaca superfine, 26% merino, 13% viscose, 30% acrylic, 15% nylon, 200 g, hand dyed
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4 mm body
Time to knit: three weeks

Pattern: Copy.Cat C.C. Beanie by Emily Ingrid
Yarn:  Pecci Filati Pacchero, 65 g, held double
Needle: 4.5 mm brim, 5 mm body
Time to knit: 2 days

Gaby has been wearing these two for several days now and seems very happy with my knitting Christmas present for her (given in advance), especially the sweater. The design and the color are very much to her taste and I think they suit her beautifully.

I posted a picture of the sweater and the hat on FB and got so many requests to write down the pattern, that I feel obligated to do so, may be during the holidays. This year I've become more and more confident in my designing skills and of the six sweaters I knitted this year five were my original design and one (Drop's Stella Alpina) was based on a pattern, but I did entirely my own calculations and dyed my own yarn for the purpose. Still, when it comes to writing down the pattern and calculating it for different sizes - that's a whole different animal. So we'll see what will come out of the writing process.

The small "tattoo" on the back - it's almost invisible, though I made the heart a bit bigger than the hearts of the cable on the front.

I like the hat pattern so much, that I plan at least two more of these out of my stash yarn. I did a small change in the hat pattern - I replaced the k1p1 rib panels between the st st panels with half-brioche stitch.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pancharevo 2018

On the shortest day of the year, among the Christmas shopping and lots of before the holidays work we've been piled under, as always at this time of the year, we went for a short 8-9 km hike around Pancharevo lake. The day was sunny and fairly warm, with above 0C temperatures (which made the icy paths rather tricky to walk on). I hope next year we'll finally be able to plan our work better and go to a "real" mountain, these low mountains near Sofia are convenient to reach and easy to climb, but they kind of lack the atmosphere of being into the wild. Still, when it comes to hiking, I'm ready to grab whatever I can get, even a short hike near an urbanized zone at the skirts of Sofia.

:Pancharevo lake under the winter sun

: The path climbs along the hills of Lozen mountain, following the curves of the lake

: The peaks of Vitosha are visible across the lake

: The lake and the village of Pancharevo

: Lots of water birds were resting on the thin ice or swimming in the cold waters

: A common kingfisher - I know the picture is out of focus, as it stayed on the branch for a second and flew away, but this is the first time I've seen it in the wild

: A grey heron in the distance

: Last glimpse of winter sunlight