Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Last Day of 2019

Our last hike on the very last day of 2019. The day was divine - quiet trails, crisp air, blue sunny skies and amazing whiteness. We were so refreshed and energized for the second part of the day - the preparation for the New Year night.


Monday, December 30, 2019

Burda 6475 Plaid Tunic

My first sewing-related blog post for the past three months! With the Spanish course and all the traveling and hiking taking all of my spare time, I hadn't sewn for quite a while. But with a few free days around Christmas I felt inspired to take out the sewing machine again. I bought two Burda patterns and already made the first one - a tunic for me, to be worn at home. I prefer tunics and leggings as my leisure clothes and I'm constantly in need of tunics.
The fabric is cotton plaid and it was quite insufficient for the pattern, as I had bought it with a simple plaid shirt in mind. However I managed to squeeze almost the entire tunic out of it, with an addition of some black cotton fabric for the hood. I had initially made the dress without the hood, as in view B of the pattern, but I did not like the gaping neck, so the next day I took out all of my black cotton fabric and constructed the hood out of a piece from a failed dress project (more than 25 years old!) and scraps from the plaid fabric. And now I'm happy with the final result.
It's true, the tunic looks like a potato sack, as it has almost no shaping, but the hood and the kangaroo pocket at least provide some interest to the design.

Despite the fact, that the pattern says "super easy" on the cover, it entailed a lot and a lot of sewing, and not easy sewing either! I made all of the seams flat felled seams and though it meant additional work, I love the neat look of the tunic from the inside.
  • I shortened  the dress into a tunic by at least 10 cm and I made the back equal in length to the front. 
  • I added cuffs to the sleeves and made them almost full length, but the cuffs are narrow enough so as to hold the bunched up sleeves, if I feel like wearing shorter sleeves. And I also narrowed the sleeves, as I didn't like how wide and uncomfy they were designed.
  • I am size 36, but the dress comes with so much positive ease, that I made size 34 and it is still wide enough for me.
  • And obviously, I made a combination of the A and B look, adding the rounded hem and the bias cut yoke to the kangaroo pocket and hood dress A.
Sorry for the meager photos, but I didn't want to go out in the snow in a leisure tunic and leggings, and it is too dark to take descent photos inside our apartment, so I took advantage of the large windows in the common area on the floor of our the building, which I've turned into a winter garden.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

My 50th in Athens

About three months ago, at the beginning of October, I turned 50. As traveling is what I love most, husband and I decided to celebrate it in Athens. We've been to Greece several times, but only in the northern part of the country and the Greek capital had been on my to visit list forever. So, we booked a flight, rented an airbnb apartment and on the very day of my birthday we flew to the ancient city - the best birthday ever!!!

Of course, the first thing we did after we left our luggage at the apartment, was to climb to the Acropolis! Despite that it was October, it felt very much like summer in Athens.

:The Theater of Dionysus

: The Amphitheater
: The Erechtheion
: The Parthenon

: A view to the city and the Lycabettus Hill with the church on top, which we climbed later that day

: The Ancient Agora seen from the Acropolis

: A view to the Acropolis and Piraeus port from the Lycabettus hill. While we were climbing up the hill, a storm came suddenly upon us and it was probably our fastest climb in recent years:) We found shelter from the rain in the church on top of the hill, together with a  motley crew of other tourists. The rain lasted only some 10-15 minutes and the sun was up and shining over the city again. It was very interesting to observe the sunny Piraeus in the distance and the rainy clouds moving over Athens.

: The National garden. I liked it a lot. We love spending time in parks and gardens, when we travel abroad.

: The Parliament. We watched the change of the guards, which is a lengthy and a bit bizarre spectacle

: On the second day of our stay, we took the train to Piraeus and walked around the port, the marina and the beach.

: In the afternoon we returned to Athens and climbed the beautiful Filopappou Hill, which provides great views over the entire city and the Acropolis across.

: Syntagma square and the main shopping street - Ermou.

: Our airbnb flat was on a small crossing of Ermou, right next to Monastiraki square, at the heart of Athens and next to the major historical sites. This is definitely the best airbnb accommodation we've had so far, with the most kind and hospitable hosts, we were so lucky!

: We started our last day in Athens with the Ancient Agora.

: The Temple of Hephaestus

: After all the site-seeing, in the afternoon we decided to roam about the different central residential areas of the city, to get a better feel of Athens.

:Plaka and its charming street cafes and restaurants

: The area of the anarchists

: The posh Kolonaki area
: Street bazaars
: The Zappeion

: The Temple of Olimpian Zeus

: Late Greek dinner on our balcony - tomatoes, olives and grapes from Monastiraki market, feta cheese and my new favourite brand of beer. And yes, not only was our flat right in the center of the city, with a view to the Acropolis, but it had an enormous terrace with a summer garden! Did I mention this was the best birthday ever!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

FO: Copper Cables

I have two finished objects today!
First and most important I finished my Spanish course and this morning I passed the exam with 99.5% Yey for me!!! A month of rest and festivities and in January I intend to enroll into the next level.

And then I have a new sweater to show you. It took me two attempts at it, but I'm fairly satisfied with the final result. I started the sweater about a month ago in November and had almost finished it (body and a sleeve), when I finally accepted the truth - it didn't fit me well, the yoke was too narrow and the sweater kept pulling up my neck and felt uncomfortable. Besides, the cable on the sleeves, which I had chosen from my Japanese stitching bible, was not a good choice for a single cable and lastly, the texture I was getting on my 4 mm needles was a bit too dense and lacked the plasticity I was looking for. So, on the last day of November I took a deep breath and unravelled it.

The new version of the sweater features a simpler, but quite elegant cable - a version of the stag-horn cable, much wider neckpiece and yoke and the sweater was knitted on 4.5 mm needles. As always, after a heavy decision to rip an almost ready sweater, I find myself quite happy with it in the end, as the resulting finished piece is a sweater I'm going to wear and love.

Pattern: Copper Cables (personal pattern)
Yarn: Zegna Baruffa Kent, 100% merino, 200 g
Needle: 3.75 mm (ribbing), 4.5 mm (body)
Time to knit: 12 days (second and final version)

The sweater is knitted top down, with saddle shoulders, straight silhouette, about 8 cm positive ease, split hems and a faux seam at the sides (a single purl stitch).

The yarn, Italian bobbin merino, is very soft and extremely warm. Though the sweater is only 200 g and feels quite light, it is pretty toasty and on a sunny December day like today I felt quite warm without my coat.

The faux seam - I should do this trick more often, as this purl stitch helps with preserving the form of the sweater and against twisting (the body is knitted in the round).