Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tweed Hoodie

This year I started following one of Russia's knitting gurus - Olga Kondratyeva, who opened my eyes to a number of knitting designs and trends. One of her popular videos is on how to make a classic knitted hoodie - a sweater with raglan long sleeves, a large hood and a front kangaroo pocket.

Back in February, when I decided to knit another of Kondratyeva's designs - a tweed dress, I ordered 400 g of Italian tweed wool mix, but the dress only took 200 g. I had been looking at the bobbin and wondering what to do with it for several months until I finally decided to turn it into a hoodie. In the process I found that the 200 g would not be enough if I wanted the hood as large as I planned it to be (though I'm short I have a long neck and standard hoods usually come short on me, go figure!), so I ordered another 100 g of the tweed yarn (plus a couple of other bobbins :))))  The yarn is Natural Fantasy Condor 4, a wooly tweed with very complex composition - 62% wool, 6 % angora, 10% silk, 4% modal, 18% polyamide.

Pattern: Tweed Hoodie (personal pattern based on Olga Kondratyeva's video tutorials)
Yarn: Natural Fantasy Condor 4, 260 g
Needle: 3 mm (ribbing), 3.25 mm (stockinette stitch)
Time to knit: one month

The hoodie is very warm and comfortable - I wore it yesterday to my Spanish classes and though it was fairly cold in the room I was feeling almost toasting in it. The yarn in the bobbin was fairly uneven and quite coarse but after wet blocking it softened.

I finished the pocket edges, the hood edges and the ribbing with 3-stitch I-cord and I also added some ribbing to the sides of the body for better fitting and to enhance the sports vibe of the sweater. Now, that I'm looking at the pictures and considering the bagging of the elbows, I'm thinking of adding some leather patches to the elbows too. Might be cool if I can pull it off.

And a final note - although I knitted the hoodie for myself, I'm posing in the pictures and I've worn it a couple of times, I decided to gift it to Gaby - I think it is more in her style and she might get better wear out of it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Bistritza Waterfalls, 2019

A wonderful 16 km hike in Rila, to Bistritza Waterfalls, up Bistritza river to Samokovishteto hut and back to the village of Bistritza. We found this trail in March this year, loved it and decided to see what it looked in the autumn. As winter is very much in its reign in the upper parts of the high mountains like Rila and Vitosha, it is time for the lower, still not covered by snow skirts of the mountains and this trail is just like that. The day was nicely warm and mostly sunny and we enjoyed the company of Gaby again. I treasure these hours in the mountains so much!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Purple Copy.Cat C.C. Beanie

I made another CopyCat C.C. Beanie for Gaby. Last winter I made one pink beanie for her, using the remnant ball of yarn from her pink sweater. She has a purple winter jacket and a purple coat and she wanted a new purple hat and didn't mind it being another CopyCat C.C.

Pattern: CopyCat C.C. Beanie
Yarn: mixture of Italian bobbin yarns, 63 g total, overdyed in purple
Needle: 4.5 mm, 5 mm
Time to knit: 3 days

I decided to take three small remnant balls from two of her sweaters and overdye them all purple. Thus with almost good for nothing balls of 11 g Zegna Baruffa Merino, 1500 m / 100 g, 30 g Zegna Baruffa kent, 100% merino, 900 m/ 100 g and 30 g Pecci Filati Pacchero, 500 m / 100 g I made a hat.

As the yarns had some original color, they all took the purple overdye differently and the resulting mixture is a deep and melanged purple color, which I like a lot. I will definitely use this approach to small remnant balls of yarn in the future again.

Her two Copy.Cat C.C. Beanies - the pink from last year and the purple one. Last January I wrote down my notes for the pink beanie and now it was so easy to copy the hat, I should keep better notes of my projects!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Two Raglan Dog Sweaters

I made two new sweaters for my friend's dog Lizzy. This time I designed the sweaters to be raglan, one with cables and the other color blocks. The yarn is Alize Lanagold Solids, various remnant balls from other much bigger projects.

Pattern: Raglan Dog Sweater, personal pattern
Yarn: Alize Lanagold, 60 g
Needle: 4 mm
Time to knit: 1 day

Pattern: Color Block Dog Sweater, personal pattern
Yarn: Alize Lanagold, 60 g
Needle: 4 mm
Time to knit: 1 day

Sunday, November 17, 2019

To Alinsky Monastery in November 2019

Yesterday we lucked again - after a few days of cold and rain it was fairly warm and sunny and we had a wonderful hike to Alinsky Monastery on Plana, together with Gaby. Interestingly, for the second time this autumn we took the wrong turn and ended hiking for extra 2.5 km. The reason is obviously our hubris - when we started making our own plans using OryxMaps, we checked with the GPS quite often and never got lost. And along most of the unpopular trails we hike there are rarely any insignias or marks, so a good knowledge of the trail and a GPS is crucial. However, as we got to repeat the trails we almost never check with the GPS. The result - more than a kilometer walk in the wrong direction and the only option - returning to the crossroad and taking the right turn the second time :) But we weren't unhappy with our mistake - the weather was fine, the track easy and the total of 16.5 km we hiked was quite within our optimal distance anyway.

: In the morning there was  a beautiful white fog covering the valleys between the mountains around Plana

: The high peaks of Rila in the distance - the ridge of the Scary Lake (Strashnoto ezero), where we hiked last month

: The tracks on Plana are wide and quite level most of the time

: Along the wrong track, which actually leads to the village of Alino. We might try it sometime, but the returning from the village to Sofia is somewhat problematic by public transport and there would be nobody to move the car to Alino while we hike between the two villages.

: A song thrush skipped on its two legs quite bravely in front of us for a while

: The church of the monastery, the only building which has remained from the XIV century complex,  has been renovated quite beautifully. When we saw the construction brigade in the spring, I was very disappointed with the look of the area, but it seems I was wrong and they've managed to repair the church and the area around it without ruining it or turning it into an ugly kitsch.