Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cherni Vruh in January, 2020

Down in the city it's almost springtime with temperatures well above zero, but high on Vitosha it's winter. We've been on Vitosha many times, but this is my first January climb of Cherni vruh. The weather was sunny and the conditions were ideal for climbing the summit and I'm glad we did it, though it was very different from summer climbing and quite exhausting!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Laundry Day Tunic

I'm so proud of my new tunic, made out of 94 cm of knit fabric. The pattern is Laundry Day Tee by Love Notions, a free pattern for members of their FB group and I believe very popular among sewists worldwide. The pattern is so professionally made, that I couldn't recommend it enough - it has layers for the different sizes and the size range is very wide - from XS to 5X. The pages are no-trim - brilliant and so easy to connect, and there are versions of the elements of the pattern, so that combining different lengths, sleeves and necklines one could get quite different garments out of this one pattern.

I chose the XS size, as the pattern instructs you to chose according to your bust size; tunic length, round neckline and 3/4 sleeves. My modifications - I added cuffs to the sleeves and pockets. Gaby has a similar RTW knit dress with pockets and I was passionate I wanted pockets in my tunic too :)

My fabric is very soft medium weight knit with 60% stretch width-wise and almost 0% stretch length-wise - perfect for a dress and very easy to sew.

As I had very little quantity of fabric, I decided to compromise in order to be able to have sleeves and pockets - I made the back with a seam. In the original both the front and the back are seamless, but that would have meant that I wouldn't have been able to harvest the sleeves from the remaining fabric. As my selvedges were very neat and narrow, it was easy to sew them together and I didn't even had to zigzag them.
I'm truly pleased with this little tunic and I've already bought two more knit fabrics for more knit tunics and dresses.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Burda 01 / 2020 Hoodie #107

This is probably one of my best makes recently - hoodie #107 of Burda 01/2020. I love everything about it - the playful combination of the elegant shirt sleeves with cuffs and the casual hood and how well it goes with the rich natural viscose fabric and the little colorful monkeys on it :)
I had four small light green buttons, that suited the fabric surprisingly well and I wanted to make the cord of the hoodie in the same light green color, but I couldn't find the right color ribbon. I'm still searching and if I come upon one, I might change the cord.

The fabric is again a gift from my friend (I have a whole box of these fabrics) and it was almost 3 m, so I have quite a lot of it left and I plan a dress for myself from the same magazine.

I cut the smallest size of the pattern - 36 and downgraded it to 34 and also shortened the length of the body and the sleeves, following Gaby's individual measures. All of the seams are narrow french seams - lately I find it so much more pleasing, when the inside of the garment is neat and without any zigzaged fabric edges.

We didn't have much luck today with the weather - it was cold and cloudy and Gaby was freezing within minutes in her light viscose blouse

so off we go :)

Pancharevo 2020

Pancharevo lake at the foot of Lozen mountain is perhaps our closest hiking destination and one of my favourite winter places, when I don't feel like traveling for hours and I still want a couple of hours of walking. Yesterday was a sunny day, with temperatures just above zero and the 7 km round trail was perfect for a quick escape from the city and I was still left with plenty of hours for cutting and sewing later in the day :)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Burda 01 / 2020 Blouse #112

My sewing mojo is back and I've made three more clothing items since I finished the plaid tunic in December! At the beginning of January I bought the new Burda and I was truly smitten with it - I've made two of the patterns there and there are at least two more patterns I want to try. The first make was the hooded shirt #107, which I made for Gaby. She loved it and wore it last Sunday, but I still don't have modelled pictures of it, so today I'm showing my second make - blouse # 112, which is one of the sewing lessons in the magazine.

It is a fairly easy blouse with round neck with an opening at the back, grown sleeves and an interesting sleeve placket, which is the detail that makes the blouse. I cut the smallest 34 (xs) size and made some adjustments for smaller height - reduced a total of 5 cm from the length. The fabric is one of the pieces I was gifted by a friend, who works in the sewing industry. It is fairly stiff cotton and was not the right choice for this pattern, which calls for something fluid, like viscose, but I wanted very much to try the pattern and to use some of my stashed fabric.

I like a lot the detail on the sleeves and I would really like to try it again. However I did not like the entire design - the blouse was too voluminous, even on me, and I'm a 36, and probably because of my stiff fabric, it sat very shapeless on me. I tried to correct it, undoing the french seams on the sides and taking it in quite a lot - probably with a total of 15 cm. Maybe I should have gone for darts, but I thought they would ruin the stripes of the blouse.

Anyway, I consider the blouse a failure and I don't like the fit, nor the color. But it was a pure pleasure to cut and sew it, so I don't regret the time I spent on it at all - after all my friend gifted me these fabrics to exercise my sewing skills and this was just what I did.

And I learned a few new things from the sewing tutorial, so it was not a total waste. Because of the sleeves, which I really love, I am even tempted to try the pattern in viscose and with darts, to see if the right fabric will make a difference.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Polovrak 2020

A few photos from our hike to Polovrak, the highest peak of Lozen mountain and our first hike for 2020. I checked with my blog, which is sort of a diary for me these last years, and it turns out Polovrak was our first hike for 2019 too. Which is no surprise - the days are short and we prefer closer and easier destinations and Lozen is only 18 km from home, the track is 11 km total and fairly easy and pleasant; it is definitely among our top 10 hiking destinations.
The day was warm for January, but cloudy and grey, with ice in the lower parts of the trail, so it was quite an exercise. The difference between the alpine parts of Vitosha, where we hiked on 31 December, and this low mountain is very obvious - the snow coverage was very thin and even lacking at places; it's been a snowless and very warm winter so far.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Koto, Sort Of

This is the 12th sweater I almost finished in 2019. It was inspired by Olga Buraya´s popular pattern Koto for Wool People. I don't have the actual pattern, lately I rarely follow knitting instructions, rather I find it much more interesting to use basic recipes and my own imagination and math skills to try to recreate a pattern, which has inspired me.

Pattern: Personal pattern, inspired by Koto 
Yarn: Cashwool 18 Zegna Baruffa, 100% merino, 1500 m / 100 g, 100 g, yellow overdyed grey green
Harmony 95067 Lana Gatto, 100% merino, 1500 m / 100 g, 153 g, blue overdyed into forest green and swamp green, Total: 226 g in three threads
Needle: 3.5 mm (hems), 4 mm (body)
Time to knit: two weeks

I came upon Koto on Pinterest and was immediately grabbed by its original geometric construction. I was looking for inspiration for  my three color merino mixture and though I read the author's recommendations for using sturdy yarn, which can hold texture and structure, I went ahead and cast on the low "belt" of the pattern. Luckily, when I knitted the belt I put it on before I proceeded  with the cherry of the pattern - the short rows part, only to finally understand why my super soft merino was indeed not suitable for this pattern - the belt curled and flopped very unflatteringly.

However, I was already hooked on the visuals of Koto, so I unravelled the belt and began thinking how to make something similar to Koto with my light and soft yarn. I did not want a ribbed hem, as it was not consistent with the texture of Koto, I needed a heavy double knit hem and I wanted the hem to be split at the sides. And then it came to me - I did know how to knit it exactly the way I envisaged it - it was practically a very large sock toe, without the increases and with the purl cast on row on the outside. And this is exactly how I made the hems - with Judy's magic cast on and knitting in the round :)

I love two features of Koto, which I might incorporate in my other future sweaters - the shoulders and the double neckpiece. To make the latter lay around my neck instead of standing up, as in the pattern, I changed needle sizes from 3.5 mm to 3 mm to 2.5 mm and I finally cast off with 2.25 mm.

The shoulders are formed by increasing stitches every 4th row, then the slant is enhanced by short rows and they are finally connected with 3-needle bind off on the right side.

The sleeves are knitted by picking up stitches from the front and the back and are knitted from the underarm to the hand by gradually decreasing the stitches every 10th row. The cuff is double knit.

Although my super soft yarn prevented me from getting the true Koto look, it makes this sweater simply divine to wear. I'm always amazed how gentle and pleasant extra-fine merino can feel to the skin!