Sunday, May 30, 2021

Alinsky Monastery 2021

May was a very pleasant month this year, despite some rain and thunderstorms and we've been able to go out for a hike every week. Photos from our 13 km walk yesterday to one of our favourite destinations - Alinsky Monastery in the Plana mountains. The day was warm and sunny with some clouds, but not too hot, ideal for spring walks and husband and I enjoyed our time together among the fresh greenery. 

Hike info:

Destination: Alinsky Monastery
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 13 km
Elevation gain: 200 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 4 hours
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
I: lingerie, Burda 6820 Henley T-shirt, Sabrina Slims
Husband: men's boxers

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Kopitoto 2021

Pictures from our leisurely hike this Sunday from Zlatnite mostove to peak Kopitoto and back through Momina skala to Zlatnite. This is a very easy 8 km circular route on Vitosha and at this time of the year it is very green, fresh and relaxing.

On Sunday morning husband, Gaby and I had our second Moderna jab and since the instructions were not to overexercise ourselves, Gaby stayed in town and husband and I chose an easy walk on Vitosha before returning home for a lazy afternoon rest.

Later that day and on the following days husband felt best of us all, almost without any complaints but a pain in the arm and some tiredness. In the evening Gaby had fever with high temperature, took some paracetamol and was better on the following day, but very tired. I was a bit worse, with very high fever (39C) all night and the following day, despite the paracetamol, so I slept through most of Monday, alternating between feeling very cold and sweating profusely. I was better on Tuesday, when my temperature was finally back to normal and was able gradually to recover my energy. However, despite the unpleasant averse effects of the vaccine, it was nothing compared to being really sick, with the heavy cough, sore throat and runny nose and all the other features of viral illnesses.

:The start of the trail at the Zlatnite mostove

:The forests on Vitosha are simply magical with their fresh green foliage

Hike info:
Destination: peak Kopitoto (1345 m)
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 8 km
Elevation gain: 140 m
Total duration (plus picnic): 2 and a half hours
Average difficulty: 2 / 10
:Kopitoto tv tower

:The old gondola lift from Knyazevo to the Kopitoto has been abandoned to ruin and is now covered with vegetation and graffiti

:The view from Kopitoto to Sofia

:And back along the alternative trail through Momina skala

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

I:  lingerie, black burda t-shirt, Sabrina Slims
Husband: men's boxers

:The Boyana river, which forms the Boyana waterfall a few hundred meters downstream from Momina skala

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sabrina Slims II

Encouraged by my first pair of Sabrina Slims, I quickly bought a new piece of fabric and made my second pair - my new hiking pants.

The fabric is ponte again, a bit thinner than the one for the previous pair of Sabrina Slims.

My corrections and modifications:

I kept all the corrections from my first pair - I took in the back by 2 inches and shortened the waist band by 3 inches (!). I also made a high rise correction by 1 cm only to the front of the pants, a flat pubis correction by 1 cm and lowered the front rise by additional 1.5 cm, thus lowering the front rise by a total of 3.5 cm. Finally I feel the pants fit me comfortably at the waist!

Again I added two pockets at the back, mostly just for interest, not so much for functionality; I made the legs full length and straightened the width of the legs from the knee down. Although the pants are very elastic and feel very comfortable, I should probably widen slightly the legs next time, to try to avoid the horizontal crease lines at the back.

Size: 0 with corrections
Fabric: ponte, 100% polyesther
Time to make: 1 day

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Sabrina Slims

I am a big fan of Love Notions patterns, especially as they specialize in knits and I love to wear and to sew with knits. The Sabrina Slims have been on my radar for quite some time, and though I bought a couple of Burda patterns for similar close fitting pants, in the end I decided to buy the Love Notions pattern and try it.

This is my first version out of some ponte fabric. The fabric is pretty perfect for the pattern - it has great horizontal stretch (I would say 40%) and almost no vertical stretch, it is stable and easy to work with.

For my first make of the pattern I decided not to make a proper muslin (I don't have a similar fabric for a muslin), but to try and correct the pattern as much as I can and make an wearable muslin. For that sake I chose the most simple version of the pants - no front pockets, back patch pockets instead of the more tricky alternative welt pockets, no split hems or zippers. All of these interesting features will come in my next versions, once I have perfected the fit.

The corrections I made - although I cut the smallest size, the pants were gaping at the back, so I took them in by 2 inches and I respectively shortened the belt by 2 inches. The issues I am left with, that could not be remedied on the already cut pieces - the front rise is too high on me and I think I could do with a little more space at the legs from the mid-thighs down, as I would prefer the pants not to be so close fitting. 

The major feature of the pattern that persuaded me to buy it (so far this is the most expensive pattern in my collection) is that it comes with a fitting work book. The book includes common fitting issues and methods for correction. So, judging by the fit of the pants on these photos, next time I will try a combination of several corrections - high rise, flat pubis, low seat and flat seat corrections, which I hope will improve the fit. But even without these corrections the pants feel quite comfortable and I do intend to wear them this summer.

Size: 0
Fabric: ponte, 100% polyester
Time to make: 3 days

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pastel Colors

I was totally obsessed with pastel colors this spring and though I haven't been knitting much, I did dye and then knit a pair of socks and crocheted a necklace and a pair of earrings.

For the socks I used a new to me yarn, 50% merino and 50% poly-amide. It is thinner than my usual sock yarn and it feels less warm because of the lower merino content. I had bought 300 g of it and dyed 50 g for a pair of socks, so I have 250 g more, which I intend to dye one day into similar pastel colors and make a spring sweater for Gaby.

For now, I only have the socks :) I wound the yarn into skeins, divided into 5 consecutive sub-skeins.  I dipped each sub-skein into the dye until it was exhausted, then added the new dye and dipped the next sub-skein and so on - a very fiddly and long process just in order to avoid breaking the yarn and having to weave in ends between colors. I know, sometimes I do act crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of continually knitting each sock from a single ball of yarn.

The socks are my usual toe-up recipe, fish lips kiss heels, 1x1 rib with Lory's twisted bind off. There is a difference between the two socks - one is knitted on 2.5 mm needles with 60 sts, while the second was knitted on 2.25 mm with 64 sts and magic loop technique. There isn't however much of a difference between the textures of the two, so in the future I'll keep to my preferred 2.5 mm sock needles.

And while I was still in the mood for pastels, I dyed a few strings of cotton yarn and made a necklace for Gaby. She already wore it and got a lot of compliments (which feels so good to hear!). 

And as it turned out that neither of her pairs of earrings was a good match for the necklace, I made her a new pair of earrings as well. 

Meanwhile, May came, the temperatures rose, we took out the light summer blouses and my plans for the pastel sweater became weather-inappropriate, so I've put them off for now. The transitional seasons here are so short some years, that the boots get changed directly for sandals and spring sweaters become redundant.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Chepun and Dragoman Marsh 2021

 Last Saturday, after a spell of 10 days of truly hot weather, was a bit colder, cloudy and most of all - windy. And as much windy as it was in Sofia, in the mountains it was 1000 times worse, especially along the open ridge of Chepun mountain, where husband and I chose to have our hike. The mountain was green and with lots of interesting flowers in bloom and the views of numerous other mountains and green fields in sight, but the wind was brutal and punishing, especially on the top. Probably we should have chosen a more sheltered trail, but ...

The beginning of the trail - it is easy to follow and not very long, some 4 km in one direction. We've hiked Chepun before and the previous times we tried to make the hike circular, climbing the peak from the Dragoman marsh and descending along the marked trail along the ridge. However, the alternative trail from the marsh has been abandoned and is no longer usable, so this time we went up and dowm along the same trail.

The most notable endemic plants of this mountain - the wild almond bushes and the wild purple irises in bloom.

I've seen other wild irises on our mountains, but these purple irises are definitely the most beautiful

A view from the top towards the fields and the village of Dragoman

The Dragoman marsh, a protected wet area, a habitat of many birds

The wild lilac bushes, of which there was an entire mini forest, were just about to bloom

A view in the opposite direction, to the Balkans and probably some Serbian mountains - Dragoman is quite near the border with Serbia

On top of the mountain - peak Petrovski krust (1206 m)

After we descended from the peak, we went to the Dragoman marsh. A few years ago there were wooden paths and an observation tower, but in 2020 there was a big fire, which burnt 80% of the vegetation and the structures of the marsh.

These are the only remains of the paths for observation of the marsh that were once built here. However, unlike human-made structures, which have not been rebuilt, nature has almost completely recovered after the fire.

We walked a little around the marsh and though we could hear some of the birds, there was not much to be seen in the reeds.