Monday, December 26, 2022

Hoodie for Gaby's Boyfriend

I can hardly believe it myself, but this is my eighth hoodie this year - 2022 was definitely the year of hoodies :)

This one is my Christmas present for Gaby's boyfriend, who is much taller and broader than her, so no wonder the hoodie is big on her. Still, I think the photos give a good idea of the pattern and the final result and I am happy to have them on my blog.

Although I have a couple of Burda men's hoodies, none of them was exactly what I was looking for - average volume, kangaroo pocket, roomy hood and set-in sleeves. After going through the catalogues of other pattern companies, I chose this one from Vikisews - Hoodie Brad.

Gaby's friend likes green and I was lucky to find a very nice quality warm sweatshirt knit fabric, suitable ribbing and even matching cotton knit for the lining of the hood.

Size: 178-184 cm; 40; modified
Fabric: sweatshirt knit fabric, rib knit, cotton knit
Time to make: one week  

My modifications:

Although I bought size 40 and I believe the recipient is size 38, the body of the hoodie looked too narrow, compared to Alex's RTW hoodies, so I added 2 cm width to the front and the back, a total of 4 cm in the round. I also widened a bit the neckline opening, as it was much too narrow for comfort and respectively widened the neck circumference of the hood. I shortened the length of the hoodie, as the pattern looked much longer that the RTW hoodies I was comparing it to and I also shortened the sleeves (which on second thought I should not have done, better longer than shorter sleeves, now I cross my fingers the sleeves would not be short on him).
The original pattern does not have a pocket, so I made one, based on other hoodies we have at home.

All in all, I am happy with the final result, Gaby found the hoodie warm and soft. However the pattern did not turn out exactly what I was looking for, so I'm still in search of a good men's hoodie pattern with set-in sleeves.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Christmas Yarn

A couple of sock yarn skeins I dyed for my mother. She is a fan of my sock yarn and regularly asks me for new skeins to knit. This time I chose two different methods of dyeing - striped yarn and low immersion. 

For the striped yarn, I wound the skein into a long loop and soaked it into warm water with citric acid. Then I brought the water in my dye pot to boil and added the yellow color. My plan was to divide the loop into 4 parts - one long blue, followed by a short yellow, then a long green and again a short yellow, the yellow dividers half as short as the blue and green stripes. However, once I had finished dyeing the yarn, had it washed and almost dry, I did not like it. The colors were rather primary and the end result somewhat reminded me of the Brazilian flag. Not that there is anything wrong with it and its colors, it was just not what I had had in mind.
So, after some inner struggle, I took out the dye pot again, prepared another dosage of yellow dye and dipped the blue and the green parts of the yarn in yellow. Naturally, they both turned into green, two different shades. Then I dipped the former blue part of the yarn into additional blue to darken it and make it more pine green. I was finally satisfied and now it is my favourite yarn, can't wait to see it knitted into socks!
For the second skein I chose low immersion. This skein is very much like the skein I made for my husbands Nalu socks, variations of different reds, orange, wine red, some brown and pink and even an instant soft drink powder for good measure. This is a combination of shades I never tire to dye and knit and I do hope my mother would appreciate it.
One of the risks of low immersion, especially in a crowded pot, is that some of the yarn might be left white, if the dye has failed to reach it. It did happen this time as well, so I had to redo the dyeing process with this skein too, applying scarlet red to the undyed white blotches.
I'm sure these will knit into another pair of beautiful socks too. Now, that I have sent my gift yarn away, my hands itch me for dyeing some sock yarn for myself as well :)

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Manastirishte on a Warm December Day

After a spell of several cold and rainy days, this weekend the weather is comparatively warm and very pleasant for hiking in the low mountains. Husband and I chose again peak Manastiriste, for the third time this year, as the destination of our hike.

Although the day was mostly cloudy, with scattered sunshine now and then, the temperatures were in the range of 15C, which is pretty warm for December.

We had expected muddy paths, but the trail was actually solid and grassy, just perfect for walking.

:Yellowhammer (жълта овесарка)

Hike info:

Destination: peak Manastirishte (1338 m)
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 8 km
Elevation gain: 160 m
Total duration (plus picnic): 2 h 30 min
Average difficulty: 2 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pants
I: lingerie, Grasser blouse, CC hat, gloves, knitted socks

:On peak Manastirishte
:The antenna on the peak looked like a ship on the cloudy sky background

We decided to take a detour and climb the neighboring peak Duralia as well.

A cutie cat on the parking lot of the village

Friday, December 9, 2022

Navy Blue Hoodie

When we went out today to take a few photos of my new hoodie, husband asked me "Didn't we already take photos of it a few days ago?" I know, I've been making a lot of hoodies lately, but this one is  brand-new and it is for me!

It is actually kind of a bonus-hoodie, as the fabric is the lighter weight sweater fabric I bought as a lining fabric for Gaby's navy hoodie and joggers, the rib fabric is a remnant from Gaby's hoodie also, the pink lining of the hood is a remnant from a couple of T-shirts I made for Gaby and myself this summer and the cord of the hoodie is also some remnant cord I had in my stash - so no new fabric or notion, total stash-busting, win-win!

The pattern is another Burda pattern from my stash, Burda 6315B, with the hood from Burda 6315A. As far as fit and comfort go, this is actually the best hoodie pattern I've made and I've made a few. However, I find the hood too roomy even for myself, and I love roomy hoods. Next time, and I'm sure I'll be repeating this pattern, I would modify it to be more like the hood from Burda #103 01/2017, which I made earlier this year. What I've found is, that the best fitting hoods are those, that have a broad overlapping at the front - it prevents them from pulling too much backwards.

Pattern: Burda 6315
Size: 36 with corrections for height
Fabric: two-thread sweater knit fabric, rib knit, pink jersey knit
Time to make: 5 days

I added two pink elements to the hoodie to pull in the pink of the hood lining - a pink label from an old blouse and pink wooden balls at the end of the hood string. My initial idea was to make a small machine embroidery of a pink flower at the corner of the kangaroo pocket, but all of my attempts at doing embroidery on my machine looked so pathetic that I finally abandoned the idea and settled for the pink label.

The pink wooden balls are also custom-made. I had basic white wooden balls I had bought in bulk for my crocheted necklaces and earrings and I painted six of the balls pink, using one of my nail polishes. It actually worked like a charm and the color came out very close to that of the hood lining. So, never despair if you can't find the right color buttons or balls, sometimes nail polish can be your best friend :)

I have at least three more hoodies to sew this season, two men's and one women's, so stay tuned, there'll be more of these here in the coming weeks :)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Sourdough Bread

I've been baking bread for a few years now and I feel pretty comfortable with dough, the varying hydration levels and the different types of bread, though I have a favourite recipe at 60% hydration.

However, sourdough bread is a completely different animal. Instead of fabric grown yeast, for sourdough bread you need sourdough starter. You can make one yourself at home or borrow from a fellow baker. Unlike store-bought yeast, which is one species of yeast, industrially grown, the sourdough starter usually contains various species of wild yeast and other sour microbes, like lactobacillus and other sour bacteria, that have been caught in the process of fermentation. And this makes sourdough bread really much richer in taste, but also so much more work and unpredictability of results.

I had watched quite a few YouTube videos (is there any other way to learn a new trick nowadays :) ), but dragged my legs when it came to starting my own starter. And then one morning over coffee a friend of mine mentioned that her daughter was into bread baking and had started her sourdough. I jumped at the opportunity and soon had my own little jar with a sourdough starter. 

I fed it for a few days, to let it accommodate and then, about two month ago, I baked my first sourdough bread. 
Since then I've tried half a dozen recipes and the one I have stuck to recently was suggested by the Chainbaker on his YouTube channel - No-Knead Sourdough Bread

I usually start my leaven in the evening and mix the bread in the morning. After two or three folds, I leave the dough to ferment for 4 hours, then fold the bread, leave it for two more hours and bake it in the evening. Yes, I know, it takes a lot of time and I am not going to argue whether it is worth it or not, but the resulting bread is really very different from the standard, much easier to make bread with dry yeast.


  • 10 g starter 
  • 50 g water 
  • 50 g strong flour


  • 100 g leaven
  • 240 g strong white flour
  • 50 g rye flour
  • 190 g water
I still haven't bought any special equipment - a fancy proofing basket or a cast iron skillet, so I proof and bake my sourdough bread in a Jenna glass casserole. It is not ideal, but works well for now.

My bread is still far from perfection and my crust is not as airy as I would like it to be, but I'm getting there. And there is so much to learn and experiment along the way :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

We still had several pieces of the roasted pumpkin left in the fridge today, so I made it into a chocolate pumpkin cake with chocolate glazing. The taste of the cake is predominantly chocolate, the pumpkin is there for moisture and texture. If Alex was not so averse to nuts and raisins, I would have added some to the cake too, I love my cakes full of stuff :)


  • 320 g roasted pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g sugar
  • 80 g sunflower oil
  • 220 g flour
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 10 g baking powder

Beat the eggs with the sugar and the oil. Add the roasted pumpkin and mix. Gradually add the flour, mixed with the cocoa powder and the baking powder.  The resulting batter is fairly viscous and sticky. Pour it in a  baking form and bake in a preheated oven at 180C until a toothpick, stuck in the center of the cake, comes out dry.

Alternatively you can pour the batter into muffin forms and bake the cake into muffins - this mixture should produce about 20 average size muffins.

Let the cake completely cool and then make the chocolate glazing. I melted 50 g of milk chocolate over boiling water, added 20 g milk and 10 g butter and generously poured the melted glaze over the cake.
Serve with coffee or tea and enjoy!