Thursday, September 29, 2022

Wine Red Hybrid Blouse

When I went fabric shopping a few days ago I came upon this wine red rib knit and immediately fell in love with the color - it is so much me. I bought about 1.2 m with no particular idea for a pattern, but such fabric length is usually sufficient for a simple longsleeve for me.

However, it turned out that the fabric is narrower than the usual 1.4 m. And as it is rib knit and very plastic and fluid, I wanted something not very tailored. But not too oversized too - I have an oversized RTW rib knit sweater, which I never wear. So, after much deliberation, I decided on Plantain. It is a simple free T-shirt pattern, fitted around the bust and slightly flaring at the hips. 

Plantain has a deep scoop neck, but from the very beginning I knew I wanted screw neck and, if possible, something like a turtleneck. So I also took out my Burda #112 10/2021 turtle neck top with bishop sleeves and modeled the neck of the front after the Burda blouse. Once I cut the front and the back, I decided that I didn't actually want 3/4 sleeves, like in the Plantain. However, I did not have a long enough piece of fabric for two normal size sleeves. 

And then I got the brilliant idea to make the sleeves like in the Burda pattern - bishop sleeves with long cuffs. I drafted a new sleeve, using the upper part of the Plantain sleeve, to fit the armhole of the body, but the lower part is from the Burda pattern. I cut the sleeves as long as I could fit them on my fabric and drafted the cuffs and the neckpiece from the last remnants of the fabric. The neckpiece is twice as shorter as I would have preferred it, but that was all the fabric I was left with. In the end I was able to use up the entire piece of fabric with just the tiniest cuts and scraps left - I feel weirdly über-satisfied when I am able to do this :)

Once I assembled the blouse, I became convinced that the bishop sleeves were actually its best feature - otherwise it would have looked too plain and pedestrian. I am definitely keeping the idea in mind and I want at least one more blouse with such sleeves.

Size: 34, shortened, modified neck and sleeves
Fabric: polycotton rib knit, 115 cm
Time to make: 2 days

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


After a series of very cold and rainy days, Saturday was the first, forecast for sunny and warmish weather. We discussed several routes and in the end decided to try something we hadn't done in many years - the trail from Knyazhevo, a residential area of Sofia, to Zlatnite mostove. The trail is popular because it is very easily accessible, but in my opinion - nothing special. It starts from a very low altitude point - 690 m and the altitude gain to Zlatnite mostove is fairly substantial - 700 m along 7 km. This makes for a very good workout, but the trail itself is kind of boring, passing through a forest with no views and the pay-off in the end is pretty pedestrian - a picnic on the big meadow of Zlatnite; a place we visit quite often, anyway.

The only advantage of this route is its proximity to our place and the short car trip. But not this particular Saturday - as we found out only too late, a car race was taking place in Sofia on that day and the ring road was closed, with just a single lane for outgoing cars - total madness! The traffic jam on the ring road was, as could be easily predicted, horrendous, and we waited for 45 min to pass through the jam, with no way out but through :( The irony, having chosen this trail for its short driving distance.

Hike info:

Destination: Knyazhevo - Zlatnite mostove
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 14 km
Elevation gain: 710 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 4 hours
Average difficulty: 4 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, Grey Burda Longsleeve
I: lingerie, Purple hoodie, Burda Reglan Longsleeve

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Burda 6202 with Roses

A simple set I made this week for Gaby - raglan blouse Burda 6202 and a pair of panties from the remnants of the fabric. I bought the fabric from a store for Italian textile, where I shop fabrics from time to time and I think it is the same print as this fabric I sеwed for Gaby last year, but in different colors.

I asked for 1 m of the fabric, but when I returned home and washed it, I found that I had only 82 cm. I was of course, a bit upset, but I still managed to make exactly the blouse I had in mind, with a pair of panties, as I had planned it, so all was good in the end and I was even super proud with myself and patting myself on the shoulder for my fabric-Tetris mastery :)

The pattern I used is one I've been rediscovering lately - Burda 6202 raglan top. I made a similar one for myself early in the summer and I soon found, that I did not like the wide elastic, so I replaced the elastic with a cuff and I've been wearing that blouse with preference ever since. So, I thought Gaby might enjoy a similar one as well. It is, of course, another matter when she will get it, but as the pattern is more or less classic, I don't think passing fashion would be an issue.

Size: 36, shortened
Fabric: cotton knit fabric, 82 cm.
Time to make: 2 days

Size: 0
Fabric: cotton knit fabric
Time to make: 1 day


Saturday, September 24, 2022

600 Days on Duolingo


A few short notes on my continuing experience with Duolingo. As I have already mentioned, in January 2021, a bit on a whim, I started learning Spanish on Duolingo - just a couple of exercises a day initially, trying to keep my Spanish alive. Then, on October 1st, after my visit to Vienna, I included German. I had never studied any German before, so what I have learned during my almost full year of German on Duolingo now, is from scratch. 

There are many voices out there, that language platforms like Duolingo are a waste of time. Maybe, but compared to what? Paid professional courses or private tutors? Such activities require quite a lot of money, time, schedule. Learning on your own from textbooks and exercises books? I wonder how many have the required perseverance and determination. I know I don't - of all the challenges and nicely intended initiatives I've embarked over the year, Duolingo is the only one I have consistently stuck to, every day. So, yah, it might not be optimal, but it is something compared to the nothing I would have if I wasn't doggedly clutching to my streak and my Diamond league placement.

On the other hand, Duolingo per se is not enough, in my opinion. It does not provide a clear grammar frame and the repetition of phrases, containing words with changing endings without a clear understanding what is happening and why am I getting it constantly wrong is truly frustrating. My break through the language actually came, when I happened upon a structured 16 hour program of introduction into German on Youtube. The program was in Russian, but my passive Russian is good enough and my knowledge of Russian grammar, with its three noun genders and six cases actually helped a lot. To me, the intuitive learning of a language through examples, like children do, is, well, bullsh*t, that window closes once you are over puberty and even for children it does take a lot of years. The advantages adults have is their knowledge of grammar, how languages work and the more foreign languages you have experience with, the better. 

Once I finished that 16 hour program (twice), I bought a Grammar textbook and an exercise book, but in all honesty, I'm not very consistent with them - that only goes to show that I do need my Duolingo lessons. However, I continued and still do, enlarging my knowledge of the structure and rules of the language through Youtube lessons. I have also already read two books in German, constantly comparing the text with the Bulgarian translation of the books (I chose books I have in Bulgarian at home), I watch German language movies (not all the time, of course), from time to time I use Deutsche Welle and their exercises and tests.

So, after a year, I estimate my level at A2.1. Not much, but not nothing. How much time do I spend on Duolingo? I start with my morning coffee and it usually takes me an hour, lately I do exercises in the afternoon as well, if I have the time. So yes, it does take time. To compensate, I have almost entirely abandoned Instagram and Facebook and I don't miss it even a bit! And yes, I did have some withdrawal syndrome with FB in the beginning, I used to have it open on my desktop the entire time before and it makes me wonder now how addicted actually I was! I also do less crafting, but that is due not only to my German lessons, but also to a number of other factors (more work, less enthusiasm).

And finally, what about Spanish? Unfortunately, I had to abandon it for now. My Spanish was a beginner's level (I had A2.1) and it started messing with my German, I found that I just didn't have the capacity to remember so many words from two different languages, to observe different sentence structures, etc. It is enough that I study German through English on Duolingo and through English and Russian on Youtube (my mother tongue Bulgarian is of little use on the world scale, unfortunately), adding another new language in the mix turned unproductive.

What about my further plans? I intend to stick with Duolingo to the end, right now I am through half of the course and I plan on finishing it probably in a year or less. Meanwhile or afterwards I plan to sit for a Goethe Institute certificate - A2 or maybe directly B1. After I've gotten the B1 certificate and finished with Duolingo, I'm thinking of enrolling into a B2 course with Goethe Institute. My ambitions go as high as B2 and keeping it fresh through reading and writing from there on. But I'll think about crossing that bridge when I come to it :)

Friday, September 23, 2022

Ruen 2022

Our last hike in the mountain of Osogovo was probably the most spontaneous large scale hike. On Tuesday during our lunch break husband and I checked the weather forecast, noticed that the cold and wet weather was expected during the weekend, but Wednesday and Thursday would be sunny and warm and - why not go to Ruen tomorrow? I phoned Osogovo hut, booked a double room and we frantically went back to work. As we work from home, as long as we sent our materials on time, we can work  wherever and whenever we please. And thus, early on the next day we started for Kyustendil.

This was our third hike to climb Ruen and it was completely different from the other two. Because the route is considered long, difficult and remote, it is not very popular and on a work day we were the only hikers along the long trail. The only other people we met during the eight hours of our hike were two mountain bikers and three farmers in a truck. Hiking along a lonely track is such a different experience from being one of the hundreds of people up or down a hill.

:The grassy hills of Osogovo mountain are truly surreal, they never stop to amaze me!

:We felt in great shape, the weather was just perfect, so this time, instead of going around, we climbed most of the peaks on the way, including Tzurni vruh and Mali Ruen


Hike info:

Destination: Peak Ruen
Mountain: Osogovo
Total length: 27 km
Elevation: 580 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 8 hours
Average difficulty: 7 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pants
I: lingerie, Sabrina Slims, Burda T-shirt, hoodie

:Osogovo is known for its poisonous viper snakes, but the only snake we met was this harmless small one

:On the second day of our small break we went to see the giant sequoias in the Yuchbunar preserved area, and then sightseeing in Kyustendil. Hurray for spontaneous breaks!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Manastirishte in September 2022

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that husband and I simply adore the trail from the village of Plana to Mt. Manastirishte and hike around this area at least two or three times per year. It is a very easy and short walk and we usually make the hike when we don't have much time or feel tired.

Last week was particularly stressful for me at work, I had also some long-distance travel plans, which I subsequently postponed, and so we decided it was time for the therapeutic Manastirishte hike :) The weather was warm, with some clouds and rain later in the afternoon.

: The grassy trail from the village of Plana and Peak Marchin kamuk

:It is that time of the year, when the fields are adorned with photogenic bales of hay

Hike info:

Destination: peak Manastirishte (1338 m)
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 7.5 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, Shkatulka T-shirt
I: lingerie, hoodie

:The Holy Spirit Chapel on the peak