Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Kladnitza 2023

Over the years we've found places which are at their best at certain moments in time. Yes, sometimes we would decide to deviate from the usual and visit them in a different season, but to get the best experience, it has proved to be important to catch them in their prime. Thus, we've been to southern Vitosha in winter, spring, summer and autumn and nothing compares to the beauty of the forests there in late October - early November.

Thus the circular trail around Kladnitza is one of our autumn staples and a hike I look forward to every year. The trail is moderately long, but easy, with a comfortable place for lunch and filling water reserves. This Saturday the weather was so hot, that we drank all of the water we had brought and also almost all of the refillment. Not only all of our second and third layer clothes stayed in the backpacks, but for the second half of our hike I took off my blouse and stayed in my sports top - it was unbelievably sunny and warm for a late October day.

Hike info:

Destination: round trail Kladnitza
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 16 km
Elevation gain: 500 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 5 hours
Average difficulty: 4 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: men's boxers, Knipmode Cargo Pants


The unusually warm autumn showed in the forest - some parts of it were a bit greener than in previous years. What was really surprising was the warmth of the air even in the shady parts early in the day, where on previous years we've been cold and found ice and frost on the ground.

I love this part of the trail, where we pass through the grassy plateau under peak Selimitza.

And back to the river and the village. Until next October :)

Monday, October 23, 2023

Blouse with Jabot

A month ago I bought an online course from Burda Academy on the sewing of this silk blouse with jabot. The course includes the pattern, which is a Burdastyle pattern and 21 video tutorials. Although I consider myself not a beginner seamstress, I have so much to learn about the technology of making clothes. The reason I chose this particular pattern was my desire to upgrade my knowledge of working with silk and other delicate flimsy materials.

The video tutorials were very, very detailed. The tutor explained clearly and demonstrated masterfully all the steps from choosing the fabric to the final finishes like sewing the buttons. I found it very interesting to watch and very liberating to follow the instructions, instead of wracking my brain how to do this or that step.

Size: 36
Fabric: viscose silk, 1.2 m
Time to make: one month

I followed most of the instructions as indicated, but I also adapted the pattern to my figure and my fabric. As I am petite, I did my usual corrections to Burda patterns to shorten the blouse: -1 cm above the armholes, -1.5 cm above the waist and -2 cm below the waist.

Because I shortened the blouse at the armhole height, I had to transfer these corrections to the armhole circumference of the sleeve. The tutorial showed a very neat way to do that, which I followed. As this is a usual correction for me, I realized I hadn't done it the right way before, so it was a valuable lesson.

The jabot was definitely the most complicated part of the blouse and its most prominent feature. I haven't had a blouse with such an extravagant jabot before and I don't think I need more of these, but I find it nice to have one in my wardrobe. I finished the edges of the curly bands on the overlocker with a rolled hem. The jabot was also the reason I chose this particular fabric, as it requires double-sided silk and this was the only fabric I had in my stash that looked (almost) the same from the right and the wrong side.

As I know that I need swayback corrections, I deepened the back darts by 0.5 mm on each side (total 1 cm deeper, respectively 2 cm longer). Thus the back was taken in by a total of 2 cm and I absolutely love how the blouse fits me - following the figure without being too snug or too baggy at places.

I really like the fit of the blouse and I feel I need to use the knowledge and practice I gathered at least once more. However I'm sure I don't need more jabots, so I am envisioning my next version to be with a round collar and I would also add a cuff to the sleeves instead of an elastic.

When I began a short sleeved blouse at the end of September, I didn't know it would take me a month to finish it. I worked on it very, very slowly, "a teaspoon per hour" as is the Bulgarian saying and I thoroughly enjoyed this slow sewing. However, as we went far into October, I was sure I wouldn't be able to take any pictures of it out in the open. But we are enjoying such an unbelievably warm autumn this year (it was above 26C yesterday in Sofia), that not only was I not cold during our walk in the park, but I felt actually hot in my silk blouse :)

Monday, October 16, 2023

Kominite and Kamen Del, 2023

I'm finally catching up with the blog and all the hiking and traveling we did lately. Like many diary-type blogs, mine changes with my life and hobbies, and from a knitting blog it gradually turned into a hiking blog - this is the only one of my hobbies I'm not giving up and I'm trying to find free time for, even in my as of late very busy schedule.

This Saturday we hiked on Vitosha, in the region of Kominite and Kamen Del. The day was another one of those warm days, more like late summer than mid-autumn, with bright blue skies and almost no wind, even at the higher parts of the mountain.

Initially, we had planned a relatively short hike from Bay Krustyo lift station to Kominite and then down to Kikish shelter and back to the car along a circular route.

Kominite is a place with interesting rocks, favourite with rock-climbers and hang gliders.

The first of the Kominite rocks is behind me

The three consecutive rock formations and a view to Sofia

Once we climbed up to the final rock formation, we decided to take a detour along a path in the grass to a near-by peak. We came upon lots of blueberries and cranberries, stopped to eat and pick some and gradually came to the decision to extend our hike to peak Kamen Del and from there to continue downwards towards Momina Skala hut and from there to take the  trail back to Bay Krustyo.

And so we did. We climbed up, until we crossed the trail from Aleko to Kamen Del - one of the most popular trails on Vitosha, which on such a glorious weekend day was packed with tourists.

Peak Kamen Del - it looked like a public meeting place :) We had our lunch on a rock formation nearby.

The plateau, Golyam Rezen and Cherni Vruh in the distance

Hike info:

Destination: peak Kamen Del (1862 m) along circular trail
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 12.5 km
Elevation gain: 500 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 5 hours
Average difficulty: 4 / 10

Soon after we started down towards Momina skala, husband's right hiking shoe fell apart. Well, the incident had its precursors, there were signs of wear and he had already ordered and paid for his new hiking shoes (expected to be delivered later this week), but we thought these could last at least a couple more hikes. Well, we reckoned wrong :( The sole peeled off from the front back to the heel and walking was impossible, as it flopped and turned back on every step. And we had at least 8 more km through rough terrain back to the car! Husband tried to tie it with the shoe tie, but the front part of the shoe continued to flop. Luckily, we soon came upon a medicine box, which, apart from some sanitary products, had a single small zip tie and it saved the day. Husband made a hole at the front of his sole and constructed this contraption, which helped him to finish the hike, walking quite normally. From now on we'll be carrying zip locks in our backpacks, you never know when you might need them :)

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pant, raglan blouse
I: lingerie, Sabrina Slims III, Shkatulka blouse, hoodie in backpack

The stony desert of Kamen Del

Warm autumn colors, I love them so much!

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Manastirishte in October, 2023

After the two days of hiking during the week we thought of opting for a leisurely walk in Vrana park on the weekend. However, the park was closed for the public because of some festival taking place there at night, the day was too gorgeous to be spent at home, so we packed our backpacks and went for a short hike on Manastirishte - our go-to destination, when we want a short nice walk without preparation.

Hike info:

Destination: peak Manastirishte (1338 m)
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 7.5 km
Elevation gain: 160 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 2 h 30 min
Average difficulty: 1 / 10 

As usual, the track was lonely and quiet, sunny and super relaxing.

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers
I: lingerie, Sabrina Slims II

We had our picnic lunch on the hill, overlooking the fields above the village of Plana, drinking our cold beers and basking in the warm October sun. We've never had such a gorgeous October, I can't stop smiling and feeling happy with such a weather outside.