Friday, December 29, 2023

Family Christmas Hike 2023

As is our tradition for many years, Gaby, husband and I went on a hike on Christmas Day. We had chosen a trail on Vitosha, but unfortunately the road to Zlatnite mostove was closed for private cars. We had to quickly come up with a Plan B and we chose peak Dupevitza in the Lulin mountain. 

Although the weather down in the city has been sunny and fairly warm this entire last week, up in the mountains there was a lot of snow and the short 10 km round trail from Bonsovi polyani to Dupevitza, Dobrinina skala, All Saints Chapel and back to Bonsovi polyani was quite an exercise.

The day was sunny and the temperatures comfortable and we enjoyed immensely the fresh air and lively conversation with our daughter.

Hike info:

Destination: round trail to peak Dupevitza
Mountain: Lulin
Total length: 10.5 km
Elevation gain: 320 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 3 hours
Average difficulty: 3.5 / 10 


:On peak Dupevitza (1256 m)

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, knitted socks, hat
I: lingerie, orange sweater, knitted socks, hat, gloves
Gaby: lingerie, knitted socks, hat, scarf, gloves

:On peak Dobrinova skala (1229 m) 

:All Saints Chapel

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Andean Jacket

My latest and most favourite make - a lined zipper jacket. The outer fabric is one of the fabrics I was given by a friend a couple of years ago, when she decided to quit sewing and destashed. I fell immediately in love with its pattern and was saving it for something special. A few times I was just about to cut into it - for a long skirt or a short poncho, but luckily, abandoned the idea. 

I say luckily, as I think this zipper jacket is the best use for this fabric. The pattern is Sinclair Journey, which I bought recently for another project I am making for Gaby. I was half way through with Gaby's jacket, when I hit a rock and decided to step a bit aside and make another version of the pattern for myself.

As it happened, I had the perfect fabric for the lining and the perfect zipper, even its length was the exact one I needed - it seemed the stars had aligned for this project.

The version of the jacket I used is View B - the one with zippered pockets, but I decided to make mine one-side welt pockets (my first!). The pattern pockets are designed to stay loose, but experience has shown that such pockets are not very practical, so I designed my own pockets to be attached to the zipper opening and the bottom band.

My most favourite part of jacket is the collar. Here again I took the View B half-hood, added 5 cm to its height, straightened the back seam, so that I could make it seamless and then extended the front of the collar, drawing a line at a right angle to the back - thus I added 8 cm width to the front part of the collar. The additional width goes into the folds and makes the collar one of main features of the jacket.

Size: Petite (152-160 cm) 4 S with added 2.5 cm to the sleeve length
Fabric: French Terry / double knit; lining - polyester jersey
Time to make: 5 days

This is my third lined hoodie and the first time I added the lining correctly and easily. I always knew there must be a correct way to assemble the outer part and the lining, and I think I finally found it after watching a video by Dasha Sineva, where she showed her process of sewing a lined jacket. The simple secret is to leave two openings - one big opening at the bottom back and one in one of the sleeves.

I had 2.15 m of this fabric in two pieces of about 1 m each and I have some big scraps left, which I intend to combine with some other knit fabric and make another lined jacket. Husband wants it for himself, as he also fell in love with the striped geometric pattern, but we'll see. I'm not sure the pieces are big enough for a grown man like him.

It's a pity it is already winter here and sunny days like yesterday, when we took these pictures, are a rarity, but come spring I intend to wear this jacket intensely. I was down to the fabric store today, bought the missing notions and tonight I'll back to Gaby's jacket, hopefully it will be no less successful than mine.

A short note on my preliminary work - when I bough the pattern, I determined Gaby's size as 4 S petite, printed the pattern and made a muslin out of an old bed sheet. I know you aren't supposed to make test clothes for knit garments out of weaved fabric, but I thought a muslin would still give me some idea. Well, I was wrong. The muslin felt too small and tight and made me go up a size and up a height. Once I cut Gaby's jacket out of her fleece fabric, I found it too wide, so I had to cut it back to 4 S and I knew that my initial sizing had been right. So, all that work to print two sizes and sew two muslins had been absolutely in vain. Now I know a muslin really works only when you are using a similar fabric, no going around that :(

And one further note: raglans and patterned fabric. It took me probably three days of measuring and thinking, until I cut the fabric. Initially I had drawn the pattern pieces as economically as possible and just when I was about to start cutting, it occurred to me, that the raglan connections would be clearly visible at the front and thus the pattern pieces of the body had to be aligned with the sleeves not at the bottom, but at the sleeve opening. I know that is probably pretty obvious for experienced seamstresses, but it was a revelation to me and it might help somebody (or my future self), when using such patterned fabrics and raglans. As a whole, it did take a lot of planning around the fabric, but i am really happy with the placement of the pattern :)

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Pancharevo 2023

Today's hike was short, but refreshing along the round trail near Pancharevo dam. The start of the trail is only 20-25 min by car from home and this is probably its best feature. The day was cold, with temperatures just above zero. The ground was a big wet, but not muddy, there was some fresh snow on the trees, but the ground was too warm for it to keep.

We started around noon and in about an hour were at the other end of the dam.

Hike info:

Destination: lake Pancharevo
Mountain: Lozen
Total length: 7 km
Elevation gain: 130 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 2 hours 10 min
Average difficulty: 2 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, hat, knitted socks, (scarf in backpack)
I:  socks, lingerie, Copper Cables sweater, CC copycat hat, gloves, scarf

Unfortunately, the promised sun never showed. The waters of the lake haven't frozen yet and there were a few rowers and fishermen on the lake, as well as plenty of birds.

We had our lunch on the seating area by the lake, watching the birds.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Planinitza 2023

Our first snow hike this winter. The trail from the village of Planinitza to peak Tumba and back is one of our favourite December destinations. Cherna gora is a low mountain, the trail is easy and in the open and runs by fields and up and down small hills, with pleasant views to other mountains around. Because it is in the open and fairly level, it is extremely pleasant on a warm and sunny December day. And today was supposed to be one of these days.

Well, it wasn't. The temperatures were actually quite OK, especially considering that it was cloudy. However, the plentiful snow that fell last weekend had only partially melted and the trail was extremely muddy and wet, with patches of deep snow here and there. It was difficult to walk, some of the puddles of muddy water were like small lakes, blocking the entire trail, with thick thorny bushes at the sides.

The ceiling of thick clouds above us made me realize, that the reason I love this trail so much is the sun. We've always come here on sunny December days and walked along dry paths and this is what makes it a lovely destination. Unfortunately, after the extremely long and super pleasant autumn, winter is making its way through with lots of snow, cold and clouds. I can take the snow and the cold, but I want the sun back, please.


We watched a very interesting phenomenon during the entire hike - the sky to the east was yellow-reddish, like during sunset or sunrise, only it was around noon and the sun was actually above us. I suppose it is some kind of refraction of the sunlight into the thick clouds above us, but I'm not sure. Anyway, it was beautiful and unusual.

Hike info:

Destination: peak Tumba (1129 m)
Mountain: Cherna Gora
Total length: 14.5 km
Elevation gain: 230 m
Total duration (plus picnic): 4 hours
Average difficulty: 4 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: men's boxers, hat, Cargo pants, socks
I:  lingerie, hat, gloves, "Page" Burda hoodie

The mountains of Kraishte to the west
The summit of Cherna Gora, peak Tumba

We had our quick lunch on a patch of dry grass near the peak and in short order packed back our backpacks and returned to Planinitza, trying to choose alternative paths with less muddy puddles :)

We'll probably return to Planinitza next December, I hope it will be drier and sunnier then.