Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Maybe New Year

I know that's a strange name for a post, but it would seem that the fates have conspired against us. The kitchen will not be complete for Xmas and probably not for New Year's either. The refrigerator space is too small which means that some of the cabinets will need to be disassembled and spacers added. Aside from the refrig sitting in the middle of the floor and the missing microwave most of the kitchen is completed. The convection oven is in so that will ease some of the workload on the main oven.

I've already begun prep since I'll be the main cook for the day. Mom's having her knee scoped on the 19th so that leaves me as the sole chef. It's funny but last Xmas I was in the same situation because she had injured her knee.

The Log Cabin socks are 50% complete. I'm making a men's size 14 and these puppies are nice and warm. Other than the extreme amount of shedding that is occurring this yarn is very nice to knit.

One foot done with a fish mouth toe. I don't know if these are long enough so just to be on the safe side I haven't grafted the toe.

This isn't a great pic but it shows the depth of the cables and the pattern better than any of the other photos.

This pic shows the true color of the yarn. The pattern is excellent and little brother should love these manly socks.

There are a few more things to cast on. One more bolero, a pair of slippers and maybe a shawl.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

RIP (Room in Progress)

Since Saturday, I've been busy getting the sewing/knitting/crafting room in order. At this moment it is set up for machine knitting. This room is my personal workspace. Not a family room, a room for me to use to enjoy my hobbies.

It feels great to finally be able to set up not just one but 2 machines and not have to worry about taking them down because they are in the way. One is my original Brother KH970 and the other is a Brother KH270 that I finally got to bring home.

The remaining machines are in the closet. Ideally I wish I had room to set them all up, well at least all of the electronic ones. Now that there's sufficient space the plan is to become just as or more proficient than I am at hand knitting.

I was obviously very delusional when I thought that I'd be able to bring all the yarn out of storage to the house. I've managed to bring about 1/5 of it into this room. I haven't begun to think about bringing any of the machine knitting cones. There were a lot of cones that came with the KnitKing V and 270 that I'd forgotten about, so that's what I'll be using for the moment.

The cabinets were purchased from an estate last summer. I've been waiting for them to arrive and had forgotten how large they are. There's plenty of storage space in the cabinets on the bottom. I'm using them to store the accessories for the machine knitting and the coned yarn amd I'm putting as much handknitting yarn as I can cram into the little cubies on top.

There's still a lot of work to be done getting everything organized and weeding out stuff. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this spot and slow down the work pace a little. The Cascade Pastaza finally come today and there are some Log Cabin socks looming on the horizon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whole lotta moving going on

Thanksgiving was very nice. I've so much to be thankful for. Everyone was together. All the nephews and nieces were in town and some first cousins met for the first time. We didn't have it our house, but had a lovely gathering at middle brother's.

I've made good progress on Rosedale. The yarn is the Silver Thaw re-cycled from the Promise of Spring cardigan that didn't work out quite right. This is a very pleasant knit. It's stockinette with a bit of intarsia to make it interesting. Nothing complicated, just nice and easy.

I started on sweaters for Cubs for Kids. It's a TKGA supported charity and the current charity knitting project for the Palmetto Purlers knitting guild. This is the first of the batch.

Shedir from the Knitty breast cancer special edition is on the needles. I have'nt worked on it in over a week.

We're still in the process of moving things. The kitchen was not completed for Thanksgiving. The countertop isn't finished, the floor hasn't been done and we're waiting on appliances to be delivered. We will be ready by Xmas and it's going to be great. This weekend I'll begin setting up the craft room!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This morning the final coat was put on the floors. Our floors were 41 years old and had never been re-finished. For years they were lovingly waxed and buffed, a task which gradually ended as we grew up and left the house. As time passed, mistreatment took it's toll and the appearance grew worse and worse. It was so bad that even the re-finishers wondered what the floors would like once they started. Sadly, they didn't hold out much hope. On Thursday they found out.

Underneath the years of abuse the red oak was still beautiful. (The paint was a little extra added by the painters who weren't as careful since they knew the floors were going to be re-done.) The entire house is almost complete with the exception of the kitchen, which won't be ready by Thanksgiving, and we can begin moving back in on Monday evening.

Watching the transformation of the house has only intensified my appreciation of those who practice the arts of craftsmanship. What has been even more rewarding and inspiring is the number of young men who have stayed in or come in to assist their fathers in continuing these businesses. Having lived in the midst of and watched the changes on a daily basis, including several weekends, has been inspiring.

Bolero #2 is finished. The background for this shot is the sanded and re-finished floor. The aged floors have a warmth of color not present in the floors of the addtion and I couldn't resist getting this shtp once the floors were dry. This bolero is also for one of my nieces. As I added the ribbing, I couldn't help but smile at the combination of colors. This is my favorite so far and absolutely perfect for a spitfire of a 9-year old. That makes 2 out of 3 boleros ready for Xmas.

I forgot to mention that I'm continuing the "Heels & Toes" experiment. I'm using the "easy toe" from SKS and PGR's short-row heel in the Champlain Sunset socks. This is the first short-row heel I've knitted for myself. The first sock is almost complete and this heel fits perfectly. That may change after wearing but at this moment this is the best fitting heel I've worn. These socks won't have any patterning as I couldn't see disrupting the coloring. They look fantastic in plain stockinette.

Things aren't looking too promising as I'm still deciding on Xmas knitting. I've reached a little stumbling block with all that's going on at work and home. Hopefully this is just a little temporary blip and I can get a few things done before time runs out on me. If all else fails, there's always IOU's.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


For several days I've watched as our house is transformed from the 60's to the 70's. Even with modern furnishings there are aspects of a house that date it. For the first time in over a decade our house is bathed in color. I feel like I've opened a box of Crayola crayons and poured them into each room. Every room in the house was painted white or off-white during the time I was no longer living at home which was about 20 years ago. They remained that way until this past weekend with the exception of my room which I painted purple a few years back.

When everything is finished the only remaining visible remaints will be the tiles on the bathroom walls and the floor in the 1/2 bath. It's like living in a new house all over again. We've been told that everything will be finished by Thanksgiving (I seriously doubt that). Other plans have been made and more than likely we will spend that weekend moving back in.

I've finished the second Molly bolero. Rosedale is knitting up in some nice muted tones and probably won't have the same effect as the one in Knitty, but I'm pleased. Soon I'll start the Noni Evening Bag with Purple Camellias, except mine won't be purple and another Noro Kureyon Fair Isle type felted bag. I'm also waiting on some Cascade Pastaza to arrive for the Log Cabin Socks in Handknit Holidays. A Xmas present of course, this one for brother the youngest to wear around the house.

XRX has a new lace knitting book out "Victorian Lace Today" by Jane Sowerby. It is a beautiful coffee table style book. I'm hoping that it isn't as error ridden as a significant number of their other publications have been since I purchased it this weekend. More details to come as I will soon be casting on a project out of this one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

2 down, ? to go

Swallowtail #2 is blocked and ready to go. It's funny but I had the same problem on row 3 of the first Lily of the Valley chart as before. For some bizarre reason it takes me at least 3 tries to get it right and then it's smooth sailing.


Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, Interweave Knits Fall '06
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr in Ebony (50% wool, 50% silk)
Needles: 4 US Clover Bamboo circular
Size: 49' x 22'
Started: October 3, 2006 Finished: November 4, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006


This shawl has been very slow in emerging from it's cocoon. The time has finally come for it to spread its' wings and show the beauty it has been hiding. Tonight I'll block it and cast on for the Charlotte's Web or the Flower Basket shawl.

More CTH Supersock is on the needle. I cast these on Thursday night. This colorway caught my eye when I visited Knit in Charleston. I'm debating whether or not to put a pattern on them. The colors are so vibrant. They are a tone darker than they appear in this picture. ( I had to use the flash to get the colors to come out.)

I tried out the Bosworth Midi and it is wonderful. It truly seems as if it will spin forever. I was amazed at how balanced the yarn was once plied. Usually I put in too much twist or too little. So far my satisfaction quotient is hight. I'm currently spinning on the Kokovoko spindle and will end with the Yost spindle.

I'm also still sorting out the Xmas projects. Too many decisions to make and time is quickly slipping away. The holiday season is definitely a very bad time to have renovations going in your house. It kinda puts the bah-humbug in it. There's no room for visitors or entertaining. We'll be ready before Xmas which hopefully will put everyone in the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Raked Leaves (Update)

Monday night I gave up on trying to post pictures to blogger and posted a solo sock photo. Per Monika's request, this is a better pic of the pattern. In the pic it appears obscured by the color of the yarn but is an excellent pattern choice for this yarn. (The pattern is easier to see if you enlarge the photo.)

Monday, October 30, 2006


Originally uploaded by bkallima.
In the nick of time. I've finally finished my Socktoberfest socks. These are a wonderful pair of socks and mom should enjoy them. I tried them on and they are heavenly. I'll be diving in the sock stash pronto.

Pattern: Mine
Needles: 2.5 mm Holz & Stein dpn's
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck
Size: Women's 10 narrow
Started: 10/01/2006 Finished: 10/30/2006

On to finish the Swallowtail.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We drove up to SAFF on Friday evening in terrible blustery rainy conditions and arrived at the hotel around 8:45 pm. Saturday morning didn't look too promising even though the weather report the previous evening said otherwise. It was very windy and cool but the clouds gave way to sunshine for a beautiful fall day in the mountains.

We arrived at the agricultural center around 10:30. The crowd had already arrived and we were lucky to get one of the few parking spaces available near the main gate. This was my first time and I am so glad that mom acompanied me on the trip.

The vendors and classes were located in the main arena. I saw Donna, her husband and their lovely daughter. Donna introduced me to a blogger friend of her's, Carolyn from Yarn's the Word.

My traveling buddy made a brief tour of some of the vendors before stopping for good to wait while I hunted down goodies. She's been having trouble with her good knee due to all the moving and the lifting and bending involved. Even though she doesn't spin she was very helpful in pointing out fiber related goodness. She's holding the Kokovoko lightweight spindle purchased from the Kokovoko booth and bag of cashmere purchased from Little Barn Inc.

I purchased several 8 ounce packages of fibers to do a fiber sampler.

My main purpose for attending SAFF was to personally select drop spindles. I'm able to spin once again and have been hesitant to purchase online after my first spindle purchased turned out not to be such a good decision. I wanted to be able to take them for a test drive and this was a great opportunity. I came home with four beauties.

Clockwise from right Kokovoko lightweight, Bosworth Midi,
Wooden Ewe, and Snipes.

I have never heard of the last two but was very pleased after trying them out. The Snipes spindle came as bottom whirl but was pre-drilled for either and since I'm not a bottom whirl girl, I converted it to a top whorl. I also purchased a few other goodies to round out the day.

We stopped in Hendersonville at Stepp's Orchard Farm and picked up some apples. We stopped at another shop on the way out and the Mutsu apples Carolyn suggested are delicious. I've never seen such a variety of apples as we saw at the last stop. They had close to 30 varities more than half of which we've never seen.

Today it's been back to the packing and moving. The kitchen work starts tomorrow and hopefully everything else follows soon afterward. I can finally resume my regular knitting pace!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Last weekend I had a nice relaxing time at the Myrtle Beach which was much needed after all the packing and moving that's been going on around here. I enjoy going in the fall when the crowds are no longer there.

There was much shopping but very little knitting. We went shopping after realizing I had left the blender at home and found the neatest personal blender by Hamilton Beach. Once the blue coconut coladas starting flowing any hope of knittng was pretty much over.

I am determined to have these finished before Halloween given the fact that I'm well past the 2/3's mark. I've made it to the patterned portion which goes pretty fast so this isn't and unrealistic goal. I've also started back on the Swallowtail and I am on the second Lily of the Valley section. Tomorrow afternoon I leave for SAFF. I'm going over on Saturday and will probably head up to Hendersonville for apples.

This is my first SAFF and due to the move the main thing I'm looking for is drop spindles. I'm desperately trying to hold off on purchasing any fibery goodness and since the neck and shoulder have been holding up pretty well for the most part it may be time to get out the spinning goodies after the holiday knitting is over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bacon,Bacon, Bacon

Acornbud asked if there were any Kevin Bacon sightings. Yes indeed. I caught this quick pic as he was headed back upstairs after lunch and in full make-up no less. We received advance notice and were waiting for him to come downstairs as the cast and crew headed to lunch. He had passed us when we realized that he was made up to look like a patient so when they returned from lunch I was ready. Too bad I didn't realize that I had zoomed in too much.

It's been busy around work. For the past 2 days I've had a gazillion watt light shining in my office window. Even with the blinds closed it's been warm. Thank goodness it has cooled down. They were supposed to go to another site on the campus but due to the rain all today one of my co-workers was told that they would be back tomorrow.

Yesterday the Palmetto Purlers did a knitting demonstration at the State Fair. Charlotte is working on her double knit baby blanket.

We have a demo day at the fair each year and bring materials for anyone interested in giving knitting a try. It was fun as always and of course I had to get some of that super healthy fair food. The corn dog was yummy, the fried mushrooms tasty and the Nedderfield's lemonade refreshing. I had an Italian beef sandwch to go. It wasn't as good as the other food, but the Polish sausage that I bought from the same place was delicious this afternoon. The holiday munching has begun a few weeks early.

We are in the process of moving out of the house and into the addition for some renovations. It has not been fun and my knitting time has been sacrificed. I've managed to make it to the first Lily of the Valley section by working on the Swallowtail during breaks and lunch at work. I'm downsizing as I go, except for the knitting goods, and should be finished by Thursday. Even though we're not physically moving out, there is a lot of packing and storage involved in clearing out.

This weekend I'm headed to the beach to put my feet up, knit and relax. I haven't been anywhere since Las Vegas in April so this trip is long overdue.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

For several weeks we've been curious about the presence of trucks of various sizes, vans and other strange vehicles on our campus and strange personnel in our building. My co-workers and I didn't make the connection with the film "Death Sentence" starring Kevin Bacon being filmed in Columbia. More trucks and equipment showed up with the mother lode arriving on Thursday.

By Friday morning there was a full fledge movie shoot going on across from our building. They've turned the second floor of the hospital building where my office is located into an emergency room for the shoot and will be shooting in the boiler room in the basement. (The hospital has been empty except for clinic services for several years.) With my luck everything will be back to normal by Monday when we return to work.

The first Raked Leaves sock is finished. I've casted on for the second sock and have completed the toe shaping and started the foot. I'm very pleased with the way these are turning out and they fit mom perfectly.

Socktoberfest Questions Part II:

Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern? Ocassionally. Most of the time if I see yarn that I like I buy it and figure out what pattern I'm going to use later. Even if I buy yarn with a pattern in mind I usually make something different than the original plan.

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!) Absolutely. I have some LL Shepherd Sock in Rainbow that I bought at the first machine knitting event I attended. The skeins I have left from the Xmas socks when I didn't know how much to buy. The Regia Clown Color from the modular sweater for my co-workers first and now possibly only child and the list goes on.

Socks, socks and more socks!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Sock History

First things first. The first completed Socktoberfest project. This pair of socks has been in the works for several months and since there are several projects that need to enter the rotation due to the upcoming holidays and many more socks to be made, I decided to finally finish them this weekend.

Pattern: Openwork Ribs from Sensational Knitted Socks
Needles: 1 US Inox dpn's
Yarn: Regia Bamboo Color Clown
Size: Women's 10 narrow
Started: 7/22/2006 Finished: 10/08/2006

Modifications: I rarely follow the heel and toe instructions. This was the first sock in my heel and toe experiment. I used the Magic Cast-on and the PGR short-row heel. These were fun to knit and the leg pattern is really quick to work if you commit to stick to it. It repeats over 4 rows and 3 of those are simple K2P2 ribbing. The yarn is very soft and mom will have to see how it holds up over the long haul.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I started making socks in the fall of '01. I decided to make socks for most of my nieces and nephews for Xmas that year. It was my first time knitting Xmas presents and I finished each pair. One of my nephews was around 2 at the time and when I tried to get him to try his socks on the DPN's still in them he was terrified. It was a full year before he would put the socks on and he ended up wearing them all the time around the house. They all have their socks as they have refused to pass down any of their knitted gifts.

I taught myself using a generic sock pattern from the lys.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?My first pair was from a Regia leaflet and had looped fringed around the top. It was a basic top-down sock pattern worked in 2 strands of Regia 4fadig Clown color. They are stored in my nieces drawer. She outgrew them a few years ago.

What would you have done differently?Not a single thing. They turned out great and fit perfectly.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?I've used Regia, Froelich Wolle, Online, Mountain Colors and I'm using Cherry Tree Hill for the first time. I like them all for their own unique reasons. My favorites at the moment are the MC and CTH. I have some Sundara Sock in the stash to try and will try other brands. I haven't tried Koigu for socks. I love it in the shawl I made but I balked at paying $30+ for a pair of socks which is about what it would cost for the 3 skeins I need to make a pair for my large feet. However, I'm still interested in trying more of the premium sock yarns that are available.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?I've never tried crocheting socks. My preference is DPN's. I do use the 2 circ method, but I've never tried the Magic Loop. It's not on my radar at the moment.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
How many pairs have you made? For years I used the flap heel. One of my Guild members showed me a short-row method that I've used for the past year 1 1/2 when working toe-up. This summer I started trying different methods for toes and heels and my current fav is the PGR short-row heel. That is subject to change as I try and experiment with other techniques.

How many pairs have you made? 22. I now have 2 pairs on the needles.

After a little trial and error, I've decided to use a pattern called the "Comma Stitch" on the leg of the sock.

It's hard to photograph because it blends into the background colors of the sock. The pattern is very visible in person and is not distracting from the coloring of the yarn. I love the way it's there but not in your face there.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Swallowtail II

This morning at work I started Swallowtail #2 using ebony JaggerSpun Zephyr.

This is for one of my co-workers. She gave me her mother's needles a few years ago and it was a special gift since her mother passed when she was young and they were living in Syria. I've been wracking my brain trying to decide what to make for her. When she saw the red Swallowtail Shawl she asked if I would make one for her to use as a head scarf for church and how much would it cost. Are you kidding me?! Well of course I will and for gratis.

There is steady progress on the socks. I'm almost ready to turn the heel on the Raked Leaves and the leg of the Openwork Rib socks inching it's way up. I've been perusing stitch dictionaries trying to find just the right pattern for the leg. There are a few that have caught my attention and I'll be making a decision some time in the next few days. (There is serious pitfall to owning to many pattern dictionaries. It makes the decision making process hell!!!)

Before I went to work this morning I took a picture of the new floor after sanding and buffing.

When I came home this afternoon they looked like this.

There's one more coat to be applied before the job is finished. By the time the holidays arrive the floors in the rest of the house will look more like these. We also found out that we have more than a few touch ups needed here and there. We have serious single coat issues in every room except the den which has been painted twice. It's amazing what's revealed when the lights come on.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Raking Leaves

It never seems to fail! I'm so loving this CTH sock yarn and it's not for me. It is the perfect match for mom's clogs.

The colors remind of the leaves after they have fallen on the ground and are ready for raking. The CTH Supersock is soft, cushy and sproingy. This pair will work up fast because I'm enjoying the yarn and don't want to put them down!

I'm on the leg of the second Bamboo Color sock and seriously doubt that I'll finish the Cotton Color socks anytime soon. I look forward to the cool weather when I can wear the few pairs of wool handknit socks that I own. This does not bode well at all for the two pairs that are currently on the needles. The State Fair starts in a week and half and usually coincides with a significant drop in the temp resulting in perfect sock and sweater weather.

I finished the front of Pumpkin this afternoon and appear to have a half-inch difference between the front and back before the armhole bind-off. A rather easy problem to solve and since the back is completely plain I'll make the adjustment on it. After that's fixed the only thing remaining is to block and seam it together before adding the hood.

I remembered where I put the yarn for the 2 Xmas boleros and retrieved the packs from the storage unit today. These work up pretty fast so I'm hoping to have the done in the next week or so. That is once I figure out were I put the Knits magazines. With things packed and stored in different places it's starting to get a little hectic.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Socktoberfest & CAL/KAL

I signed up for the this.

These are a few things that I've decided.
Thing 1) Sock yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Potluck Golden Harvest.

Thing 2) These are for mom to go with her brown Clarks.
Thing 3) The foot will be unpatterned.
Thing 4) The socks will be worked toe-up on dpn's.

I'm sorting through sock patterns to find a suitable design. This is my first time using CTH. I'll use the foot as a guide to choosing the leg pattern. It will give me an opportunity to see how the yarn patterns on the needles.

Vera of Vera's Crafty Blog is hosting a CAL/KAL at Feel the Love Along. It's to encourage knitters to experience crocheting and for crocheters to experience knitting. I've begun looking for a project that will either be all or mainly crochet in keeping with the spirit of the CAL/KAL.
I crocheted almost exclusively when I was in my teens and early twenties. I continued to knit doilies off and on for several years before I stopped crocheting completely in my early thirties. Except for the occasional finishing, provisional cast-on or dropped stitch, I never pick up a crochet hook.
I'm looking forward to finding a pattern and yarn to execute for this knit-along.

This afternoon Calvin of Colaman Knits (hope he gets back to blogging) came over for a sock knitting lesson. Calvin is the only male member of our knitting guild the Palmetto Purlers. He picks up new techniques quickly and performs them to perfection. He's my first knitting visitor ever and I thoroughly enjoyed his company.

On Monday, the floor man is coming. He estimates that it will take him for days to do the floors. This is one of the last tasks remaining. They have to finish the bathroom and the laundry area and do some painting touch ups here and there.

Time continues to wind down. It appears that we'll be ready for the holidays after all.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cakes, cakes and more cakes

Cakes! Small cakes, medium cakes, large cakes, jumbo cakes. Yarn cakes!

It took me most of Saturday afternoon to wind all this sock yarn into cakes. One skein decided it wanted to star in Yarnz Gone Wild. A few buddies tried to make the cut but were quickly reined in.

Natural Light (Solid colors are truer.)


The color-blocked hoodie continues to take shape. I'm about halfway on the front. Kids clothes look so funny with the short arms and legs and long torsos. I have to keep reminding myself that their proportions are different from those of us full-sized humans.

(The colors are washed out by the flash. The green is a deep green not even close to the seafoam looking color. The red is deeper and the blue is a very dark navy.)

After much consideration, I decided to leave the sleeve green and make the hood gold. If I don't like the results I can always re-work the pieces.

Other knitting progress has been reduced to a snails pace. The Palmetto Purlers Knitting Guild meets on Tuesday and it will be my first meeting as president. To that end, I've been researching info to clear up some misinformation and working on items to present to the membership for the upcoming year.