Do You Like Handpainted Yarn?

Lookie what I found on Amazon…


New book by Carol Sulcoski titled Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns. It is only available for pre-order, but it looks brilliant. It is all patterns designed to look good with handpainted yarns. Let’s face it, most patterns get lost in handpainted yarns, and plain stockinette socks are boring. And so you knit Chevron and Monkey and Jaywalker which are great, but we’ve all got a lot more handpainted in our stash than those will take.

Another new thing, at least new to me, is Opal’s new Harry Potter yarns. Check out this page on the Opal website and you can see each of the yarns, both in skeins and knit into a sock. I think I like the Hedwig colorway best (pictured) or maybe Harry’s own colorway.

Opal Sock Yarn - Harry Potter

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Go take a look and let me know which ones you like best.

Snowdrop Lace in Some Summer Sky

I used my new swift for the first time last weekend. It played nicely with my wool winder, making short work of turning 3 hanks into lovely balls. Of course, today I heard someone on a podcast talking about the evils of pinching the yarn between your fingers as you wind; it stretches the yarn and will mess up your gauge. I’m already gauge-challenged enough.

The first ball I wound is my Dream in Color Smooshy in the Some Summer Sky colorway. After many false starts, I now have the first repeat of the pattern done. I’m loving the pattern, fun to knit but not too challenging if I’d only remember all the yarn overs.

Snowdrop Lace Scarf

Last night while watching “Wall-E” I finished the toes of my Fixation on Stripes socks. I would use this yarn again for warm weather socks, but I’d not do straight stockinette. However, I kept this first pair plain to get used to the elasticity of the yarn. At first I thought they were too long in the foot, but now I think they will be fine. Actually, they must be more than fine because Kapas gave them the Chin Rub of Approval.

Fixation on Stripes with approving cat

A few weeks ago, I finally finished my first pair of socks for Kent. Or rather, they are the first pair I started but the second pair I finished. I followed the Garter Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. My goal was to knit a pair of socks that stayed up but didn’t leave welts around the legs. I succeeded in that. Knit on US #0 needles, they are full of unintended design elements, but that’s okay. I learned a bunch, and most of the time they can only be glimpsed between his shoes and trousers. They’ll do.

Garter Rib Socks #2

The yarn, Chameleon Colorworks’ Bambino is a wool, bamboo, nylon blend that was splitty to knit but made a lovely finished fabric that is washing just fine (in a garmet bag in cold water) and I even dried them the other day and they didn’t complain a bit.

What I Should Do…

What I need to do over the next four days…

  • figure income taxes
  • complete re-licensure forms 
  • go to bank to fix online access problem
  • set up budget in Quicken at work
  • move back into my office
  • finish lesson plans for next week

 What I want to do…

  • finish my Fixation on Stripes socks 
  • cast on Snowdrop Lace Scarf
  • go to a knit out up in Woodlands
  • cast on new socks

I was going to knit Fixation on Lace socks (ravelry link) but looking at the finished projects in Ravelry, I find I like the striped ones but not the solid colored ones.  I wasn’t going to start other socks until my long KnitPicks needles arrived so I could try magic loop instead of two circs at a time, but I don’t think I’m going to delay gratification any long. I may cast on using the Regia yarn my sister sent me for my birthday.  Maybe it is time to learn how to do that magic cast-on for toe up socks.

A Thing with Feathers…

I first moved overseas in the summer of 2001. With the exception of the 2005-2006 school year, I’ve been overseas ever since. For all of that time, and to an increasing degree, I’ve tried to keep my nationality a secret. When people asked where I was from, I’d say, “I live in Malaysia,” or “I live in Singapore” because I felt my nation did not represent me.

With each passing year of George W. Bush’s presidency, I felt more disenfranchised, more ashamed of my country’s actions at home and especially overseas. I don’t expect that any administration will carry out my policy wishes to a T, but this current administration seems to be diametrically opposed to both my political views and my values. Its policies on the environment, education, and regulating companies, just to name a few, seem to me to be crafted to reward the administration’s friends in the short term while destroying the nation’s infrastructure. It’s foreign policy was a disaster on every front, making the world a less safe place and destroying other nations’ willingness to collaborate with us for a common good. In short, its policies seemed to build upon and strengthen our worst traits, our greediness and our egocentric-ism.

But this is an age of “miracle and wonder.” I was on my lunch break watching elementary kids rush down the halls yelling, “Obama is President!” I watched Senator McCain’s concession speech and was moved to see in it a return of the person I had respected before this campaign.

I was teaching again by the time President-elect Obama gave his acceptance speech. But thanks to YouTube, I was able to watch it in its entirety this morning. I sat here, stroking the cats as tears ran down my face to again hear an administration speaking my values.

– tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

-President-Elect Obama’s acceptance speech

Admittedly, those are just words. More importantly, I heard a politician admit that things are a mess, and the only ways to fix them require hard work, sacrifice and time. I am truly astonished that the American people had the wisdom to hear that and vote for him anyway. As a nation, we have an embarrassing history of avoiding people who speak those truths. Maybe we, as a nation, are finally growing up. Maybe things have gotten bad enough that people are willing to accept some responsibility for the problems and the solutions.

I can only hope. And that is a big step. It’s been a long time since I felt hopeful about our nation. As I see people around the world rejoicing in this election’s results, I feel hope that America has another chance. I feel thankful that the present administration has become so unpopular that people around the world seem willing to consider the possibility that with a change in regime, we may become someone they can tolerate. If we are very fortunate, as a nation we may become someone they can respect.

I do not expect smooth sailing. The nation is a mess. The world economy has crashed into recession. We are embroiled in two wars. He is further fettered by the current administration which seems willing to let him start now, as long as he is willing to make certain concessions. The forces in place to prevent change are strong. They will constantly try to preserve the status quo.

But there is this hope, this thing with feathers that perches in my soul. For the moment, that is enough.