Dear Sock Pal,

Latvian_lace_1 My first Sock Pal gets my first lace socks.  I hope you like them.  The pattern is from Folks Socks by Nancy Bush, Latvian Lace socks.  The yarn is 50%cashmere/50% merino wool.  Sorry, but these babies will need to be hand washed.  I followed the pattern pretty much with just some considerations for your dainty measurements.  I did find that the cashmere ( I assume it’s the cashmere since I never had wool do this) relaxed a bit with washing.  I hope they fit anyway.  There also wasn’t a lot of twist to this yarn so they may not be all that hard-wearing.  Kntting these was fun and I am grateful to Alison for a fabulous job of coordinating all this.  It’s hard to imagine that 350 people can get so excited about knitting a stranger a pair of socks, but I am delighted to be among them.  Wear them in good health.

Sincerely,
Julia

P.S. A special thank you to my friend Shug who showed up just in time for a visit and happened to have a working digital camera.  Otherwise, you would simply have had to use your imagination.

Out of the Darkness

A couple of years after my first marriage ended, I got a call from my mom to tell me that the judge and family friend who performed the ceremony at our wedding had committed suicide. I believe that was my first encounter with actually knowing someone who ended their own life intentionally. It was a little unreal and perplexing but I didn’t know Jerry as well as my parents did. I didn’t know what led him to this act.

Three months into my second marriage, my new father-in-law killed himself. He had suffered from untreated depression for many years. This one hit much closer to home. I watched as his family grieved and cried and questioned and blamed and fought and then finally, withdrew and stayed shut down for many years. It was one of the most painful things I have ever witnessed. I grieved too, but not for Marvin, he was beyond my sympathy, I grieved for his family of which I was a new member without all the history that they all shared. And like their father and husband, not one of them sought any kind of help or counseling for their suffering. I did NOT understand that. It would be years before I realized that depression remained in my household and decided I could not continue to ignore the grip it had on my life. My husband would not seek help.

Last year a dear friend of my oldest daughter lost his 20 year old brother to suicide. For someone so young and loved and decent to succumb to this horrible solution as an end to emotional pain and suffering is a hateful and sobering waste. And it only ends the suffering for one person. The family and friends carry that pain with them for the rest of their days.

Yes these are always tragedies. Terrible tragedies. But labeling them tragedies makes it seem like we are somehow powerless to prevent them. I have no doubt there are some people bent on self destruction no matter what anyone else thinks, says or does. But I believe that the problem lies in our society’s attitude about mental health. The fact that there remains a stigma around mental illness in this country in 2005 when we have learned so much is just pathetic. We are a country in denial. We could solve many of our social ills if we simply accepted that mental illness is not a moral failure and that mental health is an integral part of our overall health.

Before I get any deeper into this topic and completely scare off anyone still reading to this point, I have a point. Kandis’ friend, Brian is walking for his brother, Allen, in a Out of the Darkness Community Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He’s looking for sponsors. Perhaps you knew someone for which you might contribute. It’s a step. Peace and health.

Progress

Sockpal2 Well, Alison was fast today and I missed getting into the list for updates, but my Sockapal2za socks are moving along.  One finished and the second half done.  I do love this yarn and the pattern, but will need to fiddle with the pattern to get any to fit me.

Mariah_sleeves I am also on the second sleeve of Mariah and can’t wait to finish it.  Yes, I know it’s not even August yet, but fisnishing this just means I might sneak in another finished sweater before either of them are actually needed.  Plus I don’t have a hoody and this one is really cute.

Cottonsox I also have 2 FO’s though neither of them is a big deal.  First the Regia Surf cotton/wool socks I have been working on forever – it’s a very subtle colorway, but I like them.

Moebius_2 And then the Heartstrings Soft Cables Moebius Lace Scarf in Alpaca.  I made the 40 inch scarf and I think I will make the smaller ones in the future.  Also because this alpaca was very fuzzy, I think it obscures the pattern a little bit, but it is oh so soft to the touch.  This will probably  end up a Christmas present if I can decide who would like the color. 

But wait, there’s more!

Trampsox Swatches Yes, I have been swatching – see? And I started yet another pair of socks – Skacel Trampoline stretch.  My first time to knit with yarn that has an intentional stretch feature.  The’re cheerful and I always need a project I can take to meetings.

Okay, I think that about does it.  I have many things in the queue, but until they get started I won’t talk about them.

It really is time to start thinking about holiday gifts so if you can handle the imagery, think snow and Jingle Bells.  Of course we never get snow in Texas, but don’t let that stop you.

Ready, now hum with me…hmm, hmm, hmm.

Feeling much better, thank you.

Lake Sometimes you just have to take a break.  This weekend we got to go swimming here: Madrone Lake at Selah, Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County.  The day was hot, the company was delightful and the water was perfect!  This is my favorite fresh water swimming hole and we are lucky to count these folks among our friends.  Abby has now expressed an interest in learning to swim so I guess we’ll be checking that out very soon. I assume even a four year old can learn to swim if they really want to.

I took my knitting but never got it out of the bag.  I took the camera and never got it out either – the photo here is courtesy of the Selah web site.  I also still don’t have a photo of any knitting, but I plan on taking care of that this evening. 

I still feel a little organizationally challenged, but after hearing some of the comments over the last few days, I don’t feel like the Lone Ranger any more.  Must be a seasonal thing.

And we have a winner!

Blog contests are a great way to promote de-lurking.  Who knew just how popular that book was?  It was great fun being able to give away a prize that seemed to make so many people happy just for the chance to win.  I only wish I had a prize for everybody.  I may have to evaluate my collection and see if something else might find a happy new home.  Anyway, the drawing was supervised by my husband, Tom and the charming and impartial Abby drew the winning name out of the shoebox.  And the winner is…

Susan of ZenKnits

Hope you like it Susan and congratulations!  Thanks to everybody for playing.

Can’t find my butt with both hands!

I really want to write a post.  An intelligent, witty and inspiring post.  But I seem to be extremely distracted lately.  I have some FO’s to report and progress on the Sockapal2za Sock and I have even been swatching like crazy for all sorts of holiday gifts.  Unfortunately, I seem to be in some sort of organizational fog and can’t seem to get everything together enough to write a coherent paragraph accompanied by photographs.

Loopy_1  I guess I might as well conduct a contest, sort of.  I have a book I would like to give away.  You really need to want this book.  I heard a lot of buzz about it and then I got it and it is not something I will be able to use.  Nothing against the book – it’s a matter of taste.  There isn’t a single thing in this book that I can imagine making, wearing or giving away.  I must be much more conservative that I thought I was.  Anyway, if any among you would like this book, please leave a comment.  I will put all the names in a hat and have a neutral party draw the winner.  The book is Loop d loop by Teva Durham.

Perhaps the process of managing the voluminous entries for this, my first contest, will snap me out of my inertia funk and I’ll get back to the important stuff at hand.  You know; knitting, talking about knitting, blogging about knitting, reading about knitting and of course, the occasional rampage against "Retards in Politics".  Help me out, eh?

Update: Since my inertia is unlikely to subside before the weekend, the contest will end Sunday at Midnight.