Monday, October 27, 2008

Shades of Purple

First, let me start off by saying how sorry I am for this post being weeks later than I intended it to be. I have been neglecting this blog lately in practice, though in theory I have been writing posts (in my head) most every day. Many thanks to Linda for giving me a well-deserved nudge. My absence is due mainly to two things – a lack of items I can share with you, and a trip to Italy. I hope my absence can be forgiven, as I will post about both of these in the near future.

Anyways, a year ago I bought some yarn from KnitPicks. While it looked lovely on the screen, what I got was nice… but not quite what I was hoping for. Since then it has been lingering in my stash. I didn’t like it enough to use it, even as a gift, but I also couldn’t quite part with something I had just purchased. A month ago, I decided to try over dyeing it using Kool-Aid. I’m going to save the more specific particulars on that for another post (that in and of itself was quite the story!).

Before - KnitPicks Gossamer in Sunrise - nice but not me!

I set out initially to try to get a nice, rich cranberry color, so I first tried the cherry flavored drink packet. Overall, the effect was ok, but still not what I wanted. In addition, there were lots of patchy places where the color didn’t quite permeate. I decided that perhaps I really wanted a purple color, so I removed the yarn, and added in 3 packets of blue flavor (tropical punch?). The color took much more evenly, and produced a product I was much happier with.

After dyeing

Here is a before and after shot of my dyeing experiment. For my part, I am much happier with the ‘after’ than the ‘before’. I also prefer the more subtle variegation to the more drastic color changes. I’m still trying to decide what to make with the two skeins I dyed, and what to do with the 4 other undyed skeins I have laying around the house.

Before and after - much better!

Dyeing this yarn really got me thinking about the state of current US politics. I generally stay away from politics on this blog, as I am one of those who gets a little tired of politics invading every corner of my life. I hope you can all forgive me this one exception.

Don’t be alarmed – I won’t tell you who or what to vote for. Quite frankly, if you were to base your vote off of something you read on a personal blog, I would be concerned. If you are still not sure who to vote for, please read information put out by the candidates themselves to see what they say their position is, and also look at their past record to see what they’ve done in practice. Also keep in mind that the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live are quite funny, but perhaps not the best place to turn to if you wish to formulate a political opinion.

So… What does this have to do with my Kool Aid dyeing experiment? The fact that I needed both red and blue to improve this yarn really made me think long and hard about the state of partisan politics in America. To listen to almost anyone in the media these days, you would think that the world would be a Much Better Place if there were only red states or only blue states. Political parties seem to have evolved to the point where one party (and candidate) can do no wrong, and the other party (and candidate) can do no right. The fact that we are divided as a nation is apparent to just about everyone, yet it seems that we continue down a path of stubborn opposition instead of learning to work together.

At the risk of sounding idealistic, I wish we could all step back for a second and look at the candidates and the issues objectively. Certainly there are good and bad aspects to each candidate, as there are for each person. Furthermore, if you stop to consider your viewpoint on many issues (abortion, gay marriage, states’ rights vs. federal rights, size of government, use of tax money, etc.) it’s entirely likely that your view points on topics don’t reflect the viewpoint of only one party. Your personal political profile is likely a shade of purple, rather than red or blue.

After all, how likely is it that everyone within a political party agrees with each other on EVERY topic? The odds of that happening are staggering, which must mean that there must be some issues that you don’t agree with your party on. Are you a democrat that supports the second amendment? Are you a republican that supports abortion? Shouldn’t it follow that we have much more common ground than what is perhaps being portrayed by the media?

In my rather rambling way, I want to encourage people to vote based on their own personal beliefs, not on party politics. Please take the time to do your own research and formulate your own opinion with an open mind. While I know we will all never agree on anything, it must be possible to at least respect different opinions without bashing and belittling each other. We are all shades of purple as individuals. The nation is strengthened by this diversity, and can only benefit from us working together as shades of purple, instead of clashing as reds and blues.