Life outside of knitting (but still also actual knitting, obvs)

OK then. It has been one hell of a week in my world, thanks to a series of big national events beyond anything I could ever have imagined happening recently. This isn’t usually the place where I bang on about those kinds of things, but I am just too full of Thoughts and Feelings not to acknowledge the two huge things that have happened in the last 10 days.

Friendly note: If you are only here for the fun knitting updates, no problem at all! I often use knitblogs as an escape from reality too and I completely get it. Head straight on down to the second half of this post below – there’s lots happening in my knitting world too!

First though.

London

Last weekend I woke up on Sunday to news about a terror attack taking place in and around London Bridge and Borough Market. This was hot on the heels of a bomb in Manchester going off two weeks before at a concert.

No Londoner is sanguine about terror attacks, but most Londoners have lived in this city through at least one (including the one that took place only a few months ago). They are awful and horrific and beyond life-changing for the people (and family/friends) directly affected. But they don’t stop London (or Manchester, or anywhere else) rolling along and they never will.

This one took place just around the corner from my office – so close, in fact, that the office appeared on the news and was inside the police cordon for a few days. The stabbings took place in pubs and restaurants that my colleagues and I know and love and were in a buzzy, fun bit of London where hundreds of people would have been out relaxing and enjoying themselves. It’s more personal, is what I’m saying. So in short: fuck you, terrorists. This area has only grouped together more closely and supportively as a result of last weekend. You won’t change our way of life, ever. Tuesday night a friend and I went out to a gig (yes, it was Take That, and yes we are teens of the 90s) and both agreed that low-level anxiety about the tiny chance of being affected by terrorism can never be allowed to influence how we choose to live our lives. Also the gig was amazing (“neeeeever forget where you’ve got here from” etc).

(Anyone who wants to help some of the people affected by the attacks in London can contribute to this fund for the businesses in Borough Market which have been closed for more than a week while they’re still part of a crime scene. I am sure there will be something similar for people personally affected – victims or their families – though I am struggling to find something which looks official.)

So I was already a bit up and down, emotionally-speaking, after the first half of last week (I got teary on Wednesday when we could finally get back into the office, after walking past mountains of flower tributes and heartbreaking personal notes). And then we had a general election last Thursday.

All of the UK

My UK readers will have heard nothing but election news since Thursday night, so you can skip this if you like. My international readers, if you’re not especially connected to the minutiae of UK politics, are forgiven if you’re scratching your heads right now and wondering why the UK is going bananas over a result in which no political party is an outright winner but where the incumbent party still beat its closest rival.

It’s a bit complex. So complex that I just wrote and deleted three explanatory paragraphs. If you do want to know more then this news story is a nice simple summary.

I’ll skip to the chase – nobody, despite some earlier polls, expected the actual result of a hung parliament. Personally speaking I am beyond relieved that our parliament is now in a position where debate is going to be an essential and integral part of our route towards leaving the EU. I hope it’ll mean a more compassionate, considered and clever Brexit. It shows that you can’t use a slender result from a referendum as a mandate for forcing through brutal and opaque decisions about the future of the UK. I did a euphoric little dance when the exit polls were released Thursday night (and got very little sleep after having planned an early night – totally worth it).

May after election
© Jos Collignon @ Caglecartoons

It means that things are kind of chaotic right now, but I’m optimistic about what might happen next. I’m trying to temper it, because recent history shows that nothing can be taken for granted in politics, but we will see.

Knitting and all that, though

Knitting carries on and carries me through, and thank goodness for that. My only gripe is that I have TWO things on the needles which both demand my attention at the moment, and if I’d just had one I could probably have finished it by now. At its most ridiculous in the last week I’ve lost half an hour here and there due to indecision about which one to pick up next (not helped by the many forms of social media all vying for my attention and demanding I read more news RIGHT NOW before something else changes).

Knitting thing one, as indicated in my last post, is Sockmatician’s Twisted Soul MKAL socks. HELLO, CLEVER DIFFICULT PATTERN. This bad boy is extraordinary. I think I am a pretty advanced knitter, but this pattern requires a lot of concentration to avoid extensive swearing. I’m only just started on clue two (the heel, gusset, and intriguing instep/sole flaps – what the ?!*?, Nathan?) so stand zero chance of completing both socks in June. I’m still sort of hopeful I might manage one this month, though doing cables on the WS while knitting the heel flap is a right bugger and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

Untitled

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I’m still undecided about what colours to match it with, too. These are all Coop Knits Socks Yeah! and I’m wondering if I can use some of the ends from previous socks.

(I am also a tiny bit paranoid about whether I’ve messed up the gauge on this one or not. The sensible thing would be to rip out and reknit on the next needle size up, but I’m so far along and so many hours into it that I can’t bear to – yes, I know this almost certainly won’t end well.)

Thing two is the hood of my Driftwood. Which doesn’t make for the fanciest of photos, right now, because it is made up of endless, as-far-as-the-eye-can-see, never-not-knitting-it moss stitch. Oh moss stitch – you are inexplicable. I’ll work on the hood for a good hour or two and think how I must be close to the finishing point by now, and yet every time I measure it the bloody thing will have grown barely an inch. Argh.

Untitled

I am pretty close now, at least, and soon I can test out whether my new maths and different approach to crown-shaping will work or not. One thing I’ve never got about knitted hoody design is the number of otherwise beautifully crated patterns which make a hood by basically knitting a rectangle, folding in half and binding off the top edge – no adult woman wants to wear a hood that makes her look like a pixie, designers! Actually, perhaps not that many properly grown-up women want to wear hooded jumpers full stop, but those that do DON’T HAVE POINTY HEADS.

Ahem. So it’s all going on, knitting-wise. If I can finish either the hood or the first sock this month I will be pleased. If, extraordinarily, I can finish them both I will be DELIGHTED.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Clare says:

    Ahem – I totally want hoods that make me look like a pixie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well let me tell you that you are in LUCK when it comes to hooded knitting patterns!

      Like

  2. Kim says:

    I don’t need a pointy hood to look like a pixie. 😭😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of us are more predisposed to pixieness than others.

      Like

  3. Oof, I had no idea you worked so close to where the attacks were. I can’t imagine. Borough Market is one of my favorite places to visit — it’s a place I associate with such joy and vibrancy. It was so awful to hear about the attacks. I’m glad you and your coworkers and people in the area have rallied and are carrying on — you’re absolutely right, it’s the best thing. I’ve been following all the election coverage with a lot of interest. It’s such a different system to politics here, so it’s been a real learning experience.

    On the knittnig: woah that sock is amazing! I can’t believe its complexity. Hopefully a good vigorous blocking will sort out any size issues. I can definitely understand not wanting to rip that back! And your sweater is looking lovely … your comments on hoods gave me a nice laugh–thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you. We were all pretty shell shocked last week, and very keen to get back and support the market businesses as soon as possible.

      And thanks re. the socks comment – they are hard work but very pleasing! I’m hoping some hardcore blocking will make the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stefanie says:

    I was shocked to hear about what had happened in Manchester; we listen to 101.3 every morning and it was party of the celebrity segment. And then London; damn. I’m still a little confused about the election and what’s going on with Brexit but I’ll read up on it more.
    You are so patient with that sock pattern. Girlfriend, my sock knitting mojo is squashed flat like a bug on the floor. I kept looking at my Yule Ball WIP after Memorial Day weekend and was like bleh. I wanted to frog but my mum was horrified and told me, No, and just to put it away for another day. I think I may need a vanilla sock…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brexit and the election results are confusing enough from being right in the middle of them, so no shame in that! And I totally feel you on the knitting mojo, I have been there. Definitely sounds like it’s time to put the one you’re not in love with to one side and pick up something simple and easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the horrible tragedy in Manchester, as well as events going on throughout the world. I don’t know if it’s because we have so many news outlets and social media that we find out more about these events now or if the world was just a much more peaceful place when we were growing up. I’m a teenager of the 80’s and I don’t remember stuff like this happening.

    I am in awe of your sock knitting skills. That is one intricate, beautiful sock and I also hope that blocking will help with sizing issues. I had socks like that once; however no amount of blocking was going to help them. I was also doing TAAT so it was specially painful to frog both of them when I was so close to finishing. I also agree with the pointy head. I also do not want to look like a pixie…that is unless I want to look like one. Then it will be deliberate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Paula. I think in the UK there was still certainly a lot of unrest in the 80s (different terrorists – it was the IRA then) but you’re right, information these days is disseminated almost immediately around the globe so everyone knows about it. All that said, the chances of being affected here are infinitesimally tiny, but obviously much greater dangers like road traffic accidents (or, tragically, poor building infrastructure which looks to be the cause of the enormous fire we had here two days ago) don’t get into the news as much.

      I haven’t actually dared pick up the sock for a couple of days – I need to get past the heel/gusset and then see how it’s looking sizewise (if it doesn’t fit then it’s never going to so it’ll be a crunch point). Wish me luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sierra says:

    The blows just keep coming but people still stand strong. I knit the whole body of a sweater in moss stitch so I completely understand about it never getting any longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, London got even more battered the day after I posted this. Makes you want to hug your loved ones even closer.

      Thank you for the moss stitch sympathy – it is like running in treacle, isn’t it?

      Like

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