Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Happenstance: The Evolution of a Hap When Things Are Happening. . .

This has been my strange progress on Hap #2 from The Book of Haps, edited by Kate Davies and Jen Arnall-Cuilliford.  The pattern is Happenstance, designed by Rosemary Hill.

The first step was to choose my colours - in this case I had three perfect shades of Knitting Goddess Wensleydale/Shetland 4ply in my stash.

You start by knitting the garter stitch center which is a large triangle, increasing to its mid-point and then decreasing. Perfect telly knitting. 

 I tried not to get distracted by the other haps in the book, but cast-on for Houlland anyways. I seem to need to be working always on two haps at a go.

Then the day of the UK referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or not arrived. It was an historic vote, so I decided to stay up all night waiting for the results thinking it would also be the perfect knitting time. I finished the garter section but as it was then about 2am, I decided to hold off on picking up the stitches for the next step until after I'd had some sleep.

I wasn't at all prepared for the vote to go Leave and after the shock wore off, I felt rather bereft and tired and angry and so, so sad, though I could take some small comfort in the fact that Liverpool at any rate voted to Remain.  I'd booked the next day off but basically spent most of it lying on the couch in a daze feeling really unmotivated to do anything.  Knitting however, is always a nerve soother and so I picked up the stitches.

And started the wavy border.  I'd had my Houlland nearby the whole night as well, and just loved the combination of turquoise against the plum, so decided to add some blue (in this case Tamar 4ply from Blacker Yarns) and use the yellow for the garter edging.  And then I realized I was using the colours of the EU flag, and the two colours that the  BBC had been using in their coverage to denote the Leave (blue) and Remain (yellow)  campaigns/votes.  And I felt a bit of despair come on.  Did I really want this to be a constant reminder of the referendum? Was it subliminal resignation  that I'd chosen to knit more blue stitches than yellow? Did I just need several hours of sleep? 
I couldn't leave it just at those two colours and so added the grey for the final lace section symbolizing (in my mind at least) threatening and uncertain skies for the foreseeable future, even though I normally really love to knit with grey.   But I really didn't like this hap anymore - it was feeling too weighed down with all the emotions I was undergoing. Post-referendum events haven't been encouraging - the economy is sliding, politicians are resigning and bickering, and hatred is rearing its ugly head.

But knitting, the feel and texture of beautiful, hand-dyed wool, creating something - these are all good things aren't they?  This book of haps features designs by wonderful people from around the world including several Europeans. The hap-alongs that are coinciding with this book are filled with gorgeous projects and supportive global knitters. 

I kept knitting. 

And when it came time for the picot bind-off, I decided to re-introduce the cheery yellow.  The sun will come out; we have to remain optimistic.  Yellow is always my happy colour. 

I need to soak and block this hap which I imagine will take a day or two.  I hope to look at it with completely new eyes when it's finished.  Here's to hope. 

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