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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Respecting others

The world feels like a very strange place at the moment.  It's been a rough year in many ways, personally for me, and politically for many people around the world.  Here, we had 'Brexit', which has shaken a lot of people up quite badly, and which has been immediately followed (and in some cases, preceded by) a lot of turmoil and upheaval and ill-feeling in our political parties.  Many, many things have been said, by a lot of people, and many of those things were said in anger, or were based in fear, and many of them were perhaps not as fair or as tolerant or understanding as they could have been, on all sides.

Fast forward a few months, and we hit the US presidential election; obviously their political system differs from ours considerably, and things like that are much more drawn out than our elections are, so there's been a lot of preamble and rhetoric.  But in the weeks and days immediately preceding the voting period, and the announcement of the new President-elect, we saw the same sort of thing as happened over here; a lot of anger, fear, dislike, and intolerance was being bandied around, from all sides. It all seemed very personal, which is deeply distressing, and once the result was announced, things went downhill rapidly.  Protests, apparent hate crimes, and a lot of fear and anger and turmoil.  I fear it's going to be a long time before either the UK or the US settles down fully, and a lot of harsh things are going to be said in that time, which would better remain unspoken.  People have voted; democracy has happened, whether we like the outcome or not (and I'm not going into my personal feelings on the subject here), and now everyone has to live with the outcomes.  Whether those will be what people expect is another matter altogether, of course.  But in the meantime, there are serious riptides of feeling on both side; mutual incomprehension as to how the other side could feel and vote as they did, and an apparent conviction that to think differently is to be both wrong, and somehow tainted with all the worst aspects of the disliked side... and if we're not careful, those riptides could drown us all.  At the moment it is hard to see how we can be expected to create a united kingdom, or a united states, with all the ill-feeling, name-calling and general loathing that is being thrown around.  And I'm not immune to it - I've had my moments (lots of them) of absolute wonder at what's happening, and incomprehension as to how anyone else could think differently.  And that's normal.  But I refuse (okay... I'm trying to refuse) to name-call over it; to hate anyone for thinking differently, or to think less of them for doing so.  It's bloody hard; I'm a very judgemental, very quick-tempered person, and that does not make for patient, serene understanding, I can tell you.  So I'll leave you with this, which comes from Quaker Advices and Queries (which in turn comes from Quaker Faith and Practice), and which is what I'm trying to cling to and live as best I can at the moment:

Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.

I think that pretty much says it all.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Okay, seriously - no more test knits*.  The never-ending 4-ply cardigan of doom is fine, and the end is in sight, and it's a lovely pattern which I will almost certainly knit again (although maybe not in 4-ply...).  My other one - my lovely, lucious cabled cuddle of a cardigan (as I thought it was going to be).. well.  First there was the problem with not having the charts, but that wasn't really anyone's fault, although it was frustrating that it took so long for it to become apparent that that was the problem (seriously; I actually mentioned in the test thread - more than once - about how it would be really useful if it was charted, and no one said anything).

But now it looks like the test may have died; I'm guessing the designer is dealing with real life stuff, so I don't want to be harsh on her, but the fact is that there's been no communication from her for about three weeks now - despite people asking questions, etc.  And the thing is that we're waiting for corrections/updates for the sleeves, so people can't continue until we hear something.  One person has already dropped out, and I've said I can't commit to any further deadline because I have too much stuff on now.  The deadline was supposed to be 31st October, which was fine, but now... well, who knows?  I've said I'm happy to continue testing the pattern once more information is received, but that I can't guarantee a completion date.  It's a shame, as I loved the design, and I was enjoying knitting it, and I really wanted it to be done in time for going up to my family for Christmas (both to show off, and to keep snug - Scotland is not the warmest place in December!).

So really I'm just a bit frustrated.  This year has not been good for test-knitting, between broken bones and everything else, and every time I've felt terrible that I've had to pull out of the test.  And now, when it actually looked like I might be able to finish this one as well, there are problems on the other side of the testing equation.  I hope the designer is okay, and I hope that she manages to get this gorgeous design out there into the public, because it really is lovely.  It's just such a shame that things aren't working out right now.

*That is, no more test knits this year...