The more you read my blog, dear readers, you will become familiar with my love/hate relationship with London. I lived there for four and half years, only popping back home to Austin, Texas once in a while to pick up a new visa and gather up some strength to face the big city once more. My husband had lived there for eight years when we finally decided that we could either spend our entire lives dreaming of a simpler life and wait until we were retired to make a move, or we could escape to the country now. And we've done it! Except... that his band is London-based. And the more in-demand they get, they more we find ourselves climbing aboard the Berry's coach early on Saturday morning with mixed emotions - from excitement to see our friends (or attend a knitting show!) to dread of the crowds and unseen forces that bog down your day.
Last weekend I was particularly looking forward to a day out alone on Oxford Street to top up my wardrobe with some wintery goodness. I spent a lovely few hours drooling over the haberdashery and Winter Shop in Liberty before buckling down and picking out some affordable basics in H&M. New clothes in hand, I crossed the street to John Lewis in search of a sewing pattern for a cape. As I paid for my successful find, only then did I realise that at least whole hour earlier... in the H&M fitting room.... I had left behind.... my knitting bag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That horrible simultaneous hot and cold feeling flushed over my skin. I paid as quickly as I could and made a mad dash for H&M, where the staff were surprisingly lovely and helpful for Central London staff. They tried not to laugh at me when explained that it was knitting I was so desperate to recoop. They did a quick search of the store and took my details and then very gently, in hushed voices, just explained that lost items in London should really just be considered stolen, gone forever. But who would steal knitting?!?! I can only hope it was some opportunistic soul in desperate need of a blood-pressure calming project to occupy their hands on the tube ride home.
That's one of the reasons I started knitting so ferociously when I lived in the city - to calm my poor nerves. I love that tote bag that says "I knit so I don't kill." I think that might be true in my case. Not that I'm a natural born killer, but a bad day in London can drive me to be a nasty person. And I don't like being that.
You might be asking how on earth I managed to recover from this horrible incident. Well, with no spare needles or wool in my handbag, I just hopped over to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace the next afternoon and indulged in some woolly retail therapy! The results of which you see on the post today. I'll write a proper report back from the show later, but today I'd like to share what I started on my bus ride home to Somerset.
This is The Bubble Hat, a free pattern on Ravelry by Vridd Vrang. It's knitted on 5mm needles that I picked up at the show on lovely aran weight wool. I managed to knit up the most of the hat during the Great British Bakeoff final - so it's a quick one. I used a twisted single rib as I prefer the look of it to a regular rib. The bubble pattern is a cinch once you've got the hang of it, and the rest is all stockinette. I hope my family member like this pattern because I think everyone should expect it for Christmas!