I must resist, I must resist (sniff)…

It’s tempting to begin the year by getting all my stash of yarn out and making wildly unrealistic plans. I usually do just that; I pile it up, let it inspire me and start eighteen projects at once (most are still on the needles at Easter).

This year, I’m not so sure that would be a great idea. My needles are relatively still.

This January I can barely knit, following a stupid spinning incident. No, it deserves capitals and a definite article, at least in my little world: The Stupid Spinning Incident.

(It’s such a small thing in the scheme of things, of course, but I was responsible for it. I can’t blame anyone else; even the Daily Mail couldn’t blame anyone else. It was me. Grr.)

It all started with a spinning wheel. I wasn’t going to spin; I had no time, what with inconvenient things like work. Then my neighbour, a fantastic spinner, died – and I was given her wheel. She had been a good friend and a wonderful craftswoman, and I felt I owed it to her to master the dark art of making fantastic yarn out of fleece from a sheep that liked playing in the gorse.

The weather was good, which helped, and of course I was already hooked on wool…

So I learned, and it was not easy – but then I got it. Boy, did I get it. I was roaring away. I bought roving, I found more fleeces, I sorted, washed and teased them, I carded, I spun, I had a marathon plying session – and I ended up with The Claw instead of a left hand.

I stopped. It settled down.

And then I did it again. (Yes, I know. I’m an eejit.)

But now things are beginning to improve (excuse me while I grab next door’s black cat and run widdershins around the house for luck). I can spin for all of five minutes and I can even manage four lines of plain vanilla knitting an evening. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – carefully crossed – that what the physio described as ‘massive damage’ is finally beginning to mend.

There has been one distinct upside to all this, though. It has made me stop and think about why knitting, and now spinning, is so important to me…

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10 thoughts on “I must resist, I must resist (sniff)…

  1. KnitterInPink

    That is so amazing that she left you her wheel. And yay you for carrying it on!!! I love my wheel. It’s just a loaner, but I’m getting my very own next month!!!

    I hope you can continue your spinning and knitting very soon!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I still can’t quite believe I’ve got the wheel – it’s so eccentric (it was made by her husband out of recycled bits and bobs) and I’ll devote a post to it later. Borrowing a wheel is a great idea – enjoy your own though!

      Reply
  2. Nan McCready

    Hi Kate
    The reason that knitting & spinning are so ingrained in your pshyci (excuse spelling but brain cant get round it) is that youre like the rest of us, truly mad!! Only the truly mad can undersatand the smell and colour of wool whatever state it is in, from sheep to jersey.
    By the way I may take that remakr back. I boughht a sheep fleece duvet over xmas and let it lie out to fluff up a bit (it didn’t) then put it on my bed (covered of course). After about 2 weeks neither Robert or I can stand the smell. It really is very strong. Help. Its back to the duck down and feather!!!! Mind you even that is looking a little flat.
    Never mind, back to knitting. I have just finished a sort of waistcoat and various cardi’s for Lily. Now knitting skirts for her. She was one last week.

    Reply
  3. Mary Post

    Know exactly how frustrating those injuries must be Kate. Don’t give up, just gently get your body to accept what you want it to do. Have been gentle on myself this winter to preserve my leg. Really paid off and am getting back to my loom again now and enjoying it. Know I couldn’t give up, we just have to find a way to keep going. Good luck!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thanks — it’s been the most irritating six months of my life so far, I think. Hmm — not quite sure I’ve got this in perspective!

      Reply
  4. Annie, Harlech

    A beautifully crafted yarn on its history.
    Stunned by the Neoloithic Danish mini skirt in particular, would love to wear one.

    Reply
  5. spinningfishwife

    You need to learn to spin with either hand, that’s all! Spinning (especially when you start learning) is a pretty ambidextrous activity and it’s by no means unusual to use one hand mostly for singles and the other for plying. Or do one sort of draw with one hand and another with the other. I also know a couple of people with very acute mobility issues in one hand who can still spin just fine. It might be worth exploring the options? The main technical limitation for your wheel is that you’ve got to be able to start it no-handed, of course. Some wheels just won’t.

    AS for plying, the one thing that helps enormously is to rewind all your bobbins before plying to make sure they unwind smoothly without jerks. And to use a tensioned Lazy Kate of course to prevent over-run. Then you can ply using a constant feed-in technique rather than the stop-count-feed one, and that doesn’t stress your hands at all.

    For more on the same, join the UK Spinners forum on Ravelry….lots of spinners there with all sorts of limiting physical conditions, including myself. And lots of cunning ways to deal with them and keep spinning, lol.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Swapping hands is a great suggestion — I did start out using the ‘other’ hand and then changed because I found it easier; time to go back to my original way, perhaps and just get used to it. Happily my eccentric wheel starts fine with no help.

      On the plying front, I had been wondering about a tensioned Lazy Kate helping. A few of us are having a spinning day soon, so I might be able to try one and see how I get on – very encouraging, thanks a lot; it’s the plying that really causes the problems.

      (I’m in UK Spinners on Ravelry – my ravatar is Eilian – and hadn’t thought of asking for tips – dur.)

      Reply

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