Eeyore from sheep to shawl…

I’ve done it, finally, and it’s only taken a year almost. Actually, now I look at the dates on the early photographs, over a year.

This is Lydia. Well, Lydia’s fleece, some of it; I divided the whole thing with a friend. Lovely colour.

But it’s been a year full of hand problems, from simple injury (OK, ‘massive trauma’ – physiotherapist) to Whojumaflit’s Atrophy of the hand, to mad triggering, to steroid injections, to three weeks’ grace and then back to Yikes Mcflikes and eeeeoowwww, but with the thumbs this time. And, boy, am I in a flare-up now, though they may be calming a bit – possibly because the rugby’s been too exciting to knit through.

Acupuncture helps but cannot cure it; exercise helps but ditto – and now, I suspect, hand surgery awaits. I’m still waiting to see the surgeon, but there’s no point in more steroid injections into the tendons – phew, they’re nasty times twelve – as they’ve just worn off. Surgery remaining option, but fortunately has a very good rate of success… and that’s why there have been a couple of weeks since my last post. Ouch.

I suppose I could give up knitting and spinning. Yeah, right.

That’s really going to happen.

And at least the acupuncturist understands and takes it seriously; I’m glad someone does, but then she’s an avid quilter. The original injury went down on the physiotherapy department’s ‘bizarre traumas’ list; I don’t think they’d encountered a spinning injury before, or not a wool spinning one at least. Most spinners are, after all, more sensible than lil’ old moi.

In the Winnie-the-Pooh analogy that is life, I’m not usually an Eeyore. Even my best friends have me down as an irredeemable Tigger, with a hint of Owl and quite a lot of Rabbit. But now I find myself channelling an old grey donkey: ‘Good morning, Pooh Bear … if it is a good morning, which I doubt…’ But Tigger eventually reasserts himself – generally when the strange Chinese embrocation which is rather like liquid Tiger Balm kicks in – and I go bouncing about again.

I bounced quite a bit when I finished my first-ever piece of work from fleece I’d sorted, scoured, carded and spun. And I even like it!

It’s a version of a frilly baktus – cast on ten, increase at one side every four rows until you use half your yarn, then decrease, but with a short-row ruffle added. Had a bit of a battle with the unevenness of my spinning, but in the end it didn’t matter that much and just adds character. No, it does.

But I do have a problem – how to wear it. It’s not small. Do I wrap it, Faroese style?

Well, possibly not with my boobs (Doris here has not yet been padded to conform with reality). Or my height, either – too short.

I’ve tried swinging it jauntily over my shoulders but it a) unwinds itself pretty quickly, even when I use a shawl pin, and b) catches my feckin’ thumbs when I do so, and a madwoman shouting out loud in Tesco is not the image I had in mind when I made the shawl. But I may have got there:

Middle at the front, sling ends round back, screech, bring to front and tie using fingers and absolutely not thumbs. It doesn’t fit under my coat, and gives me no discernible neck (rather like a prop forward, though I happily lack the cauliflower ear and the tooth shield), but in other circumstances it Works.

And I don’t just like it, I lurve it:

I’m still completely besotted with the natural colour of the wool, and with the whole process. I’m definitely controlling the means of production (well, apart from not actually raising the sheep myself, but I think a flock in my garden might cause consternation, even here in rural Wales). And I can snuggle into it. I know cats go fleece snorgling – an interesting and appropriate new word, gleaned from Ravelry – but so do I.

And now Eeyore has been banished at least for a while. He may be back, of course, especially as I’m being considered for a demented new commission – I’m just a hack – which will drive me bonkers: ‘This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it.’

Go Eeyore…


14 thoughts on “Eeyore from sheep to shawl…

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks – I’m still in love with it too! (Found myself wrapped in it last night, sitting in front of the stove. I seem to be going back 150 years!)

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – I’m quite surprised at how successfully it turned out – now I just want to be able to deal with the fleece mountain that has built up… The shawl took half a fleece – kempy bits went in cushions – and I’ve got, hmm, seven whole fleeces to go. Yersssss….

    1. kate Post author

      Sheer bolshieness / cussedness, I think, carried me on! Two lines a night – I’d have been pig sick if it hadn’t turned out OK….

  1. heikeknits

    Thumbs Up! 😉 (sorry couldn’t resist) truly stunning. Love the colour, love the style and how fab you can wear it so many ways.
    Happy Monday from The Owl here x

    1. kate Post author

      Hah hah (hollow laugh)… and of course you’re an Owl! (Probably with quite a bit of Kanga? I have a mental image of Kanga knitting, must go and check – but I’m probably hallucinating!)

  2. del

    Well, gloomy or not, I always loved Eeyore. I LOVE the shawl. Such a simple stitch pattern, but it fits that color and yarn so incredibly well. Hope your hand issues get cleared up — I know I couldn’t ever give up knitting.

    1. kate Post author

      I know – I’ve always had a soft spot for him too…

      With you on not being able to imagine no knitting. Agh! I’m sure I can work out a way of knitting using my toes if it comes to it… though I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything as wonderful as your Girasole!

  3. Annie

    Clearly a labour of love! And quite, quite lovely m’dear 😀 I must admit to having a soft spot for Eeyore too, and Piglet, I’m very fond of Piglet.

    1. kate Post author

      Oh yes, he’s lovely – such a sweetie. I must admit that despite the name and Shepherd’s illustrations it was ages and ages before I realised Piglet was a small pig toy – he was so far removed from the squealing, grabbing, fighting, troublesome piglets I knew who were always escaping and causing chaos (more like Tiggers than Piglets, in fact)…

  4. Marilyn Raphael-Mathews

    I have had hand surgery on both hands, and am happy with the results. I had my right hand done, and the next year, I had the left done. It was AWFUL to be one handed for 3 MONTHS of recovery, hand in brace 24-7, the following 6wks or so of phys. therapy (hand and thumb yoga) flew by. I’m left handed. I use either hand with a sewing needle, knit & crochet “right” handed.I spin usually with my left hand behind my right, but I can switch if one hand gets tired. The wonderful thing about the surgery is that I can do what I choose, and be pain free. ahhhh.

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you again, thank you!!! The thought of doing what I want (spin, spin, spin, knit, knit, knit, knit, KNIT, hold a pen for longer than five minutes, garden, make bread by hand…) and being pain-free is absolutely wonderful. I shall cast any doubts aside and go for it. I have been using the wait for surgery to ‘consider my options’ – i.e. think about chickening out. And, in the great scheme of things, what’s three months?

      I’m right-handed but I spin left-handed, which is why my left hand is the worst. That’s the one they’re going to tackle first. Eek. No, not eek. Good. Bring it on!


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