Monday, February 8, 2010

You spin me right round, baby, right round.

At the end of last year, I went to support some of my Stitch 'n Bitch friends at the Queensland Spinners and Weavers Christmas Fair. It's one of only two days per year where non-members are allowed into the hallowed hall of the Emporium, a large room full of fibre-y,  yarny, equipment-y goodness. The very lovely Miss Vicki helped me to choose some lovely Merino from Treetops and a gorgeous silk hankie and recommended that I should find a nicer spindle than the plain Ashford beginner's spindles they had available.

So the fibre has sat, largely unregarded in its bag in one of my sneaky stash spots, under my desk, until this last weekend. The also very lovely Fee decided to hold a crafty day at her cosy abode and there was the suggestion that instruction in the fine art of drop spindling may be made available.

(side note. I have no idea why my language has suddenly become extremely flowery.Please bear with me. Hopefully it will sort itself out!)

With the prospect of some assistance in getting started, I thought it would be a good time to buy a drop spindle and found a lovely looking one at Spun Out, for a very reasonable cost. This is Emma, made by Kevin Rhodes. She's got a 3" cocobola whorl and a 10" purpleheart shaft and she weighs 47g. I think she's beautiful.

Drop Spindle - Cocobola whorl, purplewood shaft

I watched a couple of YouTube videos for background and only needed a little encouragement when I tried to spin at Fee's place. I was pretty pleased when a couple of the girls said "Are you sure you've never done this before!". This is what I have made so far. I'm pretty happy with it, although I'm sure when I come to learn how to ply it, it'll be overspun and underspun and everything in between. All in all, pretty good for a first effort, I think!

First attempt at spinning with a drop spindle

In knitting news, I've finished the Bendigo cotton Pinwheel Baby Blanket for my Sister's expected baby, who has the nom-de-womb of Munchkin. I took a punt on the edging and did a slightly ruffled garter stitch border. It turned out absolutely perfect and I am so immensely pleased with it. Sometimes something simple just works out really, really well, and it certainly seems to be the case here. The cotton yarn is stunningly soft ("softer than any Bendy cotton I've ever worked with" seems to be the consensus from virtually everyone so I don't know whether they've improved it or I just got a good batch), the swirl pattern of the eyelet increases is simply beautiful, and the edging finishes it off with a stylishness I wasn't expecting. This project just fills me with such pride that I've been able to make something so gorgeous for this much-loved and much-anticipated little person. I live 1000km away from Munchkin's home and so it is incredibly important that my Sis can wrap her (or him - the scans seem to indicate girl at this stage but you never know) up snuggly in my love, even when I'm far away. 

Pinwheel Baby Blanket

Healthwise, I'm well enough to go for six months before I see the gastroenterologist again. That's a good thing, but he did say that I have some narrowing of the small intestine where my ulcers form, and my haemoglobin count is on the low end of normal, which could have contributed to my tiredness. He also thinks that it's possible that the drugs I'm on are not really doing anything as there's no significant scientific evidence that they do anything for Crohn's, but I'm staying on them as they're relatively non-noxious and this is the longest I've gone without a flare, so there's some possibility that I'm getting some benefit from them. I haven't needed prednisone in nearly a year now, which is brilliant. I'm lucky enough not to really get any of the nasty immediate side-effects of prednisone on the short bursts I've needed, but the Doc said that everyone who takes prednisone gets some side effects eventually, and I do tend to put on weight and get a little bit puffy in the face, so staying off prednisone is a good thing in my opinion.

On the work front, my performance review was really good - better than I expected, and while the mountain that is my to-do list is still resembling Everest, I really feel like I've achieved some important things lately. I have a new boss, who is really supportive but firm and won't put up with any crap, and just in the last day, I've started feeling optimistic about the future again. This, of course, goes in cycles, so I know there'll be downs again, but it feels good to be feeling up, even if it's only short-lived.

I think I'll end there today. Sorry this post has been long and all over the place, but so much has been going on and I haven't felt up to blogging most evenings so it's all piled up. I think I might go and knit a bit more on my Margot sweater. It's been a bit neglected lately and it will be nice to finish something for myself!


  1. The Munchkin's blanket is beautiful. I am sure it will become a family heirloom.
    Nice work spinning, tempting.
    And very glad your health is at least on a semi-normal keel at the moment

  2. Although I already said this, cheers on your handspun! And gosh, that spindle is really gorgeous, too.

    I adore your pinwheel baby blanket. Seeing yours in progress prompted me to put the pattern in my queue and I have yarn ready and waiting to start it.

    Finally, very glad to see that your work review went well and that your medical scare was minor at best. Here's to good work and good health! :)

  3. Congratulations on winning that prize cashmere from the Yarn Harlot! : ) I found your site from her blog. I have been enjoying your Olympic trials with knitting.

    I don't normally have time to comment, I have 3 kids I need to make breakfast for and get off to preschool (family spacing can be important lol) but I saw something you had written about having Crohn's Disease. On the off chance have they tested you for Celiac's Disease? I saw another post where you mentioned trying to get a better diet and thought I would ask. There is also a nice little blood test that could identify food intolerances. I had to research this stuff for my son who has autism. I notice an awful lot of Crohn's information popping up with diet reference. Just thought I would mention it in case.

    I hope you get to feeling better. I have 2 friends with Crohn's and I understand how bad that can be. Take care and keep knitting! Maybe I will finish my socks sometime this year lol.

    ~Jenn Scott
    O' Forest Grove,Oregon

  4. Sorry lol I meant to tell you how lovely your spinning is. I have always wanted to try it out. I would say take it out for a spin, but that might elicit a groan. ; )