If you don’t watch Hey Duggee I firstly entreat you to do so. You don’t have children? Doesn’t matter. Duggee will make your day better. He is the Harold Bishop of flash animated dogs, and the whole show is made with love and joy. Each […]
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There are a couple of books that I always carry with me (figuratively, if not literally) as a means of escape with added lessons to take back into real life when I am ready to return. One is Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years Of […]
I haven’t spun in a long while. I’ve spun on and off for the better part of ten years, first on spindles and then I later bought myself a spinning wheel as a congratulations to myself for persisting. It was one of my more symbolic purchases along with my first trilobite as both were things I had harboured dreams of owning but often didn’t think I would ever have. I would knit more often than spin so it seemed an extravagance, but it was wonderful knowing that I could spin and make yarn that I would cherish knitting any time I wanted. And I have made what I think are a few nice skeins of yarn both on the spindle and on my wheel.
I don’t know if I spin ‘correctly’. I am sure that I do not spin in the best and most widely recognised style, because I somehow have got to this point without ever actually seeing another person spin either in real life or on a video, or even having read a book or website on the subject. I was sent my first spindle by a friend many years ago and sort of figured that out: how to set it spinning and pull out a fine sliver of fibre whilst it was going, to twist and then wind onto the spindle.
When I bought my wheel I set my husband to the task of putting it together, and once I worked out which each bit did and how to attach the fibre to the bobbin, I just sort of migrated and adapted what I had learned on the spindle. I probably have a lot that I could learn and improve on, but I also create yarn that I do enjoy knitting with, which is what I want for now. I would like to learn to spin a heavier ply as I seem stuck at one particular ply weight, and if anything prompts me to learn a bit more and seek help it will likely be that.
But I have not done any spinning for a while now. When I was pregnant I did not carry gracefully or comfortably, and my baby was training as whatever the solo version of a synchronised swimmer might be. Arms, legs and bony backside jutting out everywhere. His bum was so bony that one midwife we saw during a late pregnancy check up confused it with his head. It’s a problem we still experience today.
When the screaming pink wrinkly thing came into the world there was a brief time when I took spinning back up again, and I started spinning some fibre I bought whilst pregnant, but the period of time when a baby is content to lay still and look up to you with adoring eyes is all too short, and soon enough he was off wearing at the knees of his sleepsuits, crawling to explore all of the things he could touch, and so the wheel was moved to another room of the house.
Only these past few days have I told myself it’s really not that much work asking my husband to bring the wheel in from the other room, and I have started spinning up three plies of yarn from a set of Hilltop Cloud Rainbow Sprinkles. To mitigate the fact that I can only seem to spin one weight and would like to knit a slightly thicker yarn, I have decided to spin this selection of fibre up as a 3-ply yarn.
The set consists of 160g of fibre made up of 20g each of eight colours: white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and charcoal. I wanted the skein to move through the shades in that order, but I also wanted to stagger the transitions slightly, so I split each of the six spectrum colours into three equal sections (by eye, I don’t spin consistently enough to make precise fibre splitting advantageous) and the white and charcoal sections I split to be purposefully unequal. I started by splitting the white skeins into three equal(ish) sections, then I split one of those sections in half and added one of those halves to one of the other sections. Essentially (if my maths is right), one of the sections of white fibre is ¹⁄₆ of the total, one is ²⁄₆ and the other ³⁄₆ (or ⅙, ⅓ and ½). By adjusting the amount of white yarn spun onto each bobbin hopefully each of the colours that follows afterwards will be similarly staggered, and I will reverse the proportional split when ending with the charcoal yarn to give a roughly equal total spun length on each bobbin.
Like pretty much everything else I am just guessing at what I am doing here, so it might not work at all, but if luck is on my side I may have something interesting result from this spinning experiment soon, and then I’ll just have to think up a suitable project.
May the new year continue to bring creativity and enjoyment!
2017 was, for me, a year of learning. I learned much about myself and other people. I learned that after a long time of being told by family, past friends and other people I have left in the past, as well doctors, counsellors and bosses […]
When Jen from A-C Knitwear announced the A Year Of Techniques project, there was one subject that I really, really wanted to appear in the line up, and that was steeking. Steeks are perhaps one of the more jovially divisive techniques in the knitting skills […]
I’ve had a horrible few days where every time I think about Tuesday, a couple of days ago, I feel nauseous. I thought it would pass and that I’d be over it by now, but though I have been telling everyone that I’m OK, was being silly, was tired, exhausted and it was just a momentary lapse of stability, really that’s because I feel that this is what everyone else will see as the correct and normal response, and therefore I think that would be the ‘right’ way to feel. I don’t feel that way, however. I feel like I am at a bottom of a pit with people walking by, and though a few have looked down and asked if I am OK, I have said ‘yeah, I’m OK, I just fell down here because I lost my footing… I’ll be right back up in a minute, don’t worry about me!’. I’m still sitting at the bottom of that pit. Actually, I’m sitting on the kitchen floor, but really I am here alone. My little guy is playing with his train set and making the same song play on his piggy coin bank so that he can dance, it’s beautifully happy just a few feet from me. We’ve had so many cuddles, but I’m struggling to stop myself crying each time.
On Tuesday we went to Play Group as is normal for that day of the week. There was a school photographer taking pictures of each of the girls and boys in the younger school classes as well as teachers and play group attendees. First ‘school’ photo. Very exciting. If I’d have known I’d have probably put him in something other than his top for a 9-12 month old that, though cute, has sleeves too short and I put on him in case we got to do some messy painting, but oh well.
The children sat cute and grinning for their pictures. Those that didn’t quite smile sat quietly and still. Then it was my little boy’s turn. He was OK for the first few minutes whilst the photographer set up, then he got a bit fidgety until his bottom lip jutted out and he started crying. I tried to soothe him but then he struggled away and got very upset.
As I lifted him up to say we’d try again later the photographer did explain that there’s ‘always one’ and that at least I would know what to expect from him in the future as some kids will always be that way and I will never get a decent photo of him. I nervous laughed. I think. I don’t even know. I felt overwhelmed and so turned and started to walk towards our pushchair. I guess it was something of mine. A safe space in a place that was not my own? I don’t know. I was trying to keep it together, but really the world was just whirring around and I was tunnelling towards the buggy. Then I heard the familiar and kindly voice of my friend ask if I was OK. I think I said yes. She said no, I wasn’t. She was right, I really wasn’t. I was crying, and now my struggle to hold it together had just collapsed.
It’s a stupid thing. I know that. And I know it’s not true. I have many beautiful photographs of my boy, but that’s not the problem. It’s that there’s ‘always one’ and that one is my boy. The glances from a couple of the other parents because my boy was ‘playing up’ just compounded things. I feel horrible.
I cried many times that day, and my evening was just more quiet time for that weight in my chest to squeeze my anxiety further. There’s always one. There is always one crap parent. That this is my fault and that I am actively doing something wrong to damage my child. His chances, his behaviour and his personality. If they are ‘wrong’ it will all be my fault. And he’ll always take an ugly picture. Because of me. Maybe it is my own social anxieties that are causing it. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t want to sit still during song time, or to stand in the circle and dance with the other kids. Because of me. And I’ve battled to take him to pay group every week despite it being literally the last thing I ever want to do because I am scared, and it’s so, so difficult for me, but I do it for him because I love him more than my life and because I’m doing my absolute blinking best, and I’m still rubbish at it.
I’ve spent the last few days loathing everything about myself.
A long while ago a health visitor told me not to display my anxieties in front of my child because I will pass term onto him, and I have fought and fought it so very much. I never used to be able to go into a supermarket, but now I do almost every day. We go to playgroup, swimming, walks, not because I want to but because I don’t want him to be as rubbish in his life as I have been.
My mother’s ex-husband once told me that I’d never have children as I ‘wasn’t the type’. I think about that all the time. Maybe I am not. I love my boy so, so much, but maybe that is not enough. Maybe you need to be a better person than me. I try every day of my life to do right by people, but maybe I am just not good enough at it. I love him far too much to ever feel any regret at becoming a parent, but sometimes I hate myself because he deserves a better mum than me.
I wanted to add a picture to prove that, actually, the photographer was wrong in the first place, but my brain is full of thoughts and panic, and I just can’t. And of course I’m crying, because as some hateful person once said to me ‘that’s all I do’.