Sunday, July 15, 2007

In A Spin

After the graduation celebrations at Durham University for my niece Sally, I put my sister (Sally's mother) Trisha and my mother in the car and drove south to Bedfordshire and dropped my mother off at Cathy's, my other sister's place. Then we headed off again, further south to Dorset to Trisha's place. I had a lovely time knitting, cooking and eating and watching the Morris Dancing competition in the local shopping centre. I thought I had loaded a picture but my blogging skills, which were never very good are a bit rusty.

A few days later I headed north to my brother's place, where we were all gathering to celebrate the 18th birthday of my niece Jenny. She had already received a pair of socks so I measured up my nephew, Martyn's long feet and set-to with the grey opal striping wool, to produce a foot-long-foot pair for him too. I also knitted the green ones with the Lana Grossa that I got from Tabbydashery. I think they will be mine.
My brother John has an allotment and so I came home with potatoes and salad from him (leek and potato soup) and blackcurrants from his allotment neighbour (blackcurrant and apple jelly). Apparently the wet summer has been a particular disaster for allotment tomatoes. The "blight" has got to all of the ones in John's area.

Trisha lives in Christchurch in Dorset where they are lucky enough to have a "Wool Shop". A delightful, tiny, overfilled and heavenly refuge on the main shopping street. I had just bought a couple of balls of the Town and Country sock wool and was about to turn away from the counter and leave when I noticed the colours of the Rowan Tapestry arranged temptingly on the shelf behind.
I dont need it. I dont know what I can possibly knit with two balls (NO, no thankyou! Please don't sugggest a scarf). Maybe I shall just get it out now and then and admire it. I think that single-plyed wool always looks better in the skein or ball than actually knitted up anyway. This particular colour combo reminds me of opals. A beautiful stone with sad legends attached.

After 750 miles of driving I arrived home late on Wednesday. On Thursday I decided that the spinning wheel glue had had enough time to set. The wheel held well and the conrod clip had arrived from Haldanes (wonderful Haldanes, prompt, polite, honest and so helpful) so the wheel turns without wobbling. However, as soon as I put pressure on the maiden bar it split. I got the glue and clamps and put it together again. While I waited I started on the fleece that had arrived. It is a very long-stapled, Teeswater fleece and needed combing rather than carding. I did a big boxful with a dog comb. The next morning was the moment of truth and I was much more careful in handling the maiden bar. I had drilled two new holes in the wheel support because one of the original screws had sheared off and I bought new screws and drill bits. It wasn't a breeze but I got it all together.
A year ago I would have left it all to Robert to fix in his workshop. He had put a lot of effort into teaching me how to use all the tools I would need so the least I could do was have a go. It was six months ago he died so I did a bit of crying and quite some swearing but in the end I had a wheel that worked.

And I made this.

It's meant to produce a lustrous yarn and mine is under-spun and under-plyed so it has come out too fluffy. At first I criticised the wheel for being wobbly but eventually it seemed to lose its wobble so I realised that it was me who was wobbly. I'm on the next two bobbins already. Of course they have extra spin and will be more tightly plyed, but these two small balls are more precious to me than the Rowan Tapestry. They signify that I have come a long way in a short time. Perhaps it's time to slow down a bit for a while now and just spin on a bit.
Love to all of you who have been so patiently reading my blog for the last eight months. The next eight will be better reading
Cheers Gillian


  • Sounds like you've had some wonderful events in the family. Socks have been flying off the needles! I love the green Lana Grossas and you deserve a medal for the foot long ones!
    Your handspun yarn looks beautiful, I admire the way you patiently coped with each obstacle, even though they raised some difficult memories for you. You did it and have some lovely handspun to prove it! You'll have to bring it to the next Knit n Natter, so we can all oohh over it!

    By Blogger artyfartykat, At 9:36 AM  

  • Great socks Gillian, and I am so glad that you are keeping the green ones for yourself. You deserve to keep your toes toasty warm on cold night. It sounds as though the grey ones will be using up a bit of yarn too. It seems as though the time with your family is helping you too, and that you are starting to enjoy yourself again. I admire you for keeping on with all the things you have to do with that spinning wheel. Maybe Robert is up there testing you out to see what you remembered from him. I think the yarn turned out lovely, and I am sure that very soon you will be producing wonderful things from your own handspun yarn too. I am also glad that you had a good cry too, you need it every now and then, pity I cant drive around in 10 mins though and keep you company.

    By Blogger sue, At 5:00 PM  

  • Ah, Gillian, you have come a long way. Your first yarn is gorgeous and should be kept as the precious pets they are. I so impressed you repaired the wheel. I would have given up in frustration long before.

    It's so lovely you can spend time with your family now, too.

    Thank you for the offer of a bed - sometime, mate, sometime, but probably not for a few years yet.

    By Blogger Taphophile, At 1:18 AM  

  • Your yarn is beautiful and you should be very proud! The socks are really flying off of your needles too. Your family is going to be spoiled by all of your handknits.

    By Blogger Heide, At 4:29 PM  

  • Well done, your hand spun yarn is a real achievement on so many levels. Glad you are keeping the green socks fo yourself, see you on Friday!!

    By Blogger gonga, At 4:03 PM  

  • Love the views from your new house! I'm glad you are managing with everything and congratulations on the spinning, I haven't done any for about 18 months and I;m sure I would be very wobbly to start with if I did somem ore right now!

    By Blogger Sheep Rustler, At 5:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home