Like The Queen
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Friday, March 19, 2004  

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! It’s Friday!

Only one more week till my vacation starts - but I get a sneak preview on Saturday when a FiberFriend comes for a play date. Just thinking about a week off lifts my heart. There’s a little trepidation too; will I get everything done? Done well?

Part of the reason I’m taking off the last week in March is because it was the soonest I could clear the deck at work. This winter has been packed and while things have plugged along just fine, (well, maybe not fine, but at least barely just), this last week is chock a block full of commitments. So today will have to be a rigorously disciplined one. This week I’ve been lax with my Lenten promise - and gone on-line some during work hours. You can’t believe how bad this makes me feel - like I’ve been eating too much chocolate - which I also have been doing, thanks to GirlScoutCookies. Only half a box got all the way to my house because, since that half was already inside my stomach, I stopped off at LD‘s place and left the rest of them on his kitchen table. It seems that if one slides in one area of one’s life, it is very easy to slide in other areas - sort of “I’m a looser anyway, may as well loose all the way.”

Now - that sort of “poor me” thing is not something I usually indulge in - and I’m wondering where the heck it comes from. I don’t think I’m in a fit state to analyze any deep roots these days, but I do know the Band-Aid to apply - which is to smack self upside the head and get off the blanketyblank computer when at work. I do know that failing to keep promises to myself really depresses myself - so hey - don’t fail to keep my promises, right?

I am also having some problem with my hip. I’m not sure what it is - it’s not in the joint - it is either a pulled muscle or tendonitis. (from Sunday’s marathon spinning session?) I have never thought about tendons in hips - this ache is on the outside of my right hip, not at any joint but in the flesh - as if I’d fallen against something hard - which I haven’t. It hurts to stand and start walking and it hurts if I press against it but once I’m moving it doesn’t hurt nor does sitting bother me.

I did the lower body workout yesterday at the gym and realize that I can’t do it again till this thing clears up. My whole leg tingled - all the way down to the toes. If it is tendonitis and if it’s because of spinning I am wondering if I need to get a double treadle wheel. Or if I did, would I only get tendonitis in both hips? Hmmm. okay - promise promise time - if it isn’t gone by next week I will go see the DR.


I washed the angora yesterday a.m. and it is dry and utterly lovely and ready to show off to friends. It is the finest spinning I’ve ever done. Spinning is an interesting process - you spin so very much stuff and it is instantly hidden on the bobbin, so you can’t really remember how many times you decided “that bump is okay - it’s not that much bigger than the rest of the yarn” or the reverse - “that thin spot is okay...”. It’s not till you start to ply two singles together that you realize how frequently you let something slide. Thank goodness I’m not a perfectionist - I should think spinning would be a hideous activity for one who wanted perfect - but perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps a perfectionist would just get perfect about it.

Anyway, each skein I spin teaches me minute skill and after a while those skills become apparent in the finished project. And this angora must have been one of those Moments Of Display, because I am really pleased with how it looks. I washed it when I set the twist - so sure it was a little tightly plied, but once wet, it relaxed and is simply lovely to touch and to see. I am going to really enjoy knitting with it.

Did a little experimental spinning with the brown merino too. I got a lovely 15 wpi 2 ply sample, but it seemed a little thick compared to the angora. I haven’t wet set it - and I just realized I ought to. And to knit up a tiny color strand swatch to see if I like the merino at this thickness or if I need to spin it thinner. I hope not - since the thinner sample I tried was way too uneven.

So - why would 15 wpi be perfectly lovely and 18-20 look like crap? Setting aside my skill - which is an important factor - I believe it has to do with the micron count of the fiber and it’s preparation. I can’t remember whether the high micron count means fine or the low one - but this is a coarser merino than the merino tops I’ve usually spun with. It’s a roving as well, not a combed preparation but a drum carded one. The fibers are not as aligned, though they are basically all going in the same direction. I like working with this bouncy springy preparation and trying to spin a semi-woolen yarn, but it requires trusting the fiber that comes out of the leading hand, once you’ve released the twist, to settle down smoothly into an even yarn. It does surprisingly frequently - and with time, I hope, it shall do so with what I might call faithful regularity - but I ain’t there yet.

And trust is an interesting element in any craft. It comes with skill and knowledge, but it still requires that "letting go" of control. In spinning, when one is pinching that yarn up by the wheel, holding back the twist, while one draws out the fibers behind the pinch, one eventually must believe the fibers have been drawn out evenly enough - and that aproixmately the same number of individual fibers have been drawn out - that when the pinch is released and the twist leaps forward - it will settle down into the yarn you want. As I said, skill and knowledge will eventually make it easier to apply trust, but the application is an act in and of itself.

And there I have to constantly push myself. I am the QueenOfChickenHearts. You should see the family's home movie of 5 year old me taking my first slide down the sliding board into Overhill Lake. No kid ever took so long to creep down a 6 foot slide. Hey - who knew if there weren't sharks down there waiting to eat me - and besides, I couldn't swim and what if I went underwater and couldn't get back up? Well? Who knew!?!

Since my family has forever ridiculed me and cast into my face my QOCHedness, I know it's true - but I also boldly thrust my clucking heart forward, in swimming, in spinning and in many other areas of life. What they always forget in their haste to poke fun, is that I did make my way down that damned board and on my own steam and at my own pace.

Woops. Well. Where did that come from?

So, back to spinning that merino. The trouble is that with this fiber and preparation - it’s too easy to spin too much - to make it a tight preparation and I promise you, no matter what its called; merino, lambswool - whatever - tight spinning of a carded preparation will turn out scratchy.

Gad! I love it that there’s so much to learn about spinning. And Sheryl made my house as beautiful as it can be made, so I can play with fiber all weekend. FF and I will even do a little dyeing - since I need a tan yarn to go with the brown and angora, and I still haven’t dyed that fabulous silk top I got from Spirit Trail Fiberworks.

And I see on Annie’s blog that she’s almost finished with the two designs she’s making with Spirit Trial yarns, to be sold as kits. I already know I want the golden mohair kit - I’m sure I’ll want the other too. Lawsee - I know where my money’s going this spring.

Happy Friday, all.

posted by Bess | 7:13 AM