Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spindles, Nice Packets from the Postman, Lemsip and Calpol

I have a kind of ignorance, soup and garlic attitude to sickness. I am not a very good patient, and usually decide to clear out that cupboard as soon as I feel the onset of a cold. Like I'm keeping myself busy just to ignore feeling sick. Then its daily doses of soup and lots and lots of garlic. I found a herbal remedy for colds which is basically chopped raw garlic marinated in honey for a few hours, then take teaspoons of the honey on a regular basis. The fact the child also takes it is astounding, (he thinks medicine is a treat, any kind of medicine. I sometimes give him a teaspoon of honey and say its medicine just to stop him nagging for more medicine!...Weird kid...).

But this time its different. The last 2 weeks have been very tiring as the whole household has come down with a bug. More the has enough time passed yet so I can take more drugs? Feck the herbal remedies at times like these we need the drugs. So we've been holed up at home watching hours of kids TV, administering Lemsip and Calpol with an eerie precision.

So, because of the general nasal noisiness from sneezing to blowing, I felt I should give up the spinning for a week or two, until the preboscus passages are back on track. (My nose isn't big, I swear, I was just trying to find another word to describe nose...)

I was scared my little fella was allergic to my new hobby of spinning, which usually left me and the sitting room covered in fine bits of sheep. But now I'm sick too, with the same symptoms, I don't think he's allergic. I can spin again as soon as we're all cleared up. My ever-useful partner suggested I only spin at night with the window open. Thanks! Just as well we don't have a tower in the back garden, he might expect me to lock myself in it, grow my hair really long, and spin gold from straw..Well. I suppose I'll finally make all the money I've been promising..I really need this tool, or this type of wool, then I'll be able to make stuff, open an Etsy shop and make loads of money!!

So, I'm going backwards, that's the Lemsip and Calpol story, now here's the Nice Packets from the Postman...
Recently I received a lovely LOVELEY packet of fibre from Rockpoolcandy. I was moaning about not being able to enter the St. Patrick's Day Competition, and win that great prize. So she kindly sent me some fibre as a consolation prize. Thank you, Thank you!! I love it, and can't wait to start spinning again..

Also, in the post was a packet from Stephanie from The Yarn Room. The packet arrived late into my hands, not because of Stephanie, my order went through very quick, but because of the bloody postman, who for some crazy reason put the packet through the window into the other half's workroom, where it lay hidden un-noticed for days. So now, if I am expecting something in the post (like my Travelling Scarf*), I will check all the windows every day. In this packet was a fantastic gadget, the Clover Yarn Cutter, yarn cutter and pendent in one! A brilliant gadget I saw Peeko use at the Knit and Stitch show last year, and I have coveted it since..I previously used a very small, sharp needlework scissors that my little fella is very good at finding, so this is great. I have to make a nice cord for it yet.. I also received a pack of Merino/Silk Sliver, this is just beautiful fibre and can be spun or felted. I am dying to try this out too, that is when I can spin again..Thanks Stephanie.

Now for the Spindles..
I have always been interested in history, and guess what...the history of textiles. I have books on Mexican, Indonesian, Egyptian textiles, all full to the brim with lots of great pictures and diagrams. But I always found when it came to Irish textile history, its a bit lacking. I have Mairead Dunlevy's Dress in Ireland book, but its a bit vague on the earlier periods. I mean, "unspun black horsehair in herringbone twill carefully woven without a prominent selvage...with a separate band woven independently and sewn inter place" Do you understand that? I sure as hell don't. this is the start of the book. This is c750! If they could do that, what else could they do? Herringbone twill is not on any beginner weaving course I know, and horsehair isn't the easiest to work with, so where did the knowledge come from, what other textiles were they doing at the time? Sorry, I'll try not to rant...

Recently I joined up the Irish Living History forum. Unfortunately, its more swords and helms then any practical textile how-to advice. I mean, they all do a good job of getting their kits together, can be very fussy about getting it periodically correct, but its still a bit lacking in detail about how. I want to know HOW!

So, I have embarked on a crazy scheme, to try learn everything there is to know about early Irish textiles, the hard way. By actually doing it. I must admit it has been a goal of mine for years to do this, and I am thanking the economic downturn for giving me the hopelessness of finding a good job, so I can finally take some time to start this project without feeling guilty at not having the good job...So, feeling very lousy with this cold, and trying to amuse the child, I embarked on a spindle making session. He had his Playdo, I had half a bag of self-hardening clay.

We both made a mess, he got bored and went off to watch Socky and Emma and I came out with these.

I've been reading all about spindles, of different sizes/weights for different yarns. So, rather than buy several spindles, I decided to make my own. I read somewhere something about the difference of spinning with the weight centered in the middle, by using a conical whorl, so I made both to test out. These are the rough weights of each whorl, so they range from making lace to bulky yarns

.5 oz/15 gm
1 oz/28gm
1.75 oz/50gm
2.5 oz/70gm
3 oz+/85gm

I will leave them another few days to make sure they are fully dry, then I will get some doweling to make the rest of the spindles. I'm just wondering, does the wooden part of a spindle have its own name?

(*ah, the Travelling Scarf Saga. I joined a Travelling Scarf group on Ravelry. This is where a small group of people each start a section of a scarf, then post it on to the next person, who adds a section, then posts it on, etc, etc. It's a lovely little project, it takes a couple of months, and you get to chat to other like-minded folk, and end up with a multi-country scarf. Trouble is when your scarf goes AWOL, then someone elses, then someone elses, so you start a new one, then that also goes AWOL, then the original turns up , then the 2nd one turns up...As I said Saga!

A Big Big thank you to happysunshine, the poor sod who has been trying to keep control of our un-ruley group!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rapunzel Rapunzel
Let Down Your Hair

Her Other Half (not the better 1, apparently)