Friday, 24 July 2009

Over the worst...?

I'm feeling better most days now, so that's much better than a month ago. I can manage a short walk - but yikes! Where did my muscles go! At least the consequence of a walk is normal muscle aches rather than the horrible achy virus fatigue - and I love getting outside, whatever the weather.

I've still the swollen glands, lost my voice the other day when I went round to a neighbour's for an hour of tea, cake and chat - but it was so good to go out and see someone!!! Much as I love my internet friends, there's something special about tea & cake with a friend. Last time I had a good friendly chat was when I sold one of my spinning wheels at the beginning of July - the Ashford Joy found a good new home.

Current thinking on my mystery virus is that it was probably a nasty but not unusual virus (the virology tests for nasty ones were negative), plus getting very run down. I was reading in the Guardian this week that going into work when you don't feel well can lead to chronic fatigue. I've been into work whilst feeling ill on far more days than I could count in the 12 months to May this year.

I hope to feel a bit better yet on Monday, because my new spinning wheel might arrive. Maybe it's a daft thing to do at a time when I'm on half pay, and hoping I will still have a job to go back to when I'm well, but a good part of the funds were raised by selling the Ashford Joy. This new wheel has been on order for several weeks, and I didn't want it to get here too soon in case it arrived on a day when I hadn't the energy to get it un-packed and assembled. I think Monday should be o.k.

It is a Majacraft Suzie Alpaca. I chose this wheel because the Majacraft wheels have the reputation of being very smooth to spin on. The Joy was a bit primitive compared to my Timbertops, and a bit small. The Majacraft wheels sit tall, you can adjust the flyer to left or right, and there are plenty of different flyers available. The Alpaca wheel should be good for all the types of spinning to which the Timbertops Leicesters aren't suited, like fancy or bulky yarns (I ordered a Wild Flyer) and I've also ordered a stylus for spinning off the point (great for longdraw spinning of cotton). Another reason for parting with the Joy, is that while it is a lovely clever design, folds beautifully and easy to carry... I realised that these were not the most important things to me in a 3rd spinning wheel. The Alpaca wheel can be carried about as needed, not as easily as the Joy but much more easily than the Timbertops wheels.

So plans for this weekend, while I wait for the new spinning wheel? Sleep, take things steady, and make a little progress with the Ryeland wool I'm spinning at the moment. If I have some spare energy, I've got 29 Japanese indigo plants (in the house and the greenhouse) and I want to use them to prepare a dyebath, I've got some worsted wool to dye that I plan to use in weaving. For the past couple of weeks I keep thinking I'll manage the dyeing... and I will someday soon, and by the time that's done the woad plants in my garden might be big enough that I could dye with their leaves too and have some different shades of blue.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


I am very glad of having heaps of interesting books to hand.

For about ten days now I've felt able to read a book. In order to read, I need to be able to concentrate for at least half an hour and take in what is written. I can do that now. I can't read lots, but I can read a bit most days and enjoy it.

On my bad days (Thursday and Friday were Bad Days) I feel no better than I was a month ago. On my good days, I can tell the difference and I know I am a bit better. I am not anywhere near to feeling as well as I thought I felt at end of May, when I went into work two days and triggered the relapse.

Still no test results from the virology lab., but even without a name to put to this it's clear that (1) I'm not well (2) If I do a little too much on a good day, I can expect a couple of bad days will follow (3) I am, albeit slowly, mending and the glands in my neck are less horrible and lumpy, they don't stop being swollen, but there's only been one day last week where they were painful. (I still can't talk much or long, partly my brain gives out, also my voice fades away).

The 4th July was a marker for me, nothing to do with American Independence day. Ages ago I had booked a place on a lace knitting course with Nancy Bush. All along I kept thinking I'd be well by then, it seemed far off. As it got closer I was discovering that feeling a bit better one day is no indication of how I will feel the next. I had to cancel. Then I had to re-think. I can't make plans. If I plan I invite disappointment. I don't know how long this is going to take, but it feels like it's set in for months rather than weeks.

I think I'm on half pay from work now, I don't know which date the full pay rate runs out. I'm glad we have the National Health Service. I'm glad I don't owe money to anyone.

This is what I missed knitting at the Nancy Bush class, an Estonian lace sample shawl, seen here on Freyalyn's blog.
I'll have to get around to designing and knitting my own.

I was hoping to spin the wool for the class as well, I had a go with some merino and learnt a lot, I used too much twist in the yarn so it didn't turn out how I had hoped.

I have been knitting sock heels, not the sock, just a couple of knits in the round and then the heel pattern, from patterns in Nancy Bush's Folk Solks. I started on these in May when I knew I had to choose between a lace knitting class or sock knitting. I've done 4 so far, it's been very useful for learning how sock heels work.

The book I have been reading most is Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox, by Victoria Finlay.
It is a very good book. Very well written. The author went all around the world exploring the history of pigments and where they come from, she had some amazing adventures, went to some incredible places.

The cats are good company. Phoebe alerted us last night to a frog in the kitchen. It must have come under the back door where we need to replace the doorstep. It went hopping around the house, Pheobe followed and helped catch it. She was very puzzled by the hopping. She went one way around the filing cabinet while I waited the other end with a large clear plastic pot (empty yoghurt pot) and a postcard. We caught the frog. It jumped down to the end of the pot with such a bump that the pot shot out of my hand and I had to pick it up again. Much laughter, more puzzled cat. We put it out the back door. Half and hour later it was back. I caught it in the pot again and put it out the front door instead, that worked. I always have the pot and postcard to hand for catching bumble bees, we often have those come in the house.

That's all for now folks. I'm very tired. This has been hard work.

Thanks for all the kind comments and e-mails.