Day 184


For a blog that I started largely as an accountability platform for a year-long knitting project, I get more followers because of, and likes on the posts I make about my mental health. I hope that, for those who need it, I am helping in someway and that, for those who don’t need it, it will help you when dealing with someone in your life who exhibits similar behaviours.

I don’t consider my mental state to be a ‘problem’ any more than someone with diabetes or epilepsy might. I take medication to balance out a biological deficiency – I take iron pills as well as mood stabilisers and I consider them both this way.

Or course, I would prefer to not need them and every day I struggle with the act of actually taking them. I hate that I need them but I hate the person I become without them – without the iron I am always exhausted; without the mood stabilisers I am a dervish of nonsensical emotion and distractibility; without the blood pressure meds I would very likely have a stroke; without the stomach acid protection I wouldn’t be able to consume food or drink (seriously, not even milk or mashed potato). I know what I take and why I take it and it is that knowledge that has me downing the medication every day.

Speaking of medication, I had to dig out the paracetamol and buscopan today. The pain was so bad I was considering opening the huge bottle of oxycodone the hospital sent me home with. Not so bad I considered calling the hospital but I slept for 4 hours this afternoon. I did wake up pain free so I’m calling it a success.

No knitting because of it though. Sitting up is still awkward and things are still tense in my torso. And no knitting because I can’t think of any music to share. I know – I’m dropping the ball here. Still trying to get my groove back I guess. It’s been less than a month since I got home though.

Day 175


I finally left the house today after a week and a half at home. Yes, I went to knitting group. It was nice to have everyone glad to see me though retelling the story of my illness with 3 or 4 attentive listeners was a bit weird. It was also felt a bit odd how many of them commented on how much weight I must have lost. I did lose weight in hospital but I am still morbidly obese and I do not recommend my weight loss program. Basically, I can’t see a difference and I wonder if they do because I’ve been away for 3 months.

Afterward, I met up with Gladys at Waterstones so that we could catch up – she wasn’t one of the attentive listeners but had been one of my hospital visitors. I am always surprised by the genuine affection non-family members show me. One of the staff members was so happy to see me, I got a hug.

It was a lovely day but I am exhausted this evening so there is no knitting in favour of sleeping.

Day 153


No blanket photo today. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I created the plan to have a triangle worked in this direction but it needs a new pattern and I can’t think it through tonight.

I had a good day at knitting including selling the green and pink shawl I’ve been knitting. Got some food shopping done, bought some awesome new false nails and pink hair dye, and had a surprise visit from friends after dinner. But my neck and upper back won’t relax and I’ve had a headache developing for the last three days. It’s not very strong but it’s persistent and distracting. There will be graphing and calculating tomorrow to make it work

Oh! And I got the motor details wrong the other day. We’re looking to get a brushless motor for the e-spinner, which I think is going to need yet another reworking of the housing. It will be worth it. And we still haven’t spent half of the cost of a commercially made one.

Heard an old favourite while shopping today and I fancy something uplifting tonight. I really enjoy singing along to Des’ree. India Arie is very similar I think. Uncomplicated music with positive, melodic vocals. This song in particular was a positive for me during my teens when I felt most isolated from my peer group and alien in the world around me. It’s about the same time that I decided I was who I am and that I wasn’t going to change. But more than that, I refused to be told that who I was and how I felt was wrong. It’s not that simple in the moment to moment but it’s a desire, and a determination at my core. And when it comes to my precarious grip on my mental health, this is desperately important. It’s hard enough working through that mental mine field without also having to negotiate the lies we tell ourselves.

Anyway, Des’ree – You Gotta Be

Day 143


Still not quite back to ‘normal’ but I feel like I only did half a million sit-ups today.

I had intended to ply the blue-faced Leicester yarn then knit my blanket piece but I managed to burn out the motor on my e-spinner so finished it on a hand spindle. There was maybe a quarter of it left to go but that took much longer than I had planned so no blanket piece today. I’ll take measurements and photos of my new handspun in the day light tomorrow.

The motor burn out may be due to wood dust but it’s more likely that it just isn’t strong enough to withstand the stress of resistance in the flyer. We have another of these motors with lower rpm but higher torque and they are cheap enough that burning another, while annoying, won’t be bank breaking.

We knew when we started this project that finding the right motor would be the most difficult part. Many people who have built their own e-spinners have used sewing machine motors. I’m not convinced they are the best option but I’ll be checking the local charity shops for a cheap sewing machine to dismantle (which is the most fun part 😉 )

Revisiting my (tormented) youth with Pearl Jam today, just because.

Pearl Jam – Alive

Day 131


I finished spinning the single ply yarn today!!!!!!!!

Even better, I started plying it on the e-spinner. I was worried I’d have to do it by hand which would take an age I just didn’t want to spend.

All of which means that I have not knitted anything on the blanket today. Lame, I know.

And now, a song that makes me as happy as today’s progress. Sing along with me!

Fairground Attraction – Perfect

Day 128


No new blanket piece today – with the judicious application of Super Glue to the gears and gear shafts of my e-spinner, I have been spinning!!!

Building this device was only the beginning of the process. There have been so many things that have needed rethinking since the original design. While it probably could run from a battery, mains power is more constant and garners a better experience. I have had to consider how the pieces work together and failure  points (the gear situation). I have built and rebuilt the mechanisms that actually move to see which type of gears work best and discovered that a system using chains, like on a bike, works better than gears moving against each other, like in a clock. My point being, I have the technology. I can make it faster, better… and I have. Not that we’re stopping here of course. Computerisation is next. I’m also thinking about making something like my Meccano spinner but with more clockwork. No idea if I can make it work yet though.

All of the fussing with the device this weekend has put me behind my goal but I now have a device that works for more than a few minutes at a time.