Drop Spindle

One of the painkillers I’m taking for my sore shoulder contains coedine, which makes me mildly spacy. Since I’m not the most graceful person at the best of times, I’ve decided to hold off on any sharp-knives areas of bookbinding unless I go off the medication for an evening.

Unfortunately, that leaves me with idle hands, which drives me nuts.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of taking up spinning for some time. Drop spindles aren’t that expesive, and I’d love to get good enough at it to spin my own headbanding silks. My friend EJ sent me some handspun silk that I’ve enjoyed working with.

But I like instant gratification, and ordering a drop spindle from ebay or the local spinning place has a time delay that has kept me off of it. Of course, there were those instructions on how to make one from a dowel and a CD…

So I did. My bad.


An old hair stick + a mini driver CD + a hook from some beading wire + leather to wrap the hair stick so the CD fits on it = 15g spindle. It’s perfect for spinning thick thread/thin yarn from cotton balls.

(Of course, it’s all wrong. One shouldn’t start with a lightweight spindle, because they’re too difficult to control. One shouldn’t start with cotton, which doesn’t draft and spin as well as wool. But then, one shouldn’t start binding with leather either…)

I don’t think this is going to be the obsession binding is, but it’s an interesting piece of skill acquisition. I may even order some proper fibres today. If that’s not too orthodox.


Last Friday, I woke up at 5 am with pain shooting down my left arm from the shoulder to the elbow. It felt like connective tissue that had become inflamed, and left me gasping and unable to get back to sleep. I had the day to myself around the house, and I was glad to see that the pain faded away over the space of the day.

M suggested I go to the doctor’s, but I was fairly sure it was just the result of sleeping on it wrong.

Then, last night, I woke at 3:15 with the same shooting pains. Ibuprofen failed to make any dent in the pain at all, and a hot water bottle didn’t do any good either. I finally found some paracetomal with coedine, which took enough edge off of the pain to allow me a bit more sleep. It wasn’t much – a couple of 45-minute dozes – but it stopped me whimpering in self pity.

The morning was a challenge – it was my day to get the kids up and get them to nursery. Alex was deeply sympathetic and protective of me (he’s a good guy when the going gets tough). Fiona, though oblivious, was charming and co-operative. But I usually lift them over a tall iron fence near our house, which was clearly impossible. We had to take a longer route, with Fionaberry on my shoulders (she doesn’t walk very fast yet).

I don’t know whether it was the medication or Fiona’s habit of holding onto my throat, but I was intensely dizzy and nauseated by the time I got the kids to Goose.

Just when I was sinking into self-pity again, though, I got a good dose of proportion. Three or four doors down from the nursery, I came across one of the neighbourhood lasses lying down on the pavement, attended by three other women. She appeared to have had some sort of siezure, and one of the others was clearly onto the emergency services. A couple of doctors from the local surgery strode up as the three women declined my help, and an ambulance drove screaming up just afterward. For a while, my shoulder didn’t hurt a bit.

It was a tough day, between the pain, the dizziness, the nausea and the tiredness. In retrospect, I should have stayed home and called the doctor, but I was sure the pain would go away as it did last Friday. My colleagues were both sympathetic and truthful, saying things like, “You look terrible.” (They meant well.)

By 3:00, I had lost all strength of will and went home. I nearly fell asleep on the bus, and did collapse on the bed as soon as I got to the house. Not even the new flatscreen TV could keep me awake. A couple of hours’ nap helped reduce the nausea and exhaustion, but the shoulder still hurt.

As a matter of fact, it still does hurt. If it doesn’t go away tonight, I’m calling the doctor first thing tomorrow.