Do you have handspinning questions? Are you looking for answers? Don't worry, Ms Spinster understands and is ready and willing to answer any questions. How do you think she came to be nicknamed: PatsyZ Most Excellent Spinnin' Guru.Calm

For help write to Patsy at spins(at)
Your question and her answer could be posted on this web page.

Use the search tool and category list on the right to find the answer to your question.

KNEES What happened?

I realize I have been slow to post this summer.  I have been busy with writing for two publications, lots of PT and coming to terms with a new knee.  I'll first post a recent photo of some dyeing I did in August to show that I'm on my way back to full dyeing, spinning, and weaving.

Just last November, Rich and I were hiking in NZ for a lovely three weeks and danced at a cousin's wedding at the end of December.  Earlier in December, I slipped multiple times halfway up the muddy hill in my backyard. By January I .  realized I couldn't do a long draw or move the weaving shuttle to the right, at a visit to my Doctor I learned that I had torn my right rotator cuff and bicep.  I opted for a February surgery so I would be healed enough to teach three days in May at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  In March, my right knee developed a deep ache that wasn't helped by PT.  I wore a heavy brace for preparation and teaching alternating with elevation and an elastic brace.  MDSW was very tiring so I made good use of my screened porch when it was over. 


An MRI late May showed Osteonecrosis of the knee.  This wasn't arthritis, my right femur was dying.  There was no clear answer to why, but this put me in the fast lane for a partial knee replacement at the end of June.  Two surgeries in less than six months were very discouraging and left me wondering what had happened.  Here, I'm using an ice machine to keep my knee cool after surgery.

If I had a typical desk job I might have returned to work.  But, the doctor encouraged me to cancel my fall workshops to give me ample time for full recuperation.  Knowing how often I end up going upstairs and downstairs plus the standing required for preparing, packing, teaching, and unpacking my classes, I reluctantly agreed.  Add to that the travel and the walking once I'm on location and I couldn't see any other choice.  I also wanted to be fair to my events and guilds so they could have ample time to make the changes. 

I remember in 2003, I managed to travel and teach while in a wheelchair with my broken ankle, but I was 15 years younger, and now know how physically exhausting those workshops were, before, during, and after.

You've read this far and I still haven't said how I'm doing.  In many ways I'm making progress, I can drive now.  I'm still doing PT but now we're getting to the hard parts. 
My swollen knee is still painful. Sleeping is more challenging. 

I have been trying to walk in our local park, 3 non-PT days a week.  Rich has been ready to walk with me anytime I'm ready. The last time I walked the whole mile by myself, without holding on.  My area of Maryland is a very hilly place and I happen to live halfway down a very steep road, which I still can't walk up or down so we drive to the park, which is gorgeous with a gentle hill down and up for practice.  Here I am smiling after my first mile.

Also, I can't do stairs like before, my fastest way to go up is like a cat on hands and feet, while backward is the fastest way to go down.  Neither way is good for carrying anything.

I know I have a couple of e-spinning wheels, but I still wanted to work on my original traditional Ashford, my first love.  It has double treadle now, and I can spin for about an hour straight.  My new knee is achy when I sit properly with my legs down.  Standing still quickly gets tiring, Lutheran communion liturgy is about my limit right now.  

My son and his wife hired a nanny for the twins so I could focus on my PT, healing, and writing.  I think the article in NZ Ashford's Wheel about spinning and rigid heddle weaving with crepe and cable handspun will be published first.  Then you'll have to wait a bit for my next PLY article.  I can't say any more at this time but I'm pleased with both.

I have begun to accept teaching contracts for 2019, so I hope to see many of you at an event next year.  Thank you for all your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers.  They were and are always appreciated.  I know many of my students have traveled this journey with new knees and I have a new appreciation for what they have been through.

No comments: