You say ‘bitch’ like it’s a bad thing

In Julie Powell’s book Julie and Julia one of the cooking moments she describes is working through this one method of rice cooking which is extremely laborious and time consuming. Though reportedly tasty in the end, all the while Julie Powell is cooking it she goes through fits of yelling back at Julia Child through her cookbook, so that by the end of it her husband has dubbed the recipe ‘Bitch Rice.’

My spinning over the last couple of months has been progressing in a similar manner. It took me a month and a half to finish my 6th skein (though really it is 2 skeins), that teal blue Louet Corriedale I started spinning way back in September. I became so frustrated with the whole process that by the end of it all I could do was call it the Bitch Skein, as all it had done, seemingly, was to make my life miserable.

It took me several sessions to get anywhere near approaching moderately consistent weight; the wheel itself still refuses to settle and so the drive band still occasionally jumps right off the treadle so that I have to stop and put it back on again – or else it sits just barely at the point of jumping off the treadle and thus grinding the wheel speed to a slow slog, making it impossible for me to develop any kind of consistent treadling speed; By the time I got to the second bobbin I had to stop and start about five times when the fiber got away from me and disappeared somewhere into the fuzzy contents of the bobbin (at one point I let it sit idly for 3 weeks because i was terrified I had somehow re-started the bobbin somewhere in a new place and then when I tried plying it it would come back at me in a tangled 2-stream mess);

Then when I started plying it the lazy kate became Bitch Kate and absolutely refused to stay upright or in the same position for any more than about 30 seconds, thus once again making my attempts at plying consistency as futile as…well, something that’s really futile. And then the drive band would do its thing and jump off the treadle again.

When it was all done I couldn’t bring myself to skein it up, I just let it all sit there plied up on the 2 bobbins, in a corner as though forced into thinking about its crimes.

The thing is, though…Have you ever noticed that a lot of women who get called ‘bitch’ are usually pretty accomplished at what they do, don’t apologize for it, and still look really really good while doing it?

Skein #6 - Louet Corriedale 3

Skein #6 - Louet Corriedale

Yeah. Me too.



  1. Oooh, pretty! I love that thick/thin texture for things like moebius shawls and scarfs, and the color is lovely!

  2. You’re right, it is pretty yarn and a very ‘you’ colour!

    I’m sorry your wheel isn’t behaving itself. If the drive band isn’t staying on while you treadle, it really sounds like something is wrong with it. I mean … thats pretty much step one in the wheel working, right? Is there someone you can get to take a look at it?

  3. gorgeous, gorgeous yarn!! the colour is incredible. Don’t you hate it when hard work pays off?!

  4. Learning curve? ‘Cause the yarn looks pretty dang nice, at least sitting up all nice and straight for its picture.

    Not that I know the first thing about spinning wheels, but it does seem to me that if the drive band keeps jumping off, there is a problem. Quite possibly just a faulty drive band that is the *eensiest* bit too long for the job. Contact the seller? I’d hope they’d have some customer service/hand holding available. I’d be doing that if my sewing machine were behaving in such a fashion.

    Pet the yarn. It’s lovely. 🙂

  5. If you don’t want that yarn, I’ll have it 😉

  6. Oh man! That bitch yarn is gorgeous!

  7. That is some mighty fine-looking yarn.

  8. That yarn is BEA-YOOOO-TIFUL! I love the comment from Laurie… the yarn….(snork!)

    A nasty job is behind you and you got fantastic results. Be proud!


  9. It is beautiful.

  10. After all that hard work you have been rewarded with a simply delightful skein in a gorgeous colourway. Our hardest work sometimes does make the most amazing things. Well done. It was Well Worth the effort. Now to see what you turn it into!

  11. this is awesome, and i totally know this feeling. (and that part about fuzzy bobbins and feeling like you didn’t actually find the end and just started in a new place? check and check.) your spinning is coming along beautifully! just wait until you knit with this stuff.

  12. Bitching …. in a good way. 🙂

  13. Your yarn is gorgeous!

    What gets under my skin is when I see strong, intelligent women stand up for themselves and/or for what they believe in and be labeled a bitch for it. When I know that when a man does it he’s respected and considered a good businessman. (sigh)

  14. I’m so proud of you G! My wheel is called Lucille for this reason (quote from BB King who’s guitar was named Lucille)

    “It seems that it loves to be petted and played with. There’s also a certain way you hold it, the certain noises it makes, the way it excites me … and Lucille don’t want to play anything but the blues … Lucille is real, when I play her it’s almost like hearing words, and of course, naturally I hear cries. I’d be playing sometimes and as I’d play, it seems like it almost has a conversation with me. It tells you something. It communicates with me … ”

    Sometimes Lucille and I argue. Sometimes we sing. In the end both are a learning opportunity.

  15. Well worth the title, I say. 🙂

  16. That yarn is gorgeous! What are you going to do with it? I think it would be nice as socks!:)

  17. Listen to Sherri — tools you use a lot seem to develop a sort of spirit all their own. If I may say so without sounding too wacky! I still think a call to customer service is in order, unless they told you this sort of thing happens and it means the wheel needs to ‘settle’. In that case, I’d think that the more you spin, the more the ‘settling’ will occur.

    Best of luck — the “bitch” yarn is gorgeous whatever the circumstances surrounding its creation.

    Annette: I hear ya’. How does it go? Men have moods, women have periods? :/

  18. Okay, that blue is just gorgeous. I think the yarn was well worth the trouble, in this case.

  19. Oh it’s just beeyootiful!!!!

  20. let’s hope it knits up easier than it spun!

  21. Elizabeth L in Apex, NC · ·

    It is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what you knit with it… (or are you giving it away?)

    My only contribution to the “bitch” conversation is a recollection of a comedienne (can’t remember her name) on an old HBO special. She did a bit about ‘those women in the cosmetics area’ of department stores and how attitudinal they can be when you need to get something while they are forever-chatting with someone. ‘Ma’am? I’ll be right with you, ma’am.’ The comedienne then said, “You know what ma’am means, don’t you? Bitch.” Every time I hear a store clerk say “ma’am” now I think of that sketch – even if it’s me they’re talking to.

  22. Maybe you could call whatever it is you decide to knit up with it the “Beeotch Blue Beauty”.
    Just an idea.
    I’m very, very, very new to spinning, but the problems that you’re describing don’t sound right; I think you need to contact the Geek Squad of Spinning Wheels.

  23. Seems like the yarn knew what it was doing. Rude of it not to let you in on it, though. Bitch.

    It’s really gorgeous!

  24. Jan in NoFL · ·

    “You say bitch like it’s a bad thing!”. The best boss I ever worked with, tough but ruthlessly honest and fair, had this needlepointed, framed and hung in her office. I was so glad for her when she hit it big!

  25. I just read the chapter of Julie and Julia with the “bitch rice” last night. I was snorting with laughter! I will have to adopt the term myself.

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