Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Socks and Spindles

As you can see by the progress bars on the right, I am now finished with the Alpaca socks! It took me forever, not because they were hard, just because I was being bad and neglecting them. But they're done, they're on and they're keeping my toes toasty as I type. I ended doing them both using only continental knitting. This is the first project I've felt good enough about my continental knitting skills to do so and I'm quite pleased with the results. I ended up really liking the fluid nature of it and will likely continue on with it.

I've also gotten a head start on the second clog. If I'm lucky and can sneak in a bit of knitting here and there, maybe I'll get them done this weekend. They really don't take too awful long, they just require quite a bit of concentration, especially for the soles.

Over the last weekend I was reading through Sean's blog and about how he's taking spindling classes and learning to spin yarn using a drop spindle. The whole idea of that sounded really interesting and fun, so I did some research online about the process, the many variations of spindles and kinds of yarn you can spin on them. It was then then I got that all too familiar feeling, that feeling of no turning back, the tiny pangs of pre-obsession building in my belly before I'd even held a spindle in my hand. My curiosity has been piqued and I knew I'd have to give it a try myself (I'm guessing a few of you are probably wired similarly...).

The first thing I did was contact Sean to get some advice on how to begin. Let me tell you, he is the nicest guy and offered all kinds of helpful tips to start me on my way. While at work I called the LYS (Cityside Yarn Co. here in Bangor) to see if they had any inexpensive wool roving I could experiment with. They did and I headed over after work to buy some. Though I had planned on making my own spindle to play with before investing in one (thanks for the suggestion, Sean!), they ended up having a kit that had an inexpensive bottom whorl Ashford spindle, an 8 oz bag of wool roving and instructions. After talking for a bit with Cheryl at the shop about spinning and the possibility of getting hooked up with a spinner there for some lessons, that's what I ended up getting. So after wrapping things up here, I'm headed off to play with my new spindle! I hope to have some pictures to share with you soon of my first attempt. It will most likely be laughably bad, but that's part of the fun of learning something new, right? Anyway, wish me luck!

LISTENING TO: ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN - "Ocean Rain" Arguably their finest album, it serves as a kind of bridge between their early and later styles, while leaning a bit heavily on Ian McCulloch's overly dramatic vocals. This was the Bunnymen at their creative best. Full of great playing and unusual instrumentation, it's a cohesive, daring record with nary a clucker on it.

11 comments:

Jason said...

Woohoo! Another one caught the spinning bug. :-D Now we have to get Matt. LOL

Jason said...

Oh, great socks too! Got too excited about the spinning news. Phew! :-)

Mel said...

Next it'll be a spinning wheel. :-)

Are you going to go to Common Ground Fair? There's always tons of fibery goodness to be had there.

Sean said...

Good luck with the spinning. I took a spinning class this summer. We started on the drop spindle and then I rented a spinning wheel for three weeks. It was a fun class, and I learned a lot, but I didn't really catch the spinning bug. If anything, I learned to appreciate the convenience of ordering yarn online. I know, I'm a Philistine.

Great socks!

Ruth said...

Great socks, good luck with the spinning!

Matt said...
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Matt said...

We'll just see about that, although, i am pretty curious. keep us posted on the learning curve Ken!

Sean said...

yay!!!! I just got your message, I'm so excited for you!!! Looking forward to seeing pics and reading about the new endeavor. we did start with park and draft as well. I'm totally obsessed already, be careful. ;) I sold my Denise set on Ebay so I could buy the KP Options, but I've since decided I need a new spindle before the guild gathering next weekend instead.... and more fiber. ;) socks came out awesome!!!

micah said...

hey dig the socks. what pattern did you use? I'm stalled on a pair right now because of "short-row" fears. any thoughts on the easiest heel?

Paul said...

LOVE the socks! They look toasty warm!

Ken said...

Mel - I'll be missing Common Grounds! Mark's parents are coming for a visit that weekend and it's not quite their thing...

Sean - Thanks for the help! And btw, you STILL have to get the KP Options, they rock!!

Micah - The pattern was from Nancy Bush's "Folk Socks", the Basic Sock pattern. However if you're looking for a very complete and easy guide to sock making and learning to turning heels, I'd recommend "Knit Socks!" by Betsy McCarthy, a very detailed and thorough book. That's how I learned to make them!