Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And now for something completely different

In addition to the knitting, I have recently become reinspired by my spindles - so today's post is a quick update on some knitting projects, and then much blather talk about my spinning.

First, I think I mentioned that I started the Alhambra socks, which were the last sock club installment from the Illuminations sock club.  I made it all the way down the leg before stalling out on the heel flap, not because I can't do it, but just because it's felt like too much effort to get my head around knitting stranded colorwork back and forth (e.g. while purling).  I've done it before, and I know I'll do it here (I have a theory that this is one of three pairs of socks I'd like to finish before Sock Summit so I can wear them to show off), it's just that it is one thing too many right now.  But this loveliness will pull me back in very soon, I can feel it.
Isn't that beautiful?  I rotated it so you can see more of the motifs.
Yup.  I love these socks.  They will get finished, no doubt about it.

I also cast on for a hat and a shawl which I will show when there is something more to see (I apparently got a bit excited about doing something new! and exciting! in the face of grading (what's the opposite of an exclamation mark? I need one here) and conference program planning).

But meanwhile, I also got re-bitten by the spindle bug.  Not because I don't love my wheels - in fact, I have finished one bobbin of the gorgeous Corriedale that Erica sent me:
And I will get to the second half soon.  But, for reasons which I will share sooner rather than later, it's spindles that are pulling me back into their whirling orbit.  I finished the first spindle full of a gorgeous fiber that I started far too long ago, a silk/cashmere blend, if I remember correctly, from Twist: Yarns of Intrigue, and I plied and set it.
That's 100 yards of 2-ply laceweight loveliness (5/8 oz), spun and plied on my Golding spindle, which I love so much that I apparently bought another one when I wasn't looking.  Oops.  The new one came today, and I am already plotting which fiber to use it with.

I am also playing with what I think is some Merino from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers.  I have a little bump of this in stash, and I picked up my small Spindlewood spindle (bought when I was at the Golden Gate Fiber Institute nearly two years ago), and got started on that.
Isn't it a gorgeous spindle?  Look at that wood.
I do love beautiful wood.

I am also over half an ounce into an ounce of chocolate brown suri alpaca that I bought at last fall's Dixon Fiber Festival (does anyone else get just a bit freaked out by how much suri alpaca fiber resembles human hair? or is that just me?).  The plan is to spin that, and then to spin the ounce of white suri alpaca that I also got and ply them together.  (I think I need to find myself a nostepinne for plying - any recommendations?  I'd also love to find a small sample niddy-noddy of the one-yard size; I can't decide whether to look now, or to wait until I'm at Sock Summit and get something there.)  I am thinking that yarn will become a little cap, maybe?  I'm spinning it on the larger Spindlewood spindle that I won as a door prize at GGFI, but I somehow am not bonding with that spindle the way I have been with my other two, so it may become a pretty spindle to look at, rather than one of my workhorses.  Pictures of that yarn next time, along with the very very fine cotton I'm spinning on my takhli, and the very very fine wool I'm spinning on my kuchulu

I don't know why I forget how much I love my spindles.  Last night, I spun a half an ounce of what will probably be a fingering-weight two-ply in a little over an hour.  That's not too much longer than it would take me to spin the same amount worsted (woollen's a lot faster) on my wheel.  And I find that I am not as uncomfortable spinning for a long period of time with the spindles as I can get at the wheel - sitting is just hard for me, but with a spindle, I move around more than I do with a wheel.  I guess what I'm saying is not that I'm giving up my wheels, but that I'm glad I have my spindles, too.  (Including the new one, and the other new one that's coming in the mail early next week, I think.  You can't do that with wheels!)

So, more pictures next time, including some from Tehachapi (I'm going up there again on Saturday).  And very soon, coming to a not-apolitical blog near you, a little righteous indignation vis-a-vis publicly-funded education and state budgeting priorities.  You know you can't wait!


Willow said...

I have just never gotten the hang of spindles. It's a failing on my part I'm sure. You do make it look and sound so easy.

Love those socks!!

Anonymous said...

I'm having some trouble with Google, hope you don't end up with 3 comments from me!
I have to be in the "mood" for spindles so I know what you mean. But don't give up on that heavier spindle. It may be just the thing for a certain fiber or prep. Over the years I had been using smaller and smaller spindles and spinning finer and finer yarn.
Then I got an abbybatt and had no empty small spindle! The 1.2 oz Hatchtown should be too heavy, but it is pure joy with a long stable spin. I'm getting almost-laceweight, fine enough for my uses.

Beverly near Yosemite

Jane said...

That spindle is beautiful, there is something about a lovely piece of wood.

Brandi Schoch said...

Your fair isle is gorgeous. I love the socks. Your spindle is beautiful as well.

Nana Sadie said...

How much of knitting/spinning is getting the product and how much is just using amazingly beautiful tools and supplies? Wait. Don't answer that.

I already know.
The spindles are amazing - of course you know I love beautiful wood, too.

Those socks. OMG. Wish they were toe-up...but that's okay. I'm off to think about some of Anna Z's...
(b/c you're such a wonderful enabler, I have no other choice) whatever you can at SS11 and SHIP it home!

Carrie#K said...

I can't wait. What groovy things have our glorious leaders done to our state/future this time? Gah.

Those socks are amazing!! Purling stranded is almost as awful as purling garter in the round (in fact, it's the same thing, isn't it?)

Your spinning is fabulous! I've never noticed the similarity of hair but then again, I mostly want to spin, rather than actually attempt it.

Lynne said...

So much excitement!

I can't use a wheel and I can't use a spindle. DD and I bought Russian spindles at the Orenberg lace workshop in March but we haven't mastered them either!

EGunn said...

Beautiful! Love the wood, and those socks made me gasp. Three pair by sock summit? You have ambition!

I've been on a spinning kick recently, too, though I didn't get around to dyeing more last weekend, so I have nothing to put on the wheel at the moment. The horror! Good thing Saturday is soon. =)

Mary Lou said...

Those socks are gorgeous - worth showing off for sure. I hate to even read about spinning, because I just don't have time and space for one more hobby, but some day I will. It certainly calls to me.

Gina said...

The socks are gorgeous! They seem like to perfect project to take your mind off the trials and tribulations of our current budget woes. I've been meaning to try spindles again. (My first attempt was rather a disaster, but it was many years ago under the tutelage of my Swiss German landlady.) You've inspired me to give it another go.

Rachael said...

That sock is LOVELY!

You did entice me to join the pattern club, I haven't been tempted into starting any of them yet, but I keep perusing them and thinking about various combinations...such fun!

Helen said...

That sock is incredabobble, in a good way.

twinsetjan said...

Stunning work on that sock there! And the spinning is impressive too. Ellen keeps trying to lure me in to spinning, but I'm could catch me with that spindle though!

Glad to hear you'll be at Sock Summit We will be too!