Nov 18, 2014

Never Say Never, Yet Again

In my last post about Rhinebeck (sort of), I am here to share yet another "I swore I would never do this, and now do it and love it" experience.

Once upon a time, I swore I would never knit socks. I now knit socks. That transitioned into never knitting sweaters. I now knit sweaters. I switched tactics and went with never weaving. I now weave. That became never spinning. Boy did I fall down that rabbit hole. But I was adamant that my spinning would ONLY happen on a wheel, never a spindle. Why? I was convinced that I couldn't do it, that it was slow, and inefficient and that it would be boring. 

You would think that I would have seen what happened next coming from a mile away. You'd be wrong. Here's how the totally predictable sequence of events went down: 

On occasion, a lovely woman in my knitting group brings her spindle. She is usually spinning on a turkish spindle, whose cop (the ball of newly spun string that hangs out on the spindle) is pure, organized sunshine. Watching her winding a cop on a turkish spindle with precision was slowly drawing me to the dark side. 

From Simply Notable's excellent guide to winding a cop
So I started investigating. Being the fiber snob that I am, I went for the best. I started stalking the Jenkins Yarn Tools site, you know, for science. Keep in mind, at this point I still have never ever attempted to spin on a spindle (if you don't count one failed attempt at using a Navajo spindle, which I don't). By the time I went to Rhinebeck, I still had never spun on a spindle, and I still hadn't taken the leap into purchasing one. So what happened next was of course inevitable. As if fate had arranged the vendor locations herself, my very first stop (the stall with the used hand cards for which I made a bee-line) was opposite a vendor with a small table of Jenkins turkish spindles. I bought two. 



On the left, a wee Kuchulu, whose tininess seduced me. On the right, a more robust - but still relatively small - Lark. As you can see, I waisted no time in testing it out. I'll be honest, I about crapped my pants at how easy it is for me to spin on these things. A large part of that is that I am not a true beginner. I know how to draft and deal with fiber, so my mind was free to concentrate on making sure the spindle was spinning around properly (and since these are basically the Maseratis of spindles, that required very little brain power). 

What was even more surprising, though, is how unequivocally fucking FUN spinning on a spindle is! Sure, it takes a little longer than using a wheel, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in meditative bliss. There is something so very calming and zen about spindle spinning. Spinning on a wheel certainly elicits those same feelings, but to a lesser degree. I can't explain why, but when I am spinning on these spindles, all is right in the world. 

Using some samples of Finn fiber a kind woman gave us at Rhinebeck, I spun and plied some fingering weight on the Lark. I then used the bone knitting needles I purchased there to knit up a little sock ornament.


It's a wee Rhinebeck sock. 

I am now spinning up some lace singles out of Fiber Optic Yarns merino/silk gradient in Steampunk


How can you look at that cop and not want one of your very own? Pure. Bliss. 

1 comment:

Kathryn deBros said...


I saw these at Rhinebeck and mostly ran away. No idea. Totally foreign. Scary. No.

But...you make a compelling case. Because Science! Your singles are just too too gorgeous.

Cheers!