Friday, August 05, 2011

My mission at Sock Summit was to get a spindle.  I got one last time, and it seems like a good tradition to continue.  Spindles are great because they're so portable, and while I love the speed of a wheel, there's just something about a lovely wood spindle that really appeals.  They're like precious jewels, each unique and beautiful.  Plus, getting one every two years is fairly easy on the pocketbook.

(Remember I said that.  ONE every two years.  Not one for each time the Sock Summit has occurred, every time it occurs.)

So I was on a mission to find The Spindle.  I found one that called to me at the Carolina Homespun booth, a square Spindlewood Standard in birdseye maple.  Now really- birdseye maple?  How can I be expected to resist?


But then, after happily spindling around the marketplace for a while, my friend Anne said I should go look at the Jenkins booth. To be honest, I had completely passed them by because I'm not a fan of bottom-whorl spindles, and I've never used a Turkish spindle. They aren't as sleek as a regular solid-whorl spindle. They have sticky-out arms.  Definitely not my thing.

O Beware, thou who will not try new things or approach with an open mind...

Perfect combination

I should never have gone to look. That's what I said I was going to do- look. But then I saw the top shelf of their display, and fell completely under the spell of the Kuchulu.  That's a Persian word that means "tiny and cute"- how perfectly apt. These are the tiniest and cutest spindles I have ever seen.  It's 3" tall and 2 3/8" wide.When the shaft is removed and the arms taken apart, it fits in an Altoids tin with room left over.

It took me f.o.r.e.v.e.r. for choose one.  And choose one I did, because as soon as I tried one, there was no turning back. All the woods were so beautiful. I was sorely tempted by the tulipwood one and the ebony one, but in the end, the verawood one won out. It's green!

So here are the new kids:
Spindlewood and Jenkins

Who have happily joined the family:
the family

The details, left to right:
11 g (0.38 oz) Jenkins Woodworking, Kuchulu, verawood arms, walnut shaft
8 g (0.28 oz) Cascade Spindle Co., Tiger, zebrawood whorl, mahogany shaft
21g (0.75 oz) Spindlewood Co., Square Mini, cocobolo whorl, ebony shaft
20g (0.7 oz) Spindlewood Co. Square Standard, birdseye maple whorl, birdseye maple shaft

So what else did I get?  Well, I bought two spindles, so of course I had to get something to spin NAOW!

Sock Summit haul!

Actually, I mostly bought spinning fiber. I do so love to spin. Clockwise from the lower left are:
  • a 4 oz. braided wheel of Fiber Optic 50:50 superwash merino and bamboo top, in Catamaran Batik
  • a 4 oz. bundle of Fiber Optic 50:50 superwash merino and bamboo pencil roving, in Equinox No. 51 Traditional Hand Paint
  • an 8 oz. ball of domestic wool (mostly Targhee according to the booth owner) carded roving, from Carolina Homespun, in shades of purple
  • the Spindlewood Standard square spindle
  • a 2 oz. braid of 70:30 baby alpaca and cashmere from The Fold, natural white (originally was a package of 4 oz., which Anne and I split)
  • a skein of Spindlecat Studios superwash merino sock yarn, in Sockfetti (I missed out on getting one of these skeins in 2009!)
  • a 2 oz. wheel of Bunny Patch Fiber 80:20 merino and angora top, in William (greens and browns)
  • a 30g AbbyBatt from Carolina Homespun, made of...soft things...possibly merino, silk and alpaca, the shop owner wasn't sure...whatever it is, it's delicious...
  • the Jenkins Kuchulu spindle
I spun half a Spindlewood of the purple roving on Saturday, but then got the Jenkins out that night at the hotel, and it was all over.  I was obsessed with the Kuchulu for the rest of the weekend.  I spun at dinner on Saturday, Sunday all over the market and while watching the Fleece to Foot competition, several hours on Monday night back in La Grande, and several hours on Tuesday.

I made a lot of yarn.


That is 15 grams of the AbbyBatt, half of the total, spun into very fine singles.  That's about all that would fit on the spindle- I could have put a bit more on, but it was getting noticeably heavier, and also harder to wind on without the yarn slipping off the sides.  Remember, the spindle itself only weighs 11 grams.  My goal was to get at least the weight of the spindle in yarn, and I accomplished that easily.

My secondary goal was somewhat silly, I suppose, but Wanda Jenkins mentioned that she could get 300 yards of singles on a Kuchulu, and that just sounded like a challenge to me.  So after I finished the first half of the batt, I wound the singles onto my skeinwinder to measure them.  How stressful do you think THAT was?  I took the drive band off the winder, and turned it by hand so as to avoid snapping the singles.  Surprisingly, the hair-fine singles held up fine, and went into a skein with no problem.  Very energized, though, so I made sure to keep my hand through the loop at all times even though I tied the skein well.

Then I counted and counted and counted the rounds, multiplied by 2 yards (after measuring the winder to make sure), and came up with 370 yards of singles!!

Yay!  Mission accomplished!  I did it!  Now I wish I had spun just a bit finer in the beginning, to get to an even 400 yards...  Ah well, next time...

After I was done counting, I put the singles-skein back on the winder and carefully wound them off onto a weaving bobbin.  And then I was finally able to breathe again!

I continued spinning the batt on Thursday, and am still loving it.  I like this spindle because it is small and since the whorl is at the bottom, I can easily spin while reclining in My Comfy Chair in the living room.  It's perfect.

Kuchulu and purple loveliness


aknitter said...

This all just makes me smile!!!! ** Anne

CrazyFiberLady said...

Aren't those little Jenkins spindles wonderful? I bought one last year at MDSW and well, should dig it out of the basket it is hiding it. I'll have to bring it to the office for those moments where I need to think. enjoy it!