sockin' it to 'em - another FP!

I'm usually far better at casting on than binding off, but second sock syndrome didn't get me this time, mostly because these socks are a birthday present. Unfortunately the birthday went whooshing by and the recipient had to watch me frantically knitting the foot of the second sock on the day itself, and she had to leave without them.

This is a very poor photo of number 2 shortly before I did finish it. I'm really pleased with them.
I love the Ginkgo Socks pattern, I'm pleased with my handspun yarn, I love my home-made coathanger sock blockers and my new Nova metal needles.

They'll be in the post just as soon as they're dry, Helly.

Notes to self

1. label it

When given a fleece, find out what it is and label the bag. This will avoid having no idea what you have in your shedful of pooey raw material.

2. sample it

If you can't wash it straight away, wash, dry, card and spin a sample to find out what it's like. This will avoid unwittingly having something amazing stashed away untouched for months.

With fleece stacking up a bit, I decided to get cracking and get it washed and carded, to make it easier to store and ready to spin.

Last October, Mum was given some fleeces and shared them with me. From memory (see no 1 above), one sheep is a Jacob cross, and I'd assumed that this sackful was from one sheep, but now I'm not sure. The black is coarse, short, scratchy, the white is long, fine and beautiful.

That was the big surprise. As the fleece dried, I noticed how beautifully fluffy it was becoming.
The locks come apart easily, they are long, (some measure 6") very fine and crimpy. (This photo is poor, I think the camera has focused on the carder behind.)

With the minimum of effort (just a quick flick or two with a comb) the ends eagerly fanned out ready for carding. It makes lovely sliver and spun wool. Of course I'm chuffed to bits, I just wish I'd known what I had sitting there...

Assembling an Ashford Traditional

Ashford pack most of their spinning wheels flat for transportation. They really have it down to a fine art; it's hard to believe that such a large thing is packed into such a small box.

So that means a bit of assembly when you get it. It looks to be a daunting task when all of the bits are laid out on the floor, but it's surprising how quickly and easily it all goes together.

The assembly instructions are very clear. Beware - there are some helpful tips and written instructions near the back, which you won't see until you've finished if you just open it at page one and make a start!

This one is the natural option (not lacquered). It needs a finish to protect the wood, and I think this is best done while all the bits are still separate and before the lubricating oil gets near it. It takes a little time and some elbow grease to give it a proper wax finish, but it's well worthwhile. It really brings out the beautiful grain of the New Zealand silver beech.

It feels remarkably robust and sturdy. The Traditional now comes with ball bearings and so the wheel spins very freely.

In other news, I'm up to the ankle of (still the first) sunset hug sock. I'm really chuffed with the colours and I've managed to get this far without any serious problems. I've only ever used three needles before for knitting in the round, this is my first go with five. I have to say it's a lot better, the angles are less severe and it's helping me keep track of the stitches now that I have one needle for each half of the pattern repeat.


This scepter’d isle is not known for a consistently balmy climate, but when the sun does make an effort, there's nowhere on earth (or elsewhere) I'd rather be than this green and pleasant land. With needles in hand, of course.

Something else that has made my day is the discovery of the amazing spotify. So this evening I've been lounging in what used to be the spare bedroom and is now my craft room, knitting to some old Jethro Tull. Some of their more.. er.. creative output seems the perfect accompaniment to my experiments with colour. (I know one person who'll seriously approve of this choice.) So with a world of music at our fingertips, what else could be included in a playlist to accompany knitting and spinning?


Just had to pop in and try and catch up... a lot has been going on here..... have some knitting on the go,,but have been busy with cakes and the garden, but you have all been busy....

Shiela had a reminder tonight when my Son got home.. hope you are well.. xxxx