Finished the first KnitPicks Sock Landscape sock on Sunday with plenty of yarn to spare:
It took eight days start to finish and I'm getting 9st per inch on a 2.75mm needle. The yarn is very soft, and the colours look good together. It is somewhat splitty, I have to pay attention when I'm knitting so as not to leave strands behind, but I think it's a good yarn. I'll be sending the leftovers when I mail the socks to my mother-in-law in case they ever need darning. I could see making gloves with this yarn, or doubling it and making a scarf. Started the toe of the second sock today at lunch.
Once these four pairs of socks are done (MIL, FIL, Husband, Mother), I'm going to get a drop spindle and try spinning. It's my bribe for finishing the sock marathon. Someone in town is willing to teach me, and I love the look of wooden spindles. Dad was a carpenter by training, so there was always wood around at home. His shed and the back of the garage were his woodwork shop, with the dry smell of sawdust, my own small hammer, panel pins, and offcuts to play with. I remember hammering bits together to make boats as a child, and learning how to use a spokeshave tool as a teen. When I went to university, Dad made me a jewellery box from a piece of rimu, an orange coloured New Zealand hardwood. He picked up the wood when we lived there and carried it around for over fifteen years.
I haven't seem any rimu spindles, but any natural wood with a decent grain would be good. My favourites are yew, purpleheart, and spalted beech. Yew was used to make longbows for the English in the Hundred Years War with France in the 1300s, the colour range is from orange to white to tan. The colour of purpleheart is natural, the wood turns purple when it's exposed to air. Spalted beech looks like someone scrawled on the wood with a black pen, which is the result of a particular fungus attacking the tree.
I think I'll get the Cascade Spindles Little Si from The Bellweather. I love the St Helen's spindle, it's just a bit too much for a first one. The dark Coopworth roving from Copper Moose looks like decent starting fibre. Are these good choices for a beginner? I've heard good things about Bosworth Midi spindles, but I'd rather start with something cheaper in case I hate it. What's a good book on drop spindle spinning?