Works in Fedora...maybe other distros too, its worth a shot
This is the easiest way I could find, just brush up on your hardware specs
download 2.6.1 source from kernel.org
extract into usr/src/linux-2.6.1
steps (post su logging in):
1) make mrproper
removes old crap to start fresh (every time you bungle it up)
2) make xconfig (which I prefer, but you can use menuconfig if you want)
3) choose your modules and whatnot
4) Save and exit
5) make bzImage (and check output to be sure error free)
6) make modules (this part usually takes a really friggin long time, so grab a cup of coffe, have a smoke, etc, oh and check the output)
7) make modules_install (this installs your compiled modules)
8) make install (this installs the kernel automatically, updates your lilo or grub configuration)
IF YOU USE LILO:
one more step involved:
type 'lilo -v'
reboot, choose linux-2.6.1 from the list and check output
It took me 4 or 5 recompiles to get my usb mouse working correctly,
but you learn as you go...
What I think is amazing though is that 160 MB of source code can get compiled into just over 1 MB, just shows the difference between high and low level code!