An Even Lazier Kate

DH is probably caught somewhere between that fluffed out feeling of smugness and the crushing grip of trepidation over what may follow…. Smug in being right that I would eventually fall into spinning, realized with the purchase of a Bosworth drop spindle and some roving at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May.   I had long maintained that spinning was not for me, plenty happy with commercial yarn, didn’t want to get into something requiring a whole other set of kit, cats would interfere, yada yada.  *Thud*.  The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is a very enabling environment.  And, with the smugness of being right that it was just a matter of time, DH also acquires some trepidation from expectation of what may well follow in terms of tool acquisition. 


Not yet, though!  I’m still not 100% convinced that spinning isn’t just a passing interest, for me.  We’ll see.  No pressure!   Initial attempts didn’t get much beyond the lumpy-bumpy stage.


first closeup


I did throw the bag of roving and the spindle in the back of the car as we headed out on our summer trip.    And somewhere along the way, I got as far as having enough spun single to try plying.  Away from home, I had no ballwinder, so I wound it by hand onto a toilet paper tube, and tried the “ply the beginning and the end from a centre-pull ball” trick.   Let’s just say that’s not the neatest way to create a centre-pull ball, and the fact that the whole thing didn’t devolve into one great knotted mess before the end is nothing short of miraculous.  The wrestling process of “plying” the ends tugged out of the rapidly disintegrating ball certainly flew in the face of all available YouTube expert instruction that admonishes manipulation of singles in any way that would diminish or endanger the carefully-instilled twist.  That the result was “art yarn” was only partly due to the fact that my spinning was (is) still pretty uneven.


first steps


But, it’s yarn.  And it squooshes!


Hmm…  Reading some online forum postings about spindling, I was overtaken by the impression that two-ply would never be interesting and 3-ply is where it is at.  Of course, no matter how successful the plying from both ends of a centre-pull ball, you can never get 3 plys (plies?) that way.  I finally understood what Lazy Kates are for.   I didn’t have one. And, to be honest, until I have a better sense of whether I’m interested in spinning for the long term, I don’t care to buy one. 


Intrepid people have been down this road before, and in another online forum post, I spied someone’s jury-rigged lazy kate and constructed my own:


lazier kate 1


Yes, it is a random cardboard box — from a waffle maker, as it happens.

lazier kate 2

I invested $2 in some wooden pencils, to act as axles for the toilet paper bobbins:

lazier kate side

And, away I went!!

lazy kate in progress

I have to say, it worked quite well.  I did invest a further $10 for PVC piping, from which I cut 4″ bobbins to replace the toilet paper tubes, making a Mark II Even Lazier Kate.    It works well!

And here is a display of my spinning progression to date — from lumpy-bumpy, to plied lumpy-bumpy, to first efforts at 3-ply (and remnant 2-ply) and my second effort at 3-ply (and leftovers in 2-ply).

set of samples

First spinning, first plying:

first samples

First 3-ply (and remnants in 2-ply):

second samples

Third attempt at plying (2nd 3-ply — are you keeping this straight?! 🙂 ):

3rd samples

And, a close-up of the most recent effort:

3rd closeup

Yeah.  Still pretty uneven.  But, it’s been fun!  And, I find myself wandering around the house carrying my collected efforts, squooshing them.  I don’t think I’m going to do anything further with them.  However, it seems clear to me that the next step is to see what this stuff is like to work with.  My next step will be to spin enough to knit something (or, if it’s really fugly, use as a weft in some mug rugs 😉 ).

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