Necessity is a mother

Remember the cardboard lazy kate? This one here:

baby camel singles on the kate
Three DPNs and a cardboard box: this kate is the laziest of kates.

Well, despite the fine craftsmanship and minutes of work that went into it, this kate has not held up well. The precision holes for the DPNs have grown loose, so the needles slip out of the box mid-plying, sending the bobbins thumping to the bottom. The tensioning cord (some early handspun I had lying around) rarely stays in the bobbin groove thingies, and even when it does stay there, it doesn’t apply tension evenly to all the bobbins. The kate itself lacks substance, and won’t stay put. Plying at Casa de Cusser had become a festival of tangled singles, falling bobbins, and much loud use of shocking language. It was, in sum, a whole lot of no fun.

I needed a new kate.

Of course, I could buy one. There are many models from which to choose, and if I buy it online, a nice person will bring it all the way to my door. However, that is not in the budget right now, and besides, I’d just finished the last singles for my first skein of Cupcake BFL/Silk (previously mentioned here), and was impatient to get that sucker plied up. Fortunately, we are rich in cardboard boxes ’round these parts. I set out to make a new, better lazy kate. A kate with fewer issues. A not-quite-so-lazy kate.

Here’s what I came up with:

Kate the Second

Looks the same, no? But wait! The box is deeper, which leaves room for ballast (in this case, a paperback from the stack beside the cardboard box knoll). This kate will not be shimmying across the floor. No, sir. Also, see how all the bobbins are at one end of the needles? That is due to this nifty design feature:

This is where I got fancy. It looks like that last needle will need some recalibration, though.

Angled needles. This way, the bobbins slide to one end and rest against the box, providing enough friction to keep them from spinning back on themselves. As an added refinement, since I was on a roll here, I cut the flaps off the box. Fancy, indeed.

The test drive of Kate the Second went quite well. No cussing, no stopping to futz with the bobbins. There were a few issues with the singles snapping, but that’s more likely because a) I had not been as assiduous as I could have been about fixing sections that were too thin, and b) I’m pretty sure I had the uptake set much, much too high for the first bit. But enough blathering. Here’s the yarn:

Ta daaaa!

Isn’t it purty? Cupcake Joan even includes two tags for you to attach to your skeins, for the documenting of yardage, wraps per inch, date, nickname, phase of the moon…whatever you should feel inclined to note for posterity. This baby came in at 380 yds/347.5m to 2.8 oz/78g, and 20 wpi. A bit finer than I’d intended, so it may not become socks after all. (I have large feet, and much as it may surprise you to hear this, my patience is not infinite.) This yarn is wonderfully light and fluffy, and when I reskeined it after a round in the Sudsy Torture Chamber of Wool, the ends met on the niddy noddy with exactly enough left to tie the skein:

A perfect finish.

Making this yarn was such a satisfying series of Things Working As They Should. I cannot tell you how much this pleases me.

5 thoughts on “Necessity is a mother

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