DIY Lazy Kate and Lazy Spinner

July 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm 3 comments

I don’t want to admit to how many years it’s taken me to complete two of these skeins of yarn.


Suffice it to say there was a long intermission, with not enough popcorn and soda, in the middle. It all started with some very dirty Shetland wool that came from a sheep named Cocoa. My sister had lucked into several Shetland fleeces for $5 each, right off the sheep, and she split them with me. Note: $5 per fleece, not $5 per pound. Hard to resist, right?


Mmmm, crimpy goodness!

Now, fast forward through the washing and the hours (and hours and hours) of picking out vegetable matter. There was a reason the price was $5 per fleece. These Shetlands were more or less pets who must have had their hay dumped onto them, not next to them. Anyway, I chose out the best bits of wool, picked, carded and spun—again, over the course of years—two ultra-full bobbins.


The goal: 2-ply natural brown yarn. Only problem was that I still hadn’t found a real lazy kate within my budget. And despite finding several really good plans for building a kate, nothing had materialized. Apparently it takes more than just finding the plans to make it happen. Who knew?

So, I channeled all my pinch-penny, make-do German ancestors and devised my own lazy kate in 10 minutes. For free. Voila:


Cardboard box? Check.
Two size 8 steel knitting needles? Check.
Tensioning device? No, but I could have tipped the box a wee bit to add a little tension. I could have also added a piece of string connecting the two bobbins with a loop to add tension. As it was, my singles were pretty thin and I wanted to avoid breakage.

It’s not lovely. But it also wasn’t $50-$80 and it got the job done fantastically. Plus it’s 100% recyclable and reusable. She’s not lazy kate, she’s environmental activist kate.

In fact, kate has issued a challenge to me: finish the next skein of yarn in less than 3 years. Like, before she falls apart.

• tess •

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Colorwork Sock Chugging Along Odorific Alpaca

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. roguecrafter  |  July 10, 2013 at 7:15 am

    That is brilliant. I ply on a drop spindle and it’s kind of an Experience, compounded partly by the fact that I always get a bruise/blister/callous something on the hand I ply with. IDEK. Maybe not having balls of yarn whizzing past me would help! Lazy Kate: on the to-do list.

    And The yarn is lovely. I bet it’s super soft, too!

    • 2. roguecrafter  |  July 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Of course, that’s also why I tend to spin rather thick singles and just leave them as singles ;)

    • 3. tess  |  July 10, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Yes, the yarn is soft and yummy. :-) Are you doing a Navaho (chain) ply? I just tried that for the first time last week. Ugh, the eye-hand-treadle coordination almost did me in!

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