Wednesday, September 16, 2009

K’Nex Kate

I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not… but some rambunctious play in my living room resulted in damage to my spinning wheel.  Nothing too major, but still.  Here’s what my wheel looks like now:IMG_4326 Do you see it?  The kate was the victim:kate problems The wheel itself works fine – what a relief!

I could buy a new kate (it’s a relatively inexpensive part) … but I have been told more than once (and read) that it’s important for the singles bobbins to be far away from the wheel when plying.  A lot of kates are separate things, not attached to the wheel at all.  I really liked the concept of a built-in kate, but I have grown to see their point.  I figured this was my chance to try a separate kate.

But I haven’t gotten one yet.  So when I was ready to ply that Mohair-Finn blend this weekend, I tried to build one out of K’Nex.  (I regularly use a niddy noddy made out of PVC pipe, and have you seen the swifts and ballwinders made out of Legos?  I should do a whole post of those sometime.  There are many!)  Here is my initial design:IMG_4337Notice how I incorporated the stretchy bands from the Ladybug.  I had to modify this a bit more as I plied (to raise the bobbins so that the tension bands would be parallel to the floor and stabilize the top better), and I had to weigh down the base with big huge books (finally, a post-college use for The Riverside Shakespeare), and it was rather frustrating to use and threatened to snap at many points … but it worked. 

See?  Yarn!IMG_4420 This is 3.95 oz (112 g) and 294 yards of 2-ply Finn-Mohair.  I think it’s roughly sportweight – maybe on the border between fingering and sportweight.  I spun it on the fast whorl at a 12.5:1 ratio.

I’m not sure if it’s enough for a pair of socks – but I have 4 more ounces of fiber, so I’ll just spin more.  It’s definitely the skinniest yarn I’ve made yet.  I’m pleased.


  1. So resourceful! I never would have thought of that. Awesome yarn, too.

  2. You know...I'm beginning to think of you as a Renaissance woman. I never knew you had engineering in your repertoire.