Enjoying the Sunshine & Finding Peace

We had a beautiful weekend this past weekend. It was pushing 70°F both Saturday and Sunday and with rain a a cool down headed our way this week, it was the perfect time to clean up the yard. On Saturday, we worked. I cleaned out gutters while the kids raked leaves. I tend to rate cleaning gutters in the realm of dealing with toilet malfunctions on the disgusting meter, but slopping the leaves and general sludge is so much less awful when it’s warm & sunny out and the water from the hose doesn’t quite feel so cold.

img_5130And it helps that the daisies and echinacea and snapdragons are still blooming in my yard, too.

I rounded things out by starting to tidy up our “Boat House” (a fancy way of saying the shed where we store our boats [and the lawnmower, and other random odds and ends]). Since my hubby sometimes takes the kiddos out there to read and enjoy cocoa and the fire in the winter, I try to make sure it’s ready and comfortable for these events.

I’ll admit that after all the up and down on the ladder and having lifted the ladder all around the house, I was a little tired and sore. I managed to somehow pull something in my shoulder walking the dog earlier in the week and I think sometimes favoring an injury like that taxes your body more than the injury itself. I rested a bit and did some cleaning inside the house. And then I felt as though I’d sufficiently earned some time with my spindle.

img_5076This is a project I started about a year ago and largely ignored most of those twelve months. I’ve been picking it up here and there though and I had just an ounce or two left to tackle. And that’s just what I did. The spindle was seriously overloaded and not working all too well at the end, but I got the last little bits of fiber on it. I’m planning to wind it and the bobbin I wound off previously into a center-pull ball and then create a nice thick and thin 2-ply yarn with it.

Our work finished, on Sunday we played.

img_5079We started the day off with a beautiful hike. Oh, how I love the long shadows of this time of year!

img_5119And our hike ended at a playground for the kids. Mr. Knitting Sarah edited some photos he’d taken with his phone and I did some spindle spinning in the beautiful warmth of the sunshine. After about 30 minutes my husband turned to me and said, “Gah! I can feel myself getting sunburned!” And I knew it was time to head out.

We got home and had an early lunch. And then I did some spinning on my Three Waters Farm ‘Stand of Trees’ on Finn.

img_5121Oh how I love these blues! My husband’s been working some long hours lately so he was interested in a fair bit of relaxing. I took full advantage and spun my little heart out.

And when I started to get a little tired and my back got sore…

img_5125I switched over to knit a few stitches on my current sock WIP. The yarn is from last year’s String Theory Colorworks Sock Club and it was the perfect opportunity to play around with my new Knitter’s Pride 9″ circular needles. I really love my Nova Platina DPNs, so trying out the 9″ Nova Platina circs seemed like a logical step. I will write up a full report on those soon, I promise.

Monday morning I awoke and decided it was high time to pick my handspun Featherweight Cardigan up again…

img_5128I’m within about an inch of the ribbing on the sleeves and then just the neckband is left. I’m sure that once the stitches are picked up it will fly.

It was a peaceful, productive weekend followed by a peaceful and productive Monday. And today… while I know there is something very big happening out there in the big world (something that I attended to last week), today I hope we can enjoy more of the same. I hope we all have a peaceful and productive day.

In Review: The Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate

I think most folks in the spinning world are familiar with the name Akerworks for their bright colored 3-D printed flat pack bobbins and their super fun spindles.  This spring, however, they ventured into new territory — a Lazy Kate.

Officially named the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate, this item went into a testing phase during the month of May and I was lucky enough to get to be one of the testers. It’s something unique and awesome about Akerworks — they actually run product testing with their customers to fine-tune their products before they hit the market. This test is the reason I spent most of April and May spinning loads of singles on all my available bobbins and then plying them all up in different set-ups to really put the Kate through its paces. There were a lot of people who signed-up to be testers and I wanted to really do my part to give as much feedback as I could.

The testing process was a fantastic back and forth between different customers as well as with the Akerworks team. Troubleshooting, brainstorming, talking through pros and cons of the design were all part of the process. In the end, while the big picture of the Kate remained the same, there were a few minor changes that were implemented after testing. I finished the test confident that their final Kate would be a really great addition to any spinner’s tool kit and really happy and humbled that I was able to contribute to that outcome.

I was stunned and so incredibly thankful when I got an email saying I could send my Kate in to get an ‘upgrade’ to incorporate the changes made thanks to the test. I was sad to let my ‘AkerKate’ go, but I knew it would come back even better than before. So true to the Akerworks’ awesome customer service, I got it back just last week — only a little over a week after sending it in. And today, I’m going to share it with you!

caseIt arrives in this simple, smart case. It’s a slim fit, so the tabs at the top help you slide it on and off easily.

Inside, of course, is the Kate itself.

full viewIt packs totally flat, a fact that I love. The diciest part of traveling with spinning or even just having a Kate  in the house are those posts sticking up — it makes them hard to pack or store, vulnerable to being broken, and just not the best in a small house full of activity. The AkerKate, everything folds up nice and sleek, no pointy bits whatsoever.

detailTo open the Kate up, you just depress that little ‘pivot assembly’…

popLift the shaft and then close the assembly.

legs upThat’s it! Voila! A Lazy Kate capable of plying anything from a 2-ply to a 4-ply yarn using any of my bobbins.

regular bobbinsOh, and did I mention that those little do-dads nestled in the oval cut-outs are individual bobbin tensioners called, “Tension Tamers” — yeah, they are awesome (and I’m sorry they don’t show up too well here — check out the Akerworks site for better photos!). They also double as a yarn guide if you have an open shaft.

The AkerKate even handles my Jumbo/Plying bobbins…

2 bobbinsIncluding the Akerworks Super Jumbo bobbin for my Lendrum. Have I told you about them? They are huge.

bobbinsThis is the SuperJumbo Akerworks bobbin next to my Lendrum issue Jumbo bobbin. It’s bananas how big this thing is. I love it!

So why exactly was I so ecstatic when my AkerKate made its way back to my house? Well, there are a lot of reasons. I really like the feel of it — that I can individually tension my bobbins and that it feeds very smoothly. I think it’s great that it has little rubber feet on the bottom (not pictured here) that hold it in place. I like that I have 4 shafts to work with so I can configure my plying differently based on what feels best to me for each yarn. I dig that I have the option of spinning 4-ply yarns.  I LOVE that it folds down so neatly. I live in a small space and don’t have a studio or any special place for my spinning equipment. It all goes on just a couple shelves in my living room where I have kids and a dog traipsing through regularly. Having a Kate that not only can be stowed in a very small space, but that’s self-contained with no shafts sticking straight in the air is huge for me. This is true both for my house as well as traveling. Dual purposes? Perfect! This spinner is one happy camper!

As I mentioned, the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate is now available for sale on their website and actually ships free in the US. They’re estimating about a 4week turnaround time from when you order from when it arrives at your door. Personally, I think they’re worth the wait. Whether you’re looking for lazy kate to take on your travels or just a great, easy to store kate for everyday, the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate can certainly fit the bill.