July 08, 2009


I ran into a snarl plying three strands.

The lazy kate is not tensioned. I had a suspicion this would be a problem, since tension bands on lazy kates are always pointed out in sales blurbs as significant.

At our guild, I saw Sarah plying trouble-free off two bobbins on an untensioned lazy kate onto her drop spindle, which made me hope my attempt with three bobbins was going to go well.

All is not going well. The snarl is enough to stop progress.

Sarah's lazy kate holds bobbins horizontally side by side about a foot apart. The singles don't touch until they meet at her fingertips. The bobbins are held on wooden pins if I remember correctly, introducing some friction to tension the bobbins a little. She had the lazy kate up on a table, providing a good angle for plying on the drop spindle.

My lazy kate needs some help. Just putting it up on a table is not going to be enough.

Eileen Chadwick in The Craft of Handspinning (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980, p. 61) shows a homemade tension device. I sketched this from what I could see in Chadwick's photo:

The singles go under and over knitting needles stuck into a cardboard box, sort of like the way microfilm threads through a microfilm reader only there are multiple singles and, well, nevermind. The book's actual photo is clear, so I recommend you get the book if you want to understand Chadwick's solution.

I don't have a lot of knitting needles to make a Chadwickian box. I am going to go in a different direction. At least that's the plan.


  1. Do you have access to chopsticks? You could use them that way as well...

  2. thanks, I agree about chopsticks. Decided to go with a different solution.


Comments are moderated.