Plying time

After I finished spinning last night, I wanted very much to start plying these spindles together.  When plying from bobbins that have been spun on a wheel, a tool used to hold the bobbins is called a lazy kate.  This tool holds the bobbins a bit apart and on some types has a break to keep the singles (the un-plied yarns) from twisting back on themselves and creating a real mess.  Plying from two spindles is a bit trickier.  I don’t know how other people do this.  I have never read about it or seen it in magazines or on the net.  So I figured I needed a lazy kate for spindles.  A quick look round the house turned up this plastic tote/basket thing.  With holes that would suit.  The spindles are kept well apart from each other, and they freely spin inside the box.  I have placed a weight in the bottom of the box so as to keep it from flopping around while plying.

This make shift lazy kate worked okay in so far as the fitting the spindles was concerned, and I will use it again for these spindles, but it needed a break.  Something to keep the spinning spindles from spinning back on themselves in the plying process.  

Bungie cord to the rescue.  If a bungie cord, duct tape or zip ties can’t fix it……

Anyway, a bungie gently stretched over the spindles allows them to spin still, but provides enough resistance to keep them from spinning back the other way.  If the spindles spin the other way in this process, the yarn coming off them becomes slack and gets tangled.  More frustration.  This solved that problem.

I tried to ply last night.  But since I was over eager and just charged ahead, I neglected to take the time to perform the necessary maintenance on my wheel.  A wheel should be kept dust free and properly oiled at all of the mechanical joints and pieces that turn.  I have not done this in a while.  It should really be done every time a project is completed or started.  Not every time you use it, but every time a yarn is completed is enough.  I have quoted this in an earlier post, but it bears repeating again.  “A properly maintained wheel will last 300 years.  A poorly maintained one will last three.”  This poorly maintained wheel bucked and fought me the whole time I was trying to ply with it.  Nothing will work right on the wheel when it is dusty and the mechanisms are dry.  So all I accomplished was frustration and wasted time.  Look how dusty my poor wheel is: (disregard the dust you can see on everything else in the photo!)

So tonight I took the time to assemble some basic tools.  I do not have any proper wood care oil, so I am using vegetable oil.  Oil is still oil and the wood soaks it up.  I did have some 3-in-1 oil for the metal parts though.  And a few other basics were all that I needed to get my wheel back in order.

Glossy and shiny again.  The metal parts that the wheel and the flyer unit rotate on were lubricated too.  15 minutes was all it took to take care of this wheel.  It is a lesson that I seem to keep re-learning.  After the oiling and polishing, it worked just fine.  I really do need to get some proper oil though.

This is the beginning of the plied yarn.  The colors muddy a bit in the plying.  It will be an over all softer color than the distinct colors of the carded fiber.  This is okay with me.  If I wanted to keep the color changes to remain distinct, I would have carded and spun this fiber differently to maintain those distinctions.

Once the fiber is off the bobbin and onto the niddy noddy I will show you that too.  What the heck is a niddy noddy anyway????  You’ll see.

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