How can I control the bobbins on my non-tensioned lazy kate?

A lazy kate is a stand for holding your bobbins of wool while you ply. The portable Katie A-Go-Go shown here has a tensioning device, but not all do -- the one that came with my Majacraft Suzie Alpaca wheel did not have a tensioner built-in, for example.

Two ways to add tension to an upright non-tensioned lazy kate:

1. Put a felt disc with a hole in the middle under the bobbin (between the bottom of the kate and the bobbin, didn't record players do something like this?) ... I seem to recall running across this idea on an email list. It is terrific and my "solution of choice".

Journey Wheel owners note -- this is a great way to handle your non-grooved bobbins on the Katie A-Go-Go!

2. Put a rubber band around the arms of your lazy kate under the bobbins. This idea and the bands to do it came with my Fricke e-spinner. If there's only one arm, you could use a small band and keep winding until it's semi-tight on the metal/wood post of the kate. I do this on the uprights built-in to my Suzie wheel, one post at a time, and it's a great solution since there isn't a solid wooden board underneath, just a bar of wood wide enough for the metal rod.

I'm not sure how I'd translate these ideas for sideways kates like the kate on the Journey Wheel or the Ashford one. Anyone have any suggestions for those Kate styles? with bobbins with grooves, maybe you could run a rubber band around two of the bobbins in the grooves -- but Journey Wheel bobbins don't have grooves, so it wouldn't work for them. Email me, contact me, or add a comment with your suggestions for sideways/horizontal kates below.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tips. I wish this post would have been available about three days ago, but it will be great for future experiences.

Anonymous said...

Thnks for all the great info. Your blog has answered so many questions for me.

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

Lucinda emailed me the following ...

"A friend made some "things" that work fine - chain-stitch a circle about 1/2" diameter. Do double or triple crochets into it until it's very full.

Now put this donut of crochet on the end of the JW lazy kate. Add
another at the other end, if necessary. It should add enough pressure that the bobbin rotates a little slower and stops when it's not being pulled.

P.S. She also found a Slurpee (?) straw, which we cut to size and placed on the bars. This both adds a little resistance, and cuts down on the noise of wood-on-wood."

Thanks for letting me post it!

p.p.s. Lucinda added that her friend used wool for greater friction, rather than my assumption of cotton. The donuts sit between the bobbin and the end of the rod.

Kirsten said...

I'm glad I found this! The circle of felt is a great idea, and it gave me another idea. If you buy packages of blank CDs, there's usually a little foam circle on the CD spindle, sitting on the top of the stack of CDs. I stole a couple of these from my dad's office, and they're doing a great job!