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.