September 23rd, 2015

Spinning tips – 2-ply without a lazy kate

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When I sat down at my first wheel I was SO excited to get spinning that I didn’t take the time to make sure I had all the tools I’d need. I spun up my first full bobbin of yarn and then I was stuck, I only had one bobbin. I knew that the single on that bobbin wasn’t good enough to survive on it’s own, that it needed to be plied to be a semi-successful yarn. I carefully, and sadly, wound that single off the bobbin with my ball winder thinking that it was a loss until I was able to get my hands on a second and third bobbin and then I would need a lazy kate…

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

And then I looked at the ball I’d wound, it had 2 ends. I COULD do a 2ply! So I set that ball between my feet, tucked it up to the edge of my treadles and plied away. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that this was an actual thing other people did and I wasn’t alone. It’s important to remember that you still have to ply against the twist of your original spin to help balance your yarn, so make sure you check the twist on those ends before you begin plying.

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

Thankfully my Ladybug has an attached lazy kate and I’ve always got at least 5 bobbins now, but every once in a while I like to wind up a single and ply from the ball. This method is actually how I’ve plied the fractal yarn I’m spinning from this post. I’ll be knitting this up into a simple cowl so you can see the fractal effect on the color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever plied from a center-pull ball? What’s your favorite plying method?


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2 Responses to “Spinning tips – 2-ply without a lazy kate”

  1. BlueLoom Says:

    – Wind a center-pull ball on your ball winder.
    – Carefully remove the ball from the winder, maintaining the opening in the middle.
    – Put the thumb of your fiber-supply hand into the hole in the middle of the ball.
    – Ply from the inside & outside of the ball.

    If you do it this way, you have a lot more control over what happens close to the end of your plying, when there’s only a little bit left and the singles tend to want to turn themselves in a curlicued mess. Unless you have very large hands, this doesn’t work well for more than about 4 oz of singles.

  2. Sara Says:

    Great tips! Thanks 🙂

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